Oops I Did It Again (or Why 2020 Continues To Be a Giant Dumpster Fire)

“There is an uphill for every downhill, and a downhill for every uphill.”

Turkish Proverb

Life Lately

Is it me or does it feel like 2020 is roaring past us at lightening speed and other days it feels like it’s moving at the pace of a sloth.

Since my last blog post things “life” wise have been pretty stable. Most days I work remotely with my trusty co-worker, and *knock on wood* my ulcerative colitis seems to be under control. So much so that I FINALLY tapered off prednisone for the 4th time in a little over a year. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong, being quarantined has had its daily/weekly/monthly ups and down ({People- it’s not hard people wear a mask in public!) but the one thing that, until recently, has kept my stress at bay was running and training for a Fall marathon.

Running Toward a Fall Marathon

With a dearth of Spring races, McKirdy Trained put on an awesome (and free) McKirdy Mile race series. Mark even signed up! I loved our treks to Old Wethersfield to run like hell for 7ish minutes knowing at the end of the workout our reward would be a well-deserved fresh pressed juice at Comstock Farre.

If you will recall during my 2nd McKirdy Mile (recap here), I had to run my timed mile a 2nd time as I did not hit “start” hard enough on my Garmin the first time. My time was respectable, but what I did not mention was about 2/3-3/4 of the way through, I felt a sharp pain shoot up my right leg into my butt.

I finished the mile but once I stopped everything, and I mean everything, on the right side cramped up. I believe I told Mark that I think I stepped wrong and brushed it off. However, during my next quality workout the pain continued to the point where my legs would not just turn over.

It wasn’t due to a lack of fitness, and then I reminded myself that I had been dealing with a right hamstring strain off and on from around September of last year. I also knew that as I was tapering off Prednisone it’s anti-inflammatory capabilities were also wearing off, meaning if the strain had not fully resolved, my body was now screaming this information to me.

Running Toward An Answer

So (freaking out as runners do) I researched my injury, but I also made an appointment with Dr. Kuhn (my “hip guy”). At the appointment I cut to the chase and told him what I needed – a referral for PT. The thought was that I PT would provide me with some relief and I would be back on the roads in no time. My therapist, thought that the pain was coming from my back (sciatica to be specific) but after 2 weeks I was still not getting any long term relief. Meaning I would get relief while in my PT session, but soon after I left (sitting in the car) I would be almost back to square one.

In addition, while sitting, I began to feel a constant burning/soreness (and sometimes shooting pain) at the hamstring insertion point. When I attempted to run that soreness turned to pain which eventually (depending on how long I could handle it) would “run” down the back of my leg to my knee. I could only make it a mile or 2 before I would have to hobble home defeated.

He agreed that I needed an MRI.

I tried to “read” the MRI but it was impossible, so until my follow up with Dr. Kuhn I continued to google my symptoms and go down the Web MD rabbit hole (which I do not recommend for any sane person). Thanks to technology logged onto Jefferson Radiology’s online portal and read my results which were

Abnormal findings in the right common hamstring tendon origin, from mild to moderate tendinosis and probably component of partial tearing

Jefferson Radiology – June 5, 2020

Within 2 minutes of reading the report, the running czar (aka Mark) told me I had to “shut it down” until I saw the doctor

Side Lined (& Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy – PRP)

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had already self diagnosed myself so the MRI result was the icing on the “injury” cake for me. Dr. Kuhn confirmed the results and pin pointed my tear within moments of pulling up the images.

My tear, he indicated, was “in the spectrum between a strain and a full tear”. Great! My options were – do nothing (aka no more running); have a cortisone injection; undergo a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy; or have surgery.

The cortisone injection is palliative in that it would “calm down” the inflamed area so that the body can start healing itself. PRP therapy has had some great results (yes I did my research). Basically the doctor takes a vial of your blood and spins it down separating the good (platelets) from the rest of the blood. Your platelets are then injected into the injured area and the hope is that the platelets break down and release growth factors to trigger your body’s healing process by helping the injured cells repair and renew. On the downside, I have to pay for this therapy out of pocket. The last, and most invasive option, is surgery. Recovery time is long and I would have to be on crutches AND an immobilizer for a considerable period of time.

I did undergo a cortisone injection but after 3 weeks of no relief I headed back to Dr.Kuhn. He agreed that if I did not feel any relief after 3 weeks, an additional injection would not be helpful. So, as I am really, really trying to avoid surgery, I decided to try PRP therapy.

Moving Forward…

As I write this blog post I have actually undergone my first PRP injection. I plan to document my progress since it was hard to find personal testimonies on how they fared.

So that’s it in a nutshell – I have not run in about 45 days and now that I have undergone my first PRP injection I have been told, with the exception of walking, there is to be NO EXERCISE for at least 3 weeks. UGH

BUT if PRP therapy it helps me heal my hamstring and therefore avoid surgery its a small price to pay.

Some well meaning people have told me that maybe I should find a new activity and that may be true but at this point I just want to sit down and run a couple of easy miles without any pain or discomfort.

Stay Tuned!

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