Friday, August 30, 2013

Passing by the Benchmark

It seems like lately I’ve had so little so say…and I guess that’s a good thing in terms of the big picture. Really, it means that everything is pretty status quo…no major swerves one way or the other in terms of recovery.

I’ve also been very busy on this new, bio-mechanical hip. I feel like I’ve totally pushed it to the max (within's not like I'm attempting to climb Everst), and it has passed all the tests I’ve given it! I’ve been out in the field for work almost every day, climbing rock outcrops, walking/climbing down steep hills, and up steep embankments. I’ve had to climb over and under trees, etc. I’ve done all of this without missing a beat, really. The hip gets a little fatigued, sometimes…but on the whole I feel GREAT! I think all of this field work has really pushed me over the edge to being almost completely healed. There is really only one motion that I still have a hard time with, and it’s one that I hardly have to do. It’s when I have to lift my leg up in front of me and over something.

Also, and this is where I get REALLY excited, I was away on vacation last week in California. Before surgery, when I thought about what my recovery timeline would be, this vacation to California was my benchmark. My “I’m going to be 100% by then!” goal. And you know what? I WAS.
Almost every day on that vacation we put a lot of miles on my “Terminator” leg. There was even a day where I walked about 20,000 steps….almost 6 MILES, and I didn’t miss a beat. My hippy wasn’t sore, or even really all that tired. Now, here’s the best part…most of this walking was in San Francisco! I walked up and down those hills without one moment of needing to rest. I tried not to be emotional, but there were a couple of moments where I got a little teary eyed. I couldn’t believe how fantastic I felt.
This is where I say the words I’ve always hoped I’d be able to say post-surgery:

It’s like I never had a hip problem at all…like I am perfectly normal.

Those are the sweetest words I have ever spoken.

I’m so excited about it, and I feel like this has been such a fantastic success that I am going to spend the weekend crafting a letter to my surgeon to let him just how grateful I am for his skills, and how successful his procedure was and my recovery has been to date. I am so lucky to have had such a great experience…I’ve been on cloud nine lately with this hip. I am one happy hip-chick.

That’s all I’ve got for now,
Thanks for reading,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hurdling Towards a Full Recovery

Hi there! Sorry it’s been so long. Since I’ve been cleared to go back out in the field, I’ve been working long days and have been really busy…which is great for my work schedule!
So, a couple things to report…good things for the most part. A couple weeks ago I spent the better part of a week in the field doing stream channel assessments, soil documentation plots, and Eastern Box Turtle habitat assessments. This required A LOT of walking along a several mile long water main easement wearing heavy, steel-toed boots, and other heavy equipment. I also had to do a pretty good amount of climbing around in the woods, over trees and up stream banks, etc. One of the days, the most difficult day, was about a 15 hour workday filled with walking, climbing through woods, walking through streams, and climbing up and down stream banks. I worked the ENTIRE day without skipping a beat. Not a bit of hip pain at all! In fact…I hardly even thought about my hip all day. That was really amazing for me. It was a really eye opening day for me. Pre-surgery, I wouldn’t have been able to do even half that.
Last week I also had some other great progress…I realized I can run and jump/hurdle over things! Odd statement, right? Well…I figured this out while flagging wetland lines in the woods and I stepped right into a hornets nest. Yup…that happened. Only got stung once…but that was enough…OUCH! I ran like the dickens through the thick woods, hurdling over the fallen trees and climbing over things and through thick trees. I got away fairly unscathed.
The next day I had to return back to the scene of the crime to try and carefully retrieve the equipment I had dropped in a frantic panic...and they swarmed me again (and I got stung again...oh brother)! I had a repeat hurdling experience, complete with face planting in the leaves and smacking my face on some branches. I was fine (albeit a hot mess...but I was fine). Now after that little adventure my hip DID hurt a bit. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised. I haven’t pushed it like that since before the surgery and jumping hurdles was probably not ever going to be on my physical therapy plan…never mind now and so frantically.
On a more serious note: I do notice a couple things that bother me. My psoas still bugs me when I have to make certain movements. For instance, climbing up onto the back of the work truck (I’m a bit short…for those who don’t know) is a bit difficult, and stepping down hill or make dramatic leg movements over things. Additionally, the boots I have to wear in the field are steel-toed and they are heavy. Probably not for a normal person but for someone who’s still gimpy they bother my hip muscles a little bit.
I’ve also really noticed lately is that my screws are rubbing against my waistline of my pants, especially if I wear a belt. It wouldn’t be a big deal expect it pinches when I bend down to do anything and it’s aggravating. I do a lot of moving and bending and lifting out in the field so this may end up being an issue.
Since the surgery, I’ve been wondering why some PAO’ed folks automatically have their screws removed and why some do not. I think it’s a combination of what their particular surgeon’s protocol is, and also what they personally prefer. Some surgeons, it seems, schedule and complete a screw removal procedure whether the patient requests it or not. In other cases, I know people who have had their screws for years and years and don't plan on having them removed. I guess I’m just not sure how one decides that they are so annoying they need to be taken out. Especially since the majority of the people I hear from that have had them removed say they were awake during their screw removal procedure. Can you imagine that? "Don't mind this noise, I just have to really get in there...the DeWalt is acting up." I’m pretty sure I would just lose my mind. YIKES!
Okay, one last thing. I hate to admit this because it worries me a little…but…my left hip has been really sore the past couple weeks. It’s a different kind of pain than my right hip pain I used to have pre-PAO. This is more an intense stiffness when I first get out a seated position. It happens more often when I've been sitting for a long period of time, or in a funny position. The thing is that it goes away after I’ve been moving around for a couple minutes. I’m hoping that it’s nothing and that it’s just soreness because I’m so much more active now. I guess we’ll just have to see how it plays out over the next few months.

Anyways…that’s about it. Not a whole lot going on otherwise, which I guess is really great news! I’m still heading to PT once a week and working on this psoas/piriformis issue. Other than that, I’m on a great road to recovery lately. I’m feeling almost normal. It’s so great to be this close to being done with PT and the official recovery process. However, I am starting to learn through others that this is not the kind of thing that just gets better and goes away. I feel as though the “recovery” for this surgery will be continuing for quite some time. We will have to see what time brings for me. Hopefully everything keeps going smoothly and I can put all this behind me soon!