Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Check from Steadman Hawkins arrived in the mail yesterday. I smiled and promptly went to the bank to deposit it. It's done and over and I am relieved that I didn't have to take any more drastic action. . . like crying and begging. :-)

For those of you who are in this same situation, know that the billing area in Dallas, TX doesn't really have a clue what's going on. When this whole thing started, they sent me a bill for the balance due and had no record of the fact that I had made an upfront payment. Also know that the insurance person in Steadman Hawkins's Vail office will refer any phone call you make to her to the Dallas office. They also don't keep good records of your phone calls to them. When you speak with someone, make sure to get their name and ask if they are putting notes into their system. And, most of all, be diligent!! Continue to call and ask them to resolve the situation. This is ridiculous I know but I think it's the only way to get things done. I have heard from another patient who has experienced something similar so I know it's not just me.

Now on to worrying about important things like Thanksgiving and Christmas and what kinds of things I am going to do with my 2 great hips!!

On a very fun note -- I bought a Zipfy. If you, like me, have no idea what this is, check out this link:

I think you will have to copy and paste into your browser. Sorry!

Can't wait to get out when it snows and try to kill myself or break something really important. :-) I haven't given up the idea of learning to snowboard this winter either. And, I still have promised myself that I will do my canyoneering trip to Utah sometime next year (that was my original goal after surgery).

The hip continues to be good!! Still an occasional adductor issue but they are becoming less and less frequent or severe. Workouts are good with no issues and my external rotation continues to improve. I am close to being equal on my right and left sides without really working to make it so.

It's becoming obvious to me that knee surgery could be in my distant future. My knees pop and creak and complain loudly during squats, lunges and climbing stairs. I am not anxious for any more surgery so I will put it off as long as possible but it's in the back of my mind.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Show Me the Money

My frustration level has reached an all time high today. I have resisted the urge to get this off my chest in my blog but I am in a particularly bad mood today and nothing will make me feel better except bitching publicly. So here goes. . . . .

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I had to pay Dr. Philippon up front because they were afraid that my insurance company wouldn't cover the cost of surgery. So, on April 22, I willingly handed over my credit card and they posted a rather sizable charge to it. Ouch, crap but ok, I was going to have my hip fixed and it's just money, right?

So, the trials and tribulations of working through the health insurance nightmare began in earnest in July. The claim for Dr. P was filed on 5/12 and paid on 6/16. The tricky part came because they also billed for Dr. P's fellow (Dr King) and the insurance company said that this was a surgery that did not require 2 surgeons and so they disallowed the total bill. Dr. P's office asked for a review which finally resulted in a nominal amount being paid. All insurance payments were made by the end of August. The majority of the bill, however, was for Dr. Philippon which was paid on JUNE 16.

Today is NOVEMBER 17 -- almost 7 months after my surgery and 2 1/2 months after all insurance payments have been made and I still don't have any of MY money back. And, let's say it's not for not trying. I have called 5 times to request payment. The first two were met with, "we are still waiting on the last payment from the insurance company and we do not make any payments until everything is resolved with insurance." Ok I say. So, I get my EOB showing that all claims have been resolved, wait 3 weeks thinking that a check will magically appear and nothing. I call the end of September and am told that a check will be issued shortly. Nothing. I call on October 23 and am told there are no notes showing that I have called but they will put a rush on my check. Great I say, about how long should that take? 3 week maximum they say. November 13 - 3 weeks from when they told me they would put a rush on it - still no check so I call again. Well, we put a rush on it on October 23 I am told. "I can send this to the supervisor of the area that issues the checks. Would you like me to do this?" she says. Hell yes, actually what I would like for you to do is go stand there until someone issues a check to me. Seriously people. If the situation were reversed, they would have sent me to a collection agency by now and my credit would be ruined but all I can do is call and continue to ask them to give me what they owe me. Frustrating? You bet!!! Pissed off? Absolutely!! And, just to be clear, we are not talking hundreds of dollars; we are talking thousands of dollars -- no small sum. It hurts!!

Am I ecstatic to have my hip fixed?. . . hell yes!! Would I pay up front again if I had to do it all over? .. . hell yes!! But come on, enough is enough when it comes to screwing around with returning what I am rightfully owed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Released from PT

I saw my physical therapist for the final time today. I have been feeling ready for a few weeks now and she confirmed what I suspected -- no tender spots, internal and external rotation is almost the same on both my left and right sides. I have pushed myself on many fronts -- biking, walking, rowing, kayaking -- and have had no issues whatsoever in the past 2 weeks. I would say that I am about 90% back to normal. The external rotation on my left side still has some relaxing to do but I think Dr. Philippon says that it can take up to a year to be 100%. I really don't think it will be a year since I am so far along at 6 months but I have now completely relaxed about everything. No nagging doubts that the surgery really didn't work, no more beating myself up over whether I am doing too much or not enough and no more thinking about every single that I do and whether or not I should be doing it and whether or not it will flare up my hip.

The physical therapy place where I go also has a sports performance center. Many of the Indy car drivers use the athletic trainers there to prepare for the season. So, when I was released today from pt, I looked into some strength training classes there. They have a class than runs for 8 weeks starting the end of the month and I am pretty sure that I am going to take it. It has become nearly impossible to see my personal trainer that I have worked with in the past so I am thinking this will be a reasonable substitute. Sharon also recommended that I take a yoga class to help with stretching so I am looking into that too. It feels great to be able to use my body to its fullest potential again!

To all of my "hip" friends -- thanks for your words of encouragement and support! To my friends and family -- I could not have made it through all of this without you so THANK YOU! And, to Dr. Philippon and staff, Lindsey and Lauri at Howard Head and Sharon at St Vincent -- You guys ROCK!! Words cannot express how I feel at getting my life back.

I don't know how much I will actually write about this now. Maybe from time to time when something significant happens or I am feeling especially good or bad. :-) If anyone needs info, email me at almcz@aol.com. In the words of the Grateful Dead, "What a long, strange trip it's been."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray!!

So, I headed down to Austin Texas last weekend for some playtime with my friend, Carol. The Austin City Limits Music Festival was going on and we decided to attend. To say that it required lots of walking would be the understatement of the century. We walked, walked and walked some more. We stood, we sat, we ran and I truly put my newly repaired hip to the stress test. And . . . . drum roll please . . . . . it performed perfectly! No pains whatsoever anywhere!! By the end of the weekend, I had the biggest smile on my face that you have ever seen. I also noticed that my external rotation is improving remarkably. It's not even with my right hip yet but it's really close. I am close to being 6 months out and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and am pretty sure it's not a train!

After all of the extensive walking this weekend, I feel pretty confident that I have reached a turning point in my recovery. I no longer have the adductor pain or the nagging back pain or any of the miscellaneous aches and pains that have plagued me for so long and have been the source of my angst for so long.

In some ways it seems like forever ago that I had hip surgery and in others, it feels like it just happened yesterday. I guess in the big scheme of life, 6 months is a blip but due to the ups and downs and the uncertainty of a full recovery it has felt so much longer.

That loud noise that you all heard over the weekend was me breathing a huge sigh of relief. I am feeling more confident than ever and ready to once again tackle the world!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The good; the bad; and the great!

The good news - the adductor is subsiding. It only fires up occasionally now as evidenced by my day today. I am enjoying the 30 lbs that I have dropped since the first of the year and it's actually fun to go shopping again. So, with an entire month of client visits looming, I headed out today to the mall to see if I could find some new, funky but business clothes. Had great success at Nordstrom's . .thank you Kate . . and bought 2 complete outfits - 1 gray skirt, 2 shirts and 2 jackets. I thought the mall opened at 11 so I arrived at 11:15 and found that the stores don't actually open until noon so I was a mallwalker for 45 minutes. No problems whatsoever!! Woooohooooo!!!

The bad news -- I saw Sharon on Friday and my TFL's (sorry don't know the official technical term for this one) are inflamed. Sharon's theory is that as I get one set of muscles working properly, I call on another group to step up and do their part and they have to be crabby about it for a little while. Apparently it's the TFL's turn to be crabby and they are. Sharon worked on them for 45 minutes on Friday and I felt much, much better when I left. I can still feel that they are crabby but less so than on Friday and didn't prevent me from doing anything today.

And, when I say doing anything today that would include the bike riding that I did this evening. I headed out on my mountain bike and rode for about 45 minutes hard and then came home and got on my road bike for some serious speed for another 20. Love speed and love the muscles in my legs that let me ride full out. It is thrilling. No issues with any muscles complaining about the bike riding. That's a first tonite. Usually the adductor will fire up a bit when I push the mountain bike but not today. . . not a twinge, a threat of a twinge or anything.

I am THRILLED!!! It's definitely taken me longer than I anticipated but everyone tells me that, since I had hip pain for so long, I am doing really well in getting muscles re-trained. My best advice for anyone who is reading this and contemplating surgery -- do it sooner rather than later before muscle memory becomes difficult to undo. If my own personal memory was as good as my muscle memory, I might be able to find my car keys in the mornings. :-)

It's been 5 months -- I have absolutely no stiffness no matter how long I sit in one place. My hip doesn't feel "full" and my flexibility is starting to come back. If it weren't for the adductors or the tfl's, I would barely know that I had surgery. Love it!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Time marches on

I realized that I hadn't posted any updates in awhile. There is a good reason for that . . .nothing much has changed since last I posted. I still have intermittent adductor pain. It really doesn't like long walks. If pushed, I will admit that it's somewhat better. The problem is that I really only want to be able to say that it's completely gone. It will only fire up when I have done a long walk and occasionally after an exceptionally exhilarating bike ride but it is still there. Ugh!!! I think Sharon, my pt, saw the desperation in my eyes last Friday and worked diligently to see if she could figure out what's going on. She thinks it is a general hip stabilization/pelvis issue and there are lots of pieces and parts involved so no one group is to blame. I seem to have adjusted my attitude (at least today) and know that I am definitely better off than I was pre-surgery so I'll just keep a positive attitude and let the adductor do whatever it feels like it needs to do. I'll keep doing my workouts, bridging, lunges, squats, monster walks, etc. and see if I can build up all of the other muscles so maybe they can overpower the adductor. The day that this goes away completely, I swear I am throwing a big party!

