In summer 2020, I read “No One Ever Asked” by Katie Ganshert.
I highlighted this quote in the book: “I guess the question you need to ask yourself is, What do you really love? Running or winning? If it’s running, then you’re not really going to lose …”
Since March 2018, I’ve really faced missing out – on training, on running, and on races and events. I had to cancel all of my events in February 2020 due to my hip condition – even before that became a reality for everyone else with the pandemic. Everyone has been faced with missing races and fitness events as we once knew them since the pandemic a year ago. Sure, there are virtual races everywhere but any athlete will tell you that it isn’t the same feeling.
But when you’re also faced with being on the sidelines completely, the first thing you miss is not the races – it’s the running. It’s the training. While I am a positive person, I cannot deny how often I feel down when I can’t just get out for a run, ruck, or ruck. Or when I can’t just crush a kettlebell workout. As well, not being able to be a part of doing any training with my team has been very isolating.
Every athlete has had to face this pandemic reevaluating and replanning training and races. But my hip surgery has left me with even less, and some days that crushes you. Everyone is feeling the effects of the losses but some have lost even more. I am worse off than some, but I am better of than many too.
As a teacher, I truly love being in the classrooms. Teaching Core French isn’t just what I do but a part of who I am. I miss every moment I’m missing teaching. But I do have to take care of myself first – and that’s hard to do. I am better at taking care of others!
I can focus on all that I’ve lost this past year and that I’m losing right now in teaching, running and training. But if I focus on what I really love – while I can’t do it now, there’s a lot of hope that I’ll be able to in the future. I may be sidelined but what I truly love – running, rucking, walking, kettlebells – will always be there. I still don’t know what I’ll all be able to return to but I do know that I will be returning to my active lifestyle. It may mean long walks but no running. It may mean no swinging kettlebells but I will be able do other kettlebell work. Right now, I’ve been told nothing I was doing before this fitness wise is off the table yet.
So, if focus on my love of teaching, running, and other training and embody the reasons of why I love those into what I’m doing now in my recovery and whatever I’m able (or even not able) to do in the future, I am not “really going to lose anything.”
Amid this coronavirus crisis, it’s been an odd experience as someone already secluded from society due to an injury due to a newly diagnosed hip condition – femoral retroversion. The past 2 months I’ve focused on navigating how I can live my now with the pain until my diagnosis – waiting for tests and surgeon appointments. Now with a diagnosis, I am focusing on the tools being given to me from physiotherapy to reduce the pain I’ve been in. It’s going to take time and patience. I’ve been overwhelmed by the uncertain future of decisions we will make because of it as we await to meet with a new specialist surgeon for this condition. So amidst all of this, it has been hard to balance the emotions of my own world and the world around me.
As someone who has already cancelled most of her 2020 race season, the emotions I’ve felt as I’ve heard cancellation after cancellation along with the reactions to the cancellations has been something I couldn’t quite register the last few days. But today, I finally understand the emotions I’ve been feeling and hope these can help you realign and make this a positive experience. While I feel terrible for people who have had races, even multiple races, cancelled and my heart breaks with them as I know the effort and time we put into our training, at the same time, I’ve seen posts where some have said “everything I’ve trained for was for nothing”. I’ve also seen posts from the team I train with who are still putting in their all to train for the upcoming Montana Spartan races, even with fears it may be cancelled. My team is a great example of how to see training is for tomorrow and for life – not for just a race. Even if that tomorrow has changed.
If you’ve felt like you’re training only for sake of races, step back a moment. Reevaluate. Training is a life achievement – and what you are doing is not just valued by the events you choose to challenge yourself with. Challenging yourself each and every day to be the best you can is a value all on its own. You have a new opportunity to prove that again. Regardless whether the race you’ve planned for is cancelled or likely to be cancelled. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. You don’t know when the day will come when you can’t do any of it at all.
My races were cancelled before this virus thing all began. I was disappointed- still am but I am still focusing on the priority that training is for me – it’s a lifestyle change. It’s what gives me motivation. I can’t run or do any kettlebell training right now, barely can walk, and I just found out I can’t even do the short stationary bike rides I was doing – at least for the immediate future. And I used to hate the pool and now find myself in a position where that’s the only exercise I can do with limited pain. So I’ve embraced it and even fallen a little bit in love with it. I went from forgetting how to be able to front crawl even 5 metres and now I can do 80 metres of front crawl laps before switching to a breast stroke or back crawl for a break. While I am terrified that pools may eventually close, I’m taking it day by day. I can’t control the future or what happens – I’ve sure learned that these past 2 years. But I can control how I deal with it.
So yes. Be disappointed but don’t let that interfere with what you’re doing to change your life as it is still so worth it. Find something else to embrace the disappointment with and put your energy into the positive. Be the best you can be. This is temporary and while for some of us, it feels like it’s just starting, I know it’ll end. As someone who has experienced setback to setback for the last 2 years and still isn’t fully through it all, all I have is hope that there is still more to come.
I am awe of anyone who trains regardless if they race or not this year. All of you that keep moving forward regardless of current situations are inspiring those who are struggling whether due to lack of motivation, an injury, an illness, or physical disability. Whether it is because of the coronavirus or due to an injury like me, we can be brave in a time of fear, we can realign priorities for what is truly important today, and we can not give up just because we can’t do something. Races will be back eventually but you can’t get back the days you wasted throwing in the towel and only moaning about what you can’t control. Do something with this. Continue to be brave. Continue to be amazing.
We don’t always get a say or choice in the factors that determine our journeys, but we do get to decide how to move forward, not move at all or move backwards, in the journey forced upon us.
