Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Milestone

Its New Year's Eve eve, and I have much to be thankful for! Today marks the 3rd week since surgery. At this time 3 weeks ago, I was under-the-knife. Time has just flown by so so fast! I still can't believe it.

Today is a big day for another reason- I'm getting the stitches taken out! That will make me feel even more healed. They've been itchy, which I guess means the incisions are healing, but I haven't been scratching because I was afraid of tearing the stitches out. I am curious to see what the scars will look like. Thank goodness they are small!

Physical therapy is going very well. Chris says I am moving well for being just 3 weeks out and I feel stronger every day! I've graduating to using one crutch the rest of this week and then (Happy New Year!) I don't have to use it unless I feel like I need to. Progress progress progress! I'll still be doing PT in January- I've booked through the end of the month.

One of the great things about next week is that I can return to work! I stopped by the Portland and Gorham offices on Wednesday, which was really nice. It got me excited to go back. Being home has been nice, but I'm a little stir-crazy. I need to get back into routine. I've been having trouble sleeping, and its because I am not really getting the same mental and physical stimulation I was used to pre-surgery, so I'm not really as tired. Makes sense. I used to be a champion sleeper, and these 3 weeks have been dicey. I'm only going back part time for the first week, but hopefully that will get me headed in the right direction and sleeping again.

2010 has been quite a ride, and I am so excited to start 2011 healthy and strong! I'm not done yet, but none-the-less I am feeling good, and should be pain-free by summer. That's an exciting prospect!

Have a wonderful, safe and healthy new year celebration. Catch you in 2011!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two weeks

Merry Christmas to me (well, a bit early, but still)! Today is the two week mark since my surgery! It is hard to believe that time has gone by so fast already. Its a pretty big milestone too- I no longer have to wear the daytime or nighttime brace! Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. I am sure they can be donated somewhere. If anyone knows a place, please let me know.

I've really been enjoying physical therapy! I can feel myself getting stronger in many ways already! Chris, my physical therapist says he's impressed with how quickly I am progressing! My range of motion is already really good. There are a whole bunch of strength and motion exercising as well as biking. I can only do 15 minutes on the bike, but its something! I've realized that I've been moving incorrectly my whole life! Now's the time for me to start moving in the right direction- literally! And a lot of the exercises are good for my right hip/leg too. I know its working because I'm sore and sweaty when I come home. It feels so good to be moving though! I'll need the crutches for an other two weeks probably, but I am allowed to start putting more weight on that leg. Progress!

Tomorrow is Christmas eve. Tonight, I hope to get some solid sleep! I've had trouble sleeping since the surgery and I've been pretty dependent on Tylenol PMs. Hopefully I will start sleeping like normal soon. Its been nice to have the mornings to sleep in though. Regardless of mild sleeplessness, I LOVE this time of year. :) Ethan's brother Isaac came home from NYC with some friends that I've met before and they came over last night with his sister Brecken. It was nice to hang out and have some drinks and some laughs. We even had a dance party- I can make crutches groove like nobody's business! Hahaha I even got to have my Christmas present from Ethan early! Its a gorgeous diamond and sapphire ring (pictures to follow soon) that I totally love. He's been so supportive and helpful and loving, I feel I owe him- though he tells me that's not the case. I am just glad to have him this Christmas. I can't really ask for anything more.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Time flies!

I shaved my legs this morning. I had to sit on a shower chair like an old person, but I got the job done. I no longer look like Chewbacca. I've never appreciated showering until I couldn't do it every day. I've realized now just how revitalizing a shower can be!!

Its been more than a week since surgery. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by! Thursday, which marked a week from the original surgery date, I went out with Ethan to our favorite restaurant in Portland, Caiola's. His office was having their holiday gathering there and I HAD to get out of the house. I showered, put on jeans, did my hair and wore make-up. It was wonderful. It was hard to stay sitting on the hard chair but I iced when I got home, and it was worth it. His boss and coworkers were pretty impressed that just after a week, I was out and about. I was kind of surprised too.

