Not So Fast …

The new ride

The new ride

After a long seven weeks off, I had been looking forward to yesterday’s doctor’s appointment. My expectation and hope was that we would X-ray the hip, see that it is healing, and move on to the next step towards my recovery.

My hopes were dashed by the results. Unfortunately there were no signs of healing.

Stress fractures are strange and perplexing injuries. They often will not show up on X-rays. Mine didn’t show up initially, and we didn’t know it existed until I had the MRI. When a stress fracture is healing, there are visible and distinctive signs that will show up on the image. Mine showed nothing, which means I’m not there yet.

The fact that there were no signs of healing does not mean I am not healing. I know just from the way I feel that the hip is improving. All we know is that the process is a little bit slower than we had hoped. The fact that I am still experiencing soreness, walking with a limp, and having popping instances, all show that the healing process is still ongoing.

The doctor advised me to take another month off. As he put it, I need to ‘respect’ the hip. He looked at my walking gait, and found it to be unnatural. “Is that how you normally walk?” he asked. Nope. Even though crutches are no longer necessary, he suggested using a cane just to keep weight off of it.

While this was disappointing, it was somewhat expected. I could already tell a couple weeks ago that healing was taking longer than I had hoped, which was the reason I canceled my plans in France this year. That turned out to be the correct move. This is a process that I have to be patient with. I’ll follow the doctor’s orders, and hopefully everything will continue to improve.

This sets back some of my spring plans. My heart is set on completing Mitchell, and I will optimistically register next week. However, if the news is not better in a few weeks, I may have no choice other than to be smart and back out.

I can’t complain too much, as there is always someone out there facing tougher odds. Today I heard about Christian Haettich, who is taking on both Haute Route challenges. And by the way, he’s missing an arm and a leg. By comparison, coming back from a measly hip injury seems pretty insignificant.

Time heals all wounds, and this one will be gone eventually.

26 responses to “Not So Fast …

  • bgddyjim

    Keep up the good fight brother. I shot a prayer your way. Should get there in… Distance…divide by…carry the one… Three, two…

  • Jim Brennan

    Good perspective, hang in there.

  • Doug

    Aaron, as I mentioned to you before, look at the importance of magnesium in healing bone fractures. It’s importance is often overlooked but the magnesium absorption of whatever you take is critically important to improving the results. If you want to talk and learn more, let me know.

  • James

    Your optimism is inspiring mate. Continued best of luck with the recovery!

  • Gerry

    Tough luck, Aaron. Good thing you deferred your HR till next year. Hope you get back on the bike soon. Must be driving you bonkers!

    • aaronwest

      Yes, in hindsight, it was the right move to back out of HR just before accommodations. As for going bonkers, it was tough, but has gotten easier now that I’ve accepted my fate. Been doing a lot of relaxing and reading.

  • bicycletravels

    Love your positive outlook. So, is the new ride full carbon? 😉

  • Steve

    Looks like you hit a false summit in the hill climb that is your recovery. You know all about those! You had the right attitude, that’s for certain.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as you get older the healing process will only take longer. 🙂

    • aaronwest

      Nice analogy. That also means that at some point I’ll get to the top and be rewarded with an awesome descent.

      As for getting old and healing slow, unfortunately it appears I’m already there.

  • Tom

    Your passion for cycling will get you through and over this. Give yourself time, your friends will not disappear. It will come back and only get better. I’m stronger now than 24 years ago. I know it has got to be tough. Keep sharing!

    • aaronwest

      Thanks, Tom. As always I appreciate your encouraging words. You are a good friend. My passion for cycling and for life will get me through this.

      • Tom

        Hey Aaron, I want to share a cycling experience and get your and your readers input. I spent 8 days down in Lizella, GA (close to Macon) between Christmas and New Years. I rode 365 miles that week. But what was important was a 98mi ride with my brother and his team. A 94mi ride with him and 2 of his teammates. Then a last 96mi ride again with his teammates. Quite a bunch, including my bro, are CAT 1 or 2 riders. We were using rotating pelatons and some just straight all out pulls. It really burst me to a new level. I know it while riding, but can quantify it in the gym. Because I record my effort and time on a given cardio machine, the jump still amazes me. The difference is in the 15% to 25% range and I’m still holding to all that if increasing more. It is like I broke through a level in that one week and I’m still there. What do you or friends think happened?

      • aaronwest

        Hey Tom, I would guess that your gains are from all those high quality miles. I know that when I would try to hang with stronger riders, I would make significant fitness gains afterward. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, you’re kind of a beast. 🙂

      • Tom

        In one week? I’ve been too easy on myself?

      • Tom

        Only if you take the time, you will be back. Take the time, we are with you.

  • Tom

    Aaron, what needs to heal, a bone or soft tissue?

    • aaronwest

      Bone for now, then we focus on soft tissue.

      • Tom

        Has anyone talked about isometrics? Bone will only heal if it has a load (stress) on it. Isometrics – not trying to move but just contract the muscle. I’m not Doc. It just means squeeze as hard as you can – maybe 6 -10 seconds. That will encourage body resources to go there. Hence quicker healing!

      • aaronwest

        Interesting. It might be tough to do that with the bone in question (femoral neck). In fact, the doctor said I was putting too much weight on it, which is why it has been slow to heal. I will ask the doc when we speak next.

      • Tom

        Just going through my past experiences hoping that I can find something that will help you.

      • aaronwest

        Your experiences and suggestions are appreciated. I’ll take all the advice I can to get through this injury.

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