Tag Archives: hip problems

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.

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!

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.

Not Being So Hard On Myself (or Missing A Workout Goal This Month)

This past week of workouts weren’t my best, but I tried. Last week wasn’t my best week either, and I don’t like that these bad weeks are becoming a trend.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of this pain is coming from the fact that I cannot take my strong painkillers right now. I don’t take them that often, but I probably take them a couple of times a month when I have really bad hip pain. But now, I just have to make my mild painkillers and push through the pain.

I’m also continuing to make sure that I’m getting 10,000 steps in every day, and when I’m having a bad hip day (and not able to take my usual painkillers), that makes my bad hip days last longer.

Even with the bad days, I still managed to get in my 3 workouts (what I consider to be my minimum number of workouts in a week) and I managed to still make progress.

I’m now always at 3.4 miles an hour on the treadmill (except for when we have walking recoveries which are supposed to be at 3.0 miles an hour). I’m doing that same speed even if I’m at 15% incline. Considering that when I started less than a year ago I was at 3.0 miles an hour, I’m pretty darn happy with myself. I’m still hoping to be .2 or .3 miles an hour faster by my next 5K (which will be in November), so I’m trying to figure out when I should bump up my speed another .1.

I’m also pushing myself with my weights more. I don’t always get to use the 15 pound weights, but that’s usually because I can’t find them (those aren’t at all the weight stations so sometimes all the 15 pound sets are being used). But I have noticed that the 12 pound weights are feeling too light now. Just a month or two ago, I was struggling with those weights!

And I’m continuing to improve on my wattage on my rowing. I can sometimes get it up to where we are supposed to be, but my hips have a tough time maintaining that for more that 100 meters. For the longer rows, I just try to stay above 100 watts and most of the time I’m getting that done.

While I am making progress even during my bad days, this past weekend I did realize that I am going to miss a workout goal for the month of April. I had a goal at the beginning of the year that I would do 175 workouts for the year. I have an app on my phone that helps me track my progress and to let me know when I’m getting what I need done each month.

This month (after I work out on Monday and Wednesday) I will have gotten 96% of what I needed to do this month done. I can’t add an extra workout in this week, so I’ll have to be ok with 96%. There were weeks when I wanted to add a 4th workout in, but it just wasn’t possible.

But I know that I’ve got plenty of months left this year to make up for what I didn’t do this month. I can do more than 100% in May to make up for it and I feel confident in being able to reach my goal by the end of this year.

So here’s to hoping that while I might have another bad hip week this week, I still can make progress and continue to kick butt in my workouts.

I Might Have Found My New Hip Surgeon (or Studying My X-Rays Like Crazy)

This week I finally had my appointment with the new hip specialist at my hospital. While I’m still sad that my first hip surgeon is gone, I was interested to hear what another doctor might say about my issues.

When I found my first hip surgeon, I did get a second opinion. But my second opinion didn’t feel like there was anything seriously wrong with me and that my hip pain was really just muscle pain that wasn’t going away (by that point, I had been in very bad pain for 6 months). So since my original hip surgeon was the one who believed that there was something wrong with me that could be fixed, I trusted his opinion completely. And when he told me that I would still need 3 more surgeries on my hips, I accepted that as what had to be done.

So going in to meet a new surgeon is a little scary. He did have my medical records and was able to review my old surgeon’s notes on my condition and surgery. But as I expected, I needed to get another set of x-rays so this doctor could see how things look today.

So right before my appointment, I visited the orthopedic x-ray room.


I had 2 different types of x-rays done. The standing up ones are pretty easy (and almost totally painless for me). The laying down ones are tough. The way I have to lay with my feet on a chair and my knees out cause me a lot of pain. And when it was time to sit up after the x-rays, my hips locked up and got stuck. I was able to stand up after a minute or so, but all of this just reminded me of how much I needed to meet with the new surgeon and get a game plan going.

The new surgeon was very nice. He had me tell him about my history and my understanding of my past diagnosis and treatment plans. He also asked me about specific pain issues that I’m having. I was able to discuss some of the issues that I have in Orangetheory and how I’d like to be able to gain flexibility and movement again so my workouts might get a bit easier for me.

Then came the surprise to me. The surgeon brought my up x-rays on the screen and pointed out some abnormalities that were never discussed with me by my old surgeon.

My Bones

It’s hard to explain the issues, but the short story of it is that he added a diagnosis of bilateral hip dysplasia with short hip sockets. Basically, my hip sockets are too small for my legs and that because of this I’m putting extra pressure on the outside of my hips. This, along with the bone spurs that were previously discovered, are the reason I needed my first surgery.

The good news about this is that it looks like I might only have one more surgery in my future. All the issues I’m currently dealing with in my right hip (the one that was operated on in 2006) are caused by scar tissue. This cannot really be fixed and sadly I will have to just accept this pain for the rest of my life. I could have another corrective surgery, but that would most likely cause additional scar tissue and make my right hip even worse. But my left hip should only need one surgery and that isn’t going to be a hip replacement!

