Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm Not Dead... Ive Just Had Nothing Happy to Say...

Wow... the last time I posted on here was in April.  I've thought about blogging since then but haven't because, quite frankly - I've been miserable and in a very dark place.

Read at your own peril ;)

The Injury From Hell that stopped me in my tracks in March 2011, has not yet healed.  In fact, things have just progressed and gotten far worse than I had imagined.

I had to stop working in April 2012 as the chronic and excruciating pain (in my pubic/pelvic region prevented me from sitting for long periods (ie. over 15 minutes), concentrating or sleeping.  It had progressed to the point where I was suffering from incontinence.  My quality of life felt so bad that I would literally burst into tears at work, or at home - and felt completely hopeless.   I thought about blogging about it at that point but didn't think anyone would really want to read about how bleak my life felt... how I couldn't do anything that I wanted to do (yoga, swim, bike, run, walk, hike... or sit and watch a movie) and could not understand how at 46 I was suffering from all of this from what started as an insidious onset of groin pain in March 2011.

I'm a yogini - but I'm not perfect!  It's wonderful to focus on gratitude however let's face it - it's not always easy...  I lost that focus.

I became a miserable, crying, overreactive and pain-infused thing that couldn't stand to read the posts of others on blogs or Facebook 'I just ran 32km and feel fantastic'; 'I swam 4000m today - woo hoo bring on Ironman'; 'Ironman... Ironman... training, swimming, biking... running..."  AAARGH!!!!   I ended up not reading anyone's social media posts for months because I would get furious and bitter and then eventually just cry.  My poor husband did not know what to do or say.  I HATED MY LIFE.

Anyone who's ever dealt with mental health issues (I've battled with them for most of my 47 years)... anyone who's ever dealt with chronic pain... you will understand.  It felt like my entire world had imploded.

Most of my 'friends' (not from work - my 'real' friends) - I have not seen.  Many I have not heard from.  I literally pleaded with some to please come and visit me or meet me for coffee or something because I was so lonely and desperately wanted some company.  Did any of them go out of their way to come and see me when I could not drive my car or had no income for 2 months when I stopped working?  They did not.

(I should rephrase that... a couple of women friends DID actually demonstrate true friendship and support and I am eternally grateful to them.  (these are not the people I practically begged to visit me) The rest ... those 'friends'... have proven themselves not to understand the basic concept of friendship.  Wow... eye opener.  Checking Facebook to see whether I'm still alive and periodically posting something is not the same as picking up the phone to speak to me or even sending me an email to connect.  Our society is more connected electronically than ever before but we have lost connection with one another.  Gratitude flows from recognizing those who truly demonstrate friendship and support - and letting go of all others.   We are all busy.  I repeat... we are ALL busy... but if that prevents us from spending time with those who love us and sharing ourselves and our love - life is not worth living.  

As for my workplace, I had thought that after being at the same workplace for 25 years, with many 'friends' there, I would hear from or see those people or feel supported by them.  Apparently 'work friends' is a separate category for most.  No one has visited.  No one has sent a card.  Was I bitter about that?  Oh yeah... I mean, WTF??!!!  I went off work suddenly and have been gone for 8 months and - nothing??  I'm forgotten just like that - I don't matter to them at all?  And then I remembered, at the office I am the person who thinks of doing those things... apparently they don't get done when I'm not around.  Gratitude emanates from realizing that I don't need to spend so many hours at the office on my own time...I don't need to be the 'perky' girl in the office who takes in fresh baked cakes and cookies and is quick to volunteer for the jobs others don't want.  

I came off work thinking I'd be gone a month to relax and focus on rehabilitation and be all better.  Not so.  I've worked through treatment for a (?) sports hernia, (?) adductor tear, calcific tendonitis of the adductor and now possibly osteitis pubis.  I'm no further ahead.

