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.)

Hips Don’t Lie

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Are we still allowed to say Happy New Year three weeks in to one? Well, I don’t care, so…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I used to be very self conscious about the perceived time limit on giving cheerful New Year greetings, thinking that people would think me a bit daft, wishing happiness for a New Year that was already four days old, I mean my GOD it’s like basically February four days in. Then I realized that it has always taken me at least three weeks, if not all of January to feel fully in the embrace of the new calendar. It is also not denial because without endings, how do we get a beginning filled with all that hopey-changey stuff that feels so exciting and energizing? It is more that I, without a doubt, physically and mentally REQUIRE several weeks to transition from the chaos of December into the mellows of January, and I am thrilled that I know this about myself. Also a gifted astrologer told me as much.

For the past three weeks, after I had two weeks off in which I was able to relax and think thoughts that lasted for more than .087 seconds before being interrupted by another unrelated one, I have been slightly lazy and slightly methodical and slightly daydreamy and mostly just very, very, VERY gentle with myself. My preferred pace leans toward  going very, very, VERY hard, almost past the point of exhaustion, because I always want to do everything always. Now I know there is this thing called balance.

According to the gifted astrologer, this part of my personality will not change. This is the way I am made and how I am productive and content. HOWEVER, I can learn how to slow things down prior to burnout, or in the case of January, ramp up slowly. As with most things in my life, there is a connection to running. Want to get stronger? Slowly add miles and strength training. Plateauing? Get some rest. It’s all so obvious.

Except, when it’s not.

I have not been running regularly since April 2013. Almost a WHOLE YEAR. I have been trying to recover from runner’s knee in both knees, but it has not been going well. (It also seemed far too tedious to write about so I have not, which in hindsight was probably not smart.) There are several very boring but also valid tertiary reasons why this is so, but a primary reason has now surfaced: bone spurs have been found in my right hip socket. Sad trombone.

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Or… is it a happy bell?!

The good news is that now I know why I cannot move my right leg around in the hip joint, why I can’t sit cross-legged anymore, and why my lower back and knees have been in nagging, run-stopping, nonstop pain for almost a whole year. I went too hard for too long without any balance, so just as expected, my body crashed. Oddly, having this information gives me relief and relief is not far from happy.

So now what? Now that I have eased into January, is it time to crank it up to 11 and make 2014 the Year of Successful Hip Surgery and a 2:00 Half Marathon in the Fall??

Probably not at 11. But a 7 I think I can do. First surgeon appointment is this Thursday.

Stay tuned and for the love of bacon, don’t skip stretching!!