Showing posts from October, 2008

Back in Montana

Just a quick post before I collapse into bed. I made it to Montana tonight, after some rushed and unorganized last-minute packing. Being here brings back a lot of post-surgery memories I had forgotten, and I'm feeling a little daunted. Only two days to go; I can't believe it.

I think my cold is starting to get better, thank goodness. I took the advice of my Hip Sisters and called Dr. Mayo's office on Wednesday. His PA, Sara, said that as long as I don't have a fever and there's no congestion in my chest, they will proceed with the surgery. She said my recovery will be harder, but a cold won't cancel anything.

No fever again today, and I'm hopeful the gunk that's left won't travel to my lungs.

I'm so super grateful for my friends, family, co-workers and Hip Sisters, who have been just as supportive of Round II as they were for the first one. Thank you, everyone, for all you've done. I feel so loved, am I'm so lucky to have you.


Having been through this process before, there have been no surprises in the planning stages. I'm mentally prepared and know what to expect.

So it was unexpected that I had an emotional breakdown tonight.

I've felt the stress building for a couple of days ... packing, saying goodbye to friends, having my last gym and Body Jam sessions. A few minutes ago, like it or not, it was time to just let it take over. Feeling scared and sad, I cried for about five minutes, but I think things will get better from here.

No matter how tough you are -- or think you are -- a PAO is no picnic, even if you've done it before. I accept that it got to me and am glad I let myself cry over it. Now I can move forward and work on being strong again.

Four days to go.

One week to go

One week from now at this time, I'll be in surgery.

Six days from now, I'll be flying to Tacoma with my wonderful mom.

Four days from now, I'll be driving 500 miles north to Montana.

And right now, I'm trying (and failing) to get my work organized before I leave. Hmmm, maybe if I weren't blogging I'd have more time to do that. Still have a lot of work to do at home, too, and I'm just crossing my fingers that it will all come together.

Woke up this morning with the beginnings of a head cold. I'm terrified that it's going to turn bad and cause problems with my surgery. I'm taking emergen-C and planning to get some extra sleep. Cause I have lots of that to spare.

Thank goodness this will be over in a week.


Less than a week to go before I leave Colorado.

I've been in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a work conference the past week, so now I'm trying to play catch-up. In less than a week I need to take care of all the things I spread out over a month for my last surgery. But it was totally worth it, as you can see from the photos.

Part of me is completely freaked out that I'm doing this again. And part of me is thinking, "whatever, just do it."

I'm not happy to report that my tailbone and pelvis issues are now accompanied by a giant butt knot. Yes, a butt knot. Like something that needs a deep tissue massage to work out. Clearly, the muscles/tendons are angry, so I tried to get into my physical therapist, but no go. She's booked till after I leave, so I'm just gonna try to work it out myself. I apologize for the public self-butt rubbing.

Buhlud Part IV (The Finale)

Thank goodness I'm done blood-letting.

The process is quick and simple, but I feel the effects for a few days afterward. Tired, tired. I went in today with my hemotocrit having dropped 3 percent from last week. Which made me anemic going in, and even more anemic coming out.

I have 18 days to make more. And I look forward to getting a transfusion after surgery with my own beautiful blood.

6 month follow-up

The good news from my six-month LPAO follow-up: the osteotomies are completely healed and the hip joint looks very good. Yay!

The bad news: Dr. Thomas has no idea why my tailbone is messed up and no idea why I have pain on the underside of my pelvis. The X-rays don't show any problem with the bone, so I guess that's good. There is some extra bone growing on the outside of the joint, but we didn't get around to addressing that.

The encouraging news: Dr. Thomas isn't my only hope. The X-rays are on their way to Dr. Mayo's office, and I'm crossing my fingers and toes that he has some magic up his sleeve to make my pain go away.

I try not to focus on these issues. I'm happy with the progress I've made and the wonderful new hip I've been given. But dang it, sometimes it just gets me down. Especially today, when there are no answers. When I'm physically tired because the pain wakes me up throughout the night and when I can't even sit on the couch as …

Return of The Crutches

This past weekend I started packing for my surgery and my stay in Montana. Because I'm going on a business trip for five days next week, I only have 13 days left before I leave Colorado.

So I pulled out my shoe puller-on-er, my long-handled loofah, my reacher. Then, from the depths of my closet, I pulled out The Crutches. Holding them in my hands, my heart absolutely sank. My eyes started to well up, and I was forced to put them back, lest I start crying like a baby. While my recovery was very straightforward and much easier than I expected, those crutches ... well, they suck. I hate 'em. They will remain in the closet until the day I leave town so I'm not reminded of how irritating it is to not have my hands (and my leg) free.

The rest I can pack ahead of time. But like an old boyfriend, The Crutches and I have too much history to just be hanging out.