I went to physiotherapy faithfully (those people are my rock(s) - they continue to support me) and then had surgery to repair a (diagnostically unconfirmed) sports hernia on August 1, 2012.  Here we are on December 7, 2012 - surgery was not successful.  My surgeon wished me well and saw me on my way and that's that.  Apparently the surgical site is healed and solid however - I am right back where I started 2 years ago.  I'm not exaggerating.  My pain has not altered or shifted.  It's still chronic.  It's still very, very painful.  I still cannot participate in any of the physical activities I love.  My 'exercises' at physio involve walking in the therapeutic pool... (sigh)

I've had 6 platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections - they did not work.  I've had months of physiotherapy to try and stabilize my hypermobile pelvic region.  The pain continues.  I'm now on crutches to see if non-weight bearing on the left leg helps things along.  Crutches SUCK.  I'm clumsy.  I've tripped an elderly lady, whacked others in the shins and been completely astonished by the obliviousness of the general populace - having doors slammed in my face as I hobble close to them... people looking at me like I'm a huge annoyance for being in their way as I try to shuffle through a shopping mall...  Unbelievable.  I cannot imagine how, for instance, a person in a wheelchair navigates through life surrounded by our society... another eye opener.  Another chance to practice gratitude.  I am so grateful that I can walk.  I am not bound to a wheelchair or hospital bed.  I can see.  I can hear.  I can feel.  I can love.  

Next up is a CT scan to see if they can confirm osteitis pubis.  I hope so because if so, my fabulous sports specialist says he can treat that.  If not, I have no idea what will happen next.

I no longer plan anything physically active for the future.  I can't see the future... I have no idea whether I will still be completely sidelined in another 3 months, or 6 months... because this has gone on for so long and so far nothing has cured it.  I just want the pain to stop.  I really want to be active again.


So... now that anyone who took the time to read this (thank you) is probably thoroughly depressed and wishing I'd hurry up and sign off...   here's what I've learned:

- I can immerse myself in photography and capture the beauty and the life that surrounds us - and then for a time, I am at peace

- my photography website is now up online - check it out :)

- I've learned which relationships are worth cultivating and nurturing and work at being a good friend to others

- I've observed that most/many people are so self-involved they are missing out on what could be a much richer life experience... and that is sad

** As 2012 comes to a close, so does this long-winded post... Truly, each day I do try and find gratitude in the little things that matter in life and not focus on the things that are not going the way I had hoped or planned.  Some days it is very difficult to do that.  I am lonely.  I miss 'playing' and laughing with others.  I am deeply saddened because I feel so left out...  however my wonderful hubby and my good friends love me and I love them.  And that is what really matters in this life.

May 2013 be a happy new year - for all of us :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Been Awhile...

... since I posted anything

... since I was able to run (with the exception of a few 3k runs in November... it's been 13 months!)

... since I was able to sit on my bike saddle, let alone go for a ride (4 months)

... since I was able to swim

... since I was able to enjoy my yoga practice

... since I've seen the inside of my office (I'm off work)

It seems that I do indeed have a sports hernia aka athletic pubalgia... aka complete and total pelvic dysfunction that keeps me from being able to sit for longer than about 5 minutes, makes driving horrible and ( it feels like my adductors and most of my left groin area is being ripped apart...) prevents me from doing any and all of the physical activities that I love... and which keep me sane (most days).

Three specialists later, I have surgery booked for July 27th.  It cannot come fast enough.  I'm still awaiting two MRI studies as well... just to make sure that nothing else is torn, broken, or otherwise capable of rendering me useless for any longer than necessary after post-surgical recovery.

I have passed the point of sitting and crying (well, mostly... but I still have my moments - just no longer daily) and now consider my thrice weekly physiotherapy visits my new training sessions.

Today I was able to water run.  In the shallow end.  For five minutes.  It was not pain-free...  However, I choose to say "I RAN TODAY" (that's called self-delusion, folks...) ;)

Following my water run, I was able to swim.  Two strokes.  With a flutter kick.  Of all of the sports that I miss, it is lack of swimming that breaks my heart the most.  I waited 40 years to learn how and now that I can swim... I am terrified that I will completely fall apart if I take time off from the pool.  Flutter kick is just about impossible right now and so is swimming with a pull buoy between my legs... aargh!  However, I choose to say "OH GOOD, I HAVE NOT YET FORGOTTEN HOW TO SWIM" (I think that is called desperation)

Today I was able to sit on a physio ball and while maintaining good pelvic stability, lift one leg at a time from the floor.  Not overly dramatic, I know... and yet,  I choose to say "WOW, MY CORE STABILITY IS IMPROVING" (actually it is - I couldn't do that last week...)

I'm so lucky that I have a great physiotherapy clinic with fantastic staff who really care about their clients. I love them all dearly.  I also wish I did not have to see them quite so often ;)

I look forward, with great anticipation, to the day I can get up early and hit the pool with my friends (I miss them terribly) and ride my beautiful bike (even if it's on the trainer) and go for a (gasp) 5k run... until then, I'm reading, blogging and generally trying to keep myself as well-conditioned as possible, prior to surgery in 3 months.

