Fibrous Dysplasia // the Sperly Hip // A History in the Making…

Update 10.05.13 – Follow me now:


Well, if the post doesn’t give a hint, the status on the hip is not very positive. Waking up today, I had the feeling that it was going to be one of those days… 10 minutes before my alarm went off someone called my cell phone and woke me up (suuuch a big pet peeve! I know I’m not the only one), it started pouring just before our last “long” run this morning, I was dropping sh!t all day, the bus was late, shoes were soaked, just in general I got that no-good-can-come-of-this feeling.


On the [very late] bus on the way to school [in the rain] I got a call from my doctor with the results of yesterdays tests. (Haha.. am I painting enough of a dramatic picture here? Ok.. I’ll cut it..) The bone scan had shown “abnormal activity” in my left hip, and PET/CT showed that there was indeed a fracture in the inferior femoral neck. Basically right in the same place it was almost exactly a year ago (“last fateful run”… Sept. 29th, 2008). I am thinking that the fracture healed after surgery with all that rehab time, but that in amping up my mileage for this marathon (Twin Cities.. 9 days from today) I refractured it. 



(Rehab post-surgery: December, 2008)

Given my medical history and the fact that I have fibrous dysplasia.. am I surprised? Yes and no. I thought the fracture would have for sure healed, but now that I think about it, when you have fibrous dysplasia, it is essentially scar tissue where it’s supposed to be bone. So if it’s not “real bone”.. then how can it generate new bone growth if there is no “bone” there to begin with? Am I making sense? 


So I had all of this gloomy glorious day to sit and dwell contemplate. What am I going to do from here? What about the marathon? If there’s no marathon.. can I still run.. at all? Can the severity of the fracture be quantified? Is it as bad as last time? It doesn’t feel as bad as last time… What about the marathon? What about cross-training – is that still OK? Am I going to be back on crutches? How long will this take to heal? And.. what about the effin’ marathon!?!


My doctor is pretty amazing.. no doubt about that. I would definitely recommend him to anyone in the TC area who is dealing with an athletic injury. If you want his name, I can definitely pass it on to you, but I’m not sure if he would want his name publicly included in this so I will just leave it at that. Anyways, being the amazing doctor that he is, I have his phone number, his email, I see him at my restaurant, and he said I could call with any questions I had. Seeing as that questions were ample, I wrote down all the valid ones, and called him after class. (Just about 15 minutes ago actually.. I am posting again via public transportation – the 114 bus.)


Regarding the “Will it ever heal?” question, he wanted to consult with a doctor who specialized in fibrous dysplasia before giving me an answer. I really appreciate that, because that plays a huge role in what I decide to do about the marathon. If the answer is “no”, then that means I will probably not be able to ever DO another marathon, in which case I might just say eff that, and make TC my last. If the answer is a definite “yes”, and the prognosis is that I will be able to still competitive run distance, then I would probably hold off on TC.


My question about “How severe is the fracture? Is it as bad as last time?” had an answer.. and that one was at least positive. The answer is no, at least not right now. Last year I was given crutches.. I was limping hard core.. it was bad. And I knew that. The fracture doesn’t at all feel like it did then, and just looking at the scans, the doctor was able to say that “this time”.. it isn’t “as bad”. 


(edit: location change – I’m off the bus, at home, and about 4.5 hours out from when I started this post.. went over to my mom’s house.)


And finally, “So what about the marathon?” All sorts of crazy illogical thoughts have gone through my mind about that today, from “of course you can’t run it” to “there’s no way I put all that effort in for nothing…” Up until just a little bit ago, my head was not even able to make one concrete thought and stick with it for more than a minute. Talking to my mom really helped, and so did talking to the doctor. At the current moment, my train of thought is somewhere along the lines of this: I will not run at all right now until race day. I will run TC, but not race it. After that, no running the fracture heals. (That is if it CAN heal.) 


I know I’m going to get mixed reactions to this one.. some people will say that that’s being ridiculous – what good can running the marathon do? It will only set you back. Other people might agree.. I guess just depending on your background, your opinion will be different. Like I said though, that is just my CURRENT thought.. and my current thoughts have been changing like every 5 minutes so nothing is set in stone here, and I’m not holding myself to anything. Twin Cities marathon is 9 days away, and I’m sure I will have “made” 25 different “decisions” between now and then. 


Sorry to be the lil downer here.. as I’m sure you know, I wish I could be posting with GOOD NEWS and happy faces. All I can do at this point is count my blessings, try my best to keep a solid head on my shoulders, and live the life that I have been given to the fullest. 


When I was doing core at the gym today, I was thinking about this post. There was so much that I wanted to include, but to keep it manageable I’m going to split it into two. In my next post, I really want to put together a little timeline of my running history, and how this injury has come into play. More so for myself, but I have gotten a few comments from newer readers who didn’t know I pretty much went through this last year. I think it would also be good to have a little bit of my running history and background so no assumptions are made.. it’s not like this is an overuse injury from suddenly jumping on the I-need-to-do-a-marathon-or-my-life-isn’t-complete-bandwagon (I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about THAT one…). Fibrous dysplasia is a genetic condition you are BORN with, and is something that is beyond my control. A little education goes a long way, and I feel like I could lend a little insight to a couple (or one?) of anonymous commenters. 


