Friday, August 26, 2011

And then he stuck a big needle in it

I've ramped up my mileage in training for my upcoming marathons. This cycle I've run quite a few 15-16 milers and a couple of 18 milers hoping not to hit a wall at 20. We'll see tomorrow, when I run said 20. Since this could be my first hot run of the summer (and how did that happen??) I'll have a good measure of where my fitness is for Fox Cities Marathon.

I'm gratified and confused that an August 27th run is the first hot run of the year. Normally that happens in March or April. While we've had a couple of spells of a few days of heat, none have been on long-run scheduled weekends (or indeed, on weekends at all). I'm not particularly looking forward to sweltering but since September in Wisconsin could be hot (and hey, these days October in Maine could be hot) I'd like to get a long hot run under my belt.

Not under my shoes though. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a lump on top of my foot after a run. I figured my shoes must have been too tight and didn't worry about it. Then I noticed that it got worse for a while, then better, then worse. Then I realized that it wasn't really changing at all, it was just big. Wiser minds than I determined that I should go see our friendly neighborhood sports podiatrist so I made an appointment. Imagine my disappointment when the lump didn't go away, even after making an appointment. Since the only time the lump causes pain is when I wear shoes, and because I'm wearing sandals unless I'm running or at the gym, it was mostly a curiosity rather than an impairment. Unless, of course, I was running.

So I went to see the doc today. After poking, prodding and an ultrasound he said it was probably a ganglion cyst and we could drain it and hope it would go away. Okey dokey, draining sounded good to me. In theory. In practice he took a needle the size of the Space Needle with a syringe the size of a large silo and started poking around inside the cyst, guided by ultrasound. He dragged the tip of that needle up and down inside the cyst and urgh, TMI at this point. Anydoodle, there wasn't any fluid being extracted so he pulled out the needle and just started to squeeeeeeze the cyst. That sounds much more painful that it actually was, the squeezing didn't hurt at all (probably because my foot was so relieved to not have the needle in it). Not much came out then either.

The hope is that it'll drain and flatten over the next 5-7 days, go away, and never bother me again. That's unlikely to happen. He said he wouldn't want to drain it more than a couple of times, and if it reoccurs would recommend removing it just to see what it is. That would involve a little incision, a couple of stitches. No big deal, right? Wrong, it would involve no running for 3 weeks. Yikes! I have too many races to take 3 weeks off! I'm going to believe in fairy tales and believe that the cyst will go away. Quickly and without any worry from me. Right?

For my long run tomorrow I'll just use some felt to cushion the cyst area from my shoe and everything should be fine. I'm very much looking forward to this run, sore foot and high heat notwithstanding. Every long run is a challenge, every long run proves once again that although I might not look like it, I am in fact a runner.

Have any of you had ganglion cysts? Anyone had it flattened by the family bible? Anyone grossed out by hearing about this?


  1. Did you run the 20 on Sunday? It was HOT.

    Never had a ganglion cyst...I thought you were going to say "the size of a knitting needle" ;)

    I see you are doing the mt desert island marathon..that should be wonderful. Very classic Maine coast up there.

  2. I have been SO shocked this summer with how mild the weather has been (knock on wood). I look back on emails from last season at this time and we had canceled workouts left and right due to the heat and bad air quality... not this year!

    I hope everything turns out okay with the cyst! I knew someone with one on her wrist... it came and went and never gave her any problems so I don't think she ever did anything about it!