Physical therapy has been good but intense. It started the day after, and will continue, twice a week, for the next 2-4 months. I am basically having to re-teach my hip to move again, now that all the gunky stuff from the joint has been cleaned out. The Physical therapist's name is Chris. He's nice to look at, but also knows what he is doing. He kicked my ass yesterday. Did some light exercises, then 8 minutes on the stationary bike (with my brace on, for saftey) which is harder than it sounds when the muscle is weak and the joint is sore. Then he had me do 5 more strength exercises. At the end of one of the tougher ones I legit said "you're killing me, here." He just laughed and said "do 20 more of those." FML.

All in all, I feel on the up-and-up. Had a bit of a rough night last night. The scopolamine patch for nausea had worn off and I made the mistake of taking a Vicodin. BAD IDEA. Apparently that stuff makes me violently ill. Spent the better part of last evening/night hurling into a bucket. It was like waking up from the anesthesia all over again. I had to call the on-call doctor at Ortho Associates and have them call in the patches. I left the message, and 5 minutes later I got a call back. Had the patches within a half hour. I can't say they haven't been speedy. And they've been nothing but nice and helpful. Thank goodness.

Off I go to enjoy some lunch (I didn't eat much yesterday, and what I did eat landed in the bucket).



Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Its been less than a week and I am already bored. Feeling a bit trapped! I have had some visitors though. Kacie and Brianna came by, and my dad and Father Jim. Its nice when people stop by. Makes me feel a little less lonely.

I've finally started getting some sleep, which is good. When I wake up is when my hip hurts the most. I usually wake up and pop pills. Makes me feel like a druggie! But they tell me its what I have to do. I try to get up and about as much as I can. Trying to get a glass of water or food is hard when I have to use two crutches, so I usually just hop around. It probably looks hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious (more like, totally embarrassing) I have a story about yesterday. Yesterday was Ethan's birthday. His parents had planned a nice dinner for us and I was dying to get out of the house. I had felt kinda crummy right before Ethan got home from work, but I took my meds, got dressed and we went over to his parents house. It was nice to get out for a while, even if it was raining. His sister hasn't been feeling well, so she didn't eat with us. Ethan's shoulder and back were bugging him, and of course I was a mess too. He opened his presents which was fun. There were even party hats! We sat down to eat. Dinner was great, one of Ethan's favorites. It was delicious but I suddenly had no appetite. I took a few bites, had some ginger ale and told them I was going to have to pass on dinner. After we had eaten (or rather after they had eaten) we got ready to go home. Just as we were leaving I got that "oh crap I am going to puke" feeling, the watery mouth, the overheating. I wanted so badly to make it back to our place before I threw up, but standing on their porch I knew I wouldn't make it. Martha told me to just do it, that I wasn't the first person to throw up over the edge of that porch. It made me feel awful, but I hurled (epically) over the side of the wall. I was totally mortified and kept apologizing. Martha and Jeff assured me that it was ok, and they felt bad that I was so sick. But I was still so embarrassed. :( Went home and decided that I wasn't going to eat anything the rest of the night. Probably for the better.

I got an email from Martha this morning checking in on me. She's such a sweetheart. Told me not to worry about last night and to call if I need anything. Ethan has the greatest parents. I'm not sure what did it- I haven't been sick since I woke up from the anesthesia. And I have been wearing the scopolamine patch since the day of surgery. Who knows. Weird fluke. Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

My incision sites are itchy! I am assuming this means they are healing but its annoying not to be able to scratch at it. The lovely anti-embolism stockings I have to wear make my legs itch. Shouldn't really scratch there either, thanks to my eczema. If its not one thing, its another!

Hoping for more visitors soon. My clergy-friend Kit is coming to give me communion this afternoon, which is nice. Hoping to see some other people as well. And tomorrow I have another round of PT, so at least that will get me out of the house.

