Surgery #5 and recovery (2 weeks post op now)

I’ve been thinking about how I should update this blog since I went ahead with the surgery, so here it is…..

Monday, September 28th I went to Columbus with my husband and saw the rehab doctor and had the injection into the area around my hip flexors where I was having ongoing pain.  I had the numbing shot first (just like with both of my hip joint injections in the past) so the actual injection itself didn’t really hurt.  The doctor used ultrasound to guide it, and noted out loud that I had a lot of scar tissue in the area.  When I stood up I did some moves which normally would flare my hip and I had 0% pain, it was crazy.  Now over the course of the next hour as we drove across Columbus to my surgeon’s office and waited there in the waiting room I continued to push it and do more crazy things which did cause some pain to come back, but much less than usual.  We talked with my surgeon and he said given that the shot took All of my pain away, even if it was just 30-60 minutes that was a very positive sign that the surgery would work.  So the plan was to partially detach one of my quad muscles to get to the bone (anterior inferior iliac spine), shave the bone off, re-attach the part of the tendon that was detached, and to take as many screws as he could get out of both sides of my pelvis.  We had a long talk and when we left I felt comfortable with everything.

Fast forward 3 days to October 1st and my parents and myself were on the way back down to Columbus.  I had a 11:50am check in at the hospital so we didn’t have to leave crazy early.  The check in process was smooth. My parents stayed with me up until I was taken back to surgery around 2:40, and this time I only remember being rolled down the OR, although the nurse in post op told me I was chatting it up until they fully knocked me out.  She said I didn’t say anything embarrassing though thankfully!  I think the surgery took 2 hours and I woke up in post op around 5:30pm with not too bad pain, no nausea this time, but a bad sore throat. The bone work on the right went well, and he got 4 full screws out, 5 screw heads (they broke off and he said that I’ll never feel what’s left of the screws because they are so deep in my bones), and there was 1 screw where it was so far in the bone he couldn’t even see the head, so he left it.  Overall everything went well.  I got into a room around 7pm. I had my usual low blood pressure, and the pain was there, but not as bad as I was expecting. The night was uneventful and I left the next morning around 10:30am.

I really don’t remember the ride home, or much of the first few days.  I had 15 stitches and he had opened up about 2 inches of my PAO scars on each side, but used glue to close them.  The only precaution I had was to not actively use my right quad muscle  outside of normal walking for 6 weeks to let the tendon re-adhere where he took part of it off and re-attached it.  Well clearly he did too good of a job, because I was feeling pretty good and walking with hardly a limp around the house without crutches for a couple days (with no pain meds) on Friday night the 8th when company was here I dropped something and went into a deep squat to pick it up and then realized it was a bad position, then pushed all my weight through my right leg (totally breaking the precaution) and felt a stretch, snap, followed by lots of pain and the inability to put weight through my leg without a horrendous limp.  I was freaked out.  Long story short, I iced and rested, started using crutches, emailed my PT back and forth through the weekend, and then Monday called my surgeon’s PA and she said since the pain was getting better (slowly but was still there) keep doing what I was doing and call back Wednesday if I didn’t continue to improve.  I did improve a little each day, so I never called back.  I am now walking a lot in the house with only a little limp and soreness/pain.  I think i sprained or strained the muscle, but I don’t think I ripped the part he re-attached thankfully (that was my fear)!.

