Friday, December 19, 2008

Closure.

"So that's it?" My friend asked as we sat waiting for the play to start. "You're just DONE with the blog? It's over?" I made a face and did a little head wag while trying to come up with something conciliatory to say, but she wasn't done. "I need some closure here. You need to write a final post."

She was right, of course. I don't know if this is the absolute, final, end-of-an-era post, but I do need to wrap things up a little. It's the right time of year for it.

The Hip is: generally ok, with bouts of snarkiness that are short-lived and weather-inspired.

Will this hold steady? Who can say.

In the end, we can sit around and log every moment of discomfort, each twinge and ache, and try to create some sort of five-year viability projection out of safety pins and scotch tape, or we can recognize that we've tangoed with the MRIs, the CT scans, the arthroscopies, the surgeries, and of course, the raised toilet seat, and it's time to just have a life.

Thank you for the unflagging support through it all, and I can only hope that someone down the line facing what we've all faced will derive a little comfort from this, or at least a few laughs.

If I had to leave you with one last thing, it would be this: it's not about the hip.

(Go ahead - raise your hands to your face in horror. And then take a little time and think about it. You'll agree.)

And remember: Love is all there is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reunited

And it feels so good.

My quadriceps above the knee on the surgery side has been doing a weird crampy thing for the past few weeks, and since I'm headed out on a pretty active vacation, I wanted to check in with Gym Teacher that I was cleared for takeoff. (I would tell you where I'm going, but you'd swoon with envy.)

It was the first time I'd seen her since before the revision surgery in April and she had a lot of questions. And her hands also had a lot of questions. Said hands were, as always, not afraid to ask them. She's all business about it and I love her, but under any other circumstances I might have needed to tell her I didn't roll that way.

Apparently, my pelvis is tilted and my sacrum is jammed on one side. She illustrated this by leaning on my hip bones with her hands and as she pressed on them said, "see - left side nice and mobile. Right side - JAM JAM JAM!" (punctuating each "JAM" with a press) and then she flipped me over and repeated it with her hands on my sacrum (read: ass) - "left side goes, nice, right side - STUCK STUCK STUCK!" And then laughed. I have to figure it's not that serious if she's laughing. And actually I know it's not that serious and the S-I joint can get stuck all the time so it'll be fine.

So the bottom line is that pain and whatnot can radiate out to all different places if the muscles have to overcompensate when things aren't moving as they should. She wants me to keep coming in to work with her and the massage therapist on staff. Massage paid for by my insurance? Don't need to ask me twice...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hypocrite for a Cause

I told Laura that I thought hip blogs should be about hip related things only. And now I have to be a hypocrite (or a hipocrite) but I think I can categorize this under "things I can now do that I would have had a hard time with pre-surgery" and if you're feeling very generous, you'll let me get away with it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSK4zB_33Xc

Please comment, rate, link to it, send to 50 friends, etc.

If you're a facebooking type, you can become a fan:

http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Yoga-Thugs/43686281096?ref=nf

First and last time I do this, I promise. Although Vol. 2 is actively in the works and will be coming down the pipeline, so you may want to bookmark the page...

Hip is good, things are good, no pain, all is well. (this is sort of like when you talk business for 30 seconds at the end of your expensive dinner so you can call it a business dinner for tax purposes.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Special/Normal

The fact that I can walk around the city all day without pain still hasn't lost its shiny allure, I'm happy to say.

But I feel like I'm returning to the ranks of the regular, of 'normal' people, and as life often seems to, it makes me contemplative. Does what I went through over the past 2 years relegate me always to the ranks of special? And by special, I don't mean "we're all special in our own way/I believe the children are our future/I'd like to buy the world a coke."

I mean, special*. You know, special.

Special like when I was in class last week working on a challenging pose and the teacher said to the room, "that's Sarah, our miracle girl."

Living pain-free will always be special, and it is a gift that I don't take for granted. It encircles my every moment and allows me to step boldly into each day. It gives me freedom from living a compromised, less-than-total expression of myself, free from physical self-censorship (as in "no I can't come to your party in Brooklyn" "no I can't go out dancing with you" "no I can't go on a hike" with the unspoken understanding that my body just couldn't take it).

