Returning to Fitness and shedding the fatness!
So right around the 5 month mark I was killing it! Swimming was improving rapidly, I was upping my minutes on the treadmill, hitting my rehab, and generally progressing nicely. Then I did what I always do and ignored my own limits. With my back feeling great from my last steroid injection, and the warm weather lasting well into November, I decided to run in my neighborhood on the pavement, which was the one thing my hip doctor, my PT, my back doctor, and my own brain told me to stop doing. I have a great neighborhood for running though, and it is just so convenient! Plus I had been feeling great on the treadmill. Well 3 5Ks on the pavement plus a couple of 18-hole rounds of golf and I was heading back to the operating room for another transferal epidural steroid injection, which was two weeks ago. Also, my hip flared up badly, SO NO MORE RUNNING ON PAVEMENT (except on race day). Treadmill, trails, and tracks for me from now on. Let's get to the update!
At my three month doctor appointment, the PA told me that it was normal to plateau at this point, and she was most definitely right. Well, mostly definitely right. There was not much improvement between three and four months, but in the last two weeks things have really started to progress, especially once I had another injury diagnosed and fixed. I’d been having severe pain in my butt, hip, and hamstring during the majority of my rehab and it just didn’t seem like anything was making it better. The surgeon thought this seemed odd, so he sent me to a back and spine doctor. Turns out, I have this. So at some point in my life I had stress fractures in my L5 vertebrae that didn’t heal correctly (most likely middle school football or wrestling). In fact, I have a 9mm misalignment between L5 and my sacrum, which I’m told is “a significant amount.” Over time, this has caused my L5 vertebrae to sag, which causes the disc to bulge. If I had access to my MRI and X-rays, I’d love to include pictures of what my lower back looks like, ‘cause it ain’t pretty! Solutions: lots and lots of core work. Since I was already focusing on that for my hip, no big deal. Oh yeah, I also got a transferal epidural steroid injection last week, and it is my sincere pleasure to report that I am pain free for the first time in 3 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact, I'd say that I am basically healed right now for both my hip and my back. Well, at least 85%.
Wow, it's been a while since I last updated you on my recovery and return to athletics, and actually, it's been my return to athletics that's kept me from writing because I've actually been training again!!!! Or at least I was right up until Labor Day, when I had a wedding over the weekend followed by a grueling work schedule (60 hour week of night shifts (last week) followed by a 72 hour week/weekend of day and night shifts (this week), and then finishing up with a 44 hour week/weekend of day shifts (next week). Yikes! Oh yeah, I also re-herniated a disc in my back, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.
Permission to (butter)Fly!
Well I had a computer mishap that delayed last week's update, and since I was seeing the doctor soon I just pushed it off to today. So, today I had my first follow up appointment with my surgeon. After a near 45 minute wait followed by a three minute chat with the Doctor, my immediate prospects for returning to athletics have been given a huge boost! Over the last two weeks, my rehab sessions have been becoming more and more like a workout, complete with dripping sweat and me having to wipe down machines and tables (ALWAYS WIPE DOWN WHATEVER YOU SWEAT ON AT THE GYM). My brief foray into dieting was obliterated over a couple of beautiful weather weekends, and a general lack of self-control. I eat when I’m bored or frustrated, and I’m bored and frustrated all the time because I can’t exercise. Despite my best efforts, this has been my cycle for pretty much ever, and even though I’m testing the limits of my wardrobe, I’m tired of beating myself up over it. Let’s get to the good stuff!
Wow, what a difference a week makes! I am frankly shocked at the progress I've made in just two weeks, and that's not to toot my own horn, but rather toot the horn of my surgeon, Dr. Peter Maiers at Methodist Sports Indianapolis, and his team, including my physical therapists Jimmy, Melissa, and Brad. They have all done a great job and I felt less pain and discomfort after this operation than just about all of the rest. As I've already established in previous posts, I am/have been injured a lot. This was my 7th surgery. One thing I've learned is that you need to follow the instructions from your doctors and PTs about as literal as possible. If they tell you to take it easy, sit your butt down in a chair and take it easy! The boredom and the lack of activity sucks, but if I'm bored out of my mind for two weeks (I was) and that gets me back sooner, or even on schedule, than that's what I'm doing. Pushing yourself after a major injury will undoubtedly lead to a repeat injury, or your body will adapt to your current limitations by overcompensating somewhere else, which can and probably will result in another injury. CASE IN POINT: I had a foot/ankle surgery in 2011, and I moved across the country about a month afterwords, didn't follow up with the surgeon or do any PT due to relocation, changed jobs that required me to be on my feet all day way before I should have been, and just grinded it out for a year. Without question, this is what pushed my hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quads out of whack, and eventually shredded my hip. So here's where I'm at:
It's been one full week since I had my hip surgery, and I am pleased to say that I'm feeling much better than anticipated. Here are the good things so far:
Here are the things that suck so far:
So what's next? I see the Doctor for the first time tomorrow and am excited to hear what he has to say, and then I hopefully begin physical therapy in earnest with the real stuff. I am off work for the remainder of the week and hope to return Monday, which will be nice to get back into a routine. I won't be able to drive though, and I'm still not sure about the sitting situation, so it's not ideal, but I need to get back so we'll see what I can manage.
