11 Weeks post op, staying patient with the slow progress

Tomorrow will be 11 weeks post hip scope/RPAO surgery (if you are not sure what that is, it’s basically a doctor taking a hammer and chisel and breaking your pelvic bones to move the position of your hip socket to correct for hip dysplasia).  Time seems to fly and seems to move slowly at the same time.  When I find myself mentally trying to speed things up, I stop and pray for continued patience and for God to help me to just focus on today.  I look around and see things that I’ve wanted to get done around the house for months and I don’t have the ability to do them yet, so I stop and pray.  I look at my car and think how much I want to drive instead of call and ask people for rides whenever I need to go somewhere (when my husband is working), so I stop and pray. I have days where my pain levels in the soft tissue around my hip and back get so increased that I have to lay and rest and I start to get frustrated that the things I had planned on accomplishing will once again not get done, so I stop and pray.  I do a lot of praying some days as you can tell!  I do see my progress a little each week in how it is easier to move and the pain is not as intense as it used to be long as I continue to modify my life, but the lack of strength/endurance, and pain in the muscles that have been so chronically overworked for so long makes it hard to be positive in long term, so that is why I choose to focus on today.  I have been trying really hard to remove things out of my life that feed into that negative thinking pattern that I struggle with.  One example is that I used to be part of some online hip dysplasia support groups for the past several years, and they have served to help me a lot, and after my surgeries I posted to help others too.  However lately I’m seeing everyone who had surgery at the same time as me or after me doing incredibly awesome, in which I am truly happy for them, but it was really getting me down about my slower recovery so I decided to go take myself out of the groups which was hard, but necessary for my mental health I came to realize.

I started physical therapy in Columbus at OSU Sports Medicine and have had 3 sessions so far.  It’s a long drive (2 hours each way, my dad takes me down and we spend a lot of hours in the car bonding together) but my PT is well worth the drive, as he has rehabbed many people after this not very common surgery, and last week he said something that seems simple to most, but meant a lot to me “you’re starting to fit the pattern of others after this surgery.”  I have NEVER fit the “pattern” when rehabbing after my other 3 hip surgeries so it made me excited to hear him say this!  I am still using 2 crutches when leaving the house, and even part of the days in the house (especially when my glutes get tired by midday).  Other times I use 1 crutch in the house, and sometimes take a few steps here and there without any crutches, but I have a really bad limp still so I try not to do that too much.  My PT said I will probably be on crutches another 4-6 weeks in the community, and that hopefully I will be able to start driving locally in the next couple of weeks.  Little by little we are increasing my exercises.  Other problems have emerged as a result of the weak hip muscles, problems that I have struggled with in the past pre-surgeries and after each of the other 3 hip surgeries, but I am trying really hard to be patient and hope and pray that they will resolve once and for all in the next 6-12 months.  My range of motion is pretty much close to normal and I can do things like get on/off the floor without too much difficulty.  I am back to doing my normal cooking (I just use a chair to sit when my hip muscles fatigue), doing laundry (I fill the basket and kick it to the steps where my husband brings it down to the laundry room and I take over from there), and even have started sweeping here and there a little bit.  I no longer limit myself to only going up and downstairs once a day.  I go up at least 2-3 times a day and into the basement at least once or twice a day.  My exercise bike is in the basement and I am trying to ride it every day as suggested by my PT.  I’m only up to 8 minutes, but this is the most I’ve ever done, because I haven’t even been able to do 2-3 minutes after any of the other hip surgeries without having really bad pain in my right hip and in my SI joint.  It shouldn’t be so surprising to me that I don’t have the same pain anymore since from a structural point my hip joints for the first time in my life are in a good position; however it is amazing to me because after each surgery I hopped on the bike (when given the ok by PT) ready to attack my rehab and get things moving, and each time I was off within minutes in terrible, terrible pain.