On the flip side, it's exactly that specialness that allows me to be normal, to say yes instead of no, to dance and run like any other person. And in many ways it feels good to be normal. The daily frustrations of living with chronic pain make it seem like the condition has you, like it exists even before your name in the way the world sees you and even, after time, in the way you see yourself.

Feeling normal, for me, feels special.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quotes

"Everybody laments. But the wisest people turn their greatest tragedy into their greatest triumph. Life gives you good practice."

-Shri Manorama-ji


"Some days, you're gonna have a day when you fuck up. Everybody does. And that's ok."

-man on street

Monday, August 18, 2008

Skyrockets in Flight

Insurance Delight!

If you're pre-surgery, along with the other 10,469 things on your mind, you might want to make a few insurance-related phone calls so that you don't get smacked upside the head with half the bill, thanks to a little something called "amount allowable" (or "allowable amount" - either way, it's heinous).

To wit, your surgeon/anesthesiologist/hospital/whomever may choose to charge whatever they like, and your insurance company might choose to pay 70 or 80 percent not of what the surgeon/whomever has charged, but of what they consider the allowable amount for that entity. Said allowable amount may be a whole lot less than what your surgeon/whomever is charging. Like maybe, half as much. And then the coverage is only 70 or 80 percent of that. Which is even more less.

You will know when this has happened because several months after your surgery, when all is fine and dandy and life is a bunch of roses, you will find yourself post-lovely insurance lady (really, a sweetheart) phone call smacking your head into your computer screen, or another handy blunt object.

So, word to the wise. You're probably not going to like the answer whenever you get it, but at least you'll know. And as G.I. Joe always told us, that's half the battle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Procrastinator 3: Rise of the Publication

Ladies and Gents, it's here:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/hip-dysplasia.htm

Try not to laugh too hard at the fact that it's called How Hip Dysplasia Works.

(I can tell you how it works... mumble *bleep*)

Lauren and I worked hard on the original piece, and although it's been jollied up quite a bit, it's still (I think) the most comprehensive discussion of DDH and all its various concerns and whatnots.

If you have a blog and want to include this link, please do - the more that desperately seeking people can find it (unlike most of our experiences which involved lengthly and unsuccessful hunts for something - anything! about DDH that didn't involve dogs) the happier Lauren and I will be.

And as if the inside of my leg hadn't seen enough celebrity, it's also featured on the FO page of the site... so even more reason to click through. (Same goes for Lauren's PAO, FYI).

Big shout out to Tracy at HSW for giving it a home!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marrow

After a few days of circling and eyeing each other, MP and I are settling in to our new dynamic where she is now on the outside of my body. My initial urge to toss her into the river has passed, although if she hears about it I'm sure she'll pitch a fit.

I now carry her around with me wherever I go and shove her into people's faces, saying "Guess what this is?!?" If they know me, they figure it out pretty fast. (Strangers have been having a harder time identifying MP and generally just back away slowly.) I've had the conversation a few times now and it goes pretty much like this:

"Guess what this is?!?" (MP shoved into person's hand. Pause.)

"Oh my god - that was in you??"

"I know - crazy, right?"

"It's so heavy!"

"I know - crazy, right?"

"I can't believe that was in you!"

"I know - crazy, right?" (I've lost a little of my spontaneity.)

Except this morning, when I pulled MP out of my bag to show my student, and decided to just spill the beans for him rather than make him guess. "This was in my hip!" I said as I pushed it towards him. He was reaching to take it but at the words "in my hip" he recoiled and drew his hand back. "So you mean - it has your marrow on it?"

And here I thought I had sufficiently grossed myself out with every possible image.

No-one's ever busted out a marrow on me before. It made my stomach turn. But he was right, and I may have to readjust how aggressively I shove my marrow on people from now on.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reunited

And let me tell you, that sucker's heavy. No wonder I was so tired all the time.

I'll let the pictures do the talking:


Attempted reenactment of 2007.




It's super scraped up. I'm wondering when that happened.






I have a bunch more pictures but it's so labor-intensive putting them up here that I'm just going to stick them on my facebook page. Go have a gander over there if you like.

It's kind of weird to have it back. Like when you run into someone you dated seven years ago and you're both like, "Sooooo......"

I thought I was going to be all excited - and I am - but it's still a little weird. I'm glad to have the chance to see it, but I might not be able to keep it in my house. There may soon be a throwing into the river ceremony.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Never Give Up

Gentle Reader, nothing less than a mini-miracle has occurred. Hold onto your pants, because:

Metal Plate was not, as previously suspected, thrown to the alligators in the pit beneath HSS.

