Back into The Ring

I’m in the boxing ring, sitting in my corner, staring at my opponent in the other corner. I have been in this ring many times. This time my opponent is different….. *bell rings*

Let me describe the events leading up to getting into the ring again.

I came off a hard, yet successful RNRLV ½ marathon, while sick. I had been sick off and on and could not seem to ever gain ground. I finally made enough noise to see a specialist in the beginning of this year who was on board for sinus surgery, during the process a pre-cancerous mass was discovered in my sinus cavity. After surgery in February I was good to go.

2013 was going to be a fun year of firsts, new fun races, taking things to the next level. I started training with excitement. I had a DNS during this surgery, but it is ok, I was feeling FANTASTIC.

2 days before my next race I got hit with the stomach bug. I lost 8lbs in 3 days. It was UGLY. I volunteered packet pick up- barely made it through that. Took home DNS t-shirt #2.

I came back with a vengeance. Started training again, brought home my second gold medal in the Nevada State Games, things were clicking, and the last ½ of the year was going to be my redemption year. I was feeling great.

Then my world came crashing down on me. My Mom passed away. I had several trips to and from Las Vegas and North Carolina during the time of her declining health and the time of her funeral. Words cannot describe how close my Mom and I were. We had a bond that was so special, so close. I cannot describe it. We had been to hell and back together more than anyone should ever have to go, but we did it and made it through together. Our bond was like no other. A part of me died with her. I miss her. So much.

Add another mark in the DNS column (#3) during that time.

The Monday after I got home from her funeral, I woke up with a crick in my neck. I assumed I slept wrong. The stress of everything, it was bound to happen. I was looking forward to training and coming back with what I had left of the year, the training was going to help me while I dealt with the grief of Mom’s passing. I was going to need this time to be alone with my thoughts and cope.

I was standing on the treadmill and turned in on. My first “running” step brought me to my knees and threw me off the back of the treadmill. It felt like something was trying to rip my shoulder out of socket. WHAT THE????!!!!! Ok. Breathe. Assess the situation. Mom just died. I am stressed. Going bat sh*t crazy from lack of sleep and jet lag. Let’s try this again. I tried again. The pain was still there. I tried holding my arm so many different ways. I finally ended up putting a towel around my neck and holding it with that arm. I would NEVER advise anyone to do this. ALWAYS stop if pain is severe during exercise. I NEEDED this run for mental health. I NEEDED it. I ended up turning off the treadmill and curling up in a ball on the belt, bawling.

Each day the pain got worse. I tried walking, biking, and the elliptical. The pain was INTENSE. I could not function. I was seeing doctors for my annual checkups (oncologist, ob, you name it) and at all the appointments we were trying to figure out what this pain was. Was the grief of losing Mom beginning to manifest into this pain? Was I creating it in my head? I had not had an accident or injury so what was this? The pain would not let up. I had tests, scans, biopsies, more tests…nothing.

My Chiropractor would not give up. Of all my doctors, he was the squeaky wheel trying to get me an answer. I was in his office EVERY day. He took X-rays, we found things in the X-rays, but they would not be the cause of this severe pain. He requested an MRI.

Try having an MRI when you have to lie down, and you can’t. Since this happened I had been sleeping sitting up. Lying down would have me screaming in pain. I mean screaming, shrieking panic scream. The pain was that intense. I have a VERY high tolerance to pain if that gives you any idea of this level of pain. It took A LOT of medication, a dedicated staff, and a patient husband and I was finally able to lie down and have the MRI.

Meanwhile during all of this I was still working, trying to take care of my son and husband, reeling from the death of my Mom. The pain was unbearable at times. I could not think straight. My son was acting out because his Mommy was hurting and couldn’t play with him. My fuse was short. My poor husband was dealing with a wife in pain that couldn’t do anything around the house. I was trying to carry on in public like normal. Really trying. If I acted like everything was normal, things would go back to normal, right?

The results of the MRI came back.  My doctor sat down with me, put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me with that “look”.  I put my boxing gloves back on and stepped into in the ring….

Nothing could have prevented this. Nothing caused this, other than my genetics. Just a hand I was dealt. That was something new to wrap my head around. I needed spinal surgery, right away. Without surgery the pain would never go away, it would only get worse and the risk of further nerve damage, even paralysis was imminent. My Chiropractor was RELENTLESS and made sure I got in with no less than the best neurosurgeon in town. So in a little less than a week I will undergo surgery for as my son calls it “Mommy’s new robot neck”. Good news, due to my healthy foundation I should make it out of this great and with a shorter than average recovery period. I WILL run and race again. Will I return to the level I once was? Most likely not, but we won’t know until we know how severe the nerve damage is, but to be honest, I don’t care, not anymore. If I am able to keep up with and play with my son again, THAT is what I care about.