Lots more observations to come. Thanks for reading! If you're out there and you're injured, stay positive, focus on the things you can focus on, and know that you'll get it back!
Don't forget that you can get 15% off all purchases at Love The Pain with the code IDIPHON.
The first time I went on crutches was 1997; I had broken my ankle in the middle of a wrestling match the day before leaving on a cruise for spring break (still won BTW). That was a very difficult place to be with a broken leg and on crutches, and I was ill-prepared. This was back with the old wooden ones that were fairly flimsy, and extremely uncomfortable. Being that I was young and stupid (as opposed to a little older and stupid now), I once walked over a mile and a half on them. That sucked.
The second time I went on crutches was in 2003 for just a few weeks when I had a partial tear in my MCL. I don't recall any long walks, but remember crutches being a real pain. The third time, in 2011, I made some discoveries in how to really maximize your self-sufficiency, safety, comfort, and sanity while being on these damn things! Now that I'm on my fourth go-round with crutches, I'm an old pro, and it's never been easier for me to get around with them.
Here's my list of the top 5 things you need to have when you're on crutches, from an expert:
Last night I was finally able to sleep for a solid 5 straight hours, popped my pills, and fell right back asleep for another 2 hours. This was quite the relief after not sleeping for more than one or two hours at a time for two-and-a-half days. I am also happy to report that despite many false alarms, I was finally able to complete yesterday's number one goal (read the post to find out). I was really expecting to have struggled more than I did yesterday but was actually quite comfortable, mostly thanks to the efforts of my support crew....my wife Logan and dog Murphy. My planned day of binge watching Netflix was interrupted quite nicely by some live sporting events, and Logan set up the Euro Cup 2016 on one screen and the US Open on the other, and even grilled me up one amazing steak! I am truly blessed to have such an amazing partner to spend my time with. If you're having a major health issue that limits you like this one, it's just so valuable and important to have someone around to help you, and I am truly thankful! I also have to give credit to the Chief Morale Officer, Murphy, for staying by my side day and night and letting me rub his head!
Physical Therapy Started today, and it was nice to get out of this recliner and move around a bit. Today's session was fairly basic and low intensity, but with being less than 72 hours post-op, things were pretty tight and tender. The main point today was just to focus on some very easy mobility exercises to keep things loose. In fact, most of what I did today is a lot of what you should be doing anyway in triathlon, running, cycling, etc. and reminded me of a great book that I've been reading. Power, Speed, Endurance has a great section on mobility (especially of the hips) that everyone should be doing. If you're having hip problems or want to prevent them, I'd recommend picking up that book. It was beneficial to me, especially to learn the "Pose Method" of running. This isn't a book review, but it's a solid book for any multisport athlete, or someone with mobility issues. After therapy, I was sore. I didn't do much other than squeeze my butt cheeks and straighten my leg a bunch, so it wasn't a significantly difficult session, but it was enough! Fortunately, I got to spend the last 15 minutes with probably the best thing I've ever worn: the Game Ready Cold Therapy Compression System. OH.MY.GOD! I imagine this is what it's like to be a pro athlete. I wanted to stay wrapped up in it forever. So cold, so tight, so much relief! If you're going through some serious PT, I hope you're doing it at a place with these things, they are so worth it. If not, I guess you'll just have to spend the $5,000 and buy one on Amazon right here LOL. Take a look at this website, gameready.com. Show it to your PT if necessary so they get one. I'm pretty excited now to spend my last 15 minutes of each session recovering with this wrapped around my hip! My doctor sent me home with something similar to that, which I'm wearing 24-7, but it's nowhere near that good, although it's still pretty nice (aside from having to be plugged in all the time).
Goals for day 3 through the weekend:
Mobility exercises 3x/day, start to reduce pain meds, and move around more throughout the day.
Also finish Bloodline season 2 and watch as much US Open and international soccer as possible. Thanks for reading, follow on instagram @kingofthelake and keep checking back for more. I'll be posting a great lifting program over the weekend.