It seems I’ll be going to Columbus every 1.5-2 weeks for PT visits, and eventually the time will be spread longer, but probably not until I am off of my crutches completely.  I am rather sick of the crutches at this point, but I want to do things right.  The muscles on the right are way more messed up than the ones on the left were.  Looking back and reflecting I see how the right labrum was probably torn many years ago.  When I used to run and then stretch I would feel pain in the right hip when putting it in end point range of motion.  I used to jokingly tell my husband something was wrong with my right hip and that someday I would probably need it replaced.  I had no idea how bad things really were.  What seemed like a small problem 4 years ago (just a “simple” case of bilateral plantar fasciitis that developed from training for a ½ marathon and didn’t seem to ever get better despite many treatments) actually required 2 years of seeking doctors to get a diagnosis, awful pain that was so bad 24/7 I didn’t want to wake up and deal with it most of the time, followed by another 2 years having 4 hip surgeries (1 which failed).  However as time passes by little by little symptoms are slowly getting reversed as I move forward in recovery.

Looking back over the past 4 years I can’t believe all that has happened.  If I had been able to see ahead Feb. 2nd 2011 (which is right about the time the very first symptoms of plantar fasciitis started) what I was heading into, I don’t think I could have handled it.  The daily pain I lived in, and the inability for doctors to figure it out until early 2013 was too much for me many days.  Even after it was figured out, there was the waiting for the surgeries, which were supposed to be 2 simple scopes scheduled for April 2013 and July 2013, with a “return to life” estimated sometime late fall/early winter 2013.  The morning of my April scope was where I found out I had hip dysplasia, where when I woke up from the surgery found out I would need to have my hip broken with a hammer and chisel in another surgery called a PAO which has a much much much more painful and longer recovery, with the other hip getting fixed having to be put on hold for longer.  The worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life was after the 2nd surgery, the left hip PAO where when I needed to get in/out of bed the pain was so horrendous (despite having an epidural and tons of meds in me) tears would come to my eyes despite me fighting them back.  I hope never ever to feel pain like that again (and I give full credit to The Lord that it didn’t get that bad after this most recent PAO).  Then I developed carpal tunnel as a result of crutches (which I still have to this day). As things improved on that side over the next 3-4 months the other side got so bad I went on crutches again and was told I would not need a PAO on the right, just a scope, as the dysplasia wasn’t bad enough.  That was such great news to my ears! However as the weeks and months went by after that scope I knew something wasn’t right, I had the same amount of pain as I did pre-surgery, it never got better, I was so limited in what I could do and where I could go, and I quickly realized (although no one else believed me) that it was a failed surgery.  Finally, 13 months after that scope I was able to get this surgery (another scope combined with the hammer and chiseled PAO surgery) to finally fix my hip.

The physical and emotional toll this has taken on me was more than I could bear most days.  I knew I wasn’t strong enough to deal with all of it, so I turned to God, His word, His promises, His place of rest.  It was not like I turned to God and all things got better, it was a process through all of this over the past 4 years that has brought me to where I am now.  I look back and see His hand in so many things.  Days where I didn’t think I could handle the pain anymore a verse would pop in my head, a song would come on the radio, a hot bath would temporarily take my pain levels to a tolerable place, etc…  Instead of looking ahead at the future I started just looking at each day as it came, and I looked back at God’s faithfulness.  I noticed that when I made God part of each day and leaned into Him, even if it was only for 10 minutes through quiet time, scripture reading, or prayer I was able to face each day as it came.  Sometime last year, and I can’t even tell you an exact day/month/date but I realized that it was all going to be ok, The Lord gave me peace in my heart and I really realized that I cannot “fix” things on my own or in my own timing, and worrying, stressing, crying, etc… over the things I can’t control was not good for me.  It doesn’t mean I never cry, or that I never get angry or frustrated (because trust me I do!), but I go through those emotions, then open my Bible and journal to read through what God wants me to see/hear/focus on that day.  I’m really not sure what my future looks like now in the sense I’m not sitting down and trying to plan it all out the way I want it to look like I used to, instead I pray for God to use me however He sees fit for His plans.  It’s a scary thought, but also an exciting one.  He continues to break my heart for so many things in this world, and I feel like He’s given me these past 4 years to set me on a better path not just for my own good, but to be used by Him in ways I never would have thought of on my own.  So, I wait patiently (most days anyways) and continue to heal, continue to focus on the things He has set in front of me right now, and continue to put my trust in Him and His promises.  I probably won’t write again until I see Dr. Ellis at the end of the month unless something excitedly happens between now and then.  Thank you for reading as always!

 

Some of my favorite versus on the hard days:

Matthew 11: 28-30- Then Jesus said “come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yolk upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Romans 5:3-5 “We can rejoice too when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says The Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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