My pre surgery symptoms have returned. While I am managing it way better than the first time, I am in almost constant pain just at different varying levels. Some nights I can’t sleep again, some days worse than others. Sitting and standing long periods are more challenging than the 20k ruck i did over Christmas break.
However, whether I’m more mentally strong this time or luckily the pain is less severe more often, I am trying to resort to only necessary measures for pain relief. So right now just OTC extra strength Advil recommended for the almost constant inflammation. The effects of the narcotic pain meds last time were almost worse than pain itself. There may be a time that medical team may not agree, and I’ll listen to all parties involved before making my own decisions as I am now, but right now at this moment fortunately they are working with me on this and supporting my decision.
I saw my surgeon yesterday and he believes there is a high chance I have a hip labral tear again – what extent is unknown. Is this definite diagnosis? Not at all. But he said the symptoms and physical exam indicate it is highly likely.
Ok, what’s up Doc? As in what’s next. The short answer. Waiting. And more waiting. And tests.
Test 1: I’ll need another MRI to confirm if it is a hip labral tear again or maybe even perhaps something else. Right now, it looks to be about 3-6 months wait. In Saskatchewan, MRI are covered by public health care. However, the recent provincial government has a new program of a few years where you can pay to get it privately done. The catch? To take advantage of the faster privately paid one, the program in place has the cost higher than paying what a private one typically costs. You’re actually paying for you, and paying for a public one as well. A special government deal to address the backlog of private MRI. While you get the advantage of being guaranteed to have MRI done within 2 weeks instead and therefore jumping the queue and getting results and any possible surgeries sooner – it comes at a financial cost. I think we may be leaning towards private but we haven’t decided 100%. We are waiting to hear about the actual price from the private company before making final decisions. Hopefully we hear early next week or even by end of next week.
Test 2: CT Scan. Surgeon believes there may be more going on the hip that originally thought. So to determine any femur or rotational issues this test will rule anything else out. This will also help him to know if something more needs to be fixed – especially if MRI does confirm a hip labral tear, the CT scan may point towards a body make up reason for it that can be addressed.
My life: Running and rucking are out obviously. Kettlebell club is on hold too. Even simple tasks as doing dishes and getting ready for the day are challenging and slow- within 10 minutes my leg is flaming and groin is stabbing. And as much as I’ve always been the “get it done now person”, I’m once again learning that sometimes you have to stop. Resume when able.
Regardless of results, my race season is likely done. I already am working on cancelling Spartan Montana Trail Race in May. Even if tests are sooner than expected and/or diagnosis is not as serious with a much easier quicker fix – my body won’t be ready for it with less than 3 months to go. There’s next year or the year after. I don’t have the body or time to train for it this year and at this moment so there’s no point sulking and trying to find a way around it – just move on and try it again when ready for it. My big September race will still depend on results and timeline. If it is a tear, it is 100% not happening but right now I have the time to hold off on that decision. One decision at a time and accepting the necessity to back out of Montana was heartbreaking enough today.
My medical team, my coach, and I are going to focus on making sure I go into this surgery stronger than last time as it will help reduce the length of my recovery. I am off work for now – I cannot stand or sit longer than 10 minutes without pain and mobility issues. My focus needs to be on using rest and minimizing pain, while doing physio approved activities so my body does not lose all the muscle and strength and conditioning it had last time. Physio has outlined a plan of swimming, short walks, stationary biking with seat high up, upper and core strength. I must avoid 1 legged activities and any hip bending beyond 90 degrees. I will see my physiotherapist every 2 weeks for now. My coach is going to help use physio/surgeon approved activities for a daily plan. I will focus on my nutrition plan with him so I can maintain or even lose weight – my hip issues will be better for any weight maintaining/weight loss I can achieve especially if I’m facing a surgery again.
I am forever grateful for a coach willing to work with athletes of any kind, all with extremely different goals, and as well at any step of their journey, even injured ones. I am also grateful for a physiotherapist and surgeon who have worked hard and put in countless hours in my recovery and continue to fight for me and with me. This is not the outcome anyone wanted and we all honestly thought I had surpassed what the surgeon originally thought I would be able to do after surgery.
So for now, I focus day to day. Hour to hour. I may or may not be able to do something one day that I can another day. Even what I’m capable of doing may be change or be reduced if pain increases. And I have to listen to my body and know when to stop. Rest and not push myself back into severe pain that excessively reduces my mobility, like a week ago, is the priority right now. But I want to use any available tools approved to get myself back to my life 110% hopefully more timely this time.
The last time my recovery was not just focused on rebuilding my repaired hip and weakened left side due to the hip injury but I had to rebuild my whole body as the pain was serious enough to give up on everything and was on complete bed rest. Was it right or wrong to do that – I won’t question the decisions of the past as it was what was directed by medical care but it sure had its negatives too. But in this moment, I only have now and how I deal with this journey in the present.
So, yesterday I began step 1 with my surgeon appointment. Today I’ve been working on step 2. It may be some time before I can move from step 2 depending on wait time for tests and results of those tests but I haven’t quit. And I’ve still taking the first step to begin. I’m not quitting. I’m not throwing in the towel. Turning the page or closing the book? I’m not ready to close the book on my journey so I’ll turn the page and while not the words I expected to be written for me this year but I will be writing what are MY WORDS. I want my journey and my book to be written by me – not for me. Some of the future pages may not be where I want to go in my story and may still encounter more setbacks but I’m promising 2 things – it’ll be me holding the pen and it’s going be one heck of a comeback story.