Metal Plate battled through monsters and traps and pitfalls, the likes of which I'm sure approximated an Indiana Jones movie, and has made it to Dr. Buly's office.

The last ten minutes of the film, where MP is tearfully reunited with its long lost love/prior living quarters and then tosses off a sassy one-liner ("What took you so long?") will air in a few days.

All goofing aside, I'm actually as excited to see it as I would be a person. Is that weird?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Procrastinator 2: Publishment Day

I was scrolling back through the blog in an attempt to both find and figure out when I first referred to this, Gentle Reader. And it turns out it was almost a YEAR ago.

First of all, I can never quite believe how long this public streaming of consciousness has been going on.

Secondly of all, I am, somewhatly, embarrassed? That it's taken this long for it to come to any fruition. But really, not that much embarrassed actually, since I doubt that any of you were losing sleep over the future prospect of whatever it is ever coming to light.

Thirdified, it appears that this post is about creating the worstliest writing that I can put, both down or together.

However:

Just got word that it is, in fact, going to happen. In three or four weeks. Aren't you excited? Just in a vacuumy kind of way, since you still don't know what the hell I'm talking about?

One caveat: it is not in the original form in which it was created. It has been, as they say, "punched up." It went from a very academic-sounding piece to - how can I put it - a little more simpler for folks to read...? I don't mean to sound ungrateful or diss the wonderful people who are giving it a place in the world, but let's just say it's not exactly my writing any more. However, I've seen and signed off on it because I want it to come out, and while I may take issue with the tone, it's got to be the best thing out there in terms of comprehensiveness (comprehensibility? comprehensation?). And at the very least you'll all be able to relax, finally.

I'll keep you posted. (That's seriously not funny in any way.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hips Don't Lie, the second

I feel great.

I just want to say that.

My hip rarely bothers me, and when it does, it's about one-tenth of what it used to feel like.

Like I said before, makes it hard to have a bad day.

In response to Laura's question about the metal - I can definitely feel that my leg is getting stronger without it - much stronger than it was all last year. And I'm watching the flexibility come back in my yoga practice to a much greater degree. I can do all kinds of crazy nonsense on that side again like dragonfly and flying crow and eka pada yada yada. I don't know what it is anatomically, but I really feel that the metal got in the way of the muscles being able to strengthen and stretch properly.

I know after one surgery the last thing you want to do is go have surgery again, but FOs, it's worth it.

In other, sadder news, Metal Plate may be lost to the bowels of HSS.

Don't look at me like that. I tried. I really did. They're all weird and possessive over there.

Laura, it's on you now. Make sure you ask for it like a month before removal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Special Olympics

Red hand flashing for a good ten seconds. I'm still very much on the sidewalk trying to get around some tourists. Hand pings one more time and then holds red, but I am undaunted: I take off in a sprint across the street. I am not late, I don't have anywhere to be - I just want to do it because I can.

Late night on the LES, looking for a cab with friends, we spot one halfway down the block. At this hour we could stick our arms in the air and 5 cabs would run each other over trying to get to us, but I decide we're getting this one. I bolt like a gazelle (so says an eyewitness) and catch our cab. Friends not as excited about running in sandals, but admire my tenacity and lack of lopsidedness.

Add to the sprint, the long distance walk. I can walk for hours again, and do: through Central Park, along the Hudson, around the West Village, meandering for the simple joy of uninhibited movement.

[With love to all the angels whose ranks keep swelling: Barbara, Kevin, Lauren, Guido.]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Ran, Part 2

It appears that I can run (!!, right?). Although I don't yet appear to believe it and only ever manage to do it when I'm not thinking about it. Last time it was in pursuit of a bus, this time it was crossing the West Side Highway (for non-NYCers, it's 3 lanes of traffic in each direction) as the hand was blinking. We were partway across when my friend said "Let's go for it!" and took off; I was left with no choice but to run after him. And I ran! Didn't hobble or lurch or anything. Not only that, but I ran without pain.

