7 weeks post op, 6 week check up and everything in between

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” Unknown

A quote I keep very close to me at the moment. Recently, all I’ve wanted to do is just give up. I’ve felt overwhelmed, stressed and not myself. Wallowing in my sorrows is not the way forward, but I’ve found it hard to dig myself out of how I currently feel. I’m fed up and frustrated but I’ve come this far, I’ve got to keep going and can’t give up now.

Recovery, thankfully, is going well. I had my 6 week check up with the head physiotherapist from my surgeons team last week. She checked my wounds/scars, asked me how I was feeling, moving etc and I had a chance to ask questions. Running, the one thing I have my heart set on doing and my current motivation to do all my rehab, is still off the cards. I have to go back in 5 weeks for my 12 week check, where I hope to be able to get the all clear then. Until then, the rehab exercises, the walking, the cycling and the PT, continues.

Alongside all the physio, rehab and check ups, life has sudden taken off, become busier and felt very normal. I had a small belated 30th birthday party in my garden last weekend with close special friends and family. It was such a wonderful day/weekend. I was asked to be Godmother to Anna and Kyle’s baby boy, who arrived at the beginning of this week, I got to catch up with my godmother and, godson, who I haven’t seen in nearly two years and is quickly getting taller than me! The weekend was just what I needed!

This week, Cortney stayed and we had a very full on week. We visited Brighton, saw Anna, ate a LOT of brunches, caught up with friends and Cortney took on her first ultra – Race to the Stones! I supported her along the way with Charlie, caught up with friends and made new ones. Seeing this race from the other side was interesting, and I will never again take for granted anyone who stands on the sidelines to support, marshal and follow me around a race course. Seeing everyone take part in this race was really hard. I was meant to be doing it and although I was okay, it was still a very hard pill to swallow. I want to say a MASSIVE congratulations to everyone who took part – you are all legends!

Ending the weekend feeling grateful for those who are always here for me, no matter what. And those people know exactly who they are.

So for now, I keep going, keep showing up, keep smiling and not give up. I have my eye on the prize and I’m one step closer to it. As Dory says, “just keep swimming” and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Have a great week everyone.

Emma xx

5 weeks post op and missing running…

“Running is alone time that lets my brain unspool the tangles that build up over days” – Rob Haneisen.

For me, running is more than just a sport. It’s a time, as the quote above says, to let my brain sort everything out.
Organise, plan, think, de stress.

It’s also a massive part of who I am and over the last few weeks I’ve realised there will never be a replacement for it. Ever. The euphoria you get, in my eyes, can never be experienced through any other sport.

I am now 5 weeks post op and my recovery continues to be going well. It’s not been easy, there have been a few little bumps, but that’s to be expected. My hip has definitely turned another corner and I’ve very nearly got rid of my limp, stiffness has basically disappeared and I’ve got so much more range of movement. As I’ve become more mobile, and have to pinch myself that I feel so ‘normal’ this soon, I’ve noticed my need to want to move at my faster, pre surgery pace. I’ve found myself pulling back quite a lot and having to remind myself that right now, things need to continue to be taken slowly.

I’m extremely lucky that I’ve been able to swim and get on the turbo. Both equally dull – I take my hat off to you all for being able to sit on a turbo for more than 30 minutes…! But it’s absolutely better than nothing, and along with PT, Pilates and my rehab exercises, all have been really helpful for my recover so far.

But I miss running. So. So. Much.

I’ve noticed recently a lot of you who I follow, have mentioned how much running has helped your mental health. Something that running helps me massively with too, and right now that I can’t do it, makes managing things even harder. As I said, nothing will replace running, and it has been hard finding something that will help me switch off for a bit or allow me to release some stress, thoughts, sometimes anger and frustration or the adrenaline inside me.

This period of rest and downtime has definitely made me think of other ways, mainly for now, that I can manage my stress, anxiety and mental health. Running, although it does so much for me, is something I very much took for granted and relied on. To be able to lace up, get outside and put one foot in front of the other, in my eyes, is a privilege.