Not a great sleep – kept waking up. I woke up at 6am with nausea again so I had some apple juice and took my medications and gravol, along with first ice of the day way earlier than I normally start with ice. I put on my audiobook and feel asleep until 9am. I woke up feeling a bit better and got breakfast and came back into bed. The bed seems to be the only really comfortable spot for my hip right now. I still had a foggy fatigue and I fell asleep again until noon.
I spent the afternoon watching Netflix. I also had groin and hip pain pretty bad for first time since surgery. Not sure if I overdid moving the day before or if I accidentally bent too far somehow. It scared me as I hate feeling pain – thinking surgery failed. I just kept telling myself to not stress and take it super easy all day. I even took a day off my physio with the extreme pain I had with any movement.
My new stationary exercise bike was delivered around 5pm – so excited for it. Brad will set it up sometime this weekend. I already asked my physiotherapist about duration and I was thinking maybe 2 short sessions of ten minutes. She told me one session of 5 minutes. I was a bit shocked but I’m going to listen. She emphasized that I still rest – like she knows how much I want to get moving again. I also ordered some resistance bands.
Local football game was on and Brad forgot to take out the freezer meals we needed so we ordered shakes and burgers from a shake shack. Skip the dishes app is amazing – so many restaurants use it now. My team won too!
I didn’t nap yesterday after sleeping most of the morning. I felt close to wanting to but managed to stay awake and I actually felt tired around midnight. I threw on an audiobook as I was still hurting but it helped me drift off to sleep.
Post Op Day 10: Friday, July 6
I actually woke up at 9:30am this morning with no nausea and even some of my old morning energy I used to have. So I made my healthy freezer meal breakfast of eggs and veggies. I watched Netflix and did my first rounds of ice for my hip. I had a nice shower around lunch time – all Brad has to do for me now is put on the suction handle onto the shower wall. I am able to get myself in and out – I use a crutch for balance. I’ve learned to make sure crutch does not go on bath mat outside of tub or it slips. I get right leg in first and then, thanks to a tip from Brad, I lift my left leg at the knee behind me and holding the suction handle on shower wall with right hand and my crutch outside of tub with left hand, I can get my left leg over the tub wall with minimum pain. Once in I can reach the handheld shower head without reaching and the taps without bending. Just barely – if either were even half an inch further, I’d need more help with showering. I’m so thankful for the shower chair. Standing for a long period of time with only putting weight on one side of body is very hard on your good side of the body. Getting out is harder. I grab crutch I leave outside of tub but near shower. I hold onto the suction shower handle – lift left leg back at the knee, but it’s harder because I have to bring left leg out first. It’s hard to not put weight on the leg while getting right leg out. I try to make sure weight is mostly on crutch but still not easy. But it works.
After showering, I had lunch and was watching Netflix. All of sudden I was hit with fatigue, nausea and a headache. It got really bad – I took a gravol for nausea but didn’t want to take anything for headache with already on aspirin to avoid post op blood clots and pain meds. I drifted off to sleep until Brad woke me up at 4:30.
The teacher that took over my French teacher position at my school wanted to cook a meal for us as a thank you. She said it was to thank me for helping her but it was really her that was amazing!
Now in pyjamas and watching Netflix. Im really hoping to get some thesis reading in soon, and maybe even begin to do more Core French unit planning but I’m trying to be patient with myself.
The pain today is immensely better than yesterday. I can’t seem to have a day without either pain, nausea or fatigue but I know my body has been through a rough ordeal and the medications I’m on now aren’t helping. Soon I’ll be back to working, thesis and workouts so trying to tell myself to enjoy this little lounge vacation. My body feels better when I listen to it so I’m going to keep following its cues.
We hit a heat wave today – humidity makes it feel like 40 degrees Celsius. I may try to go outside tomorrow for a few moments.
Happy Fourth of July to all my American followers! Just a regular day here in Canada.
I woke up today – with no nausea! First day since surgery. It felt like a 60 lb sandbag was lifted off of my shoulders – sorry Spartan reference for you. I so wish I could carry a sandbag right now.
I had to get up and shower by 10:30 today as our landlord was coming to do some yearly odd jobs and check of house. We rent our home. Her husband patched the roof and we’ll be most likely getting a company out to do a professional job. Living on the west edge of town has its downfalls – Saskatchewan is so windy and wind always seems to come from the west and it has taken its toll on the roof for sure. They also fixed the deck for us – it had becoming warped as it was built properly before. We may also get new windows done this year. Our landlord is beyond amazing and we love renting from her. I didn’t have to do anything but just wanted to be showered in case they were in and out of the house but they barely bothered us at all.
I had my first protein smoothie since June 18. They told me to stop drinking them along with other supplements before surgery. After surgery, the nausea was so bad, I couldn’t stomach the thought of one so didn’t bother to try.
Landlord and husband were here most of day and I mostly just watched Netflix. Considered doing some thesis work but I’ve been so miserable with the nausea that I decided to just give myself another day or two to just chill.
Did my physio today and was better again. Hip had some sharp pain in evening – think just from movement and maybe bended a wee bit too much by accident grabbing grapes from fridge. Even was hard to get comfy in bed tonight.
Was a dull, non exciting but good day overall. Landlord was here too long so we didn’t get Ginny to vet as they closed before landlord left. Brad will do it tomorrow – she seemed better today but I know ear infections don’t just go away. We don’t like her to hurt so maybe it’s just ear wax but they can’t tell us if something is wrong so we’re just going to be sure instead of sorry.
I sent a message to my physiotherapist and told her about the upright bike we bought and she is okay with me trying it like post op notes said I could on day 7-10. She said only 5 minutes though – I’ll take it. It’s supposed to come tomorrow and hopefully Brad has time to put it together. Excited to do anything active even if short and not my favourite.
