Tag Archives: pain

Getting Back To Normal Workouts (or Balancing Hard Work And Taking It Easy)

After Peak Performance Week, I was pretty tired from all the hard work. I knew I’d still be doing my 3 workouts for the week, but I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself as hard as I had the week before. Having a recovery day (or a recovery week) is a totally normal thing to do. But I usually am so competitive with myself that I don’t want to do that. But this week, I knew that I needed to. So I tried to find a good balance between working really hard and taking the recovery I needed.

Monday was a power day that didn’t switch between blocks. But even though we didn’t switch between blocks it almost flew like we did because the first 3 blocks were only 4 minutes each. For those short blocks, I was able to run all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under and all of the all out paces. We had a 3 minute push pace followed by a 1 minute all out. I did run for 2 minutes and then took a quick 1 minute walk break before running my all out. The last block on the treadmill was 7 minutes which was a mix of push and all out paces. I tried to follow the paces perfectly (only walking during walking or base paces). And by doing that, I ended up doing 3 minutes of running at the end which felt pretty good for me!

The floor work that day was a similar pattern with 3 short blocks and 1 long one. Each of the short blocks was 2 different things we had to do and I was able to get through 2 rounds most of the time. And for the longer block, we mainly did squats followed by rowing. I didn’t take it too easy while on the floor since the blocks were so short. I was using 20 pound weights for my squats and 25 pounds for the deadlifts we had to do. Even in my recovery weeks, I’m finding that sometimes I can use heavier weights (especially doing lower body work), so I’m glad I still did that.

Wednesday was an endurance day, but fortunately we did switch between blocks. For the treadmill blocks, on the first one I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1, and ran for 2 again. I was really happy to see that I felt fine doing that but then after that first block my body decided that it was done. I was feeling pretty light-headed (I didn’t have the best food day before my workout) and was dealing with a bit of pain all over. So for all the other blocks, I ended up walking even during the all out paces. I ended up keeping my speeds and inclines lower than I normally do on a walking day because of all the issues I was having. But I was trying to keep focusing on remembering that this was now a recovery day and that was ok.

On the floor, I used some medium to heavy weights when we had our squat work. In the last floor block, we also had a 400 meter row which I did get done in under 2 minutes. But the light-headedness and pain were affecting me on the floor too and I was taking quite a few breaks. I thought that the toughness of the workout was just because of my personal issues, but after class everyone else seemed to agree that for some reason it was an exceptionally hard class. That did make me feel a bit better about all the struggles I was having in class.

Friday’s class was a power day without switching. I was still dealing with a bit of pain (all the rain we’ve been getting in LA makes my hips hurt so much), but fortunately my workout didn’t suffer too much from the pain. All of the blocks we had were 5 minutes or under and that was helpful. We had a lot of all out paces (I think it might have been 8 or 9 of them, but I lost count). We had 1 minute pushes to all outs, 90 second pushes to all outs, and 2 minute pushes to all outs. And I managed to run all of it. I did walk during the base paces and walking recoveries, but it felt really good to run as much as I did. I still want to push my running more, and I feel like this workout was a good way to do it.

The floor was similar with the short blocks. We had a lot of squat work, a lot of ab work with the ab roller, and I even attempted doing knee tucks on the ab roller on my toes instead of my knees for the first time (that only lasted for 2 knee tucks, but it was the first time I ever did that!). But one of the floor blocks was all rowing for 5 minutes. We had base, push, and all out paces on the rower; but basically it was rowing constantly for 5 minutes. I know I could have done better than I did, but I think I didn’t do too shabby.

For this being a bit of a recovery week and a bit of a challenge week, I think I found a great mix. I listened to my body when I needed to and adjusted when necessary instead of trying to overcome the issues. Hopefully this will be a pattern that I’ll be able to continue doing for a long time!

Hitting A New PR (or Forgetting To Take Things Easy)

I wasn’t sure how this past week of workouts would go. I knew that Monday would be fine, but since I was getting my IUD in on Tuesday I thought there would be a chance that was going to be my only workout. I was hopeful that I would be able to do my 3 workouts, but I was also realistic. So I figured even if I only did my Monday workout or only made it through 10 minutes of the other workouts that it would be good enough. But because I’m stubborn, of course I didn’t take it easy.