The first thing I remember after my surgery was asking the nurse "When is the surgery?" For about the next 12 hours, I really wasn't sure what planet I was on as I dozed in and out of drug-induced sleep every couple of hours. I'm told the operation was much better than expected, and they were actually able to repair the labrum, instead of removing and reconstructing it. Now that my not be accurate, I meet with the Doc next week and will hopefully get a clearer picture. He also fixed my impingement by basically grinding down my "too round" femur head so it would fit in the socket better. I'm hoping that all means an easier and quicker recovery and I'll learn more when I start PT on Friday. I haven't struggled to come out of anesthesia like I did with this procedure since my first operation in 1999, however, I'm chalking that up to it being a late afternoon procedure and going almost 20 hours without food or water prior too. They also gave me a recording of my operation, so you may get a chance to see some actual footage, which I think is kind of neat. I haven't watched it, so we'll see.
I don't remember too much of that first night other than being pretty uncomfortable and sleeping a lot. Yesterday was all about taking it easy and being comfortable, so I took my pills every four hours and embarked on a glorious day of binge watching. I finished the last half of House of Cards, season 4 (better than season 3, still nowhere close to 1 and 2), and got through the first half of season 2 of Bloodline (great!). Next up in the queue is season 3 of Peaky Blinders, and Season 5 of Hell on Wheels. Of course I've also got to stay on top of Game of Thrones (questionable writing this season) and we recently started Deadwood. That's a lot of TV! Too much probably, which is why I'm already itching to move around and do something now that the fog of surgery has finally lifted. Just a quick update for now, lots more to come as I regain all of my faculties....today's big goal is to have a successful bowel movement, which is TMI unless you've had surgery and understand that feeling! I joined a Facebook group called "Labral Tear Recovery" and it is quite amazing how many people have been through this injury, and they have all been very supportive. If you've got this injury, you should check that group out. Also, Rule The Lake is on Facebook too, don't forget to like my page!
This is my fourth go around on crutches, and I've become pretty good with them. However, you're going to want to have a few things in order to help your quality of life. Definitely use a backpack and have a "grabber" so you don't have to bend over. Perhaps the most convenient thing though, is a crutch bag/pocket that easily attaches to your crutches and so you can carry your things and stay balanced. It's also nice to be married or have someone at home with you all the time! I can't thank my wife enough and it's only the second day. She has already gone above and beyond, and I am eternally grateful. You can't get one of those on Amazon (yet?), but you can get your crutch accessories. Here are some that I've bought.
Thanks for reading, check back for more. I've been going through a lot of my files from my coaching days and will be posting several workout plans, plus some book reviews that I'm also working on reading in-between naps and Netflix! Physical Therapy begins tomorrow morning, and I'm looking forward to getting after it!
Today is the day...finally, after almost two full years of having some sort of hip pain! This will be surgery number 7 for me, and while I am a little bit anxious, it's sort of like riding a bike. Today, they try to put Humpty Dumpty back together, tomorrow, the comeback begins! If you read my last post, you'll know that this is not my first comeback from a season ending injury. Hopefully it will be my last! Rehab starts almost immediately and I plan on keeping the blog updated frequently with progress reports, PT notes, and just my general thoughts on this injury. In case you're new to the blog, I have an "obliterated" labrum in my right hip that now has a whole lot of cysts in it, plus I have hip impingement that has ground down most of my cartilage. My understanding is that they are going to reconstruct my labrum using some cadaver tissue.
Now I am no stranger to rehab, and it is quite painful and exhausting. Luckily for me, I thrive in this sort of situation, and it actually really motivates me. Plus, I was really starting to see some major improvement in my training, and I'm anxious to get back to it after not being able to do much for the last 6 months. That is also why I'm thrilled to announce that I am now an ambassador for Love The Pain. Again, if you've read my last post (read it here), you'd know that I truly do love the pain. Ask some of my former wrestling drill partners and they will back up my claim for sure! The simple fact is that my personal philosophy for training, fitness, and competition perfectly aligns with theirs, and I am really, really pumped about being able to represent a great company.
"Love The Pain is not just a brand, its a lifestyle. For those who like to give it their all in exchange for a few seconds of extreme satisfaction. A feeling that cannot be explained in words. A feeling one must experience for oneself in order to fully grasp the power that comes with it. The concept is as simple as don't quit. Embrace the down as much as the up. Whether you are an amateur or pro we invite you to join the movement and Love The Pain."
There's a lot of pain to come for me in the immediate future, and I'm embracing it and the challenge of returning to triathlon. I welcome you to join my on my adventure and the come-back!
Thanks for reading, I'm off to the hospital and hoping for the surgeon to #beawesometoday!