Tonight: A shower! And a movie night (in, obviously) with Ethan.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Aftermath

I lay here today on the couch a little hopped-up on pain medication. Surgery has come and gone, it went by so fast. Everyone was so super nice. I got called in and had to put on a totally fashionable Johnny. Then they covered me with this awesome warming blanket of hot air, which made me feel kind of pampered. I had to put on a fancy OA knit cap to keep my hair from getting in the way and the nurse (Mary) started an IV. That's when it became real.

The next person I saw was the anesthesiologist (Dr. Kovarich I think). He was really nice and very funny. He reminded me of Alan Alda from the MASH days, and also Roger from Mad Men. He explained everything and made me feel much more comfortable. Then Dr. Huffard came in and wrote his initials on my left hip and then asked me to write mine there too. Wouldn't want them to do the wrong hip!

I remember being wheeled into the operating room and it was cold in there. I asked why, and Dr. Kovarich said that its because the doctors have full gear on and sit under hot lights. It helps if the temp is a little low. That explains my warming blanket! The last thing I remember is him putting an oxygen mask over my face and saying he was gonna give me the medicine to make me fall asleep. Pretty sure it worked. I don't remember anything after that until waking up.

Waking up was not so pleasant. I puked twice; I guess I have a pretty bad reaction to anesthesia meds. He even said they give you something in the IV to prevent that from happening. Apparently it didn't work for me. :( The ended up giving me 3 or 4 different things for nausea and the one that worked the best was the sea-sickness patch. I have another one to put on later today, as it wears off in about 72 hours. Dr. K came to see me and felt really bad that I was so sick. He said that if I have another surgery to tell them how badly I reacted so they can give me something else. Dr. Huffard came to see me too and said everything went well. That's sort of all I remember. The aftercare nurse's name was Ellen and she was a total sweetheart. Ethan was there with me too, but I was so sick and so out of it. They took good care of me, but kept me there quite a while. The surgery was over at about 1:15 but I didn't leave til about 5 so they could observe me.

I left with crutches and my contraption for sleeping. Went home, took more meds and passed in and out of alertness. I had to keep getting up to pee because they gave me 2 liters of fluids, so at least I wasn't dehydrated. Ethan has already done an amazing job taking care of me. His family gave me an awesome care package with lots of yummy things to eat and a pair of amazingly soft lounge-pants. I've also gotten so many well wishes and prayers from people.

Yesterday was the first pre-op appointment. I met with the physical therapist named Chris and we went over some exercises and muscle stretches I have to do. Then Ally, the physician's assistant came to check on my incisions and explain what they did. there are pictures, and if anyone wants to see them, let me know. They didn't have to do any repairs to the labrum, but there was a bone spur and a bunch of gunky build-up in the joint making it hard to move. They cleaned all that out and reshaped the bone. Everything else in the joint looks good she said.

I have to go to PT twice a week probably for the next few months. I have to be really careful not to dislocate my hip while its healing and I'll need to strengthen the muscles. My arms are getting stronger from the crutches too.

Overall I feel pretty good. Woke up this morning in a bunch of pain, but took my pills and felt better. Just taking it one day at a time. I have to rest but also be somewhat active (like by doing my stretches/exercises). I am looking forward to feeling better. Right now the incision sites are kind of sore, I think because of the adhesive they used. My skin is just too sensitive. Been icing to reduce the swelling and the stitches come out on the 30th. Tomorrow, I can take a shower finally! Ethan washed my hair yesterday, which was nice. Even that made me feel a bit better.

Dad and my priest are coming by this evening, and I am feeling like I'll be ready for visitors from now on, so just call, text or stop on over.

Thanks for all your love and support, and I will keep you posted.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today is the day

Its finally here. I still can't believe it. I'm sitting on the couch in sweatpants (that's what they told me to wear, awesome) starving (because I am not allowed to eat, and haven't 8:00 last night) but also with butterflies in my stomach. I've already received many well wishes from friends and family and I feel so blessed. Prayers, happy thoughts, and good luck wishes are all rising. This makes me feel so much better about everything. Still, I can't shake the nerves.

