Friday, November 25, 2011

Things are changing. And change is good . . . right?

Okay . . . it seems this blog is no longer about running.  I wish it were.  But it's not.  So if running is what you want to read about, just stop now!

No . . . this blog is slowing becoming an old man's 'whinner's blog' of little medical issues that really don't amount to much and are only really important to the person it's happening to.  But since THAT person is me . . . well . . . the blog just has to adjust some.

I'm guessing in another month or so I'll be branching into a whole new line of posts.  A few topics are already on my list to discuss:
  • Prune juice (the natural approach) vs a laxative from CVS.
  • Magnifiers, big print books,  Kindles . . . what are your options when you need to read.
  • Secrets on how to pass a driver's test when you're a senior citizen.
  • Planning for Medicare.
  • How to remember where you put your list of things you wanted to remember.
  • Knitting and quilting . . . men can do it too.
  • Why are all these people passing me when I drive?
  • Soft foods
This should really be exciting.  Stay tuned!

Hopefully in a few more weeks I can start back with my running theme . . . but for now . . . I'm whining!

The Hip

Houston . . . we have progress . . . just not so much of it.

Things ARE getting better but progress is slow at best.  Up until today my furthest walk has been ~ 2 1/2 miles and that felt pretty good.  And I've done that twice.  But the last two days I've stopped my walk at about 1/2 mile.  It was hurting and just not right . . . so I quit.  I could easily pushed through the pain . . . it really wasn't all that much.  Even the end of a marathon hurts way more.  But it just doesn't feel like something I should 'push through.'  So I quit.  Twice.

But today was a new day.  A totally beautiful morning and my hip felt good so decided to try it again.  And the result . . . a new 'comeback' time and distance record!  That's right, friends and neighbors! 5k in a few minutes UNDER one hour!  Whoaaaa!  And the pain never changed from when I started until I finished!  Encouraging!

My hip's range of motion is just about back to normal but there are a few positions I get into and things I do that just plain hurt!  For instance sometimes my hip just plain locks up.  And I have to carefully manipulate it a little to get it working again.  Another example: riding a bike kills me.  Not the down-stroke but as the pedal comes back up!!  Doesn't matter what resistance level I use.  WTF???  That's just plain crazy!  But it's real!  This REALLY hurts!

My next doctor's visit is in early December.  And we'll be talking about just what I should do when there is pain.  Do I back off / stop doing whatever it is I'm doing?  Or do I carefully push on through the pain?  I can do either . . . I just don't want to do the wrong thing and screw up my recovery.

But for right now . . . running is out of the question . . . for sure.

The Kidney Stones

We finally have all the information back regarding my kidney stones so I went to my Rocky Mount urologist to determine some plan of action.  Just sitting around waiting for another stone to pass seems like not such a good plan when you consider:
  1. I live alone in a very rural place with not many folks around full time . . . so I have to drive . . . can't get anyone else,
  2. It's about a 40 minute drive to the nearest hospital,
  3. Of the three stones that have passed, one took 2 days to make the trip, one only about 4 hours and one stopped 3/4 of the way and just got stuck,
  4. I guess I'm just a wimp when it comes to pain, and
  5. I've got maybe 7 - 9 more stones just waiting for their chance to break out and make their own journey to sunlight!

My urologist consulted with all the doctors in his office and here is what they collectively said:
  • The analysis of the stones I passed indicates these are not a type of stone that will break up if they try ultra sound blasting (lithotripsy) again.
  • I have a huge prostate . . . so frickin' big it makes stone removal from my kidney REALLY, REALLY hard.  They really don't think going up 'that way' to the kidney is a viable option.
  • The other option is to go in through my side/back with something like an arthroscope, get to the kidney and get those frickin' stones.  But they are afraid to try it that way.  It seems all my stones are in one little group in my left kidney.  Really high up.  And right up against my spleen and they think that is risky and tricky approach.
So, bottom-line, they have referred me to a doctor at Duke.  December 19th is my appointment.

Now aren't you glad you wasted your time reading this????    :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too much or too little , , ,

Just a quick little update. 

My hip doctor told me that . . .
  • once I started walking (November 2nd) I should initially walk no more the 1/2 mile.  Fine.  So far, so good.
  • when I add distance I should add no more the 10% at a time.
He didn't tell me . . .
  • How many times a day I should walk the 1/2 mile.
  • How long of a break I need between these 1/2 mile walks
  • how often I could add distance . . . every walk?  every day? every week?
As a good patient how am I supposed to know these things??   :-)

So if he meant 1 walk per day and increases 10% per week, today I should have walked .61 miles.
But if he meant 1 walk per day and increase 10% per day, today I should have walked 1.9 miles.
But if 2 walks per day was okay and add 10% to every walk, today I should have walked 7.93 miles.

Well, in my confusion today I walked 2 miles. 

