Sunday, April 26, 2009

11 Weeks Post-Op Update/ I Want (part of) Last Year Back

Here's the latest....I'm currently completely out of the boot, I'm wearing a very supportive ankle brace (sort of laces up and velcros) with sneakers pretty much 24/7. At PT I started doing heel raises, eccentric lowering (stand on 4" step with bad ankle and bend knee so that good foot taps the ground), and started doing "2 up 1 down". It's like doing leg extensions, except that you put a 4 lb weight around your 1 ankle then use the other foot to assisit it lifting the bad one up, then lower the bad one by itself. Let me tell you, it's very hard! Keep in mind that when I was "normal" I would go to the gym and do the leg extension machine and not struggle too much to do 90 lbs (obviously with both legs), and I'm pretty sure that I did 45 lbs for single leg extensions, I'm sweating doing 4 lbs. At least I'm doing them though.
Of course there's more to this update....2 more things actually, I'll start with a conversation regarding my future with running at PT.
PT: So, your Dr. has talked to you about running in the future, right?
ME: Yeah, basically no more Full Marathons (PT nods his head in agreement), which I say is fine since "I really just want to run a bunch of 1/2's".
PT: Like how many 1/2's are we talking about?
ME: Well, my plan before all of this was that I was going to do 5 this year, so I'd like to be able to return to that plan at some point.
PT: I'm not so sure about that......maybe 1 or 2 per year.
ME: Why? (tears filling up in my eyes)
PT: Why would you want to do that to your body? I know you love it but I don't think you understand...
ME: Understand what? (tears fully streaming down my face)
PT: Oh no, listen, I'm treating you as I always said I would, as if you were one of my family, one of my loved ones. Listen, let's say that when we're born God gives us Grade A+ cartilage.
ME: (nod my head)
PT: I'm thinking that for your cartilage to blow out so fast in your ankle, maybe you started off with Grade B, or maybe B-.
ME: (nod my head, wipe tears, curse at my fucking sub-par cartilage)
PT: Then you blow out a chunk of your B or B- cartilage and the Dr has to go in, clean stuff out, and then "pick" your bone to make it bleed and form scar tissue to "act" as cartilage in the place where you have none.
ME: (suck in the snot that's about to come out with a massive downpour of tears, curse my motherfucking cartilage again)
PT: So now we're talking about having an F in cartilage and maybe a C in substitue cartilage. It's not meant to be "beat up" like that.
ME: (trying to not sob, doing ok at keeping it together, nod my head) This sucks.
PT: I know, it does, 100% without a doubt totally sucks. Look, if it was your knee and you were so into continuing to run, I'd say - Well, alright go ahead, we'll try to keep you as healthy as possible, just know that you'll probably get about 10 years of running and then it will be time for a knee replacement, if you don't run you'd probably need one in about 20 years, so enjoy the next 10 years. BUT unfortunately, ankles are totally different than knees. An ankle replacement is shoddy at best, that's not an option for you, but if you keep tearing your ankle apart you are going to be left with horrible arthritis and not be able to function.
ME: fuck. what am I going to do now?

I'm not handling this well, at all. I know that I could swim, I could bike, but come on you guys - YOU are the only one's that know, they aren't the same. I know that no one can give me the answer here, because there really isn't one, it just sucks. Once again, it makes me feel like I got cheated, I just found running and all the great things that came from it, and I might not get to do it all again. Sure, I could do a 5K or maybe even a 10K at some point (which I'm sure I'll be very happy to do when the time comes), but the truth is I like 10, 11, 12, 13 miles. I don't really like 3,4, or 5. You guys know, doing a 5K and doing a 1/2 are completely different. I like how a 1/2 feels.

Part 2 of the, I was in "the boot" for about 9 weeks (6w/crutches and then partial to full weight bearing). During those last few weeks walking with the boot I started having major pain in my right hip, it was so bad that it was actually waking me up at night. So at PT we started treating that too, stretches, heat, ice, massage. It was really deep in my hip, more like my groin area, my iliopsoas was really tight and tender, so that sort of made sense. Well, after a couple weeks of treating that and not getting much of a response the PT tried moving it a few more ways, then steps back and says "I don't like this. I'm getting very concerned as to why we're getting no where." I say "I know, seriously, do you think something else is wrong?" He says "Look, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell you this, but I need you to see a hip specialist, let's just hope that you are all jammed up from that boot, but I gotta tell you, you have a lot of the symptoms of a Labral Tear." Me "WTF?" PT "I know, look, let's just hope it's just jammed up and maybe you've got a strain in there, but you need to see someone, get some x-rays and an MRI." ME - (crying).

