It is Christmas Day and I get this message on instagram “How long have you had OP for? I’m nearly 2 years… Merry Christmas and wishing you an injury free 2017!” Several emotions race through my head: A friend in my suffering that gets it! Along with: dear G-d, two years?!? That will never be me, she needs to go away…
Osteitis pubis, the doctor wrote it down for me so I could look it up until my hearts content. What kind of cool doctor does this, encourages you to google? One that used to run in college and understands a runners mentality. I went back to my office armed with this piece of paper with its mysterious diagnosis and a script for a NSAID. I was cleared to run once my foot healed, that’s another story, and to tolerance. Pain tolerance that is. He said it would probably never go away and would likely be a nuisance- my word not his. He did give me brief shot of optimism by agreeing that once this particular episode was under control it might never be an issue or maybe just the occasional flair up. Having dealt with loose joints and the resulting arthritis most of my life, I could handle this, no problem! Then I googled. Average recovery time was 7-9 months. I stopped googling. That is like, almost a year!
As I said my foot was injured as well. Short story: pain in 5th metatarsal area, possible fracture and tendinitis. After 5 weeks in a boot, multiple X-rays and finally an MRI later, it is now an entrapped nerve that after a series of injections, should fully recover. I was in disbelief: no tears, cracks or breaks?? Doc informed me the MRI report actually said “unremarkable”. I informed him I am anything but “unremarkable”. He laughed and also cleared me to run, to tolerance.
It is interesting this “to tolerance”. Runners have an almost super human response to pain. Ask a normal person what it feels like to be on your feet for 15+ hours, not just standing, but moving forward at a good clip and you will most likely be met with a blank stare or maybe they’ve been in the military so they actually know. Waitresses and medical people might also have an idea, minus the “moving forward at a good clip” part. Ask an endurance athlete however, they will most likely tell you it was the best day ever. Ask them with wide eyes “Didn’t it hurt?” and you will see them struggle to remember. Sure we usually walk funny after, but every body does, that’s part of it. We were back running a few days later, because we all know the best way to get all of that waste product out is with an easy recovery run or swim. We do not understand “to tolerance”. We only understand: ‘we can run’ or ‘we cannot run’.
The final irony of this mysterious injury I have, oh and it is not a common injury, unless you’re a footballer in Europe. As a matter of fact, it is so uncommon that when I started crocheting to combat my restlessness, a lady in my group, who is a medical coder, commented she had that diagnosis come across her desk. She remembered, because she doesn’t see it often. Upon asking my name and what doctor, yep it was me. Which brings me to my final beef with all of this: it is a pelvic injury. Due to recent political events in our country, I have been more forth coming in the sexual violences I have survived. I think it is vital that women talk about these things openly and not hide them. I was ashamed to speak of it for so long, yet I realized it only hurt me worse to stay silent. It needs to be said often and out loud that these things happen, even though it makes everyone uncomfortable. It is a horrible subject, but pretending it doesn’t happen does not make it go away. Most importantly, we do not apologize for speaking of it or it’s effects AT ALL. As hard as it is to say, “I was date raped in college the first time I went. That’s why I am now 42 and just now hopefully, getting my bachelors. Oh and I was also a survivor of childhood incest and several abusive relationships as a result of… Not to mention the resulting ptsd and anxiety” it has to be said. You never know who else is suffering and needs to know: “You are not alone!” Having said this, that does not mean I enjoy discussing my pelvis, yet it is now a hot topic of conversation. “How is your foot?” “Better thank you! So nice to have that boot off!! 4-7 alcohol injections and it should completely resolve. I still can’t really run though because of the osteitis pubis… ” Blank stare. “Yeah, so it’s sort of like arthritis of your pubic bone… A groin injury… It aches all the time… it takes forever to heal…” It is awkward for everyone. Unless they are close friends, I usually spare them the sexual difficulties this injury has. I am making peace with it though. I answered the nice lady on instagram, because I really am thankful she understands my pelvic pain and frustrations. I have been strengthening my core and hips hoping to come back strong and avoid re injury in the future. I also ran 4 laps yesterday on the indoor track at my gym. That equals .4 miles, not much when you consider I covered 50 miles at my ultra in September, but I tell you those were the sweetest, most glorious .4 miles ever. Do not take your body for granted, every moment is a gift.