Blogs tagged with "PRP"

I may be quiet these days but I'm certainly not idle. My training has taken a backseat during the holiday season because of personal commitments and also to try again to heal my injured hamstring tendon with modern medical procedures.

Thus, I had my third PRP shot about a month ago and it was more painful than ever. I was in agony for several hours and then sore for several days afterward. The good thing about the pain is that it probably means my doctor hit the "right spot" with the injection. The bad thing about the pain is that I couldn't use any anti-inflammatory methods to make it go away because the inflammatory response is exactly what we wanted (more blood = healing).

After Thanksgiving, I jumped into my yearly design and printing of Christmas cards. This year, the design dictated the choice of methods -- the colors were very flat and bold, and the design was very hard-edged, so I chose to attempt a hand-cut stencil with screenprinting once again (after 10 years of lino-cuts). Unlike usual, the screenprinting process started out great with color registration working well. Then after printing three colors quickly and without incident, I botched the last color and the whole thing almost ended up in disaster.

Here are some photos of the process.

I started out by putting all the stencils on one screen
which was great until the last one with the largest print area
(stencil in the foreground). By that time, the screen tension
had decreased, causing ink to bleed under the stencil.
The first color (smallest area) was red. It took about an hour to print 106 cards. My husband Jim and I measure the time we spend on each color in terms of number of albums that we listen to while printing. Red was a one-album color. I think we listened to a Counting Crows CD. Red also had a near-disaster as I tried to fix one part of the stencil and accidentally stuck my exacto knife right through the screen itself. Lucky for us (and unusual), it held up until the last card was printed.

The second color was yellow. Yellow was also a one-album deal. I think yellow was printed to OK Go.

Third was blue. The blue was a two-color blend, and surprisingly, NOT a disaster as expected (because any time you mix two colors in real-time during printing, something goes horrifically wrong). Blue was also a one-album color - I think it was Travis's "Where You Stand."
And finally green. It took two tries, and two stencils, and two screens. And several albums. Too many to be sure. Here's the can of green and the wrecked first screen which I just tore off the frame and threw away because it had already become a victim of the exacto-knife faux pas.
And... the finished product. It took an additional cut stencil and a brand new screen to get through the green. We lost about 20 cards and about 20 more were barely salvageable. The design is based on the Tree of Life window/sculpture that is part of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

My other art project of late was a new drypoint print that I wanted to make to give away as part of a Facebook "pay-it-forward" post I made in early 2014. I decided to try out a new very thin plastic plate made by Akua that I bought earlier this year. Here is the plate and the finished print, titled "Scenes from the Towpath: Fitzwater Bridge View."

I may be quiet these days but I'm certainly not idle. My training has taken a backseat during the holiday season because of personal commitments and also to try again to heal my injured hamstring tendon with modern medical procedures.

Finishing (and winning) the
Sylvania Tri in 2010 may be the last
time I wasn't in pain running

It's been seven weeks since my PRP injection. During this time, the thing I've longed for most is the feeling I get when I'm out on the pavement with only my heartbeat, my running shoes, and my thoughts. I solve problems when I'm running. It's the only time I can let go of the damaging self-critic. It's the only time I can be myself without being terrified of what everyone else thinks. I need to run.

Unlike before, this time off from running has been one of inner reflection and fighting demons. Because I wasn't sure I would be able to run again. That fear was always there. What will I do if I can't run? I turned to introspective stream-of-consciousness drawing - the only other thing that gives me similar peace. But the fear continued. What will I do if I can't run? My physical therapist quoted the medical report ".. you have SEVERE tendinosis .. seriously NOT good" (as though I didn't fully grasp the severity of the injury). He said my hamstring tendon was "breaking down" - made it sound like it was actually disolving. The fear grew. Seriously. What. will. I. do. if. I. can't. run?

The fear made me ok with taking seven weeks off without a single step in a running gait. Sure, I was an emotional wreck (further compounded by a car accident). I became religious about my physical therapy. Heck, I became religious. I prayed. But I never stopped worrying. I frantically searched the internet for hamstring PRP success stories. Six weeks went by with not much improvement. And I had pretty much given up hope.

