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Newton's Third Law

Posted Feb 22 2011 12:00am 1 Comment
Confession: The only reason I am updating tonight is because my head is about to explode from physics, specifically coefficients of static and kinetic friction. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that I know how to calculate the tension in cables supporting cat burglars and the acceleration of crates in moving banana truck beds. After a solid month of initiation into the realms of chemistry, biology, and physics, I can also tell you I love science and math. There is something very calming about being able to find a "correct" answer. However, I have not completely forgotten the right side of my brain. I miss writing. I miss critical thinking and debate. Sometimes I just want to shout out "heteronormativity" or the four pillars of Victorian womanhood from the back of class.

I have not written in awhile for a variety of reasons. I really needed time to take a step back and worry about myself. I also wanted my thoughts and feelings to be private so I could self-analyze. And as I said, school has taken off and my time is now very limited between classes, taking care of my health, and keeping my sanity. I need to take 10 prerequisite classes before I enter a DPT program and I am scheduling them all in less than a year. (A lot of people keep telling me I'm crazy, but these tend to be those who don't know me too well.) I'm not intimidated by the work I need to do to get where I want to be. I'm very confident I want to be a physical therapist- I want to help women and contribute all I can to research of the pelvic floor.

As always, a lot has happened since I last updated. My health continues to change, sometimes on a daily basis, (even I find it extremely exhausting to keep up.) The shorter version is I started experiencing right hip pain around a month ago. At first I thought I needed to take a break from exercising, so I rested for a few weeks. My symptoms kept getting worse, until one weekend I had a sharp pain in my hip that felt very much like a tear. I couldn't really walk without a crutch or cane, so I went in to see Dr. Coleman and get an emergency MRI. The results came back that it looked like a possible re-tear of my right hip (the one I had surgery on this past summer.) However, it's difficult to tell because scar tissue can also look like a re-tear. Around three weeks ago I had a steroid injection into the hip at the Hospital for Special Surgery and felt dramatically better after it kicked in 2 days later. Since then, I've been walking around with a cane and my SI belt. They are both very confining made me feel trapped. There are few things more frustrating to me than limiting my movement. Being active is such a huge component of who I am- all I want to do is run around, climb mountains, play tennis, dance... being stripped of that freedom and being forced to walk around with a cane is difficult. I tried to imagine the cane was my ice axe the first day, but my brain was not having it.

However, I have to interject that utilizing the cane is an interesting experience. As much as I hate being restricted, I am treated very differently when I walk with a cane. Strangers are so gracious and understanding. In a small way, it was nice to be recognized as a "sick" person or a person with chronic pain or whatever you want to identify it as. I think people tend to forget the pain I am feeling on a daily basis, which is normally great because I do want to blend in. But there are just a few times where I want my pain to outwardly be expressed. Perhaps for me, that validates it and visualizes something so invisible.

At first I was incredibly depressed. I think I felt defeated that yet another thing was wrong with me that we just fixed. I was also just starting to increase my workouts and making progress in regaining my strength and physical activities that mean so much to me. I was also upset that something went wrong when I have been incredibly careful after this surgery- always listening to my surgeon, physical therapist, specialist, etc. and not pushing myself. I felt I was being punished for finally doing things right and learning patience. Because my right hip was in pain, everything flared up, which meant more pain and difficulty sitting. There were a lot of days I spent locked in my room in the dark listening to Joni Mitchell on repeat. I really did want to give up this time and was only truly living for those around me and not myself. I knew that was dangerous and I needed a new attitude.

Don't ask me how it happened, but literally my outlook changed overnight. It was some sort of miracle because I desperately needed it- I may even go as far to call it grace. If the universe wanted to pick me up, the least I could do was accept the gift. I no longer saw myself as being trapped. I am grateful for the time to spend back at home, focusing on classes, and self-improvement. I have been doing extremely well in my classes (now that I'm not exercising or playing sports, my competitive energy needs to be fueled completely by school.) Doing well in class is giving me the self-confidence I need to keep working hard. I have also been able to read much more. So far I've been able to read around a book a week and make a dent in my very long reading list. I have also been practicing and playing the piano more. I find that having these three goals to focus on and devote energy to has helped keep me motivate and positive. I am also so thankful that I am back living at home, spending time with my parents and sisters that I never would have been able to if I was not in my current health position.

To bring you back to the present, I am currently going to my chiropractor often because my low and mid-back keep going out of alignment due to my hip instability. I was going a few times a week, but may finally be down to once a week if things continue to hold. I just stopped walking with a cane a few days ago and my right hip feels pretty good. I still feel a slight hint of pain and am constantly worried it will come back, and even worse that I am dealing with a re-tear. But we are still unsure of what is happening- I am going to continue to monitor my hip and limit all physical activities to light walking. I am getting traumeel injections by Dr. Kellogg every other week. It seems that vulvar pain is gone and is staying away. It's always my obdurator internus and piriformis that are tight and in severe pain. We reach these trigger points by hitting them inter-vaginally. I have stopped going to physical therapy because of the right hip and cannot do most of my original exercises. Finally, I am still scheduled for my surgery with Dr. Meyers on March 15th. This will be a pelvic floor reconstruction, which involves repair of the tears near my pubic synthesis and bilateral adductor release. I personally feel he might end up releasing my obdurator internus as well since it has been causing me so many problems, but that will have to be something he investigates while he's in there. After this surgery, the recovery is walking a mile a day to prevent scar tissue. I will also wait anxiously to see if I will need yet another hip surgery. But I am taking it one day at a time.

Newton is on my mind today since we spent all morning learning about forces of motion. According to his third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I could not stop thinking in lecture how much that applies to my life. Sure, the universe has been throwing a lot of obstacles my way, but it is comforting and inspiring to know that I am reacting to it with an equal force. Whenever you feel weak, remember how much force you are opposing. Sure, sometimes we just want to fall down and be alone with Joni Mitchell in the dark, but most days we stay standing and continue to carry out our lives. That means we are just as strong as the forces against us, and (forgive me Newton and physics professor), but I daresay we are stronger than them.
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Amy
Wow Tamra, i am so sorry to hear you are having such issues with your hip, i had the same surgery 2 weeks after you. I have not been able to do any exercise since my surgery because it causes my pelvic floor to flare up. I asked the nurse at Dr Coleman's office the chances of the tear coming back and she said it has never happened. She said it may tear in another place but that actual tear won't rip. So i left feeling confident. Please keep me posted when you find out, i have been tempted to start pushing through the pain and start running again, but maybe i won't... Thanks for posting. Wish you well :)
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