Friday, July 26, 2013

It's what all the cool "hippies" ride...

Recumbent bikes are so not cool how does one get exercise which does not require deep hip flexion AND allows you to power slide?  A big wheel of course!  I want the Dukes of Hazard model...I wonder if Amazon carries them?  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The 2nd Leg

"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage." ~George Patton

First and foremost, 8 weeks post op and I'm feeling great!  I mean seriously, even I did not expect to feel as good as I do.  I have luckily had only muscle pain, most likely from pushing it so hard in my workouts and hip-specific exercises.  I have had minimal to no pain in regards to the actual hip joint, which is great news!  My mobility has been great, although I do tire more easily than pre-surgery, which is normal and I was warned about.  I have to learn to either pace myself or schedule breaks.  I failed to mention that my OS had said I could probably start running at about 12 weeks, which is WAY sooner than I had expected.  I am SO tempted to go for it, as I have missed the feel of it so bad...but it has always been my goal to gradually ease back into it, and since we now know that I will be having the other hip done soon, I feel it is best both physically and mentally, to just get through both surgeries before heading back out on the roads.  It would just be too much of a tease for me!

The second surgery has been officially scheduled for Thursday, September 5th!!!  I know, usually someone is not so excited about surgery, but as I have said before, I see this as my way to get back to full health, and the other hip was inevitably going to be done at some point anyways, so might as well get it over with and move past it all.  Luckily my mom has volunteered to come down and help out for the first couple of weeks so that I don't have to annoy the hell out of Sara again!  Thanks mom!  We are positive and optimistic that the left hip with be less damaged, resulting in a less complicated surgery, and less restrictive recovery, seeing that the MRI shows less damage, and I have not had nearly the same level of pain as I experienced with the right hip.

Throughout this process, I have made a point of doing as much research as I can; reading studies, researching procedures, and learning all I can about FAI from point of pain to full recovery.  While there is no substitute for all of the clinical knowledge that is out there, not enough can be said about also reaching out to others like me who are or have gone through this.  I have met some amazing people, all around the world, through groups on Facebook and other blogs like mine.  Their insight and experiences provide me with additional knowledge that I have found to be priceless, such as questions to ask my healthcare providers and other tips along my road to recovery.  It is my hope that my blog is also providing insight and motivation, not just to others with FAI, but to anyone out there looking for a positive source of information for a healthy lifestyle, and life in general.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Details

My doctor gave me the official operation notes from surgery, and I must say it is a pretty cool read if you are into that stuff as I am.  I thought I would post some of the details here for anyone interested.

Preoperative Diagnosis:
  1. Right hip labral tear
  2. Cam impingement
Postoperative Diagnosis:
  1. Right hip labral tear
  2. Cam impingement
  3. Focal grade 4 articular cartilage defect, superior acetabulum
  4. Synovitis
Operative procedure:
  1. Right hip arthroscopy
  2. Labral debridement
  3. Microfracture acetabulum
  4. Femoral plasty, right femoral head
  5. Synovectomy
  • There was an attempt to "salvage the anterior superior labrum; however, this was extremely attenuated, degenerative and frayed and did not hold suture."  
No wonder it took 3 hours rather than the 1.5 they thought originally!  So that is the nuts and bolts of it...if anyone has any questions or comments to share, feel free!

7 Weeks Post-Op = Awesome week!

"There may be people that have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you." ~Derek Jeter

Seven weeks post-op and quite an eventful week.  The most important happening was the ditching of the crutches, FINALLY.  I cannot believe how much better I feel mentally not being attached to those things anymore!  It is very odd at first, as if my muscles forgot how to fire in unison to allow me to walk normally.  There was definitely some apprehension as you are worried if the hip is ready for this, if you will be able to walk as normally as possible.  The biggest thing to overcome for me, however, was remembering to hold back and take it slow.  It's easy to forget you are still recovering and healing is still taking place when you don't have the constant reminder of the crutches.  Walking too fast or striding out too far definitely brings on soreness, so short and easy is the key!  Overall though, it just feels amazing mentally to pass yet another important milestone.  As I have said previously, these mini-victories are what keep me motivated week to week.