There are still several steps to go before I have my left hip fixed. First of all, I have to lose more weight. My surgeon gave me a weight that he wants me to be at before he operates on me. Then, once I am close to that weight, I will have to do an MRI to see which of the 2 surgeries that can correct this issue I am eligible for. One of the surgeries has a recovery time of about a month, but it only has a 50/50 success rate. The other surgery has a recovery time of about 6 months, but it has a significantly higher success rate.

It’s a lot of me to think about. I’m been studying my x-rays against x-rays I’m finding online to see if I can understand my diagnosis more. And I’m doing lots of research online as well (but only on more research based websites). It’s a little overwhelming, but knowing that the surgery would be at least a year away makes me feel a lot better.

I have no idea how having this new diagnosis will affect my workouts. Obviously the pain that I’ve been feeling for forever isn’t going to change. But perhaps my coaches will have some ideas of modifications for some exercises that will be better for me. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Learning From My Screeners (or Maybe My Pain Isn’t So Bad)

I’ve been spending a bunch of time lately watching my screeners for the SAG Awards. A majority of them have been digital screeners so I’m watching them either on my Apple TV or on my iPad.

I’ve been lucky that my day job has a lot of downtime. There are a bunch of days where my work setup looks like this:


I’ve got my computer running all my work websites and my iPad next to it playing my screener. I have to pause the movie whenever a customer calls or starts a chat, but I’ve been watching a movie a day the last few days.

Obviously, all the movies are amazing otherwise they wouldn’t be nominated for the SAG Awards. And some of them are hitting me a little harder than others.

I watched “Cake” with Jennifer Aniston yesterday. Without getting too much into the story, it’s about a woman who is living with chronic pain.

I have always considered myself someone who deals with more pain than the average person. I don’t think I would ever say that I have chronic pain, but a majority of the time I have to take at least one painkiller to get through the day. Before my hip surgery, I was maxing out on two different types of painkillers every day and I was still in very intense pain.

Even though I know that the actors were pretending to have this sort of pain, it really made me realize how lucky I am that my pain isn’t worse. I hurt a lot, but I can still walk around pretty much every day (there are a few rare days where it’s difficult for me to get out of bed or off the couch). I’m able to work out even though on the treadmill I have to take breaks every so often to take a break from the pain.

Watching the movie has also motivated me to be a bit more proactive in seeing what other things I can do to put off the next few surgeries that I need. I’ve already done well by not doing activities that make my situation worse and have gone well past my surgeon’s guess that I would have needed my next surgery by 2009. I also haven’t shown signs of arthritis yet which my surgeon thought I would have by now.

I haven’t scheduled my appointments to meet with new surgeons yet, but I will be doing that in the next week or two. And when I spoke to my dad about this, he advised me to go in with an open mind. The original plan for me was created in 2006. A lot has changed medically in that time and while I will still most likely need a hip replacement on my right side one day (being bone on bone will cause that to be an issue eventually), maybe there are new things I can try to prevent me from needing the same surgeries on my left side.

Seriously, all this motivation and new perspective came from watching a movie.

Pre-Burning Jewish Christmas Calories (or Holiday Workouts)

This past week of workout were intense! That’s good because I had a nice splurge on Christmas, but it was not easy getting through the week!

Monday and Wednesday both were Christmas themed workouts (since those were in the days leading up to Christmas). They reminded me a lot of Hell Week during Halloween and were pretty much as tough as those workouts were.

Monday’s theme was the 12 Days Of Christmas. We had a list of 12 cardio tasks and a list of 12 strength tasks. This was the cardio list.


It went 100 meter row, 2 minute push, 3 squat curls, and so on. You worked your way down the list and if you were able to complete it, you worked your way back up.

The first few things on the list weren’t too bad. It was a nice way to ease into the workout. At 7 (or the 700 meter row) I was starting to get exhausted. I slowed my rowing down to try to keep my form nice and it seemed like that row took forever! I did make it to the 1200 meter row, but I only completed about 300 meters of it before it was time to switch to the strength portion.

This was also a list of 12 tasks, but you went through the tasks like the 12 Days of Christmas song. I don’t remember all 12 tasks but the first few were 1 full burpee, 2 squat jumps, 3 push-ups, and 4 pop jacks. But instead of working down the list like we did for cardio you started with 1 burpee; then 2 squat jumps and 1 burpee; then 3 push-ups, 2 squat jumps, and 1 burpee.

