Tag Archives: hip issues

Surgery Anniversary (or I Guess It’s Good I Almost Forgot)

Last week was the 11th anniversary of my hip surgery. In some ways, it feels like this was a lifetime ago. In other ways, it feels like it was only maybe a year or two ago. I still think all the time about my surgery and what else I might need to have coming up, but it’s not as huge of a focus of my life as it’s been before. That could be because I have other medical issues that are a bit more important right now. But whatever the reason, I was thinking so little about my hip surgery that I almost completely forgot the anniversary of the surgery.

I actually ended up remembering on the day of. Usually, I think about it leading up to the day and then acknowledge it the day of. This time, I was working and all of a sudden looked at the calendar with a shock thinking I had totally forgotten about my surgery anniversary. It was almost a sense of relief that I didn’t totally forget and could still say something about it being 11 years later. But it’s crazy to think that I easily could have had the entire day go by without remembering it.

I’m no longer thinking of milestones the same way with my hips. Before, it was just trying to do better than my surgeon’s predictions. There are still potentially 3 more surgeries I could need, and he felt like I would not be able to make it this long without having another surgery. I’ve completely surpassed that prediction so I’m not thinking too much about it. Now, it’s the goal that he got in my head that it would be ideal if I could avoid getting a hip replacement until I’m 40.

The problem with hip replacements are that they don’t last forever. You do need to replace the replacement, and sometimes that can be every 10 years. Each time you replace them, that’s another pretty major surgery. So to wait until I’m 40 would limit how many times they would have to replace them. Ideally, I’d like to avoid hip replacements completely but I’m aware that it’s not necessarily the most realistic goal. So I just want to stay on the plan to not need a replacement for at least another 6 years.

I’m still doing most of the things my surgeon told me to do to keep my hips as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I’m not doing things that are risky for me falling and potentially breaking my hip like skiing or skating. But I am running now and I know that it’s not the best thing for me to do. But I’ve come to a place where I’ve realized that maybe I need to be a bit riskier with my hip health to keep me happy and healthy. I can go without skiing forever if I have to, although I have been wishing I could do it again. But now that I’ve started to run, I’ve realized that I can’t drop it like I dropped other stuff. I haven’t been feeling any extra pain with running and until I know that it’s causing harm I don’t feel like I need to stop.

I’ve also realized that if I want to live in a protected little bubble to prevent future surgeries, I could do that. But I’ve lived in fear of needing my next hip surgery soon for too long and I don’t want to have it hold me back anymore. I think that I’ve grown so much as a person over the past year or two and I don’t want to stop making that progress. So if I have to take a few extra chances in my life with my hip, so be it. Also, worst case scenario is that I need to get a hip replacement before I’m 40. That’s not the end of the world and I’m still doing much better than my surgeon expected me to do.

Even though I almost forgot my surgery anniversary this year, I think that I’m going to think of it every year and remember how far I’ve come in that time. 11 years is a long time (1/3 of my lifetime!) and I know that there was no way for me to know that I would be in the place that I am now back then. I was in so much pain before surgery and I’m so grateful that I haven’t had to experience that again since waking up after the surgery was done. I was looking back at the photos my parents took of me right after I got out of the hospital (which was only about an hour or so after surgery) and the smile on my face is just so huge. I know the smile then represented getting through surgery and not being in pain anymore. But now, it represents a new beginning to my life and being able to do things that I never dreamed I’d be able to do.

Great Days And Not-So-Great Days (or Overcoming Workout Struggles)

This past week of workouts was a series of ups and downs. I’ve been working on doing more 4 workout weeks lately because I know I will be taking a break when I have surgery (and I don’t want that to affect how many workouts I do this year), but I’ll admit that this week I was really debating cancelling my 4th workout in the week. I’m glad I stuck with it, but it was really testing myself if I could do it.

Monday was probably the best and easiest workout I had. It was a power day and we were switching between each block which always makes things a bit easier for me. There were 2 main blocks on the treadmill, 2 main blocks on the floor, and then a partner challenge to end out the class. On the treadmill, the first block started with 30 second intervals and I ran everything even the base paces! I’ve never done that before and I felt on top of the world! The second half of the first block was 45 second intervals but I wasn’t able to run everything so I did my usual plan of walking all the base paces. The second treadmill block was 6 minutes long with 1 minute intervals and I walked the base paces again.

On the floor, the first block was sprint rows with squats and arm work. And the second block was timed work like burpees, medicine ball jacks, and ab work. But then we got to spend the last 12 minutes of class partnered up and that was awesome! We were rowing for distance as a team and we rotated between the floor and rower. The person on the floor had arm work and plank jacks and controlled the pace of the switching. It was a long 12 minutes but I knew my partner was counting on me so I worked really hard. And after 12 minutes, we got pretty far on the rower!