My travel schedule is firing up BIG time for the entire month of October. I am traveling multiple days every week during the month. It's going to really test my commitment to working out. :-) Hotel gyms can leave a lot to be desired. A treadmill and a bike do not a workout make . . .especially since Dr. P prohibits you from getting on a treadmill. Plan to take my bands and deflate my stability ball to take with me so hopefully that will motivate me.

Still loving my new mountain bike. I need to get home before dark but I continue to stay out too late and end up riding home in the pitch black. Guess a light on the front and back may be necessary. There has been an algae bloom where I usually kayak so I have not been on the water in some time. Hope to get some fall paddling in before winter hits Indiana. Boo!!!

I want to say that, despite the whole ugliness with my adductor, I feel so much better than I did before surgery. I have no regrets and feel like I am very much alive again!! I loved my 40's and I suspect they won't even compare to my 50's with 2 good hips!! Wooohoooo!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I love a thrill!

So, I did it! I bought a mountain bike and, in typical April fashion, couldn't wait to ride it so I took off to the trails in the pitch black with only a small headband type light on. :-) As I was ripping through a trail close to my house, I had to smile. It's 9:00 at night, pitch black and I am riding full speed down a trail where I really don't know what's ahead of me. My adrenaline was pumping, my heart was pounding and I felt so ALIVE! :-) And, I have incredibly strong legs. One of the reasons that I was flying is that my legs are just so darn strong. I continue to be amazed with my strength and ability to do things that I haven't been able to do in a few years. I can't actually think of an adjective that can properly describe how happy I am with my progress. I am still battling with the adductor. It was particularly testy with me last night after my wild ride but I didn't care. Get over it . . I think I said out loud. Nothing is stopping me now.

Guess there may be a bike rack added to the top of my car soon so I can have the option of biking or kayaking. I so don't want summer to end!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Not so fast sister!

The adductor and I are still battling it out. I know it's been awhile since I have posted so here's the scoop:

I really thought I was winning the war with the adductor but apparently it was just because it was regrouping and re-arming to come back with a vengeance. Yikes!!! There are times when I feel pretty good and then there are times when it will absolutely seize up and I have to limp along until I can get it to relax. I find myself doing a trigger point release which I am sure looks questionable to those who are walking by since the point that really contracts is right at the top of the adductor. ;-) oh well . . i don't really care. I find that it is at its worst when I try to walk initially. If I can tough it out, I can usually outlast the spasm and it will eventually feel better. ugh!!! I just wish it would go away but it appears I may have to battle this for awhile for whatever reason.

It really doesn't interfere with my workouts which is interesting. It's mostly just when I walk. Last weekend was the MotoGP race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I really didn't think I was going to be able to walk there. I limped along for awhile and then suddenly realized after about 1/2 hour of painful walking that I was pretty much pain free. Weird!! I think I am about 98% convinced that it truly is my adductor not that the hip surgery didn't work but I have to be honest and tell you that I have panic attacks from time to time about this whole thing. Deep breath!!

There were a couple of NFL kickers out there with me (who shall remain nameless) and I have watched them on TV doing what they do best . . . I am amazed by their recovery. If they had surgery at the same time, shouldn't I also be kicking field goals rather than whining about how my adductor won't let me walk??? :-) I should have had my hip fixed years ago when Dr. P first told me I should . . since I didn't, I have lots of muscle memory to undo and it's simply going to take some time. For those of you reading this who know you have a problem, don't delay thinking it will get better -- it doesn't!!! All that happens is that recovery takes longer. Learn from my bad habits. :-)

And, on a personal note, I have motorcycle fever BAD!!! Seeing all the bikes in town last weekend for the MotoGP race has reignited my burning desire for a motorcycle. So, I have been online for the past week casually shopping motorcycles and trying to talk myself out of it. It's really not working. I have friends who are a bad influence and are encouraging me to buy one. Not helpful in talking myself out of it. :-) A 3 day weekend could give me too much time on my hands and I could potentially be the proud owner of an Indian, Victory, Ducati or Harley by Monday.

My friend, Noelle, had surgery with Dr. Philippon yesterday. Noelle found my blog and started corresponding with me and then we had several phone conversations about this surgery and Dr. Philippon and recovery. I met up with her when I was back out in Colorado in July for my check-up. She's a very, very cool person and I feel lucky to know her. It's so awesome to be able to share my experience, hear about other's experience and be a part of a small but supportive community. Thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here! I really do appreciate it and am very interested to know how others are coming along. And, I think you already know too, am always happy to answer any questions from anyone who is considering, already had or wants to know more about this surgery. It has certainly changed my life!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The thrill of victory

I saw Sharon this week for physical therapy and she worked on my adductor as usual. Yesterday during a short walk, my adductor tried to spasm on me and in trying to massage it, I thought it felt a bit bruised. This morning, I found a fairly large sized bruise on my leg. The hazards of a serious physical therapist! :-) The good news though . . . I am definitely winning the battle with the adductor. It's not nearly as tight and doesn't seize up on me as much when I walk.

Sharon also gave me the green light to start pushing myself a bit on things when I want. She wants to see if there are any adverse consequences from pushing my limits a bit. Wow . . .music to my ears!!! I didn't get a chance to really do much this weekend but plan to go try some putting and chipping at the golf course to see if I can get myself back into the game.

My back pain and general hip pain are much, much less too. That's another way I know that I am finally winning this war. Back to the gym and back to muscle building this week too. I'll keep you posted on how that goes but as of today, I am very optimistic. I can't believe how long it is taking for all of this to sort out and the ups and downs that I have been through with it but then again I know I don't have lots of patience and want everything to be perfect right now. I keep trying to compare this with my first hip surgery and I convinced myself that I was much better by this point with my first but I really don't think that's true. I know I wasn't as strong at this point after my first and I think some of what I have experienced with my back is just the fact that I am 50 years old and am working out harder than I have in awhile.

I have finally gotten my house and yard almost in order again after having left them for 7 weeks in the spring when it is critically important to get the weeds under control. It's taken some hard work and some outside help but it's pretty good. I look forward to next year when I will be 100% and ready to tackle anything!!

I am down to 1 physical therapy appointment a week now. In some ways it feels really scary and in others I feel ready to tackle things on my own. I have to say that I will miss seeing Sharon and hope that I can convince her to come kayaking with me sometime.

I promise to update sometime this week on my progress on upping my workout routine and how that is going. Cross your fingers for me. I really don't want any more setbacks or at least, lack of forward progress!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Winning the war!

I am pleased to report that I have begun to win the war with my adductor. I have beaten the IT band into submission but the adductor proved to be quite the worthy opponent. However, being the incredibly stubborn person that my mother raised me to be, I have persevered and the sharp shooting pain when I try to do something it doesn't like is starting to abate. I cannot even begin to describe my relief. For those fellow hip surgery patients, you know exactly what I mean. You think that something has gone terribly wrong with the surgery . . you convince yourself that it hasn't worked, that the same pain is back, etc, etc. and then it really ends up being just a stubborn muscle. Yes, that noise you just heard was the humongous sigh of relief that I just gave. :-)

I will say, too, that Sharon has been instrumental in figuring this out with me. We have decreased some of my exercises and weights and have backed down on strengthening exercises. I have not been traveling as much and have been much more committed to doing all of my exercises religiously. It appears to be a very good combination.

I went to the Indiana State Fair this week and walked around for about 4 hours non-stop. I am so pleased to report that I had NO hip pain . . a little adductor pain but even it was manageable. To say that I was thrilled, encouraged and a little giddy would be an understatement. I am trying desperately to not over-do it. I am pretty sure I learned my lesson from last time and don't want to over extend any other muscles that I might have to wage war with. The turtle and the hare -- I am going to be the turtle --- at least for awhile. That's not to say that I won't wake up one morning and decide to push it just to see but not today!

I still have no feeling in the top of my foot and my ankle is still swollen a tiny bit but it's a little better. I will be really relieved when it's back to normal as Dr. Philippon promises me it will be.

I am 17 weeks today and still have to remind myself that I am only 17 weeks today, 50 years old and pretty much a non-athlete. I am doing ok!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update on recovery

Recovery truly is full of ups and downs. One day everything seems to be moving along as planned and I feel really great and then one event will set off a chain reaction and suddenly I feel like I have taken a great step backwards. Ugh!!! So, this week I have been traveling like crazy . . lots of sitting, wearing heels for prolonged periods of time and almost no exercise. It has not been a good thing for my hip. I saw Sharon yesterday and was tight and my adductor is still flaring up on me on a pretty regular basis. I am having good luck getting the IT band to relax but the adductor is going to be the last to actually let go I believe. My back has tightened up again and I have a huge knot in my lower back. All of these things seem to be related and I am beginning to get frustrated. We have backed down on my strengthening exercises (lower weight; more repetitions) to see if that helps speed up the process. I suspect that I do some of these things to myself and so my commitment for the next 6 weeks is to do all of my pt exercises religiously no matter what my work schedule is . . period.

The glutes seem to be the last to get really strong. I can feel that I still have weakness in my left side and I think that contributes to some of this issue too. But I also remember that my adductor was the last thing to let go when I had my right hip done 6 years ago. And, I kept thinking at the time that the hip repair had not worked. I was wrong and today my right hip is amazing.

I am about to give my hip a test by walking the Indiana State Fair with my family. My 83 year old mom almost always wears me out and won't let me ride the shuttle because she wants to walk. I am so happy to have her genes, her toughness and her dogged determination. That's what keeps her very active at 83 and what will make me push through this recovery to be able to walk the Indiana State Fair when I am 83.

