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Showing posts from December, 2008


I returned home yesterday, making only one stop in the eight-hour trip. I got a little uncomfortable after three hours, but I didn't have any problems driving. How fast I drove, where to turn, where to stop ... Every move was my choice, and it felt so nice to have my freedom back!

Today, with any luck, was my last day on crutches. Today, my mind raced with the possibilities of a life without mobility aids ... but mostly, a life without constant thoughts of hips, hip pain and hip limitations.

As I unpacked my things, I began to grasp what my life would be like without those thoughts. In a word: overwhelming. It's taken more than a year and two major surgeries for me to really believe I may be free from hip worry. For how long, no one can say, but I'm thankful for the possibilities that lie ahead.

That's true freedom.

Snow delay

Blowing snow, limited visibility and no unnecessary travel restrictions kept me from my Colorado destination today.

Knowing I had to stay here another day darn near ripped my heart out.

Having to move out of my own home for surgery has meant a definite beginning and end to the first stages of the PAO process. It doesn't matter how little pain I have or how much motion I've gained; I can't move on until I physically move on. Only when I set my bags down in my apartment, when I get my own mail and fix my own meals will I truly feel I'm healed.

With a little luck and some snowy miles under my belt, tomorrow will be that day!

7 weeks post op RPAO

I can hardly believe I have only one week left on crutches. The thought makes my heart dive into my stomach and my stomach leap into my heart.

Next Monday at my follow-up appointment, my follow-up doctor, Dr. Thomas, will take a gander at my follow-up x-rays to make sure all is healing well. I talked to Dr. Mayo yesterday and he said he trusts Dr. Thomas to read the films and give me the thumbs up to start fully weight bearing. Last time around, I had to wait for the x-rays to be shipped and then I impatiently waited for Dr. Mayo to have an office day and call me with the news.

I'll be off crutches in five and a half days! Of course, I'll still need one until my muscles are strong enough to walk again, but not needing them full time is the best Christmas/New Year's present ever.

Updates are few:
I have zero pain in my right hip at all times.The outside of my hip is still tender, and I'm trying my best to massage the scar, but it just feels so weird. Still haven't gotte…

Getting on with it

One week from today, I'll be in my own apartment.

The day after Christmas, I'll drive the 500-some miles to Colorado and get on with my life. A hair cut, visits with friends, and my eight-week follow-up appointment will punctuate the first few days of my return.

I'll start physical therapy sessions with Jennifer on Jan. 5, which also is the day I return to work. I'm so excited to get moving again!

A few challenges lie ahead, including driving, which I haven't done since the operation. And the possibility of snow and ice, which would be dangerous on crutches and stairs. Luckily, I'll have plenty of help until I get the all clear to drop the crutches, so everything should be good.

How can it not be?

A little something on the side

They say the grass is greener on the other side.

A couple of weeks ago, lying awake in bed and failing -- for the zillionth time -- to find a comfortable position, I decided I couldn't care less what color the grass was, as long as "the other side" would help me sleep.

My post-op instructions clearly stated I was not to lie on my operated side for eight weeks. For four weeks, I fought the urge, all the while knowing with every fiber of my being that if I could only flip over, all would be right with the world.

Then one night I awoke on the forbidden side, having subconsciously changed positions in the night. Feeling a little sore -- and guilty -- I promptly switched to my back, telling myself it wouldn't happen again.

But I had already glimpsed paradise, and I knew in my heart I couldn't go back. The next night, I tenderly made my way to my right side and discovered I had been right: It was true bliss. I promptly fell asleep, and then changed positions after abo…

6 weeks post op RPAO

Six weeks post-op sounds so much better than five. At this point, a lot of my Hip Sisters were allowed to start weight bearing. While part of me is jealous, another part of me is simply happy knowing that my bones are almost done knitting back together. A couple more weeks, and I'll get to start focusing on the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

It's been an uneventful week. Old Man Winter is paying us a visit, which means I don't get out of the house much. The symptoms of cabin fever I was displaying have turned into a full-blown case. Other than that, I feel very good.

At this point, my recovery is in a holding pattern. No big progress has been made, mostly because there's just not a lot more I could be doing, besides walking.

