Saturday, October 22, 2005


It's what happens when we're not running that has the greatest effect on how we run. Yeah, I'm talking about balance again, because I'm getting a bit out of whack this week. The first half of this week I was extremely sore. Sadly, it was from scalping, de-thatching, aerating, planting, and topping our lawn. It's probably only 600 square feet or so but it took about four hours to do, and it felt like I had been working a whole soccer field by the end of it.

Take that soreness, add some restless nights, early mornings, unplanned middle-of-the-night feedings, and a difficult week at work, partially caused by the stress of being late two days in a row because of medical appointments for our young son Finn. Finn has been diagnosed with plagiocephaly, which is essentially a flat spot on the back of one side of his head, which makes everything on his head a tad asymmetrical. It's hard to tell at first glance, but one ear is a bit forward and high while the other is a bit back and low, and one eye is higher than the other. It's a strange condition, but it can be treated effectively by putting him in what looks like a helmet, though it's called a cranial band. This re-directs the growth of his head, which in turn kind of evens things up. It isn't just a cosmetic issue, if left untreated it can cause problems with the jaw and mouth, spinal abnormalities, and perceptive and balance problems. He'll have to stay in the helmet 23 hours a day, and it should do the job of straightening everything out in 3 weeks to 8 months time.

As with most medical conditions, this is causing some stress. Bouncing between the family practice doctor, an orhopedic specialist, a physical therapist, and the people who make/fit the helmet is very difficult, and while each provides us with lots of information, much of it conflicts with what the other says. Add to that medical journal articles with studies on the percentages of children with this condition who end up needing some additional help during the grade school years, and I have more anxiety than I know what to do with.

Still I run, so far every day and I keep the schedule. My mind is certainly not at ease though, and my runs are less about giving me time to explore my own thoughts and more about dissecting and interpreting the situation we are dealing with, and wondering whether or not our insurance will cover the costs (sometimes they do and sometimes they don't) associated with it.

Life does go on, and our son of course is perfect in our eyes. His personality is much like our daughter's when she was little, always smiling and craving interraction. My family and my wife encourage me to think positively, and they are right. Still, when parents are considering the medical options for their own, the responsibility of knowing the good and possibly bad outcomes is theirs, and with that responsibility comes sifting through some bad news along with the good.

This entry doesn't have much to do with Lydiard, but I am reminded of a kind of funny section in his book, where one of his athletes had a bad result and was being quite hard on himself. Lydiard talks about getting this fellow to go out with a woman on the team for drinks and some dancing, to make him forget about his performance that day and to keep him from dwelling on the past. Apparently this did the trick for this particular fellow, as Arthur said "I didn't have any trouble with him after that." I plan on avoiding cleaning the garage or suffering in the yard this weekend, instead taking more time with Kiera and the kids. Haiden and I plan to get a kite and fly it (like in one of her books), and Finn will no doubt be suffering tummy-time with Dad alongside. Probably no drinks and dancing with Kiera, but maybe we can catch up on a few TIVO'd "Daily Shows". Have a good weekend.

Training: 16 miles, 1:53:42, 7:08 pace. Ran 6 by myself, then 10 with the "Get Moving" group. More hills than I needed, felt like I was crawling in the middle.


Thomas Sørensen said...

I'm sure Finn will become 100% after the helmet treatment, and then he will become a fine strong athlete like his father. He has no other option with an inspiration like you as a father. I will send positive thought in your direction (south west) when I run.

D said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Thanks for your informative note on my blog. I am going to follow what you did.

brian said...

Sorry to hear about Finn, Mike. My thoughts and prayers are with you as well.

Zeke said...

Hey Mike, sorry to hear about Fin. My youngest daughter had a mild case of plagiocephaly. We chose not to put her in the helmet. Instead we alternated putting a blanket under her right and left sides when she slept - rather than keeping her flat on her back. I'm sure things will work out fine.

Hey, I got a nice email back from Nobby with some great answers. He mentioned getting together for coffee with me and my friend Evan. Hopefully we can make that happen.

Flatman said...

Here's hoping and praying that Finn bounces back in no time and you guys are back to normal again!

Mike said...

Thomas, DGC, Brian, Zeke, Flatman (and Nobby), thanks for the kind thoughts, our family really appreciates it. Finn falls into the "moderate" category for plagiocephaly, and from what we've been told the helmet should really help. We've been doing the blanket/bolster thing too, and it is helping. Zeke, take Nobby up on the coffee, he has quite a brain to pick!