I have to be at Ortho Associates at 10:45, and the procedure starts at 11:15. Until then, no food, water, gum, mints. My breakfast will be two extra strength Tylenol and a tiny sip of water (to get the pills down). Ethan is cooking bacon right now. I told him it was ok. Maybe just smelling it will satisfy me. When I get back if I feel like eating, he said he'd cook me whatever I want. I really can't think that far ahead yet.

What's waiting for me when I get home is a lot of reading:

I have also received some really nice gifts. The first is a prayer shawl from the folks at St. Mary and St. Jude on Mount Desert Island.

The other is from some of the folks I work with. My boss Norma knows how much I like British culture, so she gave me some magazines to enjoy. She also gave me a packet of New Yorker cartoons that she usually gives out every day or so. She said, one for every day that I am gone is in the envelope (and I have to be back at the office before they run out!) The little purse is hand sewn and has chocolates in it!

They made me some banana bread to take home too. How thoughtful! Its pretty yummy. It also made me realize that I am really going to miss them.

I look forward to visits, cards, and a bunch of time for relaxing. Its going to be great to know that I can just lay around and read and be lazy. I know I will have PT to go to, but that will be my only "chore" and its definitely necessary. It will give me something to look forward to. Getting outta the house! :)

So, off I go. Thanks for all of your support! I love all of you, and I look forward to being back in action and back to normal! Catch you on the other side of surgery!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Week

So, due to some technical difficulties, the video entry is on hold. Apparently either I am technologically inept, or the computer is fussy, or its a combo of both. Either way, put your reading glasses on, kids, because this one is typed.

I had the pre-op appointment yesterday with Ali, Dr. Huffard's physician's assistant. She is really nice and gave me TONS of information. We started with going over all the family history, etc etc. Then she talked about the procedure itself. Let's just say I am REALLY, REALLY glad that I am going to be asleep during the procedure. Apparently, I am going to be on this medieval-style torture device that's going to literally pull me apart. I'm going to be strapped onto an inversion table and they are going to pull down on my legs and open up the joint so they can get in there. She said that most of the pain after will be in the knees and feet, from the pressure. Oh joy. Gonna be doubling up on Advil/Tylenol and such. Oh boy!

HUMOR BREAK: Apparently, because of the placement of part of the device, I could experience numbness in the.."nether" region, as in, I will know that I have to pee, but I won't be able to tell if I have actually peed or not. She said it doesn't always happen, but its possible. I kind of want it to happen because it would be pretty much hilarious!

The procedure is 2.5 hours, then the same amount of time in recovery. They are going to get in there, shave the bone, repair the labrum, and something called capsular plication, which means tightening up the ligaments in that hip. Sounds like a blast!

After I talked with her, I met with the people who do casts and braces. I am going to have TWO braces; one for day (the daytime ensemble) and one for sleeping (evening wear). I'll have those for two weeks. The day one is this one Its going to only allow that hip to be at a 60 degree angle at most. Sitting ought to be fun. The night time one I don't have yet, they will give it to me in recovery. It makes me pigeon-toed while I sleep and keeps me from moving my hip while sleeping. It might be 2 weeks before I get some real sleep with that one. I'll also have crutches for 3 weeks. Yahoo!

Finally, the end of the tour was the actual surgery center, where I met with a nurse and we talked logistics of "going under" and what I can expect. I have to take a shower the night before and the morning of with this super-powerful antibacterial soap. Funsies. At least I won't be at a hospital where I have more of a chance of picking up an infection.