Emotionally the first 10 days were like a roller coaster ride.  Part of it I think was getting the anesthesia out of the system, part of it was getting off the pain meds and chemically what that does to the brain, and part of it was me making that stupid move and freaking myself out followed by a breakdown that I had convinced myself I screwed up my surgery and would have to go back in to fix it.  My mental health has improved these past few days (despite the set back of getting the stomach flu 12 days post op, which was awful).  I’ve really been leaning into God and trying to trust Him with this, as well as some other things (non-orthopedic related) that have caused a lot of anxiety in me these last weeks.  Mentally trying to deal with the normal everyday problems of life on top of all of this can be crushing at times.  I find that if I don’t have time to read the Bible during the day, when bedtime comes, I cannot sleep until I read at least a chapter.  My body and mind know that I need to be refreshed and filled up in the Word of God daily regardless of how tired I am in order to remind myself of who God is and that He is in control even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Because I was up and around easier after this surgery than the other 4 (which were much more involved) I didn’t need any assistance other than my parents for driving me to appointments.  That left me in a lonelier place than usual after this surgery, because all day, every day I was alone.  I’ve spent a lot of time alone these past years, which is the complete opposite of the majority of my life.  I’ve come to appreciate it most of the time because it does draw me closer to the Lord and gives me time to think, pray, meditate, etc… but there’s also this part that feels like everyone is too busy with life.  I regret looking back at the times when I’ve been healthy and well and “busy” and have likely overlooked friends/acquaintances who maybe could have used someone to stop by for an hour when going through a difficult time.  I’m praying that the Lord keeps me sensitive to this in others as I continue to improve these next months, so that I can be more intentional in the lives of those around me.

God has been working a lot in me.  The other day I was in the shower and just replaying events over the past 4.5 years in my mind and I just became overwhelmed.  It’s so hard to describe the feelings I had.  I saw all the bad (the hopelessness of 1.5 years in horrible pain with no diagnosis, then the incorrect diagnosis, the 4 other surgeries and recoveries, the hours of tears, the frustrations of months and months of PT which often made me worse, a total of 11 months on crutches over 2.5 years, a total of 7 months of no driving over 2.5 years, all of the medical professionals who gave up on me, the loss of relationships from friends who didn’t understand, lack of compassion and understanding from others who don’t understand chronic pain, and on and on and on…), but at the same time I also saw the good (my surgeon who is the one medical professional who has never given up on me and cares not just about the physical part of things but also about my mental health through these years, my wonderful husband who has given up so much selflessly and how even through the dark, stormy waters our marriage how grown better and closer as we both grew closer to rely on God, the friends from church who provided us with food after several of the surgeries when I was practically bed bound for weeks, our parents who both gave sacrificially through the big surgeries, and most importantly the relationship/trust/faith in God that has developed and grown inside of me through these years and the things that have come/and will come from this as I try and listen and discern the next steps of his will for me).  I was like a crying sadness mess followed by crying happy mess followed by more crying sadness followed by crying and praising God mess.  It was a moment unlike any other I’ve ever had.  I used to say I can’t wait until this part of my life is over and I’m better.  Well I’m not sure what that better will look like, probably not how it looked before this hip journey, but I’ve felt inside for awhile now God telling me that it will be ok (however that looks).  Now as much as I want to continue to rush recovery and get “better” and move on, I am praying for continued patience and trying to relay on his perfect timing because God has worked on and taught me so much through the storms, that if I had gotten “better” I would have missed so much.  Thank you for reading, I’ll update after my 6 week check up in November.

Psalm 37:7 “Be still in the presence of the Lord; and wait patiently for him to act….”

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4 thoughts on “Surgery #5 and recovery (2 weeks post op now)

    • Thank you so much for offering Darryl! I know you are only a phone call away most of the time and I truly truly appreciate that! I hope your time with your grandkids went well. Thank you for your friendship:)

  1. Praising God with you for all He is doing in your life. I’ve been praying for you and am so glad to hear that things are going well from a surgical standpoint so far. I will keep praying for the road ahead, for perseverance and great comfort and strength. When you mentioned feeling like God has told you it will be okay, it reminded me of the song I love that I heard again today, “Storyteller” by Morgan Harper Nichols, which borrows a little from the old hymn, “It is Well with My Soul”. Yes. It IS going to be okay, Julie. I standwith you in the fight for ongoing hope in the midst of long and challenging circumstances, and I stand with you in giving Him thanks, for the things He’s doing that we can see, and for making the choice to thank Him also for the things we can’t yet see. (And picking myself up and dusting myself off when I’ve failed miserably at that). Thanks, Julie, for sharing how you are clinging to Jesus, and praise God, for how He clings to us. Blessings!!!

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