Monday, December 29, 2008

Run, Forrest?

I have unexpectedly found a new love--the elliptical machine! All the bikes were taken at the gym, so I reluctantly got on an elliptical and much to my surprise it was awesome! It was the first time in a year that I've been able to use all my muscles at once; and the first time in much longer that I've been able to mimic anything close to running. I was so much in awe of my new found love that I ditched the rest of my workout and just "ran." I had visions of Forrest Gump playing in my head, I could have ran for a week. But I eventually had to return to reality and get on with my day, but got right back at it the next day. Even better is that I may not be doomed to just the bike, it gets SO VERY boring. On the flip side, I got in the pool today and there are just certain movements in the water that down right hurt. Don't get me wrong, water exercise is a great way to recover from any injury, but because the water resists in all directions and because of the weird angles you can move in, I find that I still need to be careful.

For your entertainment (it starts a little slow, but the best I could find):

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

She Did What?!

I got a little crazy today and laced up a pair of ice skates to hit the ice for the first time since January. The second I took to the ice I became a bundle of nerves, very aware of all the potential trip hazards that could cause a wipe out. As I was making my way around I couldn't help but think how ironic it is that last winter after surgery #1 I did everything possible to avoid ice, and here I was today voluntarily subjecting myself to slippery conditions. I took 4 laps around, with my right skate pressed firmly into the ice and letting my left (good) leg do the work. It felt good to do something normal, but it will be a while before I'm comfortable helping my 2 1/2 year old glide around on his skates (he's still a beginner.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PT Graduation Day!!

Major accomplishment in my PAO world to report on--today I graduated from physical therapy. Or as they put it, I am now 'discharged'. I like to think of it as an honorable discharge seeing how much blood, sweat, and tears I devoted to the cause--literally. I have spent 10 MONTHS in PT this year over the course of my 2 hip surgeries. What a relief to give up my standing bi-weekly appointments. Nice people there, but I hope I never need their services again!

During my final evaluation I was tested on range of motion and strength, and had vast improvements in all areas. Although none of my levels were 'normal', they were 'functional'. So what does that mean? I have some more work to do on my own, and I do feel that my hip & leg still has room for advancement. It's now completely up to me to make sure that I reach optimal levels. More weights and more biking are in my future, probably for the rest of my life. At least I'll be able to enjoy it pain-free.

So given all that, and the fact that I bought gas for $1.54 today, I'd say I'm having a great day--what more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Planning for the Future

Does anyone know how many weeks post-PAO I am??!! Hold on, let me calculate . . .WOW, the answer is 20 weeks!! So I'm still not running any marathons--not that I ever did or ever intend to, but I can say that I'm hitting the gym hard, getting around just fine, and planning for the future. So what does that mean? It means that hip pain does not consume me anymore. It means that I'm preparing to return back to my job as a fitness instructor (hello to all my participants out there!) It also means that I'm going back to doing things that I use to do--this week I plan on hitting the ice as I just found skates small enough to fit my son. Ok, so maybe that's a bit aggressive, but it's not like anyone will be checking me into the boards or anything, and as long as I'm gliding across the ice there is no impact, right?!. I'll have to report on how that goes later in the week. . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Making Little Improvements

At 4 1/4 months I find I'm still making little improvements. For instance today I found myself sitting in the floor Indian style. I couldn't believe that I was sitting with my legs cross, it's something I thought I would never do again. And it didn't hurt, just a little bit of a stretch is all I felt. This is all in addition to being able to sleep on my operated side more consistently. It's an amazing feeling to be able to do these little things that I use to take for granted.

On the flip side, I can say that the screws really bother me. They are tender, and wearing jeans is not very comfortable at times. I can't wait to get the screws removed, hopefully this spring. At least it's something to look forward to.

I just wanted to report on my new moves. Hopefully there's more to come!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting Past PAO Surgery

Here I am trying to figure out what week post-PAO I am at. Funny how things have changed, as there was a time I could tell you how many days, hours, minutes, & seconds had passed. That's not to say that I'm 100% completely recovered, it just means that life goes on and I don't have time to think about my hip all the time--this is a good thing, maybe just not so good for my blog.

If my math is right, then this is 16 weeks plus a couple days post surgery. I already wrote how I planned a vacation starting at week 14, well it's a bit longer than the typical vacation and I'm still running around enjoying the freedom of walking on my own. Mind you, I spent nearly 15 weeks on crutches this year due to 2 surgeries so I have a lot of making up to do!

To all of you researching this surgery, I can say that there is much hope that your hip pain will vanish. At least mine has. That constant deep, aching feeling is a thing of the past--thank God! At this stage though, I still have quite a bit of numbness in my thigh to the point I don't always know if I'm touching my leg (sometimes it startles me as I think it could be an insect or something!) I can also say that there is some soreness in the muscles, like when my 2 year-old thought it was a good idea to use my leg for a slide. Um, that didn't feel good at all. The screws are tender areas, and I have a slight bit of numbness in my foot that goes unnoticed most of the time. Running (as in chasing my kid around) does not feel good, but I can abuse a bike for a solid 30 minutes. I can also walk a mile without looking like I'm wearing cinderblocks for shoes, at least that's how I use to picture myself. My scar has healed nicely, I just wish it wasn't so big--it has to be a good 6 inches long, plus the 2 on my leg from the scopes. I'm hoping the purple color fades with time, and I'm praying I'll never get a matching one on the other side!

So at the stage I can tell you that yes, it's been worth it. No more limping, no more pain, and no more pain meds!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ah, Relaxing At Last

Prior to surgery I planned a vacation starting week 14 post-op, and I am so glad I did for a number of reasons:
1) Motivation to walk on my own quicker
2) Motivation to be off the pain killers
3) Something to look forward to while I was cooped up in the house recovering
4) A way to get back some of the summer weeks/months I missed out on

So here I am, relaxing in beautiful sunny Florida with 80 degree weather and palm trees everywhere I look! Life is fabulous.

I can also tell you that I made it through a 1300 mile, 19 1/2 hour drive without an inkling of hip pain! Did I mention life is fabulous? Gotta run, so much to do . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."
~John Wayne~

I happen to notice this quote attached to a signature on a hip board I read. It stopped me in my tracks, and made me think that I must be really courageous given how scared $hitless I was going into this surgery. Seriously, I was a wreck for the last two weeks leading up to surgery. I think a lot had to do with having a young child and trying to orchestrate all the help we were going to require. But when all was said and done, I found that I just took it day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute, and focused on the task at hand. It wasn't easy, and sometimes it was down right painful, but I got through it and am a stronger person for it. I know what real pain feels like, needles don't bother me as much, I'm more compassionate for people in compromising situations, and yes I guess I am more courageous than I realized.

3 Month Check Up

I had my 3 month check up with the good Dr. Z today. So far all is good. I kind of laughed at myself walking into the hospital as I was behind these 2 dudes that were walking SO slow and taking up the entire hallway so I couldn't pass. To think I was wanting to pass someone, a few weeks back that would have been me at the leisurely stroll.

