Ah, so it’s been about a month since my last post. Oops! For some reason, I kept telling myself it had only been about two weeks, but maybe I started telling myself that about two weeks ago, and here we are now. Grad school started about six weeks ago, so it’s been a bit of a learning curve trying to figure out how to balance work, school, a social life, and running. It’s been going pretty well, although certainly blogging has fallen off the wagon, although I’m not convinced I have a ton to say. Here are some updates…
Work: Once I started school, I dropped from full time to part time at work, which means I work two shifts per week. It’s actually only five less shifts per month, so not too terrible on the paycheck front, but I really feel like I don’t work much at all. Sometimes I forget and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I have work tomorrow!” I’ve joked in the past that I would like nursing more if I only did it part time, but who wouldn’t say that about their job? I did have a bit of a fiasco where my health insurance disappeared on July 1 (and panicked at 9pm on a Friday night going into a holiday weekend where no one answers their phones wondering if I did in fact read everything wrong and I didn’t actually have health insurance), but I got that sorted out on Tuesday morning. They chalked it up to a glitch in the system…big glitch, if you ask me!
School: Everyone asks me how school is going (rightfully so!), and I mainly just shrug my shoulders and say it’s going fine. That about sums it up. Every masters nursing program takes the same core classes including health assessment, pharmacology, genetics, health/social policy, and research, which is what is being taken this summer. I already took health policy and research in my time at GW, so I transferred credits in, making for a pretty nice summer. Health Assessment is mostly advanced nursing assessment with a little more emphasis on doing the actual assessment yourself since as a nurse you don’t necessarily palpate livers even though nursing school might lead you to believe that you do that. It’s not quite as applicable since I’m specializing in anesthesia, but still good background knowledge to have. Pharmacology is a weekly hosing down with 50+ different drugs we need to learn. I call it the “flash card life” because it’s straight memorization. We don’t need to know how to prescribe or what doses, just what the drugs are for, their mechanism of actions, metabolism/elimination, and drug interactions. Luckily I’ve always been pretty good at straight memorization (aka how I thrived in organic chemistry), so it’s been a little time consuming but certainly not difficult. Our genetics class is mostly online and involves some paper writing, and I’ve done most of my stuff for that. A few more tests to get through and summer semester will be over!
I really like everyone in my cohort as well, although I feel like I never see them since I’m not in two of the classes. We’ll be spending a lot of time together in the fall, which is when we start the anesthesia classes – definitely ready to get started on those! Excited and a little nervous since that will definitely be a lot of new material while this summer is just kind of like nursing school all over again.
Social Life: I told myself when I started school that I would try and keep up on a social life. Not that I have a huge social life, but I’ve mostly been trying to cram my work into the actual work week so I have time on the weekends to spend with Eric and friends. One huge perk of working part time is that I “only” work two weekend shifts per month, which is down from four weekend shifts per month. So basically one weekend per month instead of two weekends per month. I personally think this is a HUGE difference. (Some people may argue that working weekends isn’t a big deal. I was getting kind of tired of feeling like I was working every weekend.) It’s been nice. I’ve been able to manage so far, although we’ll see what this final push of school brings…and then the fall. Fingers crossed.
I’ve been able to do some pretty fun things this summer – we took a day trip down to Baltimore to see an Orioles game, and I hadn’t been back to Camden Yards since college, so that was pretty cool. Got a group of friends together for the Mets/Cubs game. The Cubs lost, but it was their least painful loss of the series, so I guess I can feel lucky for that. Still managing some Tuesday nights at trivia. A couple beach days thrown in and summer is looking pretty solid!
Running: Ah, save the best/worst for last. I was thinking about writing this post at the end of last week. I was going to write it on Tuesday when I had most of my work done. My plan was to write about how I know I’m having surgery in August and I’m just enjoying being able to run whatever distance at whatever pace that is until I’m surgically sidelined. I was actually feeling really good about the pace that I was and feeling like a runner even though I’m nowhere at the level that I want to be. Mostly running was a great excuse to stop studying for a bit, even if that meant running in the noon sun.
I don’t remember exactly what day it was last week (maybe Thursday? Saturday?), but I was laying in bed and I said to Eric, “Hm, my right hip kind of hurts.” For those who have been following along, you may recall that my left hip has been the troublemaker all along. Ever since my groin pain started in March 2015, I’ve had zero pain, not even a twinge of something weird, in my right hip. So that was alarming, but it seemed to go away. On Saturday, Robin was in town from San Francisco and arranged a run. We ended up running 8.5 miles up to the the Little Red Lighthouse, then stopped for coffee nearby. It was a lovely run at a conversational pace (8:45), and I felt totally fine. I’d run 7 miles a couple weeks before, so it wasn’t a huge jump.
