Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let the freaking out begin

I realized the other day that I am 6 months away from yet another hip surgery. When I was 8months, it seemed light years away but I know how quickly 6 months will fly by. As I was having a moment of quiet reflection today, I realized I was freaking out about waking up from anesthesia -- the part I hate the most. I seem to be fine with the hip rehab part and the getting to and from Vail but the anesthesia is really weighing me down. Weird, huh?

I have been having a very bad bout of muscle pain, stiffness and spasm lately. I traveled for 3 weeks straight and between walking, lugging briefcases and luggage and sleeping on too hard beds, it threw my psoas, it band and adductor into a tizzy. For the past 2 days, my glute med has chimed right in along with the others to make my life a living hell. I should also say that I have started a new regimen to see if I can get any relief from my back pain -- The Foundation by Dr. Eric Goodman & Peter Park. It was recommended to me by a therapist that I see and I started to do some of the exercises in it. My body strongly resists any change and this time was no exception. Ugh!!!

Still hanging in there trying to find the balance between doing enough and not too much. I want to be "ready" for surgery to make my rehab less painful and time consuming but, of course, I never feel like I am doing enough.

Thanks again for all of the comments left on my blog and the emails from hip patients, potential hip patients and others. It's always nice to know that I am not alone and I love the encouraging words!! I feel like all of you are part of my extended family so keep it coming.

I'll post again with my progress on the new exercises -- especially if they help me. Six months and counting!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Answers to questions

From comments posted on my blog -

Is it worth it to travel to see Dr. Philippon - YES! I have seen the aftermath of surgery done by other "experts". Dr. Philippon becomes the last hope for many of those patients to fix the repairs done by others. There is a reason that pro athletes go to see him for hip problems. It's the same reason you should -- he sees more of these types of problems than any other hip surgeon in the united states - he is the expert and he is SMART!! I have 100% confidence in him and wouldn't let anyone else deal with my hip issues.

Accommodations in Vail - Expensive!! ugh!! Steadman Hawkins used to have some deals with some places in Vail -- not that you are going to get 50% off or anything like that but it should help somewhat. I would also check VRBO.com. People list condos and homes for rent and it turns out to be much more pleasant than staying in a hotel.

Me give up hope? -- NEVER!!! I will conquer this and I know Dr. Philippon won't stop until I am back to where I want to be. We are a team and I will be backpacking, hiking, canyoneering and causing all sorts of trouble before long. It's another year in a whole lifetime. I am good with that.

Always happy to answer questions as I hope you all know. If you want to email me directly -- almcz@aol.com.

And, my last piece of advice -- stay in Vail and do PT as long as you possibly can with the therapists at Howard Head. They are incredible and you will be way ahead in recovery by the time you leave. I have done it both ways and my strength on my left side still exceeds my right even though I am having issues with my left. Just like with Dr. Philippon, these are people who work with pro athletes and see LOTS of hip patients every day. They know what to look for, when to push and when to stop something before you do damage. Love, love them!!

May 8, 2012

Is the next surgery date. An 8 month waiting list. Wow . . . in 2003 when I first went to him it was 5 months and I thought that was a long time. :-) Is he worth the wait? Every bit of it!!!

Thanks to all who have left comments for me. I will say it again -- Dr. Philippon is the BEST and I wouldn't even consider letting someone else do anything to my hip. Is it worth it to see him -- YES!!! GO! If he can't fix it, NO ONE can. In fact, if I didn't have my right hip to base everything on, I would be freaked out with my left. BUT, my right hip is still perfect after 8 years. No problems, no twinges, no tightness, nothing. My right hip is what my left hip wants to grow up to be.

For now, however, it's the same story. Lower back problems, adductor tightness, major psoas tightness, etc. You all know the drill. A daily balance between living my life and crippling pain. I know it will get better and am just in the waiting it out period.

At the risk of wishing my life away, I have May 8 marked in big bold letters on my calendar and am counting down the days already. I don't feel the need to start my logistical planning yet so am just chilled out trying to figure out how much is enough and not too much when it comes to activity. Still don't have that right and am realizing that I probably never will but that's ok too.