In seeing Dr Z, he had me walk fast down the hallway to take a look at my gait. No limp! We talked about my discomfort in what I thought is the joint capsule. He explained it's not the capsule, but where he cut the bone. The bone is healed but the tendon that runs across it is going to take months to completely heal. He also said we can look at removing the screws this spring; the good news is that can be done under local anesthesia with a 1-2 inch incision. As for activity, he doesn't recommend that I take up jogging, but I can chase my kid around or kick a soccer ball if I want. My abductors are extremely weak and need a good 3-4 months of training to bring them around. And the best news is that he said he would expect my PAO to last at least until he's retired--20+ years!!! All-in-all we both seemed please with my progress.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

12 Week Update

I have to share what I did yesterday, this is so cool . . .First I started with my 30 minute/10 mile ride on the exercise bike. Then being the fabulous day it was outside, my son was able to convince me to take him for a little spin around the block on a real bike. We have one of those bike trailer/chariot looking things that you pull behind the bike. I was nervous at first, but once we got going we toured the whole neighborhood. After making it back to the house we took a walk around the block, all with no pain or limp! It was great to be out and about, and to think I've only been without a cane for a week!

So at 12 weeks I'm definitely back into the full swing of things--childcare, house cleaning, running errands. I still have problems putting my socks on, and getting in & out of the car usually requires me to move the seat back. When moving through my PT motions I sometimes experience a discomfort that stops me in my tracks; straight leg raises, 1 leg squats, & lunges are very challenging. I have yet to sleep on my operated side, although I suspect I could for a little while. I have made no attempt at any kind of running motion (not sure if I ever will with exception of an emergency), and I'm still getting use to massaging the scars.

At this point and time I can tell you the pain is gone, but range of motion is still limited. PT says they can get me to 'functional' range, although not the norm. If it allows me to lead a semi-active, pain-free life then it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Mommy, You Can Walk!"

Some of the most precious words I've ever heard from my son as he realized I was walking on my own, "Mommy, you can walk!" Dang right I can! I'm at 11 1/2 weeks post-PAO now, and ditched the crutches and canes over the weekend. Not really by design, but as I went to the store I realized I left my cane at home and well, that was that. I haven't even needed it towards the end of long days when my leg tends to tire. I'm still cautious when in public, as I feel the cane offered me some protection or at least people would be careful around me and not expect me to be able to move in certain ways. But none-the-less it feels great to be on my own with both hands free and going about business as usual.

I'm still a frequent visitor to PT, which they now have me trying to progress to single leg presses. The first time I attempted this move I was shocked at how I couldn't hold my operated leg up by itself while my good leg did the work. There's still lots of work to be done but things are coming along. The best thing is that I have very little pain, if any, and walking & biking are done pain-free! As for my scars, my surgeon did a fabulous job as the scars are just a flat line (no more peaks!) which I'm suppose to massage daily to reconnect the nerve endings.

Oh, another really cool thing is that I finally started wearing jeans again. I guess I waited so long as I was afraid of the uncomfortableness of the waist band cutting right across the incision. Happy to say this hasn't been a problem. It feels great to feel normal again!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"I'm Not A Pimp!"

Remember how I said when I went to one crutch all I could think about was the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is walking down the street with the cane in the Dream Coat? Well there are still days when using my cane I crack myself up thinking about that crazy walk. Check it out:

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm an Addict

Seriously, I'm addicted to working out. And not to just working out, but to sweat. Must be that rush of adrenaline, but once I start I can't get enough. For instance, this morning I jumped on the stationary bike, cranked up my ipod, and started my heart rate monitor. It's the heart rate monitor that can send me over the top, and here's why: I'm pedaling along at about 80 rpms with a heat rate (HR) of 145. No where near close to the 175-190 HR I could get while teaching kickboxing. So I add upper body strength moves using a resistance band and next thing I know, my HR is in the 170s. How cool is that?! It's like mini-interval training--a few sets of back (HR 174), rest (HR 155), chest (HR 175), rest (HR 160), etc. The key is to keep the cadence up and focus on form all at the same time. Once I've had enough of the resistance band, I throw in some upper body kickboxing moves like jabs & upper cuts. I figure if I'm destined to ride a bike for the rest of my life, it has to be interesting. I'm going to work on a developing a circuit program where I ride for 'X' period of time, jump off and do push ups, ride, sit ups, ride, etc. That will be a good way at breaking up the monotony. By the end of my work out today I rode 32 minutes and 10 miles, then threw in some PT moves such as bridges alternated with sit-ups, straight leg lifts, side clam things, and squats into toe-raises. Of course now as I'm sitting here typing I have about 5 pounds of ice on the front, side, and back of my hip. Ok, so maybe I overdid it, but it felt good at the time.

I also have to add that I had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow hip chick yesterday. Very cool! It was nice to put a face to someone I feel like I've gotten to know well. Her surgery was scheduled after mine. She thanked me for all the advice, but really I appreciated being able to share my new found knowledge and feeling useful when there was so much I couldn't do at the time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm Still Waiting . . .

After my first hip surgery this past February I was on crutches for 4 weeks. Those seemed like 4 very long weeks at the time, but nothing compared to the 10 1/2 weeks so far this second time around. But what I remember most about surgery #1 is that after those 4 weeks were up and I was set free to walk on my own, I was the happiest, most laid-back person on the face of the planet. To the point my husband said I was a new person. I didn't have a care in the world other than being able to walk and care for my family, and it was a fabulous.

The one thing I was looking forward to with surgery #2 was gaining that amazing 'love of life' feeling again. To date, it's eluded me. I'm feeling cranky, irritable, and unmotivated these days. It's just been a long road and I'm ready to move on. I'm still limited in movements I can do pain-free. Basic things like taking the garbage out or getting in/out of the car can bring on a lot of pain. But these things don't stop me. I have to find ways to get things done, so I do what I have to do. In the mean time, I'm still waiting for my renewed love of life, hoping it won't be too much longer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

10 Week Update

So here I am, 10 weeks post PAO surgery. I have more good days than bad. Sometimes there's no pain, and then there's days like yesterday where I could barely take one step as my knee, or the muscles that attached to my knee, hurt so bad that I was almost in tears. I am still trying to ditch all walking apparatuses as I still rely on a cane, with the exception when my 2-year old decides I need extra rehab and hides it on me. So yes, I can get away without it for short periods of time. There's also days when I can handle stairs like a pro, and days when I have to take one step at a time. Sometimes it's not even 'days', more like 'moments.'

My PT program has been kicked up a notch. I'm leg pressing 80 pounds, and am able to balance on one leg and bring the other knee up towards hip level. I saw the RPMs on my bike hit 90! It's so cool to be ale to bike without any pain what so ever.

