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Sarah

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[21 Jan 2004|12:04pm]
Land of the long lost updates.

I finally saw my doctor yesterday, three months later than I was supposed to. Didn't matter. I explained that my pain sort of plateaued and has been increasing slightly over the past couple months. Exactly the same type of pain I had before the surgery, though it is not quite as intense as it used to be.

He explained that there are "a number of unusual things" about me, and that correcting the dysplasia doesn't mean that everything about my hip is now normal. Part of the process of changing the joint meant tilting a piece of boen directly into the path of the main ligament that goes across my joint, causing it to slip out of its "groove" constantly. He did try to smooth down this bumpy bone that's causing all of the slipping and irritation of the ligament, but it's definitely still a huge knob of bone right in the path. He said that people like me might feel pain for years. My only hope is to strengthen the muscles to the point that the ligament is less stressed, and the muscles are taking on more of the work of holding the joint stable.

So, this means fighting through the pain and getting stronger again. Much stronger. Stronger than I was before the surgery. Maybe stronger than I've been since I quit competitive figure skating in my early 20s.

I'm excited about getting stronger. I've always considered myself an athlete, and I've hated being so inactive over the years because of the hip pain. I'm flip-flopping between feeling very optimistic and very pessimistic. I need to reserve judgement until I see the physical therapists and we work out a strengthening plan. Part of me wants to jump into training, totally ignore any pain that I feel, and just work my ass off to get strong again. I want to start skating and working out every day.

But part of me is so tired of the pain that I just want to crawl into a hole and wait until it stops. I don't want to live with pain for the rest of my life. Or even for two more years, or for however long this is going to last. I'm devastated that there is bone in the way of a ligament - this isn't something that's going to go away with time or hard work. Ligaments don't stretch or contract, and neither does bone.

But hopefully I can focus all of my attention on the muscles, and let them take over the work that the ligament is trying too hard to do. I don't know. It sounds fishy. It sounds like it's just going to hurt forever. And I don't know if I can deal with that.
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[15 Nov 2003|01:33pm]
Here's my monthly update I guess.

Things have been not so great with my hip. I'm feeling stronger, but there is still exactly the same amount of pain there was two months ago, and there are still the same certain motions that I can't do without a lot of pain, and still soreness problems that aren't getting any better. The hospital was supposed to call and let me know when they had scheduled my next appt. with Dr. Millis since the time he wanted was not available when I was in the office. That was over two months ago. I should have seen him three weeks ago to update him on my progress, but they never made me that appointment, and I haven't gotten off my ass to schedule an appointment that, if I make it Monday, probably won't be until after Christmas. So I have to just keep suffering with this pain that doesn't feel right.

What hurts is my hip flexor (the muscle right at the front of the hip joint, sort of in the front groin area) whenever I want to cross my operated-on leg over the other leg, or any kind of inward-swinging motion of my operated-on leg. Also, my butt cheek is incredibly painful to sit on. My "butt bone" or whatever that's called feels like it's in a different place than it used to be (which it probably is, since my pelvis was rotated) and when I sit on it the bone stabs right into the muscle and is extremely uncomfortable. I only notice it on hard surfaces like wooden chairs and bike seats, but I wonder if I'll never be able to ride a bike comfortably again, or if it'll fade.

I'm sorta pissed about it. It's my fault that I didn't call the hospital back when October came and they still hadn't called me about the appointment they were supposed to schedule. But, I just wish that I didn't have to work so hard to get my treatment. It's so frustrating and it leaves me downtrodden and resentful and defeated.
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[15 Oct 2003|12:03am]
Long time no update. I've been distracted with school and trying to get my life back in order. That isn't going too well, but that's not the point of this update. I just wanted to say that I'm doing OK. My crutches are long gone, and I'm walking more and more every day without trouble. I do still have some pain, but it is nothing like it was before the surgery. I still can't sleep on my left side, which makes me kind of sad, but I'm hoping it'll change once I'm more fully healed. I can sleep on my stomach and back comfortably now, which is very, very nice.