Which is a new theme - pain-free days. After the (literally) years of mental and physical agitation, I am free, at least for now. Which makes it really hard to have a bad day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Class Dismissed

Had my 6 week check up with Dr. B today. As usual, I was the youngest person waiting for X-rays, but once into Dr. Buly's waiting area I saw a woman about my age on crutches. I wanted to flash her the secret hip dysplasia gang sign, but I'm not sure there is one. Someone needs to come up with that. (Lauren)

In any event, I am doing really, really well. It was a refreshing change to waltz into his office, high-five his assistant (ok not exactly, but we had a high-spirited exchange) put on the snazzy shorts, let him wiggle my leg around and get the surgeon's equivalent of the locker room "get outta here!" ass-smack. It felt like I aced the final of this crazy 2 year class in myself. Or to continue with my vaguely sporty theme, like I hit it out of the park with no outs left and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. (I like baseball.)

Of course there are no guarantees that other things won't come up, and as Dr. B reminded me, not everything wrong with my hip was addressed. However. Right now, I feel sound of mind and body, and take great pleasure in that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Keep it Steppin'

Did 2 1/2 miles of the AIDS walk yesterday, with wonderful Lauren on hand in case I needed a fireman's lift, which as it turned out I did not. Feeling good today, not in any pain, and as always that feels like a gift, like stolen time. I have my 6 week check up with Dr. B next week, so we'll find out if the holes have filled in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mobile

Walked solo today. Hard, but good. First yoga class back tomorrow. We'll see how that goes. I'm sure there will be many complaints from various areas...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

P.S.

[Because the scar pic was not yet at a scroll down spot, and I don't want to force people to inadvertently see something they're not expecting, especially over breakfast]

But also - heard today that Metal Plate, while still currently serving time at HSS, will shortly be up before the parole board. Fingers crossed she doesn't do anything stupid like yell, "Dammit, I'm Swiss! Let me out of here!" and mess it all up for the rest of us.

XXX Scar Pics Redux

As always, feel free to avert your eyes from this one.

It still looks a little gnarly, but overall is doing well.

One more week on the cane. Hallelujah.

OK, enough stalling:



Key:

Two white dots on upper left corner - arthroscopy from last year.

Big red blotch - site of former never-ending blister.

Long white scar - original incision.

And then you can see how starting slightly in from the left and extending about 2/3 of the way along the original incision is the latest one. For 3 weeks post-op, I think it looks pretty good.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free

I've been thinking: maybe the reason Dr. Buly didn't prescribe any PT for me this time around is because I don't need any. Maybe? I've been at the gym three days now riding the bike and keeping my leg as strong as I can, and today for the first time I got back on my yoga mat. BLISS. I started laughing because it made me so happy to be there. It's a lot of rolling around on the floor and not much else, but I'll take what I can.

And Gentle Reader, lest you think I've forgotten you, fret not. I know I owe you a picture. I actually took some this morning, but it still looks like someone mugged my leg. You'll have to wait, because I can't bring myself to post it yet (although I am more than happy to drop trou for anyone that comes over, so...).

Overall it feels so good to have the metal out of me. I feel like my leg's been liberated. There's a freedom in it, an independence that I've been missing. Something about it coming out is a signal to my mind and my body that I don't need it anymore, that I'm strong enough without it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gym Haiku

Spring! Fifteen minutes
On the stationary bike.
Leg is glad. Then nap.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Post-post

Didn't mean to make so many people nervous with that last post. I am fine. Fever/chills are gone, although I'm still taking it easy. Mostly couch-surfing, eating brownies, and watching old episodes of Lost. Starting to get a little stir-crazy with inactivity, as well as itchy along the incision, which is a good sign. In addition, I ingested my last Vicodin yesterday morning and haven't felt the need for another. So meddling along as I should be, with just a brief trip down funk lane.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Headed Up the River With A Boat and No Paddle

(and they got me on lockdown)

Laying in bed last night, heart racing, face burning up, body shivering. Song lyrics on repeat in my head (WHY does that always happen when you're not feeling good? And it's never a song you really like).

Two possibilities:

1. Meds are doing a number on me. Highly possible. Vicodin's no joke. Also still working all the crap out of my system from the hospital.

2. I'm overdoing it. Also highly possible, since I've been both to the movies and the theater within a week of having surgery. Hey, I never said I was a role model.