Monday’s workout was the last challenge for the 12 days of fitness. And for day 12 we had a 12 minute distance challenge. Since I knew my mile PR was 13:39, I just wanted to be as close to a mile as possible. Some of my friends were telling me that I could probably do a mile in 12 minutes, but I didn’t believe them. But then I realized I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

For the 12 minutes I did 1 minute of running at 6 mph, 1 minute of running at 5.5 mph, and 1 minute of walking at 3.5 mph. While I’ve done 2 minutes of running with my intervals before, it has never been that fast. There were plenty of times that I thought that I couldn’t do it and by some change I realized I had made it to my walking minute. I was so tired and so out of breath, but when I saw the 1 mile come up on the treadmill screen at 11:48, I’m so glad I did it! Taking 2 minutes off of my mile is massive progress and I shocked myself so much! But since it was a 12 minute challenge, I couldn’t stop the treadmill then so my picture is of my 12 minutes being a little more than a mile.

After that challenge, we switched to the floor (so the other group could do their 12 minute challenge) and it was a very intense floor plan. We had burpees, abs, lunges, squats, and shoulder work and all of them were between 10-60 reps. I made it through most of the floor work and then it was time to get back to the treadmill. I wanted to run on the treadmill, but I was so tired from the challenge so I did walking for all of the segments.

That would have been enough for a workout, but it wasn’t done. After that last treadmill time, we had to do a 1200 meter row. That is such a long row, and it was even harder considering all the other work I had already done. I wanted to be able to do it in under 6 minutes, and I’m happy to have done it in 5:57.

Wednesday’s class was the one I was most nervous for. I wasn’t in too much pain, but my stomach was dealing with some dull cramps and things were feeling a bit off. I figured I’d do the best I could and that would be that. It was an endurance class where we switched between blocks and I think that switching helped make things easier on me. I was able to do my regular 1 minute intervals for the long 3 minute push paces. And while I tried to run the entire 2 minute and 90 second push paces, my body just couldn’t do it. I had to cut them short, but I did run for the majority of the time.

I stuck with slower running speeds for everything that day. Even my all out paces were at a speed that sometimes is more of a push pace for me. It wasn’t that I was in pain, but things were feeling weird and I think I was psyching myself out and afraid that I was going to hurt myself somehow. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, but I was caught in-between feeling fine and wanting to do things like normal and being scared that I was somehow ignoring my body and going to hurt myself.

On the floor work, we had rowing each block. The first block was 300 meters (I did them in 1:20 and 1:14) and the second block was 600 meters (I did that in 2:42). All of those row times are pretty awesome for me, but rowing was tough. There was something about sitting and bending that way that made my stomach cramp up more. The pain was never that bad (it felt more like a strong pressure in my stomach), so I figured it wasn’t bad to push myself. I did have a tough time with the squats and ab work, so I did modified stuff for those. But considering that this workout was the one that I was going to take it easy or skip, I clearly didn’t follow that plan.

Friday was a power day with a run/row. I was still feeling  some cramps and uncomfortableness, but still nothing that bad. I was still taking Motrin for the pain, but Friday I probably could have skipped it (I just didn’t want to risk hurting a lot during the workout). For the run/row, we had 3 row segments for each distance. For the first distance, we had to do .2 miles 3 times with different rows in between (200, 150, and 100 meters).

I was able to run the full .2 miles each time. I was a pretty long run for me (close to 3 minutes) and it wasn’t easy. I still had that odd feeling happening but I wanted to push through it. I think the exercise helped the pain go away faster so I wanted to keep going. I took the rows easy because it was still hurting a bit to sit down and row. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took me to do each of them because it didn’t really matter to me at that point. I did make it to the .15 miles block (there was also a .1 miles block) and got 2 sets of that done before it was time to switch to the floor.

The floor work was focused on arm work which was good for me. I wasn’t dealing with any weird pain while doing the arm work so I was able to life 20 pound weights for all of the work. We did also have some plank work which was a bit tougher. I was having some weird knee pain so I had to do my planks on my toes and that made things even tougher. I know my plank form was sloppy, but again I just focused on making it through and getting it done.

Overall, I would consider my workout week a huge success. It would be a success even if I didn’t have my IUD to deal with so that makes things even better! I know that my stubbornness can be bad at times, but having it to push me through any uncomfortableness to keep going with my workouts is a good thing. I needed the workouts since my food hasn’t been great and I’m glad that even while one thing is not going so great that the other is going even better!

An IUD Experience (or I Wish I Knew It Could Be This Easy)

Warning for my readers (especially the guy readers): This post is about my experience getting an IUD. I’m not shy describing stuff so just know that if you read today’s post.

With the liver tumors, there isn’t much for me to do between now and my next MRI in the spring. I just have to hope that my body will decide the tumors should shrink so things will be easier. I don’t have to change pretty much anything in my life because of them with one exception. I had to stop taking my birth control pills.