So if I’ve taken anything from this hip surgery, it’s not that it’ll enable me to run for many, many more years, but that it has taught me to manage things without running, is a MASSIVE part of who I am and that there will never be anything that will replace it.

Until I am told I can start running again, which fills my body with excitement, I shall continue to swim, when the water isn’t freezing; cycle on the turbo, until my brain is bored dead (although thankful to my friend for keeping me entertained with sorting my bike in front of me!) and walk with my mum, friends or myself and a podcast. Slowly and steadily, to get back to where I was.

I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support, kindness, cheers, love and being here for me. It makes this journey feel less lonely, knowing how much support I have.

Have a lovely rest of the week, run for me, enjoy it and let’s hope this sunshine stays!

Emma xx

Two Weeks Post Op

Well, I can’t quite believe it’s been 2 weeks since I sat in the hospital, waiting for surgery. If I’m honest, it feels like it was months ago because the days go so slowly sometimes, but wow has so much changed in a short period of time.

Recovery has been…up and down, or like a rollercoaster, as my friend described it. The first week was a lot better than the second, which I didn’t expect. I found out that the third week is where the bone is doing a lot of its healing and can be more painful – thanks to Emma, aka my hip surgery/hospital buddy, for that bit of info! Emma messaged me a few days after surgery, on Instagram, saying she in the room next to, the same day, having the same surgery as me! I’m so glad she messaged because we’ve not stopped chatting/comparing our experiences, since!! It’s nice to have someone else going through the same thing, at the same time as you. It’s reassuring and comforting to know that what we are both experiencing is all normal and part of the process. Unfortunately Emma is having her other hip operated on in a few weeks, but I’m super excited to meet her before she has her COVID test and self isolates!

Let’s rewind back to the first week for a moment…after arriving home, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. My movement was so slow that just going from one room to another was tricky. I had to think ahead of how to get around the kitchen without smacking the dog or the cupboards, with my crutches… I had the best FaceTime with Wendy and Grace, my goddaughter, which perked me up and I was able to sit/lay at a comfortable angle. As the evening drew in, I was desperate to shower and my gosh what a mission…mum had to help me with it all, from getting undressed to getting dressed again, once showered and dried. It was hard to bend down, a movement that was also not recommended, so lots of help with leggings, socks etc and shoes was needed over the next week.

My first night was mixed. It felt so good to be in my bed but I couldn’t lay on the side I wanted to/usually fall asleep on, my back and bum kept going numb and I was afraid to move too much. This was something that improved and a solid nights sleep came a good 2 weeks later…

Throughout the first few days I didn’t do much. Friends visited with gifts, flowers and cards were sent and I felt so loved and thought of. My boss dropped a very large box of fresh fruits, vegetables and bread round, from the market, which was so kind. I felt okay, my hip was a little sore and felt really stiff but had exercises to do and it wasn’t too painful. I still had the feeling of an elephant sitting on my thigh, but that soon disappeared. Things were going well, I felt good, and was embracing the rest.

My first weekend home, one of my best friends, Becky, came to stay. It was just what I needed. I hadn’t seen her in months, I was able to give her a massive hug and we spent the two days catching up, watching films and going out for brunch. Getting out of the house was also something I was craving. I wanted to see other people, different scenery and move a little, still on my crutches. When we said our goodbyes, it was hard, a feeling of being alone and trapped came over me, but I kind of expected a low after such a wonderful time.

The start of the second week was not so bright. Having not really felt “with it” for the past week, I hadn’t really realised what was happening and it soon occurred to me why I was feeling the way I was. My stomach wasn’t happy. I had a constant, dull, tummy ache, hardly any appetite and felt really nauseous. It then occurred to me that the anti inflammatories were the cause. I’d been taking them with food and an antacid to help them sit in my stomach easier but it wasn’t working. I felt rotten and decided on Tuesday to stop taking them. I hoped, deep down, that I wouldn’t have this issue but I have the most sensitive stomach, that even taking ibuprofen is a no go. On Wednesday, I was booked in for my first physio appointment but it lasted all of 10 minutes because I felt so unwell, that I then spent the next 20 minutes chatting with the pharmacist and consultant making a plan. I remember walking out of the hospital feeling rather robbed of my session, hundreds of unanswered questions floating around my mind and a bit deflated.

