Dr. Davidson called Friday, just as I had gotten to the Weight Club, and I took the call in the lobby. After a good discussion of the plan and the protocol, he scheduled the surgery for Tuesday, April 1 at Roanoke Memorial. Yes I know that is April Fool's day...probably fitting. Aren't we all a little foolish (in a good way) in the things that we do for the love of the sport? More importantly, I like that he called on PI day (3.14) since one of the goals is to increase the cross-sectional area of the external iliac artery. (Here is the blog post on my diagnosis - Diagnosing my running medical mystery: exercise induced external iliac artery compression.)
This is the actual "resort" below. It's a little troubling that I can't quite see where that pool is. Maybe it's around back with some tennis courts?
I jest of course, there is no pool or tennis courts. It's hardly a resort. But they do have room service!
In all seriousness, I felt tremendous relief after speaking to Dr. Davidson. It was as if I had officially handed off the burden of responsibility for this to him. I've spent 10 months unsuccessfully trying to find my way through or around this, and I don't have to do that anymore. The wheels are in motion to fix it and I no longer have to navigate or drive.
I have no illusions about the process. The procedure is a few hours, followed by 2-4 days in the hospital, and 6 weeks to heal. It's abdominal surgery that involves moving stuff around to get to the external iliac artery plus incision(s) in the leg to harvest saphenous vein. I am prepared that it will temporarily suck and hurt. But knowing it should mean relief from the ongoing suck and hurt of running and to a lesser degree, cycling...bring it.
Complimentary anatomy lesson of the day (Left External Iliac Artery)
It's rather an important source of blood flow to the leg.
Friends have responded to this with concern over how I feel about the coming lapse in training and racing. You want to know how I feel about it? Just fine. I am not bothered at all because I would not want to race in my current state. Last race season was more of a struggle than I shared here; I carried a great deal of anxiety into races wondering whether I could finish the run or if I'd cross the line of effort and the leg would shut down. So I am committed to healing and taking the necessary downtime to do so.
Until then, I'll continue to keep my fitness up in all of the many ways that I can.
I am grateful for so much; this is just another chapter of the journey with more lessons to learn. I'm looking forward to coming back strong!
Make the most of your week, everyone, and happy St. Patrick's Day!