Ready, set, go!

1 year, 3 weeks PO

 

And here we are. 48 hours away from me being back on the slopes. Man, what a difference a year can make.

 

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If you would have told me one year ago next year I’d be skiing again, I would have thought it’s impossible. Everything was a struggle back then. Crutching, doing stairs, even sleeping was tough.

~~~

I have no idea what to expect but just to be on the safe side, I stayed with my old workout regime last week and did not try to add any time to it. Going back on skis will be challenging enough, I don’t need to start it off with a nice flare on top of it.

~~~

Last week I saw my OS for a different orthopedic issue for my shoulder, and he told me to hold off doing weights or repetetive moves with my shoulders, to let things calm down. Unfortunately this includes the Elliptical.

Good news – my shoulder can heal; bad news, I can not use the Elliptical (without the arm movement) for building up the leg and hip muscles. It’s too much for my op hip. Always something.

So for the time being, it is treadmill & stationary bike only.

 

Equipment in a doctors office

 

He asked me if I am playing tennis a lot. I told him “not so much lately. It’s difficult getting back into.”

“How come?”

“I broke my hip last year. Remember?” (Whoopsi…)

~~~

It’s very unreal to me to go back skiing but I hope I will have fun and my top goal is, to come back without additional hardware in my body. I want to see the avalanche puppies but I don’t need another close up with the ski patrol. If I can manage that, I’ll be a very happy camper.

 

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Off to a good start

1 year/ 2 weeks PO

 

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This year I went out twice already, playing tennis. Not real tennis – “tennis after hip pinning”, but still. And each time I feel a little bit better on the court.

The last few times I left with the feeling “this was fun and at least I was out there” but today was different. My lateral movement is improving, the footwork is getting better, I get to more balls and my forehand is slowly starting to creep back in. I still have big limitations on my op side, but better is better.

I actually saw a glimpse of myself “pre-hip fracture” on the court again and it felt amazing and encouraging.

 

(Not a glamour shot but I call it the “getting my life back – shot”!)

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In the locker room I met an old team mate of mine who I used to play with. She was happy to see me and asked what I have been up to, she hasn’t seen me in years. So I gave her a quick summary of my last five years, consisting of three hip surgeries with 2 torn labrums, 2 strass fractures in my pelvis, a broken hip and a total of 11 months on crutches.  That’ll do it to anybody.

I was told my old tennis team would absolutly  LOVE  to have me back as singles player but my competitive days are over. Hitting yes, grinding it out over several hours? Not so much.

It’s okay though. I had a great time playing competitive tennis and made it to No. 1 singles player in our club but this was in a different life.

~~~

After tennis I always take it easy. My op hip will get pretty achey from it but still at a level I can deal with, about 4/10. The next morning it’s usually better, but I really think tennis is helping me. Certain muscles need a smack on the back of their head, to stop snoozing, get their act together and start working again.

~~~

Remember my New years resolution “staying out of my OS office” in 2019? Well, this did not work out, have to see him next week. Fortunately not for the hip but he also does shoulders. Let’s see what story will unfold there…

~~~

And here the good news of the day – in 10 days we are going skiing!!! I am beyond excited (with a good portion of nervousness and respect for the mountian of course)! Finally some snow and outdoor fun.

By coincidence I also read an article about our ski resort, the ski patrol has new staff members… puppies who get trained for being avalanche dogs. They will be patroling the mountains and are ready for close ups.

 

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So it’s all good…

  • Tennis is coming along
  • Ski vacation planned
  • Cute puppies are waiting for me. Personal goal: pet as many as I can get my hands on! ❤️❤️❤️

 

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Hello new year!

1 year, 1 week PO

 

I am finally back, workout wise, where I was before I had my flare that lasted three weeks. Took me another two weeks to work myself up to it.

I am not any farther along than I was at 11 months PO, but I am getting there. I think going slower but a bit longer works well for me. Might not be what my OS had in mind with his advice “you need to push it” but I rather play it safe. The “slow but steady” method has worked well for me in three hip recoveries, so…at the moment I am at 15 minutes each – TM, stationary bike & Elliptical, level 1 and I am content.

~~~

Tried playing tennis again, first time indoors and back at the club since my injury. Felt awkward to be among all those people, like nothing ever happened.

 

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I was on the court for an hour with my husband, just hitting – nice and easy. That’s all I have for the moment anyways. There is no way for me playing a competitive match yet. They would beat me in no time.

 

Things I am still not good at, thanks to my injury, are:

  • low balls. It would mean going down & up in basically one motion and aside from feeling my op hip getting stuck, I can get neither down nor up in one swift motion. Yet.
  • sideways running to the right (op side), sprinting diagonal to the right and going backwards quickly – very difficult. I don’t trust my ability to do this yet and fear I would stumble over my own feet, so I don’t.
  • wide balls I let go.
  • Hip rotation for the forehand – nope.

 

Since movement on my forehand side (op side) is very difficult for me, I either have to cover the forehand side of the court with my backhand or let it go. Still need to work more on glutes, quads, cores and movement.

 

Two good news though:

  1. I was out there.
  2. All my cardio exercises are paying off, I hardly broke a sweat.

I will try again next week.

