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Showing posts from June, 2008

Back to the dating scene

There was an extended period of time when I was lying in bed, swollen and nauseous, unshowered and unshaven. I didn't feel like a human, let alone an actual girl. Dating was the farthest thing from my mind.

On Saturday, my first real day without crutches, I met three gentlemen who wanted my number. It's always flattering when someone wants to get to know you better, but it's even more so when your body has been through so much. I've made it through to the other side -- not only with the potential for a great hip -- but with a bit of feminimity to boot!

I say this not as an ego-booster or to brag. I say this to all the women who've had their pelvises inspected and invaded to remind them that they are still sexy. The modesty that we've lost and the scars that we've gained will not and do not change that.

Walk this way

I had a beautiful weekend.

After a short but very productive physical therapy session on Friday, I suddenly was able to walk without a limp. Jennifer said muscle fibers have memories and sometimes just need to be reminded how to do their job. It was like something out of a movie. One minute she was scrunching her nose up at me, saying "I don't like how that looks," and the next minute we're both grinning as I'm walking across the room just like a normal person.

So on Saturday, I dumped the crutch altogether! Walked around the house, went to the grocery store, went to a housewarming party, went up and down numerous sets of stairs, walked around downtown FoCo for some late-night drinks ... Life is good, life is good.

I'm still limping a bit, and there is pain in the hip area, but it's a good pain, a muscle pain. I've been getting all sorts of new sensations and pain as things get moving again, but I'm happy to be feeling it. I plan on using one crutch …

That's why it's hotter under the water

Yesterday at my physical therapy appointment I got in the pool. Normally, I hate swimming. Yech. I've never liked it.

Yesterday, I was able to walk, walk backwards, turn my leg in circles, sing The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" over and over in my head and much, much more. Like a normal person, you know?

Yesterday, the pool became my new best friend! It felt so good to be able to move so well, even though it still felt a little strange. Jennifer had to kick me out after 45 minutes.

I feel like I'm making a lot of progress already, even though it's been less than a week that I've been fully weight bearing. Tomorrow it's back to PT again, and I'll be working out on the stationary bicycle. Unfortunately, singing "We got no troubles, life is the bubbles" won't have the same effect as it would in the pool. :)

Doctor, doctor

Dr. Mayo and I were finally able to catch one another today over the phone. I double checked with him about my restrictions from here on out. There are none, except those outlined in my PT protocol and no "impact loading."

He said I'll probably be walking unaided in about a month though it will be two to three months before I can walk normally throughout the whole day. (At the end of the day when my body is tired, I may limp for the first couple of months.)

I asked him about the lingering pain I've been having on the back side of my pelvis. He told me that it's probably just part of the healing process but to pay attention to it. I can go back to Dr. Thomas for another set of x-rays in a couple weeks if it's still bothering me.

And the biggest news comes last tonight. I decided today, with Dr. Mayo's approval, to go ahead with the right PAO this fall. He thinks I'll be ready, and even though I have a few reservations, I want to get it done as soon as …

Uncle!

That's the word I wanted to use a couple of times today at my first physical therapy session with Jennifer.

Actually, it wasn't all that bad.

I started out by giving her the protocol that Dr. Mayo had sent:
Strengthen hip musclesIncrease abductor strengthEliminate limpSationary bike, recumbent if possibleSwim therapyNo straight leg raisesNo stairmaster or squatsI also familiarized her with a PAO (I brought photos of my x-rays to help) and then we got to work. We did a number of exercises, and they all felt very strange. I laughed out loud a few times at how much of a weakling I am! I felt pain only when Jennifer massaged my scar to help break down the tissue.

As I really have no where to go but up, I'm excited to see how quickly I progress! My goal is to wean off all walking aids in a month.

At my next visit on Wednesday, I get to try out the pool. Yay, I'm so excited to get in the water for the first time!

The day after the best day ever

I'm still thrilled to not need both crutches. One crutch is SO much easier than two! Yesterday I went to the grocery store and took a small walk on the sole crutch. Today, I am really sore, but it's a good sore! My good hip actually hurts more than the op side. Of course, I'm still bearing more weight on the good one, and the walking motion is all new to me.

Without the crutch, I have a significant limp, but no worries, cause tomorrow is my first physical therapy appointment, which I imagine is akin to basic training. :)

I am a happy girl.

Thought I'd post the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, which has heaps of meaning for me right now.

