Tag Archives: PAO surgery recovery

A New Chapter

Its days like today that I really miss my dad.  (He passed away in 2004 from a 3  week battle of liver & pancreatic cancer). Today as I headed west on Woodside Road towards Stanford Medical Center for my nine-month post op, I approach Alameda de las Pulgas Road. Suddenly I time-warped to another time, another life.  “Do you know what ‘Alameda de las Pulgas’ means?” my father asks my sister and me. How would we know? We were five and nine years old, respectively.  Before we could even squeak a noise from our tiny mouths, he answers his own question in a booming voice “THE LAND OF THE FLEAS! HAR HAR HAR HAR!”   Only those that knew my father will appreciate  this.

After waiting a while to see Dr. Bellino, he finally came into the exam room.  He told me I am “pretty much healed” and he is confident that the gaps near the ischium (aka “butt bone”) will heal by the next time I see him in the Spring.

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But this post-op visit was so much more than wondering what my x-ray would show in terms of bone growth.  I was anxious, like a kid on Christmas morning, to tell my surgeon about the ultimate PAO win: being physically capable to save someone’s life, which occurred two weeks ago.  And to tell him about my labor of love, thePAOproject.com. And last but not least, to give him the thank you present I made him, a photo book of all my “firsts” post PAO: first bike ride, first hike, first rafting, etc.  He read the whole thing and was truly touched. At the end of the appointment, I reached out to shake his hand and  he opened his arms to give me a hug, which meant a lot to me.

As I headed back towards Highway 280 (a much prettier drive than 101, so I take the scenic route), I saw a sign that said “Emerald Hills.”  My dad lived in Emerald Hills, an upscale neighborhood in Redwood City.  My heart ached to be able to share with him my successes.  I have been through SO MUCH in the past two years: the dust is finally settling and I am emerging from the ashes.  I am a better version of me.  Life after PAO: a new chapter begins.

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Ready, Set….Wait?

I am 14.5 weeks post op RPAO.  So far, my recovery had been about 3 weeks ahead of schedule from my LPAO on April 8, 2014.  That said, logic would say 3 weeks ahead of schedule. So what do I decide to do?  Go for a walk! Hell, even try to run!  The weather was damn near perfect today, high 60’s/low 70’s. I decided to carve a little bit of time from my buried pile of work to go outside, get some Vitamin D and exercise.

I felt good for the first 10 minutes into my walk, so I wanted to push it, just a little…”What harm would a 60 second trot (or plod, if you are a runner in Boulder) do?”   First bit felt ok!  Well, OK then!  I walked for 3 minutes and tried my second 60 second trot.  This one hurt a bit more, but my athlete’s mind reassured me, “Just run through the pain, you’re just stiff from not doing anything in the past 8 months.”   So I walk and stretch for the next 3 minutes.  By the 3rd round, I was in pain.  I stopped 30 seconds short.   Heartbroken, and a little worried, I had to make it back the 1 mile (2 miles total) to my car.

Immediately icing, I got up from the couch and I could barely move! Excruciating pain! “What the…?” I thought. Great. I really did a number on myself.  How pathetic. 2 mile walk and only 150 seconds of running.  There are people healed from this stupid surgery at this point!  Obviously I am NOT fully healed and PAIN was screaming at me, telling me I am NOT 100%.

I am generally very hard on myself.  I was upset the rest of the afternoon, picking apart my poor choices.  Then I got pissed.  I have been in survival mode for so long, years in fact, that I am finally done with just surviving. I want to THRIVE, not survive!  I want some normalcy, like, being able to get on and off the floor EASILY.  Like have a decent earning wage to where I don’t have to stress about paying my bills.  Like having a normal day off to chill and do fun stuff (hike, bike) rather than being in bed icing, looking at Facebook at all the good times that my friends are having.    I want to grab life by the balls and feel well enough to experience life’s adventures, big and small.  Is that too much to ask?

While my mind says yes, my body says no.  I guess I will have to wait. And definitely cut back on Facebook.