The rest of the week was pretty much a right off too. Christine came to visit me, who I used to work with, and bought me some yummy food. It was wonderful to see her and catch up for a bit. Mum dragged me out to town for a little stroll and coffee, just to get a bit of fresh air and change of scene. I felt so wiped out and was trying to stay as positive as I could, but I couldn’t help feeling quite down. I nestled into a few shows on Netflix, Charlie got takeaway for us one evening and we watched the Friends Reunion, my Granny and brother came to visit and finally, the sun made an appearance.

The long bank holiday was certainly welcomed with open arms because it meant I could see a few more friends. Caroline came to visit me, along with another friend and I was invited out for lunch. I managed to walk 30 minutes without crutches, which felt good. The weather was incredible and the plus was, I was starting to feel better.

Reaching the 2 week post op mark and it was time to have the stitches removed. Another step in recovery and one I was ready for. The wound felt tight and uncomfortable and I was interested to see what was lying under the bandages. The nurse was really gentle and slow, as the stitches had been tied quite tightly, and to my surprise, there was no bruising around the incisions. I slowly made my down to the riverside and joined mum for a coffee, after.

Now, the last few days haven’t been the best. I’ve been quite sore, more than normal and I’m not sure if it was due to having two days of being quite active or whether everything is healing inside – both I suspect after seeing the physio yesterday. It went well but was quite full on, lots of movement, muscle release and massage. I am sore today but it also felt good to release my tight glutes, be reassured everything is doing well and that I’m doing great. Still early days and still taking it easy, the third week is apparently where everything inside begins to heal that bit more, so stiffness is likely but movement encouraged.

Throughout the past two weeks, I couldn’t say enough thank yous to my mum for literally driving me everywhere, doing a lot for me and supporting me with all areas of this recovery, and more. I am so beyond grateful for her and literally have no idea what I would do without her!

I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend and this week has flow by for you! Here’s to hoping the sun comes back out because this chilly, rainy weather is not welcome!

Thanks for reading, as always! E

Emma xx

Hip Arthroscopy Surgery

About 6/7 years ago, I had surgery on my right hip to repair a labral tear – torn edges of muscle that cause symptoms like a catching to clunking sensation, inside the groin and at times, painful with every movement/exercise I did. I was very happy, I felt fixed and a new person.

Fast forward to last summer, which was when I started noticing the same symptoms on my left and decided to get it investigated sooner rather than later. I was quickly referred by my GP to the physiotherapy/orthopaedic department and waited for an assessment. Via a phone call, I spoke with the physio and she gave me some exercises to try over a period of a few weeks, after which we would chat again and see how I was getting on. Whilst the physio was lovely, so helpful and the exercises she gave were good, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling of knowing they weren’t doing much and the catching/pinching sensation was still very much there.

A few weeks later we spoke again, and decided it would be good idea to get an x-ray and an MRI to see what’s going on inside. I did have to wait a few weeks/month or so between the x-ray and MRI, but in the current circumstances with Covid, I expected and accepted this.

I was extremely lucky to be cared for at the local private hospital, all through the NHS. I was seen before Christmas to have my MRI and then waited about 6-8 weeks before getting the results and seeing one of surgeons physiotherapists/team. It was clear, from the MRI, that there was a tear, along with a FAI (femoroacetabular impingement). FAI are small bumps that form on the ball of the hip joint and cause damage/tearing of the cartilage (labrum), making it worse. It was good to chat with the physio, who had two options for me – a steroid injection or surgery to repair. From having the steroid injection on my right hip, and it not doing much, I didn’t see the point of going the same route with this and decided to jump straight to the surgery/repair option. We spoke about the procedure and recovery process, and my funding letter was written and sent to another department for approval. Now the waiting game began.

