Bunch of jerks.“A runner is only as happy as his unhappiest joint.” – Marc Parent, ”One Ugly Run,” Runner’s World, March 2011
I read that line as I was skimming my monthly subscription of Runner’s World last night, and it hit a little too close to home. For the last four months, I’ve been dealing with hip pain that has gotten increasingly worse. Initially, it was thought to be hip flexor tendinitis. But as of late, it has become quite clear that there is something more sinister at hand.
I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week for three months (thank GOD for good insurance), and at one point, I felt that I was getting better. I was excited when I could finally do the butterfly stretch again - a victory over my hip joint! I would read Runner’s World in a state of hope. Still, I was envious of those that had the ability to run, pain-free, but still had confidence that I could one day join the team again – even if it was just 5ks and not the half marathons I had begun to fall for. Now, the magazine just pisses me off. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit that can’t hop.
Somehow, things started going downhill. Positions that I was able to do when my hip was starting to feel better are suddenly excruciating. Exercises that were prescribed by my physical therapist are now painful and seem to make it worse. My hip pain has become so bad, that sitting down feels awful (I now sit at my desk slouched, with one leg extended, the other bent so I don’t slide right off my chair). I couldn’t even sleep through the night and was near tears earlier this week.
They suspect that I have a labral tear, which is cartilage in my hip joint. Or it could be some kind of impingement – it feels like something is constantly pinched, and that my leg is jammed in my hip. I got an X-Ray done yesterday, and preliminary results came back showing that there were osteophytes on my pelvic bone and some other scary medical term I couldn’t quite understand by googling. But after googling osteophytes, I learned that they are bone spurs caused by cartilage breaking down, bone rubbing against each other and more bone forming in an attempt to heal itself. It’s an early sign of osteoarthritis, which is pretty much incurable (AAAAAH!!!!) And then I started wondering if that’s what is going on with my ginormous big toe – maybe it’s just one huge bone spur. I’ve actually had people ask me if it was arthritis. (AAAAHHH!!!!)
BUT I have an appointment to go over these results with my doctor on Monday, so I’m trying NOT to freak out before having more answers (Yeah right. I invented the Jump to Conclusions mat before that guy did in Office Space. Worry wort is my middle name). Either way, I’m getting an MRI so they can see what is really going on in there.
I am also going to see an orthopedic surgeon. When I called the first referral I was given, the receptionist said, “I don’t think you’re old enough to be a patient here…this doctor specializes in hip replacements,” before I even told her what was going on. Turned out she was right – he wasn’t an appropriate specialist for my specific condition, but I couldn’t believe someone would say that! Excuse me, receptionist, but there are young people roaming the earth in old people’s bodies. Rude. You can just call me Grandma from now on.
I will keep you all posted Sticks and Stoners. It is looking as though running is much, much farther off than I could imagine. It just might be time to get a permanent spot in the water aerobics class with the old folks and trade in Runner’s World for AARP’s publication.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but apparently, I’m growing some extras to break.