8 weeks to go and reflecting on surgery, pain, joy, and God

I am now just under 8 weeks and counting down for my right hip  combined PAO/scope surgery. I have very mixed emotions regarding this.  Part of me wants it today, wants to get it over with and be on the other side of it and not have to hear the word surgery (hopefully anyways) for many more years. I would be lying to say I have no fear of it, although this time the fears are a bit different since I know what to expect.  I still have fear of being under anesthesia and being cut open and having my pelvis broken and all that stuff, but the other part of me still remembers back to how bad it really was in those days/weeks/months after my left PAO in May/June 2013.  I’m not sure if it’s fear as much as weariness at knowing what to expect and for how long.  I remember being in the hospital in the days after the surgery and having pain so bad when I moved that it literally brought tears to my eyes (pain like I had never felt before despite 2 natural births, stitches, and having a hip scope only a month before the PAO), it felt like someone had taken a knife and was shoving it as hard as they could into the back of my hip (and this was on maximal doses of Percocet and Tramadol combined), and at certain times when the pain was intolerable allowing them to give me an injection of the really really strong stuff.  I remember being so dizzy and lightheaded from having a BP of 80/40’s that I could barely sit up and could hardly keep my eyes open.  I remember the first time they had me hop with the walker, it was like maybe 10 feet but my heart was pounding, I was sweating profusely, and I felt like I was going to either throw up or pass out.  I remember the helpless feelings after going home of wanting to re-position myself and being unable to, of waking my husband up at night every night several times a night to either use the bathroom or re-position me.  I remember crying many days because I had no one to talk to, no one who understood what I felt physically and mentally, and felt so alone laying there all day long by myself just waiting to heal.  The few outings in I had in the wheelchair where people avoid eye contact or give you odd looks.  Then after healing starts, the whole PT regimen of getting tight muscles to calm and weak inhibited muscles to wake up and fire.  That lasts several months.  It took a good year for that left hip to feel like things were not too bad with it.  I just feel like it’s going to be a continued long battle this next year.  I’ve been praying for endurance for it all, and I know God will give it to me, because on my own some days I’m so over it all,  so it’s only with His help that will allow me to get through it all again.

So, I talked with my PT at OSU Monday and he said it wasn’t necessary for me to come anymore.  I haven’t gotten any better and there’s nothing he can give me that will prepare me anymore for surgery then he already has.  He told me to email or call him with any questions I may have the next couple of months, and that I don’t need him before surgery at all, to email him right after and let him know how it goes.  He said he would happily keep me as his patient if I was willing to make the trek regularly to Columbus to see him.  I know that it sounds crazy, but I am thinking I will travel those 2 hours each way once a week to see him once I start weight bearing in January.  I just cannot have bad PT again like I have after the last 3 hip surgeries.  I don’t want set back after set back and more pain and delayed healing and function.  It’s not an ideal situation I know, but at this point I need someone who knows what the heck they are doing over an ideal situation.  I’ll pray on it the next few months and if that still continues to be what’s in my heart I will go with that plan.

Anyways,  I know I will get through this next surgery and whatever comes along with it,  I know God will give me strength and endurance as I’ve seen his faithfulness over and over again these past years not just in my own life, but also in others around me as he’s opened my eyes to so much.   It doesn’t mean I don’t have the fears, I still get them and I still get weary mentally, but that’s when I start praying and give it to God, sometimes over and over again, sometimes many times a day.  I spend lots of time in prayer throughout the days now, not just for myself and my situation, but for those I care for, and for the whole mess of the world and everything going on in it.  I’m also reading through Psalms and am finding the passages very calming and soothing.  As long as I keep my focus upward with prayer, music, and scripture the many circumstances around me are no longer overwhelming.  It’s such a relief to have this feeling that when I see lots of chaos and unknowns around me to know that it’s ok to not know how everything is going to work out, to know I don’t need to try and “fix”  everything around me.  It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to try and control it all, but the Lord is in complete control of all and I don’t need to worry.  Even on the days where I do struggle mentally with things, I still have this joy deep inside my heart, inside my soul, a peaceful joy that is unexplainable.  Sometimes I am in awe and wonder of it.  Here I am in what has been the hardest years of my life, out of work, in chronic pain, failed surgery, unable to exercise or do anything active with my husband or kids, and yet for the first time in my life I have peace and joy and contentment in my soul.  I think back to 4 years ago where I sat like I do today in my living room on the couch looking outside at the beautiful leaves changing colors in my new house (new to us at the time), with my new job that I loved, with no pain, physically in the best shape of my life with everything in my life just as I pictured it and at the moment I felt happy.  Notice I didn’t say joy, but happy.  Happiness is a feeling of pleasure which is temporary and based external factors.  Was I joyful then….absolutely not, I was happy……for the moment anyways.  I was quick to anger, quick to pass judgment, quick to turn my back on something if it didn’t benefit me in someway/somehow, quick to bring a negative thought to a conversation, and living with a big proud head on my shoulders.  Well, that happiness didn’t last very long, when things fell apart and no longer went MY way I sunk into such a deep depression for a long long time.  It was in those dark moments that I realized more than ever how much I needed God.  I prayed for him to change my circumstances, to take away the “storm,” but what he did instead was change me instead of my circumstances over the course of the past 3 years, and He calmed me amid my “storm” instead of taking it away, and offered me for the first time in my life pure and simple joy that comes with a life of following Him and trusting in Him (aka-having faith).  No one wants to go through suffering, but through it the Lord has changed me and offered me a life maybe not of great worldly “happiness,” but one of peace and joy in my soul that is worth more than a thousand “happy” days on this earth.  Thanks for reading, I’ll update when I get closer to surgery, but today just really felt called to share on here that through suffering the Lord can give us joy and a new purpose in life if only we open our hearts to Him and let Him in to change us in whatever ways He wants to, and to simply as my dear friend Johnna once said “let go and let God.”

