Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cut Me Mick


      For those of you that don't remember those words, they were spoken by Rocky to his trainer, when his eye was so swollen shut he couldn't see and the only way for him to continue in the fight was to have the trainer cut him to release the pressure and allow him to see.  Well it may not be my eye and this may not be a boxing match, but it is what I have to do if I want to continue running.

     For those of you that have been following along, today was my follow up doctor visit to review my MRI results along with my x-rays, and what I hoped would not be the case, was the case.  The MRI shows a possible labral tear of the cartilage that separates the ball from the socket of my hip joint.  I say possible because no doctor is every going to deal in absolutes until he actually is cutting me open and seeing it for himself, but the evidence seemed pretty convincing.  

     Well, how to we fix it you ask?  We cut me open of course!  Ok, I will stop being overly dramatic, since it is only a one day out patient, arthroscopic procedure where he will cut three small incisions in my hip and thigh to fix the issue.  What I will not exaggerate about is the recovery time, holy shit!  I will have to be off of work for a week to ten days, followed by trying to maneuver around on crutches for three to four weeks.  After those initial ten days I have roughly three months of physical therapy and an estimated time of six months before I can return to running regularly pain free.  Chances are it will be at least year or so before I can attempt another marathon, if ever.  

     Those that I have talked to about this have said I seem rather positive about the whole thing, well what can I say, this has really fucked up a lot of plans and goals I have set for myself, but it is what it is, right?  I mean I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely devastated, but feeling that way and throwing a tantrum like a four year old won't do me a bit of good, so moving on.  Now I have to figure out when is the earliest I can get in to have the surgery done, and based on work related commitments, that looks more like late August or early September at best.

     The other issue I have due to today's news, is what to do with my Detroit Marathon registration.  I cannot get a refund and other than just losing $75 and not showing up for the race, I could do a transfer to someone else.  I am going to do a little research on transfers and maybe just donate my registration fee to someone else who could use it.  So stay tuned for that!  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My MRI Pulp Fiction Experience

     I have to say that yesterday was a bit of an experience for me.  I haven't ever had any major medical issues that required anything of this magnitude when it comes to testing.  I had my first ever MRI yesterday, and not knowing what to expect I went in filled with more anxiety than I usually do.  My appointment was at 3:00 so I headed over to that area of town to grab a bite to eat and walk around the mall to kill some time before all the festivities began.  

     I arrived thirty minutes early to get checked in and only had to wait about fifteen minutes before they called me back.  The order of the day was going to be started with getting injected with a numbing agent, MRI contrast dye and a steroid that was ordered by my doctor, followed by a forty five minute MRI session as the nurse explained to me.  She first took me back to get changed for the procedure, which I had brought a pair of shorts to wear, but my anxiety quickly skyrocketed when she told me to strip down to just my socks and put on a medical gown.  Despite feeling truly uncomfortable in the situation, there was something very freeing about hanging in the breeze.  

     After I changed I was introduced to the MRI tech who went over my two page questioner, which I stated I was claustrophobic and had tattoos.  The tattoos could have been an issue because some inks contain metal which can feel a burning sensation and can irritate a patient during the MRI, I however had no issues with this during mine.  She showed me the "open" MRI machine she would be using and actually loaded me into the machine for a trial run to make sure I would be ok.  I was fine and didn't feel boxed in, but my face was about two inches from the machine, so it was a little unnerving. 

     Once she let me out, I was headed to another room to get the injections done.  I climbed aboard the x-ray table where the nurse positioned my leg and pull my gown up to the point I was very uncomfortable.  Now the whole time I was there the nurse and the MRI tech was so nice and accommodating, but at this point the nurse was explaining the injection procedure and by the time I was done I felt like the doctor was going to come in and go all John Travolta in Pulp Fiction on me.  As the doctor began to inject the needle I was prepping myself for a painful stabbing by clenching my hands and squinting my eyes as tight as I could.  Wouldn't you know, it wasn't shit to deal with.  I have had more pain getting my blood drawn than what I went through here.  Now for the cool part, I mentioned I was on an x-ray table, well he had a live x-ray shot of my hip on the screen so he could see where he was guiding the needle.  Once I realized the pain wasn't anything to deal with I looked at the screen to see this long needle injected into my hip joint.  He explained that I would feel pressure in the joint once he pumped all the drugs and the dye in, and sure as shit, it felt like someone was putting slight pressure on me.

     Now, for the MRI portion things didn't go quite as smooth as the injections did.  The tech got me all loaded into the machine, cranked up some '90s rock on the headphones for me and we began the scans.  After the first two scans, lasting in total of about fifteen minutes, she came in to make changes to the machine because she said, and I quote "you are to skinny and I have to change the machine to get a better picture."  It still is funny to hear someone utter those words to a person who use to be 317 pounds, but digress.  The change to the machine took about five minutes or so before I had to climb back onto the table and start the entire procedure over again.  From this point on things were going smoothly and I thought I was done when the tech said she was coming in, but I was wrong.  She told me that the last two scans she was unable to get good images and asked me if I would try the other machine, you know the tube that feels like your in a fucking coffin.  She said it would be ten minutes at the most, I said what the hell I can handle it, I think.  Thankfully she put me in feet first so my head was still sticking out a little, but man it felt tight in there.  We got started, and after the first scan I was doing pretty good, so she quickly moved on to the last scan.  I don't know what happened, but as soon as she said we were done and she was coming in to get me, my anxiety level shot through the roof and I felt trapped.  If she would have taken five seconds longer I think I would have had a full fledged freak out.

     I should have the results in a few days and I meet with my doctor for a follow up on the results next week.  I was given a copy of the images to look at, but I don't know what the hell I am suppose to be looking for, but here are some examples of the scans.  If I am correct the really white areas are the cartilage lining the hip joint.  I'll will have to wait till next week to be enlightened on what I am seeing here. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's There In Black & White...Sort Of

   It certainly been an emotional roller coast trying to figure out the how, what, where and why I was having main in my groin/hip area.  I tried to rack my brain figuring this out and little did I know, the cause of all of this has been there probably since I was born.

     Wednesday I had my first visit with my orthopedic surgeon to get some answers.  Overall I would say the visit went very well and I felt completely comfortable with him.  When I arrived I was first sent to get x-rays of my hip.  When that was finished I made my way to the waiting area before his nurse came and got me for all the usual questions one gets asked at the start of a doctors visit.  When the doc came in he asked me a few questions about the background of my injury and then proceeded to perform a physical exam.  He twisted, pushed and pulled on my leg and hip spouting of a bunch of medical jargon for his assistant to write down.

     When he was finished he pulled out his iPad to show me the results of my x-rays.  What they show was some over growth of bone which amounts to, using a layman's term, a bump on the ball of the hip joint on top of the femur.  How he explained it to me is there is cartilage lining the hip joint socket, called the labrum, that the ball on top of the femur rides on.  When use my leg in a running stride type motion that bump rubs up against the cartilage and can cause irritation and / or a tear in that cartilage.  So needless to say I got some answers, but it only raised more questions for me and my doctor.

     So where do I go from here, well the next step is to find out if there is truly any damage to the cartilage itself, or any other factors that cannot be seen on an x-ray.  Next up is the super expensive MRI next week, with a follow up visit the week after to go over the results.  I would guess that after the MRI, doc will have an idea if this requires surgery or something else.  I know I have my assumptions as to the answer to that question, but no need to put the cart before the horse.