What am I?  A frickin' mind reader? So did I walk too much or too little?  I can't read his mind!!  (And I won't call!!!   :-)  )  I'm thinking that maybe I should step it up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Next Target

Okay . . . do you know who this guy is?

If you are an ultra runner in North Carolina you will probably recognize this as Tom Herbst, a long term ultra runner and member of the Mangum Track Club from Fayetteville, NC.  But . . . to me . . . Tom is my competition . . . my next victim!

In truth, Tom is one really nice guy and one hell of an ultra runner with more ultra runs under his belt "then Carter has Liver Pills."  This picture was taken at last year's Umstead 100 where Tom had an unsuccessful attempt at yet another 100 miler.  I only mention this DNF because the only reason Tom wasn't successful was because he had a nagging hip issue.  That's right! Hip problem!

I saw Tom several times since April and his hip continued to be a frustrating, nagging injury.  Months later I posted on either this blog or on Facebook about my 'weird' hip problem that just wasn't improving. It was Tom who told me that he thought I likely had a torn labrum and suggested that I read up on a torn labrum to see if I thought this made sense as my hip problem.

After a few days of internet investigation I was certain that Tom was correct! (and it turns out he was!)  Tom was experiencing somewhat similar symptoms and had surgery scheduled in October.  Tom had had an MRI which shoued a significantly torn labrum.  But when the doctor when in . . . SURPRISE!! Tom's labrum was 100% fine . . . no damage at all.  BUT it turns out he had a much more difficult problem.  Tom had developed a bone spur on the head of his femur and that bone growth had torn up the cartilage on the inside the hip socket (acetabulum).  Post surgery Tom was on crutches for ~6 weeks . . . 4 weeks with no weight-bearing.  As a result of his extensive recovery period, Tom and I actually started walking within a week of so of each other!

It was really great having someone who REALLY understood what I was going through and he was great all through my process from initial doctor's visit to post surgery rehab.  It was great to have someone that was just a few weeks ahead of me to help me understand and deal with what I would soon be facing.
Stephen Lilly and Tom Herbst finishing the 2010 Medoc Meltdown 50k

Bottomline:  Tom is a great guy.  But that really doesn't matter now.  No . . .  Tom and I have decided to have a spring Geezer's Race where he and I will compete head-to-head to see which one of us can go the farthest distance.  Not a time event but a distance event!  We haven't firmed up exactly which race we'll use . . . guess we'll both have to see how our rehabs are going before we firm up the competition.  The bet is a cold beer and you can bet whoever wins will make the VERY, VERY most out of the ceremony!

But I'm concerned . . . because in Tom's first week of walking he completed a 4.5 mile walk at Weymouth Woods!!  My doctor is insistent that I walk no more then .5 miles right now . . . and that is about all I feel like I can complete.   So Tom is definitely in the lead today.

So right now I'm focused on how I'm going to beat this young rascal at this ultra game!  No way I can let him get these braggin' rights!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another boring update!

Smokin'  !!!!!

.58 miles today!  And my walking pace was pretty good . . . around 18:30 pace!  Woo Hoo!!

This week I did visit my doctor.  I was concerned that I didn't have a pain pill for two weeks . . . but when I started walking and began physical therapy, my pain level increased and hadn't gotten any better.  I was concerned that maybe during my kidney stone experience I had messed up my hip.

Dr. Jones listened and then got some x-rays.  Bottomline: everything looks good.  I just need to show more patience.  One thing he showed me really blew my mind . . . a before and after view of my femur head.  It really amazed me how much bone he had removed . . . bone that was causing the labrum tear. 

He wants me to keep after PT without pushing through sharp pain.  Just brush up against the pain.  Show patience.  He reminded me I had big surgery.  He really did a whole lot of repair and correction and it would all take time to heal.  Pain may continue up to 6 weeks post surgery and possibly even more.

So I will show more patience.

.58 miles sure isn't very far.  But quite frankly it was all I needed to do.

So when will I be able to resume running?  Good question!  I really am not sure.  But I'm pretty sure it will be awhile!

Patience!!  Patience!!  Close you're eyes!  Take a deep breath . . . exhale slowly . . .  relax . . . it will come . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quick update . . .

Quick update -
  1.  Passed another kidney stone this week.  Small little 'fella and didn't cause all that much pain.  But I have about twelve more of his big brothers just waiting.  I've got to address this.  Waiting is just not okay.
  2. Hip doing really well.  Get to start walking tomorrow!  And I get to drive!  Big day!
Overall . . . things are really, really good.  Just can't wait to start training again.

Looks like Tom Herbst has a couple of days head start on me.  Tom had his hip surgery about 6 weeks ago . . . something a little more serious then mine.  But Tom has completed several 100 milers . . . plus he is way younger then me!  But I'm still willing to spot him these advantages . . . I'm just looking at this as an even start.

While we haven't decided on a race yet, we plan to have a spring competition.  Most miles completed will win!  I can taste my prize beer already!  Tom better make sure its really, really cold!

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.