I’ve been on the pill since I was 18 and it was weird to stop taking them. But knowing that the hormones in them were what caused the tumors (literally a one in a million complication) made it a non-negotiable thing for me to stop. Ironically, I had to stop hormonal birth control but right now pregnancy could be extremely dangerous. I needed something to make sure I won’t get pregnant before my surgery (even though that is not really a concern for me), and non-hormonal options are pretty limited. But since hormonal options will be out of the picture for me for the rest of my life, I figured now is the best time to figure out what I want to do.

I have a very open relationship with my family. It helps that my dad was an OB/GYN and there is no shame or embarrassment to discuss things with him or anyone in my family. And everyone in my family agreed that I should get an IUD. Several women in my family have them and love them.  And since there is a non-hormonal option (the copper Paragard), my OB/GYN agreed and scheduled me a time to come in and get one. While getting an IUD was something I thought about doing for a few years, I wasn’t too happy about having to get one. This wasn’t totally my choice, but I knew it was the best thing for me.

Of course, I reached out to all the friends and family I know who have an IUD to ask them about their experience. Mainly, I was terrified about the pain I might have with the insertion. I’ve read it can be very painful when you haven’t had a baby yet and I’m not a fan of pain. But since my OB/GYN knew how scared I was, she prescribed me some things to make it easier. I already have prescription motrin for my hip, but she also wrote a prescription for 1 dose of Valium to keep me calm and 2 doses of Codeine to help with the pain before and after.

Since I was going to be pretty loopy going to my appointment (I had never taken Valium before so I had no clue how I’d react), I had a friend who has an IUD drive me. I knew she’d be able to help keep me calm and would be a good person to have with me after if I was in a lot of pain. So this week, I had my appointment and I wanted to share my experience because I think it is important for people to know what it is like.

I took the painkillers about an hour before my appointment and felt fine with them. I’ve taken those painkiller before and knew I wouldn’t have any weird reactions. But when I took the Valium, I got loopy right away. I was shocked how fast it got into my system but was grateful that it did calm me down significantly. But when my friend picked me up, I knew I was acting weird. My brain and mouth felt disconnected and I couldn’t get out what I wanted to say. I was slurring (my friend said I sounded drunk or someone who was in the middle of dental work) and I couldn’t think of words that I wanted to use. I don’t like being out of control like that, but I knew it was for the best.

I was still nervous when I got to the appointment, but fortunately my OB/GYN is a family friend and was willing to work on making this as easy as possible. After doing a pregnancy test (they are required to do it even though I knew there was no risk of me being pregnant), my OB/GYN decided that the best option would be for me to get a shot of lidocaine. Most OB/GYNs don’t do this because getting a shot in your cervix can be very painful and can be worse than the IUD insertion. But for me, I didn’t really feel the shots. I didn’t know she did the first one and for the second one I didn’t feel pain but did feel a slow mild shock going up one side of my abdomen (it was on the side that the shot was going in on my cervix).

After the shot, we had to wait about 5 minutes for it to take effect, so we were just chatting and catching up on random things. I also told my doctor that I was totally going to be blogging about this so she took the IUD out of the box so I could get a picture of it before it went inside me.

You can see that the IUD is pretty small. The device it is in is the thing that is used to put it in your uterus (the arms get folded down before insertion, but I wanted the picture of it before it got folded down). Even though I knew IUDs are small, seeing it before the insertion did make me feel better. I don’t know why I needed more reassurance, but knowing that it was tiny and the device to insert it is smaller than a straw was good.

After I was numb, the next step was to measure my uterus so my doctor knew how far to insert the IUD. They used a device to hold my cervix open, but I didn’t feel it at all. I thought I might feel some pain or pressure, but when my doctor told me it was on there I was shocked because I had no idea. When she used the sounding device to measure my cervix, I felt that a bit. But I only felt it when it hit the top of my uterus and it was a little pinch (less than a shot or needle stick for an IV). I jumped a bit when that happened, but again it was significantly less than I thought it would be.

Finally, it was time to get my IUD. The IUD is loaded up in the insertion device and then it was placed in my uterus. I didn’t feel it at first, but as my doctor was placing it and getting the arms to pop out that was a weird sensation. I don’t know how to describe it. It wasn’t painful but it was odd. It almost felt like something was trying to pull my insides out of my body. It lasted maybe 3 seconds and then it was done. Then my doctor trimmed the strings of the IUD (I felt nothing) and the worst was over.

The final step was having an ultrasound to make sure the placement looked good. My doctor turned the screen so I could look at it too and she pointed out where the IUD is and where my uterus and ovaries are. It’s not easy to see in the image, but the long straight line in the center is the IUD.

The placement looked good to my doctor and we were done! If you don’t count the 5 minutes we waited for the lidocaine to take effect, the entire thing was probably less than 3 minutes. And I’m aware I had more painkillers than most people and I got the lidocaine shot too, but this entire process was pretty close to painless. Getting an IV for my liver MRIs were more painful than this process.