The hardest part of the last couple weeks has been keeping up with one very active boy. We're working on potty training, and that in itself can be a daunting task. Basically I'm to the point where I can do most things on my own, and if I can't do it I find a way. I think it's a mom thing, you just have to do what you have to do. That being said, if you're not sure as to have kids first or to have this surgery---HAVE THE SURGERY FIRST!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Interesting Day

I had a very strange trip to the Dentist today. As I walked into the waiting room there was this person sitting in the corner doing needlepoint. I say 'person' as I had to look about 5 times before I could determine if he/she was really a he. Now, no offense to all the needle pointing men that are fans of my blog, but I just had a hard time figuring out if this person was a man, woman, or "other." So as I'm getting my teeth cleaned, the hygienist tells me the dentist will be running late as he's working on twin girls that are mentally challenged and their visits just take longer. She goes onto explain that they're not actually girls, they're the sweetest ladies but with mentalities of 7 year-olds. Then I kind of put two & two together and asked if the needle pointer was the father of the girls, and the answer was 'yes'.

For the remainder of my dentist visit I couldn't help but feel for the family: a gender unspecific needle pointing father, supporting twin adult mentally challenged daughters. What a challenge. What a life. As I was walking out of the office with my cane, the father glances at me and then turns to one of the girls and remarks "that poor girl," referring to me. I was blown away and thought about this the entire drive home. My first thought was "Wow, that really puts things into perspective." But what perspective was that? Each of us viewing the other's situation in context of the cards that have been dealt to us? Maybe it was just an eye-opener for me, hearing how someone views me as handicapped? Or maybe I'm not used to having someone take pity on me while I feel that my life is great and wouldn't trade it for the world? Honestly I can't articulate what it all means but I think it's profound. Another interesting day on this journey my hip is taking me through.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Can Dance If You Want To

I have a song stuck in my head--do you remember the 'Safety Dance' song by Men Without Hats? Well that's the song that's been repeating itself in my brain for the last 5 hours! Why?? Well, I was feeling particularly great this afternoon so I ditched the cane, cranked up the 'Happy Feet' CD and danced around the living room with my 2-year old! I'm talking real dancing, the kind where your feet actually leave the ground. Need a refresher as to what song I'm talking about since it goes back to 1982:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's the Little Things

It's the little things I'm doing at random that give me hope that life has a chance of returning to normal.  Take right now for instance, I'm sitting with my left foot tucked under my right (operated) leg.  This would have been  unheard of just a short time ago.  I also notice that I'm getting away from some of the rules PT originally gave me, like when taking the stairs to start with the bad leg to go down and good leg to go up.  And I was able to do a straight leg lift on my own today, something I couldn't do 2 days ago.

This weekend I also started using a cane on my own around the house, as I'm so tired of the bulky crutch.  I did use the cane today for the first time out in public, but I was really self conscience of it given the way people looked at me (or maybe it's the way I perceived people looking at me?)  They're probably not use to seeing someone my age with an old man's cane.  It is quite unattractive, aluminum with a black handle; but what can I say, as it was my dad's after his knee replacement.  I thought about having my son decorate it with stickers, anything would be an improvement!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2 Month Update

I've been avoiding my blog for the last few days as I try to get a handle on this recovery.  The initial pain of trying to get down to one crutch really put a scare into me as the pain was reminiscent of my pre-surgery days.  On top of it, there's been some muscle spasms,  and general soreness in the quads and at the site were the joint capsule has been opened up twice this year.  So needless to say, I've been a bit nervous and a little apprehensive about my progress.  But I am happy to report that I am making progress, although it seems so slow coming.

I have been weight bearing for 2 whole weeks now, and am finally down to one crutch all of the time.  On most days I ride the bike for 30 minutes on some combination of levels 1, 2, and 3. I'm thrilled that level one has become way too easy, but I'm still looking forward to the day I break a sweat!  My RPMs are steadily in the 60s & 70s (only a few weeks ago I was in the 30s!)  Yesterday I woke up and felt like I could take some steps on my own, so I tried it.  Guess what, I could do it!  I definitely have a limp and the steps weren't very big, but I still did it!  Today at PT I was reintroduced to the leg press, although I was very uncomfortable with the idea and kept it on the very light side.  I also worked on step ups (which I really have some work to do), and I tried straight leg raises which I couldn't do at all.  Weird thing is that the PT seemed pleased with my attempt, guess my quads were contracting and I was almost there but it sure didn't feel like it.  Oh yeah, I'm also doing a sitting leg extension with a 1 pound weight-- A ONE POUND WEIGHT-- and I can totally feel it.  That's kind of a bruise to the ego considering what I use to put my body through.

The good old mental aspect has been taking a bit of a toll on me these days.  Yes, there are improvements, but I've never been a very patient soul and this waiting to get better is getting a bit stale.  And as new soreness sets in, my mind can't help but wonder if I've re-injured something--but usually the new pain subsides after a day or two.  I am also starting to wonder if I'll ever get to the level of teaching again, but fortunately I have months to figure that out.

There are some victories to report:
  • I'm now driving all over town--sweet freedom!  
  • I can handle most of my mommy duties, still can't chase after him!
  • I'm able to kneel & get down on the floor
  • I can shower standing up
  • If I'm sitting, I can stand up without holding on to anything
  • I've walked around stores that didn't have scooters
September 16th was my original surgery date.  Let me tell you, I am so glad to be 2 months into recovery rather than 2 days out from surgery.  I've come a long way over those 8 1/2 weeks.  I know it will only continue getting better, I just have to keep reminding myself!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh My Aching Hip

Well I've learned that going to one crutch is going to be a more gradual approach than I had hoped.  Having not used some of these leg muscles for almost 2 months, I can't expect them to just jump on board and get me moving.  For me, the act of going down to one crutch will be rehab & therapy in itself as these muscles have a lot of strengthening yet to do.  My hip has been very sore since trying to drop a crutch, so I'm not rushing into this.  Although it's very nice to have a free hand!

I also woke up this morning very stiff and sore.  I'm hoping it's from my PT yesterday, and not the humidity and rain that set in over night.  My doc did say that with the good days will come an occasional set back, so hopefully this is as bad as it gets.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh No She Didn't!

Oh yes I did!  Major news on two fronts to report.  #1)  PT took me down to 1 crutch today, and #2) I drove a car for the first time in over 7 weeks!

I was pretty amazed when the PT suggested I give one crutch a try, and I was even more amazed that I was able to do it.  I definitely I have work to do, as it was ever so slowly.  But I DID IT!  I felt like I resembled Kramer from Seinfeld in the episode where he's walking down the street with this crazy walk in the 'technicolor dream coat' episode (except I didn't have a coat on!)  I was trying to focus on what I was doing, but couldn't help to but to keep laughing.

As for driving, I took the car for a spin around the block.  Everything seemed fine, so I'm ready to give it a try.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bye Bye Foot Numbness

Ever since week 3 I've been having problems with my right foot being numb and my leg turning cold and  purple.  Just after surgery my doc informed me that due to the way my femoral nerve is structured I may always experience numbness in my thigh, so I thought all this may be related.  I'm told most people's nerve is vertical, but mine does a little zig-zag.  Guess that makes me special.  The way it was explained is that this nerve is about the width of 3 hairs and they use this crowbar-like tool to pull it and the muscles aside which can lead to some inflammation (geez, no wonder.)

