Monday, August 15, 2016

Countdown to [Hip Labral] Surgery

A shot of novacane inserted into my right hip.

No one likes being injured. I would imagine even fewer people are fans of surgery.

Nearly two and a half years ago, I began experiencing a pain in my right hip that got increasingly worse in a matter of weeks. It came out of nowhere with no event to attribute it to. Suddenly, it hurt to run.

So I stopped running and went back to physical therapy. It was a routine I knew all too well in my distance running career. A few weeks of PT and I'd be back on track to run the Chicago Marathon that fall. Unfortunately that was not the case. I remained in physical therapy for six months returning to the doctor several times with no resolution outside of a possible strained or torn muscle. The marathon came and went. Over time, I moved on from running and focused on yoga. Though my hip continued to bother me at times (periods of long sitting at work, sitting in low chairs, certain yoga poses), I wasn't in severe pain and had accepted this was my way of life.

As more time passed, I missed running. So when my new team at work mentioned earlier this year wanting to start a run club to train for the Corporate Challenge (a 3.5 mile race), I was game. We found a couch to 5K program and started training. It felt good to run/walk and work up a sweat. I was hopeful to run again. Within a few weeks, I was back to the familiar pain I'd experienced before. This time, I had had it. Something was wrong. If Northwestern couldn't get to the bottom of the problem, I would find a doctor and hospital that could. 

A few weeks later, I had an MRI which shown a torn hip labral. Next, appointments with surgeons at Rush and Northshore specializing in hip labral surgery. Both told me the same thing - My hip's genetic structure had lead to a tear in two places of my hip's labral (the cartilage in the hip). The body cannot repair the labral on it's own, so I had two choices - Reduce my activities enough to escape pain (which I had already attempted by not running or limiting yoga over the last two years) or have surgery.

A month later, I had a shot of novacane inserted into my right hip and was then instructed to exercise. I ran. I jumped. I handstanded. I arm balanced. It didn't hurt. I felt like superman. This was a test to see if I would be a good candidate for the surgery.

Shortly after that test, I scheduled surgery for September. In the last few months, I have noticed new causes of pain for the hip outside of exercise. I know it's getting worse instead of better - and it's time to do something about it. 

Over the course of this experience, I have heard a lot of "Well, it's because you ran/marathons." As if that's a valid reason to be in pain. (Why do people say stuff like that?) Truthfully, that is not my case nor the case with many others experiencing this.

Last week, I happened to catch a segment of Good Morning America. I never watch GMA, so it was truly remarkable that I was a captive audience when Lara Spencer's story came on about her hip replacement surgery. It brought me to tears. "It's not just me" was the first thing I thought. Hip injuries happen to young people and they account for 10% of the hip replacement surgeries. 

Though my road to discovery has been a bit long, I am looking forward to recovery and returning to the activities I so miss. One day at a time. 

If you haven't watched Lara Spencer's segment, you can see it here. 

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