Tag Archives: hip pain

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.

IMGP0194.JPG

Busy Workout Week (or Maybe Overdoing It A Bit)

I had a 4 workout week this past week. I totally needed a 4 workout week (it was actually the only 4 workout week I had for April), but I think that some of my activities on my off days (or before my workouts) made it seem a bit tougher than it usually feels. Of course, I also might have felt it more because it had been way too long since my last 4 workout week and I’ve learned that I need to make sure that I’m doing them more often so I don’t get out of the habit of it.

I think my Monday workout went pretty well. It was a day that had endurance, strength, and power and those can be really fun. It was a switch day, so I was never on the treadmill for that long at a single stretch. The endurance block was full of longer push paces, but those weren’t too bad for me. The one treadmill thing that got to me was the strength section. Strength on the treadmill means hills and sometimes the power walkers are expected to go much higher on the incline than I’m ok with right now (I’m wondering if my calf will ever feel back to normal again). I tried my best, but I’m really not ok going above 8% (or on really good days 10%) on the treadmill. So I had to keep my inclines lower than I would have liked, but I tried to bump up the speed when I could.

The floor work wasn’t too bad, but my body wasn’t loving the pop jacks or knee tucks. Knee tucks are much easier for me, but they can be a struggle when I’m tired or my hip is feeling ready to be done. But what I liked the best about this workout was that the end was the endurance block that was a partner challenge. So I felt extra motivated then because I had a partner counting on me and the treadmill part of the partner workout was a 1 minute push to all-out on the treadmill so it was pretty fast.

Wednesday was a tough day for me at first. I had gone to Disneyland after the workout on Monday, and I might have overdone it a bit with the walking after a workout. Tuesday I was really sore and Wednesday I was still feeling a bit off. I tried to do some stretching work to make my legs and hip feel better, but when I’m having an off day sometimes there is nothing I can do to make it better. So when I got to the workout, I was happy to see that it was a run/row day. All the treadmill blocks were pretty short (I think the longest I was on the treadmill at a time was under 4 minutes), and the rowing wasn’t too bad. The rows were between 100-200 meters each time, so that was basically under a minute of rowing. I tried to take a moment between the treadmill and the rower to catch my breath and make sure I wasn’t pushing my hip too much. I think I did ok with that because when I got to the floor block, it went really well for me!

I was doing my squats with 20 pound weights in each hand and managed to do all my arm work with the same weights! I’m getting close to being able to move to 25 pound weights for my chest presses (somehow that is where my upper body is strongest), but I’m still doing great with 20 pounds and the last few moves of each set can be a struggle. But knowing that I’m getting close to moving up to the next weight makes me feel pretty awesome. We also had lunge work to do that day, but I wasn’t able to do my lunges how we were supposed to (with our back leg on the weight bench). So I did my regular lunges instead and didn’t feel too bad about it because I was feeling so great about the weight work I had already done.

Friday was an interesting day. Before the workout, I had put a challenge out online that for every donor we get on the film Kickstarter, I would do a burpee before the class. I really was hoping we’d get a bunch of donors, but we only got 2. But then again, that meant I only had to do 2 burpees. I’m not the prettiest doing burpees because of the hip issues, but since I was filming this to share online I tried to look awesome doing them. Sadly, trying to look awesome also made both of my hips hurt so badly (even with only doing 2 burpees), so I was already feeling a bit sore before the workout even started.

Friday was a solid 30 minutes on the treadmill to start. We had a couple of 2 minute pushes, and those felt like 3 minutes or more to me. But I managed to get through it. When we had to do hills, I had to keep them pretty low (I basically stayed at 6%), but I did bump up my speed to balance it out. On the floor, I got to use the 20 pound weights again for my chest and arm work and we had some shorter rows. By the end of the workout, my hips were feeling a bit better than they did right after those 2 burpees (I’m so grateful the workout didn’t have any burpees in it!). But even though I was feeling a bit better, I knew that Saturday was going to have to be a bit of an easier day for me.

Saturday I was using the bike instead of the treadmill. The cardio blocks were back to back so I was on the bike for 30 minutes straight. It technically wasn’t a distance challenge day, but we were given a distance to try to get to in class. The runners on the treadmill were supposed to do a 5K (3.1 miles) or better in the 30 minutes, so I figured on the bike I should try to go 12 miles since for run/row days the bike has to do 4 times the distance of the treadmills. We had a lot of long pushes between the treadmill blocks. It seemed like a majority of them were between 2 or 3 minutes and I was feeling pretty tired by the end of the blocks. But once we were told to switch to the floor, my distance on the bike was 12.1 miles, so I was pretty happy about that.