At my 6-week appointment I was offered some nerve drugs, but I opted to wait it out and see if applying weight would make a difference.  And I'm happy to report that it has!  Coloring has returned to normal and most of the numbness has subsided.  I notice that first thing in the morning that my heel now feels like pins & needles, but that goes away after I get moving, and when I'm at rest my second toe now is numb.  I'm sure this will all go away with time.  It just re-affirms that I have to get the muscles firing up and things will start to fall in place.

Friday, September 5, 2008

7 Weeks and Seeing the Light

Yep, week 5 was definitely a turning point for me both physically and mentally.  Things keep getting better and easier, especially now that I've been given permission to weight bear.  The other day I went to the doctors, went out to lunch, and scooted around at both Target and the grocery store all in one day and without any naps in between!  That would have been unheard of a couple weeks ago.

I had my first PT appt since being told to kick my workouts up a notch.  Measurements were taken to gauge ranges and strength, and there were times when I had absolutely zero range of motion.  I know I've said it before, but it really is a terrible feeling when your brain is saying 'do this!' and you're physically unable to, and it really brought up some emotions when I was told that I will never reach normal levels in some aspects but they will work with me so that I can be within a functional range.  I know it could be worse, but it still sucks hearing that.  The good news is that I was able to tell the PT that my pain has been virtually at zero!!

I'm trying to get to the gym every other day.  Today I rode 30 minutes on the recumbent (levels 1 & 2), then I tried the sitting leg abductor & adductor machines on the lowest weight (10 lbs). I was scared at first, but after I got going 10 lbs felt easy.  I was able to do upper body with free weights (thank you to the nice guy who brought the weights over to a bench for me!), and just for giggles I threw in some Bosu pushups since it's been 7 weeks since I've done anything like that. Wasn't exactly easy to get down on the floor in position, but I managed.  Oh yeah, then I came home and napped!

We had more food delivered by some wonderful friends today.  We're so thankful for people taking the time and energy to take care of us, we're very lucky.  After dinner, we headed to the mall where my hubby wheeled me around in my chair.  I could have crutched it, but it was much faster and comfortable that way.  We also splurged on Sander's cream puffs and root beer floats, it was delicious but OMG I'm getting so squishy!

Tomorrow I'm going to pretend I'm 12 years old and sit in the car and act like I'm driving.  I need to see if I have enough muscle control to move my leg from the gas to the brake, and then enough strength to apply the brakes.  Wouldn't be so bad if I could use my left foot to brake, but we happen to have a stick and right now we only have one car--figures.  Then Sunday I'm going to have to wear real clothes to a friend's baptism.  No workout clothes or boxer shorts allowed.  Hopefully I'll get lucky and find something appropriate and comfortable.  Ah, the little things we take for granted.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Weight Bearing, About to be Reality?

Today was the appointment I've been looking forward to, 6 weeks post-op.  After a series of X-Rays (on new equipment that delivers half the radiation--still too bad that I had that darn CT Scan a couple weeks ago!), Dr. Z. declared that my bones have healed!  Sweet music to my ears.  That means I can start the process of weight bearing.  I say 'process' because it's not like my muscles are ready to go and I can miraculously walk unassisted.  But just as soon as I could jump off the exam table I started walking with more weight on my right leg.  Immediately I felt soreness in my knee and rear, reminding me that these muscles haven't been used in a month and a half and it's going to take some time.

Dr. Z predicts that I'll be crutching it for another 4-weeks.  This is a little longer than most that have had the same procedure, but because I didn't go into the PAO at the top of my game thanks to my failed scope that left me hobbling for 5 months it's going to take a couple extra weeks.  Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I will eventually get to where I need and want to be.  When all is said and done I will have spent 15 weeks on crutches this year-UGH!

So what's next?  I go back to PT tomorrow with the goal of strengthening the muscles and ditching the crutches.  I can also start doing more on my own in the gym, including using that silly abductor & adductor machine that I always make fun of, and I can start water walking which I think will have the most impact if previous experience holds true.  All is good.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

6 Weeks Out

Another week has passed and I'm more hopeful that I'll get the go ahead to wean off these crutches when I see Dr. Z this week.  The key will be if the bone has healed, so I'm anxious to see the x-rays (and get another peak at the screws.)  

Last weekend was definitely a turning point, as I'm feeling more and more like my old self.  A lot has to do with making it to the gym to ride the bike, which I managed to hitch a ride to 3 times this week.  Each workout showed improvement, going from 20, to 25, then to 30 minutes.  At one time I even upped it to level 2 for a couple minutes--I'm such a rebel.  The cool thing is that the first time I rode I was struggling to get to 40 rpms, and today I saw numbers in the 70s.  The whole time though I was very aware that 6-weeks post my original scope in February is when my cartilage re-tore, but still it felt good to ride.

Like I said, things have been looking up this week.  I actually went out to dinner twice (so that's twice in 6-weeks!)  I rode the scooter in Target & the grocery store.  It is a major bummer when the scooters are out, which also happened to me twice this week.  Everything else is pretty much status quo until I can ditch the crutches.  I am still looking forward to the day I can drive. But I know I'm feeling better as my son's class is going to the zoo in a couple of weeks and I was making arrangements with my husband to go, until he reminded me of my status.  It didn't even cross my mind that I might not be able to go! =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Maybe It's a Sign?

So could this be a sign that I'm getting better?  I woke up on my operated side this morning! Totally freaked me out once I realized it, as this is something I haven't been able to do since early February.  It didn't actually feel good once I rolled over, but no damage was done.  I must be getting better because I don't recall rolling over on it in the first place.  I'll try to avoid laying on that side for now, but it's a major step.  Now if only sneezing would stop hurting . . .=)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5 Weeks & Counting

In my attempt to keep a weekly journal on my PAO experience, I'm finding that week 5 may be a turning point in a positive direction.  It's been kind of an delicate balancing act, at times I'm bored to tears, but I've also seen glimpses of the life I knew.  

For instance, I went to the park with my mom & son and watched him play on the swings and run through the splash park.  I got out for an hour and met the girls for a much needed drink.  The key hear was to really limit myself due to the coordination required for the crutches; and also the logistics of of it all were silly as I had my dad drop me off.  I finally made it to the gym to ride the bike, but as expected I was wiped out after crutching around that place.  Maybe I'll get some killer arms out of the deal, that would be cool.  And I rode the scooter around the grocery store.  So although these all seem like very minor, everyday tasks they added up for one very busy week.

After leaving the gym today for the first time, I was surprised that I wasn't ecstatic about being there or what I just accomplished.  Maybe because it's more of a chore to trek around that place?  Maybe because some chick basically slammed a door in my face?  Maybe because it seems like people are either staring or trying not to make eye contact.  My husband had a good point that people are probably trying to figure out what is wrong with me, as there's not an obvious sign like a cast.  One lady asked if I sprained my ankle, which I responded 'something like that, I had my pelvis reconstructed.' She wasn't quite sure what to say after that, and I wasn't even trying to be a smart ass.  The good news was that I rode for a total of 20 minutes, and I just about doubled my RPMs from PT without even really trying after I got going.  It did take a few minutes to get going fast enough for the electronics to turn on, and I was a little worried at first but it all worked out.