So as a consequence, I'm on lockdown until the inmates stop rioting. I think their demands are better met when I stop trying to pretend like someone didn't just cut a hole in my leg last week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Good - Bad - Ugly

Good:

- No more metal in me YAY!
- Supermom is back in full effect. I get so spoiled when she's here.
- I can walk around the block and a little more. (with crutches, obvi)
- Knee and hip both still bend a lot.
- Don't need a lot of Vicodin - taking 250mg three or four times a day (this time last year, 1500mg/3x day)
- Sun is shining
- Birds are singing
- Trees are treeing

Bad:

- Occasionally, I am super aware of the sensation of several large bags of rice tied around my upper thigh and pulling on my leg in a heavy and uncomfortable way.
- Other sensations include surface pain (sharp), deeper pain (throbbing) and midway pain (sharp throbbing). I could probably up the meds, but am wary of the detox factor to come. None of it is enough to cause alarm and all retreat soon after they rear up.

Ugly:

- Me, with pants off. The area looks like someone whacked me with a baseball bat and then covered it with steri strips.
- Me, with pants on. I have phenomenal, stop-you-in-your-tracks booty, but only on the one side.
- Both are temporary, and therefore more funny than ugly.

Metal:

- Has been formally requested via fax. However, I am slightly nervous that it may have been discarded already (apparently, you're supposed to request it ahead of time, FYI Laura et al). We shall see.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Grand Unveiling

Will have to wait, because I took the big bandage off this morning, and it's a little gruesome under there. Nothing that my tough hip sisters would flinch at, but a little too much dried blood and blister action to take an actual picture of. Once the steri-strips 'fall' off (not that I would ever do anything like play with the edges or peel them off. What kind of person do you take me for?) I'll take a picture and post it.

Dr. Buly claimed he only went in about half of the original 7 inch scar, but the steri-strips cover at least 5 inches of it. So either the strips are covering more than the incision, or he manipulated the truth. Or the truth shifted. I'm not really complaining. I'm not complaining at all actually, because for day 3 after surgery I feel really freaking good. Yesterday I only took 2 Vicodin, and today I've yet to take any. Leg is weakish and the surrounding muscles feel really tight, but so much stronger than it was this time last time. I'm tired by the end of the day, but big deal. If I can get off the Vicodin completely, I can get my drink on again. That's some serious motivation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Done and Done

Well, that was easy. I mean, relatively speaking.

In at 8.30am, scrubbed vigorously by the nurse and asked by the usual suspects what my name was and what I was having done, de-metaled (once again, no recollection past the anesthesiologist's "I'm giving you a sedative," in the OR) and in recovery by 1pm. Was pretty sleepy/wasted but told I could possibly go home that day if I felt up to it. Never one to back down from a challenge, I decided I would feel up to it, even though it made my mom's forehead crinkle. By 3pm I was much more alert, so a PT was summoned to go over crutch walking and stairs (just like James Brown, get up on the good foot). Nurse took the epidural out of my spine and the IV out of my hand and wheeled me out the door.

Was so glad to sleep in my own bed last night, although since I'm not a huge back-sleeper I rolled around a little too much and kept waking the beast. It's swollen back to shelf size, but only right where the incision is (which is still deep under wraps) and I have probably 75% range of motion in my leg and hip, which is really exciting (post first surgery, it was about 5%). Lord and Lady Nauseous McHeadache arrived early this morning (don't they know to call first? You'd think their manners would be better) but right now I feel pretty good. The less Vicodin I take, the better the rest of me feels, so finding the balance is my current job. That and eating rice pudding.

As for the metal, it went to pathology... for an autopsy? Don't really know why, but the deal is I call and request it, and it's sent to me. So don't worry, you'll see it soon enough. Once the bandages come off I'll show you my butt too, because I know that view never gets boring. Aw, yeah.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

T Minus

Surgery scheduled for 11.30am tomorrow. One hour in recovery, then an overnight at HSS.

I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many angels and I'm so grateful for your calls and texts and well wishes and prayers. And trashy magazines. Won't be posting from the bedside this time as my surrogate poster is currently in Hawaii, but will take copious notes and fill you in on Friday.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cleared For Takeoff

Had my pre-op day today, and compared to last year's, it was a piece of cake. If this is the trend for the entire experience this time, then hooray I say.

