A disappointing setback

In my last post I wrote: Sitting in the stadium on my 40th birthday, I realized that I still had no idea what was around the corner. Well, today I witnessed how true this statement indeed is.

In mid-March, I started to experience some mild hip pain. It came out of nowhere during one of my most sedentary weeks. I hadn’t been running or hiking much and had mainly been swimming, doing Zumba and doing the workouts my trainer had recommended. I had gone snowboarding a few days prior, but had not pushed it because it was icy and I did not want to fall. I really don’t remember if I took any tumbles on that day–if I did they were insignificant. I thought maybe I had just stressed a hip muscle doing side planks at the gym. In a few days the pain was gone and I did my 5K run. My hip was sore enough to limp after the race, but the next day the joint felt perfectly fine. I took it easy for the next six days doing one aerobics class, yoga, stretches, core work and light weights. The next weekend I was feeling good enough to go on a five-mile trail run, but found that my hip hurt again afterwards. Due to my history of prednisone use and the osteopenia it caused, I decided to schedule an appointment in a week’s time with my doctor to have the hip looked at. I just wanted to be sure nothing strange was going on. I had also been dealing with some knee pain in the opposite leg and figured I would get that looked at too.

In the week or so waiting for my appointment, the hip pain completely disappeared. I went for a mellow three-mile trail run with no soreness afterwards. In fact, thinking whatever had been bugging me had healed up, I even considered cancelling my appointment. As luck would have it, a really busy work load last week left me too exhausted to head to the gym much except for some short core and upper body workouts.

On Monday, I finally got in to see the doctor, and she decided to order some x-rays. At the time she thought it would be okay to stick with my workouts until the results came back the next day as long as I didn’t do anything crazy. I was actually heading to Zumba class when her call must have come in telling me the results of the x-ray. Due to a glitch in my cell phone service, the message she left did not show up on my phone. It was only when I got to work the next morning and saw messages on my work phone and then finally showing up on my cell phone that I got a panicked feeling. I knew if the x-rays had shown nothing, she would not be trying to reach me so many times.

My stomach knotted up as I dialed in to get the various messages. As I heard my doctor’s words, that knot traveled up into my throat and turned into a lump: the x-rays showed a pelvic fracture. She told me to get some crutches as soon as possible and to put no weight on my left leg until I could get in to see an orthopedist later in the week. I cringed when I thought of all the jumping I had done in Zumba the night before… and all the other workouts I had done in the weeks since the subtle pain had begun. And then the tears came as I thought of all the plans that this news so swiftly destroyed and all the progress it had immediately halted. I knew this injury would take a lot of time to heal. My mind raced to all the unknowns and I found myself swallowed by that familiar feeling of being overwhelmed.

As the day went on, I started to feel better once the shock of the situation wore off. My coworkers gave me hugs and made me tea to make me feel better. I called Doug and my Dad on the phone and they managed to cheer me up. I also found out more specifics from my doctor. The fracture is small. It is in the front of my pelvis near the symphysis pubis. Though I really won’t know anything until I see the orthopedist on Friday, from what I gather from the tiny amount of research I have done is that these injuries heal with rest and refraining from weighting the leg during the recovery time. Then there will likely be rehab exercises.

Already my mind is gearing up to get me through this. Now that the tears are out, it is reminding me of all the things I can do like draw, and write and watch the beauty around me even if while sitting under a tree instead of hiking down a trail. In my last post, I also wrote that uncertainty is okay. And you know what? It is. I will find the strength to get through this challenge just as I did during my healing period after ostomy surgery.

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12 thoughts on “A disappointing setback

  1. So sorry to hear that, I’m in between surgeries right now, Ileoanal Reservoir surgery. Love your blog! Really helps me stay positive that I will be able to live an active life after my next surgery. Actually went skiing two weeks ago with my ileostomy. Good luck with everything.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes. This bone fracture setback completely blindsided me. I know it will heal fine eventually, but I am still trying to get used to the idea that just last weekend I was reserving campsites for a backpacking trip in early June and now I am on crutches. Reading your note makes me feel better… I am so glad the site has helped you. Congrats on getting out skiing and best wishes for your upcoming surgery.

  2. So so sorry to hear that, I was afraid to read to the bottom of the page. Well it’s bone and it will heal, if this makes you feel better – on way into work this morning I felt 1 of those little warm feelings, mmmm must get that checked when I arrive at work, entered bathroom and seen dreaded wetness under my trousers, great and no bags with me 20 miles from home etc etc so fantastic wife has to drive in with bag spare boxers trousers and clean t shirt great ! And I will now have several patients to see before I’ll get fixed up.
    Anyway all you can do is kick back and make most of recovery time you will be fine, but I appreciate the frustration , Darren

    1. Yep- kicking back right now. It is crazy because I have been so busy lately with going to the gym to get strong again, working on my climbing and running goals, planning trips etc. and now here I am at home with my feet up on the couch with my only objective being to rest up and heal. What a change.

      And what a start to the day you had! Glad your wife was there to help you out. I have gotten a little complacent about having extra supplies with me because I haven’t had leaks (though I did drop my pouch tail once and dump output down the front of my pants). Your story is a reminder that it is smart to always be prepared.

      It is good that we can make it through these frustrating things and laugh about them later. Though I am still a bit down today, someday I will look back at my first day on crutches and giggle about the funny things that happened (which there were many!)

      -Heidi

  3. I am so sorry. 😦 I know how big of a set back this is given how important your physical activities are to you. Ask them if maybe you can swim. That’s a great non weight bearing exercise. There is also pool running which might be good if the motion isn’t too taxing on the pelvis. I will be sending good fast healing vibes your way and hoping for a speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks Dawn. The hardest part of all of this is that I have no idea exactly when or how I got the injury. And I was being soooo careful to ease into things slowly. I certainly thought a year+ out of surgery that my body would be able to handle jogging-paced runs in the five mile range. Especially when I eased up to that mileage over a period of months. And I was not running more than a couple of times a week and mixing in a lot of other fitness activities. That is assuming it was running that led to the fracture with the bone weakness, but who knows. It makes me once again question what my body can handle, but I am sure I will get the confidence back once I heal.

      I see an orthopedist on Friday and I am going to find out what I can do exercise-wise. Hoping swimming is on the list. My gym has a great pool and lots of floatation devices to use for therapy exercises.

      Thanks again for the encouragement.

      -Heidi

  4. We are so sorry for what happened to you. But, you are absolutely right: you will overcome this challenge as you overcame your previous ones and hopefully will not need to deal with too much of them in the future.
    You are our inspiration, you help us to believe that having guts is not a necessary requirement
    to not give in hope and to succeed despite all the odds.
    We all wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see more of your smiles and to read more of your blogs (we don’t mind that you will write them sitting under the tree as long as you enjoy a view when you write it 🙂 )
    Yoni, Max, Anna Shchemelinin

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. You have no idea how much they mean to me… especially after a hard day when simply covering 100 feet of ground felt so incredibly hard.

      Don’t worry, I will still be out in the sunshine this weekend, smiling as I shuffle along on my crutches and happy with the blessings I do have.

      -Heidi

  5. Relieved to read more details and that surgery is not in your future! Thought of you so often since learning of your fx. Just finished reading Foundation’s Triumph, an extension of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. The characters have an attribute called mentalics, which allows them to mentally infuse into another’s mind emotions like hope and motivators like inspiration. I wish we had that ability. Then, when I send you the sentiment of more spoons, you’d actually receive and feel the positive energy and motivation. Sadness and despair would be cleansed away in a flash and the world would look anew again. I can dream, can’t I . . .

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