Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Little About My Injuries

Sometimes I cringe when I hear myself say something about an exercise hurting or saying that there are some things I 'can't' do anymore because of my injuries. Mostly because if you saw me, fully clothed and didn't pay much attention to my limp, you wouldn't really know the extent of the injuries that I've been dealing with for the past 10-plus years.

I really strive to not let them hinder me in any way, but sometimes I have to be VERY careful as to not injure myself any more or re-injure myself by doing things that some people take for granted. I have overcome a lot to be able to get to where I am now and have done things that I probably shouldn't have that have irritated my joints, bones, health in general because, well... I had to.

So, I will attempt to explain a little about the pain I am in every day. Not because I want any type of sympathy. But, because I want others to know that even though you may have 'something' that you feel is holding you back or limiting you, you can overcome, compensate or figure out a way around it in order to become a healthier, happier you.

Arthritis - I was diagnosed with Arthritis when I was 17 years old. It began in my wrists and hands. I have no idea why. I just know that there were periods of time when my hands and wrists would lock up and hurt so bad I went to the dr. and they did x-rays and told me that's what the problem was. I am now almost 36 years old and I have it practically everywhere. It spread rapidly after my 3-wheeler accident to my ankles, feet, knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows, etc. I know when a storm is coming. I cannot use a can opener. Scissors give me trouble if I need to use them for very long. But, I don't let it incapacitate me. I am sure it can get worse, but I'm hoping that this journey to health and fitness will help.

Open Heart Surgery - I had open heart surgery when I was 24 years old. I had three children by that time, my youngest then was only 18 months old. Apparently, I was born with holes in my heart. (See Atrial Septal Defect) Four of them to be exact. One the size of a quarter and three the size of pencil erasers. I was pretty overweight when I had the surgery and gained afterwards, too. I did go on to have two more children, but it was just too much on me during my last pregnancy and I ended up having my tubes tied once my youngest was born. Honestly, the palpitations have been pretty much under control for the last few years, although even after the surgery for years I had issues with them. I have to maintain a pretty low-key attitude as stress triggers them.

Compressed Discs In My Neck - During the open heart surgery, the anesthesiologist wrenched my neck while putting the tube down my throat and I ended up being almost bed-ridden for almost a year afterwards. I went to a chiropractor for months for compressed discs in my neck before finally getting some relief. I haven't been able to go for quite a while now, so occasionally my neck gets out of whack and causes me severe headaches, numbness in my arms, etc.

Broken Tib & Fib - One year, almost to the day, of my open heart surgery I was in a 3-wheeling accident. I suffered quite a few injuries including a shattered tibia and fibula, back injuries, broken ribs, hips out of place, foot & ankle injuries as well. I had to have a Intramedullary Rod inserted and had severe complications post-surgery. Basically, the impact to my leg was so severe it damaged the tissues of my calf and it wouldn't heal at all. It practically rotted off. My Dr. was a quack and I ended up having to do my own Surgical debridement at home with my own scissors before I could get in to see anyone. Eventually, I got to see a plastic surgeon who did what he could, I guess.. but left me looking like a shark attack victim. I never got to go to Physical Therapy because I didn't have the money or a way to get there, but I did teach myself to walk again on my own. I still have a lot of trouble from these injuries and though I push through the pain, there are some things that give me more trouble than others... such as running and jumping. Therefore, cardio has been tough for me. But, I am still doing it, modifying when I have to so as not to re-injure myself.

Rotator Cuff Injury - About 2 years ago, I suffered a Rotator Cuff Injury to my right shoulder. I did some physical therapy, but was unable to complete it once I lost my insurance. Most of the time, I am good as long as I am very careful. However, it is easy to overexert myself at times and I have a tendency to over-extend while exercising or carrying things I probably shouldn't. I have had to learn to listen more closely to my body and really pay attention to the movements I make with my shoulder.

These are some of the things I deal with every day. However, I am pretty sure that as I continue increasing my strength and fitness level in general, some of the problems will improve. At least, I am hoping so!

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