My scars of strength

Exactly 1 week Post-Op.

Exactly 1 week Post-Op.

I have two scars on my right upper lateral thigh, at one point they allowed access to my hip capsule.  Like every scar on my body, they have their own tale.  These scars don't tell the tale of flipping over my handle bars on the mountain bike.  They don't tell the tale of that one crash in that one race.  These scars, they aren't like the one down the middle of my shin from falling off my bike at 12 years old, or the emotional scar I was left with after being hit by a car 1 month after that.  These two tiny itty bitty scars, they remind me of my strength, not just my physical strength, but my mental and emotional strength.  Every time I look down and I see my scars I'm reminded how far I've come.  From the first day of pulling off those Post-Op bandages and being scared of what I might see, to holding back tears prior to my first race 1 week ago. 

The day I was allowed to stand on 2 feet. 

The day I was allowed to stand on 2 feet. 

These scars, their tale is that of persistence.  Persistence of watching myself walk in a mirror (over and over and over again) and not allowing myself to walk with a limp when I got off crutches.  Persistence of never giving up when at 3 months everything hit the fan, I couldn't lie down, stand up, or sit without excruciating pain in my back and consequently my hip flared up.  Persistence of building back everything I lost, and building it back better than it was before.  

These scars, their tale is that of dedication.  Dedication of going to the pool when I truly despised it so I could get my Range of Motion in when Chris was at work (those silly circles).  Dedication of hours of PT work to gain muscle function and strength back.  Dedication of daily foam rolling and stretching to keep my hip feeling "loose".  Dedication to following my surgeon's protocol to a T.  

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These scars, they have a tale of patience.  No, you can't do that yet, be patient, was something I heard way too much.  Patience of not doing too much when all I wanted was to go for a 5 hour ride in the woods (still haven't done that yet).  Patience of listening to both my surgeon and my PT.  Patience when I was finally allowed to ride outside, but only for 1 hour.  Patience for that 4 month mark when I was finally allowed to start "pushing" it.  These scars, they learned patience, and gained a lot of it.  

These scars, they remind me I'm not that speedy, agile, athletic (and totally emotionally unstable) 15 year old anymore.  I'm no longer that 22 year old Group Fitness Instructor doing crazy fancy tricks (it's probably what killed my hips anyways) in the gym.  These scars tell me I'm not 25 anymore and I can't ignore a nagging pain in my hip and think it will go away.  These scars remind me I'm 32, they remind me how much I love myself, how proud I am of the strength they gave me. Of all the scars I have on my body (there's a lot...trust me), these are my favorite.  They tell the story of an emotional war I had with myself for months.  These scars, they tell me I'm better, more fit, and happier than I was at 15, 22, and 25.  

Every time I look down and I see my scars, I smile, because these scars, they make me proud of what I went through.  These scars gave me strength I didn't know I had.  These scars, they showed me persistence, dedication, and patience.  They allowed me to love more than I knew I could.  They taught me gratefulness, be grateful for the body I was given, the activity this body allows me to do, and grateful for the team behind me.  These scars remind me I'm stronger than anyone thought I was.  I have scars of strength, and when I line up for my first big race of the season (7 months, 3 weeks + 1 day post-op, but who's counting anyways) in 4 days, I'll smile, because I'm lucky to have my scars of strength.  

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I jumped into the rabbit hole, and I dove in headfirst

If someone told you having surgery was like jumping into the never ending rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland, would you go in?  Is ignorance truly bliss?

I've been getting out and enjoying my paddle board!  

I've been getting out and enjoying my paddle board!  

It’s been awhile since I popped my head out of the hole to update on my surgery, life, riding, and everything.  It’s been 5.5 month’s post-op, and here’s a quick update. 

I’m so happy to report things are going in a very positive direction.  Last you heard from me…2 months ago, things were great…and then they weren’t.  I’ve learned with recovery, things don’t go your way, your body and mind have 2 very different agendas.  I’ve learned I can’t push what isn’t there and I have to embrace when my body says no.  I’ve taken the slow and conservative approach to getting my fitness back, and while I feel kind of strong, I’m quite slow on the bike, and my running legs/hips just aren’t there. 