Everyone was super nice. The people at Orthopedic Associates make me feel so comfortable. It helps with the nervousness. Still, this is unchartered territory for me, so I am pretty nervous still. Thankfully, my amazing boyfriend Ethan will be a great care-taker early on; he'll be there when I wake up. :) He's taking Thursday and Friday off, and then the following week I'll be kinda on my own. I've been promised visits, and I should be mobile-enough to be somewhat functional. My plan is to watch awesomely bad movies via Netflix (I've already had some great suggestions) and catch up on reading. I have a bunch of magazines I am behind in.

I am trying to stay positive and look to the future where I'll feel better overall. Still, prayers, visits and encouraging words will always be welcome!

I'll probably post the morning of, and then whenever I feel up to it after.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Nearly a week away

So, time goes by CRAZY-fast! I can't believe my surgery is a week from Thursday. Its going to feel like I only blinked, and it will be here. The reality hasn't hit me yet; I am sure when I have the pre-op appointment on December 1st, it will start to sink in. That's when I will hear all the gory details and meet all the PT people and such. Kara, the physician's assistant said the pre-op appointment is like 2 hours. Does that seem long to anyone else for surgery that is the same length? Anyway, what do I know? I've never really had surgery before (not counting my wisdom teeth extraction; I was "under" for that).

I am trying not to get to nervous, or play the "what-if-this-goes-totally-wrong" game. My friends and family have shared with me lots of encouraging words, which has been helpful. I'm trying to think long term- pain now but relief later. People have described me before as a "chronic optimist." You know, silver lining, everything happens for a reason, constant smile. It has worked to my favor in my life so far, so I plan on sticking to that way of thinking. Still, that doesn't mean I am any less scared!

I've been stocking up on reading: I am currently in the middle of two books (one will likely be finished before the Big Day). The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (which I recommend to all) has had me engrossed from the beginning. Its helping to keep my spirits high about this experience and life in general. The other book is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. Its a 13th century Norse tale. The book I have is 3 texts in one. I am in the middle of the second one. Its good reading, but slow sometimes. My goal is to finish it while laying around doing nothing!

Netflix will also occupy my time. I want to watch as many B-movies as I can! I want to see how many of them I can get through. Most of the ones I think might be interesting are things Ethan would have no interest in watching, so that will occupy my time while he is working. Should be good for a laugh, especially if the pain meds are good. Feel free to come join me in awesomely-bad movie viewing! :)

I am currently at work, taking a little break from my massive "before I go away for 3 weeks to-do list" to update. Gotta get all the office coverage stuff in order, show people how to do what I do and make sure all the paperwork is in order. Time is going quickly (as I said before) and I'm feeling the pressure. However, I can't lie and say I am not looking forward to 3 weeks away from the office! I might go a little stir-crazy, but the idea of it seems nice right now.

The next post will be a video! It will probably be after the pre-op, telling you about all the details. Stay tuned.

P.S. Yesterday I was hurting pretty bad. :( Was at church limping. Today, not so much pain, so I am wearing my high-heeled boots. Gotta get in all the fun-shoe wearing while I can. Ooh, that makes me think: When I am all better, I may have an excuse to go shoe shopping! Who's in?! ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

December 9th-The Big Day.

Well, I have an official surgery date. After more than a decade of pain, PT, waiting, and seeing doctors, I finally have a date for my surgery! December 9th, 2010, I will be having surgery to repair my torn labrum, among other things. (See graphic below for explanation). I have never had surgery before, so I am a little scared. Anxious, rather. The prospect of feeling better and finally getting it done is exciting, but I am also nervous. So I guess anxious is the better word.

I found out yesterday. I called Orthopedic Associates and spoke to Dr. Huffard's assistant. Her name is Kara and she is super nice. She said the insurance company approved everything fully (OMG yay! Thanks, university benefits!). We scheduled the procedure sooner rather than later for two reasons: 1. I want to feel better soon, and 2. its the slower time at work now, so being out won't be too detrimental to the office. We landed on December 9th, a Thursday. I have a pre-op appointment December 1st, where we go over all the nitty-gritty details but what I know is the following:

-The procedure takes about 2 hours
-I will be in a brace for approximately 2 weeks
-85-90% success rate
-Lots of post-op and PT will happen after
-I'll be out of work for 3 weeks. Merry Christmas to me!

