My son was running around next to the stream in the park and this awful, helpless feeling came over me. If he fell in I don’t think I could save him. I was at a point where my hip/groin pain was so bad I would have been too slow to run and pull him from the water. At that moment I took him to the truck, drove home and scheduled surgery.
The pain had been bothering me for years. I did my best to ignore it, deal with it, and just do what I could. I did everything possible to help it heal and/or prevent any worsening of the pain. Unfortunately it just kept getting worse. Every time I had to pick something up off the floor I’d have this mental debate with myself. I knew a stabbing pain would result….was it really worth picking up that piece of food. Often times I’d leave it.
I had actually went to see an orthopedic surgeon a couple years prior. His suggestion was cortisone shots until I couldn’t take it anymore and then a total hip replacement. That’s not something I was going to do.
I decided to give stem cell injections a try. The best case scenario it helps my body heal and I improve. The worst case scenario is that it does nothing and I’m out $7,500 dollars. An interesting bit of psychology happens when you pay a bunch of money for a treatment. You want it to work so bad you can trick yourself to believing it’s helping.
For a bit I did that to myself. The combo of wanting it to work and also just having to rest after the injections did have me believing the stem cell treatment was helping. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
The constant pain was really wearing on my mind. My patience was thin. My empathy was at about zero. People would come to me with their aches and pains and I regret this but in my mind I was annoyed. It feels like I have an ice pick in my hip and you are making a big deal about a sore muscle…. That’s not a great mindset to have.
A really pissy “woe is me” mindset would try to set in. “Why did this have to happen to me? So many people out there don’t exercise at all. This wouldn’t affect them nearly as much as me.” The thing with my hips is the ball is misshapen. It doesn’t fit in the socket like it should and this causes joint damage. It’s a congenital defect and not the result of anything I did wrong.
Every time the pissy mindset would set in I’d switch to thinking about all the people that are far worse off and switch to gratitude. Here I am being a sissy about a hip injury and there are people with cancer fighting for their life. Or people that have lost a limb. I’d try and switch to thinking with gratitude. Switching the mindset to being grateful is hard but it’s a huge help.
The worst part wasn’t the pain at all. It was the inability to really run around with my kid, to wrestling with him, to play. I mean I could, kind of. But it hurt so damn bad it was miserable. I can’t imagine just sitting around watching as opposed to getting down and playing with him. Then came the moment at the park…..
I had been looking into a hip resurfacing procedure that has been done for about 30 years in the UK and was relatively new in the US. I had actually been in contact with a facility in the UK and was seriously considering flying there for the surgery.
Luckily I found a surgeon in WI that did this procedure whom I liked. He was fit and healthy and also stressed the importance of good nutrition for recovery. Call me crazy – but if a person can’t keep themselves healthy I won’t be going to them for health advice.
Back to square one. I wasn’t expecting my cut to be that big and I wasn’t expecting to be in that much pain nor was I expecting the tube in my wiener when I woke from surgery! For two weeks I did pretty much nothing but lay around. I couldn’t read because I was either hurting too much to concentrate or too drugged up to remember what I just read. Heck I didn’t even get up to pee. I had someone get me Gatorade bottles just for that reason!
I did actually flip through TV channels and try and watch TV for the first time in years. My God is it awful. A bunch of brain numbing shows or negative news stories sandwiched in between junk food and drug commercials. Seriously, TV is making you dumber and it’s depressing. Save a bunch of money and do yourself a favor and get rid of it.
I did do what I could and this isn’t emphasized nearly enough. I ate perfectly. Your body is always repairing. It’s repairing any damage and it’s using ingredients from the foods you eat to do that. Quality food also keeps your body from producing too much inflammation. Inflammation is actually a good thing…. to a point. I had my own cooler of high quality food that I brought to surgery. I didn’t trust the hospital would serve me a healthy meal.