This quote below is so true … but even my physiotherapist warned me to be slow today. I think she senses my excitement over the small improvements but doesn’t want me to overdo it. But I am being very smart about this injury – it was too long and too hard to just rush back and hurt myself. I’m probably going to struggle more with being over cautious than being impatient. As much as I’m excited to try the upright bike, I’m scared too. But I just have to find the balance of overcoming fears in a safe slow way in my recovery and rehab.
I didn’t have a great sleep last night. Kept waking up and it was hard to fall asleep. Brad decided to work from home – I felt relieved as I’m still a bit unsteady, and consistently struggling with nausea and fatigue still.
I listened to an audiobook to fall asleep at 4:30am. Woke up at 6am having to pee, couldn’t sleep again so listened to audiobook, dozed off around 6:40. Woke up at 8:30 so got up for ice and breakfast. Fell asleep around 9:30 and woke up again at 11am. Nausea was intense today – some have said you can be affected by the general anesthesia for 2 weeks so maybe that or maybe the medications – or maybe both. I just watched Netflix and tried to sip a tea and get control of nausea.
Our landlord called and said she wanted to swing by – we knew she was coming by tomorrow but today was unexpected. They wanted to check the roof – we knew we had lost shingles. Brad dealt with that and they stuck to outside stuff today and she’ll be back to for inside check tomorrow. Insurance companies want landlords to check their properties once a year.
I tried some hamburger soup but couldn’t stomach much of it. I then watched Netflix while dozing in and out – not really sleeping but not able to keep eyes open. You know that feeling?
I decided to get a shower and besides Brad having to put on the suction handle, I was able to do everything myself today. Just slowly and carefully. My steri strips were mostly off and I pulled the last hanging one off. A couple welt looking marks that hurt. I’m really bruised and the incisions are there but look good.
I did physical therapy exercises and then spent more time with Netflix and dozing. I’m really sore and stiff today. It hurts to move at hip. A deep bone and joint ache today.
We had leftovers from our power outage Boston Pizza supper. Super light – just 2 pizzas of Italian pizza – and I managed it but nausea still had its grip on me. After supper, I offered to help with dishes as I was restless. Just asked Brad to bring my stool to kitchen and I would wash as I wouldn’t have to move. It wasn’t as easy as I thought but it worked. It’s just hard to have weight all on right side – right side gets sore doing all the work. But I did it!
Brad is going to take Ginny to the vet tomorrow. There’s been an odd smell in bedroom that we can’t pin it but last night I realized she was really scratching her ear. We’ve noticed the last week her head is a bit tilted when she gets up from sleeping sometimes. We thought it was from sleeping but I’ve heard this can happen to dogs with ear infections. I looked at her ears last night when she was cuddling me, and positive one smelled bad and it was filled with brown gunk/ear wax/dirt. I cleaned it best I can but positive that’s the smell. We had almost thought it was my leg and my incisions but they’ve been clean, even with a bit of discharge it wasn’t infected. This morning we looked again and ear looks greasy and some brown wax/gunk again so we are going to play it safe and take her in tomorrow. If not ear infection at least we checked. She has seemed a bit off too so this may be why.
Nausea finally passing, I put on pjs, did physical therapy exercises again, and put on the ice wrap again and did a couple popsicles that completely helped the nausea finally. My physical therapy was hard today. I feel the most stiffness I’ve felt so far today. And like I said a real deep ache. But I did it as I know it’ll help.
I didn’t have a solid nap today, just dozing, so I hope I’ll sleep by midnight. I felt guilty not doing anything today. I feel like I should read for thesis or do some unit planning. I just can’t mentally do more than Netflix. I’m trying to be patient with myself and give myself time.
It’s a whole week now since surgery – I can’t believe a whole week is behind us. I’m hoping by next week the stiffness improves. But I’ve been told to expect slow progress and that some days I’ll have a step back and then sometimes a huge surge forward, another step or two back, etc.
Just reminding myself constantly that even with it being a rough day, I’m still here and I haven’t quit or given up. The hospital physical therapist said there are some who become bedridden after surgeries as they are too afraid to put the work in or it hurts to much. The worst thing I can do right now is not do my exercises – so it may not seem like a lot but it’s the necessary step I need right now. Probably one of most important ones. If I can at least do my physio, then I’ve moved my big rock for the day.
We can call today “the day of sleep”. I could not stop sleeping! I crashed around 1am after finishing up Netflix’s Marcella (I sure hope they have new episodes soon!).
Brad woke me up in the morning with a gentle shake saying “Hey hun. It’s 10:30, I let Ginny out but you should get up and get some ice and pain meds before it begins to hurt.” He’s been so gentle and kind about this – I’m doing so well with longer time between meds and I’ve reduced my pain meds but if I go too long, it is harder to get control back on pain. So I got up and went to bathroom, and made my way to the freezer – glanced at the stove clock for whatever reason and see 8:33am. “Hey babe” I call to the bedroom – “the stove says 8:30! Did the power go out?” Make way back to bedroom with a muffin and ice and he has no idea why he thought it was 10:30 but we just gained 2 hours in our day – bonus! Haha. I crawl back into bed, catch up on some social media, and fall asleep again.
I wake up around 11:30 with stomach grumbling but I’m just feeling so lethargic. I force myself up for ice and lunch but I simply grab a muffin and a brownie. I’m so ashamed of this but I had nothing in me today for energy. I couldn’t even bring myself to warm up lunch or eggs. I crawl back into bed with ice wrap on, and grab my kindle hoping to settle in for some reading. Next thing I know I wake up and it’s 3:30pm.