"Let It Go"
Tim McGraw

I've been caught sideways out here on the crossroads
Trying to buy back the pieces I lost of my soul
It's hard when the devil won't get off your back
It's like carrying around the past in a hundred-pound sack

Today I'm gonna keep on walking
I'm gonna hold my head up high
I'm gonna leav…

Indescribable feelings

My world turned right side up this morning.

Though I missed the phone call, Dr. Mayo left me a message, saying my x-rays and follow-up report looked good and that I was cleared to start physical therapy and weight bearing.

I don't know when the tears started, but I'm pretty sure it was very shortly after I finished listening to the message. Sitting on the edge of my bed, everything was quiet at first. I wasted no time and stood up. I started by transferring the weight from my right leg slowly over to my left and waited for the pain.

There was none.

I started to move my leg forward, and for a small moment, got a little scared and nervous. A couple of deep breaths later, I took a step for the first time in almost nine weeks. No pain here, either, and relief flooded me as tears of joy, anticipation, optimism and gratefulness streamed down my face. I grabbed one crutch -- just in case -- and proceeded to walk across my apartment.

Physically, there was no pain sans a little soreness in …

No news

I'm regretting not flying to Tacoma for my follow-up. I did not hear from Dr. Mayo today, and probably won't until at least Tuesday, when he is back in his office. I'm really disappointed. To have looked forward to this week for such a long time only to have to wait for who knows how much longer ... sigh.

I'm going to cancel my physical therapy tomorrow because I just don't think I should be starting when I haven't been given the green light to start weight bearing.

Today was also hard because I'm in more pain than I've had since about week 3. Sitting hurts! The drive was extremely uncomfortable, as was sitting at my desk at work. I'm mostly nervous that something is wrong. It's just strange that I was doing so well and gradually the pain has been getting worse.

I'll just feel better once I get the call and can talk some things over with Dr. Mayo.

8 weeks post-op

If any milestone is big enough to mark the two-month point, I guess it would have to be returning to work full time. Today I made the hour trip north, worked a full day and then made the hour trip back home, where I went to Target, the post office and my favorite local Mexican restaurant for chicken tacos. I'm tired, but not overly so.

Tomorrow, I hope, is the day I hear from Dr. Mayo. I hope he tells me everything is healing fine and that I may start weight bearing (even if it's not 100 percent.) I'm terribly curious how it's going to feel to put my full weight on my leg for the first time in eight weeks. Eight weeks!
I've been feeling good, though not much different than I did at seven weeks. I still have the nagging pain when I sit; my hip is still tender on the outside and a bit stiff on the inside. My scar looks about the same as well, but I think some of the numbness may be going away! (Four week and eight week comparison below.) I'm sleeping much better,…

Follow-up

Today was my 8-week follow-up appointment. Dr. Thomas checked my range of motion and took x-rays and then Fed-Exed them to Dr. Mayo's office.

Dr. Thomas took a glance at those high-tech black and white pictures and didn't see anything of alarm, which is great. He also said my range of motion bending straight forward at the hip is 95 degrees (don't know if that's good or not).

I won't get to talk to Dr. Mayo until at least Thursday when he's back in the office. I'm a bit bummed, because he did fax the physical therapy protocol over, and as far as I can tell, I won't be full weight bearing for a while. It says something about going from two crutches to one crutch to a cane. Blech.

So tonight I'm a bit bummed. I'm SO over the crutch thing. I can't get as much done at home as I need; it's tough trying to carry stuff and move stuff (like take the garbage down two flights of stairs).

The good news is that I did SO much this weekend. A good fri…

What do a surgeon and a 10,000 pound duck have in common?

Their bills are enormous. Ha ... ha.

My hospital bills are finally starting to come in, and I still haven't even gotten the insurance's authorization for my last day in the hospital. That could be one big bill.

Out of pocket, I should only have to pay about $2,500 for the whole shebang. Guess I'll have to see if it works out that way.

I hate this part!

7 weeks post-op

One. More. Week.

It can't come soon enough. At seven weeks post-op, I just want to get off these crutches and start building up my leg again!

I continue to make progress, and now that I'm back on my own again, I'm doing more and more, while still trying to mind my restrictions.

Yesterday, I took my gym membership off hold and had a weight lifting session for my upper body. It felt very good to be back there -- my second home, really. I got a lot of strange looks as I crutched my way around the machines, but what do I expect?