I’m not sure I did my fair share on the rowing distance, but my partner didn’t seem to mind and we were both very proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

Wednesday’s workout was just bad for me. It started out fine but then at the beginning of the class my hip popped out (like it does all the time) but I couldn’t get it to go back. It was causing me some very intense pain and I didn’t want to step out of class to take a painkiller since it usually takes time for them to kick in. So I just did what I could and sucked it up. On the treadmill, I walked everything. It was a strength day so I was able to work on walking hills, but I really was upset that I couldn’t do any running. I’m so stubborn so it’s tough to let myself take it easy when I know I could do better. But my body just wasn’t having it so I had to go with the flow.

The floor work that day was one long block where we did a lot of arm work. I was pretty grateful for that since I could do my usual stuff even with my hip hurting. The arm work was one sided work so that added some extra difficulty in things. But I think that I was still able to keep good form with the heavier weights I was using that day. We also had some spring rows that were 200 meters each. I really wanted to get it under 40 seconds but I did them in 41 and 40 seconds. That’s still pretty fast for me, but again it’s tough when I have a goal and I just fall short of it.

Friday’s workout was much better than Wednesday’s. I wasn’t really hurting that much that day so I was able to do running. I did take it easy because I didn’t want to overdo it, so all my push paces were at 4.5 mph and all my all out paces were at 5 mph. We were switching between blocks but all the treadmill blocks were all the same with intervals starting at 1 minute, then going to 45 seconds, and ending at 30 seconds. It was good to be able to run again and even though it wasn’t my hardest running it was still better than not running at all.

The floor that day had blocks that were all pretty similar. Each block at 3 moves in it and they were all mixed up between arms, lower body, and core work. The only bad thing was that because I was still feeling a bit low from my workout on Wednesday, I might have overdone it a bit with the weights because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

And since I overdid it a bit on Friday, when I went on Saturday I was a bit sore. It was mainly in my hamstrings, so that was a nice change from being sore in my hips. And it was a 3G class so I knew I wasn’t going to spend that much time in any part of the room. But I didn’t get to Orangetheory as early as I normally do so I had to start on the rower instead of the treadmill. The rowing started with rowing plus medicine ball jacks. And the second half was rowing sprints with recovery in between.

Next I went to the floor where the beginning of the floor work was all straps. We did triceps, shoulders, and squats on the straps and that wasn’t too bad. But the second half of the floor was timed work and that was crazy. Everything was in 45 second intervals and we rotated between chest presses, shoulder presses, and crunches. We did that rotation 3 times without any breaks and it was so much tougher than I expected. I was pretty tired after that but I still had the treadmill to do.

The beginning of the treadmill was pretty easy for me with 45 second intervals all on 1% incline. I did my usual with walking the base paces but running everything else. Then for the second half of the treadmill time (which was the last 7 minutes of class) we did incline work. We did push to all out paces at 5% and 4% and I did manage to run those. Running at 5% feels so tough, but it’s not feeling impossible like it did before so I know there is improvement. We ended with 2 all out paces, one at 3% and one at 2% which pretty much felt like a flat incline to me after the higher inclines. I really hate doing my treadmill work last because I feel like I’m so tired, but it’s also good to mix things up from time to time.

There were some totally amazing moments in my workouts this past week and some seriously depressing ones. It’s so easy for me to work out when everything is going great, but it’s good to have a challenge to get through to know that I can push through it and still get it done. I’m continuing to do a mental countdown of how many workouts I can do before surgery. The number is getting smaller and smaller so I’m starting to feel like surgery will be here before I know it. But I’m also now trying to think of surgery as just another challenge for me to get through.

Accepting Some Help (or Hope This Helps The Pain)

After my super full day at Disneyland this week, I was in a lot of pain. The pain was happening while I was walking around the parks, but sadly I’m used to that. It was getting pretty bad close to the end of the night, but that didn’t seem too weird to me since I was at the parks a lot longer than I usually am.

When my hips start hurting (especially the one that has had surgery on it already), things don’t usually get better that day. For some reason, no matter what painkiller I take during the day, things don’t stop hurting until after I sleep that night. Sometimes the pain continues the next day, but usually when I wake up the next morning things are a lot better.

My friend June is used to seeing me limp toward the end of our Disneyland days, but I think this might have been the first time Dani saw me limping. It can be shocking when I’m doing fine in the beginning of the day and by the end of the day I have trouble taking steps. I’m sure that both of my friends were concerned about me and while we were eating our late dinner they discussed some options with me for future Disneyland days.