So, this Wednesday I will be seeing a hip specialist to figure this out. My hip HURTS, like a bitch. It hurts when I'm sitting here, it hurts when I'm laying in bed, it hurts when I'm driving, it hurts when I'm walking around.

Seriously, I'm done. I'm so over all these stupid injuries. I just want what I had last year back. I want the excitement of running in new places, meeting new friends, buying new Nike shirts, feeling good, actually feeling amazing, happy, proud, I want it all back.

That's it for now. I wish that my update was full of good news, and that everything was falling back into place, but right now it's not looking like it will. I think I need a vacation.....


teacherwoman said...

Oh hun. I am sorry. I couldn't imagine what you are going through. I agree, running a 5K is completely different than running a HM.. on many different levels. Keep your chin up.

SuperDave said...

Holy Crap and I think I had a bad day.
You have alot of sh*t you are going through and I'm sorry.
This is a very small opinion, but I am a Dr. - not an orthopedic, but I still know lots abut surgery and function.
Your PT is correct by saying that ankles and knees are totally different(knee replacements are ez.) It doesn't mean that you can't go back to almost the way you were. Holy Crap - he laid it on heavy.
You WILL run again and you will run a half again and you may even run 5 a year. You will run again!
So what that you don't have great cartilage, it's all about taking it slow and easy and working up to what your body can handle. There is no reason that you can't go back to almost what you used to be able to do. Again it is all about listening to your body and be more aware. As you build up your strength again, you will find that other muscles become stronger to "take up" for the injury alleviating the workload that your ankle once did.
Hang in there and tell your PT to chill out.

Kelly said...

I don't know what to say...

It could always be worse?

Carolina John said...

damn that's a lot of crying. you need to put a stop to that!

i think if you start looking for bike rides or races in your area you will find that it's a lot of fun. i'm totally loving the long distance bike right now. maybe you can too?

The Laminator said...

I'm so sorry, Marg...gosh, my heart totally sunk reading your update. Yet, like the other doc says, I think you still have a future with running, but you might have to take it extra slow to build everything back up. There are plenty of people that have all kinds of debilitating diseases that end up doing marathons when others gave them no chance at even I think you shouldn't lose hope yet.

But be practical. See what the hip specialist says and keep an open mind. You need to recover and get your body back in whatever shape it's going to be and then deal with the rest.

I thought a lot about you and your sign while running my marathon the other day. It really helped a lot.

I'm cheering for you to make a nice strong recovery. I believe that you'll be back on the roads and happily running one day. Take care.

M*J*C said...

Thanks guys!
TW- Thanks for getting the difference between the 5K and the half! It's nice to hear someone say yeah, I get that.
Super Dave- thanks for the encouragement from a "Dr" standpoint, I appreciate it. I think my PT is trying to get me to be a little more realistic as to how much damage I have.
Kelly- Absolutely, it could always be worse, but it could definitely be better too....
CJ- thanks for the hope with the whole bike thing, that will probably end up being one of my better bets.
LAM- Glad you thought about the sign!!! Thanks for the encouragement and understanding. I'll see how things go Wednesday then try to come up with a plan to move forward from there.

Megan said...

I have no idea the difference - right now I am winded after a short walk at the mall. BUT I know this is very important to you - and therefore important to me. I hope that whatever the dr finds it works out the very best it can for you. I would feel pretty cheated too if I worked so hard for a goal and then was let down cause of sucky cartlidge! Big curses to the sucky cartlidge.

the gazelle said...

I can't believe I missed this post. I am so sorry about all this injury/pain stuff. I think that as long as you take things really slow (like maybe don't count on 5 1/2s this year), maybe you can get to a point where you're running long miles injury free again.

My thoughts are with you - I know/hope the hip MRI turns up nothing bad - but I also hope that there's an end to your pain soon.

Words of Wisdom

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing will disturb your peace of mind.
See the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best.
Forget about the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Spend so much time on the improvement of yourself that there is no time to criticize others.
Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you."
~ Chistian Dior

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."
- Dr. Spock

"Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Ace the test or flunk the class. Make babies or make art. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Dance on tables or sit in the corner. Life is divine chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourslef. Breathe. And enjoy the ride. "
- Solbeam