“If it doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change you!” That is my motto and it is about to be tested after my painful hip surgery journey recovering from hip surgery. I hope my journey inspires anyone suffering from an emotional, mental or physical injury or illness, depression or any type of limitation that may seem frustrating or overwhelming. I also hope to raise awareness about hip injuries, labral tears, FAI and CAM impingements (which is EXTREMELY common in women and many doctors and therapists misdiagnose).
I have been receiving tons of emails from people I know and even those who I don’t know who are asking me to share my experience and story so here it is and thank you for caring.
Practice What You Preach
As a Certified Fitness Professional for more than 15 years, I must lead by example and follow my own advice. I coach my clients to “listen to the whisper before the body roars”. Yet so many of us find it extremely difficult, even impossible to “slow down” when we need to, especially in this fast paced life. I admit that sometimes I have a hard time listening because I am a serious athlete and overachiever.
Recently the universe brought me to a stop (I actually believe it was my Dad which I will explain in detail). My painful hip surgery journey was a learning experience.
My Painful Hip Surgery Journey Story
I had three incredible pregnancies and was fit and active all the way through. After the birth of my third child, I started to complain about “a tight groin, my hip flexors are so tight!” So it began, x-rays and ultrasounds just a few months after. “Everything is normal”. That was the frustrating answer I continued to receive for four years but I knew something just wasn’t right.
Training continued, my diet was extremely clean, I was feeling incredibly strong and I was in the best shape of my life after three kids, except for this intermittent annoying groin pain. Balancing all of my workouts I cross trained with weight lifting, Boxing, Yoga, Karate, Running, CrossFit, stretching and foam rolling. Things would subside and then things would flare up.
Training and Learning with the Best, Tommy Europe
More money, more appointments, no solutions
Athletic therapy, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, gait analysis, doctors’ appointments, etc. – nobody could diagnose or fix the problem. The same conclusion, “tight hip flexors, sometimes weak glutes, do these exercises, foam roll and stretch”. I strictly followed the advice and I even stopped running for an entire year (that didn’t help).
Living with the Pain
In November 2012 the injury started taking over my life in a very negative way. In February 2013, I felt debilitated and pain was my new normal. I couldn’t sit, workout, drive, play with my kids, I was in pain all of the time, even when I slept. It affected every aspect of my life. I knew something was wrong so I stopped all workouts because the pain was unbearable.
I was on the verge of depression, something I had never experienced in my life. I felt frustrated and alone. Nobody knew of my injury except for my husband. I didn’t want the attention so I kept it a secret.
My painful journey aha moment
At the end of 2012 a new client, Amy came to Fit4Females and told me “Trina, I have been cleared for exercise and I heard that you are the best and able to modify for injuries”. Amy is the reason for my diagnosis. After we spoke, I knew what my mystery injury was! I had a labral tear in my right hip. The universal coincidence was that my Dad recently passed away, was Amy’s limo driver (she was meant to cross my path to slow me down). I am forever grateful for Amy finding me.
Reality Sets In
2013 was the most physically painful year of my life, my symptoms progressed, I gained 16 pounds from stress and my strength declined. My business was growing, client demands were increasing and the pain got worse. I couldn’t be the fun playful Mom that I once was.
I demanded an MRI Arthrogram with die to confirm my injury. I will never forget that phone call. I was at Costco standing in a crowd, I answered the call, they gave me the results and I hung up the phone and cried. Even though I already knew what my injury was, reality set in and the injury was confirmed.
Finally Some Answers
I saw an incredible Hip Specialist at MAC in October 2013. Clinical examination confirmed a labral tear as well as a CAM impingement and surgery was suggested (which is a minimum 1 and a half year wait list and that’s after the 9 month waiting period just to confirm the findings). The thought of surgery terrified me but I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. I was altering my life to live with this “new normal”. I would cry after teaching Stroller Fitness classes because the pain of getting up and down from the parachute to sing songs to the beautiful children in class was causing so much pain. I felt like everything I loved to do was being taken away and I was being tested.
I gathered myself and looked ahead, researching options for surgery in the U.S., and suddenly everything was on fast forward. I was added to the surgery cancellation list and got a date for December 4, 2013. Anxiety took over but I plugged away for the 7 days notice that they gave me, organizing everything before I went, prepping physically and mentally. This date wasn’t meant to be. I ended up sick the day of surgery and the anesthesiologist said it was too risky to put me under. Off I go back home even more devastated but my body needed to heal. Time to slow down.