As for the boredom, that's been one of the tougher challenges since the pain has subsided.  I guess it's a welcome sign seeing how I must be feeling better to wish I had something else to do besides sit around and wait to heal.  I just have to remind myself that this is only for a short period of time and I will be walking soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wow, I Needed That!

My 2nd visit to PT today was a huge relief;  I left there feeling a lot better both physically and mentally!  Why was it such a big deal?  Well, after last week's visit to the ER I have made absolutely zero progress and it's been kinda wearing on me.  I've been too afraid to hit the gym to ride the recumbent bike as I just didn't know what to expect.  I think I just needed the controlled environment of PT to prove to myself that it will be okay.  Now I'm ready to dig in.

I actually rode the bike for two sets of 10 minutes, pedaling at a whopping speed of 35 rpms and about 2 1/2 miles total.  Ok, so it's not the 100 rpms that I'm use to, but my hip felt so good going through that range of motion that I'm really encouraged to keep it up.  I haven't done anything cardiovascular-wise in over 5 weeks, so this is a really big deal! I have hopes of one day breaking a sweat.  I also worked on this heel slide move, and then I rolled on to my stomach and brought my heel to my rear.  The first one I did way too fast, and boy did that not feel so good.  But the bigger deal was that I was on my stomach. Once again, something I haven't done since the day before surgery.

So all-in-all I'm encouraged.  I'm still no where near close to driving, but as I learned through my last PT go 'round, things start to go fast once the muscles fire back up.  I hope to conquer the gym this weekend, more on that later as I'm off to take a nap to recoup.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wanna See It?

Ok, so this is kind of gross and you may not really want to see it.  But I was so impressed with what a difference a week makes that I felt the urge to share.

My incision isn't nearly as large as I had expected.  It's about 6-7 inches.  Plus I have a couple 1 inch slits on my thigh from the scope.  I thought I had drains, too, but I have no idea where those would have gone.

The whole thing was bandaged during surgery, and then removed on day 3.  I was left with a bunch of surgical tape covering everything that took the most of 3 weeks to totally fall off.  To me it looks like a mini mountain range with a really long peak from end-to-end.  I now treat it daily with Neosporin, and I think that stuff must be working just like the commercial shows--it's amazing!  The really gross part is that my PT wants me to massage it, and it is so gross to touch--yuck!  Not only is it bumpy, but it's still tender, and numb if that makes any sense.

After 1 week (notice the tape):

3 weeks (not sure what happened to week 2, but you get the idea):

Week 4 (you can't really see the peaks, but doesn't it look a lot better than week 3?!):

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4 Weeks Down, 4 To Go?

It's hard to believe that I've been sitting in this recliner for only 4 weeks, it's starting to feel like an eternity! I've read that weeks 3-4 are very tough because you start feeling better, but are still very restricted on your movements.  I can agree with that.  But I have high hopes that the next couple of weeks will bring me great accomplishments and I will be off these crutches before the next 4 weeks are up.

Week 3 started off good. I started PT, I saw my leg muscles start to work a bit, I was getting around better, I had my last blood draw, I had ditched my TEDs--basically I was going places!  I was finding small things to write about, like how I got into the car and didn't have to use my other foot to assist with the lift.  Or how I sent the CPM machine back.  Or how I started working from home on a minimal basis.  Then the purple foot thing started, and the TEDs went back on.  Then the wicked muscle spasm happened, and I wasn't getting around much at all and the muscles were telling me they needed a break.  And the way my schedule worked out there will be 10 days between my 1st & 2nd PT sessions.

So all in all, I've seen progress & I've seen regression.  But I know more progress in on the horizon.  I need to keep in mind that my body is still healing, and I need to takes things slow.  I've been having dreams that I'm walking without my crutches, and then I realize that I forgot to use my crutches and I rush back to get them.

So I will spend this week doing my exercises and icing in hopes of driving soon.  That's my big goal.  I will also spend more hours working from home.  And I will focus on getting more solid rest (if only these Olymipcs were on earlier!)  Onward & upward!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Long & Unexpected Day

My operated leg & foot have been taking on a purplish tone for the last week, to the point I thought I should phone the doc.  He said it's more than likely an inflamed nerve, but to be safe I should have an ultrasound to rule out a clot.   I was totally convinced that no clot existed, but how can I complain about something and then not take the good doctor's advice.  Plus what if there really was a clot and I put my health in jeopardy?  So off I went today to have the ultrasound.

On the drive over I decide to use my time wisely and do a couple new PT exercises--they're basically isometric holds trying to get the muscles firing again.  So I squeeze my quads (or what's left of them), slowly lift my foot off the floor as far as it will go (about 1 inch), and SNAP!  What the hell was that?!  In an instant I couldn't breathe, I was seeing spots, and I thought I was going to be sick.  My quad muscle did this terrible snap, pop, and flutter move like an overstretched rubber band that caved under pressure.  I was certain the muscle detached, or at the very least tore.  I let out this horrible scream, terrifying my mom and cousin as they hadn't heard the muscle make any of these awful noises.

I end up having the ultrasound (no clots!!), and then head over to the ER per my surgeon's orders to check out my quads.  My biggest concerns were, 1) a tear would require more surgery & 2) am I bleeding internally? which could be complicated by the blood thinners.  I'm sent off to have a CT Scan which was relatively quick and painless, except for all the radiation exposure (when I asked the tech how much I was exposed to she replied "A lot."  Great.)

CT Scan shows no rupture, thank God!  After 4 hours in the ER, it's determined that what I experienced must have been one wicked muscle spasm.  Those quads must be pissed off at how puny they've become and are letting me know!  I've dropped about 6 pounds and it's all from my leg muscles =(  Anyways, it's the best possible news so I'll take it.

It's off to rest & ice for the next couple of days, hopefully that does the trick!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Adventures of PT

So I ventured into familiar territory today as I started physical therapy for the second go-round this year. I've already clocked 8 weeks for my scope in February. Basically I'm back at square one, or maybe it's negative 50. Whatever it is I'll be there for many, many more weeks. But this is all a very good thing, and I'm starting about a month sooner than I thought I would, so I'm happy.

First & foremost I need to get driving! In order to do so I need to be able to lift my leg more than the 2 cm I'm currently able to get my foot off the ground. It's so crazy how my brain is saying "Lift!", but nothing happens. It's all about reprogramming the nerve sensors. So rule number one is to do what I can unassisted, and then use my hands to move my leg as needed. Little by little I'll get there. On a very cool note I was able to ride the recumbent bike for 5 whole minutes, mind you I probably averaged 5 rotations per minute but I still did it. I was also told to start massaging the scar and giant numb area on my leg to get things firing up again. I'll do it, but I won't like it--it feels like 100 shots of Novocain have been injected into my thigh and everything feels odd and droopy. Speaking of droopy, my quad muscles have turned inward if that's even possible. There is absolutely no muscle definition, they've pretty much have become a flap in the wind. Guess it will definitely give me something to measure progress against.

On a very weird turn of events, my mom & I are now going to PT together--her for her back, and me for my hip. Some moms & daughters might go shopping, or to the movies together. But not us, we go to PT. She was going to have to drive me anyways, now she has something to do instead of just wait I guess.