There are some motions that I've avoided for years that I can do now without any pain, which is nice. But there are some motions that still hurt quite a bit. They are very particular, such as crossing my right (operated side) leg over my left when I'm sitting in a chair. That lifting and swinging inward motion is ouch. I've been trying to strengthen those muscles with PT exercises, but I've been doing really terribly at keeping up with them. I'm SO SORE after I do them that I end up just avoiding them altogether and hoping things will heal naturally over time instead. I'm sure that's a bad idea, but it's what happening and I don't have enough motivation to change it.

My screws bug me. They poke and rub against the inside of my skin. I want to have them out, soon, but I really don't want to go back to the hospital anytime soon. So, it's a dilemma. I think I will wait until spring to have them out. It's kinda cool you know, having big hunks of metal in me.

I bet I'm going to have to get naked for the airport security people when I fly home for Christmas.
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[11 Sep 2003|03:00pm]
My foot no longer feels like it's sinking into the floor when I walk, and I don't use a cane or a crutch at all anymore, even for the long treks across campus and back. I am still limping, sometimes. This is partly because I don't try hard enough not to, and partly because I don't do my exercises, which would probably take care of the problem along with so many others. I don't know why I can't bring myself to do it.

I am feeling weak and angsty in general. I doubt this has much to do with the surgery at all, I think it's just the way I am. I have some pretty severe IBS symptoms that started a few weeks ago and I'm now trying to manage through diet. I've been forced by my stomach to cut caffeine out of my diet, and I'm suffering terribly for it. I've been addicted for half of my life, literally. So, it's not fun dragging myself through the day without any. I don't know what caused the IBS stuff. Apparently stress is blamed for the cause - it's thought to be one of those psychosomatic illnesses, like ulcers or whatever. It's driving me crazy, I hate it.

I think I might console myself by going up to the cafe and getting something light and a hot cocoa perhaps - I can handle that ok, and the tiny bit of caffeine the cocoa has tends to ease my headaches a little.

I still tend to delight in the fact that I can walk and hold things in my hands at the same time. But at the same time, I'm acutely aware of the residual weakness and loss of flexibility in my hip, and I'm extremely anxious to get rid of those things. I want to run and jump and play like I used to and I can't and it makes me sad. But soon winter will be here and the breezy sunshiny days won't be there to remind me of what I want so desperately to do but can't.

Why am I so mopey?
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[14 Aug 2003|08:02pm]
Saw my doctor today, got new x-rays, and at ten weeks post-op I'm now allowed to walk without crutches around the house. I walk really, really funny. I'm very tired right now, mostly from the ordeal of getting to the hospital and back on mass transit, and I am limping very obviously. I can sorta walk without really obviously limping, but not right now. However, it does always feel like my foot is sorta sinking into the floor. The muscles are just all weak around my hip, that's all. We both pushed on the little bumps that run underneath my scar - the heads of the screws. I asked him more about that procedure, getting them out, and he said I could be awake for it and he'd rather not put me under if he didn't have to. Man, if I'm awake when I get my screws out that is going to be an insanely funny experience. I say that only because I was awake for getting my wisdom teeth out, and reacted to the drugs with a lot of bliss and laughter, and when I get nervous I tend to laugh really hard at things that are generally horrifying. Like drilling out screws from bone.

Anyway, I'm to use one crutch as I need it, when it gets uncomfortable to walk without crutches. I'm practicing taking steps in the mirror to try to get rid of my lip and un-train myself to walk crutch-like, and I can honestly say for the first time that I am now in less pain from everyday activity than I was before the surgery.
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[10 Aug 2003|10:00pm]
I went out last night to a bar and actually danced a little. I'm quite sure I pissed a bunch of people off because they must have thought I was faking my need for the crutches that I brought if I was able to dance. But who cares what they think. I've been dancing on one foot for years, due to the chronic pain in my right hip. So I just did the same thing last night. Set the crutches aside and swayed my hips and shoulders and danced to a favorite song of mine and my girlfriend's (we were sort of double dating with our boyfriends). I got fairly drunk, so I'm not totally sure why it is that today my hip feels fine but my right knee is all messed up and quite painful and weird-feeling. It was fun to dance, anyway. Can't wait to see Dr. Millis this week.
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[05 Aug 2003|01:00pm]
I don't know if this really has anything to do with my surgery. I think it's just me personally. I've been really depressed the last couple weeks. I've been sort of achy all over. It's been impossible for me to get on all of the financial hassles. People are rejecting this and charging for that and all kinds of things that are all attempts to rip me off, and I just don't have the heart or energy to fend these vultures off.