My range of motion is increasing. Clicking has returned. This actually started about three weeks ago, but I notice it more now because I'm moving around more. It's not painful, just a loud click.
Getting my socks and shoes on is still …

Two surgeries and three B's

As I was lying awake last night, I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment.

See, while this recovery has been smoother physically than the last one, it's been tougher on my state of mind. Bored, blech and blah are the three "B's" that would summarize these past weeks. I've been comparing my two surgeries a lot lately (which was my first no-no) and finally realized that I'm not just recovering from my RPAO. I'm also still feeling the effects from my LPAO.

By the time January rolls around, I will have been on crutches (full- and part-time) for four and a half months out of the past eight. For an additional month, I worked out muscle fatigue and soreness while learning how to walk again.

I hate to complain, but simply put, it's been a long and challenging eight months.

Of course, I still have a ton to celebrate. Both recoveries have gone wonderfully, and I have no surgeries scheduled in my future, which is such a relief. The benefits of having two surgeries…

5 weeks post op RPAO

The best thing about being five weeks post op is that now I'm more than halfway through this whole crutches saga. Three more weeks, and I'll be (hopefully) learning to walk again.

In the past week I've:
Had very, very little pain. No shooting pains, burning nerve pain or soreness in the joint. I now have the urge to take a step on my own, like it won't hurt at all to do so.
Learned a new trick. I can put my socks on like a normal person: sitting in a chair and reaching down, rather than lying on my back and attempting bringing my leg to my chest.Attempted crutching on snow and ice. Not easy. Luckily, the latest batch has melted and we're back to dry land.Gave myself a pedicure and painted my toenails a festive bright red.
I haven't been very good about doing my isometric exercises, so my goal is to do more of what I can so I'm ready for physical therapy come January. I wanna kick butt like Marina.

See how I felt at five weeks post-op LPAO.

It's back

Maybe you'd forgotten about it. Maybe you wish I'd forgotten about it. I wish I could forget about it.

Though you haven't read about it in a while, it's never really gone away. In fact, it's worse than ever. Brace yourself; here comes the complain train.

My tailbone still hurts. Lots. I knew this would happen, but I guess I was hoping it wouldn't. My already-aggravated coccyx has become downright livid.

Before my surgery, I spoke with Dr. Mayo about it. He basically told me he didn't know what the problem was or how to make it better. Unfortunately, he said, the coccyx is still a bit of a mystery to the medical world. His medical opinion and my research have produced the following options: waiting it out, cortisone shots, further tests and exploration, and removal of the bone.

I'll take Door Number 1, Monty.

After this hip is healed and I'm not sitting on it so much, I hope it will return to its normal, painfree state.

The things they carried

It's a delicate song and dance routine, attempting to carry items of importance while both hands and arms are occupied with crutches.

At this point, I could make it on Broadway.

Though today, I had a wardrobe malfunction. While helping my mom with chores, I felt something odd in my shirt. I reached up, fished around a bit, and found the socks I had put there five hours earlier. Then I laughed so hard I snorted.

I've learned to shove things in my shirt and my waistband (don't ask about the notorious carrots and soda incident), lug stuff over my shoulder and back, grip small items in my hand, carry even smaller things in my mouth. I'm sure I resemble a chipmunk at times. A singing and dancing chipmunk. :)

Of course, there are things a person can't perform while in the act of crutching. Among the most annoying: getting the hair out of my face, taking my sunglasses off, itching, carrying anything heavier than 10 pounds, and opening heavy doors.

Soon, my crutching days …

4 weeks post op RPAO/Incision pic

Halfway through the first stage of recovery. I feel as if I've made mucho progress since last week. My incision picture follows.

At this point I can now:
Wear fitted jeansPick items off the floor from a standing position with both feet on the floor. (Before, I had to swing my op leg back because I couldn't bend that far.)Bend and twist in new ways. My range of motion is increasing quite a bit.Sit, rise, do stairs, crutch, scootch, pivot and hop without pain -- most of the time.Get dressed without using the grabber.Fall asleep without any sleep aids or painkillers. I've had no Tylenol in the past three days.Keep up with my mom in Target, Barnes & Noble and any other like-sized store.Work an eight-hour day from the recliner.Sleep without a pillow between my knees or under my leg. Also, switching positions from belly to side to back is now is cinch. Very happy with my progress, though the crutches are still a pain in the backside. Got one stuck on a rug today and almost bi…