Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

New year, New surgery

I believe it was last January. I landed a broad jump in an exercise class and knew immediately I shouldn't have done that. It was a tiny twinge. So slight, most people wouldn't have even noticed, but I quickly put it together. The landing position followed by the tiny twinge certainly meant I had just re-torn my right hip labrum. I hung my head and prayed desperately, "no, no, no, no, no!"

Unfortunately, my prayers went unanswered. An MRI confirmed it. My thrice-repaired right hip labrum was torn...again. I put a call in to the skilled surgeon who had cared for my hip for the last 20 years. I was devastated to learn he had retired. You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal? Go to another surgeon." Well, that's what I did, but it wasn't that simple.

Good surgeons who do labral repairs are few and far between. It's an arthroscopic procedure which is apparently quite technical. I've been told the learning curve for this surgery is quite long, therefore not many US docs take the time to learn it. In fact, when I originally sought out a diagnosis in 1997 Mayo Clinic orthopedic doctors were so clueless they suggested I seek out a psychiatrist! And this was before I had depression!

Fortunately, I'm a physical therapist. My first continuing education class as a new professional was on the hip. I was even more fortunate the class was instructed by a brilliant therapist from Belgium, where they had been diagnosing and repairing labral tears for years. Halfway through the first day the instructor began describing my symptoms to a tee! After four years of unexplained pain I finally knew what was wrong. It took the instructor about two seconds to confirm my diagnosis with a simple special test.

The instructor told me he usually referred US citizens to Belgium for surgery, but I was lucky. There were, at that time, two surgeons in the United States who performed arthroscopic labral repairs; one in Texas and the other in Minnesota. Dr. Palmer in Stillwater, Minnesota, repaired my torn labrum three times, most recently in 2014.

Now five years later, and after some nifty maneuvering by my local orthopedic doctor, I now have a new surgeon in Minneapolis. I'm lucky once again. He just happens to be a hip expert and one of the most sought after hip surgeons in the United States. Since this is my fourth tear (the labrum is a fragile little piece of cartilage, especially once it's been torn) my new surgeon, Dr. Larson, told me it was no longer repairable. What???

Thankfully, he interrupted my rising panic by telling me he'd just replace it. What??? Yup, I'm going to get a new right hip labrum, a cadaver labrum, transplanted on January 24th. It's an arthroscopic procedure, but it will require an extended healing time. That's why I put off the surgery, with Dr. Larson's blessing, as running doesn't cause or worsen a labral tear, until after my planned marathon in October.

As you all know I missed my marathon due to that nasty respiratory illness. And I couldn't run for an extended period of time due to that damn respiratory illness so I began lifting weights. That apparently caused more damage. I've been battling pain since mid-October.

I'm glad I'm getting it done because even my running is being affected now. I'm hopeful this will resolve my hip issue once and for all, but I'm concerned about the recovery time. I will be non-weight bearing for at least 4 weeks, and I will not be allowed to return to running for 3 to 4 months. I'm going in with eyes open knowing there will be risks to my mood (financial stress and no exercise). I'm going to do my best to get through it, but I have a feeling you'll be hearing more from me during that time.

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