Monday, May 2, 2016

I wasn't even sure I knew how to write a blog post anymore!

It's been so long since I last posted, that I wasn't even confident I would be able to log in to my account.  Since my last posting, I've gotten back into coaching volleyball and that has taken up much of my extra time outside of teaching, momming, wifing, and adulting.  This also left even less time for working out.  I think this was actually a good thing.  The first "rest" for my hip allowed some more healing and I've been dappling with running ever since.

My sister, Katie, began running in the last year (2015) and we since then completed a few races together.

 This was her first 5k ever (July 4, 2015)!  We finished holding hands!

This was our first run of 2016. We participated in a 4pm 4 mile local fun run.

 Oh yeah, I've also moved into our new house that we built.  This means new running routes and I have a new running partner that lives RIGHT NEXT door!

 And here the family is from this weekend at the Illinois Marathon.  We all ran the 5k Friday evening, including Macy and Tyler who rocked it.  My sister and I did the 10k in the rain on Saturday.

Not sure if any hippies are actually reading this, but I hope you have some assurance that you will recover from surgery and your running career is far from over.  I have my eye on some possible half marathons and I'll begin training soon.  Give it some time and you will too!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Latest

I've been a bit neglectful of the blog the last few months because there hasn't been too much to report.  My whole right side of my body from my knee, through my thigh, into my hip, around the butt area, and all up the back continues to cause me problems regularly.  I did see Dr. Ho in September and was given a hip injection.  It alleviated the pain for about 2-3 days in total.

After being dismissed from therapy, I continued swimming on occasion, have taken up 1-2 cycling classes a week, and was accepted into an intensive Therapeutics Yoga class at the Yoga Institute of Champaign Urbana.    The librarian at my school has been telling me for the last two years that I needed to try it out and I always resisted for a few reasons.  One is that in order to go, it is across town and would eat up about 2 hours of my evening when I factor in travel and practice time.  Two I have a hard time paying for childcare on top of the class fee and time commitment.  And finally, three, I already have a gym membership so paying for another class on top of this was something I just couldn't stomach.

Well, after paying for PT co-pays, it is actually cheaper for me to go to the Therapeutics class and it happens to be offered on Weds. evenings when my husband is already off of work and can take care of the kids.

Lois is the owner and yogi of the facility and is actually world renowned in her field.  She met with me and criticized my participation in activities like running and other cardio endeavors, but still created an individualized program to target my pain and agreed to work with me.

I now attend the Weds. night session in which I attempt to complete all 15 poses, which I have yet to come close to doing.  This is not like anything I have ever done before and despite feeling lost and helpless, I do walk away feeling much better...at least for a day or so.  This session is quite unique in that she has 3-4 assistants running around helping with every pose and getting any prop that your pose requires.  I had informed Lois that I had experience with more commercialized yoga, but nothing like what she practices.  Here is what my Weds. have been looking like:

I begin with this pose and stay there for 5 mins.
Next up is something like this for 2 minutes on each side.
Lois does not approve of my athletic build and says that I am very tight.
This is my most important pose as it specifically targets the hip.  I am supposed to roll my femur in towards me.   I try and try, but it never happens.  

Lois can't get over how tall I am, which I wouldn't say I am that tall.  Apparently my legs are endless.

Here is Lois correcting my form after she told me it was the worst *insert yoga name* she had ever seen.  That comment stuck with me for an entire week.

Participating in this class is putting me outside of my comfort zone and I am trying to remain as open-minded as possible.  In order to get the most benefit, however, I really need to be practicing these poses every day.  Without all of these props, though, I don't find it possible to replicate the pose even in the slightest.  I have gotten reprimanded as a result.  

I am technically enrolled through Thanksgiving, so we shall see what comes of this.  In the meantime, I will hit up Andy who I just saw in my neighborhood tonight as he was walking with his family.  He seemed to be a little disappointed to hear I wasn't running at all, but I'm hopeful that some day I will.  It just won't be for awhile.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

5 months Post Op

On July 31st, my physical therapist dismissed me from therapy.  I had been anticipating this day and it really was nothing like I had envisioned.  I had expressed my frustrations at the previous appointment (which had been July 15th due to vacationing in between) about how I didn't really seem to be progressing any more.  I had been pretty religious about the exercises and dappled in biking, yoga, and walk/jog, but everything kind of remained the same.  Any time I tried to participate in the return to run program, I would be fine during the "run," but not for the few days following.

When he saw me again on July 31st, he told me that I "graduated, but didn't graduate."  This was actually hard to hear because I had been so excited to reach this point and, instead, he told me he didn't think there was anything else he could do for me.  We had regained my strength and Andy reminded me that I knew my body best and was a "smart woman."  I had the tools I needed and he sent me on my way.

