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My new hamstrings

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

It all started....... fade off into dreamy cloud music interrupted by a blast of cold air, the sounds of skates on the ice, and a puck flying across the rink at full speed.

I was on it. I was told by my husband I have great take off speed. And he was right, I could go from 0 to like 5 in under, well, fast. The puck was in range, I leapt into action. It was my time to shine.

Insert break. My husband and I were playing ice hockey on a rookie adult league. It doesn't get much goofier and it was a blast. Just to note, this is in no way a competitive game I was playing in.

So, there I was, ready to shine. I leapt into action. I charged - go Mel. But for some reason I still cannot figure out, my right leg simply said no. It just stopped and sat me down; though my left leg kept going ahead at full speed until it could go no more, and it brought the left side of my body crashing down as well. I wound up sitting on the ice oddly like Michael J Fox in Back the Future playing the guitar. Only I am not that flexible. (At least I wasn't)

I knew, having heard a LOUD pop, that all was not right in the world, and I frantically waved to the team to get someone out on the ice to replace me. The kind ref asked if I could get up, since I had to get my ass off the ice before another player could come out. I gave that a noble attempt, my left leg flopped in response, and the ref heaved me up. I skated off the ice, dragging my left leg behind me. Bless my husband for not knowing it was me until I yelled to open the damn door the bench.

Now, I am committed, and I am not a baby. I sat on that bench and pulled my knee to my chest to see if my leg was ok. Surprisingly, it was awkwardly flexible. So, at the bell, I told Mike, "Let me get back on the ice super quick just to see if I can skate it off." Not one to argue, he watched me step onto the ice.... and immediately fall flat out on my back. Knowing I couldn't get up on my own, I just laid there, laughing and waited for Mike to drag me to my feet.

My husband is quite amazing (As I will continue to share!) He got me out of my gear, into the car and back home. Thinking maybe I had torn my hamstring, we checked for bruising. For those who may not know, when you tear a muscle it bleeds, similar to an external injury. But internal bleeding will form a bruise in this instance. Often you will see gnarly bruising at the site of a tear. Alas - no bruising for me! So we did what any healthy individual would do when feeling pain (and humiliation) and partook in some lovely whiskey. That was helpful for sure.

The next day - no bruising! YEAH! I couldn't walk well, but I was hopeful! It was still painful, so we decided I should go to urgent care, since my D.O. couldn't fit me in. I saw an amazing doctor, who took her time, examined my hamstring (the pop I had heard came from right under my butt cheek) did not find any bruising, so had a nurse come bandage me and give me crutches. To be clear, ace bandaging under your butt cheek is not an easy task. The most amazing part of this visit was the doctor's decision to send me out for an MRI since I teach fitness for a living - she wanted to make sure I healed properly whatever might be going on.

She was right on, because I woke up the next day with a massive bruise from my butt to behind my knee. A 45-minute MRI showed a left common hamstring rupture at origin with ischial tuberosity with 2.8 cm myotendinous retraction. What?

I called my amazing chiropractor, Dr. Sean Braithewaite, to see if he could explain what that meant before I went to the Orthopedic Surgeon. In a nutshell, my left hamstring just tore right off my butt bone, completely. Not only did it tear off, it was now heading DOWN MY LEG like it was running away.

Cue ortho number one: "Wow, this rarely happens. Like maybe 2 patients a year. This requires a specialized surgery, so we will send you to a sports surgeon"

Cue Sports Surgeon: "Wow, this rarely happens!" I am sensing my go hard or go home strategy applies to my injury. "This is how we're going to fix it; we'll make an incision, right under your butt cheek, go in, pull your hamstring back up and attach it to anchors we'll put in your butt bone. But before we do that we're going to move your sciatic nerve to the side; those are pesky and don't like to be touched so you might feel that later. Then we'll stitch you up, put you in a full leg brace at 30 degrees, and you must not walk or bend for 6 weeks. The hamstring needs to regrow and attach securely to the bone."

Simple enough! Let's do it!

3 weeks from injury I was in surgery; it went well, if not a little long, but it was outpatient so that was nice. Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea just how much you use your hamstrings? And how much you typically bend in one day? For reference, my husband had to put on my chonies, help me in the shower, and listen outside the bathroom as I tried to pee while not bending. Yep. Visualize that. Sigh.

Fast forward 7 months, and I am completely healed. 7 long months of physical therapy with an incredible therapist, Mike Reymer. I have learned SO much about my body, it has been quite awesome. The best thing I have learned is gratitude. I have an amazing husband and child, I am surrounded by great doctors who worked hard to get me back on my feet, and I have a body that I can move. Having a 2 year old running around the house really taught me the simple joys of finally being able to walk to the park with him. Now I don't take that time for granted. All movement is positive, and being able to move with littleSmuck is the greatest gift!

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