It always strikes me as somewhat ironic and hilarious that HSS is so far east that it's practically falling into the river, in a part of town that's not exactly easy to access by public transport, when the people that need to get there are generally limping or on crutches for various osteo-issues. Couldn't they relocate to midtown or something?

Anyway, saw Dr. Goodman, my internist, who last time proclaimed I was "healthy as a horse," and this time noted that I "was clearly a vegetable eater." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but the good news is no Coumadin (blood thinner), no 5.30am blood donations, no special diet this time. Hooray I say again! Just aspirin morning and night post-op, and I am good to go.

Then to the nurse for blood etc. Not a donation, just to test for... stuff. I don't know. General health stuff. And things. Got my little brown sponge for the special scrub the morning of surgery and sent on my merry way. I had some time so I walked through Central Park on this glorious spring day and looked at all the people and kids and dogs, and the man playing saxophone, and felt good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Not Fair

I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes this shit really kicks my ass.

Was practicing at home today, came into downward facing dog, took a deep breath and suddenly found myself on my hands and knees crying. Yoga hasn't made me cry in a long time, and in a way I'm grateful that it still holds the power to tap into something deeper than words. Yoga doesn't let me fake anything.

I had to write the sentence 'my surgery is next week' to someone today and it totally took me by surprise. Not fair, not fair, not fair!

Nope, not fair at all. But if I can let go right into that not-fairness, just settle into the sweet spot, cry when I need to and let it quiet me down, the not fair can be ok.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Remaining Neutral

Was just informed by another FO'er that the metal plate which has so dutifully held me in place for the past year is Swiss made.

So in case you had any doubt, I am a precision instrument with a delightful fondant center.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

3 Weeks

It's a strange thing, knowing when you're going under the knife. Like knowing when you're going to be in a car accident. I get to wind down all the things that need winding down - students, classes, responsibilities. But it carries a strange air of ending, and at the same time within that ending the potential of all beginnings. It felt like this last time, like the life of the person before has to come to a close to allow for this new person to emerge. How much of me do I carry through each time? Maybe it seems melodramatic, but I think for anyone who's had something like this there is a deep shift. You're flung face first against the bottom of yourself, the limits of your personality. What are you going to do? I guess you can have this whole experience in a way that's shut off from your soul, and if that's the experience that you're having, more power to you. But I am deeply humbled by the fact that having had one surgery, I have a second in 3 weeks, and it's entirely possible that I may have more in my future. I am humbled by and grateful for this little body that's just doing its best to hold itself together as I fling more challenges at it (and of course, I'm not satisfied with just a body that can walk and talk - oh no - I have to be able to get my foot behind my head and balance on my hands). I am humbled by the fact that I get to have all these experiences at a relatively tender age - questions of breaking down that most don't have to deal with until later in life. I am deeply grateful for every time someone asks me how I'm feeling and really listens to the answer, even when it's not the answer they or I would like, and doesn't change the subject or try to look on the bright side. Let's all sit with this for a while, that there is no perfect solution, that we're all just working to get as good as we can, and let that be ok. I'm not trying to be depressing or morose, and I hope that comes through here. I'm trying to express what it feels like to me to allow exactly where I am to be ok, not to fight or cry about it, and to get quiet enough that it can teach me what it's supposed to be teaching me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

AIDS Trundle

Once again, ladies and gents, I'll be crutching around the block twice (it's a lot, believe me! Imagine walking on your hands...) as my post-surgery AIDS Walk to support Ubuntu Education Fund on May 18th. I did it last year, and needed pea pod shoulder pads and a big nap afterwards. Am expecting same experience this year.

Why, you ask?

For kids like this:



And because Ubuntu is building a massive new center the likes of which have never before existed in the townships of Port Elizabeth, which will provide life-changing services, programs and support for the thousands of children and adults that Ubuntu helps every year.

I've seen them at work. It's real.

CLICK HERE to sponsor me! Even a little bit!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Surprise

I leave it to Lauren to explain what happened this weekend. I think she'll have the best perspective...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Swim

Anyone reading this with hip issues, I can say only one thing.

Get thee to a poolery.

