A cortisone injection

On Friday morning, I had my dad drive me back to Bone and Joint for a cortisone injection into the pseudo-joint at S1/S2 on the right side of my lower back.  Just like the prior injection appointments I’ve had there, I was checked in and taken back to the pre-op area where they made me pee in a cup for a pregnancy test (it was negative).  Then they checked my vitals and the doctor came back to check on me. 

After about an hour of waiting, they wheeled me back and had me move onto the other bed.  I was face down and they prepped my lower back.  They set up the X-ray machine so that the doctor could be certain that she was in the right spot.  After a lot of poking on my back, she double checked the placement of the needle by injecting a contrast dye to make sure it was in the right spot.

She injected a steroid and a pain reliever (lidocaine/bupivicaine).  The injection burned a little bit, but that is to be expected.  After the injection, she asked me to rate my pain.  Honestly, there was no difference.  After they wheeled me back to the recovery area, and I got up to use the bathroom, the doctor came back to see how I was doing.  She asked me to stand and bend and to rate how I was feeling. 

I didn’t notice anything different.  Actually, I was hurting more because I had been lying down for a while and I felt tight and stiff.  She told me that if this didn’t do anything for my pain, that the only other option she had was to address the SI joint.  She didn’t go into any details about that.  I will follow up with her in another week.

She told me to take it easy the rest of the day.  I could use ice for pain relief, but I should avoid using heat.  She also told me to hold off on physical therapy until after I follow up with her.

To day that I am disappointed would be a huge understatement.  In the couple of days since the injection, I have been holding onto a glimmer of hope that the pain would decrease.  No luck.  I guess  I will wait until my follow up appointment to talk with her about what the next step is.

On Friday afternoon, I saw my primary care provider for my yearly physical.  I love her.  She is really fantastic.  She is a runner who knows what it is like to be inured and not able to do the things that I want to do.  We chatted about how I was feeling and how I was dealing with not being able to run and always being in pain.  We came to the decision that it makes sense right now for me to go back onto an antidepressant. 

I don’t think that antidepressants are bad or wrong or evil.  I know that many people need them and that they can be very effective.  I took them for a time after my older son was born, to help treat post partum depression.  When I was pregnant with my second son, I went back on them because I was so concerned about getting PPD again.  I thought that running was going to be the thing that saved me from ever having to rely on medication again.  And it did for a couple years.  But I haven’t been able to run with any intensity since February.  I have been in pain every day since the end of January.  And all of this has significantly effected my mood. 

So, I’ll go back on the pills.  We decided to start with half of the typical lowest starting dose.  If the the side effects are too bothersome, I will probably quit taking it.  But I will try this for a couple weeks and see if it helps. 

In other news, I registered for a race!  Actually, the whole family did.  There is a local 5K in a couple weeks and I registered Tim and Jaden and I to do it.  Jaden set a goal to run five 5Ks this year and because of my injury, he has only done three so far.  Tim and Jaden can run the race and I will walk it (I’m still allowed to run one slow mile).  I wish I could be competitive, but at least it will give us a fun family activity.

Hope

I have another doctor’s appointment this Friday.  This time, the doctor is focusing her energy on my S1-S2 area of my lower back.  She is going to do a cortisone injection in the hopes of (finally) getting rid of the low back pain that has plagued me since the beginning of the year.

I am trying to be optimistic.  If I’m being honest, it is really hard to do that right now.  I’ve tried so many things this year to try to get better.  To be able to run again.  To live without pain.  I feel like I am grasping at straws.

To add insult to injury, when I got to work today, I had to listen to one of the anesthetists tell me all about his race at the Twin Cities marathon last weekend.  The marathon I was supposed to run.  The marathon I was going to try to run under 4 hours.  MY marathon.  I tried to smile and be supportive and encouraging.  Inside, I was miserable.

So, I’m really hoping that this treatment works.  I would give anything to be able to run more than my one mile every other day.  I want to start training again.  I want to feel those endorphins again.  I want to feel strong and capable.  I want to run!  (And I want to be able to tie my shoes and fold the laundry without pain.)

The injection will be Friday morning.  I am asking that you all send your positive thoughts and prayers and any other good things you can my way.  I am hoping. And praying.  And pleading.  I really need this to work.

Thank you.

September month in review

September was a rough month for exercise.  I started my new job (which I still say is going to be great.  Right now it is like drinking from a fire hose.).  The change in my schedule has required me to get creative with fitting in my workouts.  Last week, I discovered that I can walk a loop around the hospital on my lunch break and get in a quick mile.  That saves me some time in the evenings when I want to get a walk in.

My swimming has become virtually nonexistent.  I have to be to work by 7:00 a.m., which means that I can’t get to the pool in the mornings anymore.  Sad smile  The pool in town is open on Wednesday evenings and starting in a couple weeks, the pool in the next town over will be open one afternoon a week.  I’m hoping that means I will be able to get in the pool once a week.

At my last follow up appointment for my back, I was given the OK to run up to a mile at a time, at a slow pace, every other day.  This means that I was able to run 10 miles in September.  That is more than twice what I ran in August.  Progress, but my dailymile chart is still pretty depressing.

(That 3 miles in March is from a very ill-advised 5K I ran with my son.)

I managed about 69 miles of walking and I swam 8150 yards (just over four miles).

I have a feeling that the winter is going to put more of a damper on my workouts.  Once it gets really cold, I probably won’t be doing the 1 mile walk at lunch. 

I have another injection scheduled for the 10th of October.  I am really hoping that this treatment offers some more pain relief and that my doctor will allow me to run a little bit more.  I am hoping to get the go ahead to run a 5K toward the end of the month.  Then there is the 5K the first weekend of November that Jaden and I wanted to do again.

One of the most depressing things I’m dealing with is that I am supposed to be running the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend.  Obviously, that isn’t going to happen.  And I hate it.  And I’m not going to be running the Madison Marathon in November either.  I know that there will be other races, but I had such high hopes for this year and I hate it when I don’t reach my goals.

October will keep me busy and I’m going to try to be grateful for any running that I get to do.  Focusing on my new job will help to keep my mind occupied.  But, it is prime marathon season and I have a lot of friends who are running.  I wish them all best and I hope that this time next year, I will be joining them.