I have to go back to my OB/GYN in 6 weeks to have the placement checked again, but if everything looks good I’m protected against pregnancy for 10 years! There are no hormones in the copper IUD so it won’t affect the tumors at all. And if I want to have kids within the next decade, it’s pretty easy to have this removed.

I know that most people have much more difficult experiences than what I had. Even after the lidocaine wore off, I wasn’t in much pain. I have a small cramp in my lower abdomen, but it’s a pretty dull pain. I am still taking motrin as a precaution and after getting the IUD in I used a heating pad that night. But this was not unbearable at all. I know this could get worse later, but I’m not too worried about that. The thing that scared me the most was the insertion and I was laughing after it was done about how easy it was. If I had known that before, I probably would have gotten this years ago.

While I still wished that this was more of my choice and not something that was my only option, I’m glad I did it. I’m glad that I was able to manage the pain with the options I was given and that the experience was easy. All of the stress and worry I had before was so much worse than anything I experienced in the appointment.

I want to thank everyone who shared their stories of getting an IUD with me when I reached out for advice. You were all right that it wasn’t bad and that I was worrying more about it than I needed to. And if you are considering an IUD, know that while it can be painful that pain is usually over pretty quick. And maybe you will be lucky like I was and have an almost pain-free experience. Feel free to reach out to me through the comments or the contact form if you have questions or want to contact me about this. Obviously I’m an open book and happy to share whatever I can with you all.

An Off Week (or Being Ok Being Weak)

I had a weird week of workouts this past week. When I started the week, I had no idea that I would be getting so sick on Wednesday. But even though I was in the hospital that day, I still managed to get 3 workouts in (it was originally going to be a 4 workout week, but I’m proud of my 3).

Monday obviously was my best workout day. This was before I got sick and I was pushing myself quite a bit. It was a strength day and we didn’t switch between blocks, so I had a long time on the treadmill. I still am not running hills, but I decided to run the flat parts that I could and get my inclines as high as possible. We started the workout with a 2 minute push pace that I ran in full and we ended the treadmill time with a 1 minute push and 1 minute all out (both minutes were run). And in the middle we had 2 30 second all outs that I was able to run.

But besides those parts, I was walking the rest of the treadmill time. Hills are tough in general for me, so running hills is not a priority for me right now. I was keeping my inclines pretty high most of the time by averaging between 8-12% incline with my usual walking pace. The hills are starting to feel more like they did before I hurt my calf, so I was very happy with that. It’s been a long time since the hills felt like that, so I saw that as a huge improvement and something to be proud of.

The floor work was a bit tough for me. My abs were hurting (I thought it was because of the MRI, but I’m now wondering if it was something related to my current issue). When we were doing ab work, I was able to do it but things were tougher for me than normal. I wasn’t able to get up from being on the floor as easily as I usually can and I decided to be a bit careful with my weights for the rest of the floor work. I wasn’t going with really light weights, but I took it a bit easier than I probably would do on a strength day.

Wednesday’s workout didn’t happen because I was still in the hospital at that time and there was no way that I could go anywhere once I was done. I honestly thought that there was going to be a chance that I couldn’t do any more workouts for the week, but I decided that since the doctor I saw said I could work out once I was getting better I figured it was worth trying. I told myself that if I could only make it 10 minutes into the workout before I had to leave, that would be ok. So I kept my already scheduled Friday and Saturday workouts.

Friday was really a challenge for me. I know I must have been getting better, but it was hard to believe that. I was still hurting so much and there were only so many positions that my body could be in that made the pain go away. There was no way I was going to walk on the treadmill (even if I kept it really slow, I would be tempted to push myself more), so I went onto the bike. I kept the resistance very low and didn’t pedal too fast the entire time I was on there. It wasn’t easy, but I made it through.

Friday was a run/row day, and I think that was the best thing I could have had. I didn’t spend too long on the bike for a stretch and the rower had the ability to be a good way for me to stretch a bit. My bike time wasn’t fast, but I wasn’t pushing myself at all. I just wanted to make it through what I could. The rower wasn’t that great for me (crunching my body up was hurting my stomach), but I just did a bit of a lazy row and got all the meters in that I needed to. My coach knew I was dealing with health stuff, so he wasn’t pushing me that hard and kept checking in to make sure I was doing ok.

