Weeks 6/7 post LPAO–Weight Bearing!!!

I kept wanting to post all week since my appointment with my surgeon this past Monday, July 1st, 2013, but I’ve been super busy and have had no time.  As the title suggest I am full weight-bearing as tolerated, yeah!! Dr. Ellis x-rayed my pelvis at the appointment and the bones have begun to heal enough that he is comfortable with me full weight-bearing (with use of crutches, I need to take 3-4 weeks to wean off of them), starting land PT, and he has taken away my abduction range of motion restrictions.  Basically I am just not supposed to do anything stupid, and my bones should continue to heal in the correct way.  He said I was doing very well for only 6 weeks out, and that I had good range of motion in my hip for it being so early.  He did notice the tight muscles in my leg and really wants PT and also myself at home to really work on loosening them up so that my walking can get back to normal.  I continue to have the nerve pain, and he believes the sciatica hopefully should go away as the soft tissue gets normalized through PT, but the nerve pain on the inside of my calf and ankle he’s not so sure about where it’s coming from and what’s causing it, but everything is a process of taking one step at a time, then waiting and seeing what’s left.  Patience, patience, patience, so hard to be sometimes.  I go back to see him Sept. 9th for another set of x-rays to make sure things are still on track with the cuts healing.  I still can’t believe it’s been 7 weeks today since the PAO.  The first weeks seemed to creep by so slowly (although they are very hazy and hard to remember now), but the past 2 weeks have flown by!

I started regular PT on Wednesday and my PT thought I was doing so well that they want me fully on land for all my PT, vs. splitting land and pool therapy.  If I want to continue with pool therapy I can do so on my own.  I’m already surprised how steady and stable my left hip feels.  Before it literally felt like it was falling out of the socket.  Now it feels tight and stable.  My muscles all around it used to spasm non-stop all day long from my upper back all of the way down my calf.  Although I still have a load of muscle tightness and issues, it’s different.  They are very tight (and unfortunately still compressing some nerves) but are no longer spasming.  I can contract voluntarily certain muscles (deep abs and glutes) and use them functionally to stabilize me, whereas before I either couldn’t contract them, or when I did they went crazy spasming.  I’m so amazed by it all.  I was able to walk 15 feet 4 times today just holding on to 1 of my PT’s hands for a little support.  I feel like I can do so much, but am determined to take it a little slowly.  One of my hip flexor muscles (the psoas) has been extra agitated since my scope in April (was already a mess from the dysplasia, labral tear, and FAI) , and has continued to stay agitated after the PAO despite non-weight bearing for 6 weeks.  I really, really don’t want to end up with tendonitis of it, so am trying my best to ice it and have PT work on it to manually to try to break up the tightness in it.

As for a few more positive these past 2 weeks I can now (in a weird, modified position) put on my own socks and shoes, including to tie them by myself.  I can get on/off the floor in a more normal way (more normal meaning not lowering myself from a chair, it still looks weird I imagine when people see me do it), can sleep comfortably on both sides (although trying still to do at least 3-4 hours a night on my back since I’ve been reading up on how anatomically it’s the best position for the body), and most importantly I CAN DRIVE again, double yeah!!  I felt such freedom with Dr. Ellis told me that.  It is so hard to be dependent on others to go everywhere you want.  Can’t really go shopping or anything too exciting yet (too much walking still, so I need my husband or someone to come with me so I can use the wheelchair) but I can drive myself to therapy, take the kids to childcare the 2 days a week they go, and to their local activities.  I am still using the chair on the first floor a lot too just for the convenience of having my hands free to carry things and prepare food, etc..

