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New Year, New Me?

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy (belated) New Year’s. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

So why did I title my blog entry as “New Year, New Me”? Well…for starters I entered the new year without the use of crutches. My medical history has prevented me from starting the new year healthy. Two hip surgeries later, I feel great.

And as I enter the new year pain free, 2014 will be a defining year for yours truly. In 2010, I was at my healthiest and strongest. Upon feeling healthy and vowing to never look back at my old 250+ pound self, I decided I wanted to run the NYC Marathon in 2012.

Fast forward to 2011, I felt my body breaking down. Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) was the cause to my malaise. My hips hurt. My confidence shattered. And my desire to run in the NYC Marathon in 2012 was in question.

Enter Dr. Bryan T. Kelly in the spring of 2011. His experience in arthroscopic hip surgery has been mentioned in this blog countless times over. But once again I must state, we approached this head on. One option given to me was to alter my activities. Running and working out has become a constant fixture in my life. While I stopped working out for six months at the discretion of Dr. Kelly, my confidence was not completely deflated. And my dream of running in the marathon was not dead. The dream was and to this very day remains ALIVE.

Two hip surgeries later I have never felt better. My hips no longer ache. The running path is clear. I am now running without worries or fear. Today I prepare for my toughest and most probably task, the NYC Marathon.

Training has not been kind to me. But I recently realized I was the one to blame. For instance my cardio lacked intensity. I became too complacent. The monotony of using the elliptical machine five days a week mentally drained me. On the first day of the month, I decided to mix my cardio. I re-included the use of the spin bike, the treadmill/running path, stair master, etc. It truly feels like 2010.

My goal between now and the NYC Marathon (November 2) is to mentally and physically prepare myself for the grueling 26.2 miles of fun. Yup fun.

The first item on my checklist is to lose the weight I gained from the two surgeries. In 2010, I weighed 150 pounds. Three years and 15 pounds later, I do not want to weight 150 pounds, but I sure as hell do not want to weigh 165 pounds. In the coming weeks, I plan on finding a personal trainer. I also plan on going for more runs. But of course that last item is contingent on the weather. I do not mind running in the cold, but when a “polar vortex” hits the area, my limbs mean more than a run in the park.

Is this really a “New Year, New Me”? The answer is simply “no”. For one I am not keen on resolutions. Secondly, I met my goals in 2009. And now that I am healthy, “it’s go time”.

Stay tuned. I will go through a lot of peeks and valleys.

 

I Am Ready

July 12, 2013 2 comments

It has been close to ten months since I last ran competitively. That road has taken me from the highest of highs. However, I cannot say I have seen “the lowest of lows”.

Since I last ran the Rock N Roll : New York 10K in October, I had my second and final arthroscopic hip surgery. The recovery had some setbacks. But those setbacks were expected.

After my second surgery I began planning the races I wanted to participate in 2013. Three of the races I considered were three races I participated in 2012. My first 2012 race was the Damon Runyon 5K race at Yankee Stadium. Due to embarrassing circumstances, I did not complete the race. I did, however, receive my medal. The medal is nice but I have it hidden. I did not deserve it. After discovering why I did not complete the race, I promised myself to race the event in 2013. That race is scheduled for August 12. I will be there.

The second race I vowed to participate is the Tunnel to Towers 5K. This is by far a race that I am passionate about. I am running for our first responders and men and women serving our country. Many of whom do not return the same. By raising money I am helping their families. I am helping wounded veterans. I am doing my best to give back. This race is not about medals or recognition. It’s about giving back. And I am doing just that. This race will be penned onto my calendar each year. Rain or shine I will participate in this event.

If you want to help in this cause, donations could be made at the following link, http://www.t2trun.org//campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=15986. I am on a mission to raise $1,000 by August 1. I am almost there. Can you help?

In October I am registered to once again participate in the Rock N Roll 10K at Prospect Park. This race is a race for me to enjoy. There is no back story to it. Similar to the Tunnel to Towers, this race will penned onto my calendar each year.

However, I am scheduled to race in my first 5K of the year tomorrow. In 2012, the New York Mets were awarded the All-Star Game. I am a big Mets fan. However, what made me excited about the All Star Game were the festivities leading up to the midsummer classic. One of the festivities is a 5K race benefiting a charity. This year the charity benefits Superstorm Sandy relief. As a proud New Jerseyan, my home state was decimated after Sandy. I helped out in every way possible last year. I am humbled and proud for the cause.

This race will also be my first competitive race since last October’s 10K in Prospect Park. Am I nervous? I am not as nervous as I am excited. Physically I feel great. While I am not at a 100%, my body is more than ready. I have been preparing for this since Dr. Bryan Kelly cleared me to return to the gym.