The first week will be tough I am sure, but then I am sure the pain will lessen and the boredom will increase. I am certain to go stir crazy. It will probably be a while before I can drive, so Ethan, my gracious and loving boyfriend/life-partner/care-taker/everything-person will become my driver and probably also my nurse. :) While being waited on hand-and-foot is every girl's dream (he does this already, without being asked; I'm such a princess at home!) its going to drive me bonkers to not be self-sufficient.

For the next few weeks at work I am squaring everything away in preparation to be gone for 3 weeks. Thankfully, we have 2 amazing work study students, Nina and Molly who are going to cover the front office. They are on break those weeks, so they can be here a lot. I have some catching up and cleaning up to do, but I should be ready! Thank God I work with such awesomely flexible people! its going to be odd being away for that long. I might actually miss it.

Ethan is going to take that Thursday and Friday off, and probably Monday, but then, I'll be on my own, mostly. His family is around, and I am sure they will come and help me. Also, I have some amazing friends, who I know will visit (hinthint). ;)

After the pre-op, I'll get back to you with all the further details. And you can count on daily updates after the procedure, as I will clearly have nothing else to do! Who knows, maybe there will be silly, drug-addled posts. And, coming soon: VIDEO BLOGGING. You'll see instead of just read. Those are bound be entertaining, at the very least.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finally, after a long wait

It seems like ages since that August visit to Boston- and it really has been! After Boston, the next step was to visit with my doctor at Orthopedic Associates here in Portland for our next steps. They've seen my pretty little face a lot lately, and thankfully they are all nice and have my best interests in mind. Suffice it to say, that as of today, I am on track to getting the surgery I need to fix my problematic left hip! Now, let me back up and tell you how I got to this point.

When I was in Boston, as mentioned in the last entry, a literal team of people were in the room with Ethan and I, poking, prodding, bending and looking. I had had my first ever MRI, and Dr. Millis had me pull up a chair so I could look with him. His explanation; that the hip dysplasia was not the real immediate pain problem and that the "fix" could be much more minor than reconstruction or replacement, was exciting. I had never seen and MRI, and left a little bit confused about what was really wrong, but I knew it wasn't as major as I had thought, so I was ok with it. Something about a bone protrusion and a torn/irritated labrum. His recommendation was to do the cortisone, see if that works, and go from there. (I promise to give you a full account of what's going on later in the entry!)

After phoning OA once a week til I got an appointment, I met with my doctor, Dr. Crothers to talk about where to go from there. He agreed to try the cortisone per recommendation of Dr. Millis. The shot was so weird- it didn't really hurt, it was just uncomfortable. I could feel something was in my hip and it was freaky. Had to hobble out on crutches, because apparently some people go totally numb and can fall down. As I have a tendency to fall and stumble, I gladly took the crutches. I went home, laid down, and began to wait. Dr. Crothers said to come back in 3 weeks for a follow up. I made sure to schedule it before I left that day.

In the interim, I was feeling pretty good! I had much less pain and pinching. I walked home (up hill!) from work without feeling the ache/pinch in that hip. Amazing. Its like I can feel the cortisone in there- a little cushy ball of softness saving my joint. :) I felt like I could move freer. Occasionally I'd get up too quick or move just the wrong way and feel the crunch/pinch. Once, I almost dislocated it, moving around in bed. But overall, I'm feeling good! The right hip, which is also dysplastic, was bugging me more because the left was bugging me less. Go figure.