At 4 months I was given the green light to push things and start up the intensity and length of my activity, and was told I should be back to my regularly scheduled activity in 6-8 weeks.  Since then, I’ve made my way back into the gym, incorporating weights into my PT exercises, added 1 day of running (up to 15 minutes of intermittent running and going to add a second day this week), I head to yoga 2x/week (more on this momentarily), and I’m riding 4x/week (up to 3 hours with some solid tempo work and back on the MTB as well), more on this too.  While it’s been a much slower ramp up than I ever wanted and imagined, I’m glad I’ve been taking it conservatively, I’m thankful for my surgeon who has gone above and beyond the job he’s paid to do, I’m thankful for his conservative rehab protocol, I’m thankful for all those people who told me about their recovery, and thankful for those around me who kept my head above water when I thought I might drown.  I’m thankful for my ever patient PT, Sarah, who got me to where I am now, and continuously worked with me for the past year. 

This is when I ask, is ignorance really bliss?

I am not professional yogi, so just enjoy what I'm capable of doing and the fact that THIS DOESN'T HURT!

I am not professional yogi, so just enjoy what I'm capable of doing and the fact that THIS DOESN'T HURT!

Prior to surgery I knew my hip was pretty messed up, as sitting was uncomfortable, walking for long periods of time (at a fast rate might I add) wasn’t comfortable, running beyond 20-30 minutes hurt and left me limping, but I could ride my bike, what I considered “pain free” and that made me happy.  You might recall last October my “good hip” went bad, the thing with it, it really only hurt when I rode my bike, and when I tried to push hard on the pedals.  That’s a huge bummer when your heart and soul is riding your bike.  I was told I was just compensating, and I went with that, and went on my merry way.  Due to this “compensation” I was feeling, it really helped me decide that surgery WAS the right decision for me (aside from all those other points I made earlier). 

About 4 weeks ago I was enlightened.  It started on a bike ride, my first ride back with a little bit of tempo.  Keep in my mind all my other rides had been simple easy listen to my surgery hip (right side) rides.  This one, it informed me, my left side was no good.  My left hip had 4 months to recover from the season, to calm down, and all that pain I was feeling would go away.  Throughout my recovery I would feel my left hip, but I just called it “sympathy pains”, it wouldn’t linger, it would just throb occasionally.  I do my PT exercises on BOTH sides, so the muscles should be getting equally strong (right?).  This ride on a Wednesday, it hurt my left hip, that exact same feeling I felt last season during every single interval, every race, every hill.  I stepped off my bike and my leg nearly gave way.  This made me angry…frustrated, but also aware.  Aware that something was truly indeed wrong.  The following day I went to Yoga, and I was enlightened, yet again.  I’ve been going to Yoga for 2.5 years, which cracks me up because I think it took me 5 years to finally step into a yoga class, but that’s beside the point.  For the first time in 2.5 years of going to Yoga, my right hip DIDN’T hurt.  Seriously, I didn’t know that your hips aren’t supposed to hurt in any warrior pose, or chair pose for that matter.  Twisted chair…to the right, it didn’t hurt my right hip, it didn’t burn, it didn’t pinch, I nearly giggled with delight, because this was unheard of for me.  Then we turned left, and that was a whole different story.  Down dog to any step through pose…I could do it, for the first time…ever, on my right side.  My left leg, doesn’t go, can’t move, can’t go.  The following day I walked into my Chiropractors office and requested an MRI.  I think he was a bit weary of my request, wasn’t REALLY sure he should do it, but I gave him my reasoning.  My surgeon already has X-rays, I want the MRI.  For the past 2 months he kept telling me all my pain I was feeling on my left side was compensation, and I kept telling him I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and I truly believed there was something else going on.  He finally said fine, lets order the MRI, but I just don’t believe you have a labral tear.

