The Long Run

Today marks the second month anniversary of the event that yet again changed my life forever. On June 3 my husband rushed me to the hospital late that Sunday night with excrutiating pain in my left leg and lung. Early Monday morning on June 4, I was admitted to the hospital with a clot deep within my left leg from which a piece broke free and lodged in my left lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). Both were more serious than I could have ever imagined. I was hospitalized for a week and could barely walk on my own in the hours and days after my admission. I had IV’s, oxygen and spent what seemed like countless days in the cardiac intensive care unit. My recovery since then has been slow and at times, painful.
I am eternally grateful that I am here given one in three people die from a pulmonary embolism.
I may be alive, but I am nowhere near out of the woods yet. Given the severity of the trauma my body experienced and the complications from various blood disorders that followed, my doctors told me I could expect to be in recovery months if not years after my discharge. Not to mention what might happen if something goes wrong.
Late last week I mentioned I wanted to train for and run a local 5K in August.
Yesterday my body decided to remind me that it has a long way to go before we’re up and running again – literally.
Wednesday afternoon and evening I had pain on my right side – in my lung – that hurt primarily when I took a deep breath or tried to lay down. While it was painful, it was nowhere near as painful as the PE; yet, I initially thought I pulled a muscle running that day. This felt like a pulled muscle and wasn’t gone when I woke up yesterday morning.
I admit I panicked slightly. I don’t think I can handle the pain of another PE. I called my doctor who got me in for an emergency CT scan at his office. I was terrified I would ultimately end up at the emergency room, which is where he initially recommended I go. Thankfully there was a last minute cancellation at his office. Did I mention how much an IV hurts going in when you aren’t high on Morphine? A LOT.     
It seems like it took forever to get the results of the scan. “Good news!” the nurse exclaimed, “You don’t have a blood clot.” Thank God.
My next concern, however, was that I was imagining the pain. I’m not, though. My right lung is filled with fluid. It hurts to breath, talk a lot, lie down, yawn, cough, hiccup or move at any pace faster than that of a snail. Again. Still.
I feel like I have taken a giant step backwards. No running. Again. Still. At least not for awhile yet.
My doctors don’t know why my lung is filled with fluid so I’m on prednisone until I can get in to see yet another specialist.
I feel like I’m at Mile 4 in the marathon. I made it a little ways, I thought I could do it and maybe I still can, but it’s going to hurt. Maybe I’ll have to get on a bus at Mile 22 and start all over. Or, maybe I’ll finish the race this time.
Either way, I’m on The Long Run. And I’m at the complete mercy of my auto-immune system. No amount of training, preparedness or fitness will get me to the finish line this time. It will take every ounce of strength and willpower I have just to get to the start line.
I want to run so badlyand right now it is just not in the foreseeable future. Not until they figure out what is wrong with my blood. I can’t give up hope that I will run again, though. I won’t. A running buddy of mine said it best, “I know it’s hard to start over but keep in mind most people don’t ever start to begin with, let alone endure major medical issues and then start AGAIN. You’re an inspiration, Sara!”
I hope so. My biggest challenge will be learning to inspire myself. But, I won’t give up – not now, not ever. It’s just one step at a time to the finish line. Until then, I’ll be on The Long Run, making my way back to the beginning one step at a time.
Until the next mile marker,  

In Case You Missed It:

Pace Points: Could YOU Have a Blood Clot? Learn more about my symptoms of DVT and PE and how you can help make sure you don’t have to experience the same thing!


  1. Suzanne Westenhofer says

    Gosh Sara, it has been such a rough summer for you. I’m glad it’s not another blood clot and hopefully you will feel much better soon!

  2. Wow wow wow… girl I HATE this for you. You are such an inspiration, you know that right? I hope my saying that doesn’t add pressure to your situation. I had a minor calf injury back in Jan as I was training for my second half mary and had to battle with the depression that comes with giving up (although temporarily) the hobby we love, so I can imagine how icky this must make you feel. You’re in my prayers, and I can’t wait to see you back on the road again, SOON. 🙂

  3. RunningMandy says

    Setbacks are always hard to take. The great thing about running is it will still be there for you once your body heals, as hard as it is to wait. Rest up, and I hope you heal quickly!

  4. You have your entire life ahead of you to reach great milestones! Take this time to FULLY recover. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll be that much more stronger in the end. I can only imagine the anticipation you’re feeling. You’re a go-getter, but put yourself and your health first, and heal.

  5. I know you are probably frustated at your slow recovery but you are still an inspiration!

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