January 2014 enough was enough. I was getting off of the pain train and was motivated to get as strong as possible before this “mystery” surgery date. I built my own pre-hab program and found incredible therapists to help me manage without pain meds and cortisone injections. I was treating 3x/week and the pain was decreasing! I scaled down all of my workouts and was happy to be back to a modified life.
April 2014 I got a call for surgery again. Only this time, my pain had significantly decreased. I was having second thoughts. My husband kept reminding me that I was missing out on all of the things I love to do despite convincing myself otherwise. I begged the universe for a sign, meditated everyday to help me find the answer within. I didn’t want to ruin my hip joint or wear it down but I knew that surgery was a last resort. The sign came to me and my April date was accidentally given away. Again, it wasn’t meant to be.
My Dad’s Second Wake Up Call
On May 4, 2014, my pain significantly increased after a beautiful fundraiser walk in memory of my Dad. It was devastating to experience pain after something so special and really? A walk? I knew it was time and that was my Dad’s way of saying “hello, why aren’t you listening Trina?” After all, he did send Amy to me who gave me my actual diagnosis and now the walk? What could be next?
The next few weeks I meditated more than ever, asking the universe to give me the sign that I needed to calm the fear and deal with this. On May 16, 2014, I got the call, “would you be willing to come in for surgery on May 23?” My jaw dropped and I was silent. May 23rd marked three years to the day that my Dad passed away. I had the sign that I needed.
On May 23, I finally had surgery for the labral tear in my right hip. I had right hip arthroscopic labral repair, capsular release, femoral neck osteochondroplasty and acetabular rim trimming – fancy words for labral tear repair, two anchors inserted in the bone, dislocation of the hip joint and shaving the bone of the femoral head due to a CAM impingement (and whatever else they did in there). I felt a calm that I had not felt in the past. My Dad was with me.
Day 2 Post Op Hip Surgery
Instruments inside my Hip Joint during surgery. Crazy!
10 Days Post op with my Surgeon, Dr. Ayeni
I am 4 weeks post op and I feel strong. The surgeon said it was good that I came when I did because the damage was worse than what the MRI revealed. Aside from being laid up in a bed most of my day, the anesthetic, my three incisions and stitches, terrible meds and side effects, not being able to weight bear, crutches, a commode, muscle atrophy, unable to drive, having my hip dislocated for repair, my bone shaved by 15% (yikes), the findings of early arthritis, the nausea, headaches and pain, I feel alive, positive and every day is better. Mentally I am focused, stronger than ever and I am up for the challenge. Plus, now I’m cool like Lady Gaga because she had the same surgery!
Riding a Bike Slow Like a Granny but It’s Progress!
I had many people pre-surgery tell me that arthroscopic surgery is “no big deal”. That is simply untrue. It is a big deal, your body treats it the same as if you were in a tragic accident because it can’t decipher the difference. Make sure you are prepared with support systems in place.
I thought I understood “slow down” but now I understand what it really means and this is my advice to you no matter what your status:
Don’t ignore your body when it whispers
Things really do happen for a reason
Find a way to stop the stress madness
Trust your instincts
Take rest days
Stop and smell the roses
Shut down and breathe
Treat your body right because you only get one
Don’t abuse your body with food, workouts, alcohol or stress
A Blessing in Disguise
This injury was unavoidable due to the CAM impingement and the shape of my femoral head. I am grateful for the lesson this injury has taught me and for the fact that it came out while I am young and before I required a hip replacement.
I didn’t realize how much my life was on fast forward until this surgery literally stopped me. My priorities have changed, I have learned who the true people that support me are, make the time to visit, call and check in despite the chaos of their lives, I am learning patience, to receive help, to be vulnerable, to redirect energy to myself rather than to constantly give and to slow down.
It’s going to be a long and slow road to recovery with extensive Physio and a minimum of 6 to 12 months to start feeling normally. 24 months recovery with a bone shaving. I will have to work very hard for mobility and strength but I am grateful for this lesson because I will be able to help others. I hope for a full recovery so send me your healing vibes.
Stay tuned for our important article on the importance of “Glutes”! I will share more of My painful hip surgery journey and recovery as I progress. Thanks for reading. For now, be present, live your life, be grateful for your health, move your body and for heaven’s sake, SLOW DOWN!
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Yours in health, fitness and nutrition,