This week as I mentioned was very busy.  My sister and her boyfriend were visiting from California through Wednesday so we spent a lot of time with them, plus it was my in-laws last week here helping us out.  We had a big family bar b que last Sunday, went to Columbus for my doctor appt. Monday, went to the movies Tuesday followed by a family surprise birthday party at my house for my sister’s boyfriend, went to a lake Wednesday, then to the zoo on Thursday.  I did most of the outings with crutches only (except for the zoo where I mostly used the wheelchair, but crutched for 5-6 min or so every 1/2 hour).  At the lake I was not brave enough to go in, but I was able to lay in the grass sunning myself while watching my mother in law and niece play with my kiddos and have fun.  My in-laws and our niece left early this morning to head back to Guatemala.  I still can’t believe the 7 weeks they were here are gone.  They were a gift from God for us from the days before surgery when they first arrived, through the hospital stay (so Yago could stay down in Columbus with me), through the early days when I was a mess, through the following weeks when I was cranky and impatient, through my days of laying in bed crying and depressed, through my kids fights/tears/tantrums, grocery trips, cooking meals for 7 every night, cleaning my house, etc…. I could go on and on and on.  Without them this surgery wouldn’t have been possible, and we are eternally grateful to them for sacrificing their life for that long to help us out.  Going forward, we are going to keep it low-key this weekend as I think it was a little too much to do so much all those days in a row, and now I am assuming more responsibility around the house, so I don’t want to set myself back.  Tuesday my sister-in-law arrives with our 7-year-old nephew to stay for 2 1/2 weeks so we are really looking forward to that.

I’m not going to take too much time to talk negatives this time, as  I’ve already mentioned the tight muscles and ongoing nerve pain issues (particularly in my calves and feet).  I’m trying really hard to be positive these days despite these symptoms.  I am on the quest to figure out where it’s coming from and how to fix it, and I suspect the nasty psoas muscle has something to do with it.  So far no one has been able to figure it out, but I am learning more and more about my body and am very in tune with things now and I will continue to research this more and by trial and error figure things out.

Looking ahead my surgeon and I discussed the plan for my right hip as well at my visit on Monday and that hip falls more borderline/normal range of measurements for dysplasia (whereas the left was in the mild dysplastic range) and he thinks that I really only need a scope on that one to repair the torn labrum and shave off the excess bone on the femoral head.  He said there is a small chance that once he gets in there the labrum could be large (red flag in terms of dysplasia) and if he sees that and/or cartilage wearing in a more typical pattern of dysplasia then he will do the PAO on that hip as well.  If those 2 things are not present then the scope should be all I need.  I am not praying for specifics as to what will happen, just that he makes the correct call during the scope as to what will help me best long-term.  I trust him, and he doesn’t want to put me through another PAO unless necessary, but he also wants me to keep my own hips for as long as possible, and he knows  that I am willing to do whatever surgery is needed for that.  We are on the  same page thankfully.  I am to pick the date and call next week, but he wants the scope to be in early November with a PAO date set for December (just in case we need it), that way a PAO date is on the calendar if it is needed, and if not needed he will cancel it after the scope.

So, Walk by Faith is the song that keeps coming to my mind this past week.  I asked God a couple of years ago to give me a lot of things and expected to just magically have them, which looking back now seems funny and very naïve.  I know he has used this journey for a number of things, but I thought today I would share a few of the things I asked for and how this chronic pain and surgical journey has helped me to develop them:

I asked him to give me patience, and oh how I’ve been and continue to be forced to be patient through all of this whether I want to be or not.  Patient with the process of diagnosis, with surgery and recovery, with PT, with the continued battle with chronic nerve pain, with others as they care for me, with my kids, etc…  The list goes on and on, and although I’m not “there” yet, I am so much more patient than I used to be.

I asked him to give me compassion and love for others, not to be so selfish.  Through this journey I have learned how to empathize with others and feel compassion for their situations as I understand hardship and depression and so many other things from experiencing them.  I realize that in life we all have something difficult we have to face (or have faced or will face)  whether it be chronic pain, the death of a loved one, divorce, abuse, etc…

I asked him to help me let go of my control issues and gradually I lost control over everything, my job (had to miss the whole last quarter and give my students to others-very hard for me!), taking care of my house and kids, and even over my body and the ability to move and do anything for myself for a few weeks.  Let me say that it’s very humbling to have to lean on people for help to get up and go to the bathroom when normally I would just get up and go when I need to.

So learning to walk by faith and not by sight, it’s something I’ve said I did in the past, but it wasn’t until the storm hit hard that I have truly learned what that means, and am trying to remind myself of this lesson daily. “I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see, because this broken road, prepares your will for me.”  —Jeremy Camp– Words to live by.  I’ll update in the next couple of weeks, thanks for reading:)

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