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!