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!

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.

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