28 February 2013

hey. whoa. where'd i go?

Hey, guys! It's been a while.

I've been keeping myself busy so as to not dwell on the limited exercise of interest thing (this eliminates swimming from the discussion, so don't suggest it...got it?).

I know you all are curious about how the injection is playing out and probably all the awesome things I've been up to since I clearly have NOT been blogging.

Bullets...here you go:

  • PRP Injection? Two thumbs way UP. For two days after, I babied the heck out of my hip, then I started bearing more weight and being more active. A bit of pain...it comes and goes when I walk, especially when I have to carry a child. But the most amazing thing to ME is this:
  • I saw Life of Pi in 3D. Triple snap in Z formation. Go see it. About two-thirds of the way through the movie I started crying for a reason completely unrelated to the movie (which did make me cry in its own right). I was crying because I realized that for the first time in ten years, I was not uncomfortable AT ALL while watching a movie. TEN YEARS, people, of pain in movies. It was a mind-blowing experience to NOT have that. I'm calling Injection #1 a success. I get #2 in three weeks. I can't wait :)
  • A couple of weeks ago I offered to help someone out. I don't know her that well, but our daughters are best friends. I'm watching her daughter before school for 90 minutes for the next three weeks. The child is super polite and sweet and EASY. And makes our mornings easy...which is hard. She came over every morning this week. Today the mom paid me! Whoa. I wasn't expecting that! Woo hooo! Now I have money to:
  • Mail out the Jingle Bell Hell prizes! I had NO IDEA how expensive shipping had gotten :( But they ARE coming, people. Hope to get them out by the end of next week. So Christmas in March not February ;-) I may need to go buy Jennifer some more powdered donuts, though. Not sure how rich in preservatives these guys are!
  • We enjoyed a lovely day and went on a lovely walk...
Except for this one. She ran...

...and kept running...

...until she found this tree, upon which she stopped and pointed
and loudly proclaimed,

I do believe that the entire horde of tourists visiting Muir Woods on that beautiful Sunday morning then noticed that, indeed, the tree had a penis. 

She looked up and saw this...
and delightedly shrieked,
(I say 'delighted' because she's my child)

These trees are SO BIG! They're THIS BIG!
and she jumped to show me how big.
That's why the picture is blurry.

This one got mad.
I don't remember why, 
but I remember that he worked it for a good, long time.

Then we let him take our picture.

He was so excited that he tried to grab his own face.

It was beautiful.
And kind of loud because we were there.
  • We followed up with lunch at In N Out, which I think was the kids' favorite part of the experience. Even though I made them all share a shake. 
Hope all of you out there have a lovely weekend!

Anyone doing something fun?
– we have soccer and birthday parties and piano tests and housework to look forward to :)

21 February 2013

Not Pimp Rock Palace (photo warning for the squeamish)

Yesterday I experienced PRP for the first time.

And that doesn't stand for Pimp Rock Palace.

In this case, PRP stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma. My own platelet-rich plasma was injected into my hip joint as part of a treatment series attempting to regenerate cartilage in there. You can read about it here.

In case you're new here, I was recently diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis and told that my hip joint has degenerated to being a bone-on-bone situation.

I'm following the ranks of A-Rod, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant...as one reader said, "Without the hookers." (Cant' remember who gave me that gem...speak up because I love it and want to thank you). These pro athletes (and others) have had success with this form of treatment.

The top yellowish part is the plasma. The next whitish layer contains the platelets.
These two layers are what he injected into my hip joint.

I went to see the cute doctor. I filled out a bunch of paperwork and then went into the inner sanctum. After chatting a bit about my hip's history and filling my husband in on what was about to happen and how it worked, we got down to the real business. After drawing my blood, he numbed my hip with two injections of something. This was the most painful part of the procedure, and it was more a stinging pressure than pain. The first one was more superficial while the second went deep.

This is the third time I've used "singing" as a coping mechanism when undergoing an 'uncomfortable' medical event. I've found this way of distracting myself to be extremely effective and recommend it highly. I began during the first numbing injection with a sort of humming with my mouth open and so was kind of loud. It changed in volume and pitch as the injection proceeded. Then with the second one, I sang an actual song.

I'm singing....
I'm in a doctor's office and I'm singing....
I'm in a doctor's office and I'm SINNNGINNNNGGGG!!!!

The doctor started laughing and joined in.

And you're my dad... and guess what?
I love you!
I LOVE you!

