Greetings from the Midwest, again! I’m still hanging in Chicagoland, this time waiting to pick up my parents from the airport. They’ve been vacationing in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, so it’s time for them to come home! They were actually supposed to get back last night, but they’ve be subjected to the same airline troubles as Eric and me – cancelled flight last night, cancelled flight this morning. They are currently flying as I type, so we should be good.
In other news, I’ve been living the life in Chicago. Mostly running, playing with the dogs, and visiting my friends from high school. Yesterday, I drove down to Chicago to visit Carla, who just moved here from NYC about two months ago. It’s been over a decade since I’ve run on the lakefront path, so I jumped at the opportunity to do so! She’s living the freelance life, so luckily I didn’t have to make a 5am trek to the city. We met around 8am and ran six miles along the lakefront path, which is only a few short blocks from her apartment. The path was recently repaved (woo!) and was glorious. Some water fountains, nice and flat like Chicago always promises. We ran by a track not too far down the path, which would be perfect for track workouts! Chicago, I still love you. As we ran, we chatted about life and running and how she’s adjusting to Chicago (it’s the best, obviously), and the miles flew by. Once we were done, we headed right to the beach to put our feet in the lake! It was cool but not cold, which was welcome after a little bit of a humid run. There’s also a great view of the skyline, and the Chicago skyline will always be my favorite.
After the run, we headed to a nearby coffee shop for some iced coffee and pastries. (Blueberry scone, you were delicious.) On the way to the coffee shop, I got a phone call from my surgeon’s office. Last week, I met with the orthopedic surgeon who is doing my surgery next week because my right hip pain is still there. When it started about six weeks ago, I emailed the PA to ask about the new pain, which she said could just be compensation from my left hip. In the year and a half of my left hip pain, I never felt anything in my right hip, so it was concerning to me. But I rested a little bit and it still hurt, so I made an appointment. It was the morning of my last final, so that was nerve-wracking, but luckily they’re on time so I was in and out pretty quick. I had x-rays that showed the same impingement on my right hip as on my left hip, so it was possibly my right labrum tore as well. My mobility is better in my right hip (not that I have great loss in my left), but the pain is worse. My left hip aches most of the time, but it’s pretty mild and dull. My right hip hurts intermittently, but much more worse. (It’s not THAT bad, but worse than my left, for sure.) Sometimes I can’t get comfortable when I’m trying to sleep, or it just hurts when I’m sitting. It’s fun. Anyway. He said if it is torn, then we could do surgery on both at the same time, but to get an MRI to confirm. So I had an MRI of my right hip on Thursday, and they said they would call me with the results this week.
So the phone rang while we were walking to coffee, and the PA said I had a large labral tear in my right hip. My left tear is small, so maybe that’s why the right hurts more? Who knows. She told me the results and I said, “Well…..that’s….good?” Good from the standpoint that we know what the pain is, and she said that we should definitely do something about it. (Hooray?) I had discussed the idea of having both done at the same time when I met with the surgeon last week – despite my best judgment, I’ve read plenty of horror stories online. I know the internet is more for people to complain than to celebrate victories, so I take it with a grain of a salt, but I’m still looking for info. Most people say they would NEVER do both at the same time because of the pain. Other people say they have no pain and recovery is long but fine. Of course, you never know which one you will be. (The only surgery I’ve ever had was my wisdom teeth, which hardly counts, and besides being a little sore/stiff, I had no problems. I took Tylenol and was fine. Not that this is the same…)
After I mentioned reading things online, he asked if I had read his article (I had not), which looked back at people who had simultaneous versus staged labral repairs, and the outcomes (including return to sport) were statistically the same with having only one recovery versus two. He said the first few weeks are worse, but then it’s about the same as doing one recovery. I know very few people who have done both at the same time, and anecdotal stories aren’t my favorite anyway since everyone has a different experience. I don’t know if it’s ideal to do both at the same time, but with school/work/health insurance(!!), it seems like the best bet. I don’t anticipate any of this being easy either way. Still looking to gather information about this, but I’m very much leaning toward having both done at the same time.
Now for the age old question – should I be running right now? Should I have stopped months ago? I don’t know. I was never really told NOT to run (and I asked from the start). I don’t know whether to be happy that I was running and my right labrum tore before I had surgery. Is it better than starting to run again after my left hip surgery and then having it tear? (This happened to Grace, not fun) The cartilage looks good in both hips, which is a plus and a good reason to have these surgeries since the cartilage can be damaged and that can lead to hip replacements. I don’t know what running will look like for me after these surgeries – over 70% of people (and up to 95%, depending where you look) get back to their normal level of activity (including whatever sport that is for them), so that’s a plus. Only time will tell, but I’m very motivated and honestly can’t wait to just be pain-free again. I have fellow runner friends to look to for recovery and back-to-running purposes, so that is motivation in itself.
Labral tear buddies/people in the know – thoughts on doing both at the same time? Any final thoughts before surgery? Nine days to go…