I am still working on Faber slides for external rotation but am still pretty tight. I have to continually remind myself that it's only been 3 1/2 months and I am doing pretty darn well for a 50 year old non-athlete. :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slowly but surely

The work on my IT band and adductor continues. After a week of rest, stretching, icing, roller and Sharon's mean, mean physical therapy using the Graston Technique, I am beginning to feel better. I no longer have the sharp, mind numbing pain in the adductor when I try to get in the car. Of course, I always freak out a little when I have pains and think that my labrum has torn again or something equally as bad has happened inside my hip but as the real problem begins to improve, I can breathe again knowing that it really is just a muscle issue. And before I leave this topic, let me just comment on the Graston Technique . . it's painful. It made me hold my breath and almost shout out really bad words. Sharon promised that I would feel better after the bruising healed. Yes, it's intense.

So, I started strength exercises again yesterday and still did ok even after laying off for a week. That gives me hope too. I would like to settle into a 3 to 4 day a week work out schedule but wasn't sure that would allow me to maintain my very muscular legs. It appears as though I will do just fine with that.

I am excited to pick up my golf clubs again. I plan to head to the driving range this weekend with a putter and pitching wedge in hand. Will try those for a week or so to make sure nothing else flares up and then continue on. I am hopeful that I can work up to playing 9 holes before it gets too cold here to play. I went to the USGA Senior Open in Indy on Sunday and followed Greg Norman around the course for about 4 hours. If you don't know, Dr. Philippon did his hips early on so I wanted to see if I could detect any limp or hesitation in his swing. Let me just say -- I am hoping that, just by the mere fact that Dr. Philippon has touched both Greg Norman and me with the same hands that some of his ability to hit a golf ball rubbed off on me. He is incredible!!! :-)

It was also very encouraging that I could walk around the course and stand for 4 hours without much hip pain or stiffness. I think because of the IT band issue, I was more tender and stiff than I otherwise would have been but my hip performed fabulously!!

Still working on the glute building (the buns of steel aren't quite there yet), planks for core and lots of leg work. I will get back to the elliptical and rowing machines this week but will make sure they don't aggravate my it band.

Work has been intense and I still struggle trying to find a balance between work, sitting too long in one spot, hip stiffness and working out. I continue to feel inadequate in all areas but I am hoping that this too will pass.

Thanks for all of the comments from hip patients on my blog!! I especially appreciate the words of encouragement as can only be given by a fellow hip sufferer. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I can safely now say that I am sure it isn't a train!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update from Vail

It's been 12 weeks since surgery for me and I am back in Vail for my follow-up. I have been having some problems with my left adductor and I was confident that it would be solved or at least identified while I was here. I was correct, of course. The problem really is that I have an IT band that is so tight, you could almost play it like a guitar string. It's painful tight. This is causing my adductor to become prickly and the pain manifests itself in the adductor. Lindsay tried to resolve the tightness with a deep tissue massage and stretching. I thought I was going to cry. In fact, I am pretty sure that tears did come to my eyes and I might have said a bad word or two. Whew!! It was intense. The good news -- after she did some intensive stretching and massage, the adductor felt better.

I saw Dr. Philippon this morning and he confirmed the same. He felt my IT band and grimaced. Ok, it's really that bad. BUT he is very pleased with my progress and has given me a complete release to go live my life. WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! He also caveated it by telling me that I can't go out and do everything at full speed all at once (does he know me???). I have to work up to it but I have no restrictions. He was pleased and impressed at my strength scores (especially for a 50 year old) and said the IT band tightness and adductor issue is extremely common at this point in my recovery. I am quite pleased with myself today.

I have stretching exercises to do along with strict instructions to ice and buy a foam roller to use on my IT band. Painful . . ouch . . . dang . . . but ok. It should clear up in 3 to 4 weeks and I will be good to go. It's really my only issue. How cool is that????

I see him again in April, 2010 for my 1 year check up but other than that, I am free to go (have I heard those words somewhere before?) :-) Seriously, I feel like I have been released from jail in lots of ways and am so happy to have this mostly behind me. A few tweaks in my pt protocol and I am good to go.

He also looked at my ankle and said the feeling should come back in my foot in about 6 months or so. The swelling is definitely better so I am encouraged by that too.

I don't think I have said it in a while so I will say it again -- Dr. Philippon is my hero!! I don't think he will ever realize what he has done for me and giving me a pain free life back. And, thanks to Lindsay, Laurie, Sharon and Kathy for the very important part they have played in getting me back in shape, strong and flexible. I couldn't have done it without all of you!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in Colorado

I am working in Ft Collins this week with a client. When I started driving north from Denver today, I saw the mountains, smiled and immediately felt the dark cloud lift from my head. I am so happy to be back out here. It feels wonderful. And, I typically get a terrible altitude headache but so far; so good. I feel really good. I also know that I must be in pretty good shape because I went for a brisk walk tonite and did not get terribly winded.

On the other hand, my hip is STIFF!! I don't know what's up with it but it's stiff and very tender today. Since my flight left at 6:45 this morning and I had to be at work by 11:30 am mt, I did not have a chance to work out today. Bummer!! I don't have to be anywhere until 11:30 mt tomorrow morning and I notice that my hotel has a deal with a local fitness center so I am off for a killer work out in the morning. Hopefully that and a good night's sleep will help!!

I am still anxious to get to Vail on Sunday to see Lindsay and then Dr. Philippon on Monday. I am hoping they can solve the mystery of this ever crabby adductor and solve it permanently! I am having problems with it again today. ugh!! I swear if I can get that solved, I will be almost as good as new.

But for now I am just enjoying the mountains again and the cool, dry air. Ahhhhhhh . . . at home again!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back on track

I have been crabby lately. It's lasted for an entire week which is highly unusual for me. I don't know what the problem is but I will be glad when it passes. Ugh!

On the positive side, I have had good hip progress. My left adductor is prickly (thanks to Sharon for that medical description). :-) At the slightest provocation, it will spasm and lock in place. Sharon had to work on it 3 times during my physical therapy session on Thursday but the good news is that it seemed to work. I did a full kill myself workout yesterday and no problems. In fact, I feel really good today. I kayaked for about 3 hours today and the peacefulness of the water seemed to help me relax a bit. I expected for my hip to be really stiff when I got out of the boat but it wasn't. That, my friends, gives me lots of hope. This is the first time that I haven't been incredibly stiff after sitting that long.

Sharon also checked my external rotation in preparation for my visit with Dr. Philippon and found that my left is pretty close to my right. Yippppeeee!!! Progress. That always makes me feel better and much more positive about life in general. My left side still has a little bit to go in terms of matching my right but there is measurable progress. It seems to be my adductor that is really holding me back. Still more work to do there.

I leave for Colorado on Wednesday. I am working in Ft Collins with a client until Sunday and then driving to Vail. My appointment with Dr. Philippon is Monday at 9:30 am. I am anxious to see my friends at Howard Head and hear what they have to say and also Dr. P to see if I can get back to swinging my driver. I am 12 weeks post-op as of last Thursday. It simply doesn't seem possible.

Thanks to everyone who leave me the encouraging comments on my blog. It is so great to have a support system from other hip patients!

I am drinking a nice glass of wine tonite and enjoying spending time with my sister and nephew and trying to remember how truly lucky I am!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The ups and downs of recovery

Some days I feel like I am absolutely on top of the world. Other days I wonder why I work so hard and get nowhere . . . now I know that's not true but I want it all. It has occurred to me over the past several days that I have had a pretty remarkable recovery thus far. I am leg pressing 200 pounds. I am far more muscular than I ever imagined I would be. All of that being said -- I still am incredibly stiff when I sit too long and I have weird pains that make me catch my breath and occasionally my body just doesn't want to move. But if I had to assign a number to how far recovered I think I am, I would say about 80%. My external rotation still has a ways to go and when I work out, my left side is still weaker than my right. I think the answer is probably that the first 80% goes pretty fast and the remaining 20% comes very slowly. If this is, in fact, true it could be the death of me. :-) I have said that I like forward progress at all times. I push and most of the time I get results. I don't get results when I push with this. Ugh!! No matter what I do, my progress seems to be the same right now. I think I have plateaued . . it's forcing me to live in the middle instead of at the extreme and I don't do well there. I can either be a complete lazy couch potato or I can work out 2 hours every day but there is no in-between with me. It's the same with this hip progression . . either stop and go forward at light speed.

Ok . . . whining done for the night. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I got it off my chest.

I worked out with my personal trainer yesterday who was fresh off meeting and watching Dara Torres work out. She added some new tricks to my repertoire and I am feeling it today. ouch!! Tomorrow is physical therapy with Sharon where she will push the limits of my legs and hips trying to make me look good for my appointment with Dr. P. So glad that I have her as I think I need some good stretching too.

I have been traveling for work and not doing my stretching and exercising like I should and can definitely feel it. I am stiff and sore and need someone to give me a swift kick in the ass . . . I think Sharon is just the person to do it . . and then make it feel better. :-)

The big deal that I have been working on made a decision to hire someone else today. :-( Bummer!!! We busted our butts to do these presentations and really thought they were going to choose us. I feel a little down tonite because of that too.

And, the ankle that got damaged during surgery (from the traction) is still screwed up. Still no feeling in my ankle or the top of my foot. My ankle is still swollen - a bit of a cankle. I can't wear shoes that cross the top of my foot because it feels weird. I am worried that my foot is permanently damaged. Of course, I am worried about everything tonite so this just gets added to the list.

If I didn't have a really busy day at work tomorrow, I would consider a Vicodin vacation from the soreness and stiffness tonite but it's a full day of conference calls and call reports tomorrow so I must have my wits about me . . . at least what is left of my wits after the drinking fest that was my birthday last weekend.

Yes, it's true, I turned 50 on Monday. I feel really old now when I tell people not only am I 50 but I have also had hip surgery. ugh!!!

I am a little frustrated tonite if you can't tell. Everything really is good; I just want more. . .. the story of my life!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dang it!