In my hospital bag

Below is my list of items I will be packing in my hospital bag. Some of the things I packed in the first bag didn't make the cut this time, and new things were added instead.
1 pair of very baggy sweatpants for the trip home.2 pairs of loose, boxer short-type underwear (though I'll probably only need the one pair for the trip home. Underwear don't really work with a catheter).1 shirt and bra2 pairs of socks (though I don't need them as I'm forced to wear those tight TEDs).Comfy and supportive slip-on shoesJacketMouthwash (very handy when you can't get to the sink to brush)Toothbrush and toothpaste (when you finally are able to stand at the sink long enough!)Trial size shampoo and conditioner (yay for showering post-op!)DeodorantLotion (in my favorite scent, for a small comfort from home)Cleansing facial wipes and moisturizerBaby wipes and antibacterial gel for my handsDry shampooEyedrops (my eyes are dry since the Lasik)Ear plugs (the cpm's aren't quiet,…

Reservations and tickets

I bit the bullet this week and bought plane tickets and made hotel reservations.

We're doing things a little differently this time around. Instead of my sister and mom both coming for the surgery, my mom's going to be the sole Cassie caregiver.

We chose a different hotel. One that's more expensive, but nicer and closer to the hospital, and it offers free shuttle service, so Mom won't have to worry about taxis. We figure I'm going to be out of the hospital sooner this time since I know what I have to do, so it shouldn't be too pricey in the end. (Knock on wood.)

We chose a different flight back from Tacoma to Billings. Last time, we flew non-stop on a little plane (meaning we boarded the plane from outside and they had to put me in a too-tiny wheelchair to bypass the steps). This time, we'll be flying a bigger and more comfortable plane, (hello, jet bridge) but we'll have a layover in Denver. I hope the extra travel time is bearable.

I also made all the …

Six months post-op/scar pic

As I look ahead to my second PAO, I find myself thinking less and less about the first one.

So it didn't surprise me that I almost forgot that today marks six months post-op progress. This was the amount of time that I had allowed myself to get back to normal. When people would ask me how long the recovery was, I always said between six and 12 months.

And now, here I am.

Am I fully recovered? Honestly, I have to say no. Close, but not fully.

The stats:
I have absolutely no pain when walking, even for long distances! Still working a bit on strength, mostly for straight-leg type activities. Range of motion is about 80 percent of what it was pre-op ... wonder if that will ever come back completely. Sure hope so; it'll make pedicures much easier!
Feelings still returning to thigh area, and it still creeps me out to touch my leg.Two post-op complications are holding me back and testing my patience and pain threshold:
First is the notorious tailbone. Getting worse by the month. I no longer…

Buhlud Part III

Feeling better than I did on Monday, I gave my first unit of blood today. Everything went smoothly, and my hematocrit was 39 percent, 2 percent higher than it was when I gave blood for my last surgery.

Which is ironic, cause last time, I was super picky about my diet and taking iron supplements. This time around, I've been careful but not obsessed like last time.

It still surprises me though, that my number falls on the low side for women. I've been taking iron supplements since February, so why still low? Guess I'll have to make that trip to my primary care physician once this is all over.

My second -- and last -- donation will take place on Friday the 17th.

For your entertainment, I'm re-linking the funny video that inspired the title of this blog.

New surgery date

Dr. Mayo left me a message tonight (on a Sunday!), saying he needed to move my surgery up a week.

The new date is Monday, Nov. 3. Guess it's time to stop dragging my feet and start booking plane tickets and hotel reservations.

And maybe tell more people at work.

And find some decent slip-on, winter shoes.

And get a better attitude.

And a dozen other things that I now have 27 days to complete before I fly to Tacoma.

The good thing is that I'll be done with all this a week sooner. Very cool.


I'm supposed to donate my first unit of blood tomorrow, but I woke up today with the beginning of a sinus infection. Perfect timing.

Even if the blood bank were to allow me to donate, I would decline. Don't want those germs to sneak back on me, now do I? One of my biggest fears post-surgery is having a cold. It took more than a month before I could simply blow my nose without pain. It was almost two months before I could sneeze without feeling as if my hip was going to rip open!

I cannot have a cold after surgery; I just can't!

The sinus infection isn't the only reason for the "blech" title. The past week or so, I've felt down as I start to make arrangements for my RPAO. I'm not ready to do this again. I was having so much fun with my new life, and now I have to backtrack and start over.

Lesson: Even though I've already been through one pre-surgery process -- including the emotional rollercoaster -- I'm going through it again. Just because I'…

Post-surgery must-haves

As I prepare for my second surgery, I've taken a mental list of the things that worked and didn't for me post-op and compiled a web version. It's listed on the right hand navigation under "personal tips and information."

This list is a work in progress and subject to change. I would like to add a section for things that weren't necessities but were nice amenities!

Hope it helps those of you getting ready for your upcoming surgeries!