On Friday, I saw the PA at my ortho's office for a checkup. The last time I was in, the ortho said that this visit would be a deciding factor about when I'll be able to start cycling, running, and swimming again.
My range of motion continues to improve, and Jeff, my PA, was really pleased with how my muscle strength was coming along as well - I'm actually getting quad definition again, which means my muscle atrophy is receding, and my left leg is starting to become more equal in strength as my right. This is key for getting the go ahead for all activities.
That said, I'm not quite ready to put my improved joint to the test, and it may be a few more months before that happens.
The most important thing is having 100% range of motion back so that I can, basically, learn to run properly again. If I start before that, I'll likely have to compensate somehow, which will, of course, create a greater risk of re-injuring myself. Additionally, I need to start back with one exercise at a time so that I don't overdo it. Since part of my surgery included repair of the hip capsule, Jeff wanted to make sure that was fully healed, which can take a little longer even if I "feel great and can't wait to start moving again."
So what does this all mean?
For now, I can continue walking and adding distance/time each week (I'm currently up to just under 1.5 miles). I need to continue with my PT twice a week, but as I need to move my hip as much as possible, I do need to do my exercises more often, so doing them in the pool and at the gym are highly recommended. If I keep this up, I should be able to start either cycling or swimming, in very small doses, next month, once I'm three months out from surgery.
Running, which is naturally the most jarring to the hip, will require the ortho's approval, so that's at least another six weeks, when I see him again. That means my goal of starting Couch to 5K near the end of September, in order to participate in a November race, isn't obtainable.
Of course I'm disappointed, but I also understand that I need to be healed and have that appropriate range of motion. My overall goal is to run this year, so even though I won't be finishing my first 5K in almost two years in November, I still have until December 31 to just run. So for now, I'm doing all that I can to get there.
Some people think that running is hard. Swimming and cycling can also be hard. But right now, waiting is probably the hardest thing I have to do. I see a runner out on the canal and wish that Zooey and I were out there, too. When I go to the gym and see someone doing lap after lap in the pool, I want to just be able to go fifty yards. I look longingly at RuPaul, who sits all but abandoned in the garage, and tell her that we'll get out of there someday, but not today.
Waiting is hard. But at least I'm waiting for something. And something is progress.