A Time to Heal; a Time to Break Down, and a Time to Build Up

My blog has been haunting me for weeks now.  I had every intention of writing a post every week to fill you all in on my recovery, physical therapy sessions, and getting my body back in shape, not only to hold me accountable, but to help any other women who might be suffering from the same issues.  Nothing has gone as I had planned, and I feel discouraged and haven’t had the nerve nor the motivation to get it out in writing.  So here I am with nothing but another boring update on my pelvis.  Brace yourselves.

I’ll start with that amazing appointment with the specialist I had waited months to see at the beginning of April.  Best.  Doctor.  Ever.  She is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist, also known as a Physiatrist, who specializes in non-surgical treatment.  If I had to describe her in one word, it would be, “thorough.”  She spent so much time with me (1.5 hours), asking every detail about my problems, performed a physical exam of my pelvis and back, answered all my questions, and came up with a specific plan of action.

In summary:

  1. She doesn’t think it’s a stress fracture but suggested an MRI or X-Ray to rule it out.  She totally understood my hesitation in doing so, due to my fear of damaging my eggs.  <– I know, seriously…but I don’t want to chance having mutant children.
  2. There doesn’t seem to be a significant amount of calcification around the joints that would lead her to believe I did permanent damage while trying to run through the pain during my pregnancy.
  3. SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) or Osteitis Pubis is very common in athletes, and it is caused by the Relaxin hormone during pregnancy, which doesn’t leave the body for 6-12 months postpartum.
  4. My treatment options are as follows:
  • If I do nothing at all for 6-12 months, she’s confident that I would see improvement.
  • We could try to speed up the recovery by doing 6 weeks of physical therapy.
  • If PT doesn’t help, the next move would be to try laser treatments or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections <– this triggers a healing response in the body and has a very good success rate but is still considered ‘experimental,’ and is not covered by insurance, read I can’t afford it.
  • My last option would be to get an X-Ray to determine if I would need surgery to bring the pelvis back together.

So here I am, 6 weeks of PT later, and I haven’t experienced a shred of improvement.  I still can’t run for more than 30 seconds before my pubic bone starts to throb.  I’m over it.  I’m sick of talking about it.  I’m tired of complaining.  I’m just…done.

Things never seem to go according to plan, so I’m going to throw every notion that I had about my future out the window and take it one day at a time.  I’m a runner, and I will always be a runner.  I just can’t run at this moment, and I’m learning to accept that.

This experience has definitely thrown me for a loop.  I definitely feared something like this would happen when I decided to get pregnant, I just didn’t really believe it would happen to me.  Not being able to train for an indefinite amount of time really raises a lot of questions about my running career and future.  My eyes have been set on the 2016 Olympic Trials, but that dream is long gone and has forced me to significantly change some goals around.

It takes 6-8 years to really develop a runner and build a solid base to reach one’s full potential.  I only have 3.5 years of experience under my belt and have been set back quite a bit by this year and a half or so of time off.  Because I’m such a late bloomer, I truly believe that I can be competitive on the national level for another 10 years.  It’s so hard being a woman in this sport, because we don’t reach our peak in performance until our mid 30s, which happens to coincide with the time that we really should be having babies.  I am not interested in taking the next year or two to fully recover and get back in top shape just to compete for another year before it’s time to have another baby.  I cannot go through this recovery process twice.   _DSC0290

I’m not going to call it my plan…let’s just be safe and call it a goal.  I want to have another baby, like, yesterday.  I’ll be writing a post here shortly about some mommyhood stuff, but let me just say that I am truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with my little girl, and I cannot wait to have another one!!!  All the fun baby stuff aside, I also really need to be done with pregnancy as soon as possible so I can focus on recovering and my running career.

Unfortunately, I can’t always get what I want.  In a perfect world, I would get pregnant tomorrow, my pelvis would magically fix itself, I’d run through my entire pregnancy, miraculously get back in shape in 2 months and qualify for the OTs in 2016.  Ha!  Instead, I’ve got to wait until I see improvement in my pelvis before I can even think about getting pregnant again.  My doctor says that if I get pregnant while I’m still having problems, I can risk permanent damage and an arthritic pelvis, and I’ll probably never run again.  Bummer.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’m just going to wait.  I wish I could cast out this demonic Relaxin hormone but will instead sit around and wait for it to leave my body in another 1-6 months.  The other sad thing is that if I do see improvement and am finally able to start running again, the doctor said I should not run at all during my next pregnancy, because the SPD will most likely be as bad, if not worse, the next time around.