So what's on the agenda this week? Blood draw tomorrow (hopefully the last!), my cousin is also coming back tomorrow to help with the boy for a couple days (thank GOD!), more PT, more baseball watching, and thankfully the Olympics are on to switch things up a bit! Seriously, that is my week besides eating, sleeping, cha'robics, and the internet. Boredom has definitely set in.

Friday, August 8, 2008

3 Weeks Down & I'm On My Way!

Another week has passed, and I find myself even more thankful for the random everyday things I use to take for granted.  I continue to make mini accomplishments, enjoying every second of them!  What you asked?

1)  I just soaked in the tub! Mind you I have a deeper garden tub making the entry & exit all the more challenging, but I'd do it again in a heart beat.  Every bit of me got a little relief, from my throbbing big toe (from when I had to schooch my foot to take a step), to my ankles, knees, of course my hip, back, shoulders, arms, and neck.  It's amazing how every muscle is involved with each step I take.
2) Sleeping on my side for 1-2 hours at a time, with a king pillow down the length of my legs for support.
3) Shopping at Target.  The whole family ventured out to Target first thing this morning, and it was awesome.  Not because I got to drive the scooter, but because I'm use to frequenting that store on a weekly basis and it felt good to be out (and I only ran into 2 displays!)
4) Going to the doctor's.  Now mind you my doc isn't in a normal office, he's in a HUGE hospital, and I conquered the walk to & from all on my own.  Going there I thought I'd use a wheelchair, but due to my general fear of cooties and trying to hurry to get my dad to the golf course on time I made the trek on my own.
5) Enjoying the outdoors.  My wonderful friend loaned me a wheelchair, and it is so nice to have my husband push me around the block with my little boy sitting in my lap.  This kid hasn't sat still in months, so I secretly relish in the moment =)

It's crazy how even answering the phone that's across the house, or the knock at the door make for such a challenge, or how making a bowl of cereal involves so many steps.  But you do what you have to.  I'm able to water some of my flowers with this silly water bottle holder that goes around my neck, and I've changed some diapers and helped with bathing my child.  I also need to mention that I'm down to 1 pain pill per day, still trying to get to zero.

While this week has been very challenging due to my husband going back to work, I have found I've been able to do more than I than I've ever thought I'd be able to at this point.  I'm pretty much able to fend for myself (although not for my son), but with help it is much easier.  I've been so fortunate for my parents, in-laws, cousin, neighbors, and friends for taking such an interest and taking care of me and my family--THANK YOU =)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Visit with my Favorite Doc

Huge day, actually had to be some where on time this morning.  With the help of my fabulous cousin, I was able to get my son up and fed.  Then it was off to see Dr. Z.  Gotta give a shout out to my dad for the ride, especially since it wasn't looking too good for him to make his tee time.

I learned a long time ago, make my hip appointments first thing in the morning.  That cuts my visit from 5 hours to 3.  That is one busy place, but the people are so nice and I love my doctor (which may be why he's so popular) so it's totally worth it.

I was able to see my x-ray of my newly constructed hip (sorry I don't have a picture to share, I'll work on getting that.)  4 big screws and a lot more coverage over the femur, which is what we were going for.  Dr. Z seems pleased, but warned we're not over the hump quite yet.  The best thing was that he ordered me up PT and told me to get to the gym and ride the recumbent bike. That means I get to get out of the house, whooo-weee!  I also get to lose those sexy TED socks, but I have another 10 days of blood thinners and blood draws.  I did ask if I can do some water walking in the pool and he said I could do some high knees, but if I actually extended my leg out then my quad muscles will rip away from my thigh since he had to detach them during surgery.  I think I'll stay away from the water for now.   All-in-all a good visit, plus my dad made it to the golf course so I don't have guilt.

I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my good friend who brought over a pesto tortellini dish and to my neighbor for some Chinese bread that looks awesome.  It is so very helpful to be able to just put some food on a dish and heat it up.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Random Thought of the Day

Once I'm able to walk again, should I throw a huge Dance Revolution party? :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Calling in the Reserves

Oh how I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons right now! Yes, I'm a control freak. Yes, I am working on learning to give some control up and taking the laid back route. Of course 'I' think I'm doing a pretty good job given the circumstances, but the universe must see things differently.

Prior to surgery I called a little family meeting to make sure we're all on the same page, and to get all of our schedules in sync. It worked out beautifully. Must have been a little too well. Since my husband works out of town, my mom was going to take the bulk of load taking care of my 2 year-old. Well low and behold her back goes out--UGH! Major setback, and I feel so bad as she's still trying to do what she can which is really hard to watch. So this has been going on for a few days. Then my AC went out--we're talking kaputt, needing total replacement. That's always good when one's self employed and not collecting disability. And then my sister calls this morning, mind you she's part of the back up plan since she just had a baby a couple months ago, and she's at Urgent Care for her back. WTF?!?!?!

Ok self, breathe.

The good news is that in any second now the AC people will be here with a new unit. Also any second now there will be people here to remove drywall from an area in our basement that sprung a leak. A little chaotic, but these things will be fixed.

So with my mom, sis, and myself out of commission that leaves good old dad. Poor guy, he also takes care of his sister and mom. We had a good laugh this morning about how desperate people must be to need his services. None-the-less he will be here in 30 minutes :) I'm hoping my 12 year-old cousin will think it's fun to come over and take care of the needy; summer vacation is not that fun anyways, right?!

I'm trying to keep this blog positive, because after all my physical recovery is coming right along. But sometimes one just has to vent.

Friday, August 1, 2008

2 Week Review--Mini Victories

Wow, somehow that second week went by fast.  Lord knows the first one didn't!  I am doing much better than I thought I would.  A lot has to do with this wonderful pain medication, Oxycodone.  Funny thing is, I'm not a medicine taker at all.  I fought tooth & nail in the hospital for my morphine drip not to be turned on automatically; and I'm now taking my pain meds every 6-7 hours before things start to surface.  I'd try for longer but I'm too afraid to find out what they're really masking!  I don't understand how people can take this stuff just for the heck of it, I have trouble keeping my thoughts straight am just in a general fog.

These first two weeks I've been spoiled with having my husband working from home and catering to my many demands and requests.  Everything changes come Sunday when he heads out of town. Maybe that's why I've really worked hard at gaining some independence this week? Whatever the case it's been a week of mini victories.  

What I can do:
1) Get in & out of the shower on my own (just conquered this today), although it's still a little scary.
2) Get dressed on my own.  (Reminder to self--bad leg first.)
3) Make myself something to eat.  Well, really take something out of the fridge and put it on a plate and work my way to the table.
4) Shave my legs, fortunately I have this little step in my shower to bring my leg up higher otherwise this wouldn't be happening.
5) I'm able to get my son out of his crib if he holds onto my neck.  Good thing we had practice with this earlier in the year when I had my scope, but I'm going to save this for when we're in a jam.  Just not worth losing my balance or mis-stepping.
6) Get myself in & out of the CPM machine on my own, but with help it's so much easier.
7)  Able to put my pretty TED stockings on & off by myself, sometimes.
8) Make it to the edge of the driveway to get the mail, although I'm still too scared to actually step out into the street.  The exercise is good as I need to get the blood moving & muscles firing.  Plus fresh air does wonders for the brain & soul.