I haven't been able to find any source of income, and my energy has been totally nonexistent. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that I'm very much not looking forward to the coming school year. It's turned from dread to near panic, actually. I just don't want to go. I want my MA, but I don't want to go back there. So I'm torn.

This weekend we're going to go out on a double date type thing with my good friend and her boyfriend though, so that should perk me up. I have really good friends. I've just been reclusive and unresponsive to them lately. I'm really, really tired of feeling weak and broken and not fully functional. I'm whiny and sad and hating myself for not sucking it up.
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[02 Aug 2003|04:13pm]
I am currently addicted to hopping. I hop all over the place. A few times, I have put full weight on my operated-side (right) leg. It actually seemed to hurt my knee worse than my hip. Probably a sign that I need to do more strengthening exercises. I cannot wait until I am taught how to walk with one crutch. Once I can do that I'll probably stop hopping so much. It just feels so damn good to be able to move around with things in my hands that I can't stop hopping, even though it sometimes ends in me putting weight on my weak leg on accident.

My appetite seems to be returning. Another girl who had the same kind of operation I did said that her doctor told her he wouldn't take her pins out, they'd just be left in. My surgeon is one of the best in the world, so I totally trust him when he says my screws should come out, but I'll ask him what the difference is between taking them out and leaving them in when I see him next. Personally, I'd rather have them out, since a) I haven't taken care of this scar at all and a new one with lots of treatment might look better and b) it just sits better with me knowing that only bone and tissue is in my joint, and not big pieces of metal. The procedure sounds easy enough to get through and heal from (awake for the whole thing, 3 days on crutches). And I'd rather not set off airport x-rays. :)
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[29 Jul 2003|04:58pm]
I guess not updating here much is a good sign, since that means I have less hip-related stuff to complain about.

I had a PT appointment last Friday. The very nice girl (I forgot her name, Rebecca?) turned my leg this way and that and measured the range of motion. All normal for this point in my recovery. Limited, but good. It'll stretch out in time. Some range will probably never be regained, just because of the way the bones were repositioned. But it won't be anything noticable. I also had my strength tested, which I was afraid would hurt but went just fine. My strength is good, and I was given some new exercises to add to the ones I already have (and don't do often enough).

I'm still feeling kind of dead inside. I'm very tired and lethargic a lot of the time. I guess this is all from months of inactivity. I should be pushing myself to get more active and work harder and start to build up my strength a little more. But I'm... so.... tired.

My mood's been flip-flopping, I've been plagued with anxiety about medical bills and "what to do with my life", and my appetite is almost nonexistent. I think this is because I'm really disgusted with the current state of my body. I'm in the worst shape of my life. Something inside my brain says that means I'm not allowed to eat anymore I guess, because food just doesn't sound good lately. Hopefully I'll get over this.

Right now, I'm going to get together some schoolwork and head up to the new shiny Dunkin Donuts, get some iced coffee and maybe a tuna sandwich, and read and study for a while.

It's a gorgeous day today.
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Heading into week 8 post-op [24 Jul 2003|10:30pm]


Scar still looks pretty much the same, huh?
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[23 Jul 2003|03:42pm]
At 7 weeks post-op, I've finally graduated from the shower chair. This might be late in comparison to most people, but we have a really really high ledged clawfoot tub, so I was afraid to try until now. Getting in is no problem, since I can just step in with my strong leg and stand up, pulling the weak leg along with me. Getting out is extremely tricky and a little scary, though. I have to lean way forward on my crutches and gently lift out my weak leg, then try to balance while pulling out the strong one. I ended up kinda hopping on my weak leg to gain balance for a second, but I didn't hurt myself. So no more shower chair, yay. I feel like a new person. Showering standing up is really nice.

