I think its human nature that we are quick to label circumstances as “good” or “bad.” My earlier posts about being diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia at the age of 39 and navigating my way to treatment showed that it certainly rocked my world, and shook me to the depths of my core. At that time, my diagnosis was BAD and the inevitable surgeries were BAD! For the past two years, hip dysplasia and PAO surgeries forced me to ponder the “why?”, the “how?” and the “when?” of all aspects of my life.
Two days ago I had my second Physical Therapy appointment, my first real workout since surgery (the first PT session was mainly an evaluation). I came home and my right glute was on fire (in a good way; look out “bun of steel!”). Tired and bored, I decided it was a fine time for an afternoon nap. I awoke suddenly to realize the sun was setting. I was perplexed that I slept that long: two hours! I managed to get myself out of the groggy slumber and once I did, my phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID, and it showed “Stanford Ortho.” I scrambled to reach the phone and I quickly answered with a cautious “Hello?”
“Hi Jen! This is Rachael at Dr. Bellino’s office,” Rachael greeted cheerfully.
“You are not calling to reschedule my post op appointment, are you?” I questioned. (This is kinda a joke between us as I am a long distance patient and once my travel plans are set, they are set in stone.)
With a laugh, she replied “Oh, no. Dr. Bellino and I were talking about you today and we were wondering if you wouldn’t mind being a reference for a patient.” [Long story short, this poor woman got the news about hip dysplasia and PAO surgery and is terrified.]
“Of course. I’d be happy to be talk to her. Yes, the news about PAO surgery IS terrifying!” I replied.
We chatted for a bit and when I hung up, I smiled. I was touched that they thought of me to be a reference.
The next day, (yesterday) my PAO buddy that Jessica and I visited in the hospital, Jenni, had her follow-up with Dr. Bellino. I messaged to ask how it went, and she responded that it went well. She then proceeded to share that she mentioned Jessica and me to Dr. Bellino, and mentioned that he responded “how rare it is that a patient would extend herself in that way” [to visit a fellow PAO patient in the hospital]. I was blown away. First of all, its my nature to go beyond the expected, especially if it means helping someone who is have a tough time. I don’t think anything of it….then I started thinking more about PAO surgery and recovery (what I call the “PAO life”), and I had an epiphany:
I felt the threads in connectivity come alive. The crazy journey of getting diagnosed in Colorado, researching adult hip dysplasia on the internet and found Kelly Ariagno’s website (a PT in SF who had her PAO with Dr. Diab) which led me to fly out and meet Kelly for a session, who encouraged me to consult with Dr. Diab and Dr. Bellino, which led to another trip out to CA to consult with said surgeons, to researching “Diab Bellino PAO” on the Internet and finding Jessica’s blog, which led us to becoming pen pals and fast friends, to her recommending the PAO Facebook support group, to the cancellation of surgery with Dr. Diab and reschedule with Dr. Bellino….well, I can go on and on, but I realize it was all for a reason. In addition to learning some life lessons that PAO surgery and recovery has taught me (patience, process), I sit here in bed and feel so incredibly blessed to have a whole new circle of friends through the PAO Facebook support group, most of which I have never met. We cheer each other on and share our experiences as needed.
Helping and empowering people to see the light in their darkest of times, that is my purpose. Having my surgeon recognize that just reinforces my purpose. I am such a better person after going through such a brutal elective surgery on both hips, it truly has transformed my body, mind and spirit. In the end, the hip dysplasia diagnosis and PAO surgery recoveries have been GOOD, not bad! Its probably been one of the best things to happen to me. I have Dr. Bellino, the team at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, my Physical Therapist, my PT Aide, my support team at home and my fellow group of PAO warriors to thank for enabling me to have a purpose to Shine. And as I type this, I realized my blog theme is “Shine On.” Yes, Shine On…everything comes around full circle.