~~~

It feels so awesome to have a whole new year ahead. It’s like a white sheet of paper, a fresh start.

 

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In a few weeks we are going on a ski vacation and the FIRST thing I will do at the destination is bring in my skis for inspection. We had them waxed last year and they were slippery as hell.

It is  NOT  normal to have them slip  THAT  much from a standing position (!!!) that it causes me to fall and break my hip. If it really turns out somebody messed up the waxing technique and the edges are the incorrect angle, I am ready to twist some serious neck.

 

Commodore 1

~~~

I got some new athletic shorts with build-in bumpers on the thighs, to cushion the fall, in case one falls.

Good idea but these shorts were awful. They had a terrible fit, in front there was a pocket hanging down where I assume guys “you know what” goes (awkward…) and in the back, in the butt region there was a huge pad which made me feel like I am wearing full diapers. These are going back.

~~~

People keep asking me if I am not afraid of going back skiing. No, I am not. I am not afraid of skiing – I am afraid of falling. Ha.

We both got cheated for a whole winter and ski season and even though we are going back to the same place where it happened, we have been so many times at this resort, the good memories definitely outweigh the bad ones.

I am a bit nervous but not scared for going back but most of all, I am excited for swooshing through the snow, feeling free as a bird and having cold air hit my face. I am sure it will be an adventure and just to be sure, my icepack comes along on the trip.

 

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1 year surgery anniversary!

Today is New Years Eve and also the day when I had my ski accident, broke my hip and had to have emergency surgery last year, December 31. 2017. (If you want to read about it, go to blog post “A new years to remember”.)

So from now on, this day has a whole new meaning to me.

~~~

I will summarize what “one year in my life after a subcapital hip fracture” was like. It was  NOT  fun and I hope to never, ever have to go through this again.

 

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This is how my pins looked back then and still do. They are still in my hip and staying in.

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Here is the timeline:

  • Accident and emergency surgery on the same day, just hours apart.
  • 3 day hospital stay
  • Crutches and 6 weeks toe touching (= 10 % of weight bearing on operated leg)
  • PT started 2x/ a week at PO week 6; 1.5 hours each time.
  • After PO week 6 I added  V-E-R-Y  gently a tiny bit of body weight, week by week.
  • Full time on crutches – 14 weeks
  • At PO week 14 I started weaning off crutches, took me another 6 weeks. Total time on crutches – 20 weeks = 5 months.
  • I believe it was around PO month 4 that I was allowed to drive again.
  • Went to PT for 5 months, 2x/ a week and continued at home every day after; in the beginning up to 4 hours daily, then 3 hours, 2 hours, now I am at 1 hour.

 

Total cost of everything, hospital/ surgery/ meds/ PT etc. – a sweet $ 50.000!

 

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My  PT  was a nice guy and tried his best but since this is not a common injury for a 44 year old  AT ALL,  I was his first ever “young adult – hip pinning patient” and a bit of his personal guinea pig, to see which exercises work and which don’t.

~~~

I am now 1 year after my accident/ surgery and the advice I would tell others is this:

  • make research about this injury and recovery, read as much as you can about it and brush up on hip anatomy.
  • CRUCIAL: stay on crutches as long as you are told!!! This injury is not a joke and it takes time to heal. You can not rush it. Your body will take the time it needs.

 

  • Take your pain meds. I chose not to take them at home, it was a personal choice and the pain was brutal. Now I know, it would have been easier if I would have taken them.
  • Add weight to your operated leg gently and carefully.

 

  • Do your PT exercises daily and as told but at the same time, “listen to your body”. If it hurts, back up. Be ready for a tough few months, working really hard at PT!
  • Keep up with your exercises even after official  PT  is done. PT helps you get started, it’s up to you to keep up the maintenance.

 

  • Don’t go for “too much/ too soon”.
  • Be patient. It all is very time consuming and will take a long time.

 

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  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Every patient is different, starting at the age, fitness level, what kind of fracture and surgery they had; different orthopedic surgeons and PT’s have different philosophies and everybody heals at a different pace. There really are not two patients alike.
  • And last – try to stay positive despite everything. Unnecessary negativity will not only make the whole experience more miserable as it is already for you and others, it uses up energy that you could be using otherwise. So, focus and be patient.

 

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I really did not see this whole circus coming and could have nicely skipped the experience but one takes it step by step. With a little luck, everything will fall into place eventually and hopefully better things are around the corner.

For the new year I wish for no major health problems. A year without an accident and no hip surgery for a change; I don’t want to see a PT office from the inside or be a regular at my OS office. Not too much to ask, is it?

 

 

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Flares are not pretty

11.5 months PO from R hip pinning

 

How is my flare from baking Christmas cookies? Alive and well. Much to my disliking. This is the third week by now and I am not amused.