Readers, trust your instincts, a gut feeling is usually correct, and as he put it, a woman’s intuition, always 100% right.  I’m really bummed to say, my report came back with a left side labral tear, but also relieved to know I’m not crazy, and there’s a reason for the pain I’m feeling.  Having been 5.5 month’s post-op, I’m so insanely happy with how good my right hip feels on the bike.  Riding has never been the MOST comfortable thing on my hips, especially that right hip (now the left).  That right hip would burn every time I pedaled, but I would just coast a lot, stretch it out when I could, take standing breaks, etc.  I’ve never been that great at long seated efforts, it’s never been comfortable, it’s never been easy.  I just called it a weakness, I’ve now discovered, riding bikes isn’t supposed to hurt your hips.  Every time I ride I want to scream with joy at how GOOD that right hip feels when I pedal, I smile with every pedal stroke, and I’m continuously in awe at its capabilities.  Would you still consider ignorance bliss?  Ladies and gentlemen, I thought I was riding my bike pain free, it's only now that I learned, it wasn't pain free, it was all I knew.

I’ve been enlightened, but also demoralized seeing how bad that left hip is when I ride, it doesn’t feel good.  Is ignorance bliss?  It makes me wonder if knowing why I’m hurting is better than, just pushing beyond the pain I feel and ignoring it?  My left hip had 4 months to recover after I had surgery on the right, and all the same symptoms came back, the rest didn’t help.  I’ve had a lot of people ask what my next step is.  The thought of going through surgery again…right now, sounds awful, I can’t do that, I can’t put myself through that right now, besides, there is racing to be had!!!!!!  I’m sending a copy of the MRI CD to my surgeon and he’s going to look at it (again going above and beyond) for me and let me know what he thinks.  I’ll see him August 2nd and we can discuss in person a plan of action.  For now, I don’t see surgery in my near future, I can’t face it again right now.  I’m going to do some focused PT (hopefully my insurance company will give me more PT sessions, as I have run out of my allotted amount) on my left hip, and hope I can find some relief and good results.  Even though I suspected a tear, I’m still in a bit of denial, as everything I feel seems so soft tissue related, but that makes me ask the question of why?  There is SOMETHING that is causing the muscle to respond that way.

My injured and not so injured anymore friends reuniting at Wednesday Night Worlds

My injured and not so injured anymore friends reuniting at Wednesday Night Worlds

Having surgery has opened up my eyes to a lot of what is happening in my body.  I feel like I went into surgery to get fixed (and awhile yes my hip feels so good), I had a lot of other issues come up that I never anticipated.  I feel like I’ve been slapped across the face with a tear on the left side, but I also know that things could be SO MUCH WORSE.  There’s a lot I’m thankful for, that I’m not going to be sinking into a black bubble of depression.   I have 2 legs that work, I have an incredibly stress free amazing life, I’m a healthy 32-year-old, I have amazing friends, and a supportive husband.  In the grand scheme of things, I know this time is a blip on the radar and from here my body will only continue to improve.  I am thankful for all the kind words of encouragement you have sent my way, the texts, the social media comments.  Thank you.  My heart is always so full from the love of the cycling community. 

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Learning to Let Go

"Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be"

This couldn't have popped into my life at a better moment.  Scrolling through Instagram this morning, I found this quote on my friends recent photo.  The funny thing was, I already started this blog post over the weekend, regarding this exact same thing.  I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and this my friends, speaks to me at the perfect time of my life.

When in your life have you been given the green light to do nothing for longer than 1 day?

Think about it. 

It doesn't happen often...if at all.  

My favorite at home recovery tools + some of my PT (at the time of the photo)

My favorite at home recovery tools + some of my PT (at the time of the photo)

Hip surgery isn't easy.  When I was given the green light to do nothing, it shifted my attitude towards daily life.  Things slowed down and everything took 3x longer to get done.  I'm not one to sit, especially at home, there are always chores to be done, but this, I let go.  I brushed my OCD aside, when the house was dirty, I didn't cringe, I threw out my twitching itchy legs that want to be active, and I let it all go.  I waved goodbye to my all star fitness, I watched my leg atrophy, without getting TOO sad, I holed myself in our guest room and I hid from the world.  My exercise became 6 hours in a CPM machine a day, and maybe a crutch walk to the mail box 2 driveways away from the house.  I had nearly 1 year to 100% completely mentally give into surgery.  I prepared myself for the worst (or what I believed would be the worst from what I heard from others), I accepted it, my body accepted it, and together we worked hard to heal as quickly as possible, while I watched my friends rip their mountain bikes down trails in the torrential rains, wishing I was out there splashing around.  

