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A Guest Post: Injuries Stink

Long time SBM Army member and huge Andy Potts fan, Monica, shared her recent frustrations with injury. As many of you know, I’ve had my fair share of injuries, including a broken metarsal, sprained ankle, twisted ankle, broken ribs from a bike crash and other assorted curses at the Silver Comet trail, broken ass (sorry, but it’s true), and then the constant hip issues.

So needless to say, I get it. I understand the frustration that is injury.  Monica is very honest in her fears and struggles with a serious shoulder injury. Thanks for sharing, Mo.  And the words I say, I mean… there is a reason, and you WILL be okay. Hugs.

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“The dreaded words I hoped I would never hear again…SURGERY.

Ugh, really?? I’m having a nightmare, right? Nope, its reality and my reality sucks sometimes. Last Monday was one of them.

To make a very long story short, I hurt my shoulder at work (yes, at work and not doing my favorite thing triathlon) 2 months ago (only 2.5 weeks from my last tri of the season).

I’ve been battling a lot of instability and pain. After the first MRI my doc saw an area she didn’t like but radiology shrugged it off. Now, 2 months later, we are repeating the MRI so my surgeon can decide which surgical procedure she will perform, not if I will have surgery.

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She says to me “I want to repeat the MRI to be 100% sure about this.”

Ok, I appreciate that….then she says, “Because what I feel is accurate will require an open surgical procedure.”  OMG, did she just say OPEN surgical procedure???? On my shoulder????? From a stupid work injury?????

Let me digress for one minute…

I’m an OR nurse and work with this surgeon in the operating room weekly. She is ranked as one of the top 10 shoulder surgeons in the country. I see her do complex crazy repairs all the time thru the scope (arthroscopic surgery). So why open for me??? Well, because the type of injury she thinks I have is called a HAGL lesion. Humeral Avulsion of the Glenohumeral Ligament which means I pulled the ligament off the bone. Its very hard to fix using a scope. So open surgery is the best way to repair it.

Back to my frustration…

“How long of a recovery???”

She says, “6 months, and especially NO swimming for all six months.” I start to hyperventilate…and cry. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I wanted to walk in and have her say, “Ok you can start your winter workout program, you can get back in the pool.”

Did I mention I already registered for the Nike women’s half marathon in April and the Ironman Timberman 70.3 in august? I ask “can I run and bike after the first 6 weeks?” She says only if I bike with no arms which means a lot of trainer sessions.

“But” she says…”don’t freak out, your swim will not be the same. I have to tighten up your shoulder and I try not to tighten it too much but it’s a fine line. It could change your swim.” Ok, I can handle this right????

How do we deal with frustrating injuries, or even injuries that sideline us for weeks, or months at a time?  Triathletes are very competitive, very inpatient, very diligent about training. I am very competitive (back to my college swimming days), very inpatient (just ask my husband) and LOVE training now. We are not pros, we are average moms, with average jobs and all the responsibilities that come with it.

How do I get thru my head that this is not the end of the world? That I need to use this to redirect my training?

I know I needed some rest and a break from training. My coach and I discussed that he wouldn’t even give me my winter strength training plan until I rested for at least 5-6 weeks. I was okay with that. But this is really hard for me. I battled two elbow surgeries last year. The first was only 1 year ago and the second was in March 2013. I came back from that, but it was hard. I was determined. Can I do that all over again? Am I strong enough to get thru this and keep my sanity? Is this a sign that I really need to slow down so I can come back better and stronger? Do things really happen for a reason?  If it’s meant to be…blah, blah, blah….

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So here I am, just waiting for my second MRI, then waiting to hear what direction we go. The second option is a diagnostic shoulder scope to determine why my shoulder will not stay in the joint and possible instability tightening surgery. Recovery at least 4-6 months.

So, I’m feeling like I’m between a rock and a hard place. I went through the process of yelling and screaming and crying. Now I just can’t believe I’m up against this option of having my shoulder cut open. What happens if I say no, I don’t want it? I asked that and if I want to continue to be active, then I need to have surgery. I’m not ready to give up my activity level. Not yet, I haven’t made it Kona yet! I haven’t done my full Ironman yet. I have so much more I want to do with my kids and family. I need to be healthy.

