Archive for the ‘Surgery Series’ Category

It’s Friday, Friday…John did not appreciate me singing this song at 7:45 this morning.

Yesterday I had my six week follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check my progress after having hip surgery. So, how am I doing?

Overall, I’m making good progress. I’ve been able to return to my normal everyday activities, such as going to work, going to the grocery, going shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. After being on crutches for over three weeks, it feels great to be able to move around and carry things.

When it comes to more physical activities, here is what I can do and what I need to work on:

  • Walking: I still have a slight limp and usually need to stop after about 15 minutes. With physical therapy, the limp should go away in the coming weeks.
  • Stairs: I can make it up a few without using the banister, but it’s not very comfortable. So, I’m usually the one holding up traffic and taking my time using the banister. Maybe I should put a sign on my back that says, “I just had hip surgery,” so people will be more understanding? Again, with physical therapy and strengthening my leg muscles, I’ll be able to handle stairs without pain.
  • “Exercise”: 40 minutes on the elliptical each day at a very low resistance
  • Swimming: freestyle only, light flutter kick or no kick
  • Scar tissue build up: I have scar tissue building up around the incisions and need to be better about massaging those areas throughout the day. The area around the scars feel a bit swollen compared to my other leg.

Two big pieces of information came out of the surgeon’s mouth during my appointment.

1. You may swim. (But don’t be stupid about it.)

2. Don’t forget you had surgery. I know you’re feeling good, but you cannot forget what we did to your hip and that it needs time to heal. Don’t do anything stupid to set yourself back. Doing more for your hip isn’t always what’s best for it (in terms of exercise, PT workouts, etc.).

Got it, doc. I can’t be stupid.

So, this morning I hopped in the pool for the first time, in oh, I don’t know, 4 years? It was great! I swam for about 40 minutes and will be paying for it tomorrow when I can’t move my arms. Even though it wasn’t an intense swim by any means, it was the first activity I’ve done since the surgery that actually made me feel like I was physically working my entire body.

I’ve been slacking on the food part of this blog, so I’ll try to get back into that!

John requested his favorite Scotcheroos for his birthday dessert (back in December!). I’d never made them before myself, but have enjoyed them with his family many times. My first attempt at making them was a success, as it’s impossible to mess these up. While these aren’t the healthiest treat, it only takes a few small bites to satisfy your sweet tooth. So, in the end, they’re really not that bad for you 🙂

Start with the sugar and corn syrup…(I try to forget this step exists, as it grossed me out while I was standing over the stove.)

Mix in the peanut butter… (I felt better after this.)

Stir in the Rice Krispies… (I started nibbling at this point.)

Put in the pan…

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips…(Don’t forget to lick the bowl!)

Layer the chocolate on the Rice Krispies…

Cut into bars…

Have a great weekend!!!

Scotcheroos (Recipe from Rice Krispies)


    •    1 cup  light corn syrup
    •    1 cup  sugar
    •    1 cup  peanut butter
    •    6 cups   Kellogg’s® Cocoa Krispies® cereal
    •    or 6 cups   Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
    •    1 package  (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
    •    1 cup  butterscotch chips


1. Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

Note: Before measuring the corn syrup, coat your measuring cup with cooking spray–the syrup will pour easily out of the cup.


Question: What type of exercise makes you feel like you’re working your whole body? Running? Pilates? Hiking?


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If you’re just tuning in, check out my previous Surgery Series posts to catch up.

Five weeks ago today I woke up bright and early to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. for hip surgery. I was definitely delaying leaving my apartment and anxiety was starting to kick in.

At 5:30 a.m., John said, “Okay, let’s go.” My response: “Okay, just one second. I’m checking on the shipping status of your stocking that I ordered from West Elm.”

Clearly I had my priorities straight.

The waiting room had about 20 patients in it, most of who had major limps. I mean, these people could barely walk. This was when I started to think, “Do I really need to have this surgery? I’m not nearly as bad as that guy.” Luckily my mom and John were there to calm me down and reassure me that the surgery would take away the pain I had been dealing with for the past year.

By the time we got into my prep area, I was feeling a little bit better about things…

After all, I had these two to cheer me on.

We watched ESPN and the Today Show for about an hour until it was time to get down to business. When my surgeon arrived, I put up my arms and gave an enthusiastic, “Yeah!!!” He said it was the best “good morning” he’d ever received before surgery.

I was relatively calm during all of the set-up procedures. They asked me my name about 40 times and which hip was to be operated on about 39 times. The surgeon’s initials marked on my left hip to remind him of where to operate didn’t come off for a good three weeks.

Anyway, the part that scared me the most was the anesthesia. I asked repeatedly for the nurse to tell me when the anesthesia was beginning so I could be prepared before my brain just shut off.

