You are reading this title thinking, “Oh no, what happened?” It’s not so bad. My official two year anniversary of my right PAO is fast approaching: December 16. I did, however, have my two year follow-up last month when I was in California helping my sister recover from arthroscopic surgery to repair her torn labrum. We have the same surgeon, so it was nice to be able to talk with him about her surgery and recovery. Anyway, I snuck in an appointment since I was in town. Here is my X-ray from my appointment. As you will see, I have most excellent bone healing and nice joint space (read: no arthritis):
Another reason why I scheduled to see Dr. Bellino was to see if my right screws needed to come out. I was having pain (aching in cold weather) and when I wore jeans. After a few minutes of him trying to feel them (I guess he countersinks them pretty good), we concluded I need new jeans and I need to move to a warmer climate (haha) because he couldn’t feel them coming out.
Some PAO surgeons take out the screws around 6-9 months post op, other surgeons only take them out if they cause problems. Its a matter of philosophy, there are pros and cons to each school of thought. My surgeon does the latter. I trust his suggestion in leaving them in for now. I am back spinning, running, hiking, and strength training like I did before this whole hip saga, when I was a lean, mean, triathlon racing machine. And you know what? That pain has not recurred with increased activity and in the recent cold weather, so who knows why I was having issues earlier this fall. While it would be fun to make some badass jewelry from my hardware, I am happy to stay screwed for now.
If you are on Facebook, then you are familiar that this lovely social media platform likes to remind you of anniversaries of your past posts (i.e. 1 year ago…). This can be a good thing or a bad thing. For example, I cried last week when I saw a post with a picture of my beloved fur baby Evie (who crossed the Rainbow Bridge) from last year. Two days ago I was reminded of a post I wrote on October 22, 2013; it read:
“So very thankful to be going to CA today to FINALLY see these two surgeons at UCSF and Stanford about my hip surgery ordeal. I am READY to put a plan in place once and for all!…”
“Hip surgery ordeal,” HAHA! Ain’t that the truth! I had no idea what PAO surgery and recovery entailed. I had completely forgot I wrote that post! At that time, I couldn’t walk more than 12 steps without limping. I had gained weight from inactivity. My identity as a Personal Trainer and athlete was lost. I was trying to find my way in a new career. I was in pain 24/7 and I was depressed.
Well, fast forward to today (and if you want the whole story, read all my blog posts): my butt muscles are still sore from helping paint my new metal-smithing studio but the hip pain – oh that hip pain that rocked my world – is gone. Yesterday I went for a run on a perfect fall day, and guess what? No hip pain. My plan worked. I am so incredibly grateful: I wake up every morning and have gratitude I am without chronic pain.
The pain doesn’t define me anymore. What defines me are the lessons and the strength that I have learned in the past three years. I found a new passion: increasing awareness of hip dysplasia; I now have The PAO Project linked to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. I try to help out local PAO Warriors in any way I can (last week I was getting raised toilet seat handles from a senior center and dropping them off to a PAO Warrior at Boulder Foothills Hospital) and provide support on the PAO Facebook group, because I know how rough the early weeks are in recovery. This journey has not only made me more grateful, but it has also made me more emphathetic.
Ironically, I fly out to CA on Wednesday because my sister is having labral repair arthroscopic surgery with my surgeon, Dr. Bellino at Stanford on Friday. She does not have dysplasia; labral tears can happen in normal hips (imagine that!), and in her case it was most likely speed training with running. I will return the favor of her being my caretaker and will be hers in the early days of recovery. I feel well equipped emotionally and I am happy that I am able to be there for her.
Its all good. What a difference three years make….
Its been about two weeks since I got the news of the postponement of my surgery, and not only a postponement, but with another surgeon and at another hospital. Dr. Bellino at Stanford is also one of the best in the field, and if you read my former post, I had a helluva time deciding between Dr. Diab at UCSF and Dr. Bellino as Stanford. In the end, it seems that the Universe decided for me. Divine timing trumps everything else.
“When I think of Dr. Bellino, I remember his blue eyes. Clear and calm. Like Buddha,” my PAO buddy, Jessica writes me (she consulted with him in October 2012 and will again in March; as she is in the same boat as me regarding the insurance debacle with UCSF). Hence, we quickly coined the nickname “Buddha blue eyes” for Bellino. This term helps calm my nerves and helps me to re-frame my mental state about waiting another 5 weeks for my LPAO. As I remember correctly, he did have a very calming energy about him.
As I write this, I think that if nothing got rescheduled, I would be leaving next Thursday (!) for CA. I have so much to do with work and getting everything in order that I am now relieved to have the extra month. So, while it was a pain in my culo to reschedule everything, to still have pain for another 5 weeks, I am looking at the flip side of things on the benefits of the delayed surgery:
- More time to finish work projects: Fitwise Training: Spring youth soccer promotion and next steps on the patent. Anosia: metalsmithing and building my inventory for summer art shows and my website.
- More time to increase income, which is critical since I am self-employed. I added two local art shows and another month of personal training.
- More time to increase my fitness and lose a little more weight by surgery.
- More time to see the friends that I haven’t yet been able to visit.
- I still have 2 more passes on my ski pass at Eldora, I need to use them! (note: blue runs only, pain will dictate when my day is over).
- I will have more time to play before surgery this go-around as I am flying out earlier and will have TWO weekends pre-op in CA.
- When I return from CA, it will be warmer in CO and will be easier to get around on crutches (less chance for ice/snow and falling)
As you can tell, my past two posts were quite dark but I have emerged and am on the upswing. ONWARD!