For the past two days, I have had a pain . . an annoying inside of my left thigh sort of pain. This morning, it was worse and in fact, occasionally would turn into a sharp shooting down my leg pain. I was ecstatic that I had an appointment with Sharon today. The diagnosis is either psoas or adductor but let me just say . . it's painful!!! Sharon did some trigger point release work on it today and it just about brought tears to my eyes. It definitely made me break out in a sweat. So tonite it's incredibly tender and complaining loudly about having been poked this afternoon. I can feel it all the way through to my back. BIG :-( I did some adductor/abductor machine work at the gym yesterday. I am thinking that maybe it was slightly inflamed and I just did it in. I don't know. I, of course, want Sharon to tell me exactly how it happened so as to prevent it in the future. She, of course, can't. :-) Deep down I know that but by now you all know that I want answers to everything period.

The good news today . . . I did 200 lbs on the leg press and moved to lunges without holding onto anything. Definitely stronger and my balance has improved tremendously. Why then must I suffer with this dang psoas/adductor thing???? Grrrrr . . .

And, I am about to start traveling for the week so my workouts will be harder to get done and I am admittedly not as disciplined about getting everything done while on the road. Coming back to work after being gone for 7 weeks, jumping into a finalist presentation and trying to get caught up with all of my normal work all the while trying to stay up with physical therapy has been too much for me. My stress level has risen dramatically this week and I am way crabby. I am really frustrated with myself for not making physical therapy a priority . . letting work dictate my schedule instead of taking the time that I needed to get back to 100%.

And, I'm probably feeling a little sorry for myself tonite as my pain level is up a bit down my left thigh and I really thought I was done with all of that. Dang!!!

I am not discouraged in any way shape or form but I do not do well with setbacks no matter how minor or temporary. :-) I want forward progress at all times. Ok, unrealistic I know so I am about to take some good tylenol pm and put my achy body to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be better!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My own Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July everyone. I am having my own personal independence day today because I feel like I have been set free. ;-) I have finally recovered from my stupidity of last weekend thanks to Sharon's help and am feeling really good actually. I did my normal workouts this week, saw Sharon twice and then my NIFS trainer on Friday for good upper body and core workouts. I feel strong and have absolutely no pain whatsoever . . .none, nada, nil.

I had a lovely day yesterday transplanting some flowers and planting some annuals in some flower pots. And then went clothes shopping with Julie. It's so much more fun to buy clothes now that I can pretty much wear anything and look decent in it. Love the core work!! :-) Treated myself to a shopping spree at Whole Foods and got some yummy fresh corn, blueberries and a steak. It made a fabulous dinner last night.

Today is raining in Indy and I am bummed because I really wanted to get out and do some kayaking today. . . not 4 hours worth mind you but an hour or so would have been lovely. Sharon also wanted me to try some light hiking through the park this weekend to see how the hip handles the rough and hilly terrain. The rain seems to be here to stay today so I don't think that's in the cards. In fact, I am having a lovely time sitting on my screened in porch listening to the peaceful sound of rain hitting the roof and the leaves of the trees so today may be my complete and total rest day . .possibly with a movie later. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow so hopefully I can hit the water before I head off to a party.

Next week is going to be all out crazy at work so I am relaxing and de-stressing as much as possible today and tomorrow. I have to head to Des Moines for a site visit with a potential client. A good thing but it will take lots of work to make it happen . . plus I have to fly through O'Hare which is solidly against my travel rules but it was the only way I could get something reasonably priced and at the time that I need to go. Ugh! Since I am flying home on Friday, I have reserved a car at O'Hare so worst case scenario is that I drive 4 hours to Indy. ugh!!!

My sister arrives at some point next week also. She will stay with me for most of July. Unfortunately, I will be traveling most of July. At least she'll be here to take care of my house. :-)

Happy 4th everyone!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Back on the wagon

I am being a very good girl. For those of you who know me, you know how truly hard that is for me to do. I am a girl who likes to push my limits (and sometimes those of others). :-) But I told you that I had learned my lesson and I truly meant it. I have been very good this week . . . daily workouts but only what I am allowed to do. Ok, maybe one slight exception -- I went to Nifs last night to work out and the rowing machine insisted that I try it. I tried to resist; I looked away, I turned my music up louder but it called so loudly that I had to shut it up somehow. So, I strapped myself in and rowed. Wow . . . it felt so good. Now before anyone thinks they need to chastise me - I only stayed on for 2 minutes, I kept a slow pace and I am officially allowed to do rowing machine and elliptical as of today so I don't really think that 1 day will be the end of the world.

Today is 10 weeks . . . I can hardly believe it. A whole new world opens up to me at 10 weeks -- rowing and elliptical. I am still having some pain from my stupidity over the weekend so I am not going to jump right in and try to make it worse. I see Sharon again today for more trigger point release and a few exercises. Hopefully by the weekend, I can begin to add some additional things in . . . slowly! :-)

I have been working on my external rotation also. My left still has a ways to go to be even with my right but it's definitely improving. I'm not sure where Dr. P expects it to be when I go back to see him. It will be interesting to see Lindsay again and hear her assessment of my progress.

The summer is flying by. I can't believe it is July 4 holiday weekend already. My sister gets home from Germany today and soon my house will be even more full of family. Work seems like I was never gone. It's crazy busy as always and I have to make a conscious effort to get out of there at a decent hour and get to the gym to do my exercises.

Bottom line - everything is good and seems to be progressing according to plan. I continue to feel good, stronger and optimistic about the future . . . exactly where I want to be right now!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ahhhhh physical therapy

So I went to see Sharon today and confessed my sins. She was marvelous and did some trigger point release work on my hip. It helped tremendously!! In fact, Sharon was quite easy on me and said that I really didn't do anything all that bad. I definitely tightened up some muscles unnecessarily and she lectured me a bit on the downside to doing that. All things that I already knew but it was good to hear it from her. I am back on the straight and narrow tonite. I learned my lesson . .. that doesn't mean that I won't have to learn it again but for now, I am good and am committed to not doing more stupid stuff anytime soon.

I upped weights today on the leg press. Yippeee!!! I love to watch the muscles flex in my quads when I push the weights out. It thrills me! More hip machine and single leg lunges. Then I came home and did core work. Tomorrow will be a killer workout at NIFS and I am thinking that I will be ready for it. Again . . back on the straight and narrow. Even with the sore, overtaxed muscles from this weekend, I still have no hip pain and feel remarkably good.

I have just about a month before I see Dr. Philippon for my 3 month check. I absolutely cannot believe it's been 9 weeks already. I would say time flies when you are having fun but some of it wasn't so fun. What has been fun though is having no pain and getting strong again.

The other thing I will say is that I absolutely did the right thing in staying in CO for 6 weeks of therapy but I also feel very lucky to have found Sharon here. I have gotten stronger since I started working with her and she continues to challenge me. I will be sad when I have to stop seeing her too. I found out today that she lives pretty close to me and owns a canoe. It will be my personal challenge to get her on the reservoir with me before the season is over. :-)

Even though I was a bit sad to leave Colorado I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying spending my summer hanging out with my friends. Thursday night I am off to see The Fray with girlfriends and am looking forward to it. . . especially since Friday is a non-work day. My sister comes home from Germany next week and then will be here to spend most, if not all, of the month of July with me. I am looking forward to hanging out with her too!!

Here's to 2009, summer and turning 50. Woohooo!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ok . . . I'm not 100% yet

I overdid it yesterday. I don't know why I have to do it but I do. So, 45 minutes of biking as hard as I could and 4 solid hours of kayaking wasn't enough so I had to hop back on my bike and ride some hills. It was too much. I don't think there is any permanent damage, of course, but I am stiff and tender today and thoroughly disgusted with myself. I was doing great . . .no pain, little stiffness and certainly no tenderness and then I had to push it. I had surgery 9 weeks ago . . why can't I get that through my head? I see my pt tomorrow and am planning to confess my sins to her to see what she can do to fix me. That's the way I do things . . . I do things that I am told not to and then expect someone else to make it go away. :-)

Ok, so I am good but not perfect yet but it still feels darn good to say that I biked, kayaked and biked again. It has been years since I have been able to do that so the mere fact that I can do it and then complain about it is pretty amazing.

I had dinner with some amazing friends tonite. I am constantly thankful and a bit overwhelmed by my friends. They are supportive, caring and make me laugh more than one person should probably laugh in one evening.

So tonite I am reflecting on my life, where I have been, where I am and where I intend to go. And, the bottom line -- I still feel like I am one of the luckiest girls in the whole world!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Life is Good!!

So, we were notified yesterday that we made the final cut!! We are hosting a site visit at our home office on July 10. I was told that it will be Relationship Manager versus Relationship Manager . . . bring it on!! Are you kidding me . . after all I have been through in the past 8 weeks I can certainly face down another relationship manager with a competitor. And, add to that, I have the best team in the industry with me. We will be hard to beat!

Ok, so the hip -- if I haven't said it lately -- I love Dr. Philippon, Lindsay and Laurie . . not in the weird stalker way . . but in the . . you gave me my life back way. I saw my Indy pt yesterday. She has again amped up my exercises -- i am now using 135 lbs on the leg press, doing one leg lunges with my knee all the way to the floor and spending 3 grueling sets on the hip machine. My legs are shaky when I leave but I am strong, strong. No hip pain whatsoever. The tightness is really starting to abate . . even when I sit too long and first stand up, it is easier to unstiffen (is that a word). I know I wanted all of this within 2 weeks of surgery (ha!) but it seems to be coming blazingly fast now. And, the absolute best part --- NO PAIN! not a twinge, not a shooting pain, not an inkling of how my life used to be. The great staff at Howard Head checks in with me periodically to see how things are going. That feels so good since I really feel like they are part of my family now. I still miss them and look forward to seeing them again at the end of July. I hope I am in rockin shape by then so they will be proud of what they put in motion.

So, today is a killer workout at NIFS and since it is sunny and beautiful here how can I resist throwing my kayak on the water for a few hours. If you can't tell, I am loving my life right now!! The only down side -- work is crazy and I spent my Friday night working instead of playing. :-( It's temporary and since I love what I do, it doesn't feel that bad. And, since you all know that I am a tiny bit competitive, being up against another RM will certainly get my adrenaline jumping. Not as much as jumping out of a plane but it will do for now until I can get back to that.