I’m pretty vocal about not wanting to use a wheelchair or scooter at Disneyland. A wheelchair would be annoying to push (or have a friend help me push) and I don’t want to be on a scooter because it’s bad enough being judged for my weight now and I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I was on a scooter. Plus, I enjoy walking and it’s good for me to get those steps in during the day. I’ve been on crutches at the park before right before I had my surgery, and it’s not fun to have to use some sort of assistance there.

But the pain this time was so bad that I was more receptive to my friends suggesting that maybe I look into something that could help me. I know that they were saying it because they care and I appreciate that they do want to see me enjoy the end of my day when I go to Disneyland.  And the idea that they came up with is maybe I should look into getting a cane so I can take some pressure off of my hip as I walk.

I definitely didn’t love the idea at first. I know that there are so many articles about how people ignore those with invisible disabilities, but I’ve enjoyed not having my issues known as soon as someone sees me. I like to appear to be normal and if I start to limp eventually then I can always explain the situation. But to have a cane with me would give attention to my problem and I don’t know if I want that to happen.

But the reality is that maybe I do need some help with walking on long days like that. This doesn’t mean that I’ll use it all the time (even at Disneyland), but it could be nice to have as an option when I’m hurting. And I know that things will likely only get worse until I have the next surgery (or surgeries) I need so there may be a time where I need the cane more often and it’s probably best to get used to it sooner rather than later.

So the day after Disneyland, I did some searching online and found a pretty inexpensive cane that can be folded up so it fits into my backpack when I don’t need to use it. It arrived yesterday and it is pretty easy to unfold and fold back up. I took a few steps around my house using it and it’s not horrible to use. It’s totally easier than using crutches (those hurt my arms and armpits so much when I had to use them) so I think it won’t be too painful when I do use it. And of course my friends offered to decorate it for me since I got a plain cane (the fancy decorative ones were double or triple the cost).

This isn’t a decision I’m totally happy with, but I know that in the long run it will be the best for me. Even if I don’t end up using the cane the next time I go to Disneyland, it will be nice to know I have it as an option if walking is starting to hurt too much. And hopefully I do feel more comfortable with my hip issues being out there to the public so the cane won’t feel as embarrassing to use.

Ten Years Ago (or Another Big Milestone)

Ten years ago was my hip surgery. I’ve had very few surgeries in my life (eye surgery as a baby, wisdom teeth out 16 years ago, and tonsils out about 7 years ago), but there is no question that the biggest and most impactful one was my hip surgery.

Ten years ago I was wheeled into the operating room after signing paperwork that was pretty scary. I had to sign something that said I understood that undergoing surgery could make my condition worse, not fix it at all, or kill me. I had to sign medical power of attorney paperwork in case I was in a vegetative state and couldn’t make decisions on my own. I had to sign my right hip a few times so that the surgeons would operate on the correct hip. This was all pretty overwhelming for me since I still felt like these were things my parents should do for me (I was 22 when I had my surgery so I was an adult).

For my surgery, my parents came to town to take care of me (one of the few times my dad took off work for something other than a vacation) and my mom did her best to keep me calm when my IV was put in my hand. Both my parents came back to give me a hug and a kiss before I was wheeled back and I gave them my valuables to hold. The surgery took several hours, but it felt like it only took a second for me. And I remember every moment until the time they put the drugs in my IV to knock me out and then again from the moment I woke up (I think I might have woken up faster than they expected because they were still removing my foot from the surgery boot when I started asking them how it went).

I remember how scary it was from the time I was injured until my surgery because of all of the unknowns. I was misdiagnosed for a while and when I finally met with my hip surgeon I had to have an MRI to confirm my injury. I remembered him telling me that if the pain in my hip went away during the MRI (the saline they used to open up my hip had some numbing medicine in it), that I would need to have surgery because that’s where my injury was. When the pain went away almost immediately, I burst into tears. It was great to finally have an answer after being in blinding pain for so many months, but the idea of surgery terrified me. But it really was one of the best things to have happened to me.

Recovery from surgery wasn’t easy. I hated being on the crutches and I had to be on painkillers around the clock for almost 2 weeks to not wake up in the middle of the night in pain that was almost as bad as the pre-surgery pain. But I did get to the gym about 24 hours after surgery to ride an exercise bike (I’m so glad my dad was there to help me on and off the bike) and I was almost fully recovered within a few months of the surgery.

10 years later, I would say I’m about 95% recovered. I will probably never fully recover because some of my flexibility and range of motion are gone from how things were corrected. And I don’t know if I will ever be pain-free again like I was before the injury. But I’m in better shape now than I was then (even if I weigh more now) and I’m running which is something I didn’t believe could ever be possible for me!