So until I have definite answers, I will need to stay patient, hope for the best outcome and somehow learn to deal with these setbacks.

I need to take this time to reflect on my accomplishments. My good friend SBM said to me, “… but trust me… reasons for everything. You’ve had a very wonderful year and successes. Might be time to slow down. If God hadn’t broken my foot in 2012, I would have missed out on a bunch of good sitting-down opportunities. Keep perspective when you can. Drink where necessary. And just keep moving forward. HUGS!!!!”

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Ok, so this will allow me to work on school (Family Nurse Practitioner), drink new wines and beer (just don’t let me gain back all the weight I’ve lost) and keep moving forward (on my treadmill and bike trainer). I will get thru this and I will come back! I will still be an Ironman someday…just not this day.

Like my good friend Mike always says to me…P.M.A. Always maintain a Positive. Mental. Attitude.”

8 Comments

  • Becky

    November 27, 2013 at 9:41 am

    All I can say is, this stinks, but SBM is right, there is a reason for everything. I broke both leg bones and my ankle joint in a tri, ended up with 3 surgeries, on a walker, and no weight bearing (thus no driving, right foot of course) for 10 weeks. And it turned out to be a very wonderful time of slowing down, relying on God, reconnecting with friends, and letting people help me out because I did not have a choice! Also met my husband! I am now back able to do tris, maybe not quite as good as before, but with a new appreciation for the ability to do them. Sounds like you have a great doctor, here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and a good as new shoulder.

    Reply
  • Michele @ Micheleontherun

    November 27, 2013 at 10:29 am

    THANK YOU! Every time I post in my blog about my current foot injury and being in my funk because of it, I feel so lowly. I feel like it’s all I ever talk about. It’s hard to stay motivated or even look forward in the world of SBR. Thank you for helping me to not feel alone and for allowing me to hear positive (as it can be anyway) thoughts. I like the “Drink where necessary” idea at least! 🙂 Best of luck to you. I’m in my last week of the boot, but the pain isn’t any better. I fear what my doctor will say next week.

    Reply
  • Rebecca Jo

    November 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Oh man… I’m so sorry… I get it though. My low back is getting worse & worse, causing my legs to feel weak. I just think, back surgery? How long will that take me out of commission. I also need arm surgery on my bicep tendon.. I just cringe at the idea of it all…so I understand your frustration & worry. But I have to agree – there’s something better God has planned for you while this happens – I guarantee it 🙂

    Reply
  • MJ

    November 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that – what a challenge! Channel folks like Mike Wardian & others who’ve come back from serious or multiple injury – Lukas V., other triathletes I can’t think of right now. Believe that you CAN get through this, you CAN find ways to make yourself a better triathlete (nutrition, smart training, other things).

    I would love to read your blog if you have one…..if not, consider starting one and taking us all along with you on your journey so we can support you & learn from you!

    Reply
    • Mo

      November 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks everyone! It’s been a long tough road. I get my second MRI tomorrow and my surgeon is going to look at it right away with the pending news of which surgery we do. I currently don’t have a blog of my own, but have been tossing the idea around of starting one! Maybe this is the little push I need to get started.

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This will be a challenge but I know I can and will come out of it a much better person!

      Reply
  • Mo

    November 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    So here’s the deal….shoulder surgery in 2-3 weeks…diagnostic scope with open repair. 6 weeks sling, 6 months no swimming, 9-12 months until competitive swimming again. I have 10 months until Timberman 70.3. I will be ready, even if I need to only kick or one arm swim. I’m determined for this setback to make me a better person and a stronger athlete. Now to keep telling myself that until I get through the next few weeks. Thanks for your support.

    Reply
    • Karin Gill

      June 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

      I have just been diagnosed with HAGL. I have already cancelled this year’s races (IM 70.3 Raleigh, as well as my ultramarathons for the year). My question: How long after surgery until you were allowed to run? Not much out there for tirathletes on this (lots for rugby players though!), while I’m sorry you had this happen, I’m glad I may have found a relevant resource! Thank you!

      Reply

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