Friday, April 26, 2013

Scarred for Life

Happy 6th month anniversary to my PAO-ed hip!! I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since PAO. Time has just flown by. It’s also weird for me because I’m still on the mend from the second procedure…it feels like I’m still on crutches and recovering from the PAO even though that was months ago.
Time has felt so strange to me, it has flown by since PAO, but at the same it felt like an incredibly long 6 months. My poor little hippy has been through so much…it’s been chopped up and screwed back together, and then months later it was poked at, pulled on, prodded and scraped.  It has just about had it with me, and quite frankly…I don’t blame it. It’s coming around though, every day it seems to be a little less irritated. Every day I can do a little more with it without having any pain. Sometimes, I forget that it’s even an issue. My hip and I have quiet chats sometimes…I try to tell it: “I did this for you!” and “I promise in a few months you’ll thank me for all this trouble.” We’ve had such a rocky relationship up to this point…my sad little hip and I. Before surgery, I was mad at it for hurting all the time, and it was mad at me for not listening to its pain all those years and taking it easy. It pleaded with me to slow my life and my activity level down, and I pleaded with it…”Just one more volleyball match!” We have not really ever seen eye to eye. And now? Well, these past 6 months have been tumultuous. They’ve been down, down lower, up, up a little more, then back down again. Now I’m back on the upswing. And hopefully this time I’ll continue on that upswing. I think my hip is finally starting to come around, after 6 months of trauma. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months bring!

10-inch long PAO with 3, 1 inch long scars from arthroscopic surgery (and my still swollen hip).

"Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.” – Linda Hogan

"I think scars are like battle wounds - beautiful, in a way. They show what you've been through and how strong you are for coming out of it." - Demi Lovato

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Juiced Up

I got an e-mail today from one of the hip ladies in the support group I recently joined. It was asking specifics on the process (local anesthetic) in which I got my corticosteroid injection a couple years ago. I figured I would write about it here so that anyone considering this would have an idea on what to expect.

To start, I’ll tell you that Dr. S sent me to get the corticosteroid injection as a diagnostic tool. He stated that if the injection helped alleviate my pain, then we would know that the majority of my pain was coming from my crappy labrum. Knowing that, he could then start to determine how much actual joint pain was occurring and determine if PAO was a good option if I needed it. At the time we still only had x-ray images and weren’t exactly sure how bad the hip joint really was. This was the main purpose for me to get the injection. While injecting the corticosteroid mixture, the doctor was also going to be injecting contrast media. This dye was injected so that I could immediately get a CT Scan and MRI after the injection and they could get a better, more detailed look inside the joint.

I had my injection done at the diagnostic imaging center at Rhode Island Hospital. It was an outpatient procedure. When I arrived, they had me change and fill out some of the usual paperwork. After check-in, they sent me in to do the imaging first…which I thought was weird because I was supposed to have contrast with my imaging. I stated this to the nurse who was trying to get me to lie on the sliding bed thingy outside the CT Scan machine. She shrugged me off like I was crazy…but I kept saying “I’m pretty certain I’m supposed to have contrast media before this imaging.” She finally looked into it and low and behold I was correct. This is an example that you ALWAYS need to speak up for yourself when you think something may be wrong.
After hardly apologizing, the nurse instructed me on how to get to the place where I had the injection. When I got there, they called me into this little room. It had crazy machines everywhere with a live x-ray machine hovering over a large metal table. The doctor had 3 or 4 interns (all male) with him and he asked me if it was okay if they stayed and watched what he was doing. I said it was fine, what do I care? Then I realized I had to open my Johnny and slightly regretted that decision. Awkward! 

Anyway, I will tell you that I got pretty nervous when the doc pulled out that needle. It was the LONGEST needle I’ve ever seen in my life. It seemed like it was a foot long. I just kept telling myself not to look at it. First he had me lie on my left side, and he took a smaller but still offensive needle and gave me the local anesthetic. That stung a little, but it wasn’t bad. A few minutes later he got to work with the giant needle. After he started injecting the world’s longest needle, he used the live x-ray machine to keep tabs on his path of injection. So, he’d push the needle in a little, take an x-ray, say a few words to the audience, and go a little farther in. When he got through what seemed to be my entire body, he said he was going to start injecting and that I’d probably feel some “crowding and cramping.” I remember thinking: “what does that even mean!?” Well…as soon as he started injecting the fluid, I totally understood. It didn’t hurt, it was just very awkward feeling. Cramping is a good way to describe it. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. I think what took the longest is that he spent about 5-10 minutes telling the interns (who looked about 10 years old) to “look at that deformed hip joint.” He then went into a lecture on hip dysplasia, talking about my pain like I wasn’t even in the room. 

