Injury is isolating. Undiagnosed injury or illness is trying. Seeking diagnosis during a pandemic-induced shelter-in-place order is bringing up the deepest of feels. I know things could be worse, but that doesn’t negate the darkness creeping in, which I typically keep at bay with regular physical activity. I haven’t been out in nature in weeks and I’m fighting darkness. I’m doing what I can to make it through the hard days, but this is taking its toll on me as it is many others. We’re in this together, we always have been, but maybe now it’s easier to recognize.
Doubling up on uncertainty between the fallout from Covid-19 and whatever is causing my hip and leg pain is proving to be a wild ride. There are days where I don’t eat. There are days where all I do is eat. Yesterday I didn’t get out of bed until 4pm to take a bath and drink some water – these simple acts of care literally brought tears to my eyes, grateful for the ability to choose this behavior despite not wanting to.
Recap of current situation
Three weeks ago, I experienced acute pain in my upper quad that sent shooting pains up into my groin with every step and all together stopped me from running. I started using a crutch to walk two days later because it was too painful not to. A few days after that, a physical evaluation from my PT led to a presumed diagnosis of a stress reaction/fracture and eliminating weight bearing is the first step toward healing.
This past Thursday, the MRI on my femur came back showing no stress fracture, but “mild edema and nonspecific myostisis of the vastis intermedius muscle of the anterior thigh”. But that does not explain why the pain existed in the first place or why I still have pain in my hip and leg. There could be any number of things going on in my hip that has been causing pain for months despite the site of the acute pain showing only residual effects.
Seeking gratitude and also diagnosis
I’m trying to avoid Dr. Google and focus on appreciating the things that are contributing to my
sanity survival right now. I can work from home, which provides income, health insurance and a way to focus my mind; I have a roommate who is grounded and who speaks and acts with compassion and who never starts a sentence with “at least” in an attempt to make me feel better; and my sense of humor that still manages to emerge when I connect with others, no matter how bleak things feel. There’s something about those angles from the double-chin up that manage to make me and everyone else laugh.
While I may not have access to an immediate diagnosis, in the meantime I’m going back and documenting the timeline of my symptoms in case they’re related in the hopes that this will help me to get an accurate diagnosis. If it’s a tear or some sort of ‘itis’, rest will only help. If it’s arthritis, cancer or something degenerative, it’ll still be there in a few weeks when I can see a doctor and I should probably enjoy this time of blissful ignorance.
Timeline of pain symptoms
- Late summer?: noticed limited mobility during spinal twist in lower thoracic region
- Dec 5: complained about a deep ache in my right hip
- Dec 21: noticeable major fatigue while running
- Jan 1: skyline traverse cut short due to pain
- Mid-January: notable increase in work-related stress and disturbance in sleep
- Late January: runs starting to feel fatigued
- February 1: Pain in high hamstring – like a muscle cramp that also burns
- Feb 8, 15: Major fatigue noted during run – realistically, the whole month of Feb
- Feb 16: Dirty Bizmark loop – last 15 mi run felt okay but challenging conditions
- Feb 23: Knee tracking pain in left knee – likely from issues in the right leg causing imbalance. Took a rest day on a Sunday. Got some soft tissue work and rock tape and resolved quickly.
- March 1 – 7: acute pain in upper quad. Landing on right foot causes shooting pain in upper right quad into groin. Even terrain and easy rhythm makes it bearable, but eventually was just too painful to continue. Last run was March 7.
- March 10th: started walking with crutch out of necessity
- March 13th: physical evaluation from PT showed signs of stress reaction/stress fracture
- March 26th: MRI reveals no stress fracture in femur – only edema in the area imaged – no imaging done on hip, pelvis or acetabulum.
- March 27: walked very slowly and gingerly about the house to make food, etc. felt ok
- March 28: woke with mild but throbbing pain deep in hip, radiating intermittently into hamstring and groin, dissipated be end of day and was walking a bit
- March 29: not as intense, but still noticeable throbbing and able to walk without increased pain
Stay tuned for more information as this riveting story unfolds…