Diagnostics

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If you have never had an X-ray taken of any of your bones, please go out and injure yourself immediately because no human should be denied the ego trip of seeing their own skeleton. I mean, I guess you could go get a bit high and imagine your own skeleton by staring very long at your hand, but SEEING it on a giant screen is just such a better buzz.

Especially since the reason you find yourself splayed out on an X-ray machine or breathing tiny, imperceptible breaths in the confines of an MRI tube is because you are in pain, over many months time, and no amount of rest or physical therapy is helping. Those moments of gazing at the shadows of your own insides can be as good as a dose of anti-inflammatories. It’s not only hard evidence of injury, which then leads to a plan of action to heal it, but SEEING your own bones… it makes you feel so actualized and alive. I need these affirmations since my fitness is so deteriorated, I cannot climb my stairs without gasping for breath or finding another sore muscle in my low back that needs to be soothed.

Today, after my X-ray ego-trip subsided, I got down to business to talk diagnosis for my right hip with the orthopedic surgeon. (Right hip has had a rapidly decreasing range of movement in last six months and increasing amount of pain.) Today was Doctor Number Two and his diagnosis and recommendations for treatment could not have been more different than Doctor Number One, which is both confusing and clarifying.

Doctor One (my knee guy): likely bone spurs, no surgery is needed, PT and A.R.T. prescription. Get MRI for both knees since knee pain still persists.

Doctor Two (hip specialist guy): likely not bone spurs but instead hip impingement called Femoral Acetabular Impingement or FAI; specialized MRI with dye, numbing agent, and cortisone. Ultimately it will have to be hip surgery to smooth out hip socket and remove any labrum tears. (Link to FAI page for all you aspiring Internet doctors.) Knee pain will likely improve once hip is structurally sound and strengthened properly. 6-8 months post-surgery to get to 80%, 12 months to get to 95%. This is VERY common in women athletes (from recreational to competitive) in their 40’s.

I have not totally processed how I feel about all of this information, so I am going to take my time to do that. I want to be methodical and clinical, but also make sure I have my emotions in check about making all of these decisions about more diagnostics and surgery. There is a financial component which is cumbersome and scary for me, but I don’t see how I can let that be a barrier to getting well and healthy. I am single and have to do a lot of this all alone. I could very easily slide into a pity party getting overwhelmed by the whole daunting process, including the dark daydreams of how bad it will be going up and down the 52 steps with no lung capacity and on crutches and trying to carry groceries and dog food and the mail. But, I know I can’t do that.

I am too enamored of these bones inside me, that are very, very real, and strong, and deserve to be healed. (I’d know that was the truth even if I were high.)

Overdone With No Run

It has been close to two weeks since the North Face Endurance Challenge half, and I have not run or written.  Boo.  And today, as a result, my attitude totally fucking sucks.  Yeah, no bleep on that one, that’s how pissy I am.

Besides the luxury problems that having so many to see, so much to eat and drink, and just so much to do create (namely some scheduling glitches and a lack of sleep), I have a real problem: I injured the hell out of my foot during the race.  Remember all those tossed off comments about not being really totally 100% prepared for this event?  Yeah, that was not fake modesty, I was undertrained.  However, like most amateur athletes, we run at race pace ANYway, and then wake up the next day unable to put weight on our left foot.  Ouch.  I have been limping since December 6th.

Since I am a generally healthy person, getting hurt or being sore or sick throws me out of whack in a way that I think others don’t experience.  I turn into a sensitive, distracted, pitiful mess.  The whining inside my head sounds like a daycare filled with fussy toddlers right before nap time.  I too am  mere milliseconds away from total tantrum meltdown, only it would be socially unacceptable for a grown woman to react this way to an actually quite manageable malady.  That I did to myself.  <Ahem>.

This brings me right back to the beginning of the problem that if I cannot run (due to self inflicted injury), then I write less, then I get all jammed up and systems start to shut down, and here I find myself falling off the cliff of oversleeping my alarms (yes, plural), forgetting to make or return calls/emails/txts/IMs, obsessing over shit I can’t control, not drinking enough water, eating way too much sugar, losing my ability to creatively solve problems (and my problems need energetic genius!), not to mention a diminished fashion sense which is also a self-fulfilling and downward spiral to Hagsville, and down and down I fall until I splat into a puff of smoke at the bottom of the canyon.  Here’s where I hold up the sign that says, “Okay, I get it.”

First, I need sleep.  Then, even though it is unaccounted for in my budget, I need to make another appointment with the A.R.T. therapist, because it is magic and I know, will indeed help my foot heal.  Then, more sleep, and then a really good conversation with my attorney (which is unrelated to the injury, ha).

And eventually, a run.  I am even willing to let it be a hike.  That would make me feel best of all.