Still training

Sunday: I was bummed that I couldn’t do my planned half marathon on my birthday.  When we got home (Tim and Jaden ran the 5K), I headed to the gym to try to work out.  Managed a 60 minute bike ride.

Monday: Scheduled rest day.  I sat in class all day.  I can’t wait to be done sitting in class for 9-10 hours on Mondays.

Tuesday: 40 minutes on the bike.  And some upper body weights.

Wednesday: 48 minutes on the bike. 

Thursday.  Bike for an hour day.  It’s getting easier to bike for an hour.  If I had more time (that didn’t require me getting up even earlier) it would be easier to bike longer.

Friday: 37 minutes on the bike.  Jaden had an early doctor’s appointment so I knew that my morning was going to have to start earlier than usual.  Kept it short.  It was also physical therapy day.  We talked about everything we have tried over the last couple months to treat my injury.  My symptoms don’t fit into any of the ‘boxes’ that would outline a particular treatment plan.  Basically, if I had ‘X’ injury, it would be treated a certain way, and I could expect results.  Or, if I had ‘Y’ injury, it would be treated a different way, and I could expect results.  But, my injury has defied definition, thus defying conventional treatment options.  The result is that I am still injured and my physical therapist is frustrated that nothing seems to be working.  We settled on trying some deep tissue pressure point massage to the piriformis/glutes for the day.  I had him dig his elbow in.  Really hard.  I think he got a workout.  He told the other therapist that he had never pushed so hard on anyone.  I have another appointment next week.  I told him to hit the weight room in the meantime.  Winking smile

Saturday: 63 minutes on the bike.  Longest ride on the stationary bike.  I realized that if I hit the Start button during the 3 second countdown to the bike shutting off at 60 minutes, I can restart it and keep the cumulative mileage going. 

I really hope that I can start running soon.  I feel like my goals for the year are slipping away from me.  I still really want to run the two marathons I’ve registered for this fall.  But, training needs to start soon.

Further diagnosis

So, last week I had an MRI of my hip.  You can read about the process here.  I was hoping that I would get some answers after that MRI, maybe I could get an injection that would help with the pain.  Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging.  I got a letter from the doc with the official results.  She referenced “evidence of resolved subcutaneous hematoma.”  That’s the butt bruise I got at Tough Mudder last fall.  There was some minimal scarring.  But I knew about that.  And that isn’t something that would be causing the pain I was having.

She also talked about some “mild thickening of the right semimembranosus hamstring tendon at its origin.”  Basically where the hamstring muscle meets the butt.  But that isn’t something that would typically cause the pain that I am experiencing.  She felt that in injection would not be of much benefit. Very sad.

“Otherwise the MRI is totally unremarkable.”  This is the biggest bummer.  It means that nothing is really wrong.  And there is nothing that can be done.  Except that there is obviously something wrong.

She did suggest that I continue with physical therapy.  Last week’s therapy session involved us transitioning from focusing on the IT band, to doing some work on the lower back.  Maybe that will help me strengthen that area and possibly get some relief.

She said that I would probably benefit from getting in the pool two or three days a week.  I laughed and asked if she was going to come and make dinner for my family so that I could do that!  I don’t have access to a pool that is open other than a couple hours a week.

Her other suggestion was to pursue a formal running analysis on the treadmill.  This is something that would need to be preapproved by my insurance company…and we know how well that went over with the MRI.  But, I think that it is something that would have value in pursuing.  Unfortunately, at this point, I can’t run without pain, so a running analysis isn’t something I could do anyway.

It is really disheartening to go through all of this and still not have any answers.  And, to top it all off, the other day, my collarbone started hurting.  I woke up Wednesday morning and it was swollen and sore and there was an obvious bump on the right side.  I made an appt to see my provider and she ordered an X-ray to see if it is a stress fracture or something.  So, I had the pleasure of going to the radiology department on my lunch break Wednesday.  Results didn’t show any fracture, but sometimes stress fractures don’t show up right away.  So, I’m using heat and trying to stay away from activities that make it hurt more. 