 

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Workouts have come to a complete stillstand, I am just doing my daily tasks and even they will backfire and make for “fun” evenings and interesting nights.

Last week I had three days on which my hip felt like a 5/10 which is a bit much for my taste, at this stage of the recovery. Lots of deep butt ache, deep groin ache, boney pressure and hip muscles in crazy spasms. The whole right side, hip and generous sized neighborhood is just tired and consistantly in a dull ache.

 

I am a bit at loss for words with this flare and don’t know what to think.

It certainly is not my first in my hip surgery/ recovery journey. During the first two recoveries it was a steady rollercoaster of flairs, setbacks and speedbumps on the road. I had a few smaller ones in the current recovery as well but nothing of this magnitude.

I will watch it for a few more days otherwise I will go and see my orthopedic surgeon and get his input on it. It better just be a nasty flare.

 

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Making big plans

The other day I had a medical appointment. The tech saw me and said “has it really been a year already?? So, tell me – how was the last year for you?” (Right….)

I told her about my hip fracture, since this had priority No. 1 and took up the majority of 2018.

Of course she did not expect that and told me “isn’t a subcapital fracture usually an old persons injury?” It is. (Only I manage doing this at 44, I swear, and it always makes me feel real special – every single time I hear it.)

She also asked if I have any plans for New Years eve. My answer was simple. “Yes, stay out of the OR.” (My accident happenend on 12/31/2017 and while other people looked at fireworks, I woke up from anesthesia.)

~~~

Today is my birthday. Got a super present already. A smooth recovery without complications. Best gift in the world!

 

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Since it’s holiday season I decided to bake some cookies. I only did about a third of what I usually do and stood in the kitchen for two afternoons.

Now it’s six days later and I am still paying the price for it with a very achey hip. Sucks. Till things have not calmed down, I can not work out. This would aggravate it even more. Lesson learnt, my hip does not like to bake cookies.

~~~

On a bright note, we booked a vacation for next month. Going skiing again, even at the same place as last year. Yoo-hoo!!

Some people call it “stupid”, to go back on skies; others call me “gutsy”. I call it “making a comeback”.

 

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I will be 13 months PO by then and my OS said it’s okay after 12 months to give it a gentle go.

That’s all I want, being out there, smelling the cold air and cruising down some fresh powder. All this PT must be paying off for sure.

I do not expect to ski the same, first time out since it happened, strength and endurance still need more love, but I hope it will be good enough for a few runs. Nice and easy.

And this time I make double sure to wear the bumper hockey shorts!!

 

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11 month PO update

 

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Made it to 11 months PO.

I am doing really, really good and I am almost certain there was just recently a big push in my recovery.

I am pretty much painfree most days; some aches here and there but no more pain. If I would not know I had a complete hip fracture and what I all went through this year, I would not know the difference to before, which is awesome.

~~~

Still doing my daily workouts, now it’s not  PT  anymore but more maintenance and finetuning. It is slow but steady process. Considering this was my third hip surgery, I am happy with what I can do.

At 11 months I can do:

  • Elliptical 2x a week, 12 minutes/ level 1 – 3 minutes/ level 2
  • stationary bike 2x a week, 15 minutes/ level 1
  • Treadmill 2x a week, 22 minutes medium fast walking, NO incline

 

And I average about 10,000 steps a day, so I am pretty happy with that.

I am still working on endurance and strengthening though but this will take more time, probably another year, so I just will keep doing what I am doing and give it more time.

~~~

What’s still lacking are sports. Haven’t played tennis in a while due to an early start of winter. I guess indoor season has started.

Tennis is still limited to mini tennis and some easy groundstrokes. Rotation, sprinting, change of direction, sideways moves – all not my friends yet. Hopefully that gets better with time.

~~~

I am still trying to get as many walks in as possible. Even the cold does not stop me from going for a walk at 5 F/ – 15 C.

It was cold yes, but I did not feel my screws in the hip more than any other day. Most of the times I don’t feel them at all, just sometimes.

 

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~~~

I was hoping to be able to ride a real bike outdoors again by now but it did not happen, has to wait till next year. Takes still too much resistance and strength for my op hip.

And then there is skiing…. haven’t tried that yet, for obvious reasons, but with all the new snow on the ground I am sure itching for it. Maybe in January if things go well, fingers crossed.

 

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~~~

Last month we went on a  BIG  trip too. It was physically quite demanding, alone the 15 hour flying time was not peanuts but my hip(s) did just fine. I did lots of walking every day, climbed very high steps, walked on very uneven ground (always a favourite for hipsters…) and even rode a camel, which took a lot of balance.

I can not say I felt like a natural on it but if somebody would have told me half a year ago I would be sitting on a camel, I would have thought it’s a joke.

I kept up the whole vacation and truthfully, it was like any other sightseeing vacation PRE  hip fracture.

~~~

Overall I really get the feeling pieces are slowly falling into place. Every month I add more pieces to the puzzle.

 

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