I’m aware of the reality of my physical limitations and the fact that I will still be needing more surgeries in the future. But this 10 year anniversary of my surgery is a huge marker for me. My surgeon was pretty sure I’d need my second surgery within 3 years and I know that while he was hopeful that I wouldn’t need a hip replacement before I was 40 he thought I might need one within 10 years. I know that I’ve exceeded all expectations that were given to me and I have no clue why I’ve been that lucky. Even at my last surgeon appointment where I met with a new surgeon, my hips look better now then they did last year (which is basically impossible since I am always putting pressure on my bones).

Yes, there are days that I am mad that I was born with this birth defect and even mad that my right hip started to hurt when I was 21 and didn’t wait until I was older. But I also have no idea how my life would have gone if I hadn’t had this problem when I did. My biggest weight loss, while not maintainable, happened because of this surgery. I knew I needed to be at a lower weight for the surgery and I did it. And it did put me in a different mindset than I ever was. And I worked on strengthening my body to support my hip before and after surgery and that is what got me working out more often. And I even started running because I decided I was done with being super careful about high-impact activities (although I will still stay away from ones that have a high fall risk like skiing or ice skating). My life would not be what it is if I didn’t have to have this surgery 10 years ago.

It’s crazy to think that this was 10 years ago. I told a friend recently that it felt like it was last month and a million years ago at the same time. I don’t really remember a time before my hip issues but I’ve also forgotten about how bad the pain was before the surgery. Hopefully I won’t need anything else to be done for the next 10 years, but I’m also in a place now where I know I’ve done more in the past 10 years than any surgeon thought I could and whatever happens now happens.


Another Year Another Orthopedic Surgeon (or Not Worrying About My Hips As Much)

I wrote last year how I was meeting a new hip surgeon because my original hip surgeon had left the hospital I go to (I loved my original surgeon and wished he was still with Kaiser). At the appointment last year I was told that some of the issues I had been told I have in the past weren’t quite correct and there were other issues that I needed to worry about.

I left that appointment a bit confused. I tried to be ok with the idea that I had the wrong diagnosis originally and that there was a new plan in place. But the more I looked up hip dysplasia (what the new surgeon told me I had), the less it made sense to me. I don’t have the same pain and walking issues that dysplasia patients have. I know that I had bone spurs and torn cartilage because it was seen on the MRI and that is the surgery I had. I couldn’t understand how my original surgeon could have missed something so big when he operated on me and examined my hip so many times. And lastly, I hated the surgery options that the new surgeon gave to me when I looked more into them. One of them had a very extensive recovery and it still would be a hold over until I had a total hip replacement.

With all this confusion in my head, I decided that I really wanted to get another opinion and another treatment plan figured out. My Wednesday Orangetheory coach, JZ, has a similar hip issue that I have (but hers is much less severe and she was able to treat it with stem cells). She was going to refer me to her doctor, but he wasn’t Kaiser and I wasn’t going to go outside of my insurance. But then JZ told me that a guy who sometimes works out in her Wednesday class is an orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser and introduced us. He doesn’t specialize in hips, so he couldn’t meet with me. But he got me a referral with the hip specialist at Kaiser Panorama City (where he works). While I don’t love having to drive so far to meet a doctor, I figured that it was worth my time to see what was going on.

I had my appointment this week on Tuesday and things couldn’t have gone better for me! First in my appointment was another set of x-rays. The x-ray techs were super nice to me and laughed because I knew exactly what positions I had to get my body into for the next x-ray (I had 4 taken).

After the x-rays, I went back to the exam room and waited for the doctor. It seemed like it took forever for him to come back and I started to panic a bit. I was worried that it was taking so long because there was something really bad in my x-rays and he was trying to figure out how to break it to me. But when he finally came into the room, he seemed to be all smiles.

He started by asking me my history and what my original and secondary diagnoses were. We discussed the surgery I had (which was almost 10 years ago!) and the treatment plans that I got from the original surgeon and the one I met last year. Finally, he asked me about the pain that I’m feeling in each of my hips and he did a quick exam to test the rotations on my hips.

After that, he brought up my x-rays and said that my right hip specifically looks much better than it did last year which is not something that he would have expected to see based on my history.

Hip X-Rays

(last year is on the top and this week is on the bottom)

He said that the arthritis is still showing in my right hip and you can see where the points are that are worse off. But he said that if I did have hip dysplasia, it is so mild that I don’t need to treat it. He pretty much agreed with what my original surgeon said felt like I was doing a pretty great job so far. My hips look as good as could be expected (or maybe better since the space in my hip socket is better now than a year ago). He did discuss how I need to lose weight (I know that and explained to him that I’m working on recovery from an eating disorder) in order to keep my hips as healthy as possible. He also discussed potential knee issues that I could have down the line, but honestly right now I’m only worried about my hips.

