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Showing posts from August, 2008

Making hay while the sun shines

As autumn sneaks in and tries to snatch summer away from us, I have been spending as much time out and about as possible. Not only will the fall bring colder weather that forces me inside, it will bring my second PAO, which will keep me there.

Yesterday, I spent two hours in the gym (15 minutes on the elliptical, 45 minutes playing basketball and volleyball and an hour lifting weights) and then went on an hour walk on the trails outside my house. Later that day, I spent two hours shopping for work clothes.

Today, I went on my first official hike post-PAO, a 2.1 mile loop in Boulder Mountain Park classified as "easy." And it was.

I still marvel at how much I can do. No way would I have been able to do even a third of what I've done this weekend.

My tailbone is still giving me trouble, and I have some other pains in the groin and deep inside the underside of the joint, but I'm doing very well overall. Yee haw!

I wouldn't dream of it

The night before last, I had a very vivid dream.

I was about to head into surgery. When I got there, it was a big classroom, filled with my family, friends and strangers. Dr. Mayo was teaching this "course" and I was the living example. When we finally got around to having the operation, they didn't knock me out enough. I felt them cut into my thigh and immediately woke up to find that some random person was performing the op. To which I then demanded Dr. Mayo return because I wasn't letting just anyone open me up.

Alrighty then.

Like it or not, my subconscious thoughts are turning more and more to Surgery No. 2. So far, I've done a very, very good job of not thinking much about the whole thing, but now that I'm nine weeks away (holy crap, this is the first time I've counted and that's not long at all!) I'm having to deal with it more and more.

This time around, though, the physical planning and emotional mindset has been SO much easier.

PAO II: The Right Stuff

Two things about me:

1) I have a hard time making decisions. For proof, see this previous blog post.
2) Once I make a decision, I rarely look back. For proof, keep reading.

Having decided that my LPAO/recovery was bearable and that it is my best shot at saving my hips, I have scheduled surgery for my left hip on Nov. 10.

That's right. November 10th. Seven months and five days after Dr. Mayo first worked his magic. I've had a lot of people ask my why so soon. My reasons, David Letterman-style:
10) I've already paid all the out-of-pocket costs for my health insurance for the calendar year. Having the surgery in 2008 means I will save about $2,500.9) I want to sky dive, mountain bike and rock climb starting next spring.8) Excellent work benefits and lots of paid sick leave. I eventually want to get a different job so I don't have to commute two hours each day, so I want to take advantage of my current situation.7) Valium before surgery is lovely.6) My parents will be able to t…

My fresh perspective

How do you measure gaining a fresh perspective on life?
Is it with footsteps? Absolutely terrifying at first, one crutch in front of the other. Gradually, they turn into confident strides, and eventually, the pain is gone. Every single step I have taken since April 23 has proved that pushed to my physical limits, I only become stronger as I push back.
Maybe it’s with peanuts. Throwing shells on the floor and cracking open a beer each Friday night at a local bar with my parents and often, friends, too. It is the scene of possibly the only real conversation I’ve ever had with my father; where I laughed with old friends and where I made new ones as I rediscovered my roots.
Perhaps it’s with words. On get-well cards, in text messages, over much-needed phone calls. From family, friends, co-workers and Hip Sisters, those words of encouragement were my connection to people I love and the life I wanted back. And they proved no matter how much I can handle on my own, the support of others is …

Fear/pain subside

I'm happy to report that I think my fears may have been a false alarm. After taking a couple of ibuprofen last night (my first painkillers in three months!) I woke up feeling quite a bit better. A few random pains edged their way in throughout the course of the day, but overall, I'm doing okay.

The worst part was the fear. I have to be more careful. It's so hard for me to do, especially when there's so little pain. But I don't want to go through another day of worry like that again!

If the pain returns, I will make an appointment for a set of films or an MRI. Thanks for your concern!

Uh oh

Today I am taking a lot of deep breaths and trying not to get too scared at the familiar pain that has returned to my hip.

I'm hoping I simply overdid it. I'm hoping that with a day or two of rest, I will be pain free again.

I'm hoping with every grain of my being that I did not tear my labrum again. For those who are unfamiliar, the labrum is the cartilage that lines the socket of the joint. According to MayoClinic.com, this cartilage provides stability and cushioning for your hip joint, allowing the ball of the thighbone to move smoothly and painlessly in the socket.

