Reflection on March 26

Good-bye wintertime blues! My cabin fever broke last week when I attended a jackpot for the first time since Fall. It has been a long winter, complete with cold weather and uncertainties, and I’m so glad to be back in the saddle again!

Screenshot from a video of my fourth run of the day

I ran two horses in a double header jackpot last weekend. The first two runs, my legs felt good, but I had to rubber band my stirrups for my third run. That run was on my red rocket and he packs a lot of power into his turns. With that in mind, and noticing that my left leg felt weak, I felt it was prudent to use the rubber bands. My fourth run was on brown mare and she’s got smoother turns and transitions so I took the rubber bands off before her run. I don’t like to use them unless I need them. Sometimes they break during your run and I’ve heard of them not breaking during falls (I haven’t had that happen to me, they’ve always broke in a pinch).

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Photo courtesy Rubberband.com
I think my hips handled the runs just fine, but the drive is what made me sore (the weather didn’t help). It was a four hour drive one way and the weather was colder and damper than what I’m used to. Cold, humid weather always makes me limp. I was a bit stiff the next day, but no wonder with 8 hours in the pickup, sitting at a board meeting for a couple of hours and making four barrel runs in damp Spring weather. I made sure to stretch when I woke up.

I’ve been riding just about everyday since the weather has been warm and my legs seem to be holding up. I get stiff once and awhile, but if I stretch as soon I as I get that stiff feeling then I don’t limp. I also use my foam roller (both the dense black one and the textured one) and massage ball everyday (or a couple of times a day).

I started Piyo on Saturday. I like how it places emphasis on alignment and total body strength without jumping, running or anything else that usually hurts my hip. I’m really excited to see if this program will help me get back into shape since I’ve had to give up running (I really miss it).

I went for a CT on Wednesday and I have my follow-up this coming Wednesday. I will have more answers then. Hopefully I can assess what’s best and move ahead with a plan!

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Reflection

So I’ve had a few days to reflect on my doctor’s appointment. I’ve calmed down quite a bit. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not the end of all things. If God closes one door then I shall praise Him in the hallway until a door opens up. I will also use this time to research my condition (or what they think is wrong) and work towards feeling better. I’m not one to sit and do nothing when I could plan goals and work towards them.

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Photo Credit: PeterThoeny Flickr via Compfight cc

So what are my goals?

  1. Mobility: I’d like to be able to move, even if I can’t run. I also don’t want to gain weight because I don’t want to stress my joints out even more by adding more weight for them to lug around. My toolkit includes: Misfit Link (and the app), my Mizuno running shoes, and a homemade exercise bike that my handy-dandy husband created (picture to come later!)
  2. Flexibility: A stretching routine seems to keep my hips happy and me mobile (I’ve only been doing this for about a week now). I’ll post my routine some other time, but it seems to help me remain upright! My toolkit includes: yoga mat, foam roller (tall, firm) and a small pillow.
  3. Meditation: To sum it up- “chill out before you burn out” (summed up from Tim Ferriss in his book Tools of Titans, I highly recommend this book- it is freaking amazing!). Being so frustrated all the time isn’t helping my hip get better and I need to move past this, hence, meditation. My toolkit includes: Calm, Headspace, Tools of Titans 
  4. Jo32397636462_e754ce2d6furnaling: This seems to be a cathartic practice that I’ve been doing for a long time. I want to direct and focus this practice more so it is beneficial to me. It also helps me organize my thoughts and clear my mind. For more on journaling, read Tim Ferriss’ blog post about his morning journal routine.

Photo Credit: barnimages.com Flickr via Compfight cc

In true Robbi fashion I will have these objectives written down in my goal sheet with weekly tasks/goals to work on, I just haven’t had the time to get that done yet. I am a goal oriented person, I feel lost without set goals to work towards. I need to play to my strengths.

 

 “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

 Plato

Overall I think my mind is in a better place than it was Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. I was pretty down yesterday, even one of my students noticed and commented on how down I acted. It made me feel loved, that someone noticed and cared enough to ask how I was! With a better mindset and goals to work towards, I feel less bleak and ready to seize the day. Well…maybe after this crappy winter weather hits the road!

Keeping hopping along,

Robbi

Frustration Reigns

So I had my MRI follow up appointment yesterday. I took a three hour drive to find out that the MRI has just about useless and that I need a CT. I am so frustrated that I am at a loss for words. One year after the MRI was ordered and over a thousand dollars later, I am not much closer to finding the answer to my hip pain.

I did find some things out. Yes, there is damage to the labrum, but (that should be capitalized), BUT there are a few things potentially going on. There is a bone ridge (I think it is a ridge?) on the acetabulum, and there might be some rotation problems going on. I won’t know the answer of which is the culprit until the CT is completed. It has an estimated wait time of about a month. Doc McWeasley (my nickname for him) wants the CT done of both my hips to investigate what is going on with the right one. It has been acting up for the last month or so.