Anyways, it’s only 10:00.. it’s Friday night.. and I’m on the couch. Lame, but I’m pulling the get-out-of-jail-free card and saying I’ve had a pretty long day. Week. I’m going to watch the news through the sports and then take the advantage of the night and just crash early. Sleep is super important in recovery, and that’s an easy thing to forget.


(knocked out post surgery – December 2008. LOL I slept like 15 hours a day for like 2 weeks.. thankk you pain meds.)


Truly, I love you guys. Thank you for your support, and yes, your sympathy. I’m a big girl.. I can handle it. 😉


G’night to all.




11 Responses

  1. I want to give you a hug 😦 Agh Sperly, im truly gutted for you. You are seriously one hard chick though and I love your fighting spirit. Nothing ever stops you from just rying to be thankful for what you have. We all know how easy it would be to just say FML. Dont worry about what anyone else thinks about your decision to run/not run this marathon. It is your decision. Listen to your medical team’s advice, listen to your family, listen to your body, your head, your heart…
    Im glad you have such a good dr who is there to answer your qstns…keep firing them girl! The more info you have the better.
    I know you have been running your whole life and that its not just a wee ‘hobby on the side’ for you. I also know that you are always sensible when it comes to following medical advice. So dont feel as though you have to explain yourself to anyone. We love you for who you are ❤ Take Care and do try and get that, ever so important, recovery time under the duvet 😉 x

  2. Hey, Erica!

    I was so glad to see your blog up and running again (and you too!). I am so sorry this FD mess has acted up again, but as I’m sure you know by now, fractures are common in the diseased bone.

    Please consider putting your doctor in contact with Dr. Stanton, as he is one of the best doctors in the world for FD. Have you considered intramedullary rodding? That’s what Lauren will have to have when she fractures, and rods are very successful in many. I hope you’ll discuss this with your doc as a possibility.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you for great care and a speedy recovery. My heart breaks for you, as I know how hard you have trained. Please keep us updated along the way… Hugs to you and your mom! God Bless-

    Tanya and Lauren L.(MAS/FD)

  3. as i said on fb i’m sending t&p your way. you’ve had to deal with some much with this and it sucks. a lot.

    but it sounds like you have a great support team around you. and you’ve been super strong and wicked smart so i know you’ll make the right decision for you. keep asking questions and staying informed! you can totally pull through this!

  4. I hope that doctor has some good news for you soon! You are doing better that I ever would, you’re a strong person who has passion for running and no matter the outcome I’m sure you’ll still do great things!
    Can’t wait to see more from this!
    If I ever come back to Minneapolis (which could be 5 years) I want your doctor, he sounds amazing!

  5. Hey, Sperly! Sorry to hear about all this, and hopefully the news will be good. I would like to say that to an extent your body is capable of handling the 26 miles, and if you lay low until then it won’t cause much damage, but that’s just that inner running voice talking. Do what you need to do, and heal up. =)

  6. keep your head up. you are doing great. you will get through this… you’ve come a LONG way in a year, it’s unbelievable, so don’t forget all that!!!! i think posting the old pics is a good reminder, too. best of luck. aren’t good doctors the best thing in the world? not just talented… but THERE FOR YOU.

  7. oh girl, i am so sorry to hear this! i think you need to make the best decision for you, whatever that may be but more than anything, if running will make the injury worse, i wouldn’t do that. however, if you do run, we must meet up post-race and at least meet!

    lotsa love to ya, and heal soon. in 9 days if possible 🙂

  8. Ugh so sorry to hear your bad news!! I’m sure you will make the decision that is right for you once you have more information from your doctor…who by the way, I might ask you for his details for my crazy knee.
    On a lighter topic – French Meadow! I’ve never had their tomato basil soup but you made it sound like heaven in a bowl!
    I am a fan of dinner at French Meadow – love their bread baskets and delicious salads! So cool that you and your Dad have a tradition of going there!

  9. […] my last post, I was still undecided about what I was going to do about the Marathon. For anyone who just […]

  10. Hey girl, I feel your pain. I actually broke my left hip as well due to fibrous dysplasia.

    It never heals.
    I can promise you that.
    I actually am surprised he let you run on it after the break, I broke my hip at the age of 17 on March 30, 2007… and I have not been able to run a day since.

    How did they patch you up?
    I have a plate, 6 screws and a compression screw up into my hip ball.

    anywho, I wish you the best of luck in life.


  11. […] the interwebs, but am happy to be back. The most common thing readers have contacted me about is fibrous dysplasia in athletes, and while I cannot provide any official medical advice, I can share my story and […]

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