Labral Tear Recovery Update

I’m now 8 months out from my labral tear diagnosis and about 6 months into rehab (thanks, ovarian cyst).  And it’s going… okay.  Not great, not bad, but definitely okay.

Leading into my August vacation, I was feeling pretty great.  For the most part, I wasn’t dealing with daily pain.  I was doing my PT exercises 6 days a week (though my PT said I didn’t have to do them that often – the routine was good for me) and I made it through my first race of the year with no issues.

Vacation went great!  Lots of walking and zero issues.  It definitely felt like a victory.

But once I was back from vacation and really increasing mileage, I started to notice some familiar twinges coming back.  My quad started tightening up more and more.  I just assumed it was the mileage.  But then I realized it’s also my own doing.

I’ve dropped my PT visits back from weekly to every 2-3 weeks.  My PT does a ton of table work, so I was getting regular work on the knots in my leg.  Sure, there may not have been too many, but they were getting worked out before they had a chance to take hold.

I wasn’t doing my PT exercises quite as much as I had been. Maybe down to four days a week instead of six.  And I certainly wasn’t spending much time on the foam roller, which is probably the biggest mistake I made.  Increasing my mileage and not foam rolling is just stupid.

So I’m paying the price for it now.  My leg has all sorts of fun knots, which means I’m spending more time on my foam roller and also going back to weekly PT.  At my last session, I was lucky enough to get Graston and dry needling.  Worth it.  I’m lucky that my insurance covers more than enough visits for me to go weekly through the end of the year and I will only have to pay my copay.

Lesson learned.  Just because I’m feeling good doesn’t mean I can step back.  This is an injury that won’t heal.  I will have to constantly be doing strength work and proper stretching, especially when I’m doing things like increasing mileage.

I still don’t regret not going the surgical route, though I totally support anyone who makes that choice.  Each hip labral tear is different, and recovery will look different for everyone.  As the research improves, I may consider stem cell injections at some point (especially if insurance ever covers them, because right now, I’m not sure if it’s the idea of a giant needle in my groin or the ridiculous cost of the injections that’s keeping me from even considering it at this point).

 

Mid-Year Goals Check-In

So even though it’s well past mid-year, I thought I would go back and look at the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t given them any thought.  Which is not how goals are supposed to work.  You’re supposed to set them and then work towards meeting them, not ignore them and hope things go okay.  However, 2018 went completely off the rails for me so it’s no surprise I wasn’t focused on my initial goals.

Finish my 70.3

Well, this clearly didn’t happen.  I didn’t even start the 70.3 or really get heavily into training for it once my labral tear was diagnosed.  And while not being able to race was a disappointment, I still consider 70.3 Chattanooga a huge win.  I got to cheer on so many of my Coeur teammates and sherpa for them at the race.  I had so much fun, and it was absolutely worth being there.  I worried I would be disappointed that I wasn’t racing, but instead I was just glad to be there, and feeling lucky that I would be able to race later.

Get Healthy

This was focusing on my lingering injuries, and I definitely am doing well on this one.  Labral tear diagnosed and causing way less pain.  Ovarian cyst diagnosed and removed.  My labral tear will never be healed, but the strength work I’ve been doing to support my hip is doing wonders.  I have to keep up the strength work but all in all, I’m really happy with how this goal is going.

Diet

Well, I’m still working to clean up my diet.  Surgery kind of threw me for a loop, to be honest.  Because I wasn’t hungry post-surgery, I kind of let myself eat whatever I wanted, because I just wasn’t eating much.  That wasn’t a trend I should have started.  I’m doing better, but my diet is still way too sugar heavy.  I crave it when things get stressful, and I need to learn to conquer those cravings.

Budget

You know what isn’t good for a budget?  Medical expenses.  With surgery and scans on my hip and physical therapy, I have spent thousands of dollars on medical expenses.  And I am lucky to have amazing insurance.  Also, my air conditioner died and had to be replaced.  So my budget is definitely hurting right now and I need to keep tightening the purse strings.  (Which should be very easy since I’m headed on vacation this month.)  I’m not digging myself into debt or anything, but I would like to beef up my savings and start putting away money for some big projects I want to do on my house.  (Fun projects, not things like getting a new air conditioner – which was, of course, worth every penny.)

So the goals this year have been pretty hit or miss, but there are five months left in the year for me to get things into shape.  I already have a plan to straighten out my budget, and I think more meal planning will help my diet as well as my budget.  And of course, I am going to keep doing my PT work and continue to slowly get back into shape.

Reach In

jplenio / Pixabay

With the recent tragic suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, there have been a lot of things written online suggesting resources for people who are struggling with depression.  Lots of phone numbers of places to go for help, lots of people saying “Hey, if you’re in a dark place, contact me.”

And this is all great information.  But you need to also look at the words coming from the people who have been in those dark places.  When someone is so depressed that they are considering suicide, they don’t think they have value.  They don’t think they will be missed.  They think that others will be better off without them.  We all know that is so very wrong, but their disease is lying to them.  And so they aren’t going to reach out for help.

Instead, we have to make a point to reach in.

I’m lucky in that I have struggled with anxiety and probably some mild depression over the years, but I have never been suicidal.  But I have friends who have been and friends who have been in some pretty dark places.  And you know what?  I didn’t reach in.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Maybe I thought they needed time alone, maybe I was too wrapped up in my own life to notice that someone needed help.  Wherever I was, I wasn’t there for them.