And then I was gone. The surgery took about two hours and the recovery period was pretty awful. The pain was agonizing and the medicine was taking a long time to kick in. I ended up having to stay in recovery twice as long as they anticipated (about four hours) until I was sent home.

Getting up to our third floor walk-up posed some challenges. John was able to lift me most of the way, until I decided I should just scoot myself on the floor. The pain meds were definitely still in my system at this point because looking back, it was not the brightest idea. But, at the time, it worked.

The next few days were filled with visitors, TV, pain, pain meds, flowers, cards and fruit.

My sister sent me this awesome fruit bouquet. It was delicious and was gone in about four days. And, yes, I know that’s not the most flattering picture, but 8 hours after surgery, this is what you’re going to get.

The first week of recovery was definitely the worst. I was in a lot of pain, and it was nearly impossible to get comfortable. Plus, I was in this motion machine four hours a day.

During the first three weeks I was very limited in my mobility. I was on crutches and could not move my hip more than 20 degrees externally and could not rotate it internally at all. I was allowed to go on a stationary bike for 40 minutes with no resistance. My heart rate never increased and I didn’t sweat. So, this was not a workout, but it did help keep me sane, as it was my one activity that allowed me to leave the house each day. I also had about 40 minutes of physical therapy exercises to do on my own every day.

Recovery is a full-time job.

After three weeks I only had to use one crutch. At four weeks, I was walking on my own and I was allowed to do the elliptical for 20 minutes. Again, without resistance and really just for movement purposes. I still continued about 30 minutes of physical therapy exercises on my own every day as well.

Now, I am on the elliptical for 30-40 minutes, on the bike for 10 minutes and walking on the treadmill very slowly as I try to get rid of the slight limp I have and to regain balance.

My physical therapy appointments will increase from once a week to twice a week for the next two to three months. I’ve learned that recovery, when done properly, really does take dedication to do the exercises, stand properly, stretch and exercise in order to get the best results.

More updates to come!

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I’ll Be Back…

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends! We had a great time in Omaha. What’s not to love about 65 degree weather on Thanksgiving? Taking a run in shorts and a t-shirt and then eating tons of delicious food? Sounds just about perfect to me 🙂

I know I promised you a post on the Thanksgiving we hosted a couple of weekends ago, but turns out being gone for five days and then preparing for surgery takes up a lot of time. But, I will post the recipes eventually.

Over the past month I’ve really gotten my workout fix in, doing tons of running interval workouts, Zumba, spinning and elliptical sessions. I’ve really come to love the interval workouts on the treadmill. They go by so fast, and I get a great workout every time! So, if you’re short on time between now and Christmas, an interval workout is a great way to burn calories and fat fast. Here is one I recently did with my sister at a 1% incline. She loved it 😉

Minute Pace
0-2 4.0
2-5 6.3
5-7 6.7
7-8 7.0
8-11 6.3
11-13 6.7
13-14 7.0
14-17 6.3
17-19 6.7
19-20 7.0
20-23 6.3
23-25 6.7
25-26 7.0
26-33 6.3
33-40 4.0

Unfortunately, my workout sessions are officially over for at least the next month. Tomorrow I’m having surgery to repair the labral tear in my hip. And while it’s definitely not going to be an enjoyable experience, I have awesome friends and family to help me along the way!

Two of our friends, Matt and Maura, came over last night with some goodies to help me through recovery, including one of these!

A 24 oz. Tervis Tumbler cup! It keeps your liquids hot or cold and will be perfect to keep me hydrated while I’m on the couch!

Speaking of hydration, I was recently contacted by a representative of Crystal Light Pure to discuss the importance of hydration in the winter. Typically we pay more attention to chugging water and fluids in the sweaty summer months, but staying hydrated in the winter is just as important.

Here are a few tips from Crystal Light Pure spokesperson Molly Kimball, R.D.:

  • Keep a tally. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces of fluid per day, plus an extra 16 ounces for every pound of sweat lost during exercise.
  • Add some flavor! I’m a personal fan of Crystal Light, but there are lots of other ways to add flavor to your water. Think cucumbers, lemons or mint…mmmm.
  • Food counts! Fresh fruit, soups and vegetables contain liquid to help you stay hydrated.
  • Caffeine is okay! Research has proven that caffeine is not dehydrating, but it is still best not to overload on sugary sports drinks or soda.

So, drink up! And who says beer, wine and some fun holiday cocktails shouldn’t count toward your fluid intake? I’m all for it! Enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll be back in a few days with some surgery updates.