In total, I had to wait about 4 months from MRI results/chat to the surgery date. I have to say, I have been so impressed with how everything has been dealt with. I was kept up to date throughout the whole process and made sure I was comfortable with everything going on.

A week before surgery, I was sent an email with a slideshow of what to expect when going into hospital, the procedure itself, during my stay and after surgery/recovery. Usually this would be done at the hospital but with covid, they are only allowing patients with appointments, into the hospital. Two days before surgery, I had to get a covid test and then self isolate. I thought I’d find this really hard but weirdly I enjoyed staying at home, because I had to and was thankful for the yoga and Pilates class that were still being taught through zoom!

Before I know it, the day had arrived and the nerves were creeping in…I had to eat a light breakfast before 7.30am, and from then until my admission time at 12.30pm, clearly fluids only. My mum was great at keeping me distracted and I made a few loaves of bread to keep busy!!! We arrived at the hospital, mum gave me a big hug and I headed in alone. My temperature taken and all checked in, I sat in reception waiting to be taken to my room.

Once settled into my room, and the nurses came to check my in/ask questions, all was becoming quite real. I’d spoken to the anaesthetist, chosen my breakfast for the next morning and was left to it. I’m so thankful to all of you who messaged me and kept my occupied! I watched a film, which helped the hours tick by too. At around 1.30pm, I was told I could drink water until 3.30pm and that’s when I thought, “great, I’ll be seen shortly after then!”…little did I know it wouldn’t be until 6pm that I would be taken down to the operating theatre.

My nurse walked me down and settled me into the pre-op room. I was shaking, because I was now really nervous, so they covered me in warm blankets and wrapped my feet in cotton wool wraps (weird but SO cozy!) and I was prepped for surgery. I don’t even remember the conversation I was having with the anaesthetist but it wasn’t long before I was out like a light!

Just over two hours later, I remember waking up, wrapped in a big heated blanket (known as the bear hugger) with nurses by my side. I vaguely remember the surgeon telling me everything went well, and after that have no recollection of the journey back to my room! Once back in there, I woke again and had help changing into my own pj’s and attempted to eat something, but really I was ready to sleep!

The night was how I expected, not much sleep and lots of being woken. My blood pressure was super low, so I wasn’t allowed to get up and out of my bed until the very early hours of the morning. I was so desperate to use the bathroom and my bum/back had gone numb, that after begging the nurse, she finally let me get up. It felt good, albeit sore and extremely stiff feeling, to move, however once I got back into bed, I went a little down hill. My blood pressure dropped and I felt extremely clammy and nauseas all of a sudden. I was laid back down, given oxygen for a while and not allowed to sit back up until breakfast time.

Once I’d eaten, I was able to get up and washed/dressed and wait to be discharged. The surgeon came by to give me an update of how it went. It was a little worse than he initially thought and so was in there for longer than expected, but he was happy with everything. I’ll go back in 6 weeks to see him for a check up. Whilst waiting for my prescriptions from the pharmacy, the physiotherapists came round to take me out on my crutches and show me/make sure I could go up and down the stairs safely. I was welcomed back into my room with a coffee and the nurses helped pack my bags. Part of me didn’t want to leave because I was comfy and taken such great care of, but equally I couldn’t wait to get home to my own bed and see my parents!

At midday I was given the go ahead that I could leave and rang my mum to come collect me. She had to wait outside and I was brought down by the nurse to meet her. I couldn’t wait for that hug!

Home and settled, recovery could now begin. Movement for the first few days was hard. My leg felt sore and so stiff. I had the local anaesthetic still in it, it was double the size and felt like an elephant was constantly sat on me. Movement was encouraged and sitting for too long was/is still uncomfortable. I’ve got a few exercises to do, which are pretty simple and easy and will have my first physiotherapy appointment next Wednesday. I have crutches and am not allowed to drive for 2 weeks or any sport/exercise, except get on a bike. To be honest, nothing appeals to me right now!