When you're slow enough to ride bikes with your Dad.

When you're slow enough to ride bikes with your Dad.

For years I've struggled with the social media aspect of being a professional athlete.  Watching other athletes train, seeing their posts, their rides, priding themselves on how they nailed their interval workout for the day, or gloating on about the X mile ride they did and how their base training is amazing.  It get's you wondering "am I doing enough" "maybe I need to do what they're doing" "I'm not good enough".  With age, experience, and a shift in mental attitude I've been able to stray away from these thoughts and pressure the past year or so.  I knew surgery and the lack of ability to train would be a mental struggle, I knew it would be hard to see my fellow competitors out there getting back to their training and prep for the upcoming season, because the training (whether intervals, base training, or rest) is always happening.  My mental attitude shifted, I let go of my jealousy, my guilt, my desire to be there.  I told myself "this is where I'm at, I can't change it, this is what I can do".  I've learned in this process the only person that matters when it comes to training, is me.  This is my personal body, I'm not you, you're not me.  I can't do what you're doing, but I can do what I'm doing, and with that, I accept it.  I've learned to be grateful for the 60 minutes of riding outside I'm given, and cherish it.  I've learned the vast differences there are between my left side and the right side of my body.  I've learned I'm far more mentally tough than I ever knew.  I'm learning my body is capable of more than I gave it credit for, my body is my temple, and I've learned to treat it as such.  

I do love my BOSU!!!  Cheating one day to see if I could balance one 1 leg on the BOSU.  Turns out, I could!

I do love my BOSU!!!  Cheating one day to see if I could balance one 1 leg on the BOSU.  Turns out, I could!

Prior to surgery I thought to myself that by March I could probably hop on the trainer and get training again.  4 weeks came, and I scoffed at that thought, I was just happy when my hip would catch only 1x on my trainer rides!  I told myself the light at the end of the tunnel would be 8 weeks when my surgeon let me ride outside.  I would be able to start training then, thinking he gave me 1 hour to ride in March, then come April I could ride for 2 hours.  8 weeks arrived, and I was given another slap across the face, when I was told I could only ride for 1 hour outside until 12 weeks, and had to start at 30 minutes.  I was in for a rude awakening during my first outside ride when, in fact, my surgeon was correct, it IS different riding outside.  I accepted it, my drive to train is chomping at the bits and I can't wait to go hard on the bike again, but sometimes there are more important things than getting back to training.  At this 8 week point in my recovery, I realized I truly did need to throw out my desire to train hard, I needed to give into my lack of fitness, and just let it be.  Let my body tell me when it was ready.  

As I approach 12 weeks post op, I've realized how much my mental attitude has shifted towards training, towards rehab, and this whole process.  I've learned you can't hold onto the past, you can't hold onto what was, that's done and gone, that me, is written in history.  Instead of dwelling on how unfit I currently am, how my hip is taking forever to heal (because that's the nature of a labral repair), I'm working on the aspects of my life I can control.  This surgery has literally forced me to take 2 steps back, to re-evaluate where my body is, not just my hip, but my entire body, head to toe.  I've been pushing my body for nearly half my life, and as I look back at that time, I realize I've never given my body the physical and mental break it needs.  I'm looking at my time away from hard training as an opportunity for a complete reset for my body, both physiologically and biomechaniclly.  Physiologically my body is getting a rest it's never received in a few years, seriously, 3-4 months with basically NO training.  If you don't call that a reset (or detraining ;-) ), I don't know what it is!  Biomechanically, I'm focusing on everything that I know is wrong with me.  I know my posture sucks (lots of low back pain), I've focused extremely hard on my posture, static and walking.  I get a lot of back pain associated with my lack of thoracic rotation and mobility (thank you bike riding), so I'm doing daily exercises to improve it (mobility and also foam rolling exercises).  My scapulas wing, so I'm working on exercises to help with shoulder stabilization, and that's on top of all my rehab for my hip.  