The floor work was a lot of should work and we had some longer rows too. One block was an 800 meter row and the other was a 400 meter row. I managed to do both without having to take a break, but it wasn’t easy. And I was under the time that we were supposed to be under for the rower, so that was pretty awesome. At the end of each floor block, we had a 1 minute plank challenge. I still have to do planks on my knees (on my toes hurts my calf), but being on my knees also allows me to focus much better on my form. I could feel the planks in my core a lot, but I was able to keep going for the entire minute both times.

This week, I know I’ll be doing 3 regular workouts. There is also a dri-tri on Saturday that I’m debating about doing. I know I’ve felt left out in the past when I didn’t do the dri-tri, and I think that maybe I should just push myself to do it. But I also somehow don’t feel ready for it yet. I’m hoping that by tomorrow I will have a decision made on whether or not I will go for it. This dri-tri is the preliminary for the regional dri-tri, but since I know that I will not be a contender for representing my studio if I do it my focus will only be to finish and not to beat anyone else. I know that if I do it, the chances of me being the last person to finish is really high, but if I go for it I think finishing is the only goal that I’ll have in my head.

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!

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!

IMGP0195.JPG

Feeling New Aches And Pains (or Working On More Pain Management)

I’ve gotten pretty decent at managing my hip pain. I’ve been dealing with this for almost 10 years now (this coming October will mark 10 years since I collapsed in an airport and the pain started). I have a routine with painkillers and while that has changed a bit because I need to limit narcotic painkillers on Vyvanse, I’m still pretty on top of things.

But with all my workouts plus other things in life, I’m having more pain and having trouble managing it (which in turn makes my hip pain feel worse). Some of the pain is from things that I know I need to deal with. My muscles feel sore after workouts, especially when I’m pushing it with the weights I’m using. Right now, I’m dealing with a lot of shoulder pain in my right shoulder. I’m guessing it’s a combination of my workouts and maybe sleeping weirdly.

I’m also dealing with foot/toe/ankle pain. I’m guessing that that is partly due to the increased speed on the treadmill during my workouts. But it’s also probably due to me marching in place every day to make sure I get my steps in. Walking for hours at Disneyland didn’t help that either.

The rest of the pain that I’m experiencing is stuff that I know is temporary (and somewhat out of my control). Mainly sunburn soreness and feeling sickly (which makes me achy) because of the heat wave.

I’m still working on getting my mind to think about pain differently. It’s not something to stop me and make me take a break all the time. Of course, sometimes that’s exactly what pain means. But I used to always stop when I have any pain and that would prevent me from attempting to work out.

I’m not giving myself that excuse anymore. I’ve become the master at modifying my workouts. And I just have to keep that mindset for other things. Just because my feet are sore, that doesn’t mean that I can’t get my 10,000 steps done. It just means that it might take me all day instead of being able to get them all done in the morning (and then working toward 15,000 for the rest of the day). It might hurt to type with my shoulder pain (it’s weird, but true) but I have to push through it and try to take typing breaks when I can.

I know that pain is temporary, and I just have to keep telling myself that. And most of the pain I’m feeling is because I’m working so hard on improving myself and soon I won’t feel the pain anymore with similar activities.

Tough Workout Week (or I Made It Through My 4 Workouts)

Even though I was on a high from my PR from my 5K, that didn’t help me get through one of the toughest workout weeks I’ve had in a while.

I’m pretty sure I narrowed down my workout problems to 2 different things.

First of all, ever since I started on Vyvanse, I haven’t been allowed to take my stronger painkillers. Vyvanse is a stimulant and my painkillers are depressants. So taking both would cancel each other out (or so I was told by my doctor). I don’t usually take my strong painkillers that often, but I have taken them prior to or right after a 5K many times in the past. So while I did take a mild painkiller before the 5K, I didn’t take the stronger one that I’m used to. So that’s making me have a bit more pain after the race.

The other thing that was making my workouts tough this week is how competitive I’m getting with my Fitbit. This is a good thing. In the past, I probably didn’t hit 10,000 steps most days. But now, I’m making sure that I do that every day. Even if that means marching in place in my house a lot. But since I’m not used to getting in all those steps each day, my legs are more sore than I’m used to. But on the positive side, on days where I do a Orangetheory workout plus get extra walking in, my Fitbit chart looks like this.

Fitbit Screen

With the Fitbit soreness, I know that I’ll get used to that eventually. I have to remind myself that my first Orangetheory workout made me so sore that it hurt to walk for a few days. Now I’m doing 3-4 workouts a week without many issues.

I’m finally starting to get used to having my Monday workout be in the mornings instead of the afternoons. I still have some issues getting my heart rate as high as it does in the afternoon, but it’s more where it should be now.

To be honest, I don’t remember a ton of specifics from my workouts this week since I found each workout to be difficult.