When news “broke” of my situation the support from my teammates and co-coaches at Team PRS FIT was overwhelming. The wonderful athletes I have the honor of coaching make me proud every day. My running club, The Idiots Running Club has been very loving and supportive. Friends and family sent me well wishes.

As the phrase goes “Haters, gonna hate”. I chose to deal with all of this privately because to be honest I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was afraid I was going crackers after my Mom’s death. I was dealing with that and this horrible pain. I didn’t want unsolicited advice. I didn’t allude to anything going on in social media or in public. I did not confide in family or friends. I needed to sort this out on my own, on my own terms. Apparently to some people this makes me a liar, bad friend, bad person, fake and two faced.

Everyone deals with grief and crisis in their lives differently. I was having too much to deal with at once. There is no right, no wrong, just everyone’s individual way. Apparently my way did not go over well with a lot of people. Normally I would apologize. But for the first time in my life, NO, I will NOT say I am sorry. I need to deal with this my way. The messages and backlash I have received have been passive aggressive all the way to just downright nasty.

What keeps me going is the support of my loving and ever patient husband and the very reason why I step in the ring to fight every day, my son.

I am forever grateful for the overwhelming support and kind words that I have received. I do not know how I will ever be able to repay the kindness, but I will do my very best.

For the others and the nasty messages, I have no time or energy for that. Does it hurt, of course it does. I am soft hearted. It hurts deeply. If it makes you happy or gives you pleasure to call me names and berate me for how I handle my personal crisis, well I am glad I could be your punching bag. I pray you NEVER experience ½ of what I have experienced because karma is a BITCH and she has your phone number, on speed dial.

I have been told my recovery will be 4-6 weeks with return to my love, running, in 12-16. I have a lot of confidence in my neurosurgeon, gratitude for my chiropractor who has gone well above and beyond and treats me more like family than a client, love and appreciation for friends, family, everyone at Team PRS FIT and the Idiots Running Club.

My husband and son have dealt with the hardest part of this. I have not been a bundle of joy to be around and don’t expect to be for the coming weeks. I love them with all my heart.

I picked up another DNS last weekend (#4), picking one up this weekend (#5). Have one more for the year (#6) , seems to be my theme for this year.

I am sick of challenges and setbacks. Over it. I have fought before; I am fighting again, and am sure I will have to fight again at some point in the future. But mark my words, every time, in the past; now and in the future, I will fight with all I have, because that is who I am.


15 comments on “Back into The Ring

  1. Best wishes to you on your surgery and recovery. The heart of a runner can never be taken away. We are survivors and we never give up. You have that fight in you, I can tell and I don’t even know you!

  2. Paul r says:

    Ur a badass

  3. Kathryn says:

    You are my hero Kristie!
    You are perfectly right to share your life when it is best for you to do so. Shame on people for not being supportive. It saddens me that you have to deal with all of that nonsense when you are in physical, emotional and mental anguish. You are a loving and beautiful human being who lives life with grace and preservance. May we all love our life more like you live yours.

  4. Thank you for sharing all of this. My sister in law had a similar situation (regarding the rapid onset of a spinal / neck issue leading up to surgery and incapacitating her in the meantime) so I know if your experience was anything like hers (in addition to the emotional stress you were under) ….. it must have been intensely difficult. As you know, sending many prayers & much love.

  5. Sweet friend….my prayers are with you. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I don’t think I knew about her passing. My mom is fighting cancer right now, so this hits close to home. You are so brave, and I hope everything goes well for you. I don’t know who would “hate” on you…but they mean nothing. You are loved and surrounded by love and prayer. Don’t worry about DNS….worry about getting better, getting healthy, and the runs will come later. xoxo

  6. tleclerc says:


    Sometimes life throw us some challenging curve balls we must go through for some reason, even if we cannot understand why, and or its great timing. You have a big heart, and you are filled with love, determination, humility, caring and brave spirit. I am sorry about the negative energy you received from some people, you certainly don’t need them in your life! I know you are a fighter and you will find your way to stay on course. I know, because you are an exceptional individual and an awesome mom! I find a lot of inspiration from you, as the beautiful human being that you are, and how you battle the challenges you are thrown with. Remember, you are surrounded by many who love and support you. Don’t you ever give up! May you and your family, always be blessed! ~ Tomas

  7. Cathy Dahlgren says:

    Kristie – Hope your surgery goes well today. Just keep on fighting. Prayers for a speedy recovery – Cathy

  8. Jaymi Yazzolino says:

    Wow! I am just getting to know you through the PRSfit training group. Can’t believe you have had to deal with so much. So happy you shared. Love your Kharma statement. I agree they will get theirs at the proper time. There is nothing wrong with dealing with things in private! Blessings!!!

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