May 8, 2012 . . . . should I plan a canyoneering trip for Fall, 2012? Am I that confident? :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Deja Vu

Third time's a charm? I haven't posted for awhile because it's same thing over and over again. Lower back pain, adductor pain, IT band pain and a seriously tight psoas. It has become a management process to relieve the tightness and pain in one and observe as it simply transfers to another spot. I have tried PT, deep tissue massage, isolated stretching, myofascial release, pilates, yoga and doing nothing. Everything works for about 3 hours and then I am right back where I started. I am tired! I am tired of saying no to everyone who asks me to do something fun that might involve too much walking or bending or sitting or whatever. I am living my life on eggshells and I hate it! If I dare over do anything, I am likely to pay with crippling back spasms or pain shooting down my inner thigh that makes me unable to walk.

Dr. Philippon had suggested that I come back for another shot into my hip. I politely declined this particular brand of torture :-) since I had no measurable results from the last one. I am working on scheduling a date for surgery. Psoas release, cleaning out of scar tissue and a clean up of a cyst that has formed in my hip bone. Ugh!!!

Sometimes I feel like the movie - Groundhog Day - where I am doomed to live each day over and over again until I get it right. Will try to schedule surgery for next April after ski season so I can find a place to stay but have already decided that I am not staying away from home for 6 weeks again.

I am following the recovery of a fellow hip patient who just had a similar surgery with Dr Philippon and am hoping for great success for both him and me! HA!

Let the countdown begin . . . 8 months and counting. I know it sounds like a long time right now but I know it will be here before I know it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two weeks since shot

It's been two weeks since "the needle" and I was hoping to feel on top of the world by now. Not to be. I still have pain and stiffness in my left hip which is made much worse by doing any sort of walking. :-( Since my travel schedule is unusually amped up right now and I can't get anywhere without first going through Atlanta it seems, my hip is protesting as loudly as it can about all of the walking. I got a little relief at first but that seems to have worn off. Boo!!!

I have also started to wonder about the simple body mechanics of having a psoas release done on one side and not the other. Since it is not equal on each side of the body, wouldn't that be likely to cause problems? Seems logical to me but I have absolutely no facts to base that on.

I have also been really down thinking about how limited my activities and life has been since surgery -- 2 years ago. And, since I can't get it fixed this year, it is likely to be 3 years before I have any real quality of life back. If I think about it for too long, I can reach a state of extreme sadness. And, since the magical shot doesn't seem to be providing much relief, I am even more pessimistic about my limited activities until I can get it fixed. Grrrrrrrr!!! Too much life passing me by without my full participation. My brain screams for me to just do what I want but my body punishes me when I do. What's a girl to do?

Dreaming about the days when I am without pain!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vail - My happy place

Arrived in Denver on Monday night and stayed at a lovely hotel downtown - the Curtis. Very hip, funky and fun with a great martini bar. It was a great way to start the trip. My friend, Lisa, decided to come with me as she has never been to Colorado and wanted to see what all the fuss is about (more on that later). We did a little exploring downtown Denver on Tuesday morning and then hit the road for Vail.

Did I mention snow? It was raining cats and dogs in Denver and never occurred to me that it would be snowing cats and dogs in the mountains. We got to Silverthorne and, of course, had to stop at the outlet mall (we are 2 girls you know). It was snowing so hard that you had to use am umbrella to stay dry. Unreal. The roads were decent. Some slick spots but for the most part they were good. It's also a joy to drive in Colorado where people actually know how to drive in snow. Yay!

We rented a beautiful house right outside of Edwards along the Eagle River and arrived here around dinner time on Tuesday evening. Our first stop was the Gore Range Brewery for some of their very yummy beer and food. I had forgotten how much I missed being out here. Home for a nice night's sleep to prepare for my big day at Vail Valley, Howard Head and Steadman Hawkins today.

I was a little nervous today to see Dr. Philippon. I can't really explain it . . maybe I felt like there was a lot on the line today. I have been pushing my hip hard for the past several weeks in anticipation of seeing him today. I started doing both mat and reformer pilates and spent last week walking miles and miles at Disney. By yesterday afternoon, I could barely walk because my hip hurt so bad. Perfect time to see him I figure.