This surgeon said that the only surgeries that he could see me needing in the future are hip replacements (no alternatives to total hip replacements will work for me). But he doesn’t see me needing them anytime soon so I don’t need to worry. When I feel like I’m in so much pain that I can’t keep going, then replacements will be the next step. But for now I can keep doing what I’m doing, keep taking my anti-inflamatories (I take ibuprofen for pain and Zyflamend as a daily supplement), and I’m going to start taking Glucosamine to see if that helps. But this surgeon pretty much said that he expects that he will be retiring before I need my next surgery so it’s likely that this will be the only time I see him.

I left Kaiser feeling better than I have in a while! I don’t have any negative feelings toward the doctor from last year, but I’m glad that he wasn’t right in what he said. Knowing that my original diagnosis was correct and that I’m not in need of surgery any time soon is a great feeling! Of course, I wish I wasn’t in any pain and didn’t need any surgeries but that isn’t my reality.

The only thing that bugged me a bit is there really isn’t anything for me to do know for the pain I feel. The pressure and pain that I feel in my right hip is from the arthritis and that will be that way until I get the replacement. It would be awesome if the doctor had said that there was something I could do now or a medication that I could take to make all the pain stop now.

Overall, this was exactly what I wanted this appointment to be. I was told that my original plan was the right plan and that I’m doing everything right for now. This took such a huge weight and stress off of me and I’m just so grateful that I can put my hip fears out of my mind and just focus on pain management when needed and continuing to be as active as I can!

Finding New Limitations (or Trying My Best)

This past week my workouts seemed to focus on things that were issues for me. This was not the fault of any of my coaches, it’s just what it was and for some reason it got to me (and inspired my post on limitations last week). I tried to do my best each day, but there always seemed to be a reason why my body wasn’t going to be able to do that.

Monday started off pretty great. We had a workout that was endurance, strength, and power so it was a nice combination of things. It was a switch day so I was able to push myself a bit more on both the treadmill and the floor. I loved being able to push myself because we had a long push pace on the treadmill (3 minutes) and a longer than a sprint row (600 meters) that I really wanted to work on. I’m better with sprints than anything else, so when things aren’t exactly a sprint it’s a great time to push myself without doing too much. Besides the rowing, we had some lunges with the TRX straps which is also great because I can do better lunges on the straps than I can without support.

But then we reached the end of the workout where everyone went to the floor. I thought it would be a core blast like we do sometimes where we do a bunch of crunches and planks. Those are tough, but doable. But instead of a core blast, we had a glute blast. At first I thought I should be able to do it, but then I realized that every single move in the plan were things that my body can’t do. Either my body doesn’t move that way right now because of how my hip sits or I know it would cause me some serious pain because that’s how I feel the most pain right now. My coach was able to give me my own plan (I ended up doing all ab work then instead), so I wasn’t just sitting and waiting on everyone. But it just made me so mad that I wasn’t able to do something. Even with all my limitations there is something I can do to modify it to make it ok for me. This was the first time where there was no way I could try or modify it to work for me to be the same thing as everyone else. It just hit me that I really hate my restrictions and that I want to figure out what steps to do next to get myself fixed.

That frustration actually worked to my benefit on Wednesday. I was chatting with my Wednesday coach (who has a similar hip issue but hers is super minor so it was able to be treated with stem cells) and she realized that the Kaiser orthopedic surgeon she wanted to introduce me to was actually in class that day! So she introduced me to the doctor and he and I got chatting. He actually doesn’t take patients on like me, but he said that if I got him my Kaiser information he would refer me to one of the other doctors at his hospital that could help me. This isn’t really a workout situation, but I have to say that the doctor was awesome because the next morning I got a call from Kaiser Panorama City (which is about an hour away from me) and I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in 2 weeks! Hopefully I can get another opinion on my situation and get a treatment plan in place!

Ok, back to my workout.

Wednesday was a strength day, which means hills on the treadmill. But it was also a run/row day! I think most people think I’m crazy for loving run/row days as much as I do, but they make me so happy! The run part was all at 7 or 9% inclines and each segment was pretty short. I think the longest I was on the treadmill was about 3 minutes. And the rows were all sprints that day. They were either 300, 200, or 100 meter rows. 300 still is a long sprint, but it’s so much easier for me to push myself for 300 meters than it is on the longer rows. So I was able to get my wattage up even though my hips were struggling on the rower. When we got to the floor, I had realized I overdid it a bit on the run/row so I had to take things a little bit easier than usually. All my arm work was with 15 pound weights (I knew I could probably do 20 pounds but I was tired) and I took moments to breathe when I was down on the floor doing crunches. By the end of the class, I was pretty glad I got through it but I was so exhausted!