I saw my PT, Charlie, on Wednesday.  I told him about some soreness that had been bothering me since Sunday in the front of my hip.  He was able to quickly determine that it was my rectus femoris muscle in my quad, and that it was likely due to the increased activity level and reduced reliance on the crutches over the previous week.  Luckily it was nothing to be concerned about and he considered it completely normal.  He was able to do some amazing massaging to work it out and loosen it up, and showed me a nifty stretch to do at home.  He also had me walk on the treadmill for 6 minutes at a blazing 1.3 mph, to make sure I was walking symmetrically.  He tested the strength in my leg by applying pressure to it as it was elevated and straight while lying on my back, side and stomach and seemed pleased with the results.  He advised me to add walking 10 minutes per day to my routine, as well as some extension and abduction exercises with added ankle weight three times per week.  Overall it was a great visit, and a relief to know the pain was not out of the ordinary.  Charlie is highly optimistic that I will be running a marathon by fall of 2014, and said he's going to have me at sub goal was February 2015, so that definitely felt good to hear.

Friday was my follow-up with my OS, Dr. Brown, to evaluate my progress.  He was very pleased and said I was doing great and was very happy with my range of motion and all of the activities/exercises I was able to do.  He even took time to write a note to Charlie to thank him for his great work with getting me back to this point so quickly.  The conversation then turned to the moment I had been waiting for...fixing the left hip.  He asked how I felt about it, and I reiterated the feelings I had with the first one, and that I felt have been validated by all the research that I have done.  Wait too long, and risk doing more damage, complicating the procedure and prolonging the recovery and possibly even removing the scope as a treatment option.  Then I would be left with the prospect of a total hip replacement, which I already know is a likelihood in my future as it is.  Then there is the mental and emotional aspect of I want to be fully recovered and active again and then have to start all over again?  The way I see it, I'm in recovery mode right now, and I plan on not only recovering but improving my running form and training after this is all done, so why not start with TWO fresh hips, rather than one, leaving the remaining one to be done somewhere down the road?  He agreed that he felt this was a good option and the right type of mentality to have to endure two of them only months apart.  In fact, he said we can only wonder how much better off I'd be had we caught the first hip one or two years ago...could we have salvaged parts of my labrum and also prevented so much damage?  So taking all of this into consideration, I will be having the left hip done sometime in September.

Other good news to come out of the appointment:

  • cleared to begin short-arc lunges and squats
  • cleared to cycle on the road, and I can clip in so long as they are neutral or angled slightly out
  • I can golf when vacation in a couple of weeks, so long as I don't take a full back swing, keep a smooth, easy cadence to my swing, and don't bring out the driver
So needless to say, I am very happy about the progress and happenings of this week!  I am so grateful to have the strong support around me; my family, my friends, the people I have met who share this condition, and my OS and PT.  I am truly blessed and looking forward to the challenge.  There is no way I can possibly show my appreciation to the extent that is deserved by all...but my promise to them is to make a full recovery, make them proud of my accomplishments and the role they each played in getting there, and possibly inspire or motivate others in their challenges.  THANK YOU ALL!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big Week Ahead and Random Thoughts

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life."
~Haruki Murakami

Lots of stuff happening this week!  I will be going off crutches at some point, and therefore be able to begin strengthening exercises on the surgical leg!  I also have a follow up with Dr. Brown at the end of the week, hopefully getting good news on my recovery, as well as possibly planning the second leg.  All the while, I am busy rehabbing, getting readjusted to a "normal" work schedule, and preparing for a trip back to the great midwest to see all the fam.

I find that these milestones, however small, keep me motivated, and satisfied.  I am an impatient and intense person by nature, always on the I knew that this long recovery, mentally, would be my greatest challenge.  I try to break it down into smaller goals and milestones, so that I have something to look forward to with each week ahead.  This keeps me focused on short-term, easily attainable goals, without feeling overwhelmed by the "grand scheme" and distant horizon.  I have even planned to do the same once I finally get the clearance to begin running again sometime early next year.  I am not going to just jump right back to marathon distance training, with the only goal being that distance, but rather, break down my journey back by trying to obtain PRs in each distance as I go along.  As I am building myself back up, I will challenge myself to be faster in 5K's, 10K's, half-marathons, and finally, the full.  I think this will benefit me two-fold, by allowing me to focus on short-term goals, and to hold me back and not go too far/hard to early without a significant base built up.

Thinking forward also has me thinking back, and although I have covered my decision at length previously here, I feel it is worth mentioning again.  As my wife and I sat around relaxing last night, she asked me how I felt about everything.  I took a deep breath, and my answer was at peace.  I truly feel, that I did not only make the best decision I could have, but the ONLY decision I could have.  It almost surprises even me, how confident I am that this will all work out just the way I hope.  I have no doubts, no fears, no regrets...and I really think having that frame of that this WAS the ONLY choice, has made everything else so easy to accept and take on. 

I see many other "hippies" grappling with the decision to go on with the surgery, or to maintain focus, or see the light at the end.  It was and is my hope, that with writing about my experiences, that others will perhaps find clarity, or motivation or inspiration.