Dec 11, 2013

On Hinky Butts and the In Between Years...

Because it's been a while since I wrote about my butt, I figured it was time for an update.

Long story short, the procedure I had (Google: prolotherapy) has been possibly life changing. For the first time in 19 years, my sacrum is stable.  I can bend or kneel or squat without fear of throwing my butt/back out of whack. Which is a big deal on its own, but bigger even so when you factor in kid-wrangling.  I'm not even sure I've taken time to process the magnitude of difference it has made.  There's something called body confidence, which in this sense is not about what you look like, but it's referring to telling your body to do something and being able to trust that it's going to do it. Over the years I trained myself to do all sorts of things asymmetrically, to avoid hinkifying my butt (highly technical terms, there), so in the past 6 months or so I've been working on undoing old habits and retraining on new, healthy, good body mechanics, trusting that my joints will hold as they should. So where sitting on the potty used to be cause for concern and anxiety, as I gain body confidence it is a celebration of my butt's alignment and stability. Yay for stability.

It would be wonderful to close the book there and say that's all there is, and Skerrib lived happily ever after with body symmetry and awesome alignment, but that's not quite the whole story. In fact, it's really only half of it.

In my last post about my back, I believe I left off with Dr Laub, which would've been around 2003 or 2004. After that time I entered several "in-between years" of fairly good results with physical therapy, followed by childbearing and breastfeeding, both of which are not good for keeping joints stable because there's this hormone (?) called relaxin which makes all of your ligaments loosen...which as my PT Mark pointed out is a very good thing for helping the baby exit the body in all the best ways  (Plus, even though my PT results seemed good, I was doing a whole lot of "favoring" my weak side, so I'll probably never know how stable I truly was--or wasn't).

The thing is, all that relaxin, as well as my propensity for extended breastfeeding, did not lend themselves well to encouraging joint stability, but I found myself in a weird state of equilibrium and peace with the whole thing. Of course I wanted my back to be all fixed, but we were pretty adamant about the children, and I'm a hippie about the breastfeeding, so it won out as a priority. In the meantime I did what I could to build some strength while understanding that as long as I insisted on having more babies I likely wouldn't be able to get a long-term fix on this thing.  The upside was having a fantastic PT in Wyoming whom I could see periodically, and just kind of letting my sacrum off the hook for a while. I mean, I was still frustrated with it, but not quite as adamant or crusade-y as before.  I gave myself a fuzzy deadline of "after the last kid," but beyond that tried to relax a little and keep perspective.  

Like I said before, even though my back pain seemed to take up a lot of space in my mind, there was a whole lot of life going on at the same time, and the upside of all that relaxin was that while it wouldn't let my SI stay stable, it also relaxed it enough to take away a lot of the pain, so other than knowing I was walking weird (to me), it really wasn't so bad for the most part.  I could keep running, and even noticed an improvement when I changed my running form and took out the heel strike. They say that it is less pound-y on the joints, and it sure seems that way for me.  

And finally, with the birth of our third kiddo, we declared ourselves DONE with great emphasis and glee, and three months later had all our stuff packed up for our relocation to the greater DC-area.  All of that followed by getting settled, and acquainted, and other such necessities.  

For a while I did that thing that happens to a lot of moms, where I got so caught up in caring for the kids, particularly the new baby, that I put my own issues aside. But after a few months (and my maybe-Lyme-Disease scare) I began to feel situated and pursued my own little health overhaul, which was less about doing lots of things differently and more about catching up on preventive stuff. Dentist, eye doc, and the like. And as I got to thinking about it, I realized that the greater DC-area is a veritable haven for doctors of all types. Seriously, there are a gazillion of them here, for anything you could possibly think of. So I figured I'd see if I could find one who was knowledgeable about spinal things, and see if (s)he knew about this procedure I'd been thinking about/avoiding for several years, and see if I might be a candidate for it...later on, of course. I don't know why I kept thinking "later on," but there you have it.

Well. It turns out in the 10 years or so since my diagnosis, there has been great advancement in the medical community's overall knowledge and acceptance of SI joint dysfunction and the treatment options available.  I did some serious digging on the internet (like 10 minutes) and found an entire medical GROUP dedicated to spine stuff, who takes my insurance. I made the appointment and prepared a big long speech. After years of explaining and re-explaining my issues and maladies, I was ready to self-advocate in a big way, only to have the doc go "Oh, here's this one move you can do. Go get some X-rays and an MRI, and come back in a month and I'll do the prolotherapy on you." And I did some huge mental prep work, because prolotherapy involves needles and I kind of hate needles, and it truly wasn't very much fun, but it was over within 20 minutes. 

I've decided that's how life is a lot of the time. When you're lucky you see the significance of the bigger moments ("Markers," if you will). I certainly saw the significance of getting a 19 year injury corrected.  But on the other hand, there is often a certain nonchalance about it. I was ready for a fight. I was ready for the profound struggle, many visits if necessary, the motivational montage, and possibly my own segment on 20/20 about overcoming adversity, but in the end it was 20 minutes of unpleasantness followed by a weekend of bed rest and then back to real life for the most part. 

Now of course it still doesn't end there, but this is where I'll have to pick up the next time. Dinnertime, and all...