Showing posts from July, 2008

3 and a half months post-op

I wanted to leave a quick update on my progress in the past two weeks. I pushed through the plateau and I feel even better than I did at three months post-op.

No limp!Very little stiffness remaining in my hipScar has smoothed almost completely out, though it's still very pink/purpley (that could be a word) and tender. The area around the incision is also very tender still.Sensation getting stronger on majority of my thigh. This is causing some itchy stinging (or some stingy itching) feelings as the nerves start firing up again.Jogging, jumping do not hurtRange of motion increasingGetting in/out of cars or bed no longer difficult, unless I've worked my hip a lot alreadyWalking any amount of distance not a problem (my right hip is holding me up, though)I've started to refer to the left (op) hip as my good one!Complaint
Stupid, stupid tailbone
While I still have many, many things to celebrate (like being on my feet all day with no pain today), I find myself thinking abo…


I made the nearly eight-hour trip back to my hometown today.

My grandma, who had severe rheumatoid arthritis, passed away on Sunday and we're all gathering for her funeral on Thursday. It's a sad time for us, but we're all comforted by knowing that she's not in pain anymore. She was a remarkable woman and set a great example for me to carry through my dysplasia and PAO experience.

My speech for the funeral will go something like this:

"It's strange to me how we can learn so much from someone who said so little.

Grandma set an example for all of us -- not with lectures or advice -- but with her sheer courage and strength.

I know she used to be a strong and tall woman, but those things were taken away from her later in life. Yet Grandma still wanted to manage by herself. Even when she could hardly stand, she insisted on putting one foot in front of the other so she could walk on her own. This was frustrating for us sometimes, because we wanted to make things easier f…

Back to normal

A couple of days after my first attempt at jogging, I was forced to give it another try. Caught in one of the biggest storms I've ever seen while watching a softball game, my friends and I had to run the length of the field and across the parking lot for shelter. We still ended up soaked.

It hardly hurt this time, though my leg was very tired by the time we reached the car. I felt as if Jenny were screaming at me: Run, Cassie, Run! And there I went, as quick as I could in the downpour, flip flops just flapping away and my hands stretched wide to celebrate the rain and my running.

My other great news is that Jennifer thinks I am ready to be through with physical therapy. Though I still have to strengthen and loosen my hip flexor, she is very happy with my progress and even thinks the left side (op side) looks much better than the right.

The best news: My limp is gone. Jennifer is very straightforward and picky about how I do my exercises, so when she said she didn't see a limp any…

Shame on me

Well, I finally couldn't help myself.

Walking back from the park tonight, my heart and my legs overpowered the little voice in my head (which ironically sounds a lot like Dr. Mayo) telling me to not to, but I did: I jogged.

About 20 steps, about like a normal person. But alas, the little voice in my head had been correct. It's just not time. While the gait felt normal, there was a lot of pain deep in the joint, so I stopped. But at the same time, it felt wonderful!

Had a good PT session today, though I feel as if I'm at a plateau. I'm down to one session per week for the next three or four weeks. I hope to be over this hump by then and eighty-six what's left of my limp.

What's this?

Last night, I went to the gym to get some exercise on the elliptical machine. I've put in a few workouts the past week before stopping due to an uncomfortable pinching feeling in my hip.

Yesterday, though, I was able to go so hard and so long that at one point, I was distracted by what seemed to be water on my forehead. "What's this?" I thought, as I reached up to wipe it away. It took me a moment, but I soon remembered what it is to sweat.

All sarcasm aside, I really was happy to have broken a sweat for the first time in more than three months. (Drug- and fear-induced doesn't count.) I've been taking half-hour walks each day, hitting the gym for upper and lower body workouts, spending about 15 minutes on the elliptical and walking everywhere like normal. Feeling my limp fading away is a great feeling.

P.S. Got my donut. I'm a little sorry to say I'm not sure if it's going to help much.

America's best orthopedic hospitals

U.S. News and World Report just did an issue on America's best hospitals, with a special section on orthopedics.

While I was sad (though not surprised) to not see Tacoma General on the list, I do know that Dr. Mayo is one of the top surgeons for PAOs. That's enough for me.

See the rankings.

Insurance and bills

It took nearly 12 weeks, but I think I finally have the insurance/hospital bill thing straightened out.

