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2 years 6 months post-op

Graduate is so much more satisfying then "failure to progress!"

Graduate is so much more satisfying then “failure to progress!”

Once again, I have graduated from physical therapy!!  While I appreciate the creativity and drive of my PT, I would love to never have to see him again as a patient!  My crazy making pain from February is gone. It’s been another long hard road, not being able to slow down from the breakneck pace my life had taken on was hard.  I would do all the things I HAD to do and there was nothing left at the end of all that.  I had to go to school, I had to go to clinic, I had to care for my family, I had to go to PT, I had to study.  Nothing else got done, there was no energy, no excess – there was enough will to get through what I HAD to get through and then manage the pain I had created doing those things.

I felt bad, I KNEW I needed to rest more, I knew it would be better for my over all healing – but I had a life that would no longer allow me to slow down.  So I did the best I could.  I took ice baths daily for far longer than I wanted.  I used Kenesio tape to reinforce healthy muscle patterns and reduce inflammation. I took 2 oral steroid packs over the course of the last 5 months to deal with the constant inflammation.  I admit it; I was surprised.  I really didn’t think it would help my pain or my situation, but it did.  It helped break into the pain cycle and that helped my pain.  Also messed up my female cycle, and I am not a fan of steroids, BUT they helped.

I also did every single at home exercise I was given, nothing more, nothing less – and when Tim said, “I think you need to consider some kind of trigger point intervention to help us get over the hump.” I acted like a child.  I rolled my eyes, stomped my feet, held my breath, and basically through a “small” tantrum NOT wanting to get stuck back in the medical system again.  I wanted him to fix it.  I trusted him… not other people.  The idea of having to see another Dr. or try to run the gauntlet of the medical system was the fear behind my hissy fit.  It was sad.  I have grown, a lot. I took the steroids, I went to my GP, I called my massage therapist, I managed a lot on my own, I even asked for help at clinical.  I asked classmates to treat me during class…. I’ve let a lot of hands on me during this thing… but some how the thought of contacting a NEW Dr… or trying something new was overload to my brain and my heart.

I knew deep down in my gut he was right.  These taught bands of muscle were NOT going away and they were burning and stinging and causing constant pain.  Manual therapy wasn’t having the long term effect we needed.  SUCK!!!!!!   I told him I would consider it.  I felt rude, and I hate feeling rude to him.  I KNEW he was right and yet I just couldn’t commit right then and there. I needed to figure out how to manage my crazy.  I needed to figure out what I was going to try; trigger point injections, acupuncture, dry needling….

I decided to go with trigger point injections from my Pain Management Dr.  I knew him, he had been sympathetic in the past and willing to work with me by listening to me.  He had allowed me to be active in my care in the past and was hoping he would this time too.  He did listen and eventually agreed to do the injections.  I surprised myself by rejecting his first plan.  He wanted an MRI and I refused.    I shocked myself – honestly!  I knew Tim and I were on the right track and I was unwilling to spend the money on a test that would more than likely show nothing.  NOT AGAIN!
I promised him I was listening and if these injections failed I would submit to the MRI because it would mean Tim and I were wrong and something more was at play.

In defense of my PM docs caution he gets HUGE props for suggesting labral tears and hip impingement as possible causes!  I said YES I totally agree BUT preliminary test are negative for pain – feel free to do them and see what results are!  He did.  (It was the first time he put hands on me in this appt.)  He then agreed it didn’t seem those things were likely, and said he would do the injections.  They were like magic.  And I don’t believe in medical magic.  I don’t believe in quick fixes.  I will be honest and say Dr. B nor I are sure if it was the needle inside the muscle, the numbing agent, or the steroid… but it stopped the constant burning pain and enabled me to go horseback riding with my daughter that weekend.

Erin learning to care for horses at the Dude ranch

Within hours of the appointment I started off on a 2 hour car trip to go to a dude ranch with my daughter.  We rode horses 2 times (30 min each) and hiked around a camp, and slept in awful bunk beds, and even did an hour hike up through the hills and forest.  It was amazing.  The difference in my pain and function was amazing.  I had packed my tape, meds, TENS unit… I was ready for triage in order to have this weekend with my daughter.  I was REALLY pushing it to get on a horse, but I COULD NOT say no again.  I was willing to risk all the positive forward movement Tim and I had made to go on this weekend with Erin.  I couldn’t say no anymore.   I am still pretty tickled it went so well!

The beautiful view from my horse!

The beautiful view from my horse!

 

 

 

 

 

After the injections I put in 4 more weeks of therapy and am once again basically pain free.  We ended with me doing things like walking lunges, one legged squats, box jumps on small boxes, playing hopscotch, single legged bridges, various planks… things I am not ashamed of and frankly, pretty proud I can do.  Yes they exhaust me and I am still working on retraining of muscle brain connection, but it is much smoother than it was, and I am functioning at a high level again.

