Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I CAN (5 months)

I really needed a little vacation from my recovery. Im almost 5 months post-op. I have been stuck inside of my apartment for most of this time. I needed a change of scenery, fresh air and a feeling of new beginnings.

I am spending some time at the Oregon coast. There were many things that I didn't think I would be able to do, but I have proved myself wrong! My motto is I CAN

1. I can walk aid free, no crutch or cane. I have been pushing myself to walk more each day. I think I can walk about 1/4 mile, maybe more, it is exhausting, but I can do it.

2. I can walk on the beach. I thought sand would be too hard to walk on, but I walk slow and cautiously. I think of it as strengthening my joint.

3. I can walk up and down stairs. I have been using my cane the past few weeks for stairs, but I keep leaving my cane in odd places and so I have started to do stairs aid free. I do still feel pressure in my joint, but it is tolerable.

4. I can stand on one leg, my op-leg that is. This does hurt a little, it feels achy afterwards, but the pain does go away.

5. I can sit crossed legged. Im always a little stiff at first, but after about 5 minutes I can settle into this position on the floor. I can sit about 10 min.

Sitting in a chair is still an issue for me, but as long as I sit on a padded surface, I can sit about 20 minutes. In a straight backed wooden chair, maybe 30 seconds... I still experience a lot of joint aches and pains,but they do not last all day.

I think being in a different environment is extremely helpful in my recovery. I am currently visiting a town where no one knows me and I feel like I can shed my inhibitions. I can use my cane or not and it doesn't matter because no one recognizes me or will hold judgments. I notice that I am pushing myself harder than at home. I am doing new PT exercises. I actually hiked a little the other day on a flat trail. I am working very hard to walk with my feet straight, standing tall and putting equal weight on each leg.

My limp is gone. If you didn't know me you could never guess I had a PAO. I am keeping up acupuncture and taking Chinese medicine. Turmeric really helps me and calms my joint.

I think its very important to keep up with PT. I do all my PT at home right now, but I plan to join a gym soon and do more pool therapy and use a tread mill. PT takes time and can seem daunting. It is uncomfortable and takes effort and dedication. So I plan to do PT 15 mins at a time. Usually once I get started, I am motivated to keep going. I always feel great after doing PT. I am working on my flexibility and standing strength. I am not using any weights just yet.

Whatever abductor muscle they detached is still very sore and tender. My PT sometimes says "No pain No gain" but I can tell I am not ready to mess with this muscle just yet. It is still healing. If I lay on the floor and lift up my leg, it engages that muscle. There is a difference between pain and "working out" pain.

I am getting ready to go back to school. Since I am not sitting well I am doing online classes. I need something to focus on besides my hip!




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Acupuncture, Chiro, Chinese medicine

I started having acupuncture sessions with an amazing Chinese medicine doctor who is also a chiropractor. He has tons of experience, 30 yrs, and he really listens to my concerns. Along with my normal post-PAO hip joint pain, I have always had accompanying rt. lower rib pain. The rib pain started 5 yrs ago along with my initial labral tear hip pain, way before my dysplasia diagnosis. I have always stretched and done yoga to try an relieve this pain and it is always gnawing at me. I believe it has been the main reason why I have trouble sitting. Before surgery, sitting became unbearable for me and my rib would become tight, sore, achy, gnawing, throbbing and squeezing. It also affected how I breathed. My primary doctors had no idea what it could be and my surgeon just said its all part of dysplasia.

Now that Im at the point where I am doing PT and walking a little, this rib pain really masks my hip joint pain. PT seems to make it worse. I saw my acupuncturist yesterday and I actually put little smiley face stickers all along my rib where I felt intense pain and tightness. He instantly knew what it could be. Intercostal rib pain, probably a pinched nerve! He stuck some needles in and I tried to relax myself for a while. Then he did some major low spine adjustments ( they felt major to me, but im new to Chiro stuff) I felt instant relief! I could breathe deeper and I instantly stood taller and walked better. My low rib isnt tight anymore. He told me I will probably experience nerve pain again, but I will continue to have his help. He said he was going to help me through this. I feel so thankful and appreciative.

The Chinese medicine herb seems to be helping me. Its supposed to help with pain and aids in strengthening the joint. I do notice a difference. I also take turmeric as an anti-inflammation. Im pretty new to alternative treatments, but so far it seems to be very effective. Ive done lots of western medicine in my recent past (steroid injections, pain meds, muscle relaxers, anxiety and anti-depressants) They were just so temporary and I didnt respond very well to them. The only reason I chose to do acupuncture is because my insurance covers it this year. I feel angry and upset that I was not able to get this treatment last year when I was suffering so much with pain and disability.

I feel great today. I think about half my pain is gone. Now I can focus on my joint pain and get back into PT. Just knowing a diagnosis can really help with how you think about pain. For me, I need to know the location of pain, then it makes sense in my brain and I am able to understand how my pain radiates. As long as my pain is low, I am pretty good at meditating through it, accepting it, feeling it flow into different area, noting how it changes everyday. But pinched nerve pain? What an ugly thorn that was!

Friday, March 7, 2014

15 weeks post op

It's all about the fine tuning nowadays. The bulk of my healing is done. I have all kinds of little irritating pains and aches, but it gets better every day. Pool therapy feels great and I plan to start going 3X a week because now we have a car! I just starting seeing an amazing acupuncturist who tells me he is going to get intense in my therapy. Im all knots and blocks. I have never had ongoing acupuncture before and my insurance is paying for 10-20 sessions! I have had 2 so far and after the needles and heat lamp I do feel better and more relaxed. He is working on my painful right psoas/hip area. Wow some of those needles really zing right through me. He prescribed me a chinese herb that will help with pain, swelling and joint/tendon weakness. I dunno what it is, but I am open to it.

I decided to postpone seeing Dr. Downer this month. I had an x-ray done locally and it was sent to him. I don't really know why I have to see him so often. The last time I had to spend $600 on the trip up there and he saw me for 5 min. and watched me take a few steps. I am deciding to wait until late April when I will be walking and more rehabilitated, that way my surgeon can really assess me at a more advanced stage and if I still struggle with pain and sitting he can't just say "oh well you are still healing."

I am walking fairly normal. I just get so exhausted. I don't think I could walk free around my block, but I am using my cane more and I am happy to ditch the crutch. I just use it for stairs, but I think I'm gonna try stairs with the cane soon. What a strange thing to be in such a transitional period.

I can almost sit cross-legged on the floor. This is a big dream of mine. To sit cross legged comfortably, what bliss. I am sitting better, but still have a lot of flare ups, pain, swelling, sleepless nights. I think acupuncture and PT combined will work wonders. I have patience...

I can't wait to get out of this apt! I have been so stuck here day after day. We are planning to take a little vacation at the beach for a week or so. Bringing kitty too. I need a change of scenery. I am going to bring my lawn chair and sit in the sand and watch David explore tide pools. I wonder if I can walk in the sand? I guess I will find out..