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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Joining The Club

Like most martial artists, especially those who keep training as we age, I have a lot of little aches and pains I have to cope with.

"Is there NEW pain? Um, lemme check..."

I am lucky. I don't have any super-major injuries to cope with, and I don't have chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis to fight though.

Oh, sure, I was an athlete in my youth (cheering and track), and I had some pretty big knee injuries back then. I didn't have surgery, but I was in knee braces and in physical therapy for a long time. I get a little achy every time a storm comes through, and I can't do forms where you go down to your knee and get back up again (surprisingly common in weapons forms I've been taught).

Over the past year, though, I've developed two new issues.

The problem I've had to deal with the longest is pain in my right shoulder. MRIs show nothing, and it's not clear what the deal is, and we've been trying to figure it out for a year. It's something that came on over time, though, so I don't think it's anything broken or torn in there. It's annoying, but it's a constant dull pain that only becomes a problem when I work a super-long time (like I would at at a seminar or camp).

Since there ARE few seminars/camps this year, I've been able to take my time in figuring out what the deal is, as well as getting a lot better with my left hand.

The other, new issue is severe pain in my left hip.

This one came on while I was teaching class. I was just walking, I turned, and stepped... and I've been limping ever since. This happened in early summer, and there's days where I am literally crippled and can't hardly walk because it hurts so much.

This has made doing/teaching martial arts a real pain in the... um, hip. Especially when I started teaching kobudo forms to some friends on the side - those forms are really big-time into hip action and WOWZA that hurt.

At first we thought it was bursitis and we tackled it as such. For a while, a shot and basic physical therapy exercises helped. Then it got worse again.

So my doc ordered an MRI to make sure that I do have bursitis, and sent me to a physical therapist.

Yesterday, I got my MRI results.

I have a torn labrum (as my physical therapist guessed) and they discovered a gigantic arthritic cyst in my hip joint. They could attempt a treatment of anti-inflammatories, but I can't take those due to having kidney disease.

The other option...

I get to have total hip replacement in November, 2020.

I did NOT expect that, not at all. At most, I thought, hey, torn labrum and possibly minor surgery.

So I spent a day kind of freaking out. Every surgery is a risk, and the idea of them chopping off the top of a bone and putting a metal ball in its place really is freaky.

Then I realized, after interacting with folks about this on social media, that I'm joining a club.

Hip replacement is SUPER COMMON among martial arts people I know. People that I have trained with, trust, and who have mentored me have had this surgery. It makes me think that in order to truly reach the next level of martial arts training, I had to have a major surgery like hip replacement.

I'm joining a very large, not-very-exclusive club, looks like.

What's cool is that every single one of my friends I've talked to said it's so much better after I get through the immediate surgery and healing part. They all say it was worth it.

Given I've been struggling for months with this thing, the idea of being able to walk normally again, and train, and USE MY HIPS when I train, without being utterly crippled for days...

I'm very much looking forward to being able to MOVE again when I train.

I mean, my footwork right now absolutely sucks.

So if you've spoken up and told me YOUR success story of hip replacement already, thank you. It's REALLY helpful. If you haven't, and want to, please do chime in because every one who is speaking up is making me feel so much better.

Now I gotta find out if insurance covers the rocket launcher attachment...

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