Tomorrow will mark 8 weeks post-op. which is amazing. it feels like it’s been forever, but it also feels like my surgery was just yesterday.
i spent week 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 down with an ear infection. it required me to take some pain killers. i generally don’t mind living with some discomfort or even a minimum amount of pain (living with is probably not what i mean, temporarily tolerating is more like it.) when i was asked pre-surgery what level of pain i could deal with i said 4 out of 10. if we could keep the pain at a 4 i’d be happy. i think it’s important that i feel at least discomfort and i don’t think pain is a bad thing, as long as it isn’t interfering with my daily life. the pain reminds me that i’m recovering. to not push myself. when i’ve had enough. so, i haven’t taken much pain killer since my eyebrow stitches incident and i discovered something amazing. 400mg of advil and i was pain free. like nothing was wrong. and in a very short amount of time it seemed i forgot i needed to be careful. i knew not to go crazy – i didn’t start running or lifting or tackling the daily WOD, but i did push my range of motion a little further than i might should have doing my rehab exercises and i was up on my feet a lot. once i quit taking the pain killers i was hit with a new fatigue and soreness that i hadn’t experienced since before the surgery. no worries, it wasn’t anything like the pain i’d had pre-surgery, but i could definitely tell i’d done too much.
in order to recover from this i cancelled a few PT sessions. I did my exercises, but i was much more careful about what i was doing and how i was doing it. i did my stretches and i was much more conscientious about doing them. i tend to be lazy when it comes to stretching and mobility work. which is a little funny because it’s all i seem to do now. i’m going to meet with a pilates instructor who attends one of my crossfit classes tomorrow. she’s going to work with me on my core and my alignment and how to get the most out of the rehab i’m doing. i’m excited about this because pilates is one of the things that has been recommended once i’m cleared to work out.
so, my 8 week report is (for the most part) good. i’ve tried not to hassle my doctor in the states too much. i have had a few question for his PA and he’s been good about responding. the biggest thing i’m guilty of is forgetting this was major surgery. sometimes the fact that i don’t have a massive scar causes me to believe i just had a little work done. that shaving bones and repairing the labrum is no big thang. i’m not considered healed until the 3 month mark (august 29). that’s when i can begin the real work, because healed is not the same thing as fully recovered. it’s just when the recovery can really begin – if i’ve done a good job on the rehab that is.
i’m 5 weeks post op. that’s crazy. but when i look at the recovery time ahead of me it also feels like no time at all. i’m doing my best to only look at the FAI success stories online. that would be so much easier if folks didn’t post their not so successful stories, but that’s the nature of the google, right? so i’ve tightened up my belt because i hear that i’ve got a 6-8 week slump/depression headed my way. i refuse to research this more. and i’m hoping that my stocking up of chocolate and dark chocolate is all i’ll need to weather this storm.
i moved off the crutches this week. spent almost the entire week crutch free. but today i’m back to one. i think this is normal. i returned to work this week, i’ve got 2 hours 3 times a week of PT going on, and another 2 hours a day of exercise/rehab stuff that i do on my own plus just daily life. added up that makes for one fatigued hip. not to mention my angry, angry adductor. and my glutes that aren’t keen to turn on. i think that all means i’m right on track.
speaking of PT. one of my favorite/not favorite things is her tendency to remark how weak i am. how very, very weak i am. how surprisingly weak i am. she says it a lot. and she laughs. and then she giggles. i think it’s meant to be empathetic/encouraging. but I’m not sure about that. however, the 1 hour of heat packs and massage i get totally make it worth it. she is awesome at delivering the hurts so good pain.
totally off topic, we’ve just started watching The Sopranos. we’re only 15 years late to this.
surgery was last thursday. it seems to have gone well. i was worried about pain. i normally handle pain pretty well, but the pain i’d been experiencing before the surgery was making me think my pain tolerance had diminished. thankfully, the pain is less than it was before the surgery. and the lower back pain/tightness that i’d been experiencing for quite a while is gone. i’m super impressed by that. what did they do? shaved some bone and repaired the labrum. i have lots of pictures, but i’ll spare you from most of them. (i know not everybody is a fan of surgical pictures.) this one seems safe, it’s the bone shaving they did.
i left the clinic with instructions to start physical therapy on monday (today), but i was given a pretty tough workout regimen to keep up with until then. this is a workout for time and i’m supposed to do it three times a day. it looks like this.