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Photo Credit: howardpa58 Flickr via Compfight cc

In the terms of time, a month is fairly short. I mean, I did just wait one year (twelve *GASP!* months!) for an MRI, what is one more month? I’ve come up with ways to cope with my pain. I’ve modified my life to the point where I’m not sure what is modified anymore. I have a routine established when pain comes to visit and I cannot sleep. I take some form of PM pain medication and resign myself to a few nights on the recliner. I take sleep where I can get it.

I stretch everyday. I notice when I don’t. I didn’t get to stretch yesterday until later in the evening, and I felt it in my hips on the drive home. I might share my stretching routine later, but it is one I did research on based on my needs.

There is supposed to be a bit of a cold snap for the next few days, but I plan on riding after that passes. I hope to have myself and my horses in some other shape than round by the end of the month. There is a jackpot that I’d like to attend to see where I’m at and how well I can jockey my horses. Wish me luck!

Me sitting in the treeless in 2016

The plan is to continue riding Brown Mare in the TS. She doesn’t seem to throw me off balance in the turn. The TS also puts my feet forward and seems to help with my seat position. I might consider going back into rubber bands, but I’ll play that by ear during my warm up. The Red Rocket will continue to have the Treeless, it sits me back and keeps my feet forward. That seems to help the hip pain. I also feel like my hips move more when riding in the treeless, maybe because of the close contact.

Til the next time,

Robbi

This is the Beginning

I’ve started this blog in order to track (not quite the right word… in order to document- sounds too official) my journey with what the doctor thinks is a labral tear in my left hip. I want to tell my story because, frankly, it has been a long journey so far and I don’t even have a solid diagnosis yet.

It all began Spring 2015. I had two incidents that we (that being my husband and me) think caused the injury. I cannot point out exactly which one was the catalyst, or if they actually caused the problem. My husband’s theory involves me, a 700 pound steer and an alleyway with not enough room to hold the both of us. Painful story short, I got squished and/or ran over by said steer in the space not fully big enough to hold one of us, let alone both. My theory includes my barrel horse, a misstep and a fall at a jackpot. I walked away with nary a limp, but photographs taken at said race show my limbs all akimbo, looking pretty painful. I was 25 so I guess I was still in the stage where I bounced well after a fall.

That was March. By May 2015 I was limping, experiencing hip and lower back pain to the point where my running was being interrupted by the pain. At this point I wasn’t riding because I was staying with my parents and nursing my mom during her fight with pancreatic cancer. I attributed my aches and pains to sitting in waiting room chairs at various hospitals and clinics while dealing with my mother’s illness. “I just need a chiropractic adjustment and some stretching,” I’d say.

By August I was back in my own home and frustrated. I went to get a chiropractic adjustment where my doctor decided that my neck and shoulders needed more attention than my lower back. The pain would come and go, so I assumed it was my running that was aggravating my hips so I’d back off for a bit. My mileage was pretty low to begin with (about 3 miles per run, 2-3 times a week) so it wasn’t like I was increasing too fast or over training. I’d gimp for a few days, feel better and move on with my life.

This cycle continued until January 2016. I spent a few days in the house, unable to stand up from standing without some support (I used my tall foam roller). My left hip was practically non-weight bearing. I finally went in for a doctor’s opinion. My regular practitioner noticed that something was definitely “up” and sent off a referral and some x-rays.

The hip doctor saw my x-rays and said I needed an MRI as he practically rushed me out the door. I went for a second opinion, she agreed with the first “hip guy” and said it was fine to keep “doing what I was doing.”

At the time I was running very little, but riding quite bit and competing. I was compensating quite a bit. I switched  to a treeless saddle and made sure to rubber band my feet in the stirrups. My left leg would just shake after a run. While at the Lone Star Arena in Stephenville, a friend had to remove the rubber bands from my stirrups because I couldn’t bend my leg enough to remove it. He was afraid I was having a fit, from the way my leg was shaking.

It is now March 2017. I finally got my MRI, almost a year after it had been ordered. We ended up scheduling in a private clinic because I was told that I would be waiting an additional 4-6 months before I could be scheduled. I find out more information about what exactly is going on tomorrow when I see my doctor (hip doc #3, if you count my second opinion from Summer 2016).

My husband grounded me from riding when my horse fell on me three weeks ago in the snow. I had an impressive bruise on my right thigh for awhile and now my right hip is starting to act like my left. I hope its just the after effect of the fall or compensating for the left one.

Until next time, keep hopping along!

Robbi