This time I have more energy – so with Brad’s help again, we get me in the shower and today is special because it’s the first day I can go without Saran Wrap over the incisions! Finally! This shower feels amazing – I even managed to get off most (maybe even all) of the medical tape residue still left from the massive bandage I took off Thursday. I hadn’t been able to as it was too sore to try and scrub and also, I had to cover the area with Saran Wrap so I couldn’t get it off. I had residue all over my left ass cheek and all over my thigh. I swear medical grade medical tape is like super glue. It was so tender scrubbing but I wanted it off so bad. My leg was a bit smelly (not infected at all just unwashed with some discharge – can’t help the smell). The smell has gone away now with the shower today.
I had my longest shower yet, but I finally got out (with help again) and got myself dressed using my reacher/grabber. I said – heck, it’s 4:30 so screw it – back into clean pjs and a robe. My in laws had texted earlier and they really wanted to stop by today. So we had agreed after supper. Brad had ice and a jug of water ready for me. I was still nauseous and dry throat. Crawled back into bed while Brad showered and went to hang in living room. He was going to heat me up some hamburger soup in a bit. He had slept and read on and off all morning too – he was exhausted as well. I think he hasn’t slept all through night just checking on me. I know it’s mentally and physically exhausting being the caregiver too.
Suddenly the wind blew like crazy and I told Brad, he looked outside and real black clouds were coming in. He moved some furniture and candles outside to safer spots. Power went out and stayed out for a long time so we ordered pizza and salad from Boston Pizza. It finally came back on after about 1.5-2 hours – I was worried about my ice packs this whole time.
I did my physical therapy exercises in the darkening room. It’s getting easier to do and I actually can feel my hip muscles and core strengthening finally. Before surgery, the exercises barely helped as the injury just seemed to ruin anything I or physiotherapist did in just moments. It’s nice to feel progression instead of regression.
The power actually came on just as my in laws walked in – my mom in law came in and wanted to see how I made out with cleaning my leg. She is a breast cancer survivor and her own surgical knowledge for post op has been handy. Knowing tips here and there and just want signs to watch out for. She said my face looked so great today and colour was back in it. I noticed my left leg finally didn’t look as purple as it had been since around April. It’s really bruised around the area of surgery but they did take me hip out of joint so not a shock.
After we chatted a bit, my mother in law handed me an envelope and she looked like she was holding back doing a cheer. I opened the card and saw it was an amazon gift card.
I had been pondering purchasing an upright exercise bike. Originally I had thought I’d just sign up for a YMCA pass but I was starting to stress about it. One, I can’t drive yet – it would be a royal pain to beg friends and family for a ride every day to get to a bike. More likely, I’d end up only going a few times a week due to the inconvenience. It’s so much work getting ready that going to a gym is going to tire me out. To do it every day and figure out transportation – it would frustrating and exhausting. Second, it’s better to do short sessions on the bike 2-3 times a day. I’m not going to go to gym 2-3 times a day and to go once for just one 20 minute session would be discouraging. Third, $55 a month for a pass for Y, it would add up to be over $600. Lastly, this hip injury will improve. I’m positive of that. However, it remains to be seen how much it will improve and how much I’ll be affected by the arthritis I’m already developing. Whether I get full pain free function back or not, I want to make sure I focus on adding low impact cardio to my regular exercise when I get the green light to resume regular exercise training. I want to reduce my high impact running to only 1-2 short runs a week with one long aerobic run. Though the long run may have to be reduced to under certain kilometres. I want to find an exercise plan that strengthens me, not injures me or runs my hip into needing a replacement before 40. I’m still not sure what my future exercise will look like but I know that I’ll figure that out with my surgeon, my coach, and me.
Back to the bike story… I found an awesome almost 5 star reviewed upright bike that is foldable for easy storage for $150 on sale on amazon. Usually $260! Brad told me to wait – I know money is hard with me on disability but as a teacher I don’t even get disability for summer months. I always work a summer job but I can’t this summer. If you know me, once I want something, I hate waiting. But I knew this was a big decision but I strongly believed my reasons and logic were strong here. $150 for a bike I can use 2-3 times a day and not need a ride to the gym, or $600 for a YMCA pass that I’d probably go use 2-3 times a week but for only 20 minutes and be stuck on relying on friends and family to take me at times convenient for them.
So gift card in hand… I ordered an upright bike from amazon that will be here Thursday. So excited to do any kind of exercise again!
I was feeling a bit down today with all this sleeping I had done and my lack of energy that this has re-energized me mentally. Physically I’m still exhausted! My snack bag quotes today were dead on for my day:
Not sure if I’ll be up late or not. It’s already 11:12pm. I’m starting another Netflix series called “Staircase”. Wondering if my all day sleep will keep me up or not.
Brad has decided to work from home this week. He wasn’t sure if he’d go back or stay but I honestly don’t feel well enough to be alone all day. I could probably do fine for a couple hours but all day scares me as I sometimes hit a rough patch here and there. If I drop a crutch, I’m screwed too! Not being able to bend and not having hands has really reduced so many things I do need to do in a day. He can’t stay home the whole 4 weeks but at least by week 3, I’ll be a bit more at ease with movement on crutches. I cannot wait for 4 weeks to be up!
Happy Canada Day! It didn’t really feel like a holiday to me at all. Looked like lots of fun activities but no way I can easily manage crowds without really putting a lot of stress on my hip. Even crutches take a lot of effort.
My afternoon nap yesterday made for a sleepless night and I was up until 4am watching Marcella on Netflix – an interesting Netflix original series. I’m already almost finished it. I fell into a deep sleep even if late, and woke up at 9am. A deep ache in my hip overpowered my urge to go back to sleep. I got up for ice and breakfast, and let Ginny out. As I was getting ice, I realized I really needed to pee. Ever try to crutch quickly to the bathroom break? Yeah, we’ll crutching jostles you enough to want to pee even more! I barely made it. I crawled back into bed – getting out of bed has gotten a bit easier but getting back into bed is still painful. Short body and a oversized mattress equals a challenge.
