Thursday, March 24, 2011


As in, it got cold out again!  After several days of 70 degree weather, today's high is a whopping 40 with quite a bit of wind.  For me, after Tuesday's run, it was a welcome change.  The plan was 14 miles with my friend Kathy.  My belly was very sore last night.  It was so bad that I was having difficulty lifting Rowan.  Tim finally convinced me that I should take some pain medicine.  So I did...some leftover Lortab from when he had his wisdom teeth removed.  It helped, but I ended up taking two.  And that really helped.

This morning, when I woke up, I was still pretty sore.  But not as bad as last night.  The pain this time is a lot worse than last time since I had more injections.  It almost feels like I've had surgery.  But it's getting better.  It can take up to 7 days for the cortisone to work, so I won't really know anything until at least Sunday or early next week.

I was getting dressed to run with Kathy, when my phone range.  It was an area code I didn't recognize.  Out of curiosity, I answered it.  It was a PT from Michigan.  You might think, based on this and previous entries, that it's a normal thing for chiropractors or PTs to just call me up.  Well, it hasn't been until now.  So how did the PT from Michigan know about me?  Well, throughout this whole process, I've been continuously googling and joining MPS message boards.  I am not content to receive a treatment and wait for it to work.  I'm always on the lookout for other options.  A few days ago, I came across a message board post from a runner (finally!) with MPS who had tried something called robotic muscular therapy.  You can watch videos of it here.  But, basically, it's a treatment given by a PT but via a robot.  It is not like massage--it is so powerful it actually lengthens the muscles.  No medication is involved.  So, when I read about it, I was struck by how many people said things like "You HAVE to try it!  It saved me from bi-weekly cortisone injections!" and they were tossing the words "pain free" around--very uncommon for MPS sufferers.   Then I watched the videos.  And I became interested.

So, could I get this done in Indiana?  Not likely...but it can be done in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.  It was between Michigan and Pennsylvania as far as which clinic would be closer.  Ended up being Michigan.  So I called them and left a message.  The PT who called me today was returning my call.  He asked me a lot of questions...most I have answered before.  After I answered them all, he said "It seems like the core issue may be in your hip flexor, and possibly your right psoas."  I explained to him that Dr. Russell picked up on the psoas, did quite a bit of ART on it, and I have pretty much had no back pain as a result of his treatments.  He told me he was sure they could get me pain free.  I had to ask.  "Well, so many doctors (chiropractors excluded) have told me, and I keep reading, that there is no cure for MPS.  Once you have it, you have if you can make me pain free, is this something I'm going to have to do on a regular basis."  "No, you won't have to do it on a regular basis.  MPS is curable unless it coexists with fibromyalgia.  MPS is caused by trauma.  The muscles respond to the trauma by shortening.  Shortened muscles spasm and cause pain.  And that starts the pain cycle.  Spasm leads to pain, pain leads to spasm."  "Okay, so how do you fix it?"  "You have to find the sweet spot.  You have one, maybe two, muscles that are at the root cause of this.  I think they may be in your hip flexors.  But we have people come in here with unrelenting shin pain.  We fix a muscle in their back, and their shins never bother them again.  When you have muscles which shorten, other muscles have to take over for them.  Then THEY shorten, and on and on.  We have to find your sweet spot."

He is the first person who hasn't used the word "interesting" about my case.  He acted as though it all made sense to him.  You were pregnant, you ran that way, your muscles (hip flexors and abs) were, in a way, traumatized and they shortened.  They must be lengthened.  No one can lengthen them with his/her hands, but this robot can.  It will hurt, of course, but I don't even care.  I'm thinking of trying it.  It would involve a 4+ hour drive to Michigan, but that's worth it to me.  He said three treatments maximum, and they could have me fixed.  I'm skeptical, of course.  Who wouldn't be after what I've gone through?  However, it does make sense to me.  It's what all the chiropractors have been trying to do...but with the help of a robot who can REALLY push on the affected areas.  And a PT who can, apparently, find my sweet spot.

I'm guessing that robotic therapy is not covered by insurance.  So I have to find out how much it's going to cost.  But, if I had to guess, I'd say you'll be reading about my experience with robotic massage sooner than later.

As for today's run--much better than Tuesday.  Kathy and I headed out at a nice, easy pace.  We had tons of water and Gatorade stashed for us, thanks to Tim.  So there was no risk of dehydration.  We talked the whole time, and the miles just clicked by.  As far as my pain...until mile 7 it was just overwhelming soreness.  When we stopped to drink at mile 6.5, and then restarted, I noticed it was getting a little sharp.  It was quite sharp for about a mile, between miles 7 and 8, then settled back down.  Then we stopped to drink again, and I had the same thing.  I'm wondering if it had to do with taking in a large amount of fluid all at once.  I don't know, but, on the whole, I was in much less pain.  The soreness it sort of like that that you'd expect 4-5 days after having surgery.  It just hurts all over, but it's manageable.

The one thing that happened on this run is that we picked up a dog.  Or, rather, he picked up us.  About 9 miles into the run, we saw this dog racing toward the road.  We run this route all the time, and we'd never seen him.  I was terrified, but Kathy didn't seem too worried.  Until he barked at her and showed a LOT of teeth.  We stopped for a second and told him to stay.  He just ran circles around us.  He had on a collar, and attached to it was some kind of cord.  It was clear that he had been tied up but somehow got free.  We began running again, and he followed us.  He was right behind Kathy, on her right heel, and making me nervous.  He wasn't barking, just right on her.  Then he began darting back and forth across the road.  We determined that, if annoying, he wasn't dangerous.  We stopped about a half mile up so that Kathy could call her son to wish him a happy birthday--right at the exact moment he was born.  While she did that, I looked for tags on the dog.  There were none.  We decided the best thing to do would be to tie him up loosely.  That way, we could get away, and when he got loose he could head home.  So we did that and took off again.

Wasn't five minutes, he was back.  And he's not a smart dog.  I can't believe he actually found us.  He followed us all the way up Slaughter House Hill and into town.  We kept tripping over him and his cord.  He had horrible running etiquette--he darted between us, ran around us, etc.  As we neared town, Kathy said we had to find something to do with him, as he was going to get hit by a car.  But we didn't know what to do.  We couldn't just tie him up, and he wouldn't quit following us.  We had to add a couple of miles on on Washington Avenue.  When we hadn't been on there for more than a half mile, the dog raced across the road to bark at some dogs who were fenced in.  When he turned around and came back on the road, he ran right out in front of a car.  The car slammed on the breaks, making them screech, and that dog was maybe 2 inches from being hit.  That really shook us.  We ended up taking him to the house of someone Kathy knows...someone who works with the humane society.  They let us put him in the kennel and Kathy was going to go back to get him after the run.  She was going to try to deliver him back to where we think he came from, but she was also talking about maybe keeping him.  She was also going to feed him, as he looked skinny.  She was definitely more the dog lover between the two of us.

I finished the run feeling sore in my abs, but everything else felt great.  Pace was easy, hills were easy, and I would have had no problem running 6+ more miles.  Much different than Tuesday, thank goodness.  Seeing Dr. Houze and Dr. Russell tomorrow.  Can't wait!

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