3 weeks go by and we're into October. I go back in to see Dr. C, and I tell him I am feeling great. pain here and there, sometimes the "Dead leg" thing, but overall, status report: good. He says to me, "Great. Come back in 3 months for another cortisone shot." In my head, I'm all: "WTF?" I politely tell him my understanding was that Dr. Millis recommended one round of cortisone, then, if it worked, we would discuss options for a more permanent fix. He consulted the notes/file from Millis and said something like "Oh yeah, there it is. I think you're young and healthy enough to have the surgery for a more permanent fix. Let's have you talk with the surgeon." DUH! Boy am I glad I spoke up! He was just going to send me away, prolonging surgery and pissing me off. I have waited long enough, and I am not waiting any longer. The moral of this story is, speak up! Its what got me to Boston, what got me a shot, and what's now getting me the surgery I need.

The surgeon @ OA is Dr. Huffard. He's younger than Crothers and really nice. I went to see him on the 27th of October, MRI in hand. He took a look at it, and at me. He is the fist to have explained to me what's going on in a way I actually understand. Let this picture below help you:

What's happening to me is that the labrum is being torn/irritated by the top of my femur. There's a small protrusion at the top of the bone. Because of that and the dysplasia, the labrum is being attacked! Its what causes the pain, pinching and stiffness. OW! It houses nerves and protects the socket part of the joint. Doc Huffard thinks that the degree of my dysplasia is small enough that they can repair the labrum, shave down the bone protrusion, tighten my loose ligaments (which I just learned about at that appointment) and feel relief.

The surgery is laproscopic, so no real serious open-me-up stuff, which is great. He said that there's an 80% success rate (which at this point, is ok with me!) and it can take 6 months to a year to feel a lot better because of the kind of surgery. Again, ok with me. Seems like a small price to pay for relief. I still may need a replacement when I am older, and it will likely be at a younger age than average because of my dysplasia and family history of arthritis. But, this will help with my current pain.

Right now they are drawing up the plans, so to speak, to send to my insurance company to determine if they will cover it. Thanks to the university's amazing insurance I am not worried. They've covered everything up til now, including the whole Boston trip. After the approval, I get a surgical evaluation and we go from there.

Its. Really. Happening.

I will update as soon as I know more. Got a call yesterday that the info was sent off to my insurance company, and I should hear in about a week. I will keep you updated on my Hip Story.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Good news

Yesterday was such a long day, but was overall a very good experience and yielded some reassuring news.

Let me start by giving a run-down of the experience (I want to keep you in suspense!). The drive wasn't bad- had to go to the Waltham, MA campus of the hospital for the Xrays and MRI. Everyone there is so nice. Children's Hospital is the least hospital-like hospital I have ever been in. Its warm and friendly- all the walls have kid-friendly art; waiting rooms have fish tanks and rainbow color changing lights. Even the telephone rings are fun and whimsical. I wish I could go there all the time.

X-rays were no problem- had to hold some funny positions. Chris, the radiologist doing the 'rays asked me my birthday and when I responded correctly he gave me a high-five. FUN. Haha The MRI experience was weird. I've never had one until yesterday. Dee, another super nice person gave me an injection of contrast material. After that I had to walk around for 15 minutes to stir it up in my system. Buzzed around the hospital with Ethan a bit, then went in for the MRI. I was sort of panicked because of my claustrophobia, but my head was mostly sticking out, and I was sleepy enough that I just closed my eyes, listened to the music and cat-napped a bit. The radio cut in and out a bit but I distinctly remember hearing Rod Stewart's "Forever Young." and The Beegee's "Dancing." FTW! :) The MRI was 45 minutes of loud obnoxious noise, but I was laying down and resting, so it wasn't all together too bad.