When we moved to the floor, I decided there was no point in me trying to use my normal weights. I needed to keep things easy, and that means easy weights too. So when I usually would use 15 or 20 pound weights, I was using 10. I felt a bit pathetic and weak, but I had to keep telling myself that I was feeling like crap and wasn’t letting that keep me from the gym. Most of the floor work was focused on arms, but there was some ab work as well. I knew the ab work wasn’t going to happen, so I just skipped that part and did more arm stuff. I ended up leaving class a bit early because the last 3 minutes was a core blast, and I knew I couldn’t do any of it. Plus, I was feeling a bit exhausted since that was my first real workout or movement since I got sick.

I went into Saturday a bit more optimistic. I knew I could do the bike and make it through a workout with significant modifications. It helped the nerves go away since I knew I could do it. I got on the bike again and even though it was a power day (my favorite) and there were a bunch of push and all out paces, I didn’t do any of that. I just tried to ride the bike at a steady resistance and cadence for the entire time. I did have to take some breaks (my stomach would hurt or I needed to stretch out a bit), but I did ride for a good amount of time. The computer on the bike stops when I stop, and in the end it said I was on it for 25 minutes. Not too shabby at all.

The floor work was a bit tougher for me, but I stuck with my Friday plan and used 10 pound weights again. We had a bit of squat work to do and I was modifying those and doing what I could. I was feeling my muscles working so even if I felt like I wasn’t doing much, I was doing something. We had some ab work that I skipped (like toe touches) and some ab work that I tried (mountain climbers which were very difficult but doable) and we had a bit of rowing as well. My stomach wasn’t hurting more at the end of the workout than it did in the beginning, so I consider that a victory.

This was not the workout week I was expecting to have. But I did my best to make it the best I could. I’m not disappointed in myself since I know that it would have been so easy to decide not to go at all. But I still wish I wasn’t hurting so I could have done more.

With Hell Week starting this week (and going through the beginning of next week), I’m still planning on doing all the workouts I have signed up for. I’m hoping that I won’t be in pain for all of the workouts and can really push myself to see what I can do, but if I have to be on restricted exercises I’m going to try to make the most of it. I want to earn my Hell Week shirt and I know what I need to get it!

My Day At Kaiser (or I Guess This Was For The Best)

If you follow me on social media, you saw that I spent Wednesday at the hospital. I was there for about 6 hours doing medical tests and things, and in the end I got some interesting news.

kaiser

First, I need to explain why I was in the hospital. On Tuesday afternoon/evening, I had a pretty bad binge episode. It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever had, but it was pretty significant. I’m not proud of myself, but it is what it is and I can’t go back to change it. About the time I was getting ready to go to bed, I noticed some symptoms that usually mean I’m about to have a gallbladder attack. I wasn’t looking forward to having an attack, but this happens from time to time after a binge.

Usually my gallbladder attacks follow a very predictable pattern. I feel the signs that one is starting before going to bed and I usually can fall asleep before it happens. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in pain and within an hour it is over and I am able to get back to sleep. But this time, it was very different. I couldn’t go to sleep and the pain was not ending. I didn’t get any sleep for that entire night because the pain was so intense. There were times in the middle of the night that I debated calling my mom for advice or going to the emergency room, but I decided to try to tough it out.

By the time my alarm went off on Wednesday morning, I wasn’t doing any better. I was exhausted from not sleeping and feeling horrible that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t be in pain. I tried to see if I could make it through the work day and go to the hospital after, but that wasn’t going to happen. So I made an appointment with someone in internal medicine for 9:45am and went over to Kaiser.

I was very honest with the doctor I met. I told her that I binged and that I have a history of gallbladder issues. But she didn’t feel like it was gallbladder stuff this time based on the pain I was in. So she ordered some blood work and an x-ray and instructed me to come back once those things were done.

The blood work wasn’t fun (I passed out a few times while the blood draw was happening) and while the x-ray was easy I was still in very intense pain. By the time I got back to the internal medicine department, I couldn’t find a way to make myself comfortable.

The good news and bad news was that there was nothing weird in my tests. I had elevated liver enzymes, but I had that issue the last time I had blood work and I knew that it was something I was supposed to work on. So the doctor ordered an ultrasound to be done so that my stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas could be looked at to see if there was anything that would explain the pain I was in.

The wait for the ultrasound was excruciating. I was sweating and crying in pain and it took almost an hour for them to get to me. And in the ultrasound, they had to press really hard where my pain was located and that was causing me to tear up and have issues breathing. I was really glad when that test was done and I went back up to internal medicine again to see the doctor for her response to my tests.

When I went back up to internal medicine, the first thing they did was give me a shot of a painkiller to help me a bit. At that point, I didn’t even mind that the shot was happening because I just wanted to get out of pain. It didn’t take the pain completely away, but it dulled things a bit and helped to make it more tolerable.