Then, in what seemed like an overnight miracle, this week the familiar always-there pain faded. And today I got the go-ahead. To run. It's been a rough year so I'm not celebrating just yet. But I will run. And it will not be far. It will not be fast. But there is running in my future. And unfinished business - with a finish line.

All I can do to explain is offer this (and stifle the tears):

This past Friday was the official beginning of my injury rehab. It's both a relief and agony to finally know exactly what was wrong after three years of gradually-increasing-but-never-bad-enough-to-stop-training pain. It's a relief because I can start to fix it. It's agony because I have to fix it (and therefore take more time off).

After the phone call the day I left for London, I was sure that the pain was coming from two different sources - the findings on my left hip MRI: (1) a labral tear and (2) a hamstring tear. This would most definitely explain why I was getting pain in so many places and at times would hurt all the way down to my ankle. But I found out last week that I was likely wrong. I was wrong about which "tear" was actually causing my pain. My Orthopod, Dr. Patterson and I discussed this in my first visit after returning from London.
It went something like this...
Dr. P: You are seriously messed up.
Me: Tell me something I DON'T know.
Dr. P: (explains how MRI images were taken and then shows me the longitudinal slice images from the outside of my hip inward). The good news is there is no problem with the ball joint, the bone.... (points out the labral tear) and here's the labral tear - it's in the front
Me: But I have no pain in the front...
Dr. P: (continues the slide show)
Me: EEEK! What's that?
I knew there was something seriously wrong with it as soon as I saw what turned out to be my hamstring tendon - the tendon that connects your hamstring to the sit-bone.
The diagnosis was severe tendinosis (I've never heard of that either) and partial-thickness tear of the tendon. It was a chronic condition likely the result of never rehab-ing the first hamstring tendon injury (and who knows how long ago that was?). It had gotten so bad that it would probably not heal on its own. In olden times, surgery would have been my option. But these days, there's a new therapy available: a PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) injection to force the healing components of blood into damaged (connective) tissue. Google it if you're interested in ways doctors are using PRP - it's a pretty promising therapy.
Here's how it works. My own blood would be extracted, then spun in centrifuge to obtain mostly platelets, then injected into my tendon. Because it's my own blood, my body will recognize it, and because it's platelets, it has a high concentration of growth factors. It should start rebuilding my tendon tissue as soon as it gets in there. The post-procedure protocol would have me in physical therapy and back to training in about 4-6 weeks.

There are several issues I can now report on - because I had this done three days ago.

First. IT HURTS!!! Like white hot pain for an instant and then imagine the worst pain that you had from the injury and triple it. The doctor who performed the procedure also confirmed via ultrasound that: "yeah, your tendon is seriously messed up" just as he stuck the needle full of fluid right into it. In his defense, he SAID it would hurt.

His next question was: "does it hurt like the injury did?"

"You bet your sweet bippy it does!"

He said: "good, that's what we want." It was the exact pain I'd been experiencing while running -- except I wasn't doing anything to induce it.

Second. It gets worse before it gets better. By that night, although the initial white-hotness had gone away, I couldn't walk or stand without pain, and I felt like I was sitting on a rock for many hours to come - through the next day, in fact - before things settled down and I wasn't hobbling around. This is supposed to happen.

Third. You must grin and bear it because YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING FOR THE PAIN. No ice. No NSAIDs. Oh, yeah, Tylenol is ok (like Tylenol works - come on!) Why? Becasue the inflammation is necessary for the healing process. I always prided myself on my ability to tolerate pain, so now it was time to walk the walk.

Three days later, the aching pain has subsided, and I only get pain if I sit on my sit-bone. I've happily become a couch potato in hope that healing is underway. Heck, what I was doing wasn't working. I'm ready to try anything that might mean a pain-free run in my future. It's been way too long.

This past Friday was the official beginning of my injury rehab. It's both a relief and agony to finally know exactly what was wrong after three years of gradually-increasing-but-never-bad-enough-to-stop-training pain. It's a relief because I can start to fix it.

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