I've also gone to the grocery store and used a bag to carry around the groceries I picked up. Got my hair cut, car washed, errands run. Life is nearly back to normal.

Still haven't taken any Tylenol in forever, and the only real pain I've had this past week is on the underside of my pelvis that hurts when I sit. A little worried about it, but I'll only have to wait till early next week to make sure everything is okay.

One. More. Week.

Home again

Just a quick post to say that I'm back in Colorado, none worse the wear.

I did not have to stop any more often than I normally do! One stop in northern Wyoming and one in central Wyoming, and then home sweet home. The ride was not comfortable, but it wasn't too uncomfortable, either.

I saw my girls tonight, and it was so good to hang out with them again. I don't feel as if I've been gone very long, but I feel like a very different person from the one who left here seven weeks ago and was stressed to the max and uncertain about everything. Today, I am calm, happy and at peace.

But I miss my momma. :)

Homeward bound

550 miles south along Hwy 87 and Interstates 90 and 25.

In good weather, I average 7-7.5 hours for the trip, stopping only twice for a quick pit stop and fill-up. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to get it done in 7.5-8 hours, with a stop in Wyoming to have a bite of lunch with my brother.

I'm going to sit on a down pillow as I drive and hope that my derriere and hip don't get too sore.

My wonderful, fantastic, awesome girlfriends are going to help me haul my bags back up the two flights of stairs once I pull into town. Thank goodness for friends! I'm a little nervous to be heading back on my own and will deeply miss my folks, who took such good care of me.

Packing up

I've been busy today getting my things together. Packing has not been fun.

Last night, my brother came to town and we went out for a drink. I had such a good time hanging out with my hometown crowd. Being back here has really made me appreciate this little town and the people in it. I'm truly going to miss it.

On the plus side, looking at the photos of the night made me see myself as an ordinary person (and not a hip surgery patient). I'm really starting to feel normal again, if it weren't for those stinking crutches!

These past few days I've been having more pain than normal. Most of it is on the back side of my pelvis and the underside, which I feel when sitting. And some of it is on the front side. I hope that's just part of the recovery. Also, my left wrist has been hurting a lot -- carpal tunnel? -- and my right hip gets sore real easily. It's time to get off the crutches, me thinks!

6 weeks post-op

At this point in my recovery, I'm definitely looking more toward the future than toward the past six weeks. I'm anxious to start walking again (two more weeks!!!), even though that brings on a whole new set of worries: Will it hurt? Will I limp? Will I need a cane? For how long? Is the physical therapy going to work? Is it going to hurt?

Updates:
I stopped needing the Tylenol at night, so I haven't taken any pain killers for more than a week. Last night, I stayed out until 1 in the morning, hopping from barstool to barstool and chatting with old friends at our hometown watering hole for the voting day festivities. I get in and out of bed easily by pulling my leg up and around.I can pick things up from the floor without trouble.I'm starting to sleep better, finally. Lying on my stomach and good side do not feel uncomfortable at all.
Still:
I still get random sharp or aching pains in my hip maybe once or twice a day, and those terrible shooting pains in my groin sneak up on…

A gentle reminder

Even though I have crutches growing out of my armpits, I feel like an average person. I am so tempted to put all my weight on my left leg and can't wait to try walking again.

But today, as I was making my way down the stairs, I was given a (not-so) gentle reminder that I'm recovering from major surgery: My crutch missed a step, and I almost fell down about six wooden stairs onto the tile floor.

I didn't hurt anything, but I nearly scared myself senseless. Just one small mistake, one misstep, and I could be back where I started, or even worse. I hate feeling, knowing that I'm physically fragile inside. I've always felt strong in mind, which is why I love weight lifting: It shows my strength on the outside as well.

I hate being reminded of my limits, but I'm also thankful to be kept in check so I don't make things worse.

All in good time...

Bendy things

Guess what I did today!


I know of a lot of women whose post-op restrictions limit them to a 90 degree angle in their hip, but I'm not one of them! For some reason, I wasn't given that restriction, and because there's no pain, I can do lots of "bendy" things ... like give myself a pedicure. It wasn't easy, so it took a lot longer than usual, but by sitting on my bed and pulling my leg toward me and bending at the knee, I was able to get it done.

Sorry for the photo of my feet, but I'm just so proud!!!