Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Big Break

This morning I went back to the doctor to get the results of my MRI. I was convinced that he would be telling me that I had sprained my elbow and I could expect to feel better soon. Except he said that I had broken my radial head in my elbow.

Definition: A radial head fracture is the most common broken elbow bone seen in adults. This type of injury is most commonly caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand. Radial head fractures cause pain and swelling around the elbow.

Okay, so my elbow fits the textbook definition of this. The only good news is that it was a clean break and I don't need surgery. Really, you'd hardly know I broke my elbow to look at me. I'm wearing a wrist brace because my wrist still really hurts as a result of this elbow break. The doctor said that I can definitely wear that at work, but I don't have to wear it all the time if I don't want to. I don't have to wear a cast, so basically, I have to walk around looking like I'm fine even though I'm not.

My first questions after he told me about the break were about healing time, which is 6-8 weeks. Not a big surprise. Then I asked about working out. He said that I can do the elliptical and ride the stationary bike as long as I don't put any pressure on my elbow. Swimming is out as are other high-impact activities.

As he was telling me all of this, it was all I could do to choke back the tears. I told him that I really thought he was going to tell me that I had sprained my elbow instead and he said that no one gets elbow swelling like I had from just a sprain. I wish that he had told me that last week so I didn't get my hopes up.

I have no idea yet what this means for the rest of my triathlon season this year. I found out that you can defer New York City until the night before the race. Timberman doesn't have deferrals, you can only get a $75 refund if you decide to withdraw by July 1. Right now I'm not making any decisions, but I did want to know my options.

As of right now, I can't wait to get to the gymnasium and work off some of this frustration. I have to say that it's funny since I really thought that I'd almost feel better if it was broken. At least then I wouldn't have been wimpy during the race where my arm hurt and I'd have a reason for running an 11+ minute/mile pace. Except that I don't feel better about San Francisco. I knew I did my best break or no break. And now I'm just sad about maybe missing out on these other triathlons. I know it's not the end of the world. I do know that. But I was doing pretty well on the training plan and I was excited about reaching those finish lines.

It's obviously not set in stone about what will happen. I have to see how my elbow does recovery-wise. And I think what I really have to do is try not to push myself too hard in the meantime and injure myself more. So, I think you'll see a lot of elliptical / spin bike posts in the future, so I'm sorry in advance for the monotony. I'll try to spice it up as much as I can! And I'll be hoping for a speedy recovery so that I can mix things up sooner rather than later!


  1. Oh no!! I'm sure I would have been sobbing in the docs office if they told me I couldn't workout.

    I don't even know what to say except this really f-ing sucks. I hope you have a very speedy recovery!

  2. SO sorry to hear this! Glad that it was clean break, if there is any consolation in that? Hang in there! Maybe you can salvage some late season races?

    I have read most of your recent posts, but I must have missed it. How did you hurt your elbow? I first read about it in your Alcatraz race report. Was in during the swim?

  3. Well, that news just stinks! So sorry to hear about both the injury and the lack of training that you'll be able to do. God's speed in your healing.

  4. OH NO!!! You must be devastated. I am just catching up on your blog since Alcatraz. I'm even more impressed and amazed that you finished the race now! I really hope you don't have to give up Timberman. Heal fast!