Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meralgia Paresthetica- You are a BEAST!

For anyone that knows me in the running community, you've no doubt heard me complain about my dumb leg.  I've been complaining about this leg thing for over 2 years now, about 2-1/2 to be more precise.  I've been to see some Dr's, tried many many things to help my leg heal but to no avail.  I was never quite sure how to help myself as I was never able to receive any sort of diagnosis.  With CCC100 approaching quickly and realizing I am simply surviving 4 mile runs with lots of walking, I figured it was about time to try to beat this thing again.  I was seriously debating dropping CCC like I did last year, but without a plan of action, it felt whimsical.  I was out on a training run with some friends and someone suggested going to see a certain PT.  I had heard of this guy before so I thought, we'll what the hell, I've tried everything else thus far, maybe thing guy can shed some different light on this.  I made an appointment with a different sports medical Dr. thinking I would get a referral for PT and perhaps maybe she had a fresh vision of a possible diagnosis.  I spend about 30 minutes with her and she told me I have meralgia paresthetica.  What is that????  I had never heard of it.  She explained it to me and this is what it is:

Meralgia paresthetic is a disorder characterized by tinging, numbness and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh.  The disorder is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.  It can lead to significant disability when the diagnosis and treatment is delayed or missed.  This condition is relatively common but it frequently mistaken for other disorders.  

She said she wanted to do one diagnostic test to make sure she was right. She saw the MRI I had done last year and saw that the hemangioma I had was the culprit of compression.  When I returned for my next visit, I had an ultra sound done.  She found the nerve, traced it up to the hemangioma and then pressed on the area.  I could feel the area where I generally have pain and the idea was that she would inject me with litacain which would release the nerve and then I would go out and run and see if I could reproduce the symptoms.  If I can't reproduce the symptoms then that is all the diagnostic testing she needs.  She could not shoot me up right near the hemangioma because most likely the hemangioma would be punctured and make me bleed in there so she opted to inject the litacain as close as she was able.  She thought that I might still feel some pain but mostly likely no in that area, but someplace else on my leg as the nerve was not being released right in the same spot it is compressed.  I had a 2 hour window period before the litacain injection wore off to get out and run, do burpees, stairs, hills, etc, anything that would generally bring me pain.  As I walked home to get my shorts and running shoes on, I was a bit nervous.  What if this is not it and I still don't know what is going on and have no solution?  I told myself to not get my hopes up.  I went out for a run and I did feel pain in other parts of my leg but not where I usually do.  I immediately felt more power in my leg and as though I had more range of motion, more strength.  It was amazing.  I did a bunch of burpees and jumps and still, no regular pain and much more power.  WOW...I felt optimistic again.  I report back to her this coming Monday and we go from there.  She thinks I will likely have to have surgery to remove the hemangioma.  It isn't an invasive surgery and the recovery time is just a few weeks.  I asked her the question that I was fearful of asking and to get an answer for....: am I doing more damage to myself by running with this?  She's not an impact injury, it a nerve disorder.  Phew.  I had really been battling myself with that concept.

So the question is, do I run CCC this year, less than 1 month away?  I feel so under trained, I don't have many miles on my legs.  I have been cross training, but I'm limited in the things I can do with that.  I told Owen this morning that I felt so out of shape and under trained and he told me something interesting.  He said, "You are as fit as you can be for an injured person."  I thought that was wise.  It's true.  I'm doing all I can to stay fit IN CASE I run CCC.  A good friend and someone who said he would pace me at CCC said, "let's do it! let's have fun!  My new motto is 'do cray shit because we can!'"  So, I think it's a go.  If I finish in 31 hours and 59 minutes, I'll consider that a success.  And who knows, I might feel good for some of the way.

After CCC is the wedding and honeymoon in Kauai.  I can hardly wait for both of those things!  They are rapidly approaching and it has been a packed summer wedding planning and such.  When I get back from the honeymoon, then I will have surgery and recovery while my new husband takes care of me post-op.  Thanks husband to be....


godfree roberts said...

This is Meraalgia Paresthetica, in all its glory. Exercises, drugs, rehab, etc.

Olga King said...

How is your Meralgia doing? Will you be able to honey-moon? :)