I am completely and entirely serious. I now know with absolute certainty that I picked the right doctor for ME. Unfortunately, my husband had not yet begun filming when the musical portion of the procedure happened :(  The film he did take isn't all that interesting...just me getting a shot with the needle shown below...

Yes, that's my hip.
And now you've seen my underwear.

Another angle that makes the needle look even longer.
Now just imagine that above vial of PRP hooked onto the needle 
and being injected into my hip.

It didn't hurt really. A huge pressure sensation more than anything. It made my hip feel "juicy" inside. It made things feel different right away...but of course, my hip was numbed so there was that :P The doctor and my husband stood on either side of me as I tried to take my first step. Thank GOD because it felt like there was a huge THING missing...oh, yeah...that would be my numb hip! And I almost went down. But within moments, I was able to sort of shuffle with help.

It got sore about 30 minutes later, just an achy, beat-up feeling. This lasted for several hours. I was able to walk around the house slowly and go up and down stairs holding onto the railing. I'm probably more mobile than I think, but I am being paranoid and allowing the treatment to "settle in" and do it's thing. Sleeping was no problem.

This morning I feel fine. It's a little sore but not bad at all. I admit that I am afraid to even slightly test it. I'm going to spend the day alternating between shuffling and lying around. I go back in a month to do it again. The doctor feels we're looking at 5-6 treatments...maybe more, but he is optimistic that this will help a lot. I'm in Running Moratorium for at least that long, and no elliptical for 2-3 treatments. I can bike, row on the rowing machine, yoga, do some easy weights, perform rehabby exercises, and walk around. We don't want to disturb any possible cartilage regeneration process!

I'll be taking a fistful of joint supplements...MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Additionally, I'll continue my anti-inflammatory way of eating and doing my meditative work. It's time to make the healing, restorative work a major priority.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask! I am completely fascinated by this process.

20 February 2013

Still smiling ...

Today I go and maybe get a giant needle stuck into my hip and have stuff injected in there. But I might not. It depends on what the doctor says. I hope he says,


because I am eager to get the show on the road even though it's needles and needles freak the crap out of me. If it works, if it doesn't work...at least it's a starting point. So I'm smiling even though I haven't run since I can't even remember. 

Thanks, everyone, for your shared excitement about the rowing. It was really fun. I did it twice last week, and that will be all...for now. Deciding to proceed with the prolotherapy course of treatment (which is not covered by insurance) will be a financial commitment that will already stretch us. Rowing is way more expensive than I had imagined. I had a hard time keeping a straight face when I was given the cost breakdown. What the WHAT? LOL! And, dude, 4:40 a.m. is sooooooo f*cking early!!! 

For now the energy will be focused on healing or treating or whatevering my sweet little hurting hip :) I will not curse it. I will be loving it and nurturing it and promising to do right by it.

As I ponder what lies ahead, I've been spending time hanging with one of my favorite girls...

Can't catch me!

Yeah, right now I can't...but wait until I get this hip sorted ;-)

We know who runs the show around here...

...and clearly, it isn't me!

Alrighty, time to go be a mom. Because guess what? My kids are ON VACATION!!!! Might be a good time to take a trip to the zoo ;-)

I'll be sure to report back about how the doctor appointment goes!

What would you want to do if you were a kid on vacation? Don't say Disneyland...think local :)

Ever tried a course of treatment that seemed experimental? How'd it go?

p.s. Jingle Bell Hellers...i have NOT forgotten about you! 

15 February 2013

grrrrind grrrrind grrrrrrriiinnnndddddd...

Every time I take a step now, I see this in my mind...

My hip doesn't hurt any more than it ever has...in fact, it feels a whole ton better than it did when it felt its worst several years ago, but after hearing "bone-on-bone"... my mind goes to the mental image of a rough-hewn mortar and pestle...grriinnddding away. I'll bet you're cringing in sympathy pain right about now ;-)

The big question now is what to do.