I think I will always want the body of an athlete.  I think I will always want to be in the best shape I can be in.  It makes me feel good about myself, and I hurt less.  Being active is good for my heart, my mind, and my body.  It’s work.  It takes conscious effort to push myself to the point of muscle break down so I can be stronger – and it’s A LOT easier to pay someone else to do it to me, but I know how to take care of myself and I can even make my own home exercise program harder when it gets too easy.

My beautiful new red dress!

My beautiful new red dress!

I’ve learned, I’ve adapted, I’ve dealt with some of my crazy and here is how I am looking today.


7 Responses to 2 years 6 months post-op

  1. jeanadi

    Hi Amy my name is Janine and I just had bilateral SI fixation with Dr.Weiss in Georgia 8weeks ago. Like you I was an active person prior to my SI dysfunctionand a competitive swimmer too. I suffered this problem over 15 years. My postop recovery/rehab has been going very well with the exception of two days ago when I had a major problem. we added one exercise with a thoracic roll to my routine. I’m not sure if one of my lumbar was manipulated out of place but I’ve been in pain similar to that Which I had prior to surgery. Not piriformis strain but deep bone pain in the left SI area. It was a total shock to me because I was doing so Well with all my exercises And everybody keeps saying my body Has improved in just six weeks of therapy. I could bend down and squat many times throughout the day. Unload dishes again. The only thing I couldn’t do was pick up my nine month old baby. I knew it was way too early to pick her up

    you ever have similar pain to the pain prior to surgery at any point during your Initial Post op therapy? That deep si bone pain?

    • jeanadi

      Btw this is the first time blogging and i sent that message Before I could edit it . Glad you feel well and you look fantastic

      • Amy

        Thanks!
        I’d say your doing quiet well if you can handle all those things pain free post op. be easy on yourself, the body takes this long to heal from surgery, no matter how minor Dr. Weiss and Vicki think it is ;).

        Aches and pains that are familiar….
        Yes, myself and others have had them. I suggest you get to know and trust your PT. The general concern us is that familiar pain may not be exactly what you named it before surgery.

        What I mean by that is some of my pain I thought was joint pain was actually muscle pain from trigger points, or ligament pain that my massage therapist was able to get rid of….

        Keep an open mind as you recover about where your pain may or may not be coming from and that should help a lot. As long as it can be dealt with, there is always hope right!

        Congrats on feeling so good and getting back to the things you love!

  2. AJ

    Amy, I am so glad that you found the time and energy to write this update. What you have done to get better is astounding, totally astounding. You have to be THE MOST COURAGEOUS human being with whom I have become acquainted. You persevered despite having to go through injections, steroids, PT, and so forth. YOU ARE MY HERO! I hope that, someday, I will have the courage to allow a PT or doctor or massage therapist work on me. Right now, I don’t want to deal with more specialists or with the possibility of increased pain. I like the sounds of trying the steroids. I have on hand a bunch of the M-Pack pills. I wonder if it would be okay for me to use them even if a doctor is not monitoring my use of them. Girl, you are BEAUTIFUL! Wow! Thanks for posting your photo. You LOOK in shape, toned up, healthy! I thank you, so much, for writing this. You are a great writer, Amy. YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION! Thank you for all of the support that you have given to me! – Judy –

    • Amy

      Judith, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I believe the kind of spirit and determination you see in me is something we can ALL have. I didn’t always want to do the exercises I was sent home with, PT is HARD work, and is often painful for a time. Even the massage and stretching can hurt some before it makes things better! BUT I know it is good for me. Over and over again I have been helped by smart, kind therapists coupled with my determination to NOT give up. Pills have their roll in our recoveries but I firmly believe there is no pill, nor injection that will help us alone. SIJ issues are issues of soft tissue. PT’s specialize in soft tissue rehab. Without addressing the problems with our soft tissue and reprogramming our bodies we do not get better. Is that the only thing that can be wrong… no it’s not. But it is a simple place to start that WE have control over.

      A GOOD physical therapist will expect you to be a PART of your recovery… not a passive participant. It can help us regain control over all we have lost, it can help us to know more about your bodies and be given tools to help us help ourselves. I think there is a lot to be said for PT.

      I also understand the total fear of seeing someone new, trying something new, and just wanted to be DONE – to be better – to get on with it. Sweet Judith, here me when I say there is no magic wand. We must rebuild from the inside out. There are things to investigate in your case… questions that need to be answered and pain that needs to be controlled. PT isn’t a cure all either – but it sure helps!

      I hope you will draw strength from my story and be able to rebuild your life as well. You are too beautiful a spirit to stay where you are right now!

  3. matt burroughs

    Whew,drop dead gorgeous. And Made me tear up reading your story.Way to stay the course. i am ready to give up,lie down,and say the heck with it. This gives me inspiration.Thank you

    • Amy

      Thanks Matt. I know your course has been long and difficult. I am so glad you have been back on the radar! Adapt, seek answers, rest.. but never give up.

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