I feel in life, sometimes you need to go backwards in order to keep progressing forward.  Maybe I'm not where I want to be on the bike at this point or where I have been in years past, and I've had a lot of people ask if I'm happy I went through with surgery.  I can't say yes or no at this point, but I'm trusting the process of getting me there, getting me exactly where I want to be before my CX season starts.  I'm trusting that every day of PT, every effort I put forth to heal and rehab is an effort in the right direction.  I trust that I will and can be right where I need to be when the time is right.  

I spent 4 days in Monterey at Sea Otter connecting with sponsors and friends.  It was a great test for the hip to see what it could handle.  The hip did better than I anticipated, but the trip was 1 day too long for the hip.

I spent 4 days in Monterey at Sea Otter connecting with sponsors and friends.  It was a great test for the hip to see what it could handle.  The hip did better than I anticipated, but the trip was 1 day too long for the hip.

Catching up with great friends was the highlight of my trip to Monterey.

Catching up with great friends was the highlight of my trip to Monterey.

The following weekend after Monterey, Chris and I spent the weekend on the Washington Coast with his family.  Of course I brought my bike to get my daily 60 minute ride in, and soak up the different views of the Washington Coast compared to the California Coast.  

The following weekend after Monterey, Chris and I spent the weekend on the Washington Coast with his family.  Of course I brought my bike to get my daily 60 minute ride in, and soak up the different views of the Washington Coast compared to the California Coast.  

In Thickest Darkness, The Stars Shine Brightest - 9 Weeks Post-Op

Thank you Henry David Thoreau for that reminder, I found that quote to be so perfect for the past 5 weeks.

Sometimes when I need an inspirational quote, I open this book to help me smile

Sometimes when I need an inspirational quote, I open this book to help me smile

Being an athlete can be very isolating if you let it, and believe me...I let it.  I train 90% of the time alone, I miss out on outings with friends because..well...I don't have that many friends in Bellingham, and when we get together, we're being active in the day time, riding bikes, going on hikes, walking, running, etc.  Literally, my life revolves around activity, my social life is activity, everything is activity.  When you think being an athlete is isolating, now be an injured athlete, and then lets talk about isolation.  I've seen some pretty good mental lows, and I've had to truly dig myself out of them every time.  I've stared at walls for extended periods of time asking "why", I've had pity parties alone on my couch, in bed, at the pool.  Every time, I've had to work so hard to force a smile on my face, to laugh it off, to find the light that is getting me through this.  I was living in darkness, my life felt like Bill Murray in "Ground Hogs Day", only I wasn't smiling.  You know the best thing about darkness?  It doesn't last forever, there's ALWAYS light somewhere, and I found my bright stars.  

At this point in my recovery, progress feels like it's moving at a snails pace, seriously, I wake up and every day feels the same.  My typical day includes 1-3 hours of at home PT (exercises, stretching, foam rolling), 1 hour spin on my bike, 1-2 hours of using my Compex (Muscle Stim), plus 40 minutes 1 or 2 times/day of ice/heat contract, AND some incision work at the end of the day.  I go to the pool 2x/week to work on range of motion, I go to the gym 2x/week to do my PT and a little upper body work, and most importantly, to get out of the house and see other faces outside of my television screen.  I go to PT 2x/week, acupuncture 1x/week (started with 2x), massage every other week, and started seeing my chiropractor for some soft tissue work the other week, and will add him to my rehab program from here on out.  