More specifically, I was having a lot of pain and other issues on the treadmill this week. It seemed like every workout this week was all hills on the treadmill. And while I’m doing a lot better than I used to, those hills were killing me! I had to take so many breaks to let the pain decrease a little before continuing. I’m not used to so much pain. And it frustrates me because this isn’t “I’m tired” pain but “my hips bones are grinding against my leg bones” pain. So if I wasn’t having that problem, I know that I could push more because the rest of my body and my mind is in it. My hips just aren’t agreeing with me.

But I was pretty darn proud of myself with my rowing. Rowing has always been tough for me because of my hips. I have a hard time getting the wattage up to where the coaches want it to be.

But in my rowing this week I was getting higher wattage than I’m used to (I’m used to being around 80 and I was staying around the 100 mark). There were even a few moments where I got my wattage to be at my body weight, which is something that we are constantly told to push for.

Just because I had a bad week of workouts doesn’t mean that it was for nothing. 4 workouts in a week is still pretty awesome! And I know that even if my cardio was suffering a bit that my strength work was getting better. I’m continuing to use the heavier weights that I recently moved to, even for my arms now! Before, my arms and shoulders weren’t strong enough all the time and I had to keep downgrading my weights partway through the sets. But I’m sticking with it now and I feel like in no time I’ll be increasing the weights again!

I have no idea if my workouts this week will be much better. The pain that I’m in is still much more than normal and it doesn’t seem to be going away. But I’m going to focus on doing what I can and not stressing out about what I’m struggling with.

New Workout Gadgets And Records (or Improving On My Workouts)

This past week brought some fun things to my Orangetheory workouts. The first thing was at my Monday workout.

Since I started at Orangetheory, there has always been heart rate monitors. This is part of the reason why I love Orangetheory. The heart monitors that have been used in the past are by Polar. I owned my own strap and every time I worked out, I got a pod (the device that hooks on to the strap) from the front desk. The pods belonged to Orangetheory and had to be turned in after each class.

But on Monday, we all got a nice present waiting for us at the front desk.

IMG_4414

We got new heart rate monitors! This is the OTBeat system. It uses Bluetooth to connect in class and you can even use it for workouts outside of class (which is perfect since the battery in my other heart rate monitor still needs replacing). And now I don’t have to get a pod from the front desk (or remember to turn it back in) each workout!

The only possible glitch with the new heart rate monitor for me is the calorie count. It’s saying that I’m burning about 200-300 calories less than the old system did. And when I use the app on my phone with the heart rate monitor (while I’m in class), it says I do burn those extra 200-300 calories. I’ve told the management at my Orangetheory and we are trying to figure out why this is happening. I’m not sure if I should trust what the class calorie burn is or the app calorie burn is. Hopefully this will be resolved this week.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to do the Monday Challenge this past week. It was a 1/4 mile on the treadmill at 10%, but you couldn’t hold on to the treadmill while you did it. Since I have so many balance and walking straight issues, it was more important for me to hold on and not fall than to try the Monday Challenge.

Other than not being able to do the Monday Challenge, I had a great workout.

Wednesday I pushed myself to some new limits with my weights. The new OTBeat system shows how long you have been in the orange and red zones (the zones that help your body burn calories post-workout), so I wanted to see if I could get more time in those zones. In the past, you only knew how long you were in those zones after the workout, but now that I can see how close I am to my goals throughout the workout, I feel extra motivated to push myself farther and farther.

And pushing myself was the theme of my Friday workout. For the treadmill block, we had some distance races. The first and last 7 minutes of the treadmill block were for distance. The first 7 minutes, I got to .401 miles. My goal was .4 miles, so getting that little extra was super motivating. When we had the next 7 minute race, I made myself go even faster than last time (so much easier to do that on a treadmill where it forces me to go faster if I increase the speed on the machine).

Going faster (and at 6% incline instead of 3% which is the norm), was painful at times, but all I really wanted to do is to go for the full 7 minutes without taking a break. And somehow, I managed to do that.

When I looked at the treadmill to see how far I went, I was in shock.

IMG_4436

That’s so much better than the first time, and I was exhausted this time from doing the first 7 minute race and the intervals we had between the 2 races.

Honestly, the rest of my workout after that was a bit of a blur. It was a blur of pain and happiness that I was able to go so much farther than I ever expected.

This coming week, I’m going to be calling Kaiser to try to get an appointment with a potential hip surgeon. I know what my old surgeon had as a plan for me, but since he isn’t at Kaiser anymore and that plan was created almost 8 years ago, I want to know what else is possible for me. My goal is to find a way to be able to walk faster without pain and to perhaps find more ways to delay the 3 surgeries that I was told that I need. Seeing how far I can push myself when I’m in pain in a workout has really motivated me to work with a new doctor to make my future workouts even better.