Good News/Bad News

I thought I would be writing about how Ryan was doing three days post-surgery on his toe.

Because of circumstances out of no one’s control, Ryan did not have the operation to remove the subungual osteochondroma from his left big toe on Friday as previously planned.

There is good news and bad news in the postponement of the surgery to Nov. 29.

Good news: Ryan got to enjoy his Great Aunt Terry’s surprise birthday party Sunday. He’ll also get to run a Thanksgiving race on Thursday. The aspect of not running on Thanksgiving like he did last year because of having the surgery on his toe bummed Ryan out. We are running the Turkey Burn at the Greenwood Community Center Thursday morning. We look forward to running with several friends that we know have already registered for the race. After the race, Ryan will also be able to enjoy Thanksgiving pretty much pain-free and not on the couch because he would have been in a boot.

Bad news: The delay means Ryan won’t be back running by Christmas or New Year’s as previously thought. Having the surgery 11 days later also shrinks the time to be fully recovered to train for the OneAmerica Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon as originally planned.

Ryan’s taking it all in stride and so am I.

It also gives me a chance to explain in better detail about subungual osteochondromas. I wanted to write this post before his surgery. Of course, because of work, family activities and other obligations, I never got around to it. I mean I have to sleep at some point.

I have always been fascinated with the medical field. When I was little and played Emergency! When I would play an “episode” I always made sure one of the runs was at a sporting event. Once the imaginary Johnny and Roy along with myself got the patients to Rampart, I instantly turned into either Dr. Kelly Brackett or Dr. Joe Early.

Wendy has already begged me if I see an IV bag that says lactated ringers to not ask the nurse which doctor ordered it – Dr. Brackett or Dr. Early. Usually, I get blank stares from the nurses.


Two of the best TV doctors ever – Dr. Joe Early (Bobby Troup) and Dr. Kelly Brackett (Robert Fuller).

Actually, I was interested in working in the sports-medicine field. During my freshmen and sophomore years of high school, I was a student-athletic trainer. Somewhere though I got sidetracked and decided I would be better suited in trying to become the next great Grantland Rice/Alexander Wolff/Rick Bozich/Bill Benner/Ric Burrous or was it Vin Scully/Brent Musburger/Marty Brennaman/Chris Denari/Sam Simmermaker?

When a friend has an injury, an athlete I follow incurs one, or for some reason, something I’ve done isn’t healing like I think it should, I do like to do my own research. Although outdated, I kept most of my books and manuals from my athletic-training days and also go on-line to various sports-medicine websites.

The research allows me to understand their condition and the various treatments they might need to go through to make a full recovery. I also probably annoy my friends, who are doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers, by asking them various questions about injuries.

It’s also because of having friends like those I have been able to care for myself and taken preventive measures to keep myself and now Ryan injury free for the most part.

Sorry, I got distracted going back in time.

When Ryan was diagnosed with a subungual osteochondroma, it gave me a chance to do some research on the condition. Of course, I decided to blog about it and not only educate myself, but my readers.

Subungual osteochondromas are small, benign bone spurs in the foot. The technical term is ‘Exostosis Cartilaginea’ because of its distinctive cartilaginous cap as the tumor protrudes through the nail bed.

Through research it has become clear that osteochondromas differ from its cousin – subungual exostosis.

Exostosis has a fibrocartilage cap. Osteochondroma has distinctive hyaline cartilage. Osteochondromas account for 35 to 40 percent of all benign tumors and are found in patients younger than 20-years old. For every one female in this category that suffers an osteochondroma, three males will have it.

An Osteochondroma usually occurs after the body part has experienced some sort of trauma. Although some have reported the condition to be congenital.  It may develop abnormally with or without a stalk. If a stalk becomes present the tumor then is declared pedunculated.

One of the symptoms of a subungual osteochondroma such as what Ryan has is an ingrown toenail. Like other cases I have researched, Ryan’s bone spur has protruded up through the soft nail bed. It is firm and looks like a marble sticking out of his toe.

The spur grows gradually over weeks and months. When it grows, it presses against the nail bed and causes pain. Somehow during all of this, Ryan has not complained about pain when he pushes off his foot as he runs. “I only feel it when you foolishly push on it or the doctor does.”

Dr. Tentler explained the surgery to us during the pre-surgical exam. The exact name of the surgery is subungual exostectomy. He will make the incision along the side of Ryan’s big left toe. Tentler will then cut out the spur. Once he removes the spur, Tentler will also file down the bone to be smoothed. Then he will use about four stitches to sew the incision back up. The bone spur will be sent to a pathologist to confirm it’s not malignant. “These though are always non-cancerous,” Tentler assured us during the exam on Nov. 8.

The entire procedure should take about 20-30 minutes.


The various stages Ryan’s toe will likely progress through during the next few months.

Ryan will be in a boot for two weeks. During the first two days, he should be off his feet except to use the bathroom. We are going to use this time to have some “film session” watching the Big 10 Cross Country meet and the New York City Marathon I DVR earlier this month. We also will watch some of his favorite TV shows and movies.

After two days, Ryan will probably begin getting up and walking around for about 20 minutes at a time. A week after the surgery, he’ll return to see Dr. Tentler and have the dressing changed. After two weeks he’ll have the stitches taken out. He also should be able to get into a regular shoe and not have to wear the boot any longer.


The shoe Ryan likely will wear for two weeks after his surgery.

If things go according to plan, Ryan should be able to begin light running a week or two after the new year. While we wait, we have some exercises for him to work on his arms and upper body strength as his toe heals.

In hindsight, this couldn’t happen at a better time. Because of my work schedule at “The World on Time” our running sometimes takes a backseat to me needing rest. If there is inclement weather in either Memphis or Atlanta during this time I could easily work 14-hour days. Freight from those cities will be diverted to our Indianapolis facility especially if the weather is snow or ice. Although sometimes I still get out to run off frustration from the day. I also have some friends who have invited me to run with them while I wait for Ryan’s return.

I could explain to you the operation I “lead” during my company’s busiest time, but I’d either confuse you or you would think as I do that it is the most backward way to send freight in the history of logistics.

As with the Monumental 5k, Ryan and I will run the Turkey Burn 5k Thursday morning again with the plan to “just blow it out.”

The following Tuesday, Ryan will have his surgery. Another good thing after almost 21 months of consistent running, Ryan’s legs will get a much-deserved rest. Depending on how frustrated I get, it also will do me some good to take some extended rest periods.

Don’t worry, “Me the Dad” has already won any battle against “Me the Competitor.” At this point, we have already conceded training for a time goal for the 500 Mini. The 500 Mini will be nothing more than getting to the starting line injury free, kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and finishing strong. That will be followed by enjoying the event with several friends at an after party.

As legendary basketball coach Clair Bee once wrote to another basketball coach after suffering a loss, “Then, suddenly, refreshed by the driving desire that has always inspired to push forward and upward, he grasps the new challenge with eager hands and races for the starting line.”

Ryan will be back.


2 thoughts on “Good News/Bad News

  1. He will be back. And I wouldn’t give up on a time goal just yet. It might not be the ideal circumstances but fast times and PRs happen when we least expect it. Definitely don’t rule it out. Just be patient, taking it one day at a time. He’s young and healthy so he should recover quickly. And his baseline fitness is seriously impressive. It’s just a matter of waiting it out and he’ll be back out there crushing it in the blink of an eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, Elizabeth! I greatly appreciate it! And you’re right he’ll be back tearing up the pavement before we know and even better than he was – that’s what will get us through this next month and half. The three pre races and the Mini will be fun regardless and if PR’s are set – added bonuses.


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