I have found the largest struggle as of recent (aside from some pain with some motions) is muscle tightness in the Quads, TFL to IT band, Adductors, Hamstrings, everything really!  I struggle with external rotation, still causes a little pain, I'm still restricted on flexion, no more than 90, and no active hip flexion.  Occasionally when I ride my bike on the trainer (1x/ride) if I move too much because I'm antsy, my hip will catch.  That's a new one for me.  But my guess is there is still some inflammation in the joint and lots and lots of healing is still going on.  While I'm not having constant nagging pain in my hip, my back on the other hand has been taking a beating.  I have a history of back pain, so this isn't abnormal for me, but it certainly sucks!  My PT exercises feel awesome, I'm doing squats and lunges on the BOSU, lots and lots of banded glute work, balance work, bridges, planks, the whole thing!  I've been riding my bike for an hour for the past 2 weeks, adding gears very slowly, and it's been feeling awesome.  Riding the bike feels fantastic, tightens the hip a bit, but nothing stretching can't work out.  

I had my 8 week post-op appointment, and it literally shook me to my core, I was so damn nervous.  I couldn't speak, my surgeon asked how everything was going, and I literally sat there speechless I was so nervous and anxious, this seems to be a common trend for me when I see him.  :-/  Once I was able to relax everything started flowing.  He said my hip feels great, it's moving awesome, and upon chatting a bit more he told me "I CAN RIDE OUTSIDE".  Looking back at my appointment, I have to chuckle a little bit, I pushed my surgeon's limits, as my Dad said, always negotiating, yes sir...I am.  He told me I could ride outside, on flat roads, no standing, no sprints, no low cadence, no high torque, and no harder than 5 out of 10.  Seems like a lot of negative doesn't it?  He told me to start out with 30 minutes, my response was literally..WTF.  It gets even better, start at 30 minutes, and add 10 minutes per ride up to an hour for the next 4 weeks.  Another WTF.  I knew he was going to cap my time for rides, but I was thinking I'd be able to get to 2 hours at least!!  I didn't say this to him of course, so in my head I decided to meet him in the middle, and asked for 1.5 hour.  He told me no.  I asked again, he said no.  We went back and forth, and it was settled...I lost, he won.  He told me riding outside would be different than the trainer, and a lot harder.  I chuckled and said no way!  Lets just say, this surgery has taught me that I will not be right about everything.  He also told me no riding in the rain.  Another big WTF, first off this is the PNW, its going to rain, and I WANT TO RIDE OUTSIDE, secondly, I know how to ride my bike, I'm not your average Jane, I can ride outside in the rain and be okay.  So you know what I did, I sent him a link of the Worlds Championship CX race in Luxembourg and told him if I survived this race without crashing, I can survive riding flat pavement in the rain.  I won that battle.  

At this point, I've ridden outside 3 times!  I've worked my way up to 50 minutes, staying on what is mostly flat for Bellingham, which means I have to drive to ride my bike because I live on a giant hill.  That's okay, because...I get to ride outside.  My surgeon was also correct, riding outside is different than riding the trainer, and it is harder, and it feels different on the hip.  In my 3 rides outside I've realized this:

  • I need to treat them as recovery rides
  • Sometimes I end up using my left leg more than my right, it's a good indicator for me to take a gear off and pedal with both legs, because I must be hesitant to push that gear with my right leg. 
  • Riding outside does cause my hip to tighten up a bit more than on the trainer.  I believe it's due to the fact that I'm not sitting up as much as I am on the trainer.  Repetitive flexion, it's going to be like that for awhile.  To help, I've raised my stem.
  • I was never afraid of cars until now, when they pass me too closely, I freak out and want to yell "MY HIP"!
  • Undulating roads, I have to think about shifting a lot more than I did prior to surgery. Before surgery upon seeing a small hill, I would just push the same gear or stand up. Post surgery, I have to shift down to small gears and keep those legs spinning!
Some of my favorite recovery tools I use nearly daily.  Plus a sneak peak at some of my PT exercises.

Some of my favorite recovery tools I use nearly daily.  Plus a sneak peak at some of my PT exercises.

