Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Have Answers. Now I Have Work To Do.

This is a follow-up on yesterday’s post.  I got the result of my vitamin D test, and I spoke with my doctor about all my recent test results.  My vitamin D level is 24 ng/mL.  That’s considered “adequate,” but ideally it should be in the 30-50 range.  While some foods are fortified with vitamin D, you mostly get it from sun exposure.  It’s tough to get much sun exposure during the winter months.  I don’t actually have a vitamin D deficiency, so it’s probably not causing any major problems.  Just to be on the safe side however, I’m going to start taking a vitamin D3 supplement.  I would have preferred a week on the beach of a tropical island, but the D3 supplement is cheaper.

My doctor is also starting me on a low dose of a medication that should help with my Raynaud’s Syndrome.  I should notice a difference in about a week.  I’m currently experiencing cramps in my legs every night.  If it’s from the Raynaud’s, I should see improvement soon.

He also confirmed that the arthrogram didn’t show any major pathology in the area of my right adductor.  I still notice a little bit of discomfort there, but I shouldn’t have to worry too much about reinjuring it.

There are a number of motions that used to cause pain in my right adductor.  One by one, I started avoiding them.  For example, I avoid squatting down close to the floor, as this used to cause pain.  A few months ago, I started running with a bouncy side-to-side motion.  I didn’t have much hip rotation.  Eventually, I started walking the same way.  With disuse, the muscles around my hips got weak and stiff.  Before long, I was barely able to move my hips.

The alterations to my stride and my day-to-day activities were originally done in reaction to pain.  If something hurt, I stopped doing it.  Eventually, however, I was motivated not by pain, but by fear.  I avoided certain motions, because I was afraid of making my injury worse.  I don’t need to do that anymore.

I don’t start physical therapy until the 16th, but I feel like I have a lot of work to do just to get to the starting gate.  Call it pre-therapy.  When the orthopedist told me I would have a running evaluation as part of my PT, I couldn’t even imagine getting on a treadmill and running.  I wasn’t afraid it would hurt.  I wasn’t afraid I’d be slow.  I wasn’t afraid I’d be out of shape.  I was afraid I’d be physically unable to run, even for a few strides.  I wasn’t sure if my body was still capable of that motion.  That’s how much my mobility has declined.

In preparation for PT, I’m starting to force myself to do motions I’ve been avoiding.  When I walk, I force myself to have a normal hip rotation.  It’s uncomfortable, but I can do it with effort.  The more I do it, the easier it gets.  I’m also able to get into a deep squat without pain.  Getting back up, I notice the weakness in my quads, but that will gradually get better.

I’m sure my PT will include a number of new exercises.  Until then, I’ll practice normal day-to-day stuff.  I’ll also gradually rebuild my fitness by riding a stationary bike.  I started doing bike workouts a week ago.  At first, I was doing 15-20 minutes a day at the lowest resistance level.  To put things in perspective, my bike has 15 resistance settings.  When I was in shape, I used levels two and three for warm-ups and cool-downs, and I used levels four through seven for the rest of my workout.  I’ve never used the higher levels, because I don’t want my pedal rotation to drop below 80 RPM.  Level one is like spinning in granny gear.  Today, I started in level one, but did most of my workout at level two.  I need to test the waters to convince myself I can use more resistance without hurting my leg.  Last summer I couldn’t do that.  Now I probably can, but I’m proceeding cautiously.

I’m feeling upbeat today.  I finally have plans for addressing all of my problems.  I’m also finding I can do things that seemed impossible a week ago.  Mobilizing all of my muscles will be a challenge.  Rebuilding strength won’t be easy.  Getting back in shape seems daunting, but that’s probably the easiest part.  I’ve done that before.

I have my answers.  Now I have work to do.

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