Significant progress

I’ve just spent a week on holiday at the beach with family. Its been great to work on my tan before heading back to work, and I’ve been pushing the limits with my hip. I’m now 8months post op and I am doing really well, I’m 100% sure the operation was a success and I’m much much better than I was 8 months after my first surgery.

I feel like I’ve turned a big corner in the last month.  Little things I’ve noticed in the last 2 weeks are:

  • Travelling from India to Thailand was a breeze this time. It was a long journey that required a lot of sitting and it was almost pain free. I was also very happy to be able to stand in the line for immigration with no issue.
  • I was able to run for the plane (oops) and I can walk with a 15-20kg backpack on.
  • I’m able to walk for several hours at at time now. Including walking on the beach and in the jungle.
  • I can swim in the sea for 45min-1hr at a time (lots of snorkelling), swim 20-30 lengths of freestyle and do some very slow/gentle breaststroke.
  • I can lift my 3yr old niece and play with her without too much discomfort.
  • I’m walking fluidly with ZERO limp.

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Walking without crutches – finally

First full day walking without crutches in 3 months! I’m a little wobbly and have a slight limp but the feeling of freeeeedom is awesome. Hopefully I can manage the whole day & class without any major setbacks. I’ll be resting this avo for sure ! I’m so over the crutches.

Over did it a little, needed ice as was swollen.

Hip FAI Surgery

On Wednesday 13th August I finally had my surgery to remove the impingement in my hip (FAI). I had to call the booking office the night before surgery and was told to arrive at the hospital for a 7am checkin. At this stage I was still pretending that it was a holiday and I don’t think reality hit me until I woke up the next morning. This was good, less of a chance for the nerves to get the better of me.

I live so close to the hospital that I was able to walk there which I thought was amusing given I was going in for a hip operation. There was a handful of families also waiting to be first in line for surgery on that day. I was alone but this  didn’t really bother me, surgery is less scary the second time around.

I was one of the first patents called in; I chatted with the nurses and anaesthetist, got changed into a hospital gown and given a warm dressing gown to wear.  I had to wear a hair net and silly smurf slippers over my feet which cracked me up.  The surgeon was late, so I spoke with his registrar and waited in the pre-op area for ages.  The anaesthetist and I decided against the spinal in the end, so went for general anaesthetic and an infusion of something that would to help prevent pain complications (ketimine or licocane – not sure).  I wasn’t as nervous or scared as I expected to be, but I was grateful I got knocked out AFTER speaking to my surgeon and BEFORE going into the operating room.

Before I knew it I was in post-op recovery area and waiting to go up to the ward. I think I got up to the ward by noon and don’t really remember much of that afternoon.  I was in a fair amount of pain, but it was well managed.  I was given pain relief by IV and was able to control when I got it by pressing a button. The best part was turning my phone on and getting so many text messages from friends, workmates and family, including some lovely photos from my family in the UK. The worst part was getting up to go to the toilet numerous times that first night, I had to use a zimmer frame and every time my body would shake uncontrollably which made peeing very challenging. My body has a thing when it is in an excessive amount of pain that it shakes uncontrollably and I get really cold.

I was in hospital for 4 days and the time on the ward wasn’t overly restful as I was sharing with three very noisy old ladies. This was especially challenging when we changed the pain medication and the central sensitisation went a bit haywire.  Bright lights and noises are a problem for me, especially when I’m in pain or stressed. Hospitals are very bright and noisy places,  my ward was chaotic and the old ladies had a lot of visitors who ignored visiting hours.  Thankfully, the pain team  did a good job and got my pain back under control fairly quickly and I was able to go home just in time for my birthday.

The surgeon was light on details but he said the operation went well. When I asked about the number of holes in my leg (more than I was expecting) he said that he wanted to be sure they got all of the impingement so that gives me confidence. I noticed the feeling come back in my foot almost immediately and the pain in my hip feels different. It is still early days, but I am feeling really hopeful about the surgery.  I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to make a full recovery, and I know its not going to be easy (or happen very quickly), but I’m feeling really hopeful and am ready to put all this behind me. I’m very relieved the worst is over now and I am on the road to recovery.

I am partial weight bearing on crutches (allowed to put a little bit of weight on my foot, but not much) and am resting at home for at least 2 weeks. At the 2 week mark I will see the surgeon for a follow up and to get my stitches out.  I’ve got some very basic physiotherapy exercises to do and will start the rehabilitation when the surgeon gives the all clear to get started.  I’ve also got an appointment with the pain specialist in October to discuss the plan forward from a pain management perspective, the pain clinic have been very clear the expectation is that surgery will improve my function but is very unlikely to make me pain free.  Regardless, I’m excited about the future and looking forward to getting on with the rehabilitation. Its going to be an interesting few months.

A very successful pre-op assessment

On April 30th I had my pre-op assessment.  I was a bit nervous about it, but had no need to be.  The hospital staff were lovely and my concerns about the complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) were taken very seriously.  It ended up being a day of back to back medical appointments, pre-op assessment in the morning, physio in town, back to the hospital for x-rays and then pain clinic in the afternoon!

The morning of pre-op assessment involved getting key measures taken by a nurse, a meeting with the anaesthetist, then the house surgeon, another chat with the nurses and then blood tests.  Given my history of ‘suspected CRPS’ (crazy stupid pain) I was most concerned about the pain management aspect of the operation.  When I woke up last time the pain was bad and that caused a bit of chaos, the pain wasn’t well controlled post op and I ended up having to stay a 2nd night in hospital because of it.  Since then it appears I’ve developed CRPS and I’m afraid of another flare up of that, CRPS is horrible and takes a long time for me to bounce back from it. The anaesthetist was brilliant, he’d clearly read my file and took the time to address my concerns and even answered the questions I had about CRPS.  The suspected CRPS is pretty much confirmed CRPS now, but I’m grateful my symptoms are under control and pain levels are manageable. It turns out this is a condition that I’ll have to live with, but once the hip impingement is addressed the pain levels should resolve.  Fingers crossed!

