I identify myself as an athlete, but for the past year I haven’t been able to (Don’t worry, I identify in other ways too). Every time someone asked “what’s wrong” or “why can’t you workout,” I had to give the frustrating “I’m injured.” And that would start the questions and people feeling sorry for me, or giving advice. And while it was all well-meaning, and I appreciate the kind words, nothing really helped. In fact, not talking about it actually helped. Maybe that’s not psychologically healthy, but it’s one way that I’ve gotten through the past year+. And I want to make another confession as I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer several times with this injury and felt like I might lose it. As a coach, I am so excited for my athletes to race well and do well. But over the past year, it’s been very hard to hear other people, not my athletes constantly talking about their races, PR’s, great training workouts, or the worst, having a slight injury that takes them out several weeks. Put it in perspective, a few weeks isn’t a lot! At the time it’s scary, heart wrenching and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but take a deep breath and stay positive. Things will work out.
I realized I was being petty if I de-friended people, but honestly, it can be overwhelming painful to hear day in and day out about others fantastic season and training. And I think that means I’m fallible, and human. I would never wish this on anyone else, but if you’ve ever felt these feelings, I hear you.
If you’ve ever had an injury, I think you can understand that when you take away a huge part of your life, it’s like a huge hole cut out of yourself. During the past year I’ve gone through the 5 stages of grief several times. You might think in the grand scheme of things that an athlete being injured isn’t a big deal, and you’re right. It really isn’t. There are horrific things in the world, but let me tell you that athletes can and do experience grief. The 5 stages are
- Denial and Isolation
And I’ve seen them all, but until I met Dr. Victor Ibrahim, I didn’t hit the 5th stage. When you’re injured keep reaching out to doctors until you find one that you trust, that listens to you and that doesn’t make you feel like you are crazy. And that goes the same with other things in your life, don’t settle until you are comfortable. Until Dr. Victor, no one could give me a definite answer to what was wrong. So how can you accept something you don’t know. Once we realized that I had a torn hamstring with a sciatic nerve fused to the hamstring, I was able to accept my injury and we started a series of PRP injections and neural dissections. That was 5 injections ago and I had one more today. Hopefully this one does the trick! My percent healing felt like this:
#1-no noticeable difference
#4- 85% better
#6- Here’s to 100% better!
Normally it takes 3 PRP injections, unfortunately I also had the nerve issue, so I required a bit more effort.
I will speak very highly of Dr. Victor here and if you are in the Mid-Atlantic and can’t figure out what is wrong, go see him. Besides being a fantastic medical doctor, he knows how to instil calm into you, teach you patience and keep your spirit positive. If your injury continues, he’ll keep at it until he’s figured it out and helped you. Normally I am very positive, but I had been feeling beat down. But, being positive is a huge part of your recovery. You must try to be positive because your body and mind are connected. I’m not an expert, I just believe that in my heart.
So what was this 6th injection I had? It is called PRP Lysate and is a bit different from just a PRP injection.
PRP Lysate is an even newer procedure than PRP. There isn’t a lot of information out there about it, but here is my explanation of it. Like PRP, your blood is drawn. Then, it is centrifuged to draw out the white blood cells. The platelets are broken down/fragmented and then there is an enzyme added. It is then injected into the injured area and helps to break up the scar tissue.
The other really cool thing about today’s injection is that Dr. Victor just got a new ultrasound machine. I’m not a connoisseur of ultrasound machines, but the Hitachi Noblus is the creme of the crop of ultrasound machines. It’s not even on the market yet. The way that I think of it is, you can get a normal MRI. Or, if you need a higher resolution MRI for clearer pictures with a 3T MRI. This machine even allowed him to see my sciatic nerve pulsing which for those of us science geeks, is fascinating. Here is a shot of the machine.
So, after this afternoon’s injection there are only positive thoughts. Soon I will be back to working out, I will be able to run/jump and be back to the athlete I once was. Maybe even better due to the fact that I am so appreciative of my body and that I may not always have the ability to train. So, bring on the Facebook posts or your mega runs, killer bike workouts or even your fantastic winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I’ll be back, slowly but surely. And Dr. Victor’s office moved to a new location. I took a picture of their office sign as I am terrible with names. Their office is in the middle of Capital Hill, and we even had a view of the Capital. Walking around the “hill” after was great. Unfortunately it wasn’t very far, but still a beautiful day, and a positive attitude for the future.