I started with an MRI followed with some strength measurements at Howard Head and then upstairs to see Dr. Philippon. I know I have mentioned this before but at the risk of repeating myself, I will say it again - I LOVE Dr. Philippon.

So, here's the bottom line - i have developed a cyst in the bone of my hip (ugh), i have developed scar tissue and i have an extremely tight psoas. I felt a pit begin to form in my stomach because I knew he was about to say the "s" word.

Now let's add to this that he is now "out of network" for my health insurance until January, 2012. A deepening pit. So I ask if there is any way to manage this until my health insurance changes in 2012 and I can have surgery with him "in network". He says yes, I can have an injection today, another in 4 months and then surgery. Great I think. Problem solved.

Lie back he says, I'm going to give you a shot that should help with the pain. Awesome I think. I love Dr. Philippon. :-) My friend Lisa is in the room with me I should add. I'm lying back thinking good thoughts and Dr. P tells me that I will feel a pinch and then some pressure. Ok, I can handle that. Then I look at Lisa's face who is looking at the needle and there is a look of shock and horror which causes ME to look at the needle. BAD idea! I swear the thing was 3 feet long and an inch around. :-) It was a fairly intense but short experience and I am anxiously awaiting the full benefit of it.

So, I have a plan for the hip. I once again feel 100% better being in Dr. Philippon's care and am optimistic. YAY!!! I had a lovely dinner at Montauck's tonite with Lisa, Lindsey and Mike and a friend of theirs who is now a friend of mine. It's one of the things that I truly love about Vail!

And, about Vail - Lisa has fallen in love with it just like me. There is something about this place that brings a tremendous sense of peace for me. I just love it here. Maybe it's the scenery; maybe it's the people; maybe it's Dr. Philippon. I don't know what it is but I am enjoying it for as long as it lasts!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April 20 - Vail

Ever watch the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. At any moment, I expect to wake up to the same Sonny & Cher song as I continue to try to get this hip thing figured out.

Since my last post, I have grown sick and tired of being infirmed. I am NOT infirmed and refuse to be so. No more feeling sorry for myself. No more denial. No more!!

I have an appointment with Dr. Philippon on April 20. Physical therapy no longer does anything for me other than allow me to walk short distances more comfortably. It's time. I have a list of complaints and won't leave without a real, solid action plan to get me back to where I belong -- biking, hiking, backpacking -- without any trepidation or hesitation.

So, stay tuned my fellow hipsters. Life begins again very soon!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seriously? Like I need something else!

Happy 2011! My year started off with a strange pain in my neck. You know, one of those I must have slept wrong last night and now I have a stiff neck pain. So, I managed through day 1 thinking that all would be resolved soon. Well, it didn't. In fact, it got worse day by day. On New Year's Day, the pain had progressed from just my neck to my neck and down my right arm. Throbbing, keep me awake at night pain made me actually call and make an appointment with my doctor.

She suspected a pinched nerve in my neck and was concerned about the cause of it and sent me for x-rays. She called with the really great (can you hear the sarcasm?) news that I have "narrowing disc space between c-5 and c-6 in my spine. Talk about a punch in the gut!!!! Narrowing disc space . . . pain in my neck (literally) and down my arm . . . am i feeling old or what??????

Still the rotating pain and stiffness between my psoas, adductor and IT band resulting in a very tender and painful back and now this. Ugh!!! Does it ever end?

I haven't done anything yet to call Dr. Philippon's office and schedule surgery. There is something about the thought of dislocating my hip again that makes me queasy and makes it darn near impossible to pick up the phone and voluntarily schedule myself for that. I know it has to be done and I know it's probably inevitable but I am just not ready to deal with it yet. I was originally thinking that I might try for another April surgery but I don't know. Why am I having such a difficult time getting this scheduled? I really want some relief in this back pain and I would think that would be a major motivating factor but it's not. Living on muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and vicodin doesn't seem like a good long-term solution, huh?

Anyone care to give me words that will motivate me?