What I'm still working towards:
1)  Sitting in a regular chair for any long period of time.  Thank goodness for the recliner!
2) Sleeping through the night.  One of these meds has me waking up to use the bathroom every night--so annoying!
3) Sleeping on my side.  I called my PT this week and told her that I have to find a way to change positions.  She said I could gently start to side-sleep, so I tried it.  It was awesome to be off my back, but then I realized I was stuck and unable to flip back over.  Felt like our old overweight dog who had the same problem.
4) Having my medical tape fall off my incision, I can't wait to see what it looks like.

What has helped me get through these first 2 weeks?:
1) My husband.  He's helped with everything from getting me in & out of bed, the CPM machine, the shower, the car, feeding me, tracking my meds, making runs to the store, driving me to get blood draws, and taking care of our son.  Whew, what a list.  He's probably secretly happy to hit the road.
2) My parents & in-laws.  They are second to none when it comes to helping with my son. We're so fortunate to have everyone chipping in.
3)  My friends who have taken it upon themselves to supply us with all the yummy, delicious food!  A huge thank you for all the thoughtfulness.  It's almost been worth the surgery to not have to think "what's for dinner."  The coolest part is that everyone makes their best meal, so we are in heaven =)
4)  Visits from friends and family to breakup the boredom.
5) Comfy boxer shorts to make it above my incision.
6) Tons of Gatorade and water for hydration and to keep those veins plump. 
7) A laptop to stay connected to the outside world.
8) Metaucil smoothies & fresh fruit to ward off the effects of the Oxy. 
9)  Lots of ice.
10) Borrowing my mom's recliner.  It's an absolute must for this surgery and the only place I can really get comfortable.
11) Although not a necessity, Tiger Baseball has really helped the evenings go by.  For the first time I'm thankful baseball is on like everyday.  I'm still sad Pudge is gone.

What's Next?
I see Dr.Z this coming week, so I'll be posting what he has to say.  Also, in a strange twist of events as my hubby hits the road I will be gaining a couple of new roommates.  Our very good friends sold their house unexpectedly fast and have yet to find a new home.  So they will be taking over our lower-level.  I think this is a win-win for everyone--they get a place to stay, my son gets a couple playmates, and I get a little extra help if needed.  Plus this may help me kick the pain meds faster so I can hang out and drink!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Look Ma, No Hands!

No, it's not me.  I'm still using 2 hands tightly on everything I touch.  It's my son who has found a new use for the CPM machine--weeee!  Hey, I'm just glad that someone is having fun with this thing that will cost us about $500 for two weeks.  Insurance doesn't see the necessity for hips, but has ok'd it for knees.  What exactly is a CPM machine?  It stands for Continuous Passive Motion, and it automatically moves my leg through a range starting at 0 (straight leg) to 80 degrees bent knee to prevent stiffness.  This has become an extension of my leg while sleeping, and believe me it's not very comfortable!  So far we spend about an hour before going to bed making adjustments to get it comfortable, and then I'm waking up around 2:30 am needing more adjustments--UGH!

If you look closely at the bottom picture you can check out my Millenial Crutches in the background.  They're a bit bulky for what I've been shown to do so far, but I know they'll be useful as I become more mobile.  You can also see my lovely TED tights on my feet to prevent clots.  I think I have another week of these things, nothing like wearing opaque tights in 80+ degree weather!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cha'robics, the next big informercial?

So I'm getting a little antsy just sitting around and feel the urge to start working out again.  For some reason I really want to find a way to do push-ups, but there's no way that can happen just yet.  Then I realize that I can use my recliner as an incline bench--brilliant!  I order up some old 5 pound weights from the basement storage, and viola I'm in business.  I can do everything--chest press, flys, back, bicep curls, tris, shoulder--this makes me SO happy.  I think it's best to start off with light weight seeing how surgery can take more out of one than may be realized.

So now I can put some kind of routine together.  I have 1000 leg reps that I must do everyday, so I try to aim for 100 at the top of each hour.  I'm suppose to manually lift my knee up & down with my hands, and push my knee in & out.  The goal being to eventually cross my ankle over my knee (something I haven't been able to do since my scope in February.)

This is so cool, I now have another activity to help pass the time!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

PAO & the first week

So I've come to terms that this PAO thing is inevitable.  I decide to tackle it head on and look for some lessons to take away from this experience along the way.  So far:

1)  My husband is an absolute Saint!  I've always known he's a good guy, and I never doubted his abilities, but he has come through for me at an unimaginable level.  I will be forever grateful (and fortunately I also have the power of the delete key ;p)
2) It is okay for me to give up some control.  Actually I've had to give up all control, and things are still good.
3)  There are many, many good people in this world and I'm grateful for all the wonderful people who have taken the time to send me an email or to tell me they're thinking of me.  I was amazed at the number of people who wanted to know the exact time of my surgery so they can send out positive vibes.  Purely humbling.
4)  I already knew, but am more than ever grateful for the fabulous team of family and friends around me.
5) A negative thought can not exist at the same time of a positive thought.  So if I have feelings of uncertainty or fear, I just think of a happy moment in my life to over-ride the negative.  This tool has worked very well for me throughout this whole process.

Here's a re-cap of one very long week:

D-Day, July 19: 
Surgery is on a Saturday, which is very cool since I'm the only one at the hospital needing to be prepped.  I decide to conquer my fear of needles, having a picture of my son in hand with every poke & prick helps get me through (I fainted during my scope when they put the IV in.)  Surgery lasts about 4 hours, I have both a scope & PAO.  Things are fuzzy, but ultimately I'm taken to my room on the Peds floor (where my doc sends his patients), I have a PCA machine with morphine, a catheter, and am connected to a CPM machine to prevenet stiffness.  I stayed in this state for 48 hours.

2 days Post Op:
Now the hard part starts.  I'm awaken to have my dressing changed, catheter removed, PCA taken away, and PT is to show me how to get out of bed--BIG DAY!  Problem is that the oral meds make me itch something fierce, so we spend the next couple days trying to manage the nurses to help me with my medication.  This is one of the biggest lessons, frustrations, and surprises:  You must take control of your own pain regime.  The staff clearly did not know, in some cases didn't care, what meds I was taking or when I should have them.  Fortunately my husband was a great record keeper and a bit of a bull dog.

This day also brought me the greatest pain I have ever felt in my entire life, which was completely avoidable.  PT came in and as she was holding my leg with one hand and trying to put the CPM machine under the bed with the other hand, she dropped my leg.  I'm talking hyperventilating, passing out kind of pain where you're not crying but your eyes are streaming tears and you're in shock over what just happened.  In the end she was able to show me how to make it to the bathroom, but we cut it short and she vowed to be back the next day.  I vowed to be out of bed before she had a chance to touch my leg again.

I also got to eat my first meal in 3 days, and was able to get up 4 times on my own.