But again, the doctor couldn’t find what was causing my stomach issues. She let me know that it wasn’t my gallbladder as there was only one tiny gallstone in there and it was not in a place that could cause me pain. And everything else they were looking for looked normal. So her best guess was just really bad indigestion or a stomach ache or possibly a small ulcer. She told me to get some antacids and heartburn medication down at the pharmacy and said that my pain should go away within a week.

I was still really mad and embarrassed that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t have had this problem. And while I want to believe that this will stop me from binge eating, I’m not thinking that would be true. It’s a very tough addiction to get over (can you imagine an alcoholic having to have 3 drinks a day without going crazy?) but I’m trying to focus on getting myself better as much as I can.

But my appointment and time at Kaiser wasn’t a total wash. While my ultrasound was happening, the tech scanned over my liver and noticed what may be a cyst on my liver. If this is accurate, this would explain my weird liver enzymes on my blood work and would make things easier to figure out. Since the ultrasound isn’t the best diagnostic tool to look at cysts, I now have more blood work scheduled plus a MRI with contrast (which means another IV) to look more into things. And I have an appointment with a surgeon after that to hear what needs to happen if there is something I need to do.

If I hadn’t had the binge episode and the stomach distress I never would have found this possible cyst. It is something that explains the weird things in my recent medical tests which is a relief since I couldn’t figure out why things were so weird. But it also is now taking me down a crazy rabbit hole of more medical testing and doctors. I’m hoping that they will tell me that if it is a cyst nothing needs to be done with it. Some cysts go away on their own and maybe this one will do that. But I’m also preparing for more stuff I might need to do.

Either way, I’m a bit grateful that I did something stupid because it lead me to find out something that I needed to know was wrong with me. I wish that this liver thing was what was causing my pain or we could find out what was causing it, but at least I have some medication to take for now and a plan for what else I might need to do.

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.

Taking Things A Bit Easier (or No More Injuries)

This past week of workouts ended up being a week of being cautious. I have no clue what happened, but on Monday morning last week I woke up with a very stiff knee. I didn’t do anything over that weekend that should make things hurt, so I’m wondering if I slept in a position that tweaked something. The knee pain is almost only at night (it wakes me up if I shift positions at night) and hurts a little in the morning when I get up. So since I was dealing with that, I didn’t go as crazy during my workouts because I didn’t want to hurt myself more.

Monday was a partner workout which was awesome because my friend Dena came try her very first Orangetheory class! So she and I partnered up together for the workout. During the partner time, the person on cardio controlled the switching. The cardio person did a 200 meter row and a run on the treadmill at inclines. The run was supposed to be .2 miles, but I know I can’t run that long nor did I really want to run on hills. So I decided to walk at inclines so I was only doing .1 miles each time. On the floor, while we waited for our partner to be done with their cardio work, we did arms, chests, lunges, and abs. We kept going the floor work until our partner came over and switched us out.

I have to say that Dena and I made pretty good partners for this. We were pretty equal on time for cardio, so neither of us was stuck on the floor waiting for too long. I was working on using some heavy weights on the floor, so I was mainly using the 20 pound ones for my work. At the end of the partner time, we had a small block that was like a normal block. While it was still hills on the treadmill, I did run during the 1 minute all out at the end so I got a little bit of running done.

Wednesday was an endurance, strength, and power day that didn’t switch between the blocks so I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes straight. It was an interesting day because all of the blocks were pretty short. Again on the treadmill, I walked for most of the time. I did run for the all outs again which were a minute each time. Running for a minute is getting a bit easier for me, but my heart rate is really high during it and I have a bit of trouble catching my breath after. I know that this will be worked out the more I run, but it’s a big adjustment to get used to.

During the floor, we had some lunges and arm work, but the big thing to me was the timed row blocks. We had 2 blocks where we had timed rows. One was for 3 minutes and one was for 2 minutes. I really wanted to do well, but I was also so tired after the cardio time so I knew that I wasn’t going to be hitting my best distances during those times. So I just wanted to get the minimum of what we are supposed to do, which is basically 100 meters every 30 seconds. For the 3 minute row, I got 606 meters which met my goal. But for the 2 minute row, I was just too tired to keep my momentum going and I only got 355 meters in. I know I could have probably gotten to 400 meters if I really tried, but my legs just weren’t having it (and a majority of rowing is leg power).

Friday was another strength day, but fortunately we were switching between blocks. Again, I walked almost the entire time on the treadmill. Since it was a strength day there were plenty of hills to work with and I really tried to keep my inclines where they needed to be. I did run during the all outs (either 30 seconds or 1 minute long), but while runners were supposed to run at a high incline, I kept it at either 2% or 4% (4% is the flat road for walkers). I’m really not ready to try to run at an incline where I’m still struggling to run at all.