My wonderful, loving, ever-supportive husband offered to find me a room at a nice nursing home where they could care for my decrepit, falling-apart body.  How nice of him.Smile with tongue out

Oshkosh Half/5K race recap

My birthday weekend.  My plan was to PR at the half marathon.  Instead, I was bummed knowing that I couldn’t run. 

We headed to Appleton Saturday afternoon when Tim got off work.  As is the tradition, we stopped at Noodles and Company to celebrate my birthday!

When we got to my cousin’s house, she had made a cake for my birthday.  Cake and ice cream and not running a half marathon.  I knew I was going to get fat for my birthday!  And it was delicious.  Smile

I got to play with 2/3 of my cousin’s kids.  I seriously love these kids.  They are adorable.  I even got a homemade birthday card and hugs and kisses.  Best. kids. ever.

Logan flat out refused to go to sleep Saturday night.  It was after 10:00 and I finally laid down the law.  I told him to shut up and lay down or mommy was leaving.  I’m not above threats.  I was tired.

Sunday morning, I was up early.  I took a quick shower and got Tim and Jaden up.  They were doing the 5K and I was going to watch.  Even though I couldn’t run, I was still super excited to go and support them. 

We had a quick breakfast and drove the 30 minutes to the Oshkosh Convention Center so we could pick up our packets.  The volunteers looked at me oddly when I went to pick up my half marathon bib wearing jeans.  Jaden had to put his name on a list for a shirt, because they ran out of kids T-shirts. 

Packet pick up went pretty quickly and we headed outside to the starting line.  The weather was cool, but not overly cold.  It had been raining for most of the last day, and up until about an hour before the race started.  The roads were still pretty wet and there were a few puddles that the announcer kept warning people about.

Here are my boys at the start line.

I was pretty bummed to have to sit this one out.

Tim got a great selfie of him and Jaden before the start of the race.  I told them that I would go up a couple blocks to try to get some pictures after the start.

This is another race that my Team Triumph participates in.  I really love this organization and would love to do a race with them some day.  I’ve contacted the organization, but they haven’t been so good at getting back to me.  Of course, right now, I’m not doing any running.

I love this picture of this dog at the start.  He was just pulling and sprinting and definitely got caught up in the excitement of the start line.  I also saw him at the finish line and he was still super excited.

Here come Tim and Jaden.  They were all smiles at the start line. 

Jaden has this habit of running directly in front of you and then slowing down.  I laughed when I caught that in the picture.

I’ve never run the 5K at this event.  Tim said that it isn’t all that interesting…mostly industrial and then it runs along the river for a little while.

While the boys were out on the course, I went back to the car and moved it into the parking lot at the finish.  While it wasn’t all that cold, I wasn’t running and didn’t have warm enough gloves on to keep my fingers from turning into frozen blocks of ice.  I headed to the finish line and watched the winners come in.  It is pretty cool to see these really fast runners come across the finish line.  The overall winner was probably a minute and a half ahead of the 2nd place guy.  And he hardly looked like he had broken a sweat. 

The overall female winner was probably in her early 40’s and the 2nd place female was her teenage daughter.  That was awesome.  At first I thought it was weird that mom wouldn’t want to cross the finish line with her daughter.  Then I realized that mom was probably realizing that her days of being able to beat her daughter were limited and she was taking full advantage of it!

I chatted with some of the other spectators at the finish line while I waited for Tim and Jaden to get there.  When I saw them coming, I started cheering and yelling.  I was so excited to cheer them to the finish line!

Here they come!

  

I love that Jaden wants to cross the finish line hand in hand.  I realized that the days of him wanting to do that are going to end…probably before I am ready for it.

I walked around the other side of the finish area and got a picture of them afterwards.  I love the smile on Jaden’s face…like he just had the best time ever!