Now, I’m not trying to say that anyone is at fault for suicide.  Suicide is entirely the fault of depression.  It’s a vicious disease.  We would never judge someone for dying from cancer.  We would never judge someone for getting medical help for cancer.  Depression should be treated no differently.  The problem is that one of the effects of depression can be the intense need to hide away, preventing the afflicted from getting help.

So if you have a friend who is struggling, or who you haven’t heard from in a while, or who you’re just a little worried about, check in on them.  And depending on the situation, maybe don’t take no for an answer.

There is a wonderful Twitter thread circulating about a woman struggling with severe depression following the death of her father.  She moved to a new apartment and had been unable to muster the energy to unpack (another effect of depression) so her friends simply showed up and setup her home for her.  They didn’t ask, they just went into action.  Sure, this was a risk.  The woman could have gotten angry.  But it was a worthwhile risk.  It showed her that she was important, that she was loved, and it created a safe, comfortable space for her to live in as she fought with her depression.

I’m not saying that you should just invade a friend’s space, but if there is someone you’re worried about and inviting them out isn’t working, try showing up with food and a movie.  Worst case, they close the door in your face.  Not the end of the world.  Maybe they aren’t up for seeing you, but at least you brought them something to eat.  But maybe they will let you in and sit down with you for a meal.  Even if you just watch the movie and don’t talk, you’re showing that friend that you’re there.  If you’re far away, just keep trying to get in contact.  Send texts, send emails, send a care package.  Do whatever you can.  Because while depression is a disease and is often best treated by medication and therapy, friendship and caring can also make a difference.

Labral Tear Recovery – 4 Month Update

Just over four months ago, I was diagnosed with a labral tear.  Of course, I’ve been dealing with it since November, so it certainly feels like forever.  But it’s been a while since I discussed my recovery, and since I spent a ton of time searching the internet for information about labral tear recovery, I thought it was time to do an update.

So to quickly recap, I started having pain when I ran back in November.  I saw a doctor in January and was diagnosed with a labral tear at the end of the month.  I started PT in early February.  Of course, because the MRI of my hip also discovered the cyst on my ovary, that became priority one, and I lost much of March in terms of hip rehab, since I was recovering from abdominal surgery.

Thus, even though I’m four months into labral tear recovery, in many ways, I’m also really only at month two of solid rehab work.

Physical therapy isn’t a quick fix, especially not for something like this.  After all, I’m working to build the muscles in my leg, hip, and torso to better support the joint and do the work that the torn cartilage is supposed to be doing.  You don’t see results in the gym after just two weeks, so it makes sense that PT would be similar.

But I can confidently say that I am seeing results.  I’m not to the point of being 100% pain free, but I don’t have pain when I run (though I’m absolutely easing back in incredibly slowly), and that’s awesome.  Previously, I was having pain immediately when I started to run.  Walking would be fine, but swinging my foot forward for that first run step was painful.  Now I have some stiffness, but nothing like before.  Some days are better than others – some days my left leg just aches, and after cheering at Chattanooga, I was significantly more sore than I anticipated.

Physical Therapy is easily a 4-6 month process, and even though I’m four months in, I’m counting April 1 as my beginning, since I lost some of the progress I made in January when I had to take off much of March.  But even looking at it 4 months in, I’m really happy with where I’m at.   This reaffirms my decision to go with physical therapy rather than straight to surgery or experimental procedures.

Of course, I’m lucky that my insurance covers a good amount of physical therapy (after my copay, of course), but I’m sure they’d rather fund this than a second surgery for the year.

So for now, I’m just continuing with PT and making sure to do my daily exercises.  I’m sure I’m going to come out of this stronger and better balanced than before, and I’m hoping all this work will help prevent any additional injuries in the future.

Officially Cleared

rawpixel / Pixabay

Thanks to last week’s snow, my surgery followup was postponed until this week, but it went great!  I’m healing like a champion and cleared to resume activities, including swimming.  My doctor did recommend I not do any insane ab workouts, because even though it would be really hard to cause a hernia, better safe than sorry.  Besides, who wants to do an insane ab workout?  The regular ones are hard enough!

Of course, my energy levels aren’t back to normal and won’t be for 8-12 weeks after surgery (I’m not quite 4 weeks out).  So I’m not quite back to regular workouts.

For example, this weekend, I got on my trainer and decided to do a “long” ride, time to be determined by how I felt.  I was doing 2 hour plus rides prior to surgery.  At around 80 minutes, I was definitely feeling the fatigue but did some easy pedaling to get me to 90 and called it quits.  I’m not disappointed in this at all.  I got in the exercise and it’s more than I was able to do the week before.  But I’m also not going to push myself.

So as planned, the rest of March (what few days there are left) and the month of April is going to be all about training by feel and not beating myself up about missed exercise.  I am, of course, making sure to do my PT exercises because I have to get this hip into shape if I want to be able to run.  And it means going to the pool at least once a week, even though I pretty much never feel like going.  I’m always glad to have gone.

Yesterday, I had Physical Therapy.  I walk there and back, and it’s about a mile each way.  My session is 30 minutes of table work followed by 30 minutes of exercise.  By the time I got home last night, I was exhausted, and that’s not my norm.  Typically after PT, I was able to do a solid bike ride, even with that two mile walk.  It just goes to show that I’m just not quite there yet.

I’m tempted to do an FTP test on my bike this weekend to get an idea of where I am, simply because it will be nice to see the improvement, rather than work all month and then do a test and look at how much fitness I’ve lost.  I know that right now, I’m not as strong as I was.  That’s totally okay.  I think I’m going to try to chart the improvement, because it’s pretty much guaranteed to happen!