Happy Saturday! I am off to refine these lovely new muscles!! Here's to turning 50 in possibly the best shape of my life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Putting my hip to the test

I am sitting in the airport in Omaha, NE after doing a finalist presentation today. First of all, the presentation was beautiful!! I can't say enough good things about the people I work with . .. they are simply the best! Keeping our fingers crossed that we made a big impression and will be selected for a site visit next month.

So, my hip got to experience sitting in a small, cramped airplane seat, walking through O'Hare and changing terminals and up and down during a finalist presentation. I am pleased to report that I am well on the road to recovery. I am still stiff if I sit too long but it's not nearly as bad as it was. I have become a work out freak and took an hour last night to go work out before dinner. It definitely makes a huge difference in how my hip feels so I can't miss. I also have to say that I love the result of all the working out that I have been doing. I bought a new black suit to wear today and received comments from my team on how thin I am now. Yipppeee!!!

I don't get home until 1 am tonite and see my new pt tomorrow morning. I am anxious to see her and get my butt kicked as well as get stretched a bit. This Thursday will be 9 weeks for me. One more week and I can up my bike riding and get back to rowing. Amazing!!

I feel like I have a whole new lease on life . . . absolutely no pain and my muscles are all trained now on how to act so it's just a matter of continuing to build them. I feel like I will be pretty strong when I go back to see Dr. Philippon at the end of July. Can't wait to actually do some hiking and enjoying Vail this time.

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog and left comments and best of luck on your own surgeries and recovery!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It just gets better and better!

So, I bought a kayak and I am thrilled!! I love it and it's exactly what I needed to reward myself for all of my hard work over the last couple of months. Thank you Rusted Moon in Broad Ripple for all of your help! I spent the day at Eagle Creek Reservoir on Saturday and love it even more than I did when I paddled it before I bought it. The only bad thing is that sitting in a kayak requires externally rotating your hips and hooking your knees up under the cockpit. My left hip complained loudly after I got out so I will have to be careful of the amount of time that I am paddling for awhile. That's ok though. I am living my life again and it feels awesome!!

Have also worked up my bike time, gears and surface so I am no more riding like a grandma. :-) I went out for a nice ride tonite and was pleased with my strength and endurance. I haven't worked up to riding through the park yet on all the hills but hope to be there by the end of summer or early fall.

Continue to LOVE my new physical therapist. She asked what I wanted from her and I told her that I wanted my butt kicked every time I was in there. She is making good on her end of that bargain. She changed up more exercises last week and I can definitely feel the results. Again . . muscles in places that I really didn't know I have muscles.

And, I have gone back to my personal trainer to work on upper body and core strengthening. I am looking forward to being back in shape and on a maintenance regimen instead of a weight loss and muscle building regimen.

This hip surgery may have been the best thing that has happened to me in awhile. I am in better shape than I have been in for a long time and I feel great. That doesn't say anything about the fact that I have absolutely no hip pain in either hip anymore. . . . hallelujah!!

My life has returned to normal . . whatever normal actually is. Work is crazy (just the way I like it) and I did 4 hours of yard work today. I am flying out this week to do a finalist presentation and am pumped about that. Did I tell you I love competition?? :-)

Life is good!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New physical therapist

Yesterday I had my first appointment with a physical therapist here in Indy. I was nervous and slightly apprehensive because I didn't think that anyone could really compare with Lindsay and Laurie. I can also be really picky about people. Ugh!! I am very happy and pleased to say that my new PT is AWESOME!! She totally gets it, is a stickler for details and is excited to learn about my surgery and what was done to get me where I am right now.

I am also pleased to report that she did some strength and flexibility assessment and thinks that I am pretty strong. Yipppeeee!!! I thought so too but it is really nice when a professional confirms it. She changed up some of the exercises that Lindsay sent me home with . . . definitely made them harder . . . and promises that I will be really strong when I go back to Colorado to see Dr. Philippon the end of July. I am seeing her twice a week for several weeks and then once a week since I am good about working out on my own.

My hip feels really good. Still some stiffness when I sit too long at work but otherwise I feel better than I have felt in a long, long time. No hip pain whatsoever, my adductor issue has finally calmed down and all of the muscles that need to be working are actually working. It's fabulous. And, I have to say, in the big scheme of things, this has happened really really fast. Tomorrow will be 8 weeks from surgery (seems like yesterday and years ago at the same time). My new pt was definitely impressed at my fitness level being 7 1/2 weeks out from surgery. I know I owe it all to the incredible staff at Howard Head. When I had my right hip done 6 years ago, I was still walking with a cane at my 6 week check up with Dr. Philippon. This time has been so different. I didn't lose nearly as much muscle after surgery and it has helped me in the recovery so much I can't even explain.

The other funny story from yesterday -- she asked me to lie on my stomach and lift my leg, one at a time, straight up. Of course, I have been well trained by Lindsay and Laurie to fire my glute first to lift my leg which is exactly what I did. She sort of half screamed that most people don't do that and she was giddy that I did it correctly. I, of course, had to explain that I have been trained like a Labrador Retriever for the past 8 weeks by Lindsay and Laurie. :-) She and I are going to get along fine.

So, here's to buns and abs of steel. Woohooo!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week 7

And I am officially approved to start riding my road bike. Yippeee!!! I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. So, on the day of week 7, I got on my road bike and rode for my prescribed 15 minutes on a flat surface in low gear. It was mildly satisfying. It would have been exhilarating if I could have ridden flat out for as long as the rain held off but I was warned by Lindsay and felt it best to follow her advice. That being said, I had no pain and it felt darn good to be out on my bike again. Apparently there's a little (ok a lot) work to be done on the quad muscles but I know they will come right back with some coaxing.

So, week 7 . . . the exercises that I left Vail with have become a little easier which tells me that I must be doing something right and I continue to see improvement in my muscle tone. Still a ways to go but it is definitely improving. I finally see my new physical therapist on Tuesday and am looking forward to having her work on range of motion as I just can't seem to do everything myself.

I am struggling a bit at work in sitting too long at a time. I stand up and realize that my hip is so stiff that I can barely walk. It's almost like I need to set a timer for myself to remind me to get up and move.

I can't row yet so am buying a new kayak so I can get on the water. I am not allowed to row until week 10 . . . 3 more weeks will kill me so I am doing the next best thing.

I continue to feel better and better! No hip pain, I am stronger and I am thrilled with the results of everything and look forward to my progress each and every day!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun

So it's Sunday evening and I am headed back to work tomorrow. Seems it was just April 17 and I was having a total meltdown over leaving for 7 weeks. All the things that seemed so important then have been long forgotten . . . I shaved my own legs and polished my own toenails. My grass got mowed, my mail got picked up and sent on to me and I was able to pay all of my bills thanks to the miracle of online banking. It all worked; actually, it worked perfectly.

The hip -- again me making mountains out of molehills -- I just knew that I would be lost without Lindsay and Laurie but I seem to have managed ok. Lindsay gave me a list of exercises and I have dutifully followed them to a "t". I can't ride my bike until week 7 (Thursday) and it was beautiful this weekend and it almost killed me not to . . .but I didn't. I know better. I have seen what happens when someone decides not to follow their best advice. I will wait until next weekend and then I will ride with a huge smile on my face and people will wonder what I am up to.

I saw Kathy on Saturday and she did stretching and range of motion with me. It helped tremendously. She also beat my very stubborn adductor into submission so I felt really good this weekend. I plan to see her a couple more times before I see my new physical therapist on June 16. I am hoping that will keep me on track. I am also scheduling a standing weekly appointment with my personal trainer so she can continue to push me too. I swear I will be in great shape at 50 if it kills me. :-)

I still miss the mountains. I would be severely bummed if I didn't have another trip already planned out there at the end of July. I have completely adjusted back to life in Indy but I long for the mountains.

It's still sinking in that I have TWO good hips now. My left hip is completely pain free . . I just need to get all of the muscles in line but I know that will come with time and effort. I make some progress every single day now and I haven't had a bad day in awhile. Very encouraging!!

So, now my focus becomes what I am going to do and where I am going to go. The possibilities are endless!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Home again

Shouldn't I be thrilled to be home? Just 7 weeks ago, I was freaking out about leaving here for 7 weeks so it seems I should be ecstatic to be back here . . . but I'm not.

First of all, I am having some hip tightness and I just know that I am missing my range of motion exercises that Lindsay and Laurie used to do. Am I doing too much or not enough? I don't know. Ugh!!

Second, where are the mountains? Seeing mountains every single day was more therapeutic than I can explain. I loved the blue of the sky, the warm days even though it was only in the 60's and the dry mountain air.

Third, why did I pack so much stuff to take with me. It seemed like I would need it all but now that I have it all back home, I have to unpack it and put it away. I took way too much stuff. And then there is the issue of walking around doing all this stuff . . .is that too much for my hip? Will I inflame something that I shouldn't and regret it for days? Will I be making the 911 phone call to Howard Head? :-)

Fourth, I have told you that I am a pressure player . . . I work exceptionally well under pressure. Well, the pressure is off . .. I made this happen. It took me months and months of planning but it all worked and it worked perfectly. I am home now and the pressure of making this work is off except for on-going physical therapy and working out . . which seems minuscule compared to what I have just been through. I feel a little lost.

I have made an appointment with a physical therapist but I can't get in until June 15 because she is on vacation. I am on my own until then and am feeling like the bottom has dropped out of my therapy right now. I know it's because I had Lindsay and Laurie and saw them every day and I know that everything will be fine because I can do lots of things on my own but it still leaves me a little shaky. I am off to NIFS today and tomorrow and hopefully that will give me a boost of confidence as I do much of this myself.

I am back to work on Monday and am looking forward to seeing everyone there. Being back in a work routine will help me assimilate back into a "normal" life so that will be good.