I came home and showered, etc, and my right hip felt a little achy. Okay, maybe it didn’t like the mileage. Took some Advil, iced a bit, it’s fine. I woke up on Sunday with plans to do a short shake out run. I ran about a mile out, and I stopped. My right hip was super, super achy, and it didn’t feel good to run. So I cried along the Hudson and walked home. Advil, ice, complaining to Eric. We walked around later that afternoon, and it was very uncomfortable to walk. We were aiming for a restaurant that was about 15 blocks away, and I asked if we could go somewhere closer because I didn’t feel I could walk that. (Which is odd coming from me because I’d rather walk 40 blocks than take the subway…)
I took Monday off with more aching in my hip. I remembered from taking five-six weeks off earlier this year that my left hip felt worse when I didn’t do anything, so I took my bike out and rode it on Tuesday. I’m not entirely convinced that biking is best for a torn labrum since you’re constantly bending the hip/knee, but I think taking the impact out really does help. (And I’ll be on a stationary bike with no resistance the day after surgery, I believe.) I biked about 16-17 miles, and it felt fine. I like being on my bike once I get out there, but I’d always rather be running.
I panic emailed Grace who had labral tears in both hips (and when my pain first started, she totally called the labral tear…if only my doctor did too!), posted on Facebook (apparently a lot of my Facebook connections have had labral tears), and got smart and emailed the PA associated with my surgeon. She emailed me back within ten minutes (amazing!) and said that I could just be compensating for my left hip, which is causing pain in the right hip, and that if the pain doesn’t go away, we can do some imaging to see what’s going on.
A few thoughts:
- I recognize that science is science (and I love science), and that tells me that the body is supposed to be symmetrical. Therefore, I’ve been wondering before the pain even started if the fact that I have a CAM impingement on my left femur means that I probably have one on my right femur, but I just haven’t had any pain yet.
- I’ve had this pain in my left groin for about 16 months now. I ran a marathon with the pain (not smart, I realize now, but the pain wasn’t that bad…and no one knew what was wrong). The only compensation I’ve possibly noticed is that my right calf has seemingly been quite tight. I’m pretty sure I blogged that I thought a tight calf is what was going to sideline me from the NYC Marathon, not my groin pain. It’s never really gone away, although I do some foam rolling and had two deep tissue massages on it. I assumed that even though I can’t tell my gait is changing, I probably have some sort of change due to my groin pain, resulting in the tight calf. Never had any pain in my hip, so it frightens me that 16 months later I have groin pain.
- The pain feels quite a bit like the pain in my left groin. Deep, achy. Some pain in the front of my thigh. If it was compensation pain, wouldn’t it just be more sore? And aided by Advil and ice? Neither one helps, and it definitely feels achy just like my left groin, except worse, actually. I was trying to fall asleep last night and it was so achy. Right now it’s aching. It’s more painful to walk than my left hip was, except at the very worst of it. I told myself I’d wait until Friday to see how I’m feeling (which at this rate, will be the same) and then ask for imaging. Mainly because it took over a year to figure out what was wrong with my left hip, and I don’t want to wait that long again. Even if it is a tear, I highly doubt they would repair both all in one surgery (hello, worst recovery ever), but at least I could make a plan.
Or maybe it’s nothing, who knows. Also, I realize that some people probably say I shouldn’t have been running. I was told that running wouldn’t really make it worse. Maybe I should have capped it at a shorter distance and not ran eight miles, but it really felt fine. I suppose it wasn’t and maybe I should have been happy with running 3-4 miles and calling it a day until surgery. Although honestly, if my right was going to tear, I’d rather know now than after recovered from surgery thinking I’m all set to run again. (Also, school, work, and insurance complicate matters.) It’s also better to catch it earlier rather than later before even more damage is done. But maybe it didn’t tear and I’m panicking for no reason…maybe.
I did go to Refine Method this morning. I’ve gone to them in the past, although it’s been a few years. I really enjoy the workout – simple yet really effective moves, and I feel like it focuses a lot on core and those muscles that help stabilize your hips. Butt, thighs, core. Basically, it’s kind of like what I did in physical therapy, and then some. I saw they had a challenge where if you go twice per week throughout the challenge, classes are only $25. I do enjoy classes like Refine (or spin at times, or other similar studios), but to be honest, the price tag is limiting at $30-35/class. $25 seems doable, so I figured I could do two classes per week until surgery to help supplement my pre-hab. (I’ve been told building up my glute and core strength will seriously help with recovery.) Then my right hip started hurting and I wasn’t sure if it was the best idea…but basically I’ve been told the only way to help the pain is to build up the muscles around it, so I decided it would be okay to go. None of the exercises hurt at all, so I think that’s a good sign. My hip aches the same as before (right worse than left, fail). Who knows.
So, that was the big catch-up post! Hopefully it won’t be another month until my next post, although honestly there’s not much to write about when your day to day runs are basically, “I ran four miles. My hip hurts a little but feels about the same.” Also, sometimes you just want to distance yourself from all the running talk when you can’t really do it yourself. I bit the bullet and gave away my Marine Corps Marathon bib, since they allow you to legally transfer to another runner. I hesitated to do so since part of me still hopes one day I’ll wake up and this will all go away, but I know better than that. It’s hard to scroll through Instagram and see people doing their long runs and realize that is off the table for me, and I’m not entirely sure when I’ll get that back. Or if I’ll get that back, not to be dramatic, but to be more realistic. I know runners who have had this surgery and are back to running marathons (and running fast), after plenty of time, of course, but you never know what the cards hold for you.
And thank you for those who continue to follow along – it meant so much to me when I was going through my back problems four years ago, and I really appreciate the encouragement. And despite what I said above, I still love hearing about other people’s running, so feel free to share if you’re training for something!