The floor ended up being a really great day for me. We did have a 400 meter row, but rowing wasn’t a big part of the day. I was using 20 pound weights for my arm and chest work (including bicep curls) and during the burpees we had to do I was always adding in pushups. We also had an entire block just using the TRX straps. Most of the strap work was core work, so I was feeling pretty awesome t the end of class.

My knee did hurt throughout the week, but again it was almost only at night. I woke up almost every single night with pains in my knee while I was moving. In the morning, I would be very stiff but after an hour or so the pain would end. I never felt pain during the workout (that’s a good sign) but it wasn’t getting better or worse through the week. I really have no clue what I did and I doubt doing to the doctor would give me any guidance. There’s always a chance that my hip issues are causing the knee pain, but again, I can’t really do much to fix that. Over this past weekend, I pretty much did nothing to try to rest my knee and that seemed to help.

I’m hoping that this week, things will be a bit better for me. I would like to try to push myself a bit more in my running because Peak Performance Week is coming up soon. I know I’ll be doing the 1 mile challenge day, but I don’t think I can do the other treadmill challenge days because of my schedule. So I’m trying to focus on what I can do to prepare for that day and making sure that I have the best workouts possible leading up to it.

Stopping A Panic Attack (or Only One Health Issue At A Time)

I’ve been pretty lucky lately with my panic attacks. I was warned that with taking Vyvanse it can make panic attacks more frequent or more severe. But I’ve almost experienced the opposite. My random panic attacks aren’t really happening right now (which I am so grateful for) and my expected panic attacks (like at the dentist) are the most mild they have ever been. I’m very happy with this side effect and it’s been really nice to not have to stress or panic about a panic attack happening.

Then the other night in the middle of the night I had a gallbladder attack. It was pretty awful, but fortunately not the worst one I’ve ever had. But they are pretty painful no matter how mild they get. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really see straight. My vision was going in and out (it almost felt like I was going to faint at times) and I stayed on my bed to stay safe. The pain was so uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a position to put my body in to make things feel even the smallest bit better. And I’m not sure if this is a part of the gallbladder attack or a reaction to the other symptoms, but I couldn’t stop sweating and was having trouble catching my breath.

In the past, my gallbladder attacks have brought on panic attacks. It makes sense to me because you do feel like you are dying when you are having a gallbladder attack. I really was wishing that I would pass out so that the pain could happen without me really knowing about it. I wanted it to end, but it wouldn’t. If I had a panic attack, I would have felt that it was totally normal.

But somehow, I was able to rationalize with myself in that really bad moment. I knew that it was a gallbladder attack and that it wasn’t a heart attack or that I was dying or anything. I knew that it would end eventually and when they do go away it usually is sudden for me so it could be going away any minute. And I knew that I had a choice to go to the doctor’s soon if I wanted to get my gallbladder out and never have to deal with this again (I don’t do that yet since my attacks aren’t that frequent and it’s a surgery that isn’t necessary yet).

I found a way to lay on my bed that was a safe enough position for me (I wasn’t at risk for falling off the bed if I did pass out) and I was working on focusing on my breath. I was trying to do counts for each inhale and exhale and was putting the counts in the front of my mind and not the what felt like endless pain.

Finally, the attack stopped pretty much as quickly as it came on. I tried to get as calm as I could and focus on getting back to sleep. The entire thing was about an hour long and the next morning I found it pretty funny that when I looked at my sleep tracking from my Fitbit, it was clear when the attack was happening.

Sleep Tracking

The pink lines are when I’m awake so you can see that chunk of pink in the middle of my night. That’s when I couldn’t stop moving because of the pain but you can also see that the entire night was a bit restless for me (the restless moments are the blue lines).

I know that I have the option of getting my gallbladder removed, but like I said above the attacks are pretty rare so I don’t think that surgery is a good option for me. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds in the past and they have always told me that until the attacks are frequent enough that they are affecting my life, I don’t need to have my gallbladder out (the attacks aren’t good but they aren’t damaging my health in any other way right now). I’m just glad that my attacks are rare and they seem to be over within a few hours each time (from my research it seems like some people can have them for a day).

While it sucks that I had the attack, I’m so glad that I was able to prevent the panic attack from happening at the same time. I think that helped me get through the attack much better and I’m thinking maybe it helped it end faster than they have in the past.

Obviously I don’t want to have to go through this again, but I know realistically that it will happen again but I’m glad that somehow I was able to control the panic attack from coming and whatever skill set was in my subconscious to do that is able to be used in the future.

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!