After he was done, he had me get up very slowly. He had me take a few steps very carefully because it would feel very crowded. It did feel strange at first, but not painful. After about 5 minutes of walking on it, that feeling went away and I was left with (literally) NO PAIN. It was amazing. After the imaging, I walked out the hospital the best I’ve EVER felt. It was amazing. The next couple days, after the local anesthetic wore off, I had a little soreness. The total relief time from the corticosteroids was probably 2 weeks.
Well, that’s that. Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks all,
Talk soon,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Terrible Two's

There are two things that constantly sit in the back of my mind, lurking: 

1)      What if I need to have something done to my left hip? This thought really bothers me. We never really investigated very far into lefty. When Dr. S had the very first series of x-rays, he said that it was almost completely normal. Only slightly dysplastic. That’s obviously good news. However I know that before the surgery, I was having pain on both sides. Different kinds of pain on my left…pain I’m not sure could even be described as hip pain…but still pain. I’m also worried because Dr. S didn’t know just HOW bad my right hip was until he did all the additional imaging. What if my left hip is more dysplastic than it appears on the x-ray? I guess only time will tell with that. I just don’t want to end up having pain down the line, after we’ve started a family and moved on with this hip silliness and need to go through similar surgeries again. YUCK. Or worse, I have pain down the line and it turns out that it’s too late for PAO (if even needed). I know, I know…I’m getting WAY ahead of myself…but these are things that dysplastic people think and worry about…I guess.

2)     I will still have hip pain, after all this. Or, I only get a couple years out of this reconstructed hip before it starts giving me pain again. I’ve been reading other blogs obsessively, seeing what other people have been feeling after a period of time post-surgery. I’m trying to prepare myself for what could be. Some feel fine, some have pain creeping back in. Unfortunately, this PAO surgery is so new (relatively speaking) that there isn’t a whole lot of research and information for what happens years down the road with a PAO-ed patient. I know that before this second surgery, my hip felt pretty good. I really only had labrum pain, occasionally. When we went on vacation in March, I could walk long distances with no actual joint pain. The hip fatigues very, very easily right now, but I have to think that’s expected. But…what if after a few months of being back on it full time, the hip pain comes back? The thought of having gone through all of this for nothing is more than I can handle.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. I think about these things more and more as I get closer to picking up with the rehab PT. I get off the crutches in two and a half weeks (THANK GOD)…and after that there’s no turning back. It is what it is. I’ve got what I’ve got. They’ve done all they can do for my poor, sad, little hip. I’m so emotionally confused…I can’t figure out if I’m excited, or nervous, or anxious, or what. After the last time I got off the crutches and started using the leg, any time I'd experience any pain I'd tell myself: "well, the second surgery will fix that." With any discomfort I kept telling myself...the journey's not done still have a chance to get rid of that pain. The thing I do kind of hang my hat on here, and hubby helped me realize this, is that after the corticosteriod injection a couple years ago, that right hip felt fan-freaking-tastic. I have not EVER walked as good as I did for the first few days after that procedure. So, the main goal was for this arthroscopic surgery to fix all the banged up, crappy labrum in the joint to help me get that same result as the corticosteriod injection.
I guess all I can do is just wait and see what happens. How awful is that? There’s no way to prepare myself mentally, at all. I just have to wait until I’m out of PT in July/August and see where I stand (haha, pun INTENDED). Dr. S says it will be a year from RPAO before I really can judge the progress….so I’m going to wait until October to really judge the outcome. It’s all just a matter of wait and see!

Thanks for listening,
I’ll check back soon,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pain In The Butt

Well…I’ve got some new pain to report. This has been on and off for the past couple weeks. I’ve literally got a pain in the butt. My tailbone has been painful when I sit, lean on anything, and even twist a certain way. It’s very strange. I wanted to just ignore it to see how it went…but it’s not getting any better. 
Two days ago, it was really painful when I sat or leaned on anything. Yesterday it wasn’t as bad, but the pain was still there. It’s strange because the pain only occurs when I first sit, like “contact” pain or just when I first put pressure on it. If I stay still once I’m sitting, it doesn’t continue to hurt. If there are any other PAO-ed people out there with similar pain, please let me know…it’s starting to freak me out a little. 

Anyways, that’s the strangest thing to report. Other than that, I’ve really only had minor things going on this week.
Other thoughts:

  • I have incision pain sometimes, but I think it’s just because my stitches haven’t come out yet.
  • At least three or four times I’ve stepped on the forbidden leg. What a fool. I don’t do it on purpose.  It’s just that I can use it for so much else besides walking…so sometimes I forget and use it for something like trying to stand or catching my balance. Just the other morning I stepped out of the car, and put that leg down with all my weight. Really? What the heck is the matter with me? On the bright side…it really didn’t hurt at all. But that’s obviously not the point. Dr. S and Tom (my PT) both said that the biggest concern with the hip is actually grinding the hip right now. Like if I used the leg to get up out of a sitting position, or squatted on it, any motion that could rub away that healing cartilage.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted on things as they progress. Let me know if anyone else has similar pain in their tailbone/sacrum area.

Still praying for Boston. Xoxo, love that city. Stay united, stay strong, stay Boston Strong.