Though I didn't know it at the time, my left one was torn prior to my PAO, and the feeling I have today is eerily reminiscent of my pre-op days. This is the first time I've had pain in many weeks.

Cross your fingers for me.

That tingles!

The past two days, I've jogged about 25 yards on the way back from my gym. There's no pain, but I'm forced to stop due to a very strong tingling sensation in my hip, under a patch of skin about the size of my hand.

It's the strangest thing. It tingles so much it almost feels numb. And it's not just the surface of the skin; it feels deeper than that.

Just add it to the laundry list of weird post-op feelings!

Physical therapy graduation

Over a span of seven weeks and 10 visits to the land of colorful fit balls and weird machinery, my lessons in physical therapy are over.

One more milestone on this long recovery. I embrace this one wholeheartedly as I literally and physically was in charge of making my hip, my leg and my body move and bend in ways they weren't used to!

For anyone going into this phase of recovery, my thoughts and tips:
Physical therapy on the hip was much more, um, intimate, than I thought it would be. I'm happy I chose a woman therapist. She had to grab, massage, twist and hold not only my hip and groin area, but my butt as well.Water therapy was fantastic early on when I still couldn't move well.The exercises didn't hurt, but they often felt sore and made me sweat.I learned a lot about my body and the way it has compensated all these years for my bad hips. It's amazing how everything is connected. For example, my hamstring muscles are really tight to help protect the joint; I hyper …

4 months post-op/scar pic

If there's one blanket statement I could make about having a periacetabular osteotomy, I would say this:

It's a long recovery.

When friends, family, co-workers and strangers have comments or questions about the surgery, it's usually something like: "That sounds awful!" or "Was it really painful?" or "Scary."

Truth is, while it was awful, painful and scary at times, this whole time, it simply has been long. At four months post-op, I still feel remnants of surgery in my hip. I still can't lie on my op side for longer than an hour or two without discomfort, and I still have to help my leg in and out of the car on occasion. My hip is still tender to the touch, and of course, that tailbone ...

Don't get me wrong. I have SO much to celebrate, and I can't imagine myself happier with my left hip. I have recovered smoothly and quickly. I'm not asking for anything more. That being said, I have made the following progress in the past two …

How hip dysplasia works

Wow.

Check out this link at http://health.howstuffworks.com/hip-dysplasia.htm on How Stuff Works if you're wanting more information on hip dysplasia.

Thanks to the very hard work of a couple of my favorite hip sisters, Lauren and Sarah, thousands of women will now have access to a wealth of information on this condition of ours.

Read about how it all came about here (on Sarah's site) or here (on Lauren's site).

Thank you so much, you two. The site looks amazing, and it's better than everything else out there because it comes from a very personal place. You guys are fabulous.

Still recovering

Officially, I'm still recovering from this surgery. Lest I forget, every once in a while some stabbing or aching pain reminds me of this undeniable fact.

The past two mornings, I've encountered seriously strong pains on the back side of my pelvis when walking. I've been forced to hop on one leg because it's too uncomfortable to even try to step. I sit down to stretch, which seems to help, but mostly I just have to work it out by attempting to walk. The pain lasts about 5-10 minutes or so.

I'm not worried about it or anything. I think it's just a good and not-so-subtle reminder that my body is still adjusting to the healing/rebuilding phase and the new alignment that is my hip socket.

Hooping it up

Yesterday, I played basketball for the first time since my op. Layups, dribbling between my legs and jump shots.

It all felt so good. No pain until about a half-hour in, when both hips started to get a little sore. This morning, I also feel just a bit of soreness.

But mostly, I feel happy. Pure and simple. I know now that I'll be able to play volleyball in September, and that brings a huge smile to my face.

On a side note, I'm probably pushing myself too hard. I was so well-behaved for the first 12 weeks, and now I'm past the point of patience. Now I want to get back to "better than normal." But I'm listening to my body and definitely won't keep pushing if I feel something that's not right.

Life after PAO

This week, while the family was back in town, I did so much. More, even, than I could pre-surgery.

In no particular order, I ...
Went floating down the river in an inner tube.Ran through the sprinkler like an 8-year-old.Climbed in and out of a boat.Walked through muddy muddy mud, almost losing my flip flops in the muck.Shopped for six hours.Ran, skipped and jumped.Played on the jungle gym, hanging upside down by my ankles.Did a cartwheel. Well, kinda.Danced.I feel like a kid again, embracing all the fun things I couldn't do two, three and four months ago. I'm so lucky!