Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If a picture says 1000 words....

Then how come none of the words that came with my MRI results say anything good?


The results are in. The steroid shot gave me some relief but the MRI shows that my hip is a mess (torn labrum, cartilage damage and arthritis galore). None of this happened due to an "event" but it was years of gradual deterioration until it crossed a threshold. There is most likely a hip replacement down the road in my future to deal with the arthritis. I don't need that now so I want to delay that as long as possible.

More pressing is the impingement issue. Choice "A" is to could get arthroscopic surgery for that but it would mean 6 weeks on crutches, a recovery of 3 to 6 months and no guarantee of a long term fix. This surgery wouldn't eliminate the need for a hip replacement later either.

Choice "B" (which I'm choosing) is to see how long the shot gives relief. It could be a day, a week, a few months or even longer. Again, no guarantees and everyone is different. I can get another shot in a four months if I need it but after that if I need another I'll have to make a more difficult choice.

Don't worry, the news gets better. I asked the silly question of could make it worse by training. The answer was, "of course."

Sigh.

So what does this mean?


  • First and foremost I'm hoping the relief from this shot lasts a long, long time.

  • It all comes down to how much pain I can tolerate.

  • If the pain returns I need to get a second opinion. No, not a Rodney Dangerfield second opinion of "You're Ugly too" but a real one. I don't expect a different result but you never know.

  • Running is the worst thing for me to do so I'm going to avoid that for a while. I'm viewing it as my hip has a set number of miles in it and I don't want to burn those miles unnecessarily. I will "consume" them when I have to but I don't know how many are available.

  • Swimming is the best thing for me to do. I'm going to up the frequency there.

  • Biking should be OK but I need to see what I can do pain free. I'm sure I can ride long and slow but need to experiment with how hard I can ride. The advice from the doctor is that if something hurts, stop doing that. Ya think?

  • I'm going to try other things that may help. Yoga will be first. Maybe Pilate's. Voodoo might join in the mix. We'll see how the yoga goes first.


I sort of expected this news but it is painful to actually hear it and see it in black and white. I had to do some soul searching to help understand why I do what I do. Am I going to win races? No. My main motivation is to improve my health and overall I am healthier. Do I need to do the events that I do to meet that goal or are there others? Fortunately, there are many choices and options.

My whole calendar is up for review. The NYC13.1 scheduled for early April ain't happening for me. StA probably isn't happening either. Eagleman70.3 might turn into an AquaVelo (I have until mid May to make that choice). I'll see how the cycling goes and might mix in some cycling events. I might still try the NYC tri in July but I may have to walk to finish it.

So the picture isn't pretty but as hard as it may be to believe, the words could have been worse.

16 comments:

Julie said...

Oh no, I am so sorry to hear about your bummer news. The good thing is that you will still be able to do all of those other things that you mentioned. The swimming, biking and Yoga will help you to stay active. Good luck with the shots and I hope that they do the trick:) Hang in there!!

Diane said...

Wow Joe. I have alot of thoughts on this. wish we could have a cup of coffee (cup o joe!) together for a nice long chat.

First, I am sorry about your results and sorry that the news will mean a change in your plans and goals and dreams for 2010. I truly understand how that feels. My full marathon will not happen this year. I don't know if it will ever happen. Only time will tell how my back heals.

I applaud and commend you for your resilience in facing your limitations and saying, "Hey, there is still plenty that I CAN do so I'm gonna keep on training and do what I'm able". That is what makes you a great athlete and a great person Joe. That's why I'm your number one fan. (ok, your wife and daughters are probably ahead of me) Whatever form your training and racing takes I'll still be cheering for you.

And I would cncourage you to try a Pilates reformer class. Sort of like yoga and strength training rolled into one. After doing Pilates twice a week for the past couple of months I can say that it really improves your strength and flexibility and range of motion.

There are still great events out there in your future Joe. Let's see what 2010 brings.

Jamoosh said...

Sucks, sucks sucks, sucks, sucks. I have been there with the steroid shots and it's almost a hope against hope situation. I HOPE it works out for you.

KC said...

i hate to hear bad news like that...i'm sorry : (
what about a running belt that you use in the water to so that you can still "run?" A professor of mine in college invented one and they work really well. You "run" in the deep water, so really no impact at all. Other companies make this belt too so you could google it. good luck with your training and i hope that shot lasts a long, long time for you.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

LOL, Voodoo!!!

That sucks, well, at least you can do other things, nothing wrong with a couple of Aquabike races either

Lisa said...

well, this news suuuuuuuucks. Sorry about that. :-(

But...you know what is okay (swimming, cycling, yoga) and what should be avoided (running). That's good.

And you have some options. Sounds like you are taking control of your health and have a plan of attack. That's good too.

Hang in there!

Tri Mommy said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. Aquabiking is not the end of the world (in fact that makes up my favorite 2/3 of the triathlon), but I know that is disappointing when you have been doing so much running and tris. I think your plan is a good one. For your 2nd opinion, see if you can find a specialist who also happens to be an endurance athlete of some sort. I have 2 friends who were told that they had issues that training would worsen and went to 2 different specialists who were also endurance athletes for a 2nd opinion and while they couldn't go all out on certain sports, the doctor worked with them so they could still do what they love doing.
I'm thinking of you and wishing for the best!

Carolina John said...

swim boy swim! your continued weight loss efforts will also help with your hip problems i'm sure, but the doctors rarely say that. but increased swim volume will help with the body shaping issues which will in turn rotate the torso more and help with the hip. now get in that pool!

Vickie said...

Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure. But hopefully, while a door has almost been closed, another one will open and you will find your way there. Walking is always an option as long as you are able to do that. You're not quitting or giving up, just changing strategy some. It can be done.

midlife_swimmer said...

ouch ouch ouch and all I can say is

SWIM!!!!!!! swim as often as you can.

onelittletrigirl said...

Oh no! I just found your blog through Julie and it could not be at a worse time- I am having an MRI on my hip this week and I feel like everyone has a horror story about their own hip! That is such bad news and I really hope the shots work for you!

Al's CL Reviews said...

Sounds like sucky news, but at least you have some options. Good for you for looking at the positive!

Tri To Do It All said...

I hope things work out for you. I know I am always worried about getting injured to the point I can't compete. Good luck!

Jess said...

What frustrating news!

I'm really hoping the shots work for you for a while. Surgery of any kind with any length of recovery is no fun so I really hope you can put that off for as long as possible.

Runner Leana said...

I am so sorry to hear the news. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for you that the shot helps to keep you pain free.

I'm not sure if you've ever read Tri to be Funny (http://tritobefunny.blogspot.com/). She's been dealing with a labral tear issue as well and recently decided to schedule surgery. It is such a tough call since there is no guarantee that it will work. I don't blame you for going for option B first!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

That sucks dude ...sending positive vibes your way hoping the shot does the trick!