Here's what I KNOW helps ME feel better:

  • good, deep tissue massage
  • chiropractic adjustments – that leg yank always is amazing
  • exercise – I actually feel more pain now than when I was running and doing more in general
  • the fact that I've pretty much eaten an anti-inflammatory diet for about 5 years now (yeah, some wiggle room there like I do eat sugary stuff sometimes...I wonder how good I'd feel if I cut that out? think I might try it...)
  • stretching, foam rolling, rolling on a tennis ball or lacrosse ball
  • destressing and meditation, this includes getting good rest/sleep
I started doing research last week and read each and every comment and email and message regarding surgeries and treatment/management ideas and workout alternatives and here is what I've come to realize:

  • I'm not ready for surgery emotionally.
  • I'm very good at hearing what my body is telling me, so I will continue to listen closely to it. It tells me "you don't need surgery yet, but you've got to do something"
  • I'm possibly in denial (don't say to me out loud "yes, you are" because eventually I will figure that out) but I am hanging onto a hope that my body has amazing healing abilities and so want to pursue ideas that embrace and utilize that hope.
  • I'm not really interested in running much or at all if it's going to hurt, but if it doesn't hurt...
  • I've really missed rowing.
  • Rowing is really f*cking expensive!
  • I tend to think outside the conventional box.
Decision #1...

I'm going for my first prolotherapy consultation on Wednesday. 

The worst that can happen (or so it seems) is that it won't do anything for me. I can live with that. If that turns out to be the case, then I look at other options. Easy.

The hardest part of this hip deal is realizing that, unlike a broken foot or torn hamstring, this is not going to get "better." I am not going to take 8 weeks off, doing pilates and swimming and biking or nothing, and then it will knit itself back together and be good as new. It's done. It's gone. I have to work with this forever...whether as a surgeried-on joint or other. 

The next time you're sitting out with an illness that will end or an injury that will heal, yes, it will be frustrating and hard, but remember how much worse it could be. Take time to take care of your body. If you're sick or hurting...give that awesome body a break. Don't curse it. Don't ignore it. You really don't want to have to deal with something like this. Trust me.

 **This recent series is important for me. It's really helpful to write these things out and look at them. Bear with me as I go through this process! Who knows? You might learn something useful :) **

12 February 2013

What the doctor said...

Today I had a phone consultation with my health plan's orthopedics guy to discuss my diagnosis.

I had a massive list of questions for him and was anticipating him to be a pompous, disdainful jerk. I based this on his online reviews. What I quickly realized once we began talking is that smart doctors appreciate well-informed, energetic, proactive patients. On the flip side, smart doctors tend to be a little dismissive and impatient with patients who don't really take care of their bodies. This guy is a smart doctor. And I am his perfect patient.

(all quoted dialogue is not necessarily directly quoted!)

Right away he said, "I'm not sure if I should give it to you straight...or if I should sugar-coat it a little."

"Give it to me straight up," I told him. "I don't mess around."

He laughed.

Then he got serious and said, "Your hip is done."

He proceded to tell me that there is no evidence of cartilage in there...it's a bone-on-bone situation. I am lucky that I am thin and active and fit and healthy...and "obviously very energetic."

I asked him about getting an MRI. "No need," he said. "The damage is done. There is no repair surgery to do. There's essentially nothing left." He went on to say that I had not done this to myself...I had done nothing wrong.

Then we talked about what I've been doing for the past 2+ years. He was floored. And not annoyed or frustrated or scolding. "I'm not going to tell you to not do anything," he said. "You can keep doing the things you want to do with the comfort level that works for you. The only thing I suggest is that you please don't wait until you've been inactive due to the pain for months and lose your fitness and your positive outlook to get the surgery. Being strong and positive will be critical for you to do well. Keep that in mind!"

He said running is not the best choice. Rowing is fine. Cycling, elliptical, pretty much anything except running...but he's not going to tell me to not run. "You'll know if it hurts too much...you can't make the condition worse," is what he basically said.

Based on my x-ray, he had wanted to put me on his surgery schedule immediately, but after talking with me he feels that would definitely be premature.

"Radiologically, you're a mess. Clinically, you're amazing. I can't say when you will need the replacement...or when you'll want it. But when that time comes, I'm here."

And we wished each other a nice day.

So now I begin setting up appointments to talk with various providers about treatments to help keep me strong. Physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, naturopath...I'm building an team.

If anyone has dealt with this and has some great ideas for me, please let me know in a comment or email!

Many thanks to RockStarTri and The Unexpected Runner for all your advice and willingness to share your insights. And many thanks to all of you, my generous and thoughtful readers, for your kind words and enthusiasm for my journey yet-to-come!

Anyone have personal experience with prolotherapy?
–this treatment option has me intrigued...

10 February 2013

Old things becoming new things...

A few days before I got the bad news, I had made arrangements to go check something out. I had been feeling discouraged about running and thought maybe a little change-up might help.

The checking-out happened on Saturday morning. I was so fortunate that it was gorgeous out instead of cold and windy and rainy...

