February 1st, 2017: It all starts to get real at this point. It’s the day of my pre-op appointment, which also happens to be 15 hours prior to my surgery. All my tests and doctor visits have been completed at this point. My surgeons, Dr. Muldoon and Dr. Santore, have presented my case at a radiologist conference because I am apparently “a rare case.” It was decided two weeks ago that I need the arthroscopy as well as the periacetabular osteotomy “PAO” (say that three times fast!) and femoral neck ostectomy. My surgery was booked the same day that they presented my case at the conference, so I had two weeks to truly prepare. However, I don’t feel like I prepared in my normal way or at all really…
Let me back up a bit, June 16th, 2016 I had an injury that caused a couple herniated discs in my cervical spine. I’ll keep this part of my story sort of short. I had restrictions to not carry anything over 5lbs then it was increased to 10lbs, no lifting my arms above my head, no performing most household chores such as cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, etc. No physical activity other then walking, although I was able to, for a couple months, ride the stationary bike at the gym as long as I sat straight up with no leaning forward or use of my arms. It was a five month process of doing tests, choosing a surgeon after being required to see seven surgeons!! No doctor shopping here, it was due to good ole’ insurance! Finally, on November 9th, 2016, I had a multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion or ACDF of C5-C7. The surgery went well, but the work was more extensive than the surgeon had expected. He also had found a fresh herniation. That actually gave me relief to hear, because it solidified my decision to have the fusion at my age. I had a three day hospital stay with a good experience, however what I now call an okay experience (I’ll explain later). Now this blog is for my hip, so I’ll stop here with telling my recovery story of my neck. Do know that I am still in recovery of my neck and I will sprinkle in some updates about it or reminders that I am recovering two important body parts right now.
Back to my hip! You can now see that the diagnosis of my hip issues came as a huge shock to me. I wasn’t prepared for another surgery. And I was definitely not prepared to have two surgeries in one. Oh and let me tell you that this will be my third in a year! February 23rd, 2016 I had my tonsils and adenoids removed and multiple sinus surgeries. Before now, I had never had any surgeries or any hospitalizations. I joke that I hit 30 and things really started breaking down!!! So I did minimal research about my hip diagnoses, but mentally and emotionally I just couldn’t handle more. I did ask the surgeons some questions, but for the most part I knew that my test results and my symptoms aligned. I also knew that these surgeons are THE surgeons to see in San Diego and I did trust both of them. I liked both of them from the first time I met them and I had a weird sense of calm in me. I went into my neck surgeon with three pages of single spaced questions for my pre-op appt. Can you believe that people?!!!! But what’s even more impressive is that my surgeon sat there and we went through all but maybe two questions (because I accidentally skipped over them) and he kept his patience with me the whole time. I knew I’d found the right surgeon for me. What a guy! So that gives you a bit of a glimpse into who I am. Now let me tell you that I think I had about 5-10 questions total for my hip surgeons. And honestly I didn’t really care about much for some reason. I shouldn’t say care, I actually mean I just wasn’t in a mental state of mind to be able to act my usual way. I was shocked and focused on my neck recovery still. I trusted my surgeons and for some reason was at peace with needing another surgery. I had absolutely no expectations and let me tell you that has felt amazing! I hope I can continue this way in all aspects of my life. The one care I had was for them to cut my right side, not my left!!
I am the type of person that knows my body well and for the most part I listen to it. I’ve also lived with chronic pain for a very long time. I’ve explained to people in my life that when I finally complain that something hurts, to please understand that it really frickin’ hurts. I have a high pain tolerance which I’ve decided over the past year is not a good thing. So many people told me they had no idea that I even had hip problems. I don’t know how to answer that, except to write here that if I complained about all of my pain, it would probably be all that I talked about. I can handle and tolerate a lot, so it doesn’t surprise me that people didn’t know about all of my pain and all the body parts it hit. I’d prefer to have better and deeper conversations with people and to not talk about the pain I feel on a daily basis.
I didn’t tell many people about my hip at first. I was feeling really embarrassed to be having another surgery, to be needing more support from people even though I was still in recovery with my neck. I was feeling like people might be burned out with supporting me. It’s a horrible assumption to make and I’ve learned I was wrong. Don’t underestimate the human will to give love and support. I told my immediate family and a couple friends I see often, but that was it. Until I realized I’d probably put myself into a state of depression after surgery when no one would reach out. It wouldn’t be their fault either, they just simply wouldn’t know. So about a week before my surgery, I put together a text and sent it to my close friends. Most responses from family and friends was “Are you kidding me?!” No I’m not kidding and that was my response to the surgeons as well. I wish I were kidding, but know this is happening to me and this is something that I have no other option other than surgery. I just called it hip surgery to everyone. I now know that it is massive hip/pelvis surgery and I didn’t really prepare anyone for that. Oh well, this blog can do the explaining for me!