They finished in 36:51.  Not their fastest time, but Jaden didn’t seem interested in a PR on this day.  He just wanted to have a good time.  And I’m pretty sure he did.

Pros:

*Well organized.

*Great atmosphere.

*Good refreshments afterwards (no beer this year)

Cons:

*Shirts.  This race has consistently had the worst race shirts.  They are better this year, but still pretty lame.  And Jaden didn’t get his because they ran out.

*Relatively boring course.  But it is pretty flat.

*I didn’t get to run.  Does that count?

Overall:

B+

I probably would have given it an A Jaden would have gotten his shirt that day.  He really likes to wear his race shirts to school to show his friends.  Regardless, I’m sure we will be back to do this race again.

Training update

Sunday: 35 minutes on the bike and a little bit of strength work. 

Monday: Rest day.  I had class all day. 

Tuesday: 44 minutes on the bike.  Then I went to see the sports medicine doctor and she spent some good time with me, asking questions and evaluating my hip and how I moved and what hurt.  She ordered an MRI and I was able to schedule it for the late afternoon.

Wednesday: 42 minutes on the bike and some weights. 

Thursday:  38 minutes on the bike before work. 

Friday: Bike for an hour day!  It is getting less mind-numbing.

Saturday:  40 minutes on the bike and some light weights.

The half marathon I was going to try to PR at is tomorrow.  Sad smile  Obviously, I won’t be running it.  I’m also not going to be doing the 5K.  Tim and Jaden will do the 5K together and I will cheer them on.  But it will be sad to not be running.  No happy birthday for me.

Also, I got the MRI results from earlier in the week.  I’ll work on a post about that in a few days.

My diagnostic journey…so far

Last Tuesday, I saw my primary provider.  She ordered an X-ray of my right hip and referred me to Sports Medicine. The X-ray didn’t show any acute fracture or dislocation.  There was some mild degeneration of the SI joint, but that isn’t something that would be causing the symptoms I have been experiencing.  I wasn’t anticipating that the X-ray would show anything.

This Tuesday, I saw Dr. Rudolph in Sports Medicine.  She and her Athletic Trainer associate spent more than 30 minutes with me talking about my symptoms and evaluating me (and my running shoes).  She was particularly interested in the bump on my right butt cheek from the Tough Mudder I did in September.  It was her decision to order an MRI.

I was lucky enough to be able to schedule the MRI for that afternoon.  I went over to radiology to complete the safety survey.  Basically, they just ask me if I’ve ever done any grinding or metal work (to be sure I don’t have any metal shavings in my eyes) or if I have a seizure disorder or anything.  After that, I was about to leave and they called me back in to get a pelvic X-ray.  The one I had done the week before was only the right hip and they wanted to get a full picture.

Then I headed home to go teach a BLS course.  Just as I was pulling into the driveway, my phone rang.  It was someone from the billing office at the clinic.  She told me that she had called my insurance company to get the MRI preauthorized.  And, my insurance company couldn’t preauthorize it.  She couldn’t tell me why. She just said that my case was being presented to the medical director at the insurance company and that they had told her they might have an answer for her by the end of the day.  She asked if I wanted a self-pay fee estimate, or if I wanted to reschedule the MRI and wait to hear back from the insurance company. 

I tried not to cry while I was on the phone with her.  I told her to go ahead and get the fee estimate for me and to call me back.  Then I went in the house and I did cry.  I was so frustrated.  I’ve been dealing with this hip pain for so long and I felt like I was finally making some progress.  The doctor was fantastic working with me and talking with me to find out the different things that caused the pain.  She understood how important it was for me to get back to running as soon as possible.  She ordered the MRI because she felt that was the best diagnostic tool to be able to determine the cause of the problem.  And now there was some idiot medical director who has never talked to me who was going to determine if I was actually going to get the MRI.  I was an emotional wreck.  Then I had to go teach my class.