5 – 10 minutes three times a day i’m supposed to lay on my stomach with my feet hanging off the bed. it’s meant to help with adhesions. and i’ve only missed one of these strenuous workouts. because i was doing this instead.
i managed to pass out while on my crutches. i have this cup they sent home from the surgical clinic with me. it says, “always call. never fall.” turns out they mean to call before you are feeling like you’re going to pass out, because once you feel like it’s going to happen it’s too late to do much more than draw someone’s attention so they can see you falling. i hit my head on the knob of a cabinet on my way down. it doesn’t appear that i injured my leg – i’m really, really, really hoping i didn’t. but i did get to go to the e.r. and i did get to get some stitches. and it’s possible i’ll get a scar. they did lab work and gave me some i.v. fluids. the e.r. doctor suspects i was dehydrated and that the dehydration on top of my body trying to recover from surgery was just too much. i’ve felt fine since i left the hospital. i do worry a bit that it will happen again, but i’m drinking plenty of fluids and my parents are being a little more watchful when i’m up.
here’s hoping the rest of the recovery is easier.
i made it to america. while not my favorite flight it was much better than i thought it would be, partly because the pain wasn’t as intense and i am able to stand fully upright and partly because i had an awesome seat. not upgrade awesome, but more you can leave your seat back the entire flight awesome.
i saw the doctor friday morning. he took some more x-rays and reviewed my MRI. he could see the labrum tear in the MRI, so I don’t really need an MRA. he did say it could provide more diagnostic information, but that it wouldn’t change the treatment. which is arthroscopic surgery. dr #1 said i had a pincer impingement and suspected a tear. dr #2 says i have a pincer impingement, a cam impingement and a labrum tear. i’ve been scheduled for surgery at the end of this month. he’ll go in and reshape the hip bone, reshape the femur head, and repair the labrum. i’ll be on crutches 2 or 3 weeks and he’ll clear me to fly home 3 weeks after surgery. my surgery is scheduled for the end of this month, but i’m on the waiting list for a cancelation and it would be really, really great if i got in earlier.
the pain continues to get better. it’s still constant, but it’s much more low grade with some peaks to medium strength if i try to pivot or bend or have to stand or sit. but that is so much better than it was and so much more tolerable.
and the jet lag. it’s currently 2:30 in the morning and i am wide awake. this doesn’t bode well for tomorrow.
my hip hurts. it really, really hurts. and by that i mean it really, really, really hurts. but the really, really, really hurt has only been going on for the past two weeks. before that it was only annoying with an occasional flair up of the maybe there’s really a problem variety. i’d blamed it on turning 40 (you know, a few years ago) and one of the costs of leading a sedentary life for most of my 20s and 30s. on occasion i had to make some adaptations, but they were temporary. this pain escalation caused me to go have it looked at.
one of the impressive things about medical care here is the lack of red tape. i went to the orthopedic walk in clinic at the local hospital, the doctor there came highly recommended. i waited about half an hour. saw the doctor. had an X-ray, the doctor consulted the X-ray and i was done in 45 minutes tops. the X-ray showed a bone spur on my right hip. this didn’t concern the doctor, but the pain and limited mobility did so he sent me for an MRI.
