Hip Surgery & Recovery
I’m no stranger to surgeries. There was even a time when I celebrated my one year anniversary (complete with a cupcake and “1” candle) of no surgeries or hospital visits. That was mostly during my final years at CMU (Central Michigan University). The final surgery I had at that time was a random appendectomy during my first few weeks as a dietetic intern.
The hip pain started last year in October when I was training for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon. I had done my first marathon earlier in the year so this was going to be the first half marathon that I “raced.” I’m not one who typically tries for PRs, I just really enjoy running and whenever I get to the finish line is okay by me. Despite the pain in my hip and trying to stretch and strengthen it, I ran the half in pain. This is actually kind of funny because I did PR and get under the two hour mark. Side note, this race was a torrential downpour and my friend Jake and I had to run close together because it was difficult to see much else in front of you.
(Post Bayshore Marathon – May 2018)
After that race I backed off of running. I knew my friends Jake and Nick would sign up for the Bayshore Marathon again with me, so I gave myself two months off of running to give my hip some rest. I tried lots of different things in those two months but even when I started training again, the pain returned. Only now as I ran it was bearable but it would radiate into my groin area. As I started seeking out care, I continued to run but only once or twice a week and strengthened my body as best as I could. I got a cortisone shot, x-rays, an MRI and when I went for my follow up appointment I was sure I would be sent to physical therapy.
The doctor basically told me I would need surgery, nothing else was really going to “fix” the problem and that I should not aggravate it more. The labrum in my hip was torn due to repetitive motion and a hip impingement. I was shocked to say the least but I remained determined to complete my training and run the marathon in May. I did run it and I actually ran (even if I slowed down because it was 90 million degrees outside) the whole time. My foot was a bit numb after that but we celebrated and I scheduled surgery for after my wedding in late summer. I also kept on dancing with my team (I used to compete and in more recent years we’ve continued dancing together at the studio we called home) and had a dance recital filled with jazz, ballet (pointe), tap, kick lines, lyrical, and more that required my hip to cooperate with me.
After the craziness of the marathon and dance recital, I was a few months post engagement and a few months away from Steve and I’s wedding. Plus, my older sister Kelsey plus little sister (neighbor) Stephany were getting married just before me. In early August, Steve and I got married, went on an amazing honeymoon, and four days later I had surgery.
(Post surgery selfie with the pulse clip on my ear for some reason)
It’s been a process to say the least! I will return to all the sports and movements I want to be doing again which is lucky. I share this story because injuries can be a leading reason why our wellness efforts can take a plunge. Right now, I’ve explore new ways to take care of my body despite not being able to really work up a sweat. I can walk at a slow-moderate pace, I can gently bike (thank you mother for the old Tunturi bike for the apartment!), and I’m now doing physical therapy twice a week plus my exercises/stretches every day.
I have to say, I feel better with these new focuses on movement. I’m determined to follow PT orders and be patient with the entire process. Patience is not always my strong suit so during the last few months I’ve been writing every day. Hence the start of this blog! I have a journal that each morning I would wake up just a bit early, sip my coffee and write whatever came to mind. I’ve found it very therapeutic and any day that I don’t do it, I miss it. The saying above is something I wrote in it early on in the healing process. It’s a good day, for a good day. This too shall pass!
My advice for anyone going through it?
- Pre-hab your injury: Do not stop doing everything (unless of course your doctor tells you so) that’s good for your body. Despite not running / dancing all summer, I found ways to be active before surgery that put me in better shape after surgery.
- Eat well: Fueling your body with foods that kept my body happy and nourished was important for recovery as well.
- Find new ways to manage change: Basically for me it was mood management. I couldn’t do the activities I wanted to, but I found other ones that helped to manage my stress.
Have you ever been injured or had a surgery that changed your ability to do activities? What helped you get through it?