The weekend has been very full and pretty good overall.
It started on Friday morning with a couple of squats at 200 pounds. While this was still well below my personal best, it was only 9 pounds less than my post-herniated disc best squat which I did in competition July 2019. Although it has been more than a year since that post-injury PR, Friday’s squats felt much easier and smoother than last year’s. This makes me happy as it means strength is growing again.
Friday also had a couple of appointments. The first was with my chiropractor, following up on my right hip which had recently become irritated during a run. He worked on my hip the week before with good results during my 7K run last weekend, and with my plans to run a 10K soon I wanted to nip this hip thing in the bud. The appointment was a good one, not that I’ve ever had a bad one at this clinic, and he didn’t even need to do any work on the hip. In fact, he said my hip was moving as well as it would have had he just worked on it, which made me very happy. It’s no fun to have body parts hurting, and I have enough of that already with Hank the herniated disc, so the seemingly quick turn around with the hip was exciting.
The second appointment was a video call with my family doctor. It wasn’t a long appointment but we touched a few bases. She referenced an update she received from my pain doctor in August and asked how things were going on the Cymbalta again. In fact, I didn’t take my dose that morning and had decided to stop as of that day. The decision wasn’t as easy to make as I had thought it might be, because I was actually experiencing a measure of pain relief. However, while a few of the side effects had mostly settled, the insomnia was brutal and I simply cannot justify the little bit of pain relief at the cost of being awake every 15 to 60 minutes through the night and often for hours at a time. My doctor supported my decision, although she also suggested taking something to help me sleep which I politely declined. I do not want to take multiple drugs; I’d prefer not to take any in the first place. We talked about sending me to see a neurologist. The last surgeon to turn me down suggested I see a rheumatologist. That referral has already been sent off, even though both my doctor and I feel that this will be a waste of time and not a rheumatological issue. I’m not sure that a neurologist will be any more helpful, but at least seeing one makes much more sense considering the fact that I do have a herniated disc and nerve pain. My doctor agreed, so that referral will be sent off along with a request for EMG testing. In August, my pain doctor asked me to think about having a procedure done that essentially burns the nerves. It is a rhizotomy, I guess, although the position of the injection would be somewhat different in my situation. I have looked over information on the procedure and heard first-hand accounts from people who have had it, but I wasn’t feeling certain or comfortable with whether or not I should. In talking about it with my GP, I feel more comfortable about it and will let my pain doctor know when I see her later this month. The procedure still seems big and scary, even though it is pretty much the same as the most recent injections I’ve had. The only difference is that the nerves get pulsed through the needle rather than injected with a solution. It makes me a little nervous, but I somehow feel optimistic and energized.
Today is my third day NOT on medication, and I’m wondering how long it will be until I am completely free of any lingering effects. I definitely noticed an increase in the nerve pains by Friday afternoon…so not thrilled with that. I’m still experiencing excessive sweating, but I only woke up 5 or 6 times last night which is an improvement. It is, however, very difficult to wake up when I actually need to get out of bed, but I have felt more energetic during the day than I have in a month. Between Friday and Saturday, I purged, cleaned, and rearranged furniture in my son’s old bedroom, which also involved moving stuff out of my living room and bedroom. My weekend has been very productive; it’s so lovely to have energy and drive again!
This Sunday morning I ran my 10K virtual race. I had to get it done between September 17 and 26, but this weekend was what worked best with my schedule and I put it off until this morning as the smoke was finally supposed to be cleared out from the sky (and it was!) After doing my warm up, I set out on my run. I didn’t expect it to feel easy. The last time I ran this far was six years ago, before the herniated disc and when I was a much more conditioned runner than I am now. But today’s run was really quite challenging and tough, even more than expected. The first three kilometres were about what I anticipated, knowing that I’m a stronger finisher than starter. The fourth kilometre was mostly uphill, not an extreme elevation gain but enough to suck the energy out of my body. The fifth kilometre was mentally challenging, because I was feeling demoralized by the 4th and was getting quite annoyed with the timing app repeatedly telling me to “virtually turn left”, “virtually turn right”, and “virtually turn around” when I didn’t need to do any of those things. (It wasn’t my normal run app but the one recommended for this virtual race.) I felt a little more alive during the sixth kilometre, knowing that I was halfway through and that I used to find my second wind in the seventh. The start of the seventh kilometre involved a turn towards home, and I was overjoyed to see a hot air balloon in the sky before me. I focused on that balloon as long as I could, because now that hip was beginning to hurt and quickly feeling bad. That second wind did hit me, but the hip and the sciatic nerve in that leg were not playing nicely at all making those final three kilometres a weird combination of feeling wonderful yet also torturous and grueling. I had to take brief walk breaks more frequently than I wanted to during those final kilometres, but walking was almost more painful than the running. It was tough, but I got it done and still managed to finish slightly faster than I anticipated. I went in knowing that I’d never beat or even equal my best ever 10K time, but I expected to finish in about an hour and 20 minutes. My final time was one hour and 16 minutes. I did say it was a slight improvement over my expectations! 😉
The rest of today has been a combination of resting, relaxing, and somehow still moving and doing things, like baking donuts on a whim. There has also been some quality time spent with an ice pack and my heating pad, along with liberal amounts of BioFreeze. The hip is not in as much pain as during the latter stage of the run, but it is feeling quite distraught with no indication of appeasement anytime soon. As the hours of the day have passed, the frequency and decibel level of my groaning have increased. My chiropractor is away for a couple of weeks now, so I need to take care of my poor hip on my own. Thankfully, I don’t need to do any running for a while and certainly not as great a distance when I do decide to run again. This week at the gym is a deload, so I am also thankful the way the timing of that worked in my favour. As for the rest of what’s left of the day…dinner is almost ready: scalloped potatoes, ham, and green beans along with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate my run, because it is a pretty big deal to me. It was a goal I set for myself a few months ago when surgery was once again denied and I resolved to just get back to reclaiming and living my life the best I can in spite of Hank and the never-ending pain. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it!