Romans 8:28  “and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”



4 thoughts on “8 weeks to go and reflecting on surgery, pain, joy, and God

  1. Julie – Everything you wrote rings so true. Knowing what you are headed for cuts both ways. On one hand, you know the pain and challenges that often come along with this surgery. On the other, because of that, you will be much more prepared this time around. You won’t make the mistakes that perhaps you made last time (I remember coming home and wanting a shower so bad and when we tried to get my leg over the tub, nope!). Your body will have a better gauge from when you can safely go from a walker, to crutches, etc. You will know what supplies you need and what you don’t. Yes, the first month will probably be similar to last time but it’s possible it will be slightly easier in some regards. Most of the blogs I’ve read of second PAOs seemed easier than the first ones. Also, like me, your first one just didn’t go super well in the recovery. My right side was a failed surgery but I realize if I had my left done it’s totally possible that I’d heal much quicker because, well, I’d actually heal this time 🙂

    In retrospect, yes – the first few weeks are tough, but you will know much better what you need and how to get it. I also think sticking with a trusted PT is the way to go, despite the driving. I’ve seen three PTs for my hip – none of them understood or cared to understand how rehabbing this is different than, say, a hip replacement. If you’ve found your person and you can make it work, stick with them.

    The pieces are in place for this PAO to be a better experience than the last one. Assuredly not easy, but better. I know how draining it is to rarely, if ever, feel well. Not just for yourself but for the burden you think you are putting on others. You are not, and I know you would gladly do things for them if situations were reversed. Sometimes I feel like the last two years have been a string of never-ending apologies to my husband. And a lot of telling him how grateful I am for him. But I have to believe for you, like me, that this is not forever. Maybe there will be changes, and we will need to change (and be changed by God), but I have to believe things will improve for both of us over the longer term. Take good care – Elizabeth

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement Elizabeth, I really appreciate it:). Only a fellow hippie who’s been through years of pain truly understands the thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and hardships that goes along with this diagnosis and surgery, which can definitely make things feel less lonely. I don’t know what I would do without my fellow hippies!

  2. Thank you for the post, Julie! I had some questions since I’m probably headed for a scope (1st surgery on my left) in November/December with Dr. Safran at Stanford. I’m mildly dysplastic (CE of ~20 degree) with joint hypermobility, so he said he’d be tightening my capsule and fixing any damage he might see in there. What all did you have done during your scope, and who did it? Dr. Safran said he’s had some success with mild dysplasia and HMS with capsule tightening, but I cannot seem to find any of these success stories! I really appreciate the post. Thank you again for all of the detail, and I hope that your RPAO goes smoothly and you can finally be back to 100% of your normal activity. Good luck!

    • Hi Kelli, thanks for the well wishings:) Dr Thomas Ellis in Columbus, OH is my surgeon. In my right hip scope I had CAm bump shaved, AIIS shaved, and had 2 sutures put in to anchor the labrum. The capsule was closed and tightened. He really thought with the tightening it would be enough, but my ligaments are just too lax I suppose, I feel like my hip is hanging on the lateral/back edge of the socket “hanging” on the ligaments, that may not be what is really happening, but that’s what it feels like. Anyways, I hope things do work out for your scope!! My surgeon said it’s always best to try the least invasive option first. I understand that thought process, but it’s still frustrating as a patient when the pain lasts longer. Good luck to you!! And feel free to email me at juliegonzalez79@gmail.com

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