Now if I can just shake myself out of this funk that has me not eating or drinking all day, I'll be fine.
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[22 Jul 2003|09:54am]
Since the Maine trip I've been a lot more confident and willing to go out. I've gotten good at asking friends if they can give me a lift, since I don't have a car. They're happy to do so and it's really nice. I've been to three parties, I think, and we went and saw Pirates of the Caribbean - my first theatre outting since the surgery. Awesome movie, I actually would like to see it again. It's just a fun time. Just like the ride.

My hip seems to be getting stronger every day. I'm still doing my exercises only sporatically, but they get easier every time regardless. I'm working on lifting my leg of its own power rather than reaching down with my hands to get it to move. It seems to get easier every day. Stairs are no big deal anymore, and neither is perching on edges of things when there isn't a chair available.

I did start to get a little sore and cramped in the movie theatre, and had wished I'd brought some painkillers. I used to, the past year or so before the surgery, bring Aleve with me everywhere I went, and then when I got the vicodin prescribed I'd bring that, too. So when I started to hurt in the theatre I wanted some, but ignored it.

It does make me wonder though, if the pain is just always going to be there, surgery or no surgery. I really thought at this point I wouldn't be feeling the same old pains anymore.
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[15 Jul 2003|03:54pm]
Got back last night from a long weekend up in Maine. Everyone was really nice about helping me out with the crutches, and trying really hard not to leave me out of the activities. I couldn't hike up to Blue Hill or pick blueberries or go canoeing, but there was lots of other stuff I could do just fine. It was embarrassing perching somewhere and having someone lean my crutches against a wall, and then having to ask for someone to fetch them when I wanted to get back up. And I got pretty sore sometimes. The second night I was there I couldn't sleep at all. I finally ended up taking two vicodin, which really messed me up. I hate taking them, but it was the only way to end the suffering and get a little rest.

My scar is turning a dark dark purple. It's not the scar I'll be left with in the end, since a new one will be made when the screws come out (which I'm going to be awake for I think, and am seriously NOT looking forward to), but it's still a little scary that it's turning so dark. It hasn't been exposed to the sun at all. Hrm.

I'm addicted to the very worst show ever to be broadcast on TV. Paradise Hotel. I'm so ashamed. Damn this damn hip making me search for any form of distraction, no matter what level of trashiness it exudes.

Anyway. I'm really proud of myself for going up to Maine with a bunch of people that I used to be afraid of and now really enjoy being around. It's a big deal for me, being social when I have every excuse not to. I just wish the boy could have come with me. I was pretty lonely sometimes.
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[09 Jul 2003|11:09am]
I'm getting kind of a throbbing sensation at sort of the top of my scar. Weird, but not very painful. I occasionally get a weird cramp in my hamstring, on my operated side. I have been lazy with my exercises lately. I promise I will do 3 sets of everything 2 times today. But right now I need a little nap. Then breakfast and then exercises and then readreadread. It's cooler today, and comfortable without a/c. Amazing.
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[08 Jul 2003|11:31am]
So a new Dunkin Donuts just opened up about 4 blocks away. I decided after a long and depressed day yesterday that I should crutch myself up there and get a little something to eat. It took me forever to make myself get up and take a shower and get dressed - I just wasn't feeling myself. But I was finally ready to go at about 7:30pm. It had cooled off a bit by then, so the walk was nice, and it was still nice and light out. On the way up the street I got to see and smell lots of summer flowers that weren't there before my surgery. My boyfriend was on his way home and met me a couple blocks from the store and walked with me the rest of the way, giving me little kisses and encouragement and opening doors for me and all that good stuff. We sat in the cold, cold air conditioning and I snacked on a sesame bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese, a Boston Creme doughnut and an iced coffee. It was really nice to just get out for a little bit.