I will continue to update my blog with my progress and my experience with physical therapy here versus Vail for all of those who are fellow hip patients and are curious about my experience.

Back Home Again in Indiana!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Follow-up with Dr. Philippon

I saw Dr. Philippon on Monday for my almost 6 weeks check. And here's the benefit of staying in Vail for as long as possible and working with the fabulous physical therapists at Howard Head -- he was very pleased with my progress. In fact, thinks that I might be a little further along than what he anticipated. We discussed the difference between my hip surgery 6 years ago and this one . . . recovery has been night and day. I know I have joked about Lindsay and Laurie and the things they have made me do but the result at 6 weeks has been so worth it!! At my last hip surgery, I was still walking with a cane at my 6 weeks check-up. Now, I am walking for an hour with no issue and my hip feels strong and stable. I am back to see Dr. Philippon at the end of July but for now he is pleased with both hips so I am free to continue with my pt in Indianapolis.

So, I have a pt protocol with me and have made an appointment with a physical therapist in Indy and am ready to move on .. . . .not really but I don't have a choice. :-) I think I really would be in the best shape of my life if I simply moved to Vail or somewhere nearby and did all of my physical therapy with them. As of now, I am left to my own devices with the exercises. Lindsay was always chastising me for trying to cheat . . . roll a hip up or hold onto the table to make it easier. Who is going to stop me from that for the next couple of weeks? I may indeed undo all of her good, hard work. :-)

I also learned a lesson the hard way about overdoing things. I tried to do too much and am suffering from some awful tightness and pain. Ok, got it. Just enough . . not too much.

So, armed with everything that I have learned over the past 6 weeks and my binder full of notes and pictures I leave Vail for the journey back home.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Lindsay spent today at physical therapy doing lots of pilates reformer machine and squats. I can definitely feel the burn tonite from both today's exercises as well as yesterday. We, of course, had to discuss today my on-going physical therapy in Indy. I have a binder that outlines the pt protocols and timeframes for completing each. I smiled today as Lindsay went through it and marked it up since I am already doing strength exercises that aren't slated to be done for another 2 to 3 weeks. Fabulous!! Part of my physical therapy today was to go for an hour long walk. Lindsay sent me to East Vail to the Gore Creek trail . . . it was a pure slice of heaven. The trail is a paved trail that runs along Gore Creek and meanders off into the wilderness. I have been dying to get out and enjoy some of the beauty and this did the trick today. There were people fly fishing in the creek and many, many people out on their bikes. The mountain wildflowers are in bloom and the snow melt is still happening making Gore Creek rage. And, I walked!!!!!!!!! Everything is firing as it should and my hip hardly stiffened at all during the hour long walk. It made me want to leap for joy. I am almost to my 6 week mark and everything has been successful. Lindsay moved my hip every which way in the socket today and it is smooth as glass. I have good range of motion . . it's not 100% yet but it's better at this point than pre-surgery. . .and it will only get better!

Two more appointments (I think) with Lindsay then Dr. Philippon and then home . . although I have to admit this place is starting to feel a lot like home. Walking down the trail today I committed to myself to continue this level of exercise and fitness once I get home. I feel so much better and don't want to give back any of the progress that I have made in my 6 weeks out here. I am excited to buy a mountain bike and take off into the woods on any weekend that I can or go hike through a forest and enjoy the life of the forest. I can start biking again . . flats only, 30 minutes only and low gear . . in another week. I can kayak as soon as I get home.

It's storming here today. Watching lightning at 9,000 feet is powerful. I love thunderstorms anyway and seeing it up close makes me awestruck. The other thing that I don't think I have commented on is the stargazing that being at 9000 feet with no city lights close by affords. I can sit on the deck for hours and stare up into the night sky contemplating the meaning of life. :-)

I am looking forward to being back in Indy for the summer to spend time with my friends. I appreciate each and every one of you and all the encouragement you have given me over the last 6 weeks but I agree . . it's time to come home. See you very soon!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

3 more days

I have 3 official appointments left with Lindsay before I see Dr. Philippon. It is surreal. First I was freaking out about coming out here for 6 weeks and now I am freaking out about going home. What's with me????

I talked with both Mark, the athletic trainer who coordinates care between Howard Head and Dr. Philippon and Lindsay and they are confident that he will send me packing on Monday. In fact, Lindsay is having me bring my pt protocols in this weekend to be completely re-worked since I am performing well ahead of schedule. Did you read that . . . . well ahead of schedule. . . . :-) . . . once again, my competitiveness pays off. Ok, actually what has paid off is staying here for 6 weeks and working with physical therapists who know exactly when to push, when to back off and how to fix things that go wrong during recovery. They are amazing.

I had a tearful hug with Laurie today. Her days off are Sat, Sun and Mon so I probably won't see her again before I leave. It felt really weird so I refused to say goodbye since I will be back out here the end of July. I simply told her that I would see her later. It also helped that I will still have appointments over the weekend so I could be brave today. I can't imagine what will happen when I say goodbye to Lindsay on Monday. I promise to hold it together but there will be a small moment of panic as I leave. This place has been so much a part of my life.

Lindsay amped up the exercises today and I'm pretty sure tried to see if she could get my hip to pop out of the socket (kidding!!). I was pretty shaky by the time I left but felt incredibly good at the same time. My hip is really stable and pain free. I just have to continue to work on getting it to relax a bit and I am golden! There were new hip patients (surgery yesterday) in the clinic today and I still am amazed at how far I have come in 5 weeks. Amazing!

I am hoping that I feel ready to leave come next week but I know I am going to have moments of uncertainty. I hope Laurie and Lindsay will bear with me as I email and text them until I get back out here in July. Speaking of July -- I made a 3 month post op appointment with Dr. Philippon today - July 27. I am planning to do a physical therapy session with Lindsay on July 26 and then see Philippon on July 27. If he gives me the all clear, I plan to stay a couple of days and do some hiking through this beautiful place that I have only been able to enjoy from afar. A small reward for all of this hard work. It also gives me great motivation to keep working really hard once I get back to Indy so I don't get reprimanded by Lindsay or Dr. Philippon. ;-)

So tonite, I am enjoying a really fine glass of red wine and a mountain view and thinking that I am the luckiest girl in the whole world!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The countdown continues

Never, ever tell your physical therapist that something is easy because she will make sure that nothing, and I mean nothing, else will be for the remainder of the time you spend with her. More time on the pilates reformer machines today. wow .. . they look so easy until you actually try to hold that position yourself for 30 seconds. I am sure that the song, "Shake, rattle and roll", was written about my glutes cuz that's exactly what they do after 3 sets of anything. One leg standing squats, lots of pilates work and stretching exercises that make me think my leg is going to come off are pretty routine. We are starting to talk about what happens and what kinds of things I need to work on with a new physical therapist in Indianapolis once Dr. Philippon releases me. That makes me nervous. I can't imagine placing my continued success in someone else's hands but that is exactly what I am going to have to do. Yikes!!

Ok, I may seem to be complaining but please know that I am not. I have muscles that I haven't had in a long, long time and it feels really good!! I weighed myself today and I lost 3 lbs last week alone. I am probably in better health now than I have been in a long time and it feels really good. My hip is as smooth as glass and, other than the muscles that want to complain, I have absolutely no pain!!! It is marvelous. I love physical therapy . . . .no matter how much they make me wince, complain, sweat or yelp, it is doing me a world of good and I love it!! I am going to miss my Howard Head family. I don't know that they realize how much I appreciate all they have done for me and have been through with me. They are amazing professionals and kind, caring people. Onward and upward. It's time for me to move out.

I am getting nervous about the next steps but I know it's inevitable and deep down I know everything will be fine. I will take an active role in my continuing physical therapy and will be back out here the end of July for a check-up just to make sure everything is still on track. How bad can I mess it up in 6 weeks? :-) I hope to do some hiking in the mountains when I come back. That would certainly be a dream come true and a worthy goal!

So, today is 5 weeks from surgery and I am pleased to report that I have truly turned the corner on getting better. I have pretty much had all good days in a week and continue to make good progress.

:-) <-------- me smiling . . . BIG SMILE!! I am going to have my life back!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What are these? Muscles?

The benefits of physical therapy are starting to be evident. Of course, they should be. I spent more time today than I care to think about working solely on glutes and quadriceps but lo and behold . . . muscles have magically appeared. Not that I would win any bodybuilding contest or anything like that but I definitely have some bulges that I haven't seen in a long time. It's some consolation as I shake and sweat and pant while trying to hold some impossible position or do some contortionist exercise that Laurie has put me in. I keep concentrating on the end result and try to smile all the while. My muscles are finally cooperating and my walk has somewhat normalized. I still have a little difficulty when I first stand from sitting but I know how to stretch the right muscles to make it easy again.

Lots of hip surgeries happening this week so lots of new patients showing up at pt. It seems forever ago that I was in their shoes and yet it seems like yesterday. I am so happy to be 5 weeks out and working on getting my strength back instead of just trying to survive day to day.

It's peak spring in the mountains and it is breathtakingly beautiful. Everything is green and blooming and all the animals are out. Yesterday, the red fox was just across the street from the house hunting in the tall grass. He/she seemed oblivious to me watching him hunt some small unsuspecting creature for dinner. This morning, on the way to physical therapy, 3 mule deer were standing right by the side of the road grazing on the tasty new grass. There are elk everywhere. The mountain is alive. It's a magical experience.

A few days left before I find out where exactly I am in the recovery process from Dr. Philippon. Until then . . . more pt please.

Monday, May 25, 2009

One more week

I don't know how it's happened but I only have one week left here before I (if all goes well with Dr. Philippon) head for Indiana. As I looked back through this blog, I was laughing as I read my very early posts where I was obviously freaking out about leaving home for 7 weeks. Funny how things work out. I managed to pack everything that I needed (and more), drive to Colorado, have a successful hip surgery, shave my own legs (except for once) and polish my own toenails. To quote the Grateful Dead, "What a long, strange trip it's been". It's certainly been full of ups and downs but I definitely feel like I have turned a corner on recovery. My walk is consistently good. I still have the occasional sharp pain here or there but even those are becoming less and less frequent. Physical therapy is focusing more and more on strength training rather than just making my hip move . . . a very nice feeling.