I went swimming yesterday and it was fantastic. I can't wait to go back. I had a whole plan that I would swim for half an hour straight which after a few laps changed to 15 minutes, which became 12 when a really good swimmer guy got in my lane and started lapping me, but regardless, it was great. A little steam room afterwards and a happy hip. Of course, until walking outside was required again, but still. An issue-free hour. Investigated different styles and found breaststroke was best for working the whole range of motion. Can't recommend it enough, if you have a pool to go to.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Young Lady

So here's what Dr. Buly said:

[Actually I need to back up, because I got young lady'd this morning in his waiting room and it's been such a long time since that happened that it struck me as kind of funny, although the young lady'er certainly wasn't having a good time - there were 3 of us waiting to see Dr. Buly and this one woman kept asking his assistant all these questions about where was he? (In a meeting) and what time was her appointment? (10.30) and how many people were ahead of her? (5) and where were they? In an attempt to help out with the last question I piped up, "I'm one of them" (I was at 9.45). "I wasn't talking to you, young lady!" she retorted. I hid behind my X-rays and looked at my femur, which has actually healed pretty nicely - it's all fuzzy where it's supposed to be fuzzy and reconnecting to itself. Young Lady.]

Anyway, got in to see the Dr. He's still shockingly bald. It always surprises me for some reason. He seems far too young to be SO bald.

ANYWAY, here's what he said:

The pain could in part be related to the plate (especially the pain that's along the outside of my leg, where the plate is) and most people experience relief when it's taken out. At the same time, although the coverage of the femur is now much better, the hip socket itself is still shallow, so he didn't rule out the possibility that I might need a PAO. I told him I just wanted to do the hardware removal and see how that goes, because frankly, I'm in no rush for this to become an annual springtime event (hey - it's April - how about some hip surgery!). He said that he can also look around in the hip joint when he's removing the hardware and see if there's a labral tear that's adding to the pain.

As for the surgery, it's only 45 minutes long, and will probably be in the afternoon, so I'll spend one night in the hospital and go home the next day. The holes are filled in with spackle (he called it something else but I like the idea of spackle for your bones) and he said that the 4 weeks on crutches with weight bearing is really more of a theoretical precaution than anything else (ie the likelihood of actually cracking the bone is low). The really good news is that during that time I can do non weight bearing exercise like swimming, walking in water and even the stationary bike. (and you can bet I'll be rolling around on my yoga mat too.) So the muscle atrophy which was so much a part of recovery last time won't be as bad by a long shot.

As for blood thinners, horrible greenless diet, early morning needles etc, the pre-op internist that I see the week before surgery will determine if that's necessary again. I vote no, but I don't think my vote counts for much.

Laura H, he says hi. Also I forgot to ask about keeping the hardware but I totally am. You know you'll see some pictures!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Road Runner

Wednesday night it was bitterly cold here again, and as I was leaving the plush enclave of my private student's 5th Avenue apartment I saw my bus pulling up at the end of the block. Thinking only of how cold I would be standing waiting for the next one, I started to run - and only after several steps, like the Road Runner in the cartoon (or any number of times a cartoon character has run off a cliff) did I realize what I was doing. I was actually running pretty well until I caught myself and then the limp came back. Which begs the question, do I limp when I run because of a pre-determined idea in my head that I'm supposed to run that way? If I visualized myself running perfectly, would I be able to do it?

On a separate note, I have a new weird twinge in my outer hip, predominantly when I step up climbing stairs, but sometimes, for the hell of it, just walking along. It's a totally new, odd feeling - almost like something is catching. In my mind, it's a tendon rubbing over the metal. I have no medical proof for this. We'll see what Dr. Buly says on Monday. Full update as well on the whole thing. One cool thing I was thinking about today is that if I get to keep the plate after it's out, I can post a picture of it! (Yeah... ok. Cool only to me, then. And perhaps anyone else who is having/has had an FO).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fate

A student sent me this article yesterday and it made me feel better. I'm sharing it because even though it's not about hip dysplasia, she's dealing with the same head space. Hopefully you'll get something out of it too.

It's slightly less cold here now so hip's not hurting as much. It seems to flare up below 30 degrees. Good thing spring's coming.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Full Disclosure

I didn't want to write this.

I've received tons of emails and messages from fellow hip women that all say how much they love the positivity and humor in my blog and how much it's helped them get ready for their own surgeries. I felt like admitting anything less than total success would be to let you all down in some way. But then I remembered the very first entry that I wrote, sometime around this time last year, and how I promised that I would tell all, good, bad and ugly.

