In June, 2020 I was diagnosed with an anterior and posterior labrum tear in my left hip. My best option was surgery.
I'm determined to work my way back to pre-surgery conditioning (or better). This page will document my recovery, including victories and setbacks. I’ll also be sharing the things I learn along the way.
Hopefully, if you're in a similar situation, this information will help you to know what you might encounter. It always helps to know that you're not alone. Thanks for following my journey. And cheers to your recovery efforts.
I woke up with the understandable nerves that come with surgery. I’ve had several surgeries in the past, so it wasn’t unfamiliar. My surgery wasn’t until 1:00 so, I was able to shower, shave, get some work done, gather what I needed and do my regular post to Drop-In Diary. (It was a review on nutrition bars. You should check it out - https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/powerful-portables.)
We left the house just before 10:00, as they wanted us there 3-ish hours early to prep and in case they were running early in the schedule. I remember feeling hungry as I left the house, as I wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight the night before. Consequently, I had a last meal just before midnight; nutrition coach approved pizza, as it had fat, carbs and protein (pepperoni) to carry me through much of the morning. As soon as we got to the surgery center, those feelings of hunger went away. There were many other things to focus on.
After signing in, they took me back pretty quickly. I got changed into my beautiful hospital gown and yellow “grippy” socks. I kind of looked like a strange duck. A nurse came back and hooked me up to an IV to stay hydrated, sat with me and started to ask me a bunch of questions. The more surgeries you have under your belt and meds you regularly take, the more questions you get. She was very nice and time went quickly.
Then the surgical nurse came in and asked some more questions and told me what to expect before surgery. Consequently, she was also a runner and her husband did CrossFit so we had some things to chat about.
The surgeon came in briefly to give me a little pep talk and told me what he’d be doing. He also marked the correct hip because, well, that’s kind of important to get right. He told me I’d feel stiff and sore after surgery and I’d have pain meds to manage it. He also told me not to drive for a bit and use crutches to help me get around. I’ll meet with him in two weeks, when I’ll most likely start with physical therapy.
Finally, I was visited by the anesthesiologist and one of the nurses on his team. This was where things went a little sideways. He asked if I wanted a nerve block for after the surgery. He said (with the nurse nodding next to him) that most people wake up in excruciating pain after the surgery. Sometimes they’re in tears. And 90% of people get the nerve block. I felt like I was being sold something. I had 15 minutes until surgery and I felt backed into a corner, having to make a decision with little information and almost no time. My wife was sitting next to me and she was concerned.
This was when I stopped him. I told him “no offence, but I feel like I’m being sold something.” The surgeon told me that I’d be “stiff and sore”. The anesthesiologist implied it wasn’t the surgeon’s area of expertise. But, at this point he could tell I wasn’t pleased and said that they could wait until after the surgery to see how I felt and, if I need it they could give me the nerve block at that point.
Here’s where I’ll say that all people’s pain tolerance is different. But hopefully, if you have to go through something similar you can look into it in advance. It is an extra cost and you’ll want to have the full picture. It turns out that I was only stiff and sore afterwards. I was in a little pain when I woke up but they gave me a little more pain meds and it was well under control.
I suggested to the surgical nurse, who was still there after the anesthesiologist left that it would be very helpful to know about the nerve block option during the pre-surgery call that you get a few days before the operation. This would give people time to digest the information and do any research they need to. She agreed and told me she’d pass on the suggestion.
After that, it was off to the operating room. To me, operating rooms have always been a little intimidating. I’m not completely sure why. Perhaps it’s just unfamiliar territory. But when you have to get up on a table and have your arms out to your sides, strapped down and you’re looking up at those big lights, it’s just a bit unsettling. I’m not trying to scare anyone. That’s just how it feels to me. The anesthesia nurse told me she’d start putting meds in my IV to put me out and within seconds, I was out….
I woke up in the recovery area and was definitely out of it. As I mentioned, I was in some pain but it was nothing close to “excruciating”. A little more magic meds in the IV and I was ok. My throat was dry and sore because they used a breathing tube during surgery. I had some water and some very dry pre-packaged cookies. I came to a little more as my wife came back. It didn’t take much longer before I was able to get dressed and get out of there.
I was wheeled down to the car. It really wasn’t very uncomfortable transferring from the chair to the car, we stopped to pick up some meds and it was time to head home and begin my recovery. But that’s a post for another day…like tomorrow.
Did you ever have to bring your car into the shop for a repair only to be told it needs to have two other repairs done? That’s kind of how I’m feeling at the moment. I said there’d be setbacks. This one’s just a little earlier than expected.
During my pre-surgery physical the doctor suspected I have a hernia and I went to a surgeon this past week who confirmed it. So now I get to have two (count ‘em, two) surgeries. This just means the road to recovery is going to be a little more complex to navigate.
I have full confidence that I’ll get back to the former me, but I’m shooting for an improved version. After all, if you had this much work done to your car, you’d hope it would have a little more get up and go. I'll just be careful not to accelerate too quickly during my recovery.
Hip surgery is in just two days away and the surgeons have told me to take it easy, which I’m doing…mostly.
I’ve been running on and off for many years. About 3 years ago, I started to get serious about my running. I ran my first of seven half marathons and also started CrossFit to build my strength. Early in that 3-year timeframe, I started feeling soreness in my hip some of the time. I stretched every day, was seeing a chiropractor and continued to build strength. This all helped. More recently, the discomfort was getting worse and more consistent. This spring, it was noticeably affecting my running. I could no longer run pain-free. My chiropractor ordered an MRI and that’s when we found the real culprit.
It turns out I have what’s called an impingement in both of my hips, which was explained to me by my surgeon as a congenital abnormality on the ball joints where they’re not perfectly round. There’s actually a little bump. Over time, with all the training I’ve done, this caused an anterior and posterior labrum tear. The labrum is the cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball and socket joint. I’m not a medical person so I looked that up to give the best explanation.
My surgery is scheduled for July 28th. I’m doing my best to maintain my foundation of fitness until then without exacerbating anything. And now it’s just a matter of waiting.