Acceptance 

Acceptance? Maybe. At least acknowledgement. So I’ve been pondering my hip problem and  all the repercussions for a bit now. I’ve been floundering in a sea of misinformation and advice from such caring and knowledgeable friends, but to say I am overloaded is a drastic understatement! Stress has been through the roof and each appointment has brought more worries and things I need to think about. Canes? Being judged by people and how in Albania I need a crutch to avoid not only the broken sidewalks, but stares. This is what has been told to me, but I could see it happening in many places. I’m 31 and I’ve been focused on achieving my health goals for about 5 or 6 years now. I started as a morbidly obese girl in her mid twenties who ate whatever greasy or sugary thing I could get my hands on with little fresh food. That is until I moved abroad and changed everything. I am a pretty good cook and have a good relationship with my food now. I enjoy baking and am trying to get most processed food out of my diet and am back to a meat free diet. I quickly fell into being active as well. Starting with walking around China, joining a gym, and playing badminton. I fell in love with weightlifting, the feeling of being powerful and watching the progress. The pounds began to melt off and my energy skyrocketed. I continued in Taiwan and even added distance running on a treadmill, because I fell if I was outside and not on a smooth track. Knowing that I’ve been on uneven legs helps explain some of the extra clumsiness. I added in river tracing a bit, a sprinkle of rock climbing, and long hikes and I felt I was reaching towards such a great and active life. I hit a plateau in the middle of my second year, and knowing I was moving to Turkey I decided to hire a personal trainer to help me learn some new techniques in order to continue losing the extra weight. This was the first time I was told my left side is shorter and how I squat incorrectly. He was worried that I may injure myself and we taped the ground to prevent that, but only ever experiencing calf strain I never thought to see an orthopedic, I just figured I taught myself the movement wrong from fitness videos. I continued and although I had to take a break in Turkey for many reasons, I didn’t have a huge backslide in gaining weight. But I was determined to get back to it the right way in Albania. Finding a good trainer was difficult, but I found one and he knew about my unevenness and I began. Breaking up with Thomas was very hard on me, and to add another blow I was in pain. Sitting hurt, sharp pains began to radiate through my leg. This was the beginning of the journey of physio, a relaxation of pain, back to exercise lightly in aerobics and the pain returned tenfold with added excruciating pain when I rotated my hip outwards. The muscles were extremely tight and I knew I needed to go back to physio. But the hope that I could heal this completely was still there. I mean, I’m getting healthier and stronger. Plus I am not scared to work hard, so I’ll do the plan physio gives me. The fact that I know now that I pretty much have a destroyed ball in my left hip, I’m not sure what to think. I’m looking at constantly moderating my pain. Learning how to stay active yet protect the cartilage that I have left. It is impacting my ability to run, do the high impact activities that I love, and even limits my dancing. But more than all of this, it is making me really think about something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. After I got divorced, I was super insecure and not very trusting, especially with men. The idea of opening myself to another relationship was laughable and stressful. But I was happy to be single, to learn about me and how to care for myself. Something I always put on the back burner for others in my life.  But I want a family. This planted the seed that if I didn’t meet someone while I was still able to have children, I would look into getting a donor to get pregnant. But it was fleeting and I was so young. At 32 almost, the reality that I may want to do this and understanding all the implications this has with my travel and that I am single. I’m okay with this, and I have been working to save money and get more prepared for this big step. Now I have learned that pregnancy will cause me a lot of pain due to the extra weight bearing on my hip and pelvis. Also, with the hip deformity I will have to have a c-section. These decisions individually may seem like not so big, but this is really changing my views of my reality. I need to get really positive again. But I am also facing the fact that I will be doing my rehab without real professional assistance. I don’t have access here to a really qualified physical therapist that can devise a program to help. My insurance won’t allow me to see a doctor out of Albania. I’ve been told that when my limp (which is somewhat visible now) appears, it will be helpful to use a cane, especially on stairs, in order to relief strain on my left side. I am wearing the insole to balance my pelvis, which similarly to braces moving your teeth, moves my muscles back into proper position. This makes me ache every night after walking all day. I’m trying to accept it, but it is rough. Im glad I started my health journey when I did, or the possibility that I would have used this as an excuse is scary. The question remains, what will this mean for my plans? Where do I go from here? Will I finally get where I can simply focus on being happy? 
So I may not being reaching out so much, but I would love to hear from you. 

