One.More.Day…One.Year.Ago.

Thank you TimeHop again for reminding me that 1 year ago today I was less than 24 hours away from my first (and hopefully only) surgery. Little did I know how much a simple hip surgery would change me. Everything that happened to me in the last year happened at just the right time. My body was breaking down tremendously before I found out I had to have surgery because I was under eating and over exercising. My brain was breaking down because of trying to keep my emotions in check and trying to be perfect in every aspect of my life. My heart was falling to pieces in ways I can’t describe. I started to forget about me, not the “me” that you all see, but the “me” inside my skull that at the end of the day, needed something to break. And boy did it ever!

Every experience I had, every person I met, every book I read, every moment I spent getting back together, being back together and breaking up with my ex, every date I went on, every mini heartbreak, every party I went to, every girls night I had, every word of encouragement, every glass (bottle) of malbec came exactly when I needed it. I had no idea what was in store for me post surgery. I mean, I had an IDEA…3 weeks on crutches, 3-4 months in PT and 6 months to “full” recovery. Try 8 weeks on crutches, 7 months of PT and just shy of 12 months to what I consider to be “full” recovery. I look back on the last year, as I already did on New Years Eve, and all I can do is smile.

I remember having the week of my LIFE the week prior to surgery. I skied with my dad which was the last time I would for a year…

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I went out on New Years with a good friend and unexpectedly stayed out until 4 am just to wake up the next day and get invited to a Bruins game (box seats!!!) with my girl Susan…

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Yes I drank a bottle of Malbec. The following night I went to dinner with Susan for some much needed girl gossip…

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Yes I drank a bottle of Malbec. The 2 nights following, a good friend took me out to dinner to completely spoil me. He even had the chef at his restaurant make me donuts which came in handy post surgery for my midnight snacking which I am pleased to say that I did NOT do the night before surgery (I wasn’t allowed to…)

Waking up that morning all I wanted to do was eat.I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to until 10 pm that night. With the excitement of a little kid on Christmas morning, I rode in the car to Children’s Hospital for what would be one of the most anticipatory 2 hours of my life. Wait here, sign this, get changed, state your date of birth, let me show you how to set up and use your crutches, let us show you how to inject yourself with your blood thinners every 12 hours, sign here again, state your date of birth again. Do you have any questions? Yes. When can we start? I was so excited. Some anti-anxiety meds as they rolled me into the operating room (they were gooooood), some introductions to the surgical team I still don’t remember, some burning sensation in my arm and next thing I know, I have woken up two and a half hours later in A LOT of pain but with a fixed hip. THANK. GOD.

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Four days later…my first viewing of the incisions when I could finally shower…

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Yummy I know.

A week of drug induced heaven and a lot of laying around and I was back to work. The next 8 weeks of my life would challenge my patience more than I ever could have imagined. It was the smallest things that brought me such joy. Being able to lift my own leg onto my couch, being able to rotate my leg on the ground, being cleared to do hip lifts on a stability ball, being able to get on a bike, being able to partially weight bear, hitting my hip and it going into severe spasms only to bounce back thanks to my kick ass PT, balance exercises, step ups, lateral board slides, forward lunges, squats and finally jumping. It took me 7 months to graduate from PT. Green light, however, does NOT mean dead lift 3 times a week just so you know.

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I was constantly asked if I was back to 100% and I can’t tell you the number of times (all of them) I want to scream, “NO, I am NOT back to 100%. Just because I can walk, DOES NOT mean I am back to my prior self.” I learned so much about how the human body works, how my body works and I was able to apply it to my clients. I became a better trainer because for the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to be out of shape. I learned what frustration really felt like because I couldn’t do what I was used to doing. I gained 15 lbs total, lost a lot of strength and had my patience tried many times. One year later I am finally losing the weight I gained and I am steadily getting stronger because, YES, I am 100%.

It was only until I went to the Equinox High Performance Living Symposium in NYC in November that I started to really see progress in my hip. The use of a piece of equipment called ViPR (www.viprfit.com) has changed my life.

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I never could do a full body weight squat and I sure as hell couldn’t sit in a deep squat. It has been a goal of mine for like 10 years and it was only until I started flipping around a rubber tube that I was able to accomplish such a feat.

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My hip pain is generally gone and my back pain as subsided (for the most part). I am front squatting (I did 95 lbs Saturday!) again, pain free, for the first time in over a year. I am deadlifting (105 lbs yesterday!) without pain for the first time since I was originally cleared from PT and over did it. I am stronger than I have been in my entire life.