The meeting with the house surgeon didn’t go so well, she was a bit of a cow.  She didn’t really know what was going on, didn’t answer my questions and tried to bullshit me. I wasn’t impressed, but it doesn’t matter because she won’t be doing my operation. According to her I’ll be on crutches for a couple of days and shouldn’t need any physiotherapy.   I don’t think so, but will remain cautiously optimistic.

The nurses were lovely, made sure I had a way to get home and someone to look after me for the first 24hours or so.  They gave me pre-op instructions (which in hindsight is very premature I’ve already forgotten what I was told) and advised me they’ll touch base with me the day before surgery.

So that was my pre-op assessment, now all I need to do is wait for a date.  Its been over a month and I would have expected to have one by now, but alas the waiting continues.  I am hoping for early July (would be good timing for work) but aware that it could be anything up to mid September.  Regardless, its something I’ve got no control over so I will have to go with the flow. It will happen when it happens!

A not so happy update to “Happy Healing Hips”

Its been a few weeks so I figured its time for an update.  I notice when things aren’t going great, sometimes the blog gets ignored.  On the flip side, when things are going fantastically the blog also gets ignored while I go out enjoy life.  Unfortunately, at the moment things aren’t going great.   The pain levels are escalating, the central sensitisation has been a lot worse and I’m exhausted from battling the system.

Where are things right now?  well….

  • Work/life balance has swung out of control again, have been working long hours.  The project ends this week (maybe next) so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Its a bit of a race to the finish line though, so this week will be rough.
  • The pain levels are high and are interfering with my sleeping again.
  • I’m on thin ice, and need to rest a lot more.
  • The bursitis is REALLY sore and always swollen, I can’t lie on my left side or my tummy and have to ice my thigh constantly.
  • I’ve been trying to get a cortisone shot for the bursitis, its taken 4 weeks at least but I’m finally booked in next monday (phew).
  • The hospital is mucking me around and it turns out I’m not actually on the waiting list for surgery yet, and assuming my paperwork goes through ok it is a 5 month wait.  She said they are processing my paperwork now and I should get a letter in the next couple of weeks.
  • I got offered a fantastic job but had to turn it down as it was conditional on surgery (when I applied the surgeon had just told me surgery would be end of April)
  • I’ve been getting my right ankle treated for a sprain I did several weeks ago when dancing on one leg (as you do).  It is apparent there is a lot of scar tissue due to years of multiple sprains (because it’s the opposite side to my sore hip it’s taken a thrashing).  Because I am unable to rest it properly it’s not healing well and is rather swollen and sore this week.
  • Because I’m now bearing more weight on my left leg (due to sore ankle) my hip is much worse than usual and the bursitis is getting worse.
  • I’ve had to pull the crutches out for the first time in over a year.  Am not quite able to bring myself to use them even though I probably should.  But I have been told to take them to me when I go away for a choir trip this weekend (lots of standing).
  • I’ve skipped a lot of choir practice due to pain and am also saying “no” to things.
  • Have been slack re the physio therapy and swimming, mostly due to pain, tiredness and a lack of time.
  • Am working with the Pain Clinic again, quite frequent appointments and quite intense treatments.
  • The weather is getting colder which is not great for my pain levels and circulation.

Good news….    (there must be some)

  • I started a new blog called  Pretty Ordinary Things where I take a photo a day of something ordinary in an effort to help me be more present in the world and actively search for beauty in every day things.  Its been working a treat, I feel my eyes are constantly scanning the environment, it pulls my thoughts away from my problems and is helping my photography.   I’m really enjoying the project.
  • We got restructured at work, so at least something is changing there.  I’ve got a new manager and a new team, hopefully I can move my desk too.  That with a new project will help refresh me at work.  Just as well seeing as I had to turn down that amazing new job.
  • I did a 3 day cram and passed my Six Sigma Green Belt Exam this week.  I’ve just got to put together a portfolio and I’ll get certified. Six Sigma is a methodology for process improvement and data analysis.
  • I’m going away this weekend, heading to Otaki to do a 2 day singing workshop with my choir.  I can’t wait.

Fingers crossed things pick up soon, I think the next couple of weeks will rough but hopefully things will improve soon.  I’ll feel A LOT better when I get a date for this surgery, I just need to know when it is going to happen so I can plan things and prepare.  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to going away this weekend.

Hip Bursitis (aka Lumpy)

When I was in India I started getting a new “defect” in the hip. A lump of swelling and burning pain down the side of my hip/thigh. Ice and rest helped, eventually we worked out the motion of cat/cow (yoga postures) was aggravating it. But while things have improved somewhat, ever since then my new symptom Lumpy has been hanging around. I ice my hip regularly and that’s really the only thing that helps with the swelling. My physio sent me off for an ultrasound and the results came back today, I’ve got Bursitis, swelling of the bursa on my hip. Unfortunately the treatment is anti-inflammatories and rest from aggravating activities (ie, sport). I’m not doing enough activity because of the FAI to warrant resting and I’m allergic to anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). This leaves me with ice which I’m already using. I’ve got an appointment to see my surgeon on Thursday to discuss my operation, so I will ask him what the options are for the bursitis. My physio mentioned a cortisone injection is a possibility and he might be able to do it when he sees me. But in the meantime… Ice.

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