I fell back asleep, and didn’t wake up until noon when Brad woke up. Decided to just shower and relax rest of day. With Brad’s help I got in and out of shower again. Damn the shower tub wall as there is just no easy way to get my left leg over it. Dressed and ready, I managed to make myself my own lunch today, and equipped with fresh ice, made my way back to bed.
My right shoulder is extremely sore today from crutching. And one of my four steri strips came off today. I’m bruising a lot across my abdomen and now with one steri strip off, my poor thigh area is definitely beaten up.
I still mostly just feel most of the ache deep in my hip joint – from the traction they have to do for this surgery and bringing hip out of joint. Surgeon told me hip replacements are actually less painful.
Today I managed to do my physio exercises and hope to do another set before bed.
It still is slow and sore but I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can. I’m very worried about my future – I was right that surgeon said surgery went well but I guess I missed the part where he told me I was already developing arthritis in my hip. I’m 33 years old – this terrifies me. Brad told me Thursday when we sharing each other’s stories of Surgery Day. I’m guessing being overweight for so long and then exercising overweight at the beginning of this lifestyle change has been hard on my body.
This news has made me seriously think the last two days. I love my Spartan races but though I’m not old, I’m no spring chicken. I don’t want to spend my newly found athletic lifestyle jumping injury to injury. This experience has taught me so much and I’d never change it. But I also don’t want to force things on my body that will mean more pain and surgeries down the road. I want to find the balance of being athletic but also reducing my risk of having another hip labral tear and even possibly hip replacement if the arthritis worsens. If I can make any changes in my sports and training that will mean less injuries- I’m open to that. This hurt too much to throw it all away just because I’ve fallen in love with something. I started all of this to become healthy – not to race. For me, being able to run, even if I do it less and shorter distances, and my Conviction Fitness training is all I need. Half marathons and Spartan races were the extras.
My follow up appointment is July 20 and I’ll get more answers then. I’m not going to overthink right now but just prepare myself for making smart choices. I’m going to focus on taking this injury and surgery recovery and rehab slow and steady. I’m keeping track of all my rehab this next year or two in a 2 year calendar. Just marking down what I do. I’ll even track my exercise when I am allowed to do that. I know this will be helpful for the first year after this surgery – you never know what information can help me, my coach, my physiotherapist, or my surgeon. I love the message on the cover.
My journal is with it. My coach created these athlete journals. This is my second one. Writing about this experience has been therapeutic and I know I’ll read about this journey again in my future. You can buy a copy of this journal here:
I also made my weekly to do’s in my weekly planner. Something I’ve done since this injury began – makes me feel like I have things to do and to not let days pass by without me trying to make the day worthwhile. Each day should count for something – even if one thing.
Besides that, listening to the pop pop of fireworks going off – just some neighbourhood ones. Ginny isn’t enjoying these odd sounds but is doing okay.
Nausea hit again today. Not sure if it’s some of the deep joint pain, the medications, or still some side effects from the general anesthesia. Either way, I ended up having soup and naan bread for supper instead of tilapia fish freezer meal. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for your body – something I struggle with. I like to follow my “plan”. I’ve been flexible since my surgery in allowing some detours of my meal plan but I can’t deny it doesn’t mentally bug me for a few minutes. I haven’t been back on my usual tight macro counting daily nutrition habits. I can’t even get to my protein powder right now as it’s on a bottom shelf and the almond milk and spinach is in the fridge at a position that would require me to bend 90 degrees at the hip. Brad kindly put 3 flavours of protein powder on the counter for me but I haven’t had the energy yet to make my daily shake. I think I have to let go of making my blended smoothie and just allow myself to mix a shake of powder and almond milk or water. If I remember to bring my reacher/grabber to kitchen I’d probably be able to reach more items. But crutches are hard enough without adding holding onto a long stick thing too.
But these are all things that will get easier with time. I’ll figure it out. I have to give myself a break. Today I was giving myself a mentally rough time for not doing a lot the past 5 days. But it hasn’t even been a full week since my surgery and it wasn’t the easiest procedure on my body between the anesthesia and the traction. My body was forced to do something we normally try to avoid – dislocating my hip joint. And it’s okay to take a week or two off. The surgeon told me it would be about 2 weeks until I felt better so I have give myself that break too. I’m doing what I can – eating wholesome healthier meals, even if a little bit of my exact macros; doing my daily physical therapy exercises, which hospital PT told me she knows so many people ignore them; and I’m trying to get up for ice and things myself as I know a little bit of movement out of bed, even if on my crutches, is good for my body too.
So today wasn’t a bad day at all. I still am taking my pain medication but already at a lower dose than surgeon expected I’d need the first week. I’m sleeping well without sleeping pills now – which makes me sooo happy! I’m off at least one medication! I did my exercises even though hard and sore, and I’ll do a second round of them for the first time after I finish this post up. I’m still smiling and even with all of this craziness, I’m happy. I have an experience that I’m making the best out of and becoming a better person and athlete because of it. I’m not giving up even when it hurts, and even though I’ve lost some of the weight loss and strength training progress I worked so hard for the last 5 years.
