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:
another season gone before it starts. the road back is long, but i've been there before.
Let's start with the following list of athletic seasons lost to injury:
6th Grade Football - Broken Hand
7th Grade Football - Broken Hand
9th Grade Wrestling - Broken Ankle (still won)
10th Grade Wrestling - Viral Bronchitis
11th Grade Football - Shoulder surgery
11th Grade Wrestling - Shoulder Surgery
Freshman Football - Dislocated shoulder, fractured shoulder blade, career over.
Freshman and Sophomore Wrestling - Shoulder surgery to repair football injury
Junior Wrestling - Concussion, seven stitches in my face (still won)
Senior Wrestling - Dislocated both shoulders, torn labrum (did not win...or finish)
2011 - 2014 - Catastrophic ankle/foot injury
2014 Triathlon - herniated disc
2015 Triathlon - Rhabdo, heart attack, hip bursitis
2016 Triathlon - L & R hip labrum tear (or more accurately described as being "obliterated"), hip bursitis, gluteal tendinitis.
As you can see I've put together a pretty strong and robust career for several medical facilities across the nation. SO, while as extremely disappointing as this one is (and it is devastating), I'm not exactly a stranger to dealing with injuries. Luckily, this time I'm not on a timeline and there isn't a small window of opportunity for me to accomplish my goals and dreams. I'm not going Pro anytime soon, and this is a sport that I can do for a very long time, assuming I can still physically still do it...Considering my history, though, that may be a big assumption.
so why the hell do i do it?