After the radiology was done, we zooomed over to Boston proper, which only took about 1/2 an hour. Found our way to the orthopedic department pretty easily and proceeded to wait an excruciating 90 minutes to be seen by Dr. Millis. When he did summon us, Ethan and I walked into a room where the doctor and 2 other people were waiting- I had a team! One was a resident from Harvard Medical school (Dr. Millis teaches there) named Eduardo and the other was the head of the Physical Therapy department- I think her name was Jen. Dr. Millis was nice and funny; made me walk down the hall, talked family history and then pulled and poked and prodded. He made me stand on one foot each foot (I have terrible balance) and touch my toes. he said I was strong in the arms which was good should I need crutches. After the physical tests, we sat and looked at the MRI. He told me that the dysplasia doesn't look that bad and is likely not the cause of all my pain! He pointed out an abnormality on the top of the femur bone (the "ball" of the ball and socket) that is a bone fragment getting caught and pinching tendon/cartilage. He thinks this is the cause!

He wants to have my docs up here inject me with cortisone and novocane in the area he thinks is the problem. If the pain subsides, we will know that's the problem! At that point, they can do minor orthroscopic surgery to shave down the bump, and voila! cured! If it doesn't stop the pain, we'll need to try something else, but he really thinks this is it!

The moral of the story is: always go to the experts first. I could have saved myself years of worrying about serious major surgery having seen this expert in the first place. What a relief this has been- I slept like a baby last night and I'm much less stressed-worried. The thought of a more simple solution to this problem is very exciting.

I'll keep you all posted on the progress, and thanks for all the well wishes yesterday!

All my love,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thursday Approaches

Hello again, friends.

My appointment in Boston is Thursday and I'm in the midst of preparations. Below is a list of questions I drafted to bring with me. These are important things that I need to now the answers to.

What are the steps leading up to the operation? Can pre-op stuff be done at Maine Med?

How long is the operation? What are the risks? How many days will I be in the hospital?

What's the recovery process like? Will I wear a cast and for how long? What pain meds and for how long? What are my physical limitations during recovery?

What is the success rate? Can rehab/PT be done at Maine Med?

Will there be outward physical differences to my body (taller, shorter, walk different)?


I think that covers it all, but I am sure after the appointment I'll have many more. If you can think of any, please share.

I'll keep you posted after Thursday's appointment.



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In the beginning

Greetings, friends.

I started this blog on the advice of a friend/co-worker who, upon hearing my story, decided she and others might want to follow along on my journey. So here I am.

This blog is going to document my experience as I prepare to have surgery to correct my congenital hip dysplasia. The simple explanation of this disorder is that the hip joint does not fit properly, the ball and socket is off-kilter. This means that there is a lot of bone on bone pain, pinched nerves and limited movement/activity. Its something I was born with, and attempts to correct it in infancy didn't work properly.

I've been managing the disorder with physical therapy and copious amounts of Advil, neither of which really helps. The PT is really just a bandaid fix and the Advil ripped a hole in my stomach. The last year has been one of the most painful, and I recently decided I needed to do something. First on the docket was new pain meds, which are working (thank goodness) so I don't have to eat 15 Advil in a day!

The decision to begin this process of correcting the problem was a tough one. I had just been accepted to the graduate program at Clark University on a full scholarship, and was so excited to go. I had even resigned from my position at USM. The more I started thinking about school, the more I realized I wasn't really ready. The pain was pretty bad and I was nervous about going to school in pain, or hopped up on drugs. I couldn't ignore the fact that I have amazing health benefits from the university, that I am young, and that this is probably the best time of my life to do this. Conversations with family, friends, and my doctors helped facilitate my decision to put grad school on the back-burner and take care of myself. The big tipping point came from a conversation with my primary doctor, who told me that I'd likely need to correct this before having children. I'd like to begin having children in the next 4-6 years and I don't want anything holding me back.

So here I am, continuing a position at the financial aid office, and thinking about what's coming next. A week from tomorrow I meet with a specialist at Children's Hospital Boston for an exam and consult. There, the journey really begins. I'll post again after that appointment, which will be the start of a blog about the events leading up to the surgery, the procedure itself and my recovery. You may find it boring, or funny, or sad, or pointless or any combination of these. All I know is, particularly during recovery, I'll have a lot of time on my hands, so I might as well do something.