If this injury hadn’t happened, I’d have 3 half marathons for 2018 done out of 5, and I’d be training with my team for the Spartan Kimberley Beast in just under 2 weeks. I was so excited for this trip to the mountains and had an amazing place booked to stay. It was supposed to be a little vacation. It is hard as this event comes closer but I’m figuring out how to make the best of it. I won’t let this injury make me become grumpy and sullen. As much as it is hard to hear that I am developing arthritis, if it weren’t for this injury and surgery, I’d never had known that. Perhaps knowing about it earlier is going to become something that helps me be able to have a longer pain free athletic and healthy lifestyle by making the changes to how I train now instead of when it’s too late. If I hadn’t known, I wouldn’t have even considered stopping doing multiple half marathons and Spartan races each year – and I could have ran my hip into a point where I could never train again.
So I’m growing, learning, embracing change and getting stronger – even if it is a different journey than I had planned. The next 6 months will be the most crucial but I won’t stop at 6 months. I plan to embrace this for the rest of my life.
I fell asleep last night listening to an audiobook and arm on my dog who had curled up right into me. A deep soreness started last night and the calming rhythm of her breathing helped me to fell into a deep sleep.
I had to wake up early to get a shower done with help from boyfriend before he had to go into work for a short bit and his mom came to hang with me. Ginny actually climbed into bed before our alarm and kissed me gently in the face – I was borderline hurting – and if I waited even another 1/2 hour for ice and meds, I’d have been in rough shape. It’s like she knows and woke me to get a head start on the pain building. So I got up for ice and a muffin, nausea was bad again. Managed to get muffin and pain meds into me. The ice helped immensely. Brad got up and got ready and then it was my turn.
Showering was easier second time as I knew more what to expect. Still incredibly hard and painful to lift left leg over the tub wall. I was showered, dressed, in better spirits and less pain, and warming up eggs and veggies freezer meal when Brad’s mom arrived. Brad headed up and she hustled me back to bed.
The deep joint pain hasn’t really eased off today. It’s manageable but so very very sore especially when moving. I spent the day in bed with Netflix and was so tired but couldn’t sleep. We ordered lunch – just appies and mom made me clam chowder soup to go with my pretzel appies I ordered. Nausea still wouldn’t bugger off.
Lunch in me, I tried to sleep again but couldn’t. I got up for ice and bathroom around 2 and Brad came home at that time. Mom left and I went back to bed and this time tuned into an audiobook and fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until the sound of rain and saw it was 6:50pm – I had slept almost 5 hours. Missing a dose of meds and 2 icing sessions, my hip was throbbing deep inside so I forced myself up for bathroom and ice. Brad warmed me up a chicken, potato and corn freezer meal and I put on the local football game.
I so did not want to do my physical therapy exercises tonight with this deep joint pain. But I know it will help and if I don’t, I’ll only cause future problems. I actually got my knees up today and I went through the exercises slowly. It’s such a deep soreness but I keep telling myself they wouldn’t give me exercises that would hurt me.
I’m still tired even after my nap. The side effects from the general anesthesia seem to be lingering.
Another thing I did today with my mom in law is slowly peel off the waterproof tegaderm bandages I put on yesterday for my shower. I was scared to pull them off as I didn’t want to pull on the steri strips or the stitches. Mom said she really thinks I need air to get to the incisions and I agree – just wasn’t sure how the bandages would peel off. Didn’t expect them to stick so good. But I picked a corner and went slow and they came off with no pulling on the steri strips or stitches. I’ll have to stick to Saran Wrap so I don’t have to worry about pulling the bandages off and possibly pulling on stitches. I’ve had some leaking still in two of the incisions and it doesn’t look pretty but they don’t hurt, and do not have any of the warning signs of infection so just letting it be.
Thanks to my nap, I’m waking up now and the football game just ended (my team lost). I’m going to get into pj’s, get new ice, and settle in for a Netflix movie tonight.
Surgeon told me to expect rough days throughout the recovery so today was just one of those. But each day still means progress and I’m not going to fall apart after just one bad day. If anything, it makes me stronger.
Yesterday happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to write anything before surgery. A fax glitch left me without any pain meds the day before surgery, so I checked myself in for the day surgery in a pretty miserable state. Even after the surgery, the nurses joked that I looked worse before surgery than after.
I checked in at 6:30am and made my way to day surgery unit. I changed to a gown and was quickly prepped for surgery. We had issues with IV and it hurt so bad the first time they tried to do it. I warned her my veins jumped and after the nurse said “Holy – you weren’t kidding”. She had tried to do my right hand but the vein jumped and she hit bone instead. She wouldn’t try again and had another nurse who they called their IV queen do it and she did it no problem on my left hand.
The surgeon came by, chatted, and signed my left hip. I was told to bring something to do before surgery so I had brought headphones for audiobook, my kindle, and my journal but I had no time for any of it. I was given a cap for my hair and at 8:00am (surgery was schedule for 7:45), I was rolled to the operating room.
I had to move myself from the gurney to the bed as there was a special traction for my leg. I was starting to get anxious after seeing it but my surgeon came in and asked me for my name and date of birth, had me confirm it was my left hip they were doing, and then said have a nice nap.
I woke up in post op in some serious pain but they treated it with intravenous medication. Post op is a blur of seeing a blurry nurse face twice and of just moaning. Next thing I am aware of is being rolled back to day surgery unit. The nurses there let my boyfriend come in and say hi, then they said they wanted me to sleep more and closed the curtain some.