Today at physical therapy, the new hip patients (surgery last Thursday) were all very curious as to where I am in the recovery time frame. Lindsay made me do a walk across the room so she could check my progress. I, of course, had to show off a bit and make everyone laugh . .. that's how I know I have turned the corner. I smiled as I told them I was over 4 weeks out because you could see the look of encouragement come across their faces . . or maybe they just want to be able to swing their hips like I did. :-)

I have decided to buy a mountain bike and bring home with me. There are some great bike shops out here with people who spend lots of time riding in the mountains. And, as a bonus, they are all trying to get rid of 2008 inventory in a soft economy. I can't actually ride it yet but will look forward to the day that I can and I think that will motivate me to continue to work really hard at pt. I am also hoping that, since I have been working out at 7500 feet, my cardio endurance will be really good when I get back to Indy.

I will be spending this last week eating at all the great restaurants that I will miss when I come home and spending time with my fellow patients and physical therapists that have become my adopted family. I will miss the mountains and wildlife but am looking forward to getting back to my "normal" life.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vicodin, Muscle Relaxer & Mike

So, last night I decided that a full night's sleep was in order and I wasn't taking any chances with wimpy Tylenol PM. I went straight for a vicodin and muscle relaxer. Totally did the trick and I slept like a baby . . or a junkie . . . whatever it was I didn't care; I slept!! My hip was still feeling a little throbby this morning and I was hoping that Mike would be able to shed some light on what was happening in my newly repaired hip socket. Mike is the head of the hip team at Howard Head. I have watched him work with the pro athletes that have been in and he is amazingly good at his job. I love Lindsay and Laurie and think they have performed miracles with me but I will admit that I was looking forward to seeing what Mike had to say today. Lindsay is out of town this weekend so Mike is covering for her.

One initial comment -- Mike is MUCH stronger than Lindsay and Laurie and has seen a few hips. Mike asked me what my main complaints were and I told him that I was having some pain down the inside of my thigh and that generally my hip felt really tight. He told me to stand normally and asked me how it felt. I told him it felt like I had one leg longer than the other. :-) Bottom line -- he fixed it. My hip has never felt better than it does right now. He did some targeted stretching and straightened the way I was standing. I was favoring my left side; not making it work and by doing that, it was making my adductor muscle down the inside of my thigh be in a constant stretch and subsequently be really sore all the time. He said this is a very common complaint at week 4, easy to fix and was very encouraging. Yippee!! I feel so much better about things today. Thank you Mike!! This is another reason I am so glad I stayed out here for the full physical therapy. He said that they have a lot of problems trying to figure this out over the phone with other physical therapists. For those of you reading my blog who are coming here for surgery, I will say it again . . . . stay here for pt as long as you possibly can. These people are amazing!!

Today and tomorrow is the Blues, Brews and Bar-B-Q fest in Beaver Creek. Mitch and I plan to go check it out and hopefully sample some more good microbrew Colorado beer and hear some free music. It's raining here on and off so we're hoping that we don't get caught in a downpour. I wasn't sure I would be able to walk it but my hip feels absolutely great today so I am optimistic on making my way around.

I have just over a week left. Here's to even more improvement!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why does this have to be so hard?

As I have said before, they won't all be good days. I am having some unexplained pain today. Laurie couldn't exactly pinpoint the cause but it is painful when I walk today so the limp is back. The limp isn't something out of a horror movie - dragging a dead leg behind me - but it's definitely a limp. There's also a throbbing in the hip . . a dull ache that just won't go away. Rats!! Nothing seems to make it worse or better . . it's just there. So, tonite I am pharmaceutical shopping . . can't decide if it's a Tylenol pm night or something stronger. The throbbing kept me awake much of last night and I could really use a good night's sleep tonite so I am thinking of opting for stronger. . . muscle relaxer. Ugh!!! I was really hoping those days were behind me but it appears that as physical therapy ramps up, I may have an occasional icky day.

Today in physical therapy, I moved up to the leg press machine. 100 leg presses using very low weight. It felt good to be using some muscle again. Still working on core and glutes but have added in some hamstrings and quads now. I am still having lots of problems with my IT band . . . very tight and painful and requires lots of stretching. It's getting better slowly but surely.

My ankle continues to cause me problems. I can't sleep at night without a pillow between my ankles. It's still numb, swells at the drop of a hat and is quite painful when moved or touched on the bones. Ugh!!! I was hoping it might start to dissipate before now but it's barely better than 4 weeks ago. :-(

A new round of hip patients appeared this morning at physical therapy . .all in various stages of recovery from surgery. It makes me very happy to be at 4 weeks, walking and moving on. I never, ever want to do this surgery again.

It's Memorial Day weekend and I am not in Indy entertaining family and friends and preparing to go to the race on Sunday. That makes me sad and feel a bit homesick. It's also been raining here for the past two days with more to come for the next several. Don't get me wrong, the mountains are still beautiful and peaceful and I am enjoying them but I love the Indy 500!! Watching it on tv just won't be the same.

Here's hoping for some marked improvement over the weekend. 10 days left before I see Dr. Philippon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One month tomorrow

Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since surgery. I can hardly believe it except for the fact that physical therapy has just kicked up a notch. Yikes!! Did I really wish for this at some point? Seriously??? Want to feel old and out of shape -- spend 2 hours working on core and glute exercises . . 20 minutes on a pilates reformer machine. I am pretty sure at this point that Joseph Pilates invented these machines as torture devices and when people didn't die; only got in better shape, marketed them as exercise equipment. Wow! I am thinking that Mitchell may have to hoist me out of bed in the morning as I will be unable to move. And, did I mention, we did core work in the pool yesterday?

I have no clothes that fit anymore. I have dropped an entire clothing size while out here in the last month. I had to go buy a pair of shorts today just to have something other than sweats to wear. I am starting to have real muscles again. It's pretty cool!! I am firmly of the belief at this point that what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. I keep eating more and more and thinking that I am going to gain weight . . NOT! Don't get me wrong -- I still have a long way to go for complete recovery and I still have those "spots" that I look away when I see myself in a full length mirror but it's getting better.

I am using Vitamin E oil on my scars and they are starting to calm down a bit. I no longer fear something alien inside me or a spare surgery tool left under the skin.

And, most importantly, I LOVE COLORADO! The flowers are blooming, the grass is getting green and the trees are spouting leaves. It is magnificently beautiful. Every day when I drive to Vail I see people kayaking, biking, running and walking their dog. People at Howard Head have adopted me as part of their big family. I will miss them so much when I come home. I think I will also feel a little insecure without their guidance and oversight. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I will miss their pushing me hard to build muscle and get back in shape. I need someone to kick me in the butt periodically . . . no volunteers please.

4 weeks down and 2 to go. I didn't think it would come this fast but I am definitely having more good days than bad now and my progress is speeding up. Thank you Dr. Philippon and Lindsay and Laurie . . . you guys rock!!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I can finally say, with confidence, that I am starting to make good progress. Now, please don't think that I am about to run a marathon or take off on a mountain bike trail cuz I'm not even close to thinking about that. When I say progress, what I mean is that I can walk across the parking lot and into the grocery store without sort of dragging my left leg behind me like Igor. I still have a very, very slight limp but it is improving day by day. I am encouraged!! I am making more progress in PT each day and my range of motion is improving. Whew!! In case you in Indiana wondered what you heard . . .that's a big sigh of relief!! There is a rowing machine in the PT facility. Every day I ask if I can try it and get a "NO!". I feel like I could benefit from some time on it but completely trust Lindsay when she says that won't come until week 7 to 9. Dang!!! There is a young (turned 20 today) hockey player in pt with me who hasn't listened to instructions. At week 3, he is back on crutches and not doing well at all. I would be scared to death if I were him but he seems too cocky to understand that this is serious stuff. I guess my rowing can wait until week 7 to 9.

My scars are taking some of my focus now. They are big, ugly, swollen, red lumps. I have been told to massage them each day to break down the tissue so they go away. Gladly . . except it really feels creepy under my fingers. They look like something out of a sci fi movie -- I keep thinking that some alien is going to pop out and run around the room.

It has been beautiful here for the past several days. Temps in the upper 70's, blue sky, green but snow topped mountains. Picture perfect!! Too bad I spend so much time indoors. . . .oh well . . . I come home every day and sit out on the deck for an hour or so and just enjoy the scenery and solitude. Quite lovely. Mitch has been running in the very thin mountain air here and seems to be getting into great shape quickly. I think time in the mountains has done both of us a lot of good. For those of you who are wondering, I am shaving my own legs and polishing my own toenails as I could never convince him to do it. :-)

Two weeks from today, I see Dr. Philippon for my almost 6 weeks post op visit. It really doesn't seem possible. I am holding my breath for a good report so I can head home and get on with the remainder of my rehab and enjoying my house for the summer. For all of you in Indy -- we have some celebrating to do this summer!!! This coming Thursday will be 4 weeks post op . . wow!!! My hip socket is as smooth as glass, the muscles are starting to cooperate and I am feeling great! I am hoping that the days continue to improve from here and that I make small but significant improvements every day.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 23

This is me at Day 23 still trying to make my muscles get their act together. When Lindsay gets one in line, another one stands up to complain. Today was no exception. Thank goodness for Extra Strength Tylenol! But, I am slightly better and my walk is improved . . .it's not perfect, still a slight limp but I can feel that it's better. Still working on the lazy left glute (stubborn) and adductor muscles. I noticed today that I didn't lose nearly as much muscle tone in my legs this time as I did last. Amazing and encouraging at the same time. I think that is definitely one of the things that is accelerating my recovery. Today after physical therapy we walked and shopped through Lionshead and then came back home to sit on the deck, gaze at the mountains and soak up some intense sun. Ahhhhh . . . very relaxing and very beneficial for my state of mind.