So what I haven't been saying, what I've been trying to protect you from, is this:

I'm in pain. My hip hurts. Not just the ass spasms, but in the front, along the crease, the way it used to pre-surgery.

It's not constant, and I think it's related to the recent cold weather and having to pound along on the concrete streets of NYC, but it's really depressing me. I can't help but feel like all this was for nothing.

I know that there was always a possibility that this surgery wouldn't be enough. On the other hand, maybe it has been enough, maybe I don't need anything else except to move to a warmer climate (Matt and Marla you may get your LA wish after all). Or maybe I need a PAO as well. I don't know. Maybe the reality is, once dysplasia starts to show up, the available options are just stop-gaps along the road.

I don't like feeling that I don't have an answer. But I have to be honest, and sit here, and tell you that I don't. Maybe you have the answer for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Watch This Space

Nothing happening* right now, Gentle Reader, but lo! On the horizon I espy a bald hip doctor advancing on horseback, X-rays in hand, ready to reach into my leg and pull out the alien invader that threatens world domination!!

March 3rd 8am X-rays 9am Dr. Buly. Pre- pre-op meeting. Site of questions such as:

Really, crutches again?
Am I going to be off vegetables again due to my super-human clotting capabilities?
Will people be arriving at 5.30am again to take blood out of my arm? Couldn't they come at a more civilized hour?
Will I decide again that a brownie a day is an appropriate dietary choice for a mostly sedentary being?
Will my mom make toast and tea and bring it to me in bed, again? (He may not have the answer for this one)

All semi-joking aside, I remember experiencing more than one strong urge to rip into my leg and pull out the metal last summer. This urge required a serious talk with myself about the foreign body that was there to help, and how I needed to let it be. I'm still aware of its presence, especially when I lie on that side, but now I'm feeling an odd nostalgic longing that starts in the middle of my chest when I think about having it removed. It's kept me upright for a year now. Can I do it on my own? What happens when the training wheels come off?

*and by nothing happening of course I mean I still get ass spams and run pretty gimpily.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

End of an Era

Been meaning to write that Gym Class ended. Not because Gym Teacher wanted to or thought I was ready - I think in her perfect world I would go to PT for the rest of my life - but because Insurance was ready to stop paying for it when 2007 became 2008. "PT feels so - I don't know - last year," yawned Insurance. "We're kinda over it. Aren't you?"

Kinda...? I feel really good, although I discovered that I still need to go to the gym and work the one-legged hamstring curl et al. Leg is unable to maintain a regular level of strength without it. It's a funny thing, because if I don't go, it kind of atrophies a little (maybe not visibly, but I can feel that it's weaker) and even just walking around I can feel the difference between them.

So I'll keep working the leg like a good little gym rat. If I get any parting words of advice from Gym Teacher that are particularly postworthy, you'll be the first to know.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Upped and Outed

Just got a call from Elaine, the greatest physician's assistant on the planet, to let me know that my surgery is going to be moved up a week to April 17th, as Dr. Buly's out of town the following week.

No problem. And then:

"So I hear you've written a blog!"

SO BUSTED!!!

Actually I don't know why I feel like the kid with their hand in the candy jar. She was delighted that I was sharing my experiences, and said that it was so helpful for other patients, and even went so far as to say that she heard it was "very good"!

Well then. I thank you. I've been emailing with a pre-op patient of Dr. Buly's and I'm reminded of myself this time last year, when it seemed like every question I got answers to only led to five more. Preparing obsessively so that I didn't have to think about anything else, like what the hell was it going to be like afterwards? From the other side now, I feel great sympathy and compassion, and can say only this to everyone, regardless of surgery, pain, fear, confusion, insurance:

You are going to be fine, and after an unspecified period of time, your life will return better than before.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

This Time Last Year

I was scrabbling around trying to find someone who knew what to do with me.

I could take about 25-50 steps, depending on the day, and then would be in pain any time I tried to walk after that.

I was sick of hearing the phrase 'pain management' from well-meaning nurses and doctors who were not themselves experiencing any pain (I don't want to MANAGE my pain, I want to be in a body that is not IN pain. Do you see the difference, smiley nurse lady?)

To my fellow hip women, wherever you may be on this mad journey: there is a light, I promise, and there are so many of us out there now to support you getting there. Kick-ass Lauren and I are almost done with our secret project that we hope will make things even better.