**I received a sample from Crystal Light Pure from Kraft Foods.

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My two favorite things in life might just be food (frozen yogurt, mainly) and exercise. I’ve found that a combination of the two is necessary for me to be happy. Unfortunately, one of them is going to be eliminated from my daily routine come the end of November. And since we all know food can’t be eliminated from my daily routine, exercise is what is going to vanish from my calendar.

Major. Bummer.

In April, 2010 I ran my first half marathon at Notre Dame (my alma mater). It was awesome! I loved training…the feeling of completing an eight mile run and not even feeling fatigued (okay, maybe a little) put me in the best mood. I didn’t follow a specific training program for this race, I mainly just followed this weekly routine:

Day 1: Cross training- 50 minutes

Day 2: Run 5 miles

Day 3: Cross training- 30 minutes, weights- 30 minutes

Day 4: Run 3 miles

Day 5: Cross training- 50 minutes (or Rest)

Day 6: Long run (Usually 6-8 miles with one 10 mile run near the end of training)

Day 7: Rest

My parents, best friends and my sister-in-law came to cheer me on!

I enjoyed my first race so much, I figured I should run a second. So, in August, 2010 I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago. My training continued through the summer to prepare for the second race. This time I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice Training Schedule.

John came to watch this time! Unfortunately, I only saw him around mile five of the race. He got distracted by all of the costumes, like this guy running in a trash can.

I was bummed I didn’t see him more, but I made it through to the finish line. It was pure agony. We began running at 6:30 a.m. and when we finished around 9:00 a.m. it was already 90 degrees.

But, it was a great feeling to finish my second half marathon in less than four months!

Around the time of the race, I started to have slight pain in my left hip. I figured it was from all of the training, so I just ignored it. Unfortunately, the pain continued and started to get worse. It was radiating into my inner thigh and walking became uncomfortable. I wasn’t training for anything, so I knew something must have been wrong.

And, that’s where I’ll leave you. With a big cliffhanger. Actually, this post is just getting too long, so I’ll continue with Surgery Series Part Two and explain my diagnosis.


What do you do when you start to feel something “not quite right” when you’re training? Get it checked out immediately or just keep pushing?

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Here we are with Part 2 of the Surgery Series posts. Have you been dying to know what’s happened since the first post? Basically, I left you all saying I had been experiencing pain in my left hip that had begun to radiate into my inner thigh and down my left leg.

Luckily, two of my good friends at work are big-time athletes and have completed tons of races. They recommended I go see a doctor at at Serenity Health and Wellness who does a lot of work with endurance athletes. I went in with the idea that I had a stress fracture, but after a few simple diagnosis tests, he thought I had a labral tear in my left hip and would need to get an MRI arthrogram to confirm.

He performed a similar test to this one:

Yes, those movements HURT!

And what is a labral tear anyway? Let’s bring in some visuals to help us.

The head of the femur is supposed to fit perfectly into the hip joint (acetabulum). The labrum, the ring of soft tissue between the femur and the hip joint, acts as a sort of socket to hold the femur in place. Labral tears can occur from a variety of causes, mainly twisting or sudden changes of direction. So, this injury is common among soccer, basketball, hockey and football players. My all-star soccer days are behind me. However, labral tears can also be the cause of structural abnormalities where the femur doesn’t fit into the hip joint properly, in which case wear and tear can accelerate a labral tear.

Off to Northwestern Orthopaedic Institute I went to meet with a surgeon who happened to be a fellow Notre Dame and Indiana University grad! I knew he would be smart 😉 The MRI arthrogram was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had. I had no idea I would be so much pain from the procedure. The purpose of an MRI arthrogram is to pinpoint the location of and confirm whether or not there is a labral tear.

The arthrogram portion of the procedure involves a special X-ray exam of the hip joint. A contrast dye is injected into the joint (with HUGE) needles. This was the painful part. We are talking a 3.5 inch needle ALL THE WAY TO YOUR JOINT. Then I was injected with some numbing medicine to give me some relief. (I was sore for a good week after this procedure.) After the dye was injected, I was off to the MRI. I was put in a tunnel that was as loud as a jackhammer for 45 minutes. Very peaceful. An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to capture clear and detailed pictures of my hip joint. So, if the dye clustered in one location in my labrum, it would show up on the MRI results and would indicate that is where the tear is.

A few days later it was confirmed, I have a labral tear. Bummer. I discussed the results with my doctor and discovered that I do have a slight structural abnormality in my hip alignment, so no one specific movement caused the tear. It’s highly likely that because I have a structural abnormality and had trained for seven months straight for two half marathons, my labrum wore down more quickly and resulted in a tear.

Seven months later, I am still dealing with the pain and am awaiting surgery. It’s the final countdown…9 days to surgery.


Have you suffered an injury from training? What was it and what did you do in terms of recovery?

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