Tonite we are heading out for dinner with Lindsay at Terra Bistro. Again, an upscale Vail restaurant that currently has all entrees 50% off for the locals who remain after all the skiers leave and before the hikers and bikers arrive. Looking forward to an excellent meal and a nice bottle of wine. I am thinking if I buy dinner for Lindsay she might go a little easy on me tomorrow. HA!!!!

Almost all of the hip patients that had surgery at the same time as me are gone. There are a couple of local people who remain and I am starting to feel like one of them. No worries though . .. I am anxious to be back in Indy with my friends and family.

Oh yeah . . . this is Mitch, my nephew who thinks he has the best life a 25 year old could have right now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lazy glute

I am somewhat pleased to report that I am having some success getting my lazy left glute to work. It's still weak and very, very shaky but Lindsay, Lauri and I are forcing it to get off its lazy butt (pun intended) and WORK!! So, the end result and bottom line, my walk is improving. . . it's not perfect . . I still have a slight limp but it's improving and that's all I am asking for at this point. I am back working with Lindsay for the weekend and she is putting me to work on the pilates machines. Yikes!! A good workout but I think I will need more extra strength Tylenol before the weekend is over.

Spring is finally coming to the mountains and it is ever more beautiful here every day. Flowers are blooming, trees are sprouting leaves and the elk migration is in full swing. The sun has been out this week and temperatures have been in the upper 60's to low 70's and it has done a lot to improve my mood. My orders for the afternoon were to walk so we walked around Vail Village today, had a late lunch outside on the patio of La Bottega and did a little shopping. My hip was tight but definitely endured . . even with a slight limp. Yippee!!

I am past the halfway point and now, of course, starting to panic about how short of time that I have left and how much there is left to do. I am hoping for a snowball effect of strength and mobility. Why do I always have to worry about something???

Thanks to everyone who has called, emailed or texted. You keep me positive and moving ahead!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 20

It will be 3 weeks tomorrow and I am pleased to report that I have made some major breakthroughs the past 2 days. Today I am walking almost normally . . without having to consciously think about which muscles to fire to make me walk and without feeling like my hip isn't going to hold me or is going to lock in place. My back is a little tender but it's doing ok too. Today I am encouraged about the end result of 6 weeks of physical therapy out here.

Tomorrow I get my stitches out. I am thrilled . . they are starting to pull and get uncomfortable so it's definitely time to come out. So, my schedule tomorrow is pt from 7:30 to 9:30; Dr. P's office at 10:00 and then pool therapy from 11:30 to 12:30. I am skipping afternoon pt because I think 4 hours tomorrow will be enough. I was too tired on Tuesday from everything and I think it set me back slightly so I am experimenting to see if this works.

Today was day after surgery day too. Dr. P did 1 hip surgery yesterday and she was at pt this morning when I arrived . . .sitting in a chair next to the exercise bike throwing up in a trash can. She was about the color of wallpaper paste and miserable. Aside from the throwing up (which always makes me want to throw up too) it is hard to watch people come out of surgery still. I can so relate to how they feel. I think I heard today that he is doing 5 hips on Thursday so Friday should be an absolute zoo in there. Mental note to self -- take i-pod!!

So tomorrow I reach the half way point of my journey out here. In some ways it feels like I have been gone forever and in other ways it seems I just got here and started work. I feel like I have lots more to do so my focus is to get as much back as I possibly can before I start the journey home. Here's to day 21!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

6 hours of physical therapy

Will wear a girl out!! I started with 20 minutes on the bike, Lauri had me do many different stretches, isometric exercises and then worked on range of motion with my hip. It was immediately off to the pool for an hour of aqua jogging, laps with a kick board and then walking against the current in the lazy river. Then time to run to the grocery store for a quick bite to eat and immediately back to physical therapy for 20 more minutes on the bike, some new glute strengthening exercises and lots more stretching and range of motion for my hip. I started at 9:30 this morning and got home at 4:30 this afternoon and other than the driving or running to the grocery store for lunch, I was doing something. Let's just say that I had to take a nap when I got back here today. That could also have something to do with the fact that I still can't sleep through the night. My hip has been so tender that I wake up every time I move. I hope it's just nervousness about the hip which will ease with time and I will finally sleep more than 4 hours. This is getting really old!!

The good news -- I am walking much better now. Sitting will cause my hip to stiffen. . . a lot so I am best up walking around doing something. I feel more shopping coming on tomorrow between physical therapy appointments. No pool tomorrow so I will only have about 4 hours of things. Back to the pool on Thursday.

More good news -- the "boys" didn't challenge me in the pool today. Apparently all the weight lifting and muscle building I did with my legs pre-surgery is paying off. I have strong legs. Maybe it's my big feet that propel me along so quickly. Who knows? I basically think it's just something they have to give me a hard time about. Nick who is a week out of surgery and was at the pool today has the biggest bruise I think I have ever seen in my life. Ok I got the whole ankle thing but at least I didn't get a bruise that covers my entire upper thigh from front to back. Yikes!!

19 days to maximize my physical therapy and get back to Indy. :-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

They won't all be good days.

So yesterday I had a bad day . . . a really bad day. It's the whole "make the right muscles work and the other muscles stop" thing. So, my body's reaction to trying to make that happen was to lock up. Progress came to a complete halt and I had to go back to walking with a cane. In fact, I had to take a muscle relaxer and vicodin last night just to get everything to relax and quit throbbing long enough to go to sleep. It was not a good day! My ankle was throbbing, I was frustrated and my body rebelled. It was not pretty.

Today, however, I had a good day. The muscle relaxer did it's work and I awoke feeling a little more limber. Lindsay stretched and stretched and got me to walk again by this afternoon. It took great effort on both of our parts but we made it work. In fact, I had about an hour between a conference call and my last physical therapy appointment so I went to Lionshead and went shopping. I was under strict orders from Lindsay not to sit . . I have to walk every 20 minutes to keep my muscles from getting lazy or locked in place. The great thing about Vail in early May -- sales and absolutely no crowd!! I found a great bargain on a pair of capri pants at the Patagonia store. I am not sure that I have mentioned this but I have lost weight since I got out here. Surgery, drugs and working out 4 hours a day have taken a toll on my appetite so I would guess I have dropped somewhere between 5 and 10pounds. I am not complaining . . I bought a whole size smaller than I wore when I came out here. Seems I may have some shopping to do when I get home.

So, today I am encouraged again. I have two physical therapy appointments tomorrow as well as pool therapy. I will spend about 6 hours tomorrow working my hip. I am hoping that walking will come easier after all of this. The boys who will be going to the pool with me tomorrow were already trash talking today. I plan to kick both of their butts tomorrow. ;-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

She Walks!!!

Today is officially day 17 which means that I give up the hip brace and tying my feet together at night when I sleep. If it weren't Sunday, I would go buy a bottle of champagne and celebrate. I would mostly be celebrating the promise of a full night's sleep which, of course, I have not had in 17 days. I sleep about 3 hours at a time . .. 5 if heavily drugged. It's not fun. I am a BIG fan of sleep and typically require at least 8 hours a night to function properly. Let's just say that I can feel the effects of 17 days of bad sleep. My brain isn't working at it's full potential and I am constantly tired. Hopefully a new trend is about to begin!

Lindsay has also made me officially give up the crutches and the cane and begin to walk more and more. My hip is stiff and lots of muscles are complaining LOUDLY!! Since my hips have been bad all of my life, the proper muscles don't support them. So, I have some muscles that are absolutely locked in place that shouldn't be and other muscles that should be supporting that have been simply going along for the ride all these years. Re-training both sets of these muscles will take a little time and pain . .. mostly pain I am thinking at this point. Whew!! I am beginning to see what she is trying to accomplish because when everything is firing as it's supposed to be, my walk is fabulous and I feel great. When I first get up in the morning and am completely stiff, I walk like my 82 year old mother . . ok, maybe not even that good. It's work, it's hard work but it's definitely just starting to get results. Lindsay also tested my balance yesterday by making me stand on my operated leg and lift my right knee up parallel to the floor and stand for 2 minutes. Ok, take a break from reading this and go ahead and try that on your leg that hasn't had surgery 17 days ago. . . . it's hard!!! But, the good news is . . . I did it . . she continued to make it harder and I did it every single time. I have good balance!! At least one thing I don't have to work on. . .YIPPEEE!!! She also started me on some pilates machines yesterday. It felt great.

Staying here for 6 weeks of rehab was absolutely without a doubt the right thing to do. There is no way that I would be working on balance and pilates machines if I had come back to Indy. Lindsay has promised that she will get me out on a road bike (flats only) before I leave here on June 2. Most people who leave and get pt elsewhere wouldn't get that chance until about 3 months. I watch them rehab pro athletes though and they know exactly when to push and how hard to push. While I am certainly no pro athlete, I get the benefit of the therapist who knows how hard to push and I get pushed along at a slower rate. My stomach and back are already more muscled than they have been in years. Next will come the muscles in my legs. I will get to enjoy a lot of my summer still and will have 2 good hips to do it with for the very first time in my life. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have scheduled this surgery about a year after he did my right hip. :-( But, it's done now and hopefully I still have many years to enjoy them both.

Many of the patients who had surgery at the same time as me are leaving this weekend. It's kind of sad but then again I get to be the most advanced patient setting a good example for the patients who are further behind me. There is a college hockey player who is a week behind me who is pushing way too hard. . .already trying to walk and shouldn't. I suspect he is going to pay the price sometime next week. Yikes!! Maybe I'll still be able to kick his butt in the swimming pool on Tuesday. :-)

I have 22 more days to stay here, maximize pt and get myself back in shape. I am definitely homesick and ready to be back in my bed and my house. Don't get me wrong, I am infinitely thankful for Bill and his generous offer to let me stay at his house but it's not home. It's a fabulous house, incredible view and perfect location but it's not home.

So, here's to day 17, walking again and building a stronger core and legs.