Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, February 14, 2019


I sent a note to my doctor yesterday. I'm a little bit worried. Something feels off. I'm not quite right, hence the note to my doc. Nothing to do but wait and see, really, but I just wanted her to know. Over the last several days, I've periodically had that sickening feeling I sometimes get prior to a depression episode. I hope it's just a little dip, or even better, nothing at all.

It's been awhile since I've had that sickening feeling. It scares me, but I'm trying not to focus on it. I'm trying to feel it and let it pass. I can't control whether depression descends or not. I can only control what I'm doing to keep it at bay. So I'll keep taking my meds, working, exercising, going to meetings, and seeing my doctor. That's where my focus needs to be. Worrying won't help. Acting will. I have to remember that.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Feeling frustrated

It's been a week. I sat down at this computer several times over the last 7 days to write a new post, but I just didn't have anything I wanted to say. I'm still not sure I do. I apologize. My life, most of the time, is not terribly exciting.

Unfortunately, the only "excitement" I have to report is negative. I'm so sick and tired of writing about my aches and pains. In fact, perhaps due to a severe case of denial, or more likely due to unreasonable hope that what I knew happened would magically repair itself, I haven't written about this injury even though it happened in early January. I just didn't want it to be true.

I'm afraid it's true. Even before the MRI confirmed it, I knew it was true. I re-tore my right hip labrum. It's the same hip in which I've had 3 previous arthroscopic labral repair surgeries. I knew it the moment it happened, but I prayed I was wrong. I wasn't wrong.

The labrum is a thin ring of cartilage surrounding the acetabulum (hip socket) which helps cushion the hip joint, and more importantly, it helps hold the head of the femur securely within the socket.

The front or superior part of the labrum, as shown in the picture above, gets pinched in certain positions in certain people. I'm one of those people. I originally injured it in PT school in the mid to late 90's. I didn't know I injured it at the time, but when all the sitting I did in PT school became quite painful, I knew something was wrong.

In the late 90's nobody in the United States knew about labral tears. In fact, after a series of tests showed nothing (or at least nothing they recognized as an issue) Mayo Clinic Sports Med docs referred me to psychiatry because they were certain the pain I was experiencing was in my head. This was long before my depression began, and I really let the resident making the psychiatry recommendation have it as I stormed out of her office! I knew something wasn't right, and I knew I wasn't faking. Boy I was angry!

Fortunately, a few years later, in my first year as a physical therapist, I attended a hip continuing education course. The instructor was from Belgium. He began describing my symptoms! My boss and I stared at each other in disbelief. I learned right then and there what my problem was. At that time, while surgeons all over Europe were performing arthroscopic labral repairs, only 2 surgeons in the United States were doing the procedure. Thankfully, one of those surgeons was only 90 minutes away from me.

Well, Dr. Palmer, the surgeon who performed my previous 3 procedures, has retired. His office referred me to another orthopedic surgeon, who (fortunately and unfortunately) is one of the premier orthopedic surgeons in the state of Minnesota. Over the past month I've been jumping through a bunch of hoops in order to get "offered" an appointment. Apparently I made the cut. I'll be seeing Dr. Larson in April. 

Until then it's kind of business as usual for me. I can run with a labral tear without discomfort or much risk of further injury. My Achilles tendons are currently preventing running, and any kind of squatting, jumping (which is how I re-tore it) and sometimes even biking are not great for my hip. Sitting is actually the most uncomfortable thing to do. Nevertheless, I'll continue to do what I can to maintain my fitness.

I'm tired of hurting. I'm hoping Dr. Larson will see something he can repair, but even if he can, it's another set back for me. After my last procedure in 2014, I was non-weight bearing on crutches for 4 weeks. I'm frustrated. I've got no choice but to address the issue and keep moving forward. At some point, the tide has to turn. At some point, I'll be a runner again. I have to keep believing that.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

To run or not to run

I'm happy to report Jet and I made it through the recent Polar Vortex. It was 20-30 degrees below zero here for the better part of 3 days. It got so cold I had to put socks on Jet's feet every time he went out to pee. If he was out longer than 30 seconds without the socks, he barely made it back into the house due to his frozen feet. With the socks he at least had time to pee!

Despite the cold, I was able to get out to run 3 times this week, including yesterday when the temperature rebounded to almost 40 degrees! I didn't run at all last week, as I focused instead on the heel drop exercises I had begun for my sore Achilles tendons. I'm in the midst of a 12 week, 180 repetitions per day, heel drop program, which is supposed to essentially cure Achilles tendinopathy in about 75% of cases. (It's called the Alfredson's heel drop program if you're interested.)

I figured I wasn't supposed to run while doing the Alfredson program, but I couldn't find any evidence to support that assumption one way or the other. I didn't run at all last week. My Achilles tendons felt better by early this week, so, being a runner, I decided it was time to give running another try.

My first two runs this week went very well. I ran 6 miles each time, and my Achilles tendons didn't scream at me every step, as they had during the previous few weeks of running. I was encouraged. Unfortunately, after running 7 miles yesterday my Achilles tendons are very sore today.

I know, I probably wasn't supposed to run, but every run lately has felt wonderful! Maybe it's because I've been unable to run for so long that I'm now grateful for every step, every breath of fresh air, every foot fall crunching on the snow. I've thoroughly enjoyed being out there putting on the miles again.

I'm hopeful I'll be able to get back to pain free running and training again. But at this point I'd probably be smart to take another week or two off and continue working on my heel drops. I pray the tendinopathy resolves. But I also know, being a runner, I'll likely keep pushing the limits despite knowing better. The internal battle will continue. What can I say? I'm a runner.