Friday was another endurance, strength, and power day. Unfortunately, the treadmill blocks were all back to back so I spend 30 minutes on the treadmill. And for some reason on Friday, my body was just giving up on the treadmill. I was doing ok at first, but then I just needed to keep taking breaks. By the end of the treadmill time, I was almost needing to do a quick break every minute to stretch out my hips. I know that part of the pain was weather related, but this was more than I am used to. It makes me nervous that I had that much pain because I’m doing my 5K this week, but hopefully by the time it’s race day I’ll be doing better (and all this training I know is helping).

After I was finally done with the treadmill, I was pretty happy to get over to the floor. It wasn’t easy on the floor, but all of our rows were timed sprints so I was only on there for 1 minute or 30 seconds each time. I definitely pushed myself on the rower and got some of the highest wattages I’ve ever gotten on the rower before. We also had something new on the floor with our burpees. Usually we do burpees either just with body weight or holding a Bosu. But this time we did our burpees with a medicine ball. While the weight wasn’t as great as when we use a Bosu, the increased instability with the planks made it new and more difficult than usual. It took me a moment to get steady before I could move my legs back and forth, but it wasn’t that tough and I felt pretty happy that I could do it without any extra modifications.

This week at Orangetheory is Peak Performance Week. I’m going to be there for 3 days and I don’t know yet what challenges will be on the 3 days that I’m there. So I guess I’ll have to be surprised on what I’ll be doing and hopefully whatever I do gets me in the best place I can be for my race on Saturday morning!

10 Years Later (or A Good Memory and A Bad Memory)

10 years ago, I was visiting my cousin Adam and his girlfriend Keri in Portland for the weekend. It was a pretty amazing weekend. It was the first time visiting my cousin on my own without other family there and we went out and did so much fun stuff! I really felt like it was a real “adult” trip.

The highlight of my weekend in Portland was going out on Adam’s sailboat. I remember that there was pretty much no wind that day so we were more motoring than sailing, but I still got to go out on the boat and check out the work that he had done on it. Even with not really getting to sail, I loved being on the water.


After saying goodbye to Adam and Keri at the Portland airport, I went to my gate and waited for my flight (I think this was still in the time where you had to line up for Southwest to have a good spot in the A group). I was sitting by the gate and when it was time for me to get up and get on the plane, I tried to stand and immediately had a shooting pain and collapsed on the ground.

To this day, I have no idea how I got onto the plane, through LAX, and home. I’m sure I was a little out of it due to the pain. I just remember waking up the next morning and not being able to put weight on my right leg. Of course, my first reaction was to call my mom. And since I had awesome health insurance then, she told me to make an appointment and see a doctor to figure out what happened.

At first, I was diagnosed with a torn quad muscle (knowing what a torn calf feels like now, I finally understand why I was diagnosed with that at first). After a few weeks of the pain, I saw another doctor and got the same diagnosis again but was also told to go to physical therapy 2-3 times a week to help my recovery (at the time, my insurance covered all appointments in full so I was fine doing that). I was getting ultrasound therapy for a few months with very little improvement. My pain started to change into a locking sensation in my hip.

After sharing that information with my physical therapist, he got me a referral to the surgeon who ended up being my first hip surgeon and properly diagnosing me after months of believing that it was a muscle tear.

9 months from collapsing in the airport I had my hip surgery. The journey with my hip issues has been going ever since.

It’s so crazy to think that it has been 10 years since I fell in the airport. It feels like yesterday and a million years ago at the same time. But instead of focusing on that somewhat annoying anniversary, I’m focusing on the fun that I had on that trip. I had the best time with Adam and Keri that weekend and I think that that was the trip that really built my friendship with Keri. I saw her in person so few times from the time I met her until she passed away. So each of those in-person memories is so precious to me.

Even though that trip 10 years ago ended on a pretty sucky note, everything else leading up to it was so amazing and my only regret is that I don’t have more pictures from that weekend.

Injury After Injury (or I Swear It’s Not Because I’m A Klutz)

I feel like the past few months have been me dealing with one injury after another. Of course, there is always my hip issues. Those are probably going to be around for the rest of my life (even if I have surgeries to fix them). Then I had my torn calf over the summer. I was hoping that would be better in a few weeks, but I’m still dealing with the recovery from that (but I’m feeling almost 100% again).

Because of the hip issues and the torn calf, I started favoring walking differently. This has been an ongoing issue with my hips (my shoes for the last 10 years have worn down in funny patterns), but with the calf I started to favor the other leg. In doing that, I caused some ankle and knee pain.

