Thursday, September 29, 2011

My two left feet

I’m running again, lymphedema be damned. The swelling hasn’t worsened and, much to my delight, the ankle and foot don’t seem to mind being whacked around. The circumference of my left leg just above the ankle is 10 inches versus 9 inches for the right. There’s fluid in the foot that doesn’t want to drain, but mine is obviously not a severe case.  If things don’t worsen, it shouldn’t interfere with my plans to run 25 miles/week or so through the winter. My times have been pretty good despite the edema and it’s awesome to be running again after a summer in which I mostly cycled for exercise.
I also have a Morton’s neuroma in my left foot, which doesn’t much affect my running but feels like a pebble in my shoe between the third and fourth metatarsal. I’ve read that a cortisone injection can sometimes resolve a benign inflammation like this, but I’m inclined to let things ride. I’ve been coping with this annoyance for a couple of years and it, too, seems to be stable.
My surgeon told me after my lymphadenectomy three years ago that the neuropathy in my left thigh would likely resolve after a few months. It never did, and my upper left leg still feels like a block of wood. The fibrosis in the thigh (caused by radiation treatment) makes it much firmer to the touch than my right thigh. I don’t stretch much, but running seems to allow me to retain mobility of motion that might otherwise have been lost post-surgery. Running is a God-send all around and if melanoma has done anything for me, it’s made me more appreciative than ever of the extraordinary bodies he’s given us. The foot, for example, contains 25% of all the bones in the body. It’s a masterpiece of engineering.
I recently read in the book “Born to Run” that running is our original act of inspired creation. We were literally created to run. It is a genetically coded ancestral necessity. I couldn’t agree more. I run to live and I live to run. It’s a primal, wordless way to express my love of life.

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