Without a doubt, I am so glad I decided to get this sorted and can’t thank the doctors, nurses and all staff at the hospital for being so kind, gentle and taking such great care of me! I’m grateful for the NHS and everything it has done, especially during these tricky times, but they’ve managed so so well.

I also want to thank each and every single one of you who has wished me good luck, sent flowers, card and gifts, a speedy recovery and for putting a smile on my face. It doesn’t take the pain away but it certainly makes me feel less alone and a lot better.

Please feel free to ask any questions and areas I may not have covered. I plan to do a few more posts as I recover, which I hope you’ll enjoy but please don’t feel you have to read!

Hope you’ve all had a good weekend. Here’s to hoping the better and warmer weather appears soon…!

Much love,

Emma xx

RunThrough U.K. Newbury 10k

Saturday was everything. A REAL race, not virtual, around a real course, not my usual route, and with other runners/friends, not local walkers/runners/dog walkers/neighbour and her horses.

I honestly felt quite nervous during the drive, not to do with covid, but because it had been so long since I’d be in a race environment. I have to take my hat off to RunThrough U.K. for this event though, because they really did a great job with putting together such a fun day but also with the covid side of things. There was social distancing, monitoring of bathroom queues and keeping movement of start waves at a safe distance throughout the morning.

I was excited to run this course again because last time, it was freezing cold, the heavens opened half way with thunder and lighting, and by the time I got to the finish line, I was a drowned rat! This year, it was the total opposite! Beautiful blue skies, warm, the sun was shining and I’d regretted wearing my long sleeve top!

I arrived with a good amount of time and alongside Elisa, Charlie and Tam, we made our way to the event village to get ready for our 11am start. Charlie and Tam had a few miles to do before hand, so Elisa and I waved them off and went to wait for the warm up. A week before the race we had been sent out bib and chip tag in the post, so we didn’t have to worry about collecting on the day. After a fun warm up, full of some fun breakdance type moves, we shuffled ourselves over to the long line of cones spaced 2 metres apart, both length and width ways, ready to start.

Slowly moving our way to the start line, we set off in groups of 4 and not too quickly. I decided to hold back a bit with Charlie and Tam, as Elisa bolted off ahead of us. I wasn’t going for a time, I just wanted to have fun and see how the hip was going to hold up. As I warmed up, I pushed the pace a little and left Charlie and Tam, but I was happy with this. I continued the course on my own and had the best time. I was enjoying the moment, smiling at the volunteers, having the odd chat with other runners and soaking up the sunshine.

Before I knew it, I was being cheered towards the finish line by the most enthusiastic man, who really made me smile hard and feel good, and Elisa. I can’t tell you how great it felt to cross that finish, having that proud feeling of completing the race, run through me – a real runners high – which I feel I’m still riding now! I grabbed my medal and made my way to the sideline to stand with Elisa and cheer in Charlie and Tam.

A few photos taken and a quick catch up with Guillaume, a Brooks Run Happy team member, and then off we shot to find coffee and food!

As we were leaving I spotted this quote on the board, and it’s really stuck with me…

“Don’t measure your progress using someone else’s ruler” – RunThrough U.K.

I am sure I will go back to it over the next few weeks and months. It’s going to be a challenge for me to not compare myself, my (non) running etc to others, as I take a step back for surgery. I’m nervous to let go of what base I’ve built and have, but I also know how quick it’ll come back (I hope) and how amazing the body is. Positive thoughts and a positive mind, and I’ll be back crossing finish lines in no time…🤞🏼

A massive congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend, a special shout-out to Elisa – thank you for all the miles, laughs, smiles and fun this weekend and that you always being to our runs and walks, and last but not least, to RunThrough U.K. for making me feel safe and smile hard!

Have a great week everyone! Emma xx