Behold the Frankenstein-esque strip of stitches on the back of my leg. Self portrait.

Happy Halloween!

For eight straight days now, I’ve been forced to skip swim practice. I’m not allowed to run or bike, and the doctor tells me even brisk walking is out of the question.

A few weeks ago, a biopsy showed “abnormal cells” in a suspicious spot on the back of my calf. Last week, my dermatologist excised the patch, and left a Frankenstein slice held together with seven exterior stitches and a host of subcutaneous ones.

My prescription? No strain on that leg for 10 to 12 days.

I’m lucky the doctors found the spot. I’m from the generation that slathered up with baby oil and spent hours baking in the sun every summer. To make it worse, a few years had passed since my last skin scan. I’m grateful things aren’t worse.


I’m intolerable. Fire is raging in my belly, fitness is draining from my soul. I’m twitchy, ornery, impatient and incredulous that anyone can live an existence that’s primarily sedentary. And in the back of my mind, a tiny voice is peeping out thoughts like “This is how it starts, you’ll never exercise again,” and “Your days of fitness are numbered, Chica.”

I’m used to waking up at 6 a.m. five days a week to make swim practice. I bike and run regularly, too, and spice things up by crawling through caves, water skiing, hiking and more. But suddenly it’s gotten easy to sleep in. What if I can’t get back to my routine?

This morning, I nearly cried when I found out Halloween swim practice involved swimming laps while clutching tiny pumpkins. (I missed that? No!) I missed an early morning run in the briskness of the first cold front of the season. I don’t do well sitting at my computer with my stitched-up leg elevated next to me.

All this might not sound bad to you, but ask my husband and he’ll tell you: It’s been hell.

It’s sucked for me, too.

But sunshine looms ahead. I’m hitting the road for five days starting tomorrow, and I get to remove my own sutures on Saturday. That’ll be cool – I’ve never cut my own stitches out, so yay adventure – and when those are gone, I’m legal to climb back in the saddle.

Which is good, because the weekend agenda includes, among other things, horseback riding in southern Utah.




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I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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