Since then, I've done even less.  I was curious to see if resting would provide some pain relief in the butt area.  It still has been hard to tell what actually is the best.  Two days ago, I mixed my therapy exercises in between minutes of fast walking in my neighborhood.  That seemed to loosen me up for the day and I've felt good ever since.  I have also picked back up on going to my BodyFlow classes and they always make me feel better.

I have my 6th month appointment with Dr. Ho on September 8th, so we shall see what he has to say about all of this.

Meanwhile, the school year is just starting.  I had meetings all day today and will have some more tomorrow before the students return on Wednesday.

You'll notice I don't have any trouble squatting down.  Thankfully my flexibility and motion are getting back to where they used to be with little to no pain.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Almost 4 months post-op

Here we are nearly 4 months out from my hip arthroscopy with Dr. Ho.  Since developing tendonitis, my physical therapist allowed me to back off on the intensity of some of the exercises and we eliminated some of the weights along with any of the bouncy movements.  Since my therapist does not read my blog (as far as I know!) full disclosure would be that I have gotten a little lazier about my exercises.  I still try and do them 2-3 times a week, while Andy would prefer I am doing them 3-4 days a week.  On exercises that I am supposed to use some weight, I have done without any weights.  I have, though, picked up swimming more regularly and attending BodyFlow regularly.  This regime has helped the tendonitis and, knock on wood, that is gone.  

Part of why I have been cutting back is that I haven't been able to make it to the gym as much because I'm out enjoying my summer.  We hit up Wisconsin Dells and scored a lakefront condo for a couple of nights.

Here we are in the outdoor pool

Our 1 bedroom is one of the ones on the 2nd floor
 I was a little concerned how my leg would handle all of the walking at Noah's Ark and thankfully it wasn't too bad.  I had a hard time maneuvering my body for some of the waterslides and tube rides, but all was a success.  I did purchase some Chaco sandals on a summer clearance sale and could not be happier with these sandals.  They have Vibram bottoms and are ridiculously comfortable.

In other news, I somehow scratched my eye and am taking antibiotics and sporting my glasses for the next few days.  
At first I thought it was pink eye, but it turns out it is an abrasion on the eye

Since my strength in my operative leg is nearly the same as my non-operative leg and I haven't been experiencing the same pain, Andy and I decided on Tuesday to give the return to running protocol another whirl.  At my therapy session on Tuesday, I walked for 4 minutes, jogged 1 minute and repeated that 3 times for a total of 12 minutes of walking and 3 minutes of jogging.  That, as it has always been, was pain free.  It is always the day or two afterwards that is a problem.  Today I have not noticed any different pains, which I am counting as a success.  I will try again tomorrow or Friday and see how I feel the following days.

Andy always said I just needed to give it time and I think I can say I'm at a place where things are going well again.  I hope to continue on this trajectory:)

Noteworthy from the last month:

1.) I can perform flip turns without pain this month.
2.) I try not to dwell on my hip and just live my life.
3.) Current pt exercises include:
    -single leg squat machine with about 50 pounds weight; double leg optional
    -1 minute squats on BOSU ball--5 seconds just above 90 degrees alternating with 5 seconds just below
      90 degrees
    -Side leg raise with blue band
    -Step ups on plyometric box
    -Weighted lunges with a twisting torso
    -Elevated leg raise with pelvic bridge
    - 2 minute front plank with alternating leg raises
    -1 minute side plank each side
4.) Flexibility continues to improve
5.) Hip flexor continues to be noticeable and I can tell it just needs more time to heal
6.) Physical therapist noticed that I do not fully extend my stride while walking when my operative leg is back

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Tendinitis Trifecta

I  had my 3 month post op appointment with Dr. Ho on Friday morning.  Typically I have been seeing him at his satellite clinic, but due to his schedule, I had to go into the city this time.  This proved to be extraordinarily inconvenient on a number of levels, but I was able to squeeze in some visits with my family.

I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Naperville, and my parents and sister still live there.  So, I drove up with the kids on Thursday evening and headed into the city by myself Friday morning.  I wasn't sure how bad morning traffic would be, which ended up being fine and I made it to my 10:15 appointment around 9:50.  Dr. Ho is ALWAYS behind schedule at his satellite clinic, so I wasn't sure if it was his MO or just the site. So, when I was called back to the room at 9:53, I was shocked.

After not too long, I filled out my 3 month post op questionnaire that is part of the research study of which I am a participant.  A very confident and comfortable resident came in to complete an assessment and gather some information.  He was a bit pompous, in my opinion, and said a few things that rubbed me the wrong way.  He informed me that I would never fully regain strength and flexibility in my operative leg and it would always be "different" than my other leg.  While he is probably correct, I just didn't like hearing it from him and nobody else has pointed this out.  After hearing of some of my current pain locations--hip, psoas, lower back, and up into the neck area, he confidently stated that no back pain could ever be related to something going on in the hip.  I am no doctor, but I really disagree with him.  It is all connected for pete's sake!