 Sunrise and San Quentin Penitentiary

I had opted to go for a ride in the coach's launch and talk with the coach about the team instead of hopping in a boat. I must confess, the moment I pulled up into the parking lot I started quivering with excitement. While I was glad I had chosen to not row that morning, my appetite was whetted. 

A little morning choppiness out on the SF Bay...

 ...but pretty glassy down by the inlet.

I can't wait until Wednesday.

I'm going to row.

At least, I'm going to try it.

08 February 2013

Here's where it gets not-so-pretty...

I was really hoping 2013 would be a kinder, gentler year to me. Last year really ran me through the wringer in so many ways, and I was really looking forward to a little respite.

But if it were easy, there would be nothing to TAKE ON, XL!





After I spend a little bit of time wallowing in self-pity and grieving whatever the hell I'm grieving, I will get started Taking It On...because yes, that is what I do. But sometimes I'm just really super tired of taking it on.

Yesterday, I received the write-up on my x-ray...

Moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the right hip.

On the one hand, YAY! A diagnosis! On the other hand, holy s*it...conventional medicine says there's nothing you can do to heal it. You can 'manage' it...manage the pain...mask the symptoms...cut it out and put a piece of metal and plastic in there that will need to be replaced again in 10 years and isn't made to fit a small woman's physique and doesn't treat whatever the heck led to this whole crappy situation in the first place. You can shoot cortisone in there that will further erode any cartilage that still exists in that thar hip socket.

Ummmm...no thanks. None of those really appeal to me. Conventional medicine in this moment isn't really appealing to me :P

Oh, and honey...running is probably the worst thing you can do. Oh, you say you've been thinking of rowing again? Think again because that deep compression at the catch? Yeah, probably going to really screw you up even more.

You can go for a walk. 

Or swim.

You all know how I feel about swimming, right?

Regardless of what you do, sweetheart, you are on a one-way trip to losing the hip.

So I'm sitting here, staring at my little screen and thinking...

What in the heck am I going to do now?

And my answer today is...

I have no idea.


I'm hoping some of you stick around to see how this turns out. But it might really suck. One thing I can say with certainty is this... for awhile at least there won't be much running talk. So if that's why you come here, yeah...probably other more interesting places to hang out ;-)

Of course, I am one to buck trends and piss people off so this journey will probably be entertaining to watch.

Maybe I could get some network to fund a reality show?

06 February 2013

An update of sorts

Not a whole lot of time for this, unfortunately, but here are some random updates on what is happening Chez XL...

1.  We are having crawly critter issues...

This is misleading. The spider is as big as my thumb! 
G came running downstairs the other night...
I, being the adventurous, unafraid mom that I am, captured it live
and released it to the wild into our front yard.

And then there's this...
we wake up more often than not (or so it seems) to this...

Do you see the ants? I found this photo on my phone. I didn't take it.
I was too busy KILLING THEM.
It was like D-Day all over again.
The ants were like the Allies...they kept sending troops into battle. Relentless, onward they came.
In unheard of numbers. More and more and more strode into the slaughter.
The vacuum cleaner and I heartlessly and methodically decimated their ranks.
Unapologetically committing insecticide...
Yet knowing that, though we might win this battle, 
those little bastards would probably win the war.

2. We've had familial sickness...

No pictures of this. Over the weekend, both my husband and I got some weird zombie-like sickness. No body aches or fever or throwing up, just these headaches and disorientation and inability to function like normal people. On one occasion, my husband was lurching down the hall and I was stumbling around in the kitchen making lunch for the kids and I started laughing so hard. I was seriously like we were two zombies trying to raise a houseful of human children. Guess you had to be there :P

3. I finally got my hip x-rayed.

No results yet. I just had it done yesterday. I'd been dragging my feet on that for about 9 years. Ummmm...yeah.... First it was because a week after the doc wrote the requisition, I found out I was pregnant. Hip x-ray while pregnant, no es bueno. When I was ready to get the x-ray after that baby was born...BOOM... pregnant again. That happened a couple of times. So then it just seemed like every time I was going to get it the wait was going to be HOURS. Yesterday I had a couple of free hours, so I decided to just suck it up and go. I was in and out in 20 minutes. Whoa. Did I feel kind of stupid. Yeah. You'll be the firsts to know what it says as soon as I know.

That's all I've got for now!

I hope life is treating all of you well and thanks for hanging tough with me while I spend a little less time in BlogWorld.

Be well!


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