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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"It's Okay to Be Upset"

I woke up this morning, like every morning since surgery, with intentions to shower, make the bed, clean up my night stand, maybe fold some laundry, put some dishes in the dishwasher - as long as the girls unloaded it first, and minimally, comb my hair. I have made it as far as the shower each morning only to find out that by the time that is done, I am worn out and ready for a nap, all by 7am. I find myself in the same CPM machine, Game Ready, and my bed 8 hours later.

Let me back up to about 7pm last night when I realized something kind of important. I had been on Oxycontin since surgery...also Vicodin, but started taking myself off of it all on Sunday. Last night marked the 24 hour mark of being off of Oxy. Previously, I thought I wasn't in much pain, naturally, and that I really didn't need the pain medication, it wasn't necessary. Here comes the realization...I was at a level 9+ last night. Not a 10, but close enough. I believe a 10 is crying, and although I held back tears, they never came. I took ONE Vicodin to get through the night and made it. So back to this morning. Those great intentions...I showered, I got back in bed. Lori called and ask if the girls wanted to go to Villa. I said I did. I know it isn't sitting in bed all day, but once I am there, I wear my booties in the shade and follow doctor's orders, so I asked if she cared. The only thing, I had been sick all morning. Nausea. She was okay with being flexible, and came and got the girls and I. I WAS GOING TO HAVE A GOOD DAY!

I got to the pool and ran into another friend. I was coincidentally sitting right between two friends. I was set. Well, besides the excruciating pain in my butt, and the nauseousness in my stomach, and...I was now crying. I had hoped that going somewhere would magically take away the misery of the situation. What can someone say? Nothing. Well, I didn't think so. I sat there for a while, and we had lunch and left.

I rested at home for a bit with ice and the CPM before physical therapy. Marc took me to my appointment and on the way, I decided to let it out and tell him just how hard this has all been. There is the physical apect of this whole situation, but what is tied so closely with that is that running was an outlet for me. It was a time with girlfriends, or my dog, or a date with my husband. It was a time for me to sort through difficult situations. It was my identity. I was a runner. I ran with...I ran in such-a-such race...I placed in the was a lot! Now, I sit on my bed all day. Marc is okay with this being hard, but always tries to be an encouragement, which I understand and is okay.

Cameron, my PT, did the whole "interview" before we began. Then he had me lay on my stomach. I was so happy. It hurt a tiny bit, but he held my leg, and I got through it. I can start stretching my hip flexor. Not strengthening, just stretching. As we worked together, he started talking to me about running. I had been pretty quiet. I guess he picked up on my hard day. He leaned down next to me and said, "You know, it's okay to be upset. So many athletes struggle because they think it's not okay, but it is. You're in a tough situation and it's okay. But you can be upset and then also choose to work towards getting better." He added, "No one has ever talked to you about this part of it. The doctors?" Dr. White is phenominal. I am learning more and more about him as I go, and I think the world of him. He EXPECTS nothing but the best. He takes a lot of time, but we haven't talked about this part, the emotional part. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt though and now maybe I understand why he said repeatedly, "You'll be good?" He even said, "For someone as active as you, this recovery will be difficult." Even if someone would have warned me, I am not sure I would've understood. But now I do. And it's okay. And if I have a bad day, I'm not going to beat myself up for it. But I will try to do what I can to keep moving forward, and I will work towards getting better.


  1. I know that I'm nowhere near as accomplished of an athlete as you are, so what you're feeling must be amplified so much more than it is for me. And so I'm SOOO sorry because I understand the feeling of having your outlets of expression, stress management, and enjoyment removed abruptly, and so it must just be that much worse in your case. And I don't know how much consolation this will be, but you're still the same person -- still the "runner." You are everything you were before the surgery, and you're doing everything you can to restore your body to its optimal condition. It's just a new type of conditioning, and even though it's probably starting out really small, you'll probably find yourself ultimately more aware of certain muscle groups and even stronger and more balanced by the end of this long process.

    And as a side note/tangent - I went to a music conservatory for college (trumpeter) and even though I had decided not to play professionally, it was what I did for the majority of my life and it was something I did well. After graduation, I had to have jaw surgery to correct a painful under-bite. I wore braces as part of that process and couldn't play at all. I sounded as bad as I did in elementary school. Fast forward to post-op, post-braces, and having to re-train every muscle in my mouth, I found that I was able to hit notes I never could before I started the process. My sound was even more open. I needed to gain back some of the technical aspects that I hadn't practiced, but I believe I was better than before the surgery. My moral to the story -- you're correcting something in your body that might be a slow, uncomfortable process, but ultimately, it may make you an even stronger, faster runner with even better form (because you won't be compensating for your hip issues).

    Do allow yourself to feel what you're going to feel, and try not to beat yourself up for feeling however it is you feel at any moment. But know you've got random people (myself included) rooting for you and praying for your healthy, full recovery. Thanks for sharing this whole journey.

  2. Sara - So much truth in your post. I totally feel your pain, and am all too familiar with the struggles you write about. While I anticipated the loss it would be - I don't think I knew how hard it would be until I was in it. I'm only 3 months out from surgery, and am looking at a revision and still waiting on surgery for the second hip, but even so, i promise it does get easier. And you'll be back on your feet before you know it.

    Best advice I got - from my mom - when I didn't see how I could get through each day when I was so sad: She said that somehow you just find a way to make it through and then, in time, it gets better. Its true. You will make it to the other side and you will be stronger for it.

    I'm just another random person wishing you the best in this recovery and all the stuff that comes with it.
    Take care,