Anyway, I waited a long time to actually see Dr. Ho and started taking some pictures to pass the time.  Excuse my inability to take a selfie.

Here I am annoyed that it is 11:03 and I've been in this little room since 9:53.

Tapping my toes to keep from falling asleep!
In between yoga sets, I tried tree pose along with different warrior variations.
Finally I saw Dr. Ho.  He was pleased with my flexibility, but concerned to hear that I wasn't sleeping well again.  After some manipulation and poking, he determined that I have tendinitis in the iliopsoas, iliotibial band, and the piriformis.  This is not actually uncommon post surgery, but it was something we were hoping to avoid.  I asked him how you are supposed to make progress recovering from the surgery, yet heal the tendinitis and he highlighted that physical therapists should be able to figure that out!  So, hopefully Andy will have the magical formula for a good balance of rest and exercises that will help me.  Dr. Ho mentioned that if I am still having trouble sleeping and if the tendinitis does not seem to heal within the next few months, then I may want to consider an injection.  He extended my physical therapy for at least another 6 weeks and although the script calls for 2-3 sessions per week, I am sure Andy and I will continue the once per week that we have been doing for at least a month now.

I came into the appointment not expecting much because, despite this setback, things are going relatively well.  I was glad that Dr. Ho acknowledged my soreness with a medical term of tendinitis.  I will have a 6 month follow-up in September and hopefully I'll be in less pain.  I will back off on the idea of running any and focus on my cardio from things like the bike and elliptical.

Before leaving the University of Chicago Medical Center, I had to meet with a physical therapist so he could take some strength measurements to use in the research study.  The testing indicated that my right leg is nearly back to the same strength as my left leg.

Getting back out of the city was much more hectic and it took me 2 whole hours to get back to Naperville.  This should have been about an hour long drive, so I will be sure to avoid going back to U of C for future appointments.

Too much traffic---not used to this in Champaign.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

11ish Weeks?

Last I had checked in, things were going very well.  I was fairly painfree and pleased with my decision to have the surgery.  I have had a bit of a setback in the last two weeks, though.  This may be as a result of me trying to wear my wedge heels to the promotion ceremony or re-introducing running into my life.  Now, before you go assuming that I did something crazy, the re-entry program is very minimal.

My strength progression and other areas of improvement indicated that I was ready for this.  I do not believe I tried something too early.  Further, in the last two weeks, I "jogged" for a grand total of about 10 minutes on 3 different attempts.  Each time, I walked for about 4 minutes and followed my walking with approximately 1 minute of jogging.  This was not painful.  The day after, and two days after, and three days after, though, have been a different story.

I am no longer sleeping well and have put myself back on a NSAID regimen.  Currently, I'm icing my hip while writing this blog and prepping dinner.
Photo courtesy of my 6 year old daughter, Macy

BBQ Turkey Meatballs
I contacted my therapist last Tuesday, the day after my appointment with him, and informed him of my increasing pain that mimicked pre-surgery stuff.  He encouraged me to rest most of the week, which I did and we resorted to plan B today, which consisted of many manual techniques during my session.  I left feeling beyond relaxed because I basically got a 30 minute massage on my ass.  Now, however, I am in a bit of pain, which I believe is just as a result of poking around and the release techniques they used on me.

I'm a bit frustrated and will interrogate my surgeon on Friday when I see him for my 3 month appointment. Someone recommended that I see if they will prescribe a more serious anti-inflammatory to help.

While I began this post saying I did not believe I tried things too early, I may be willing to admit that maybe it was ambitious.  However, both Dr. Ho and my therapist encouraged this progression and I guess the only way to know if my body was ready for this was to try it out.

To those who are reading--thank you to the two of you and I wish you the best as you continue to recover.  I will keep you posted and will continue actively living my life running around and doing things the best I can, just without a formal running workout:)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Phase 1 for Return to Running

The last week has been a little bit of a downer in that my hip flexor has definitely been noticeable and I've reached a bit of a plateau (in my opinion).  My hip and back were also experiencing additional pain as a result of my monthly visitor.  Due to our traveling for Memorial Day weekend, I was a little more lax with my exercises and I noticed it.  Mentally and emotionally I am tired of the easier workouts (easier to say now when I'm not crazily training).  I voiced this to Andy today at my pt session and, as a result, he not only took it easy on me, but he also gave me his Phase 1 for returning to run program.

Phase 1 is a plyometric sequence to simulate the impact your body takes while running.  If the hip handles the exercises, I'll be ready to move on to Phase 2, which he generously gave me as the carrot to dangle in front of me.  The series has 6 levels to use as a test to see if you are ready.  If I am able to complete each level, which consists of 3-4 sets of different types of hops, then (in theory) I am ready to begin phase 2.

In the meantime, I'll keep with my regular exercises including my side planks, which I am slowly building to not having a leg on the ground.