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5 years post-op LPAO

Hip surgery remains − five years later − the smartest, bravest and most significant event of my life. Nothing can top the rewarding feeling of taking my health into my own hands, fighting tremendous fears and physical challenges, and coming through the other side a changed person.

That's not to say it's all roses now.

Hiking in the Medicine Bow National Forest
In dog years, my left hip is 35. It is starting to act its age, which I don't much like. Despite the increasing pain, I can't get mad at it. It has given me too much. I'm instead resigned, disheartened and even a little scared.

The pain I have now is totally different than pre-surgery's. Not in my hip at all, but rather in my back− sciatic pain on the left side. Luckily, it only hurts after a full day's activity, but when it hurts, it's nearly debilitating. I often can't even take a step until I've sat it out for a half hour or so. My right hip gets a little achy sometimes, but it's behaving much better. I'm still super active: kickboxing, volleyball, weight lifting, hiking, etc., though I am learning to not push myself so hard.

Other post-surgery effects linger. My range of motion is about 90%; I occasionally get itchy spasms on the still-numb patches on my hip; and my tailbone pain comes and goes ... and comes again. My scars look about the same as they did a couple of years ago, but I don't notice them anymore.

It's such a small price to pay. I would do it again without a second thought.

I haven't seen a hip doc since a quick follow-up visit with my surgeon, Dr. Mayo, in 2009. I know I eventually will need to go back, but not today. Today's my anniversary!


Rebecca Adams said…
I just had this surgery on January 11 this year and I cant even imagine 5 years down the road hip-wise. Im 18 so hopefully the problems that your having wont come for awhile :( It's so inspiring though how far you've come and your fearlessness.

Thanks for being so amazing! X
Hi Cassie! My first RPOA surgery is May 24. I have to say I am quite terrified. I'm just so scared to not be able to rely on my body like I do right now. I've stayed up the last two nights reading your entire blog. You've been so inspirational - i don't know how you did it all! Thanks for putting all this out there - I know it wasn't easy.
Cass said…
Hi Rebecca and Lauren,

I hope you both are recovering well. I'm sorry it took me so long to write back to you. I'm so grateful my blog has helped you! What's funny is that each one of us is inspirational, whether you have your story written out for others or not! I'm inspired by each person who goes through these surgeries.

Let me know how you're doing!
Bridget Wilding said…
Hey Cassie!

I really appreciate you documenting your process, I know it can be a great thing to look back on to see what you went through!! I am 23 and am going to be going through the pao this December. I'm obviously really nervous for the surgery itself, but I'm also more nervous for the long term effects. I was wondering if you would mind giving me feedback on your surgery? I used to be a bodybuilder and a personal trainer 2 years ago and have had to switch to a pretty sedentary lifestyle due to my hip dysplasia. It's been a year and a half since I started the process of trying to figure out what's wrong with me so I'm frustrated and ready to be pain free! Id really appreciate it if you could email me!!

Thanks again for documenting your journey :)

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Questions for surgeon pre-op

Below is my list of questions to ask Dr. Mayo pre-op.

About pre-op care and my dysplasia How many degrees is my dysplasia?How’s the other hip? When will I need surgery on it?What are my chances for a successful surgery?Should I be following any special diet or medication restrictions?
About the surgery
How long is the surgery?Will you be doing the entire surgery or do other surgeons help?Chances of finding FAI or tears in labrum? Then what?Worst-case scenario while in surgery? Any chance of THR or no PAO?Will I be intubated?Do you do a bone graft?Where will scar be?What kind of stitching?When will the catheter go in?What are the screws made of?Will I lose much blood during surgery? Should I donate my own blood prior to surgery? If so, will I get that blood back? About post-op care
What can I expect during my hospital stay? How long will I be in the hospital?How will my pain be managed in the hospital and at home? Will I get an epidural? When will it go in? What items do I need at home to he…

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 …

3 years post-op LPAO

A surgery can change your body. Two surgeries can change everything.

Today, on the third anniversary of my LPAO, I inevitably think back to my first operation and the years leading up to that day.

Everything has changed.

I am an outdoors enthusiast and exercise nut. I can stay on my feet all day. My new body has freed my soul, and my heart responds in kind.

The breakdown is exactly the same as it was at two years post-op: zero pain with a couple of exceptions, great range of motion, same tingly patch and itching. The one difference is that my tailbone pain has waned considerably, which gives me much, much relief.

I'm a different person today than I was on April 23, 2008, and I'll be forever thankful.