I cannot wait. My running gear is ready. I am about to buy some songs of iTunes for my iPod. Now where did I place my Garmin watch?

While I search for the watch, please wish me luck. It’s (almost) go time!

Stay tuned for my final results tomorrow.

Jorge

 

Returning to My Old Self

April 14, 2013 4 comments

The last time I posted an entry I was two months removed from my second and final arthroscopic hip surgery. Since that last entry, a lot has happened in my recovery.

In February, I struggled. Setbacks was the norm. But I overcame those setbacks.

Since those setbacks I slowly returned to my old self.

On March 12, I saw Dr. Bryan Kelly for my three month post-op follow up. To no surprise they were content with my range of motion and quick recovery. The only difference this time around was the amount of atrophy I sustained in my left hip. Dr. Kelly acknowledged I need to build strength and muscle. It was also on that date where I was cleared to return to the gym and resume a limited running plan.

Life is  good.

Since that date I have returned to the gym. With the exception of physical therapy, I ran once on my own. If you follow this blog you know how much running means to me. Just last week I signed up for a 5K sponsored by the company I work for. I am ready. But since the event is a week from this Wednesday, I will participate with caution. My body is not where I want it to be.

Hopefully July, I will have the stamina and strength I desire.

It is only April and already I am planning for three to five running events this year. I am excited.

To avoid injury I am actually learning new stretching techniques. My lower body is tight. And the last thing I need is an injury. I am using tools such as the foam roller, balance board and even a towel. Since the two surgeries I learned how vital stretching is for the success and overall health for an active individual.

I look forward to what my running future holds. After all, all I ask is to run in one marathon. Once I begin and end that 26.2 journey, I plan on retiring from long distant running. I just need to get through this year and next year. My goal is to run the NYC Marathon in 2014.

I am looking forward to this journey.

8 Weeks Ago

February 9, 2013 1 comment

The last time I submitted an entry I was preparing to return to the office after recovering from my second hip surgery. That was about a month ago. One month later I physically feel great.

Being diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in the spring of 2011 has taught me a lot about my physical fitness and in a way about life.

Two surgeries later I have lot to look forward to. My hips have never felt this good in such a great period of time. Eight weeks ago I had my second hip surgery performed by Dr. Bryan T. Kelly.

The minute I woke up from my medically induced sleep I knew I would return to my old fitness levels in due time. Compared to my first surgery I recovered in a quicker pace. Now I am not saying I am ready to run. Would I like to run? Of course. Those who know me, know running is my drug.

But for now I am enjoying the freedom of being able to walk around without the assistance of crutches. Walking is something many of us take for granted. But being unable to walk can be a hindrance.

Eight weeks have gone. And slowly I am ready to return to the gym. I am basing my return off of last years surgery. I was cleared to return to the gym in March. Unlike last year though, I plan on mixing my routine. No longer will I focus my workout solely on cardio. I will do a hybrid of workouts ranging from cardio to swimming and yoga. This is something I look forward to.

Two weeks ago I met with Dr. Bryan T. Kelly for my six week follow up. I went in for the routine post-op x-rays and consultation. To my amazement he gave me one of the best compliments. After six weeks my range of motion was better than what any of us had expected. He joked, “I would love to clone you.” The thought about wanting more patients who quickly heal was a tremendous compliment from a surgeon who has done the same surgery on athletes and regular patients.

I credit my quick recovery to my workouts and the tremendous staff at STAR physical therapy. Jeremy Crowe deserves a lot of credit for getting me back to my feet.

My therapy has greatly improved my hips. Last year I did my therapy but at times took it for granted. In time I healed. But this time around, my mindset was on getting stronger and faster. In order to get there I need to stay focused on my physical therapy. Each visit to STAR I go with the mentality of doing better than the previous day.

And guess what…I do. I went from 10 seconds on the balance board to two minutes. I still can’t believe that. Balancing for two minutes is not easy. But focus is the key. And so is music. If you do not have your iPod, time will not be on your side. That’s just one of the many workouts I do at physical therapy. It feels great.

I do suffer from tightness but that’s why I stretch often at home and at work. If there was one thing I learned in the last eight weeks, it was the value of stretching. I not only stretch my hips but I also stretch my upper body and lower body. Apparently I am flexible. So I am going with it.

I am content with my recovery. But I could not have done it without the love and support of family and friends. If you are reading this I thank you. I would like to name each of you but I would need a lot more time. But you all know who you are. Whether you are my blood, my coworkers, high school friends, college friends or twitter friends. You know who you are. Gracias desde el fondo de mi corazon! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Eights have gone by. What do the next eight weeks have in store? Let’s wait and see.