Working Out While Sore (or Still Recovering From My Weekend)

Between my 5K from Saturday, dancing my butt off at the wedding on Sunday, and doing a lot of walking with the dog all weekend; my legs were feeling a bit tired this week for my workouts. I was feeling it every morning when I woke up (and I was basically limping in for the first hour or so each day) so I was grateful that all my workouts this past week were in the afternoon so I wasn’t feeling too horrible. But even though I was not as sore during my workouts, I still was trying to be careful because I knew if I worked too hard that I would be sore from longer than I wanted to be.

My first workout of the week was on Tuesday afternoon (I wasn’t sure what time I’d be getting home on Monday so I didn’t want to have to stress about getting back in time for a workout). I was still hurting quite a bit on Tuesday so I was so happy to see that it was going to be a run/row day. Not only was it a run/row day, it was called the easiest run/row day ever! My sore legs were so grateful to hear that!

The run/row format was pretty easy. The first round was a 30 second push pace, 30 second all out pace, and then over to the rower for a 100 meter row. The next round was a 1 minute push pace, 30 second all out pace, and then over to the rower for a 100 meter row. Each round just increased the push pace by 30 seconds and the rest stayed the same. The longest one was a 3 minute push pace and if we got past that we were supposed to work our way back up. I did the first few rounds at 3.7 miles an hour because they were short and I was still feeling a bit slow from my race so I wanted to prove to myself that I can be faster. The next few rounds were at 3.6 miles an hour and the 2 1/2 and 3 minute rounds were at 3.5 miles an hour. I made it through all the rounds, but I didn’t make it back up. But I’m ok with that. I was going really fast for me and even though I was progressively getting slower I was still staying on the faster side for me. And since the treadmill time was so limited, my legs didn’t hurt too much by the time we switched to the floor.

We had a lot of squats on the floor which were fine for me. But then when we did lunges I struggled a lot because my calves were feeling so tight. I knew they were tight a bit because that was the soreness I felt, but I guess I didn’t realize how much the treadmill would affect me. So the lunges were done with less movement than I would normally do, but I felt pretty great about everything that I did.

Wednesday was a day that had all 3 types of workouts (endurance, strength, and power). It was a 30 minutes on the treadmill straight type of day and my legs weren’t having it. I tried really hard to not have to take breaks in the middle of the blocks, but I was really hurting. I realized after class that maybe I should have taken one of my stronger painkillers instead of the ones that I normally take, but since it’s been a while since I’ve needed one of the strong ones I didn’t even think about taking one. During the strength block, I was supposed to go really high on the inclines on the treadmill, but I just kept it at 8% for the entire time even though the runners had to do an incline higher than that. I just focused on finishing the cardio and not working out super hard.

For the floor time, I tried to do all my lower body work with 20 pound weights and all of my arm work with 15 pound weights. We also had a lot of ab work on the floor with medicine balls. Typically I use 8 pounds for a medicine ball, but there were none of those left so I used 10 pounds. I felt the difference (and I felt it in my abs when I woke up the next morning) and while it wasn’t easy I was able to do it.

Friday was another run/row day! Someone commented about how there have been so many run/row days lately and I don’t think they were happy about it. But those really are my favorite days (or a second favorite to partner day workouts). This time the run/row was a bit tougher than the one on Tuesday. For power walkers, the longest walk was .13 miles and the shortest was .05 miles. And for all of us the rows were between 250 and 100 meters. The plan was designed to do at least one entire round of all the segments, and I was able to get through the entire plan and was starting on the first one again when time was called. By Friday, my legs were feeling a bit more normal (having Thursday off helped a lot) so all my treadmill segments regardless of length were 3.5 miles an hour. It helped that all treadmill segments were less than 2 1/2 minutes, but all these little sprints are helping me get ready to bringing my base pace up from 3.4 to 3.5 miles an hour again (where I was before my torn calf).

On the floor, there were a lot of squats and lunges again. For both things, I was using 20 pound weights (one weight in each hand). With my squats those aren’t too bad, but it’s always tough for me to do lunges with weights in my hands because I don’t balance that well with lunges. But I took my time, put the weights down if I needed to steady myself, and was able to make it through. We finished up the floor block with 4 minutes of abs using a BOSU ball and when we were done I was so glad I made it through.

I debated about doing a 4th workout, but I didn’t want to push it too much. Friday was the first day my legs were feeling almost normal again and I didn’t want to overdo it and prevent myself from feeling normal again this week. I’m not exactly sure when my next 4 workout week will be, but it will need to be soon. I’m signed up for the Triple Buddy Challenge at Orangetheory. From April 18th until May 18th I’m partnered up with 2 friends to try to get in 45 workouts between us. So each of us will need to do 15 workouts. I’ve done this before (and we were successful) so I’m not too worried about it. I just need to plan out the next month of workouts to make sure that I do my part or more to make sure my team wins!