You know what else he said I could do?  He gave me the green light to go to Yoga!  So of course, I was nervous at first and wanted to do a couple of private sessions before going to a class, but ended up getting anxious and wanted to go, so I went to my first Yoga class!  I modified the entire class by using Yoga Blocks for everything so I didn't brake my 90 degree flexion restriction, I avoided any 1 legged plank things, I didn't do any active hip flexion (because I cannot do any active hip flexion for 3 months post-op), I sat out a couple of poses that I knew were just out of the question for me, and I survived!  I learned a lot about Yoga and my body, more than I realized!  Turns out, there are some SNEAKY things your hips are doing in Yoga, that you wont realize until you have hip surgery.  I wasn't sure how the hip would respond to Yoga, so naturally I was really nervous and a little guarded for the beginning of class, it was a bit touch and go, but by 1/2 way through everything started to feel really good, and by the end, my hip felt amazing!  Today?  I'm SO SORE (not my hip), my upper body is so sore, all that rotation and twisting you do in Yoga and you don't do in life, makes me sore!  It feels amazing to feel my muscles again.  

Looking back at my last post, it's amazing to me how far I've come in the past 4 weeks.  Last time I blogged, I just added in squats, NOW I've been squatting on a BOSU doing woodchoppers with a 4lb medicine ball.  That's pretty cool!  I've also been walking crutch free for quite some time now, my hip doesn't get achy anymore, AND moving in the kitchen to cook and clean is so much easier.  I'm still mindful of my walking, where I'm walking (surfaces) and how I'm walking, plus my walking speed, but I don't think about it nearly as often as I did.  I've found it's significantly easier to get in and out of bed, the car, and on and off the couch.  I don't have any pain with those movements!  I still get sharp shocking pain with random movements, but those are few and far beyond.  I don't even think twice about driving anymore, my couch and I are slowly drifting away throughout the day, but we're still buddies in the evenings.  I still ice, because well..why not?  It feels good, but I always follow up my ice with some heat, to get a little blood rush into the joint.  I've also started training my client (in my house) to get back to some normalcy, and this Friday I'll be back to teaching my Spin class (every other Friday to start)!  Slowly I'm getting my life back to "normal".  

I've been able to slowly start incorporating more household chores into my daily life (because they didn't get done for the past 2 months), like wash the dishes, help with dinner, vacuum, sweep, dust, do laundry, fold laundry.  My house is (kind of) getting put back together, I've been slowly cleaning up the guest room that I camped in for 7 weeks, washing the sheets (haven't made the bed yet though), picking up and putting away my thousands of pill bottles, throwing away garbage that was laying around, and putting everything back into it's neat OCD order.  My living room is...not quite back together, since the couch and I still have a personal connection, I leave all my pillows, my ice machine, my heating pack, and anything else I might need within an arms reach out in the living room, but I've dusted up the cat fur!

I feel extremely lucky to have the ability to make rehab my job and not be stressed about having to work and get my rehab in.  I'm able to fully put all my attention and energy into healing, and I think it's paying off big time.  My pain is VERY minimal, sitting is becoming WAY more tolerable, I even ate dinner at the dinner table last night for the FIRST time since surgery!  I can do a kneeling lunge now without discomfort in the hip (something I couldn't do prior to surgery), and that to me, is very very encouraging.  I still haven't woken up and thought "I'm so happy I did that", but I think that day will come, when I'm not thinking about it.  While I know I'm far from healed, I know for a fact I'm out of the darkest of dark days and nights and getting closer to seeing a positive and encouraging light.  

Riding outside is fun!

Riding outside is fun!

5 Weeks Post-Op: Finding an Identity

5 Weeks!  I wrote most of this at the 4 week mark, but never finished, and I'm glad I didn't, because A LOT has happened and changed over the past week.

I decided I'm going to start my post with the rough stuff and end with the good stuff.  I haven't really blogged too much about the surgery and recovery, and now that I've had some good highs and some pretty terrible lows, I feel like I have something worth typing out.  

To put it bluntly, surgery + recovery is fucking hard.  Sorry for the swear word, but I'll be real.  This isn't for the faint of heart, and I can see how people wouldn't recover well from surgery because they're so down on themselves, their body can't heal.  I went from the highest high, the most fit I've been, the strongest, the most confident, to sitting in bed feeling like Sloth from The Goonies.  The first week was easy, I suppose being drugged up on painkillers helps that.  I took pain killers for the first 5 days and then stopped, I really wasn't in to how they made me feel, but they made the time go by incredibly fast.  After the first week it felt like time halted, it didn't help that the 2nd week my pain increased and I freaked out that I re-tore the labrum and couldn't call my surgeon because he was out of town on vacation.  That was probably the longest week of my life, I  think I cried 6 days straight, but after the 14th day I knew things were going to get better, mentally and physically.  