Until next time.

Jorge

My Physical and Emotional Recovery

January 13, 2013 Leave a comment

When I last entered an entry, I was a day away from my second arthroscopic hip surgery. I was nervous. But I knew what to expect.

The day of the surgery I was upbeat. I was energetic. I was vigilant.

Upon leaving the house I received wonderful messages from my loved ones. Truth be told I will forever be grateful for their love and support. Consequently, our bond would ultimately be put the test a few days after Christmas. It was something that shook the foundation of our family.

Before I discuss on my second hip surgery. I want to mention what happened two days after Christmas.

I had just returned from physical therapy. My mother, who was not feeling well, had told me she was going to the hospital with my brother. For a few days she suffered from numbness, headaches and disorientation. It scared us. After a few hours she was admitted for an overnight stay. What should have been an overnight visit turned into a five day stay.

And not being able to do a thing hurt me. At that point I was a week and a half removed from surgery. And now I am finding out my mother suffered “Transient Ischemic Attack” (TIA). TIA is often considered a “mini stroke”. The symptoms she endured could have progressed into a major stroke had she ignored the symptoms.

For five days she lied in a hospital bed. That Saturday, the whole family visited her at the hospital. My mother was connected to a heart monitor, an IV, and an oxygen tube. The strong woman that I know and love was now in a bed. She put on a brave face. Who wants to spend any time, let alone the holiday season, in the hospital?

Thankfully, by New Year’s Eve she was medically discharged. Her MRI, ECG, EKG and any other medical examination she went through came back without any problems. She was put on some medication. Of course she has to change her diet. She has to see a specialist in the coming weeks. But overall we are confident she will beat this.

My mother received a wake-up call. She knows it. My siblings know it. My fathers know it. And since her scare, she does not take a thing for granted. I know speak for my siblings when I say, “We are glad to have her around. We are glad to see her happy.” I will keep you posted on her upcoming visit to the specialist. We love you mom.

As for me…tomorrow I return to work. After a one month lay-off, I am eager and ready to return. This past weekend I have been up and around. I am able to get around without my crutches. But I think it would be best I use my crutch(es) to maintain my stability. In one month I suffered atrophy.

I am able to get around inside my home without a problem. But outside my home, my left hip is tight.

Compared to last year’s surgery I feel great.

After the surgery, I was in a haze. But I do remember talking to Dr. Kelly afterwards. It turned out I had a significant labrum tear, which required four anchors. An anchor is similar to stitches. The anchors stitch the labrum back onto the acetabulum. I had the same amount of anchors placed in my right hip last year. Interestingly, my left hip was not as discomforting as my right hip.

I will admit I had a little set back a week and a half ago. I strained my right hip flexor. Talk about doing too much in little time. The strain, while nothing serious, scared me. In the few days before seeing my physical therapist, I knew what to do.

When I saw Jeremy, my physical therapist, he diagnosed me with a strained hip flexor. He suggested I continue with my stretches. What he did next is exactly what I had hoped. He applied acupressure on my hip flexor. I knew what to expect. It hurt. But damn it felt good. In a few days, with the combination of stretching and ice, the acupressure healed my strained flexor.

One month ago I had surgery. My recovery has been a treat. How many people would say that their recovery has been a treat?

As I return to my life, I have to regain my physical fitness. It will not be easy, but I am ready.

I look forward to this new challenge.

This is a mission I will document. My road to the 2014 NYC Marathon has begun. I am so focused that I have already signed up for a 10K race in October. Of course I will do a lot once I am cleared to resume. I will prepare myself for my running season. Join me on this race.

 

It’s Time

December 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Monday morning I will be at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Like last year, I will have my hip scoped for FemoroAcetabular Impingement (FAI) and a partially torn labrum. Last year I had my right hip scoped this year it will be the left side. Since starting the whole process in early 2011, I knew I was in good hands with Dr. Bryan Kelly.

Today being my last day walking without the use of crutches happened to be a great day. Despite not visiting the gym today, I spent a lot of time with my family. The bond I have with my family is what keeps me composed and focused, not just for the challenge I will face but in life. Good times was had. And a lot of laughing is the cure for any ailment. Trust me.

In the last few weeks I have taken my workouts to another level. I used the stair master on a frequent basis. The perspiration dripping off my face proved that I can still be active on a high level. I am proud to say that when I return to my active life, I will pick up where I left off. And whatever weight I gain between now and March/April will not affect me as much. I have been down this road before. And I refuse to regress into old patterns.