The walk home was tiring and my arms were burning by the time we got to our place, but I felt good. We had a fun rest of the night lounging around browsing the internet and watching TV. I was able to stretch out with him on the floor - something he does to avoid the heat at night. We watched Daria and sipped on ice water until bedtime.

I think I'll go back to Dunkin Donuts again today. Maybe later, again, since it's much hotter today than it was yesterday. Thank god for a/c.

I'm still off of painkillers, it's been 5 days now and my system is so, so happy. I still get achy at night, but Tylenol seems to be doing the trick. I'm glad I have the extra vicoden though, since I'm planning on taking a weekend trip to Maine with my professor and a bunch of his favorite TA's, and I don't know how comfortable the drive up or the stay there will be. Looking forward to fresh Maine blueberries and seafood and fresh northern country air and home cooked meals. I must bring the prof's wife a thank-you card and a gift of some sort.
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[06 Jul 2003|05:34pm]
My 4th of July party was a huge hit. More people showed up than I expected, and I'd wished I'd gotten more food for everyone. My flag cake was gone in two seconds. We had a really good time and everyone stayed later than expected and I got a little too tipsy but that's ok. I could still crutch around, and that's all that matters. Got to see some old friends I hadn't seen in forever and other friends I haven't seen all summer, which was wonderful. I felt very loved. I didn't take vicodin that night, nor did I last night, and I seem to be doing fine. My system is definitely thanking me. So I think I'm going to just stay off of it, unless I'm really, really hurting for whatever reason. But that shouldn't happen.

I've done my new exercises a couple of times. Some of them are easy, but the hard ones are so, so hard. The worst is the one where I lay on my back and slide my leg out to the side and then slide it back in. Sliding it out is hard, and pulling it back in is damn near impossible. I grunt and struggle and fight for so long just to get it to start moving. I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but the muscle just won't fire. It's kind of scary. My knee is still feeling weird too, though it's better than it was.

I think I overreacted a little to what Dr. Millis said about not running. He doesn't think I should run, but that doesn't mean I can't, and I know for a fact that some girls do run and do just fine after their PAO. I also must remember that Dr. Millis told me before the surgery that I would still be able to skate and do all the things I used to do, only without pain. Gotta focus on the good stuff.

I'm still pretty shocked I actually had this surgery. It's just weird to have a chunk of your body changed around.

I do like my scar. I hope that when the screws come out and the new scar is created that it looks just the same as this one. Dr. Millis said that I would be awake for that procedure, it'd be really quick, and I'd only need crutches for like 3 days afterwards. I'll do it over Christmas break, probably. If not Thanksgiving.
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[03 Jul 2003|12:57am]
When I was at the hospital yesterday my physical therapist said I looked too pale and admonished me for not eating meat because I need protein to heal. She said I should have eggs for breakfast and burgers for lunch and steak for dinner. So, tonight I asked the boy to meet me at our favorite restaurant so that I could get a burger. I got dressed up in my favorite outfit with my prettiest jewlery and felt like myself for the first time since before my surgery. I took a cab and he took the bus right from work and met up with me. I got a burger and it tasted so much better than I thought it was going to. I guess I really needed it. It felt so, so good to get out. The night was absolutely perfect. No humidity, just the gentlest breeze and warm, lovely air and pretty skies at dusk and twilight. We had such a beautiful time, and our waitress was charming, and I feel so much better. The elevator was stuck somewhere so I had to crutch down three flights of stairs, but I managed just fine. I'm getting better. Very much looking forward to my little 4th of July party on Friday. My mom sent me a box full of decorations - garlands with little flags, votive candles shaped like stars all red white and blue, so many pretty things. I'll make my flag cake and strawberry shortcake and stuff tomorrow. The boyfriend is taking Friday off of work to stay home and spend time with me. I can't wait. He amazes me with his warmth and strength and patience and tenderness more and more every day. He is wonderful beyond all my dreams.
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[02 Jul 2003|10:42am]
Alright, time for a decent update about the dr. visit. My favorite new thing I'm allowed to do is to sleep in any position I want. That made last night very comfortable, because I could toss and turn as much as I liked without worrying if I was hurting something. Of course, I'm not going to stay in a painful position for very long anyway, but just having the anxiety about doing damage removed was really comforting and nice.