Some days start fantastically and then as the day progressed I'd start to feel worthless since I couldn't do anything for myself.  When you can't physically do anything for yourself it's hard to keep going, it's hard to smile, it's hard to think there's an end.  When I finally was able to call my surgeon, you better believe I did!  It was nice to hear I was doing everything as I should, but it brought to my attention how much my life really revolves around riding.  The days go by insanely slow when you can't get out on your bike or do any form of exercise, and when you're life is literally exercise, it's hard.  Everything is THAT much harder, and it's that much more of a fight to keep healing and stay positive.  I live for my PT appointments, my acupuncture, and my rest!  

Now that it's officially been 5 weeks post-op (as of yesterday) I can do a little more!  So instead of focusing on everything I'm NOT allowed to do (because believe me, there's a lot), I'm going to focus on the progress I have made in the past 5 weeks.  Yes, there's a heck of a lot to work on and I have time on my side to get it done!  My incisions are healed so I've been in the pool 2x, swimming with a pull buoy (because..big surprise, I can't kick) and doing some range of motion exercises in the pool.  As of 3 weeks I could put 50% of my weight on my surgery side, as of 4 weeks I could learn to walk again!  I ditched 1 crutch on the 4 week mark (only in the house, 2 crutches when in public), and by the 4.5 week mark I ditched the single crutch and was walking (but took a single crutch with me when leaving the house).  The first day I could walk with 1 crutch my hip was pretty achy, and each day it's gotten stronger and stronger and less and less achy.  Now that I'm officially walking, I'm still taking it relatively easy when it comes to standing and walking, as too much of it brings on the aches, and my leg is pretty weak from lack of doing anything for nearly 4 weeks.  When walking I'm extremely careful, and each step is mindful of my gait, where my feet are, and what my hips are doing.  Small spaces are hard, working in the kitchen can be challenging, because I dare you to NOT pivot when reaching around for things!  Pivoting can be the worst thing to do for your hip while it's healing, so I'm trying to be very mindful of what I'm doing, I'm really good at swiveling on my left leg!  It's important I continue to listen to my body, as even though I don't look injured on the outside, I am still very injured on the inside.

Now that 5 weeks have gone by horribly slow, I'm able to add in some active range of motion exercises, light strength work, and some stretches!  YES!  I can move my own leg, except for flexion.  I can't actively flex my hip for 3 months.  The 4 week mark also meant I can start adding more time on my bike (up to 40 minutes now) plus slowly adding more resistance (more gears to push...YES), but we should note I'm only allowed on the trainer and I can only ride an hour for the next 3 weeks, and my heart rate is SOO high (NOT, if it gets above 100 that's pretty monumental).  The pain has minimized, I still have sharp pain with some movements, and my range of motion needs to be worked on, but I suspect that will decrease with time, as even in the past week it's gotten significantly better.  There's scar tissue around my incisions that needs to be worked out, but each day with a little work it gets better and better.  All the muscles around the joint are insanely tight, so I'm doing daily soft tissue work on them when I'm on the couch.  As of the 5 week mark I took my first drive since pre-surgery.  It was a little nerve racking, but my mind and body knew what to do, so it wasn't too bad.  

I haven't done much in regards to leaving my house for any social activities and I'm not currently working.  I'm pretty focused on PT and healing, and don't want to do anything that will prolong my recovery, it's just not worth it in the long run, so to say I've been taking it conservatively, slow, and easy, would be putting it lightly!  I'm saving my first big outing for next Thursday, which will be the 6 week mark AND my 32nd birthday.   Go big or go home friends!  I see my surgeon in 3 weeks and hopefully by that time I'll be cleared to ride outside on the road.  For now, I'll keep plugging away at my daily PT, riding my bike inside, and hanging out on the couch.