I had no idea it would take me this long to feel 100% again. I had to force myself to chill out and listen to my body which I am sure everyone can relate to as that is really hard to do. I am so thankful that I waited (with some mess ups of course) because I feel better than I ever have. I am even more thankful to everyone who supported me mentally, physically, financially (thanks mom and dad) and emotionally through this whole process. A year ago I said hip surgery wasn’t a big deal and that I felt I shouldn’t be complaining or making it out to be a big deal. For me, it was a big deal. Hip surgery changed me and I wouldn’t change having had it for the world.

Here’s to 2014 for being more awesome than I ever imagine and to 2015 for…well, I don’t really know other than 1 year ago I could not imagine how happy, healthy and strong I would be. Oh and no more surgeries.

Keep drinking that malbec! 🙂

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Gotta have that hip surgery

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Timehop reminded me today that one year ago I found out that I had to have labral tear surgery. I remember sitting at Children’s Hospital waiting to be called back to meet with the surgeon. He was running late and I was growing agitated because the whole process of getting to this moment of truth was so long and annoying. I was listening to music and writing on my phone (of course), and all of a sudden I hear singing. GREAT, just what I want to be bothered by at that moment. I drew a long breath in and a huge sigh of annoyance until I turned and looked at where that singing was coming from.

If you need an eye opener to help you realize your problems aren’t that bad, for me that my impending news of hip surgery wasn’t that bad, go sit at Children’s and observe. Simply being in the lobby is hard. To look at all the sick kids who still have smiles on their faces. And here I was pissed about surgery on my hip in an otherwise extremely healthy body. It really brings perspective. As I sat somewhere far away from that lobby, I got an even better idea of what goes on and how important that singing is that I heard. The singing was coming from two people dressed as clowns. Their job is to walk around the hospital and make kids (and adults, including myself) not only smile but laugh and laugh loud. After they left, I suddenly felt a lot happier and as I looked around the room, I realized that everyone else also had a bit more joy in their faces.

Next thing I know a sweet little voice says, “Kara Crow”. Dun dun dun. Moment of truth.

“So looking at your MRI you do have a labral tear in the anterior portion of your hip and you have cam and pincer impingements (bone spurs) which we will have to shave down. Most times we recommend PT for a period of time depending on how long someone has been in pain and how severe the tear is but considering you’ve been in a pretty significant amount of pain for a long time, you’re going to need surgery. (without so much as a pause) So it will be about an hour and a half surgery, three weeks on crutches, non-weight bearing then a slow progression off crutches…” That’s where I stopped listening as I realized how real this was. I had never had surgery and I had to fight back tears as I thought about how I was going to be able to work, to get up a 4th floor walk up, to do laundry, to grocery shop, to clean my house!

“Do you have any questions?”

It took me a minute but I managed a little peep of a no. I could barely breathe. He gave me the number to the receptionist that would schedule my surgery and told me to call the next day. Next step, call my parents and let them know the plan. I was shaking as I told my mom. Now let me tell you that when I say I have the best parents in the world, I truly have the best parents in the world. Any time I’ve needed something, any time I’ve needed help, they were on the front line ready to go. My mom calmed me down as she said everything would be fine and that they would help me financially which would consist of twice weekly PT visits for 5 weeks and once a week for another 6 weeks and taking cabs at least twice a day, sometimes 4, for what I thought would only be 3 weeks but turned into about 8 weeks.

When I got off the phone with her I thought back to what I had seen at the hospital and I realized that my problem wasn’t all that bad and by the time I got back to work I was actually excited about having to have hip surgery because it meant that the pain I was feeling in my hip all the time would be fixed and I could get on with my life and get back to my workouts that kept me sane.

Workouts. Yeah. The minute I found out I had to have surgery, it was as if my hip started to deteriorate at a rapid rate. Maybe it was the Crossfit or maybe it was the fact I was still trying to workout the way I was working out my entire life. Within 2 weeks I had to quit Crossfit, which almost made me cry, and tone down my workouts in the gym. When I had called to schedule my surgery I expected to get in within the month. Sorry Kara. What’s an extra month matter anyway? Well, a lot when you can’t do the one thing that kept you sane for years. Two months of waiting. (Not that bad looking back on it because boy did I live it up! Malbec anyone?)

All I can say at this point is I had no idea for the ride I was in for, the journey, the learning, the humbling that would take place over the next year from not only the surgery but from life in general. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am so thankful I had that surgery because it not only brought me back down to earth, but it gave me perspective that I never would have gained without that surgery. And, as I’ve said in prior posts, it forced me to relearn what is important in life.

A year later my little old right hip is doing wonderfully, she’s not quite back at 100% but she’s a lot better off than she was a year ago.

Oh and I will say I never did commit to the arm crank machine which is weird considering how excited I seemed to be doing it one year ago today.