(funny X-ray story. the tech had to consult a chart to determine where to set the dials on the X-ray machine. then he consulted a book to find out what position i should be place in.)
i called the MRI clinic at 7pm. they had me come in at 9pm. i had my MRI, it included having my feet masking taped together, and was home by 11pm. i went back to the doctor the next night, yes, within 24 hours, and he read the MRI report. turns out the bone spur was an issue. maybe the issue. he diagnosed me with something called FAI – Femoroacetabular Impingement. the MRI report also said suspect torn anterolateral labrum. but they can’t confirm that here. and i’ve been advised that it’s best to not have it treated here. so in a few days i’m going to fly to america for a second opinion.
i’m not looking forward to the flight. the normal discomfort of tight seats and close neighbors and forever up in the air seems even less appealing when filtered through the really, really, really hurt and the inability to stand up straight.
last year there was a post on the oprah blog that listed 24 things that get better with age. 24 seems an odd number. 25 would be better. i’ve got an excellent idea as to what number 25 should be, but first the 24 from her list:
- Ford Mustangs
- A wheel of gouda
- Sea Glass
- A cast-iron skillet
- Amish friendship bread
- Cowboy boots
- Single-malt scotch
- Sense and Sensibility
- Ivy-covered walls
- Balsamic vinegar
- Blue jeans
- A rib-eye steak
- Stereo headphones
- Your sense of self
- Love letters
- Hardwood floors
- Sexual satisfaction
- Chinese century eggs
- A baseball mitt
- Diamonds in the rough
- Your vocabulary
- George Clooney (this one seems somewhat subjective)
and here’s my suggestion for number 25 -
this could also serve as a reminder that 10 years is too long to wait to have pictures taken.
“but then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass” – stephen king salem’s lot.
i am so ready for september.
ok, that’s not totally true. i’m currently eye ball deep trying to plan our family vacation to tokyo. what feels like our last family of five vacation (that may or may not prove true). and i’m liking being the one in control, cuz i’ve been able to throw a few things into the itinerary that i’m pretty sure no one else would have considered. like a meat theme park. that’s made the final cut. a parasitological museum? we’re doing that. and 7 days of just the 5 of us? mastercard got that right – priceless. i’m totally sure it’s going to be worth the crazy way we’re getting there. two of us on one airlines. three on another. different airports and different layovers. memories galore.
but then we head to america. i’ve got a whole lot of mixed feelings about that. i know that the “omg – chan’s going to live in america even after the rest of us return to thailand” situation has me all kinds of out of sorts. (chan is C19’s real name – or at least his real nickname – he’s an adult now. no need to protect him any longer.) but there’s also the perceived expectations i’m already feeling (i bolded perceived on purpose, because i know there’s a slight possibility that it’s all in my head). our time in the states – as a whole – is not a relaxing time for me. it’s a go here, do this, get this done kind of time and by the time it’s over i’m totally ready to get back to my life. my home. my agenda.
it’s not easy to depend on others for almost everything. where are we gonna stay? we can’t afford hotels so we count on friends and family to put us up. we do have plenty of offers and i’m pretty sure none of those offers are given grudgingly. some people like us.
there’s also the getting to and fro? we need to be picked up and delivered to airports. we’ve got doctor’s appointments to make. i’ve got a few courses to attend and michael’s going to need to get to and from work. and sometimes it’s just nice to be able to get away. for one hour (or two or three). alone. or with a kid (or two or three) who need a break because we’re overwhelmed. because america is awesome and at times just way too much to take in.
it feels so ungrateful to whine and complain. we have some of the most generous, amazing friends and family who we know are spending time and money to be there for us. and i am so appreciative of that. i am looking forward to being able to spend time with people who love us and who have loved us for a long time. i crave the heart to heart talks i know we’ll have, the sharing of life that we will do (short as that time might be), and the ability let our guards down – to just be. but the scary part of that is that i’m not sure i know how to do that anymore.
i now know the answer to whether or not i’ll run another 10k and that answer is… not only will i run a 10k, i’ll make it a 21k or maybe a 22.4k (but who’s measuring?) which begs a new question – will i ever do a 1/2 marathon again?