Love and light

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Easy Sunday 

So I need to get my mindset under control. The negativity has been wreaking havoc in my life and the time has come for me to begin kicking ass and taking names again! I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately about food and health. I’m making this my thing. I love cooking, and have been trying my hand at baking the last year or two. So bye bye processed junk. If I’m hungry, I better be cooking it for myself. Well at least most of the time. I won’t become a shut in and never eat out. Today I’m trying a recipe for a whole wheat seeded bread from the minimalist baker. It sounds delicious and is vegan. So by the time I post this, I will know if it is a success. For dinner, I bought a nice bag of arugula, some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes for a caprese salad along with a completely homemade veggie tomato sauce, courtesy of my slow cooker. Topped on whole wheat rigatoni, it was fabulous! Such a beautiful Sunday spent listening to my jams and cleaning the house. I hope my neighbors don’t get tired of my 90s rock mix, but who doesn’t love Blues Traveler on a day like today. Anyway, enough for now. 

Yes it was a success!
Peace and light

Diagnosed

Some of you may know that I’ve been having problems with leg, hip, and muscle pain for a while now. Last year I had to take an exercise sabbatical since the pain was so bad. It hurt way too much to continue weight training. Sitting was beginning to hurt. Thinking it was muscular I went to a physical therapy/ chiropractic office. I was ordered to stay off my feet and see them for a few months. Slowly the pain became more manageable and the frequency of pain decreased quite a bit. I put on about 10 pounds as it was difficult to find the balance in my diet when I wasn’t working out most days. So after about 5 months I felt strong enough to at least start doing cardio again and enrolled in an aerobics class. After about a month of doing this every so often the pain came back with a vengeance!    Still believing it was muscular I went back to physio. All this must be able to be explained and healed. I mean I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in! But it didn’t and on a particularly bad night riding a camel in Morocco I began to realize this problem must be a lot more severe than I ever imagined. So for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to understand it by visiting multiple orthopedics. Words like disease and hip replacement are being thrown around and then the fear set in. After finally being denied access to an American doctor by my insurance, the real hunt for someone to explain what is happening to my body began. I’m still unsure of a lot and plan to see another ortho when I get access to a doctor that won’t cost me an arm and a leg (haha) but the situation is becoming clearer. My official diagnosis as of now is displastic coxarthrosis of the left hip due to hip diaplasia or femoral necrosis. But the doctor believes this began a long time ago. There is no way to know for sure, according to him, but he believes I had a rare childhood disease called perthes which you can read about by clicking the link. While mostly diagnosed in young boys, some cases are found in girls as well, and the damage is usually much more severe. The jist is that somehow blood flow to the ball of the hip is disrupted and causes the bone to deform and not develop properly. The symptoms are all very familiar. I don’t remember the number of comments I had growing up about the way I walked or the nights I was in pain from growing pains (or so we all thought). The fact that I became obese was also not helpful. Nor was all the weightlifting and running I did for the past few years. Now I am looking at a complete hip replacement in the next 10 to 15 years, which is terrifying to me. I also need to keep going to physio to rebuild strength in my left side and to learn how to walk while using an orthopedic insert since my left femur, so my leg itself, is about an inch shorter. I have been wearing said insert and the ache in my leg is pretty intense as I will begin the process of realigning my pelvis and all the muscles on my left side. I’m being ordered to lose more weight to relieve the pressure on my hip and a laundry list of other rules that no 31 year old should be dealing with, especially because if this was caught when I was still developing. As of now the damage is done and my options are much more limited. I foresee a lot more emotional ups and downs with this and hopefully more writing as a better way to get out everything that has been building up inside. But I’m working on getting my light back, so hang in there with me folks! 
Here is what I got today, support tape to help with something, haha my brain is on overload at the moment.