Hand Update + Fall/Winter Race Schedule

Mama’s got a brand new hand, y’all!

The surgery went great and I’m getting back to normal. In the first few days following I was in a lot more pain than I thought I would be, but thankfully they gave me the good stuff for pain (which I promptly stopped taking after about two days because it made me feel crazy, but still). After a week in my bandage I got my stitches out and, woo, that was a little rough. As soon as I got a look at it I immediately got woozy and asked to lie down, it looked GROSS. Thankfully getting the stitches out wasn’t too bad, and I asked the nurse to tell me a story and keep me distracted, ha. My hand was extremely swollen and bruised and stiff after not using it for a week, and there was still quite a bit of pain, especially when I moved my fingers. About a week after that I started physical therapy and have slowly been gaining function back. I guess I was pretty naive when I thought that my hand would be back to normal as soon as I got my stitches out and the swelling went down– definitely not the case. I feel like I have to learn to use my hand all over again! But with the therapy I am slowly but surely getting there; it’s still difficult and painful to flex my wrist too far or grasp anything, but I have much better use of my fingers and can pick up light things at least. I go back to follow up with my surgeon one last time in mid-September, and I have 3 more week of therapy.

Unfortunately in the midst of healing from this, I received another bit of bad news… Some back story: back in March I did an all night ultra with some of my best running friends. After the race, I realized that I had a mole on my back that became raised and later started bleeding randomly. I figured it was most likely nothing, probably just overly chaffed from being rubbed against a sweaty sports bra all night, but since I know so many people who have had to deal with skin cancer, and even a couple who have died from it, I decided to be safe rather than sorry. My GP sent me straight to a dermatologist who removed that mole and a couple others in office. I wasn’t worried at all and was more concerned with the fact that I had a few small stitches that would keep me from running for a couple days.

About a week later I got a call from my dermatologist. I knew it was bad news as soon as I heard his voice over the phone, THE ACTUAL DOCTOR NEVER CALLS UNLESS YOU’RE PRACTICALLY DYING! Evidently, the mole on my back had come back as severely atypical. Not quite melanoma, but almost, and risky. I felt like I was going to poo my pants when he was telling me all the information– I honestly can’t even remember what all he said other than “skin cancer” and “risk” and “plastic surgeon.” I was referred to a plastic surgeon to get a wide local excision done. I kept myself from googling anything about this (which I really give myself a pat on the back for, I am normally really bad about doing too much googling and convincing myself of my imminent death), but in this case it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I went in to the doctors appointment thinking he was going to tell me he was going to numb me up in office and just cut some more skin off, just like how my derm had removed the moles… um, wrong. The surgeon explained to me that this was a little more serious than I was realizing, and said that what I have is basically one step down from melanoma. I am at a high risk for the future and am now going to have to see a dermatologist multiple times  a year. And for the excision, it isn’t just a simple in office thing, it’s a surgery. IN A HOSPITAL. ANOTHER ONE. Sigh. Insert my dumbstruck face here. So I’m scheduled for that in early September.

I am trying so hard not to throw a pity party here, at least one not any bigger than the one I’m already throwing. Yes, it’s good we caught this early, yes, it could be so much worse, but man, WHY!!!!! I am so careful with sunscreen! My friends make fun of me all the time for slathering it all over my self on the DAILY and trying to put it on them too!

In the end, it will all be okay. I’ll get a really cool shark bite scar on my shoulder and I can tell people I got it while wrestling a great white. I’m sad, I’m bummed, but it isn’t the end of the world. And really, it’s good news, because it isn’t actually skin cancer. Plus, I have so many things to be happy about right now: the marathon training group which I am coaching for has started (yippee!), I have a ridiculous amount of fun races on the calendar (WOO!), and, well, I’m alive! I’m here! I’m able to run and jump and frolic and enjoy all the ridiculousness that this planet has to offer. With that said, here’s my tentative race schedule for the rest of this year:

  • 3 Sept – Monte Sano 5k & 10k – running this as a part of the marathon group, the participants are to run either the 5k or 10k at a race pace to get a benchmark for where they are… not entirely sure what my plan is yet.
  • 5 Sept – Scottsboro Half – I registered for this because it was $5. It’s getting closer and closer and I’m still not sure if I’ll actually go.
  • 8 Oct – Monte Sano 15k – another benchmark test for the marathon group.
  • 22 Oct – Wade Mountain Trail Marathon – my first “serious” race on the calendar, not sure if I’m doing the full or half yet, depends on where my training is. Either way, my first trail race of the season! Woo!
  • 12 Nov – Huntsville Half Marathon – my local half! I do this every year, love it! Also doing as a benchmark for marathon group.
  • 19 Nov – Dizzy Fifties 50k – Woo! First 50k of the season, this will be my second go at this one, but not entirely sure I’ll do it because…
  • 20 Nov – Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon – I had to enter this race on a lottery, several of my running gal pals did to, and WE ALL GOT IN!! Now, my friend Kim has done both Dizzy and the Monkey back to back, lovingly referred to as the #DizzyMonkey, and while I do have visions of grandeur, I’m still not totally sure I can do such a thing. Maybe it’ll be my big goal for the year? We’ll see.
  • 27 Nov – Hobbs Island 10k – another benchmark for marathon group.
  • 10 Dec – Rocket City Marathon– my local marathon and the “graduation” for the marathon group!
  • 31 Dec – Recover from the Holidays 50k– not totally sure if I’m doing this, if I do the #DizzyMonkey, I will probably volunteer instead.

There you have it! I’m excited! Are you excited?



  1. ariavie · September 1, 2016

    Matt’s family has a strong history of skin cancer so we’re always freaking out about freckles and moles over here. Glad they caught it early and now that you’re going to the doctor so often for checkups, they’ll keep catching problem moles early from now on!


    • ultrachelsea · September 8, 2016

      I’m so glad I decided to go initially and didn’t brush it off!!


  2. Pingback: 2016 Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon Race Report | Ultra Chelsea

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