My motivation has allowed me to think about the future. Earlier this week I registered for the 2013 Rock N Roll – New York 10K in Brooklyn. Running has allowed me to break free and enjoy being healthy.

As I prepare for surgery I cannot help but think about the great times I had running. Between August and October I ran three races. Each race will hold a special place in my heart. In August I ran the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium. That race was my first competitive race. But what made that race far more special and memorable was due to my gaffe. I ended up with a medal I did not deserve. I hit the finish line when I was supposed to go around the final course a second time. My bad.

In September, I redeemed myself when I ran the Tunnel to Towers 5K. I completed the race with a decent time. And above all I ran for those first responders who gave up their lives on 9-11. It was a treat and a complete honor.

This past October I ran my final race. The Rock N Roll 10K at Prospect Park was amazing. It was a cool October morning and I was excited to have participated in the event. The race was far more special as I did it for me. I know that sounds shallow but I wanted to prove to myself that I can stick to my goals. Sure enough I did. And in the process established a new personal record. I completed the race in 51 minutes. Not too bad if I say so myself. I literally shaved off 6 minutes from my own 10K race in Central Park.

I look forward to what will be in store for me come 2013. Stay tuned.

Emotionally, physically and spiritually I feel great. With that said I will enjoy these last hours with family.

Until next time. We’ll chat. Be safe and well. Tomorrow I will be on the road to recovery.

In Two Weeks…

Welcome to the dog days of summer. In three days we welcome a new month. As soon as you know it, schools will re-open, summer slowly turns into autumn. Cooler weather also allows many to run at any point of the day.

I enjoy the later months as I am currently preparing myself for three races. On August 12, at Yankee Stadium, I will run the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium Run/Walk For Cancer Research. For the last two months I have trained hard for this 5K (3.1 Miles) and the subsequent races I am participating. As I prepare for my second hip surgery this December, running the NYC Marathon is out of the question. However, running two 5-K races and one 10-K race in a matter of three months is reasonable. After all I did receive the blessing from my surgeon and physical therapist to get out there and run.

Just a final reminder Tuesday (July 31) is the last day I can collect donations for the charity. Up to this point I collected $330. I am appreciative to those supporting me and most importantly the cause. But I would definitely like to collect more. If you have not done so please click on the link to donate. And if I may please pass the link on to your friends.

http://runyon5k2012.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1013719&supid=361569785

As I prepare for the race my hips feel great. My right surgically repaired right hip feels great. I have minor discomfort, which is expected since I am less than eight months removed from surgery. Earlier this week I began the journey to my second surgery by requesting and receiving an injection in my left hip. The injection, which took less than a half hour to complete, localized the discomfort in my lift hip.

Prior to the injection, Dr. Andrew Collins, documented the range of motion of my left hip. After experiencing some discomfort in various angles, he was ready to commence the procedure. In order to precisely get into the hip joint he used a “live x-ray” called, a Fluoroscopy machine. After locating the joint, he applies an anesthetic in the hip area. A few minutes after that, the needle was inserted into my hip joint. Three different anesthetics and an anti-inflammatory cortisone were used.

The only discomfort I felt was the initial pressure in my hip joint. The whole time on the table I observed Dr. Collins and even looked at the image of my hip. We even had a brief conversation. Upon completing the minor procedure he once again documented the range of motion in my hip. To no surprise (from experience), I was pain and discomfort free. He wanted me to stay off the hip for at least 2 to 3 days. Initially I wanted to refrain from working out for 3 to 4 days. But after thinking it over, I am active. The procedure occurred on a Tuesday, I returned to the gym on Thursday. I felt great.

With the injection out of the way and both hips feeling strong, I can now prepare. Preparation for these three races is crucial. To some these races are minimal. But to me these races will show how determined I am. There is no stopping me.

While I have a total of three races in three months to worry about, my main focus is on August 12. I am excited and nervous rolled all into one ball. Hell, I even purchased my first apparel for the race. What is it? Well I am going to keep you in suspense.

In preparation I have taken my workouts to another level. This morning I did an hour and a half of cardio. Typically I spend the whole time on one machine. Today, however, I spent the whole time between two cardio machines. First, I spent an entire hour on the spin bike. After re-discovering the spin bike I surely missed the workout. Again the hips felt great. Sweat streaming down my face made the workout well worth it. Once I completed the spin bike I journeyed to the elliptical for a 30 minute workout. I did not get intense with the workout. But rest assured I worked my butt off. I felt great. To cap off the morning/afternoon, I had a session with my personal trainer. We kicked ass. He complimented my look. According to Mitch, I look a bit leaner. I do not see it but I am humbled by his comments.

I am ready. Let’s do this.