Then because of who knows what, I started getting the most epic blisters on my heels. It’s not because of my shoes (I’ve used the same type of running shoes for a while now), so I’m not sure what’s causing it. But it made it more difficult for me to walk and do other things.

I’ve been a klutz my entire life. I’m rarely without a bruise or a scratch of some sort. In fact, right now, I’ve got a pretty nasty bruise on my knee where I bumped into my front door (don’t ask). But these issues are not klutz related ones. These are real injuries.

My dad has said that this is what comes with becoming an athlete. And while I agree with him, it’s not fun and I feel like there must be something I can do differently to work on preventing or limiting these issues.

I’m working on stretching more throughout the day and trying to get up from my desk as least once an hour to move around. It hasn’t been easy with the injuries I’ve got right now, but I want to start building better habits for the future. I’m also trying to limit the number of painkillers I take in a week. I still take one before each workout, but I know that taking them only dulls the pain that I feel and doesn’t always allow me to know when I’m pushing myself too much. If I don’t have a painkiller in my system, I should feel pain sooner and therefore know to stop what I’m doing.

It’s funny to me that I’m dealing with so many more injuries now than I did last year when I was starting my workout routine. Of course, there was the quad strain after my very first Orangetheory workout that had me struggling to walk for a couple of days after (thank goodness that was just that one time). But since then I’ve been relatively injury free until this summer. Maybe I’m working that much harder in my workouts? Or maybe I was overdue for some injuries and they are all happening now.

No matter what, unless I’m horribly sick like I was 2 weeks ago, I’m not letting these injuries prevent me from working out. I’m looking at them like a badge of honor. Because unless my klutz injuries, I’ve earned these by kicking butt.

I just wish that they would hurt less and get better sooner.

People Don’t Get It (or My Comment On The Dear Fat People Video)

Some of you may have seen a video online called “Dear Fat People”. I’m not going to link to it because I don’t want to necessarily promote it (if you want to watch it, it’s pretty easy to find). I actually had not seen the video until yesterday and I had some pretty strong feelings about it.

First of all, I guess the fat people video is supposed to be funny. The woman in it is a comedian who thought that it would be seen as a joke (or at least that’s what I’ve read in interviews). In the video, she claims that fat shaming isn’t a thing. People who are fat should be shamed so they can change themselves. She thinks that fat people are fat because they don’t know that it’s wrong and don’t know how to fix it. She tells a story about a family who are all overweight (she says that they smell like sausages and sweat out Crisco) and are on a plane with her. According to her, she has to hold back the son’s fat while he is sitting next to her so it doesn’t cover her. She goes on and on about more stories about how fat people don’t realize that they need to change because they are all dying off from fat diseases. She does say that this video isn’t about anyone who may have a medical condition who makes them fat.

I have so many issues with this video that I don’t even know where to start.

First of all, her disclaimer that this video isn’t about anyone with a medical condition is stupid. How does she know that the people she discusses in her video don’t have a medical condition? While I don’t have a medical condition that causes my weight issues (beyond my eating disorder) I do have an invisible disability with my hip issues. I get a pass when I go to Disneyland that lets me sit off to the side when I wait for rides. I still wait just as long as anyone in line, but I don’t have to stand in line while waiting. When it’s my turn, I get to go onto the ride. Many guests think this is a front of the line/instant access pass. It did used to be that way, but too many people were faking injuries to get it. Back then, the disability line for many rides were longer than the regular line (I once waited 3 hours for Space Mountain when the regular line was 1 because I need to use the accessible coaster car so I can get into the ride safely). Now that it’s not considered as desirable to people who fake their injuries, the wait times are similar or maybe a little longer than the regular line. With this pass, I’ve had some people shame me for using it. I’ve had people tell me that if I wasn’t so fat that I wouldn’t have to cheat the system. I’ve been called names. I’ve been pointed out and laughed at. In the beginning, I used to carry around the pictures from my surgery to call out people, but now I just don’t care. But it does make me mad when someone assumes that someone doesn’t have a disability because they can’t see it.

I also find the story of the airplane completely unbelievable. If someone doesn’t fit into one seat and will be encroaching onto another seat, the airlines are pretty quick to force that person to buy a second seat so they have enough room. The guideline is that the armrest needs to go completely down without any spillage for the airline to agree that you take up one seat (yes, I’ve been called out on this and it was stupid because there was more than enough room for the armrests to go down). If this woman really had to hold back the fat of someone to enjoy their flight, I’m sure that the other passenger would have been asked to buy a second seat. I’m sure that either this story is made up or exaggerated for theatrical purposes.

