The Good, the Bad, and the Angry

The Good

I’ve been long overdue for some good news. It came today. No labral tear. I repeat: NO TEAR!

My orthopaedic doctor has left the country, and my GP had the day off, so I had to smooth talk the imaging company to get the MRI results. The X-Ray results concluded that there was a likely lateral labrum tear. As I opened the envelope of the MRI report, I fully expected to find more bad news waiting for me. Not only did I expect a tear, but I thought there was an outside chance there would still be signs of the stress fracture.

The MRI definitively ruled out the stress fracture. It is gone. I won’t miss it.

The report also ruled out a tear. One thing I have to remember is that this is a radiologist’s report, and not an orthopaedic surgeon. While I have to take these results with a grain of salt, they are encouraging.

No stress fracture means no more crutches, no more cane, and most importantly, I can take Advil and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is simply amazing how much these drugs help. My pain and soreness diminished significantly with the first swallow.

The Bad

There are some other things that still need to be dealt with.

I’m reluctant to self-diagnose. I’ve learned the hard way that reading too much on the internet can sometimes do more harm than good. To be honest, I do not understand half of the report, and I agonize myself trying, but there are some things that give me cause for concern.

One issue has to do with the bone marrow in my hip. It may be related to the stress fracture, maybe not. I have no idea, and will try not to worry about it.

The other issue is that I have a small cyst in the labrum. This isn’t the cancerous type, just some swelling, which is likely the cause of the popping, snapping, and the pain. Some of my internet research shows that this type of cyst is often accompanied by a tear, so I’m not out of the woods yet, but my fingers are crossed.

This means that surgery may still be necessary, although there could be alternate methods. From what I understand, the cyst could be zapped with a shot. Physical therapy might also help work it out. While I’ll consider all options, surgery is now more of a last resort.

The Angry

When I first heard about the potential tear, I’ll be honest that I was a little miffed. Why was this not discovered months ago? If the doctor had ordered a different sort of MRI the first time, could he have seen this? Why did he give me short shrift when not seeing healing marks on the X-ray, and make me go another month on the couch?

After reflection, I’m not angry with the doctor. In fact, I feel the opposite. He actually got it right. He told me that I had a stress fracture, and that my hip labrum was ‘off.’ That appears to be the case. He said that when the fracture heals, we’d deal with the rest, which is where we’re at now.

Instead, I am diverting this anger to my recovery. I’m going to be smart, sensible, and listen to my doctor’s orders, but I am going to attack my training and recovery with vigor. This was an unfortunate and uncomfortable setback, but after riding angry, I will emerge stronger with more focus.

Ready or not, here I come.


7 responses to “The Good, the Bad, and the Angry

  • Doug

    Better stay inside and spin, an effort level that you can control, not one that will control you. A second aggravation/injury to this area could really be bad. Deep tissue, cross friction massage may also be helpful to break down any scar tissue.

    • aaronwest

      Sage advice. I’m still not too close to getting on the bike, and from what I understand, they’ll ease me back in. Massage is definitely on the menu, and lots of foam rolling.

  • Wayne W

    Not trying to be a smart aleck here, but what are you trying to accomplish? What will be the sign that you’ve arrived where you want to be?
    What brought this to mind was the commentary on an overuse injury. Just what is an overuse injury. Can one train too hard, trying to get someplace they can never get to. I remember as a young guy watching this brute of a man in an arm wrestling competition snap his own arm. Looked pretty painful.
    Be careful you don’t continually re-injure yourself because your mind and muscle might be able to overcome another part of your body that has arrived at its limit.
    I stink at golf. No matter how hard or how often I practice, I’ll never be Phil or Tiger.
    Elite athletes are different than most folks. They have won the gene pool athletics lottery AND they somehow found the sport they were destined to excel at.
    See you on the fort once the weather warms up.

    • aaronwest

      Wayne, those are all fair points. When I say I am going to train angry, I don’t mean without any sense. I am going to be careful, but I do want to achieve a higher level of fitness. That doesn’t necessarily mean faster, but able to accomplish more. I have no interest in racing, but I like to do and see things, and of course Haute Route is far off in the distance. I am goal oriented, and I think I work prudently towards those goals. These last couple years I made a lot of improvements because of that.

      This year I realize that a lot of the goals I set for myself are out the window. I’ll be fine riding up some mountains, and around the fort. I plan to pace myself.

      And I still don’t think this was an overuse injury.

      See you out there.

  • Wayne W

    I just seem to remember that you started cycling due to a running injury. Just wondering if you had maxxed out running (for you) and gave yourself a stress injury. Is this a cycling version of the same?
    If you feel like you know how and when you sustained your injury it seems to present several points.
    The level of strain you were putting out caused a failure. Will the same level of effort yield the same result or will more training yield a better result.
    Probably depends on whether it is a finite physical capacity limit or not.

    • aaronwest

      I did get hurt running, but it was nothing like this. I also was not nearly the athlete that I became as a cyclist. I was more of a gym rat and slow runner, got injured when I tried to ramp up to some extra miles a week without knowing how to stretch. It was not a fun injury, but doesn’t compare to this one.

      This injury began with a problem with my labrum. I’ll find out more at the doctor this week, but the stress fracture was probably more of a symptom than a cause. Even now that the fracture is gone, I can still feel the lump in there. This was not developed from overuse, and in earlier discussions with my doctor, he agrees. This is not something that happens with cyclists, ever. It could be physiological, which is what we’re working to figure out. It is simply a freak injury that came out of nowhere.

      My body should have handled it fine. 1,000 other people participated in the same events, most of whom were not in the shape I was in, and they did not suffer anything close to this.

      I get that you’re coming from the right place, out of concern for me, but I’m taking the right steps to make sure that I can do what I love without creating issues for me later.

  • Mark

    @wayne – you seem way too overly cautious to me. In case you havn’t noticed, “elite” athletes get injured a lot. If you want to be really good at a sport, you are going to get injured along the way. Your attitude will only ever achieve mediocrity in sport, which is fine if that is what you want.

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