Holy moly was that tough! I think I made it to 10 on that list before time was called. The last task of the day was the Monday Challenge. I saw a sneak peek at the challenge on Instagram and new ahead of time that is was going to be a 100 meter row. I didn’t have a previous record saved in my phone for a 100 meter row, but I did have a 1 minute record of 313 meters. So I set it in my head that I wanted to do better than 20 seconds. And I managed to do it in 19.5 seconds, so I was pretty darn happy with myself!

Wednesday’s workout was Christmas Eve so I tried to dress festively.


Sadly, that little Santa hat that I’m wearing broke right before I took the picture. It was attached to a headband that snapped in half when I tried to wear it. Oh well.

The theme on Wednesday was Naughty or Nice. There were 2 stockings in the room, one for cardio and one for strength. When you did the cardio section, you pulled a card from the stocking and it told you what to do. After completing that task 3 times, you pulled a new card. There were Nice cards that were short exercises and there were Naughty cards (like having to do a 5K on the treadmill or rowing machine). I was lucky and only pulled Nice cards during cardio. It was essentially run/row workouts. The first card was .13 mile run (really a walk for me) and then 400 meters on the rowing machine. My second card was a 1 minute all-out pace on the treadmill followed by a 1 minute row. I just got through those 2 cards when time was called.

For the strength section, we all had the same exercises to do. But the cards would tell us how many reps we had to do of each workout. I pulled 2 Nice cards and 1 Naughty card. In the end, I did about 80 reps of each workout.

On Friday, I was a bit tired and feeling the effects of my Chinese food, but I was ready to burn off all that junk in my system. The cardio portion was all treadmill and the strength portion was a mixture of body weight, strap work, rowing, and abs. I was doing ok until the abs portion. I’m really losing flexibility in my hips (this is actually really worrying me and will be something I discuss when I interview potential new hip surgeons), and the lack of flexibility makes sit-ups and crunches really tough to do. I can’t really have my feet flat on the floor and bring my upper body to my legs. The pain in my hips is too intense. So most of the time, I either do crunches where I don’t bring my upper body up as much or have my legs straight out in front of me.

Doing full body sit-ups with your legs straight ahead of you is not easy to do, and my Friday coach Whitney saw that I was struggling and in a lot of pain. So she came over and held my legs down so I could successfully complete my sit-ups.

It’s the little touches like that where you can really see that the coaches at Orangetheory care about you and want to see you succeed that makes me so happy that I found my workout home.

I only did 3 workouts this week. My body probably could not have taken a 4th workout this time. But with the New Year almost here I’ve got some goals set in my head that will make the 4th workout more of a regular thing.

But it’s not time for me to share my 2015 goals quite yet. That’s coming up in a few days.

I Really Am Doing Everything Right (or It’s Frustrating Not Losing Weight)

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you are all having an amazing day doing exactly what you want to do today! My recap of Christmas will come soon.

I’ve been on a very good path lately. My exercise routine is getting to be in a very good place. I’m going to Orangetheory 3 times a week every day and I’m even adding a 4th day every so often. I’m thinking that for 2015 I will do 1 week of 3 workouts and then 1 week of 4 workouts just to push myself.

I’m getting so much stronger and I know that I’m getting much healthier. While I haven’t necessarily tested my cardiovascular abilities, I know that I don’t feel as tired as I did my first few weeks of workouts after the cardio section. And I can row much farther than before without having to take a break.

There are some things that aren’t on the right track. My hips are hurting more and more each day. They aren’t nearly as bad as I know that they can get, but I do sometimes miss my pain-free days as now they are much less frequent than they used to be. I’m also starting to lose a bit of flexibility that I had worked very hard to get back after my hip surgery. I’m not sure what exactly is causing this, but I think it’s a combination of the pain and maybe my muscles being stronger and bigger. I’m going to be interviewing new orthopedic surgeons soon and this is a concern that I’m going to bring up with them.

And finally, I’m starting to get my food in control. I’m getting very comfortable with cooking and in fact am planning on spending some time today reorganizing my kitchen to help make things more efficient when I am doing my bulk cooking.

I still have some food setbacks, but they aren’t as often or as crazy as they used to be. Having my food ready for me the moment I’m hungry really does help stop me from needing to run to the store to buy something in desperation.

So why am I frustrated?

I’m really not losing weight at the pace I feel like I should be. I know the saying that muscle weighs more than fat and I could just be gaining muscle, I should be seeing the scale go down in more significant increments that they are doing right now.

I know that sometimes it takes some time for the weight loss to show up on the scale so I’m trying to be patient. But having that instant gratification of knowing that I’m doing the right things really does help with motivation. And I have some clothes in 1 size smaller that I’d really like to start wearing.

I really don’t think I can do more than I’m doing right now. I guess I can work on adding more workout days, but I do need those recovery days for my hips to stop hurting. And I don’t want to decrease or increase my daily calories. The number of calories that I’m eating right now is something that my old therapist/nutritionist set up for me and I know that it’s a good number for me.

So for now, I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that my scale pays attention one day.