The clinic called me back with a self pay fee estimate of $5,570.  Right.  I’ve got that lying around.

I decided that when I finished teaching my class, I was going to call the insurance company and find out what the problem was.  When I called, they transferred me to one of the nurse case managers.  She was really not helpful.  She never directly answered any of my questions.  She tried to throw me off my game with her insurance double-speak.  I was frustrated and annoyed and I wasn’t going to let her intimidate me.  I wanted to know why the test wasn’t approved.  She couldn’t tell me that.  I wanted to know what in my medical information caused it to have to go to the medical director.  I wanted to know when I could expect an answer.  I told her that my MRI was scheduled for three hours from then.  She then did the only helpful thing.  She flagged my claim as urgent and sent an email to the medical director.  She told me that she would call the clinic back when she got an answer.

I stressed out. 

About 90 minutes later I got a call from the same lady at the clinic saying that my MRI had been preauthorized!  Whew!

So, I headed down to the clinic.  I checked in at 5:30 for a 6:00 appt time.  I changed into a gown and a robe and met with the technician who asked me all the same safety questions I had answered that morning.  He also told me that the doctor wanted to put an opaque marker on the spot on my butt where that bump was from the Tough Mudder.  That way she could identify that spot.  So, I had to put a strange sticker on my butt.  Then he explained that they would take 11 pictures and that each one would take about 4 minutes.  I was looking at spending about 45 minutes inside the machine.  But he would pause after the first 8 to inject a contrast for the last three pictures.

I tried to get as comfortable as possible on the table.  He put a coil of some sort over my pelvis to help get clearer pictures.  He gave me an emergency squeezy ball thing in case I felt that I needed to urgently stop the machine and get out.  He put some headphones on to help block some of the noise and turned on Hits of the 70s on Pandora.  It is really hard to lie perfectly still when listening to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees!

The first picture took about three minutes.  The second one took just over four.  After each picture, he would talk to me to check and see how I was doing.  I would take a minute to scratch my nose or stretch my arms.  I couldn’t really move my legs.  After the first two, he told me I was a professional MRI patient and that he was going to do the next three pictures in a row and he would talk to me in about 10 minutes.  After that batch of pictures I was starting to get uncomfortable.  I reminded myself that this was a relatively short procedure and that it was part of the process of getting me running again.  We did the next three pictures and then took a break to inject the contrast. 

The tech was a really good IV start.  I have one good vein and it doesn’t always cooperate, but he did a great job.  It took a minute or so to inject the contrast.  It isn’t like the contrast they use for a CT scan (where it feels like you pee your pants).  This felt like nothing. Then, back into the machine for three more pictures.

Once I was done, the tech came to let me out of the machine.  He took the coil off my pelvis and helped me sit up.  Then came the searing pain from my lower back.  I realized that I had just been lying flat on this super hard table for a little more than 45 minutes without moving anything below my chest.  There was almost no padding on the table and I wasn’t able to bend my knees or put anything under my lower back to lessen the stress on my lower back.  Once I sat up, I just had to sit there for a few minutes.  I felt like my lower back was on fire.  Every move hurt so badly.  I slowly limped back to the changing room. I got my clothes out of the locker and went to change.  I had to just stand there for a couple minutes.  I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even sit down.  It took a long time for me to be able to get dressed.  All in all, I was at the clinic for about an hour and a half. 

I rewarded myself with a Shamrock Shake from McDonalds.  (Hey-the ‘season’ is almost over!)

Now I have to be patient and wait for the results.  The doctor told me that I should hear something in a few days.  If I don’t hear anything by Friday morning, I think I’ll call.  I’m anticipating that the treatment will involve some sort of injection.  I really don’t care what it is as long as I can get rid of the pain and start running again.

I’ll do a post when I get the results/treatment options.  Oh, by the way…I’m totally not claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, but I’m still not a huge fan of elevators.  Weird, huh?