I'm trying to make myself do more household chores. My PT wants me to, to get more active and everything. It'll be nice to start taking care of the kitchen again. Not that the boy hasn't done a good job, I just hate to make him do it when he's already working so hard when he's not here.

My exercises are really difficult and painful and I'm afraid I'm not going to have my reps increased by the time I go back in three weeks. One of them takes all my might to do, and I don't understand how she expects me to do 3 sets of 5 two times a day. I did ONE set of five in her office and I thought I was going to die. Guess I'll just do what I can, though.

I want some granola. I wish I had some granola. So hungry. Time to go make myself some food.
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[01 Jul 2003|06:27pm]
My appointment went pretty well today I guess. I hate going to the hospital, and my poor boyfriend and I were there for four hours waiting for people to get their act together, so that definitely sucked. But, my bone is filling in its spaces well enough, it looks like. I can put 1/3 of my bodyweight on my leg when I walk instead of just the weight of the leg. I've got a ton of new exercises to work on, and I'm not really sure where I'm going to be able to do them. Mostly I need to start building my confidence back up and getting back to a normal level of activity. That'll be hard to do since I can only get around by bus (we can't afford a car) and I absolutely refuse to take the bus here with crutches. I've seen the way disabled people are treated on the T in Boston. It's not worth the risk. People here are truly disgusting when it comes to considering the handicapped or the elderly. NO ONE gives up seats for them. Makes old ladies almost fall and guys with canes stumble around, it's completely heartbreaking. It makes me want to kill everyone. So, I guess I'll just walk aimlessly up and down the street now and then. Hope no one knocks me over.

I'm a little grumpy right now because I have no food to eat here and the only restaurant I will order from is closed this week. Everywhere else is way too expensive or too questionable safety-wise. I'm hypoglicemic, so no food = very unhappy, sick girl.
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[30 Jun 2003|06:54pm]
My seemingly constant nausea is getting less and less, thankfully. I still feel best at night, but the mornings are much less nauseating than they used to be. Honestly, it seems like a/c helps. I've never been in such heat and humidity and I'm not used to dealing with it. Where I come from, heat = dry. When my skin is wet and clammy even though I'm not moving and it's very warm, and I feel like the air is too thick to breathe it makes me feel sick. The cool dry air lifts the haze from my eyes and I can breathe again and it's very refreshing.

I did get hungover on Sunday morning. I'm so silly. My tolerance for alcohol is certainly minimal at the moment. So I felt bad for half the day on Sunday, but that was totally my fault. A shower always helps, but I have to feel good enough to get in there and take one in the first place (takes a lot more work than it used to). Last time I got sick was right after a shower, so I'm more careful about waiting until I feel strong to take one.

I'm managing fine with Tylenol throughout the whole day now, and last night was my first night sleeping on just one vicodin after not taking any all day long. Nights are still by far the worst time for the hip. It complains so bitterly. Two vicodin are usually needed. It's odd that daytime is so much better, even though I'm moving around more, probably. Weird.

My knee has been hurting strangely, and I've noticed that when I do my quad-flexes, I can't straighten out the leg on my operated side. It seems to catch, kind of. It just can't flex all the way straight anymore. Hurts like a mofo when I try. I don't understand that at all, since my knee didn't get operated on! But, I'm seeing Dr. Millis tomorrow morning for my 4 week followup, so I'll ask him about it when I get there, and hopefully show him right where it hurts and what makes it hurt. It might just be from the pressure of constantly being propped up on pillows with the weight of my leg all resting on my ankle. Maybe I'm jamming my knee all day and all night and it's just stiff and achy. I'm sure it's something simple like that. The whole leg-seeming-longer-than-it-is can't help the poor knee either.

So, I'm pretty much off meds now and I still can't get myself to read. What's up with that? I gave up on Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" and am trying to start Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha" now. Something a little lighter. We'll see how that goes.
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