 As for getting around, I'll be using crutches (not a walker as I had thought.)  I'm only to put the weight of my operated leg on the floor.  So one step goes:  R crutch, L crutch, schooch R foot forward, step through with L; repeat until I get where I need to be.

4 days Post-op:
Received my discharge papers.  "Walked" from the car to the bedroom, and slept in my own bed for the 1st time in 4 nights.  I have a nice set up with a recliner in between my bed & bathroom, that allows me to change positions and to keep from getting too sore.  Also, have hourly exercises to work on.

5 days Post-op:
Got to SHOWER!  What a relief, and a bit of a challenge but totally worth it!  I also find that I'm schooching less with my operated leg and able to start taking something that looks more like a step.

6 days Post-op:
Pain meds are lasting longer.  Had to venture out to have blood drawn since I'm on Coumadin, so that means I had to get dressed, and walk to the car.  Was able to get myself out of the CPM machine and out of bed on my own.

7 days Post-op:
Still taking it slow, but pain is being managed.  Was able to get myself back into bed & into the CPM machine on my own at 3am.  For now I need to rest, take my meds & vitamins, do my exercises, and continue to ice--I can handle that.  I just realized I haven't changed a diaper or had to decide what's for dinner in a whole week!?!

Over all my week has gone much better than expected.  My husband missed his calling as a nurse.  He's great at tracking my meds, making sure I'm doing my exercises, and feeding me. My mom & mother-in-law have been absolute angels helping with my son.  At this point for my husband it's kind of been like bringing a new baby home, even though I'm trying to be as cooperative as possible and I can get myself to & from the bathroom =)

Hip Scope Blues

Feb 08, hip scope complete.  Unfortunately the outcome is not as we had hoped.  2 tears were actually found and arthritis has set in as the joint has continued to deteriorate over the years.  

Arthritis=Huge Bummer!  To hear your doctor say "It' not good."  Is very devastating.  I'm told to give up all the forms of exercise I love so dearly.  No more kickboxing, no more multi-joint moves, no more jumping, no high reps, pretty much I'm limited to biking and water.  At the time it was like a death sentence.  

So I decide to buy a stationary bike and get use to the idea of riding.  I also dig in for 6 weeks of PT.  Now mind you, I was told this was going to be a minor surgery and I'd be able to get back to things 'at my own pace.'  Of course my own pace is usually break-neck speed, so I'm thinking piece of cake.  I never planned to be on crutches for 4 weeks, or to really struggle with some of the PT exercises.  What do you mean I have zero range of motion and am unable to lift my leg straight back?!

Week 4 post-scope, I ditch the crutches.  Life is good.  I have a whole new appreciation for my health and am just happy being able to take care of my family.  

Week 6 post-scope, I re-tear.  Up to this point, 2nd worst pain I've ever felt (child birth & being hit in the head with a softball=#1.)  And all I was doing was sitting on the couch.

Ultimately, Dr. Z becomes very concern that I may lose my hip.  He wants to do the PAO asap.  I try to fight him to wait until after summer. I'm determined to win.  2 weeks later of hobbling around and constant pain, I give.  In the end, Dr. Z squeezes me into his busy summer schedule and I have surgery on Saturday, July 19th.

Torn Labrum. Dysplasia. Now What?

Ok it's October 2007.  Dr. Z says the MRI- with dye injection confirms the larbum tear.  I'm also told the cartilage looks good, that there is not evidence of arthritis, and that my joint space is great. 

 Basically there are 2 options at this time:

1)  Hip Arthroscopy, aka Scope.  More conservative, less invasive approach that will allow Dr. Z to clean up the tear and further evaluate the joint.  This is recommended given that my pain is mainly in the groin and I have the symptoms associated with a torn labrum.  I'm told this will more than likely cure everything, but there I will be carefully evaluated for years to ensure the dysplasia has not been made more problematic from the scope.  What happens during a scope is that the torn cartilage is removed, creating joint instability that can lead to more problems.

2) PAO.  The mother of all hip surgeries.  Involves cutting the hip socket out of the pelvis and then screwing it back together in a way that better aligns the socket & femur, making movement fluid between the ball & socket and conserving the cartilage.  It's meant to preserve the hip joint.  It is not a hip replacement, which are not ideal for younger people as replacements only last a short time before needing revisions.  Someone my age could face 10+ hip revisions, each depleting the bone.

Well of course I choose option #1!  I have my hip scope on 2/5/08, and plan on taking 6 weeks off work.

The Endeavor Begins

This hip endeavor goes way back to January 1995 when I was rear-ended by an Explorer doing about 50 that never stopped.  Unfortunately I saw her coming, and there was nothing I could do but brace myself for impact.  I held onto that brake something fierce, trying not to be smashed into the car in front of me.  Maybe I would have been better off staying limp?  At any rate, I was able to walk away from the wreckage, but with a whole list of orthopedic issues:

Bulging disks--check.
Torn Labrum--check.

What the heck is a labrum?!  It's a thick, whitish band of cartilage that surrounds the hip socket.  Think of a Thanksgiving turkey, it's that really tough white thing that you have to break apart to set the leg free.  And when it's tore, it often causes catching, locking, and popping--which was exactly what was happening to me.  Sitting was the worst.  I'd go to stand up and wouldn't be able to move.  I'd have to do this 'pirate walk' for it to unlock.  Basically I'd schooch forward on my left and drag the right leg behind until I could walk again.

The thing is that back then not much was done for hips, with the exception of replacements for old people.  In the end I was told to live with it and not to pick an active profession like a street  cop and hopefully I'd be okay.

As I found myself getting squishier from lack of activity, I decided I needed to start exercising and fell in love with kickboxing to the point I started teaching fitness classes.  In the end the exercise would prove to be a catch-22, it would strengthen the muscles enough to allow them to compensate for the faulty labrum so pain would be minimized, but it may have also accelerated the condition.   

Everything really came to surface after quitting my day job to stay home with my son.   I decided to pick up more classes, and soon after was in so much pain that I was having a hard time making it through the days.  Limping was now a daily occurrence, and pain was coming from the groin and deep in the hip.  Weird thing was that I would limp into a class, teach a great class, then limp out of a class.  I think adrenaline, overcompensation, & pride have a lot to do with it, as it's the same way when I'm sick as a dog and have to teach.

It was time to seek out a doctor, yet again.  Fortunately I was able to locate my original doctor, and I was eventually referred to my surgeon--Dr. Zaltz. I am so grateful to have met Dr. Z, I think he's an absolute genius, and if there's one person you want in your corner, it's this guy.   Upon meeting Dr. Z, I was also introduced to the words 'hip dysplasia.'  Ok, so I knew that dogs get that, but I never heard it associated with people.  My hips were very mildly dysplastic, and I could have probably gone my whole life never knowing of this abnormality, but having the car accident was kind of like the perfect storm.

To Blog or Not to Blog

So I've been toying with the idea of blogging my hip experience for quite some time.  I've benefited greatly from reading other fellow 'hip chicks' experiences, but still I've hesitated. Something about posting all my personal experiences and thoughts out on the Internet makes me uneasy.  But at last, boredom has won.  So you are invited to venture into my hip endeavors.