I woke up around noon and had to pee. The nurse asked if I could wait for physical therapist as she was just with another patient but I was next. I said I’d try. She said she could bring a bed pan but I wanted to use a real bathroom. In 10-15 minutes I couldn’t wait much longer. I was mentally aware of knowing it would take me longer to get up and get to bathroom so I knew I had to get up on it. I convinced them I felt like I could navigate with my crutches as I’d been using them for a couple weeks already so we went off to the bathroom which was about 30 feet away. A nurse had already put on an elevated chair for me. The therapist has come just as we started moving but she told me to go ahead and looked impressed. We got back and she wheeled me to a room with some practice stairs. Luckily our house only has 2 steps on a deck so unless I want to go to basement, I don’t have many stairs. Basement is mostly freezer for food, laundry, and my home fitness equipment. Brad can get our food, I can wait at least 10 days for laundry and Brad will do it until I can, and I won’t be needing that type of fitness equipment for some time.
The surgeon came by just as we were getting ready to go practice stairs. He told me that it went well. He was able to clean up the tear – debridement. There was fraying so he also did a capsular closure – I believe that means closing the socket where fraying was? But he didn’t have to shave off any of the hip femur bone which was a relief as that procedure can result in easier fracturing of the hip during recovery if too much weight is put on. Originally I was told I would be non weight bearing after surgery and now I’m partial weight bearing! It helps a lot with mobility. Surgeon warned it doesn’t mean putting weight on hip but that I can still put foot to floor with crutches taking most of the weight. It really makes a difference.
After we returned from practicing the stairs, my clothes were at my bed, and the nurse said she could help me or Brad, and Brad said he would. I had worn a comfy grey cotton dress. I put on my bra and slipped it overhead and went home commando. Brad wheeled me down to the front and the nurses followed (to get back their wheelchair haha) and we actually managed to get me into Brad’s Jeep with less problem than we had been worried about the day before. He had pulled it up to a curb and a boost – I’m short that I always have to climb into his Jeep. Somehow we figured it out easy but backing myself into the chair.
The drive home was short – luckily we lived just 8 minutes from the hospital the surgery was at. The angle of chair was not the most comfortable for this surgery so it was a bit hard but luckily a short drive. I managed myself inside with a happy dog to greet me. She was very calm and gentle which is unlike her when she sees me. We promptly got into bed, I grabbed my stash of digestive cookies I had in my bag for hospital and ate them while Brad went to get my 7 post op medications filled. When he got back he made me a turkey meat bun and it tasted amazing.
Mostly I’ve been sleeping or watching Netflix (right now decided on a Harry Potter Marathon using our DVD collection). My throat is mighty sore from the breathing tube and some congestion that I believe is from breathing tube too. Getting into and out of bed is the hardest part of my mobility. But once I’m in crutches it’s not too bad for about 5 minutes. More than that I start to hurt. I’m so thankful we did buy the post op recommendations such as a elevated toilet seat and a shower chair. The handles on the toilet seat have also been a huge help. They are wide enough that my big hip (because of bandage) can get in without bumping but really helps to sit down and get up with less pain. The biggest thing is making sure I get up when I need to go right away instead of waiting as it takes so long!
I can actually remove the bulky bandage tomorrow and shower if I cover the sutures.
The sutures are dissolvable too so they’ll go on their own! I asked when I can start going back to my physiotherapist and I thought he’d say a week but he said 2 weeks. I have some exercises at home that I’m excited to even have – though not like the typical exercise I do but something!
I am so glad I ordered about 80 bento boxes and 20 soup containers on Amazon for around $50. It’s going to help with less dishes. With my mom in law’s help, I meal prepped 28 breakfasts, lunches, and suppers to make it through a month. Already this has been a huge help – we don’t have to question what to make, or if we have the ingredients, and we’ve decided to just toss them even though reusable. One, we don’t really have the storage and two, having less dishes to do in this first month is a benefit to me and Brad. It feels good to have healthy options already made as the healthy food is going to be a benefit to my recovery. I even made over 90 snack bags labelled with inspirational quotes on them. Some quotes from friends and teammates and some I found myself. It’s been actually very motivating to read each time I have a snack. I’m saving each slip of paper and putting in my jar of messages I received from my team earlier during this injury.
So now it’s 5:15pm and 27 hours since I came home. I am dying for the first shower – I can’t have until tomorrow afternoon. But I will go wash up some soon. I don’t like this greasy feeling. I had just gotten up to get more ice, bathroom, make a tea (first tea since Monday!), and grab a banana (yay for lunch kit I clipped to crutches). But that excursion quickly wore me out so I had to lie back down.
I’ve been spoiled with puppy snuggles, and flowers from my parents in law and brother & sister in law. And a bag of Swedish berries because as my mom in law put it, if I remember right from yesterday, “I think what you went through deserves at least one whole bag of Swedish berries to eat.”
I’m excited for where this injury may take me. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve been through but even in my dark, hard days – I found my way through. I’m a fighter. A survivor. The surgeon said to me yesterday that keeping my weight low is going to help this type of injury. I’ve always wondered how I didn’t have more injuries during my previous obesity before I changed my life. But this injury could have been developed during those years and shovelling in that snow storm just tore it enough for pain. We will never know for sure but I’ll find my way back to fitness and keeping myself healthy.
When I meet with the surgeon at my 4 week follow up appointment, I will ask him his honest opinion about my OCR racing and even my running. I’m not a young kid. I’m not old by any means. But I know that I may have to reconsider some of my exercise options in order for not have this hip tear reoccur. I’d rather run 2-3 5k runs a week with Ginny for the rest of my life rather than run one half marathon that ends my running completely. I’m not sure how that conversation will go – he may have no limits for me or he suggest some. Either way – I’ll always be committed to a healthy lifestyle. I know I’ll continue to train with my team – even if it means some modifications and changes to goals and dreams. But my dream when I began this journey was never to collect a ton of medals or to see how many races I can do. My dream was to be healthier and happier. And I can still do that – that’s my reality regardless of how I do it. Here’s to a new chapter in this journey.