Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why My CrossFit Career Might Be Over

So I'm in love with CrossFit.  I love it and look forward to it.  It's a sickness almost.  I wake up and look at the WOD and think, "That looks horrible, I can't wait to go."  I can't really explain it.  Unless you've ever fallen in love with anything then you probably wouldn't understand.  

Around November of 2015 I started experiencing pain in my collar bone.  I had a lump (about gumball sized) right on my clavicle (I now know it's in my sternoclavicular joint).  As any good BAD CrossFitter would, I ignored the pain.   With any sport comes pain and injury... that's what I told myself.  

I really started pushing myself in CrossFit in January and did the CrossFit Open in April.  I was lifting heavier (FOR ME) than I ever had.  In April I finally lifted over 100 pounds over my head.  I got a deadlift PR (Personal Record) of 255 pounds.  

Not 255 in this pic 
Guess what happened?  My clavicle hurt worse and now my shoulder was in pain too.  Get what else happened?  I ignored it some more.  You can see where this is going right?  Let me be the example to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and not ignore pain that does not subside.  

I have to say, I feel like I have a hight tolerance for pain. I might complain a lot but I'm NOT a baby.  It got to the point that my shoulder hurt so bad and I was in constant pain.  Everything made it worse.  Running.  CrossFit.  Working.  Walking.  Everything. When we were sight seeing in Toronto, I had to "sling" my arm against my side so that it didn't move when I walked.  Ok walking is a problem.  I finally woke up. 

I went to the doctor.  I explained my pain and they took x-rays.  The results were pretty devastating.  Basically the story goes like this:  When I broke my shoulder back in 2010, my bone healed beautifully, but it didn't heal like a normal shoulder (that was expected).  So my arm doesn't move like a normal arm and when I try to put weight overhead with a barbell and make an equilateral movement, my shoulder isn't capable of that.  So what happens?   My collarbone rotates to allow my body to do what my shoulder can't.  The rotation of the collarbone can be very harmful.  I can eventually fracture it or damage it beyond repair.  Don't worry, my doctor said I can still do CrossFit as long as I don't lift barbells over my head.  Um yeah.. about that.

I almost cried right there in the doctor's office.  I felt like I was punched in the gut.  I don't think he wanted to see my cry so he sent me for an MRI.

The MRI showed that I have Osteoarthritis in my shoulder and bursitis in my shoulder and sternoclavicular joint.  My doctor wants me to rest my shoulder for 8 weeks.  He THEN wants to send me to therapy to (among other things) learn how to modify CrossFit.  

My last day of CrossFit was August 10th.   I was feeling pretty good.  My shoulder wasn't in pain every day.  I stopped popping ibuprofen like skittles and I was hopeful that I could get back to where I was prior to November.  Then last Monday after being 4 weeks free of CrossFit, I had a HUGE flare.  I'm back to popping ibuprofen and back to being in pain every day.  It's really frustrating because I'm not sure how I went from feeling better to feeling bad again.  

I am running which my doctor said I was able to do.  Running doesn't exacerbate it.  In other words, it never feels worse after running.  My pain is always the same after running.  It returns to baseline, if you will.  I am also limiting my running to just 3 days a week.  I even only ran 2 days last week since I was having a really bad flare.  

I don't know where to go from here.  I have 4 more weeks of rest and then we'll see.  My doctor was very compassionate.  He told me he was trying to understand my love for CrossFit and that he's really tried to "get in the head" of CrossFit people.  I don't think he understands because he said, "just don't lift heavy barbells overhead."  Me:  "How about pull-ups?"  Him:  "Maybe on the rings."  Me: "What about pushups."  Him:  "Not tricep pushups."  I swear it went on like that for 10 minutes.  

So what's my plan?  My plan is to get my shoulder back to being pain free.  That's it.  I'm not saying anything else.  Once I'm pain free, I'll develop a plan from there.  I can't say goodbye to CrossFit.  I can't let my love slip away.  I can't.  I try to picture my life without and as pathetic as it seems, I just can't.  I will figure out a way.  The saying isn't I think I can't, it's I think I can.  Besides, I drank the Koolaid.  


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