this time last year i ran in the chiang mai marathon – the mini marathon that is. my first 10k. i didn’t hate it, but i didn’t love it. and i didn’t prepare for it. it was on christmas morning which gave it a certain appeal. this year i had a few friends (all who had done the 10k last year) who decided to run the chiang mai marathon – the 1/2 marathon version. and they weren’t training for it. sounded like a good enough idea. so on december 2 i signed up. i even got another friend to sign up. this year it wasn’t on christmas morning. it was 2 days before. and that made it a little less charming. but i put together a plan of action. #1 – start wearing my running shoes. i’ve spent the past year or so wearing barefoot style shoes. and not running in them. it seemed a good idea to get my feet and legs used to the shoes that i know i can run in – my two year old running shoes. #2 create a play list. all christmas music seemed a really good idea – peppy christmas music that would keep me smiling. #3 create a t-shirt – because everyone knows any race is made better by a witty t-shirt.
witty t-shirts are often made better when the final product is carried out by a non-english speaker
#4 – battle plan. i decided to break the race up into 5k’s. i know i can run one of those. so i thought i would run 3 of them. something like – run 5k, walk 2.5k, run 5k, walk 2.5k, run until i cross the finish line. i was feeling pretty well ready. but then i listened to my play list. and i recreated it. with a healthy mix of christmas and non-christmas music. but the misstep with the music made the doubt set in. and take hold – a strangle hold.
race day came. (turns out the mayans were wrong.) a 5am start comes mighty early, but i got there on time. even rode my bike. (somewhere around 13k i started questioning that decision). i actually got off to a good start. was feeling good. decided at 5k i was feeling so good i would just keep running. that might have been a mistake. because my knee started hurting. and i had to stop. but then i started again. and i managed to get to the 10k marker faster than i expected. that might have been another mistake. at 13k i was done. i had no idea how i was going to make it one more step. but turns out the folks planning this race know about that kind of thing because there were watermelons and bananas and gatorade-y type drinks to reenergise the can’t move another step runner. (prepared runners might be aware of this, but i’m not one of those.) anyway, the race kept going. and going. and going. when i got to the marker that said 2km i knew i was going to make it and i wasn’t sure i was going to make it. but i did.
in the second photo, where my fingers are pointing, that’s where i’m instructing her to leave the chip alone and just cut off everything from my hips down. i was hurting – a lot.
michael showed up to see me finish. i’m not sure how i’m smiling in this picture. my legs were in so much pain just standing was almost unbearable.
my official finish time was 3:12:40. not a scorching speed, but i finished. and it was one my new year’s resolutions from last year. which means i kept one of them.
went to the doctor today for a follow up appointment. i am now 2 months into this 6 week treatment with at least another 4 weeks to go. I know, the math doesn’t quite work on that – unless you just go with the numbers and not how they are classified. 2+4=6 instead of (2×4)+4doesnot=6. that might only make sense to me.
the vertigo is pretty constant along with the headache (still) and i feel like someone has taken cotton balls and stuck them in every available nook and cranny that can be found in my brain. and then jammed in 200 more just because. and then there is the feeling that someone has filled my tank with water instead of premium gasoline. but – hopefully – only one more month of this.
that’s my good side, we’ve got our fingers crossed that it gets a lot worse.
that’s my getting better side. at least it was. i thought i was done treating it. i thought wrong.
tonight makes 6 weeks of treatment done! which means i’m done treating the original spots. the one under my eye looks fantastic and my cheek is a mix of new spots and old spots and i’m not really sure which is which. all i am sure of is it looks a lot worse than it did in the last picture.
i guess that means i’m done treating under my eye. except there’s two new spots – one on the outside of the area i already treated and one on my nose. so i’ll keep treating those. and the rest of my face for another week. and then i’ll treat the active spots for another two weeks and then i think i’ll be done. next week i go see the doctor again, i’m hoping she’s able to give me more concrete instructions so i’m not stuck guessing and thinking.
the nauseousness has been pretty much absent as of late, but it’s been replaced by vertigo. the headache is still here and my head feels a bit like i’ve got cotton tucked in all around my brain.
wonder if that makes me a cotton-headed ninnymuggins?