Getting the "medical necessity" authorization for the seven days I spent in the hospital took the longest, and made me a little worried. My total hospital bill hit more than $100,000, so I'm glad I won't have to resort to living with my parents or selling my body for money to pay off the bill! So far, I've paid about half of the $2,500 that I need to pay out-of-pocket.

And by the end of the year, I'll be able to say that my hips are worth almost a quarter of a million dollars!

The medical system is a complete mystery to me. I've gotten a dozen of different bills from different areas: anesthesiologists, CT scan, pathology, blood work, office visits, hospital "extras ... "

It's mind boggling.

12 weeks post-op

To celebrate being three-months post-op, I made my return to Body Jam, a cardio dance class at my gym. While I wasn't able to do about half of the moves because they were high-impact, it was so wonderful to be back after so long!

In the two weeks since I've written about post-op progress, I continue to get better. In fact, there are so few things that feel strange or hurt, that it will be easier to list those than all the things I can do now!

At this point
It only hurts (just barely) to walk when I've been sitting for a long time and then get moving again.My limp is hardly noticeable.I still feel a bit of stiffness in the joint, especially after inactivity.My hip still hurts to roll onto, like when sleeping or trying to do crunches on my side. Once I'm in position, though, it doesn't hurt anymore.The numbness continues to fade. I feel the sensation coming back in most of my thigh. There's a spot about the size of half a dollar bill that still doesn't feel a t…

Fighting the urge

I was walking down a very long hallway at work today and had to fight with myself to not break out into a run. I was so very tempted.

I'm starving for some high-energy exercise, and now that I'm feeling so darn good, it's so darn hard to hold myself back. But Dr. Mayo says "no impact loading," which means no running, jumping, or stomping my feet up and down during a temper tantrum.

Jennifer (PT) felt sorry for me and gave me the ok to work out on an elliptical, so I'll give that a shot. I haven't seen her in more than a week and she was very pleased with my progress.

Me too.

Getting to the bottom of things

I talked to Dr. Mayo today and he confirmed my fear: My butt hurts, indeed, because I had spent so much time on it post-op.

He said the tailbone pain I'm having is not uncommon, especially since I'm thin. So I guess I have to admit it: My tailbone is undependable. It got snarky with me because it wasn't used to being relied on so much. The recommendation: Get a donut to sit on at work and during the commute to take the pressure off it. I didn't ask how long it would be until it was happy again.

So, a donut it is. Much better than the alternative, which was going to some random doctor who was going to feel around my behind! Anyone know where I can find one? (A donut, not a random doctor to feel around my behind.)

Thanks, Laura, for the suggestions. Though I'm not happy that you have the same problem, I am glad that I'm not the only one dealing with this!

Other than that, I'm doing great. My friends and co-workers have all commented how well I'm walking, and …

Hold your applause

Whew! What a busy, long, great weekend I had in Chicago. What I re-learned is that I never know my limits until I test them. As I give a play-by-play, please hold your applause until the end of this post. ;)
This weekend, I did the following: Walked -- unaided -- through Denver International Airport, O'Hare International and our giant hotel, hauling luggage all the while.Walked -- unaided -- across dozens of city blocks in downtown Chicago with millions of people teeming the streets for the holiday weekend. I didn't get run over once. Though one lady behind us did complain we weren't going fast enough.Ran (okay, so it was a walk/jog, or a wog, if you will) to catch a trolley to Navy Pier.Danced for hours. Swing, hip-hop, country. IN HEELS.Carried my 3-year-old nephew on my op hip.Took a shower and shaved my legs while standing the whole time.Went without a pillow either under or between my knees while sleeping.Learned that I no longer need any walking aids. I'm takin…

10 weeks post-op

Wow. I can't believe it's been two and a half months. The first month went by quickly, but the past six weeks have dragged a little. It's amazing, though, the progress I've made in this amount of time.

Good stuff
I am not using a crutch or a cane, except if walking more than the equivalent of a couple blocks. I can lift my leg into the car and into bed without using my hands. (It's painful this way, but I do it to get my strength back.)I can stand to get dressed, instead of sitting on my bed/chair. (Also a little painful.)I can put my shoes on like a normal person, rather than lying half on my back and pulling my leg toward me.I am sleeping much, much, much better. Almost as good as pre-op.My scar is not as painful to the touch now that I'm massaging it each day to break up the tissue.The numbness is already receding in my thigh. Before, the skin all around the drain scars was completely numb but now I have some feeling there.I can wear jeans.Challenging stuff