Finally, the person in the video believes that people who are fat don’t know what to do to fix it. While this might be true for some overweight people, the majority of the people I know with weight issues know more about health, nutrition, diet, and exercise than almost anyone else. This is because most of us have tried every diet under the sun to lose the weight and get healthy. I can tell you the calorie counts of so many different foods. If you tell me your weight, I can guess how many calories you will burn if you walk or run a mile with pretty decent accuracy. I know what drinks have added sugars, fake sugars, or have a base other than water. I probably could teach a class on nutrition by this point. And I think that most of you who are regular readers would agree that I am working pretty darn hard on my fitness and know what I need to do. If I didn’t have my eating disorder, I’d probably be a size 2 now.

To anyone who watched that video and was embarrassed about your weight issues, there’s no need to be. Everyone has their struggles in life. Those of us with weight issues just have our issues on the outside where everyone can see them. If you are happy at the size that you are and your doctors say that you are healthy, then stay exactly how you are. If you want to lose weight, do it. There are plenty of great and healthy ways to lose weight and become the best that you can be.

And if you watched that video and felt like that people who are overweight should be shamed, you should know that shaming someone isn’t probably going to motivate them. For people with eating disorders, it will probably make the problem worse. If there is someone you love who is an unhealthy weight and you are worried about them, try to let them bring the issue to you. It’s embarrassing to discuss these things at times and if someone else brings it up they might not want to talk about it and then keep it buried inside even longer.

I’m aware that this is a rant about a silly video online. But if I had seen that video online maybe 5 years ago, I would have had a very different reaction to it. I see it as silly now, but then I would have been devastated and would have wanted to avoid the public in fear of random people trying to shame or taunt me because of my weight.

But now I know that no matter how skinny or fat I might be, I’m still the same fabulous person. People love me for who I am and not what I look like. And anyone who thinks differently isn’t someone who I need in my life.


Hip Surgery Anniversary (or This Feels Like A Milestone)

Today marks 9 years since my hip surgery. I feel like this is a big anniversary. Obviously 10 years is one that most people would think of. But for me, 9 years has some significance.

I was told pretty soon after my hip surgery that I would probably only make it 3 years (if that) before my next surgery would be needed. The marker for needing that next surgery would be a similar amount of pain that I had prior to my surgery on the right side.

For those first 3 years, I pretty much lived in fear. Any time I took a step that caused my hip to have a shock of pain, I was terrified that was that and I would be in a cycle of pain again. But luckily for me, usually that pain only lasts an hour or so. I’ve also learned some tricks about how to make the pain go away faster.

Once those 3 years went by, the next 3 years scared me. I figured that I would never make it twice the amount of time that my surgeon expected me to before the next surgery. Again, I was in constant fear that I would have that horrible pain again that caused me to feel like electrical shocks were never-ending in my body.

But for the last 3 years, I’ve been working on not having that fear. I’ve pushed my body to do things that I was told that I should try not to do. While I do still avoid things that make falling a high risk (like skiing or skating), I’m pushing my limits and finding new ones.

It started with spinning. That was something that my original hip surgeon was concerned about. He really only wanted me to use a reclining bike, not an upright one. The upright one puts more pressure on my hip sockets and can cause me to need to have surgery sooner rather than later. But I figured that since I had already exceeded the original timeline for when I would need my next surgery, it would be ok if I ended up needing the surgery now.

After spinning I started at Orangetheory. While I am still very careful there by not trying to run on the treadmill (although I’m really tempted to test that out) and by not doing things like step ups that cause my hips to catch, I do things that I know aren’t the best for me. But again, the fear of needing my next surgery is fading away.

With my new diagnosis, I’ve got a few more options for what surgery I’ll do next. The surgery that my surgeon would prefer to do on me would require a very long recovery including overnight hospital stays (I’ve never been at a hospital overnight). I wouldn’t be walking without assistance for a couple of months. I really don’t like that idea. The other surgery option only would be about 6 weeks of recovery, but the chance of success is a little lower.

I’ve still got plenty of time to figure this all out. I’m not in need of surgery yet. And I still need to lose quite a bit of weight before the surgeon will write the order for the MRI (which is the next step and will allow me to get a second opinion). But I do want to plan things out because when things do go bad, they go bad very quickly and I don’t want to spend almost a year in pain like I did last time.

I’m now starting to wonder if I can make it another 3 years before I have to think seriously about surgery. It’s not a fun process to go through (I’m already dreading the MRI which was a horrible experience last time) and once I have the surgery I might not gain full range of motion again. I’m still technically not fully recovered from the surgery 9 years ago although my range of motion is getting very close to how it used to be.

So here’s to 9 years of not needing my next hip surgery! Clearly I’ve been doing something right and I’ve hopefully got several more years before I need to worry about going on the operating table again!