Thursday, March 22, 2018
When you run - you're an athlete. When you swim - you're an athlete. When you hike, or bike, or curl, or skate, or ski, or play really hard - you're an athlete. Even when "you're only doing it to lose weight."
I'm beginning to realize that the biggest mistake I made a few years ago was not recognizing what I had become. An athlete.
Athlete's train. They take care of their bodies. They seek nutritious fuel for their daily activities and refrain from intaking things that are detrimental to their progress. And when an athlete gets injured, they go to see a Sports Doctor!
Five years. For five years I have denied my pain. For five years I have blamed my genetics, my job, and my weight gain for (sometimes debilitating) pain that has affected my daily life. And now finally, after 5 years, I am seeing an Orthopedic & Sports Medicine doctor for the first time ever, and I'm finally getting ANSWERS!
I'm so mad at myself! And I'm so mad at all of the other doctors. The pediatrician, who birthed my fear and loathing of those in the medical profession. That man who poked me and prodded me and called me fat in front of my mother, who then turned around and signed me (an 8 year old child) up for Weight Watchers. The family physician I had when I first got my period who was the first (of a number of doctors) to be "sure" that I had PCOS because I had a painful and heavy cycle and I was so overweight. The doctor I sought out after moving 800 miles away from home to Chicago and going through a divorce who prescribed me a diuretic and an anti-depressant because she believed that I was just generally "inflamed" and that "getting rid of some of the water on my brain would help me with my hysteria." The physician who I have seen for YEARS, who watched me lose 130 pounds, run a marathon, complete a triathlon, work SO very hard for every single pound, but who failed to refer me to anyone else for the past 5 years that I've been complaining about hip and back pain every single visit. That same doctor who didn't want to refer me to a rheumatologist when I was begging for it after knowing my family history with RA and listening to me complain about back and hip pain. And subsequently, that rheumatologist for listening to my story and jumping to the genetics theory before the sports injury theory (I forgive him, I did the same thing). The jury is still out. I still don't really believe in my heart that I have arthritis. I think I just have GMT and some really, horribly, painfully tight muscles from 5 years of abuse and misuse.
My physical therapist did a piriformis release on me today and I thought I was going to die it was so painful. But right now, I feel better...
To back up a bit - on Monday, I got the results of my MRI. Gluteal Medial Tendinopathy (GMT) and an irregularity of the cartilage that surrounds my femoral head. This is where the pain lives. I've known it all along. While there are no tears in the tendon, there is enough damaged tissue in my gluteus mideus to suggest an outpatient surgery called Tenex. They will go in with a microblade and laser-probe and remove only the damaged tissue on April 19. In the meantime, I have been assigned to 6 weeks of Physical Therapy and dry needling. This is the first doctor who has ever spoken to me like an athlete. This is the first doctor who hasn't so much as hinted that my weight is a factor here. This is the first doctor who has said that his goal is to get me back out running in 6 weeks time.
I initially turned my nose up at PT. I've done it before. It didn't really help anything. Apparently I was going to the wrong clinic. Since I'm now going to a clinic for athletes, in a university athletic center, no less, the first thing they started talking to me about was my running. The exercises they're having me do are quite different and very intense. Hallelujah! And my therapist knows and employs Active Release Technique which hurts SO BAD but helps SO MUCH. This is the first time I've felt any kind of progress in years.
I'm such a dummy dumb. If I had just gone and done this five years ago, my life might look a lot different right now. I didn't accept what I'd become. I didn't recognize my OWN athletic status, and thus my athletic injury. I doubted myself. I stopped listening to my body. And I've paid the price.
Deep down I've always known. But perhaps now I'm back on the mind-body path that took me so far before. I must listen to my body. It has an amazing language that only my own brain can understand. But when they work together in harmony, they make a music that I can feel in my soul. My athletic soul.