And here is the hidden blessing. Love your legs. Love your arms. Even if there is some unwanted fat on them. When it is taken from you all you want is to have it working again. I am so grateful to have a body that can walk, run, jump, play. The reason I eat well and exercise is not because I hate certain parts and want them to change. It’s because I love my parts. I want to take care of them so they last as long as possible.
Injuries suck. But they are a great reminder of how amazing our bodies are. My leg was sliced open, hip dislocated, bone ground down, and in a couple months I’m walking with no problem. Just think how amazing that is! How the body just knows how to heal.
Going through injury is why you’ll never hear me complain about having to do any exercise. I always see it as a blessing and look forward to having the opportunity to use my limbs. I look forward to every single workout.
Quickly the progress actually started to get kind of fun. It’s crazy but for a bit there I had the weakest leg of any member in any of our gyms. Each day there was a little improvement. I could put a little bit of weight on it. Then I went from two crutches to one, and then to a cane. This is crazy but I was back to being proud when I did a first step up on a 12 inch box in the gym. Hell, being able to put on a sock myself was a huge win.
I couldn’t do much with that leg but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do pushups and pullups. I did a ton of those a few times per week. Just because 1 limb is injured doesn’t mean the others need to be neglected. And I promise working the other body parts, getting the blood flowing, will help the injury heal faster.
It is amazing how much of an impact lack of exercise has on your mind. It just kills motivation. When I get a workout in I swear that day is 100% more productive. When I couldn’t exercise my mindset just snowballed in the negative direction. I didn’t feel like doing anything productive. I can’t imagine combining that with bad food. 25% of Americans get zero exercise and follow the typical American diet. I just can’t imagine how bad that must feel.
Confidence…. Being weak is hard! I felt vulnerable, I felt like I couldn’t protect myself or my family, feeling weak just kills confidence. I don’t care who you are. Adding strength will add confidence. I think a huge societal problem right now is the lack of pride in strength, of pride in toughness. Instead of getting tougher most people are looking to make things easier, lowering standards, and getting soft.
Here is a reason to eat well and take care of yourself that you may not think of. When shit does happen such has going through surgery. Your risk of complications during surgery are much lower. Many times I was asked what medications I’m currently on. And every time I said none the person asking me paused and had a weird look, often asking again. That’s a sad state this country is in. So many people are on meds that when you’re not it’s almost unbelievable.
Another huge benefit is your recovery is so much faster. I was walking fine and felt like I could run at a point when my post op care sheet said I should be progressing to one crutch or cane. Take care of yourself! It benefits you in more ways than you know.
There was one moment that still has me confused. I’m lying there, miserable, and a nurse came in to stick me and draw blood. I asked what she’s testing that she needed to draw blood for? Her immediate response was “it isn’t something that we have to do….” Then why the heck do it? Obviously I said no more needles for me.
I also refused any anti-inflammatory medications. For the majority of people their diet is very poor and very pro-inflammatory. For them an anti-inflammatory drug may be beneficial as their body may produce too much inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to impede healing, especially bone healing.
I wasn’t about to take anything that would inhibit the healing process – even if I had to suffer through a bit more pain. When you hear strong bones you undoubtedly think calcium – omega 3 fats (fish oil) are actually extremely important for healthy bones and a nutrient most people are lacking.
Oh you poor nurses. Having to deal with patients like me that question everything you’re doing. I’m sure there is a big red “NON COMPLIANT” written in my folder. I’m sorry – you are angels.
In the end I’m just super grateful. I don’t agree with everything in the medical field (orbera for example, google it – it’s hard to believe) but for the most part modern health care is amazing. This body has taken a beating over the years but it works and I love it. I’m going to do everything I can to take care of it.
Eat well because you love your body. Exercise because it’s a blessing and you love your body. Do your best to avoid the shitty foods because you love your body and don’t want to poison it. It’s cliché but it is true. You only get one body to live in…..love it enough to take care of it!
When you treat your body with love it starts to transform and you’ll not only love how it feels, you’ll love how it looks!