I can’t help myself from running the numbers.  Let’s say it takes my body 9 months to get rid of that hormone, and I’m finally able to run pain-free in September.  I get preggo again in October, have another babe in July, and take a full year before I am able to really run again.  That’ll be July of 2016, and I’ll almost be 32 years old.  That will give me 4 years to train for the Trials in 2020!  Let’s do this!

I knew this post would be cathartic.  Seeing it all typed out gives me hope.  It really just boils down to one thing; the most important thing to me is my family.  I may whine and cry about not being able to compete, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and sometimes my eyes well up just thinking about how blessed I am.  Sure I will be sad if I’m not able to compete again, crushed even.  It would be even more devastating if I weren’t able to ever run again.  But in the grand scheme of things, I know I’ll be fine, because my little girl makes it all worth it, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

Here’s a little Memorial Day fun!  It was also Daisy’s 5 month birthday!  Yay!

 

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6 thoughts on “A Time to Heal; a Time to Break Down, and a Time to Build Up

  1. This post made my week. Even though I haven’t even reached the running level you were or gotten pregnant yet, so much of this is similar to how I feel and it’s good to know other women have the same feelings. I’ve had to stop all exercise, gain weight and pretty much just wait until I get my period to even START the pregnancy processes. Like you, I do the math… 4 more months (?) until I get my period, 2 to get preggers, 9 carrying baby (during which I prob won’t be able to run), 4 recovery, all to get a few runs in before I have another one. And that if all goes according to plan! Ha! Next thing I know, I’m 40, haha. Sometimes you just have to laugh, but I can totally understand your frustration in the unknown and annoyance of waiting.
    I like your plan of calling it a “GOAL” not a plan. I’ll do some crazy voodoo crap to get the relaxin out of your body, haha. Do you think you’d do the experimental thing if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg? Please please please keep us update with your progress. Even if it’s only a few sentences. And be sure to add some pics of that beautiful baby girl of yours 🙂

    • Heather!! I am so sorry you are struggling. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. Before I got pregnant, I was running the same numbers! We had no idea how long it would take us. Luckily, it happened right away, and hopefully the 2nd babe will cooperate as well. I will send all my positive thoughts and prayers your way!!!

      As for the treatment? Yes, it is definitely something that I will try, but I feel like I need to wait until I’m really ready to start training again before we go spending thousands of dollars. I will probably have it done after baby #2 (God-willing).

      Please keep us updated as well with your progress! Looking forward to hearing some great news! 🙂

  2. “I may whine and cry about not being able to compete, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and sometimes my eyes well up just thinking about how blessed I am. Sure I will be sad if I’m not able to compete again, crushed even. It would be even more devastating if I weren’t able to ever run again.”

    This basically describes what I’ve gone through. I didn’t have a baby or anything, but I broke my knee in November, had to get surgery, and the wires they put into my knee to keep it together make it excruciatingly painful to even try to run. Everything–the emotions you describe in this post–are so relatable. I am very happy and blessed with my life outside of this injury, but it makes my heart ache to not be able to run pain-free, especially as I approach my final cross country season for my college.

    All I can say is, thank you for having the courage to write this post, and I feel like I can relate a least a little.
    Good luck with everything!!

    • Rachael, this is heartbreaking news! I am so sorry to hear about your knee! How awful! Is there any sign or have doctors told you how long your recovery will be and if you’re expected to fully recover? I will pray for fast healing and pain-free running.
      Thanks for your reply. It’s always comforting knowing that someone can relate. 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh Suzanne you’ve got me tearing up. I think it’s amazing and very courageous to want another baby knowing how it could effect your running. We will be praying for your recovery. And cheering you on as you get back to it!

    • Thank you, Alex!!! The first two weeks of motherhood were dreadful, and I told my husband I was done. But ever since then, we both want another one so badly!! Haha! It really is amazing how having Daisy has changed my life. When I’m with her, none of this other stuff matters. She just really helps me keep things in perspective.

      Your prayers are much needed and appreciated! I hope to see you and little Zoe soon!! 🙂

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