This lack of training has given me the opportunity to work on my baking and sugar craft... I even started a new blog dedicated to that - Adventures in Baking - and you can see a selection of my sweet creations posted there... because behind every cake, there is a story... Maybe by the fall, I will be able to bake myself a cake to celebrate my return to an active lifestyle...  :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring... is that you?

It certainly looks and kind of feels like spring out there!

I just got contacted with respect to my availability to photograph different racing events this spring and summer - running and triathlon events.  It's got me all excited to get out and cheer and photograph (and ring my cowbell really loud... who am I kidding?? - that's my favourite part)

Not everyone can wield a long lens, hand-hold a camera AND ring a cowbell at events... however I've devised a way of doing this:  I attach it to myself!  If I wear it around my waist, all I have to do is 'shimmy' a little and it jangles!  Festive, huh?

I get laughed at a lot but always being one of the last finishers in a race, I know just how much that added enthusiasm can help get someone across the finish line. 

I'm dying to go out and RUN...   Oh.  My.  God.  I really really really really really wish I was able to run... or even be able to sit on my beautiful Guru - even if just on the trainer... sigh... hopefully not much longer...

I have to wait 2 more weeks to find out whether or not surgery will be the option of choice to 'heal' this stupid and painful pelvic injury (I hope... once and for all).  Till then... I'm going to try and be patient and hone my photographic skills... or something.

I finally baked myself a birthday cake (one month late) so I guess I'm cheering up a wee bit... ;) 

I can't believe how fast the time is flying by - soon we will be outside biking again (well, some people never really stopped this year... it hasn't been much of a winter in Ontario...) but better than that... (yes, I know... not all of you are this enthusiastic about swimming but...) OPEN WATER SWIMMING WILL START UP IN... 3 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!  I, for one, cannot wait :)  There is nothing like swimming in a lake!

Hope all of you are enjoying this mild weather and that your training plans are going well...

Friday, February 10, 2012

What Are YOU Training For?

It feels like spring in Toronto.  We've seen highs of 9 degrees celsius - in February!  The sun has been shining, the sidewalks and roads are almost dry - and not a speck of snow... feels rather weird but at the same time it makes me think "SPRING IS COMING!  SPRING IS COMING!!"

Granted, I'd be more excited about that if I could actually get out and run (or cycle) but I'll take what I can get at the moment... for the time being it's nice enough to open up the windows, sing along with the radio (loud!) and dream that I am flying along the sidewalks and roads under my own speed (instead of in my car).

Apparently we are going back into a deep freeze tonight with -20 temperatures but somehow in my heart and mind, spring is already here :)

So... with that in mind... my determination to train hard (with rehab) for my return to triathlon training is in full swing now.  I've been experiencing about 50% less pain this week so I'm full of smiles and happily doing my band exercises at home and at work... getting some interesting looks from people as I practice balance drills in my cubicle... I'm now kind of optimistic that perhaps by April I will be back on the road to some degree of triathlon-related activity. 

What are YOU training for?

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 2012 - A Month of Refocus

Here we are in January - and all anyone seems to be talking about is their upcoming race season... I know, I know... the time flies by and we must be prepared for those early season races... I'm just jealous!

I never even imagined that I would not be running by now when this hip initially gave out last April.  I figured, as time went on, that I would be running by the end of May, then the end of last summer... then Hallowe'en... then Christmas... the hopeful dates of return to sport came and went without much fanfare. 

January is now here and I am officially 'not training' - I even had to cancel my coaching sessions because let's face it - I can't run or bike right now without extruciating pain.  It's very frustrating.  However, the good news, I guess, is that my new focus is REHAB.  Serious, full-time rehab without any half-assed attempts at riding or running, since all it amounts to is another setback. 

I've been told that '2012 will be a good year' by my physiotherapist.  I'm not sure I really believe that as yet but I'm trying to keep an open mind.  As I sit at my desk (NOT completely uncomfortable for the first time in about 2 months) I admit I'm feeling somewhat encouraged... :)

If I can sit at my desk pain-FREE by my birthday (the 26th) I will be ecstatic because that means I will be able to sit on my bike again (she's gathering dust on a wall rack and I feel miserably guilty every day when I go home and see her hanging there). 

So, in the spirit of being happy for others and what they are doing... tell me:  what races do YOU have coming up?  Are you planning your first Ironman or your first try-a-tri or half-marathon or what..?

I shall attempt to live vicariously through your sporting endeavours... for now at least...