I began this series, My Hips Don’t Lie, as an assignment for a class. I finish it today as a reflection of this journey.
Part 13 described my post-surgical transition into recovery. As I wrote in it, I spent the first 6 weeks on crutches and then began to return to “normal.”
That’s what the majority of this spring semester was: recovery mode.
[A note on my PT: The doctor’s the one who makes the big decisions & performs the major surgery – but the physical therapist is the one who is involved in day-to-day, week to week pains and gains. If you need a good doctor, you need a really good physical therapist. And if you are in need of physical therapy in the Lancaster area, I know where you should go. Lancaster Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine changed my life. I don’t use that phrase lightly. Life change is significant. At Lancaster PT, it happened. I would recommend Mic Bender at Lancaster Physical Therapy to any/everyone.]
Recovery mode meant sessions on sessions of physical therapy and independent workouts. It’s meant being thankful for the small steps of progress which are all key for the leaps and bounds of the future.
I started with basic stretching and gradually added in more active exercises: bike, elliptical, squats, lunges, leg raises, resistance band work, planks, balance practice… The emphasis was on the legs with an understanding that the whole body works together as a unit.
In the weeks before and after surgery, I used swimming as my main form of cardio. This has been one of the unforeseen blessings of my injury: learning to swim. Prior to last summer, I could “swim” but not use “strokes.” I had never swam laps before. But because of my inability to run, I taught myself how to swim. I never thought that through something I hate – not running – I’d find something I’ve learned to love – swimming.
I had my final PT session on April 27. When I left those doors, it was the first time in 2 years that I did not have PT in my foreseeable future. Whoa.
The time in therapy building up my strength and preparing my body were absolutely essential to prepare me for the next step: running again.
On April 4, 2015, my dad and drove to a nearby track. I was wearing new Mizunos (shout out to my therapist for requiring I purchase new shoes before running again!) We stepped onto the rubberized surface, walked for several minutes, stretched a bit, and then…
I ran for the first time in about a year. It wasn’t glamorous. Or fast. But it was feet moving in cadence beyond a walk. So it was wonderful.
Since then, I’ve been transitioning back to regular running. It has not necessarily been easy. It’s been slow. I want to do this correctly and cautiously. Some days it’s been painful. There’s a bit of an art in discerning the difference between “these are my muscles and they are sore” pain and “this is my surgery/injury site and this is sharp” pain. Dear athletes of the world, listen to your body.
But today I feel good. I’ll run tomorrow morning, in fact. I’m up to 24 minutes of jogging/running intervals.
I’m dreaming of and planning on running cross country at LBC again this fall.
May 24 will mark 6 months since my November surgery.
I’ve learned lessons that permeate beyond those words, the words of this series. I am forever changed, not only physically but in many other facets.
You are not alone. In injury, in pain – you are never alone.
Isaiah 40:28-31 has been my “cling-to verse” through it all.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I wear these scars proudly. Because they mark not only where I’ve been but where I’m going.
My hips don’t lie.