Update – 9 months PO hip pinning

 

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9 months under the belt, not bad.

Overall I am doing really well and I am more than grateful for it.

 

Here is where I am at, WORKOUT  wise:

  • Treadmill, 22 minutes/ 1.9 speed. Walking, no running.
  • Elliptical, 16 minutes/ level 1, medium speed walking
  • Stationary bike, 20 minutes/ level 1

I “tried” walking 25 minutes on the TM the other day, sucked the life out of me. Back to 22 minutes.

I also tried going for 17 minutes instead of 16 minutes on the Elliptical and paid for an entire week  for it. Not cool. (That much to “try to push yourself!”)

 

My workout routine consists of 2x the TM, 2x the Elliptical, 2x the stationary bike a week. Combined with different hip friendly exercises every day, 6x a week/ 1 h each time.

One thing is for sure, if you want to get fit, get yourself a nice little hip surgery recovery. Alone the ongoing PT will whip you in the best shape of your life.

 

(Get it??)

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~~~

Walking outdoors is fine, I aim for 10,000 steps a day.  I probably can do 1.5 miles now in one piece. I also noticed, if I walk slower, I can walk a bit longer. (Back to senior citizen speed.)

A big goal of mine is to do a 5 k walk. (At some point in the future.) I wanted to do it last year, to celebrate coming back after recovering for three years from two previous hip surgeries, but there were no 5 k’s offered.

So, whenever I am ready for this, I’d like to do one. I really don’t care about the time. I just want to be able to say “I did it and I made it.”

~~~

SPORTS:

Doing real sports is only happening in a very limited way so far.

I hit some balls with my husband on the tennis court once a week, to not stress anything out down there, for 20-30 minutes. My tennis game is at about 30% to where it used to be, before I broke my hip  BUT  it still might get some better. My optimism never dies.

 

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Afterall my  OS  told me it takes a minimum of one year for the bone to heal. Not taking in account that lovely atrophy I am still having  BIG  time and not even mentioning lacking endurance and strength.

So, talking of one year is very realistic and I believe it. (Not to be a partypooper but, I am counting on more like two years for me. Anything less is a bonus.)

 

Outdoor biking on a real bike also has not happened yet and will not happen this year. It is what it is.

 

'Are you sure this is legal?'

~~~

For everydays life, running the household & errands I am fine, but as soon as it gets it bit more… my hip/ muscles tell me loud and clear when it’s enough.

My  PAIN LEVEL   is very low, if I am not having a flare like last week, usually it’s around 2/10, which I am not complaining about at all. Aches get up to 4/10. Bad flares 5/10.

The “clicking” in my lower butt is also pretty much gone but I still get butt ache from the hip sometimes. (That’s the beauty in it, my hip is quite “flexible”, sometimes it aches in the groin and sometimes in the butt. Just to keep things interesting.)

~~~

Can I feel my   SCREWS ? Yes, sometimes, at weight transferal from one leg to the other. I learnt to do certain moves a bit slower. I feel the screws inside my femoral neck.

I also can feel them sometimes on the outside of my thigh, at the incision sites; it aches and the area around it is lumpy bumpy. I asked my  ART  (active release theraphy) lady if she feels any scar tissue and she said, she doesn’t; but I do. Well, I guess that’s not going anywhere.

But overall, the aches of the screws are tolerable. I have made my peace with the screws now. I had a hard time accepting those guys for the first few weeks, it’s just weird to know you have foreign objects in your body but I am good with it now.

~~~

Bending down to do pedicure is still a pain in the butt with my op side leg and honestly, I don’t see this getting better. Certain rotations and exercises are not great either yet but if this is all that’s not perfect, I thank my lucky stars.

Things could have gone wrong so many times and they didn’t. All considered,  I am a lucky girl.

 

Quotes About Optimism And Hope Best Optimistic Related Quote Ever

 

 

 

 

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The fantastic logic of an Endocrinologist

The last few days I was wondering if I should write more in detail about my visit to the Endocrinologist and now I know. It was too  special  “not” to share.

Read on and you will see why.

 

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My Endocrinologist greeted me and said “so, you are here to get the results of the bone density scan.” So I told him “not really. I know the results already. I am here to find out if there is an underlying issue going on.”

Spends some time looking at the PC and tells me “You had another scan done in 2011. It looks like you had 12% bone density loss since then.” Takes a minute his time and asks “did you ever have another bone density scan done?” “Yes. In 2011.”

 

(This should have given me an idea of how the appointment would go…)

~~~

He asked if I lately had any fractures and there it went. I told him about my complete hip fracture and after determining it is unusal for somebody my age to get this, the investigation got started.

 

 

Doctor: “ What happened?”

Me: “ I had a ski accident. I slipped, both skis were pulled away right under me and I fell very fast and very hard on my right side. Like a log.”

Doctor: “ So you ran against a tree.”

Me: “ No. I had a “slip & fall”.”

Doctor: “ You mentioned a log.”

Me: “ Yes. I fell in a straight line. Like a log.”

~~~

Doctor: “ Did you know right away you broke it?” ( How would I know? It’s not like I do this on a regular basis.)
Me: “ No. I just knew something is majorly wrong. I was in severe pain and could not move.”
Doctor: “So you walked to the  ER  then? (I was just thinking to myself “you are not walking anywhere with a complete hip fracture!”)
Me :” I was picked up by ski patrol and their tabbagon.”
Doctor:” What did you fall on?”
Me :” Snow.”
Doctor:” Snow???” (Do I speak Chinese? 😶)
Me: “ Yes. Hard packed snow.”
~~~
Doctor :” To which  ER  did you go?”
Me:” Snowmass village in Colorado.”
Doctor :” Why there?”
Me:” Because that’s where we were skiing.”
And finally,  T-H-E   conclusion of the day…” so it was a skiing accident?” Aaaaaargh!
~~~
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And to finish it off, he asked if I was suicidal. Huh???
~~~
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~~~
I sure hope he is smarter, looking at lab results than he is talking to a patient. Geez!

And yet another interesting week…

Borderline 9 months PO –  R  hip pinning

 

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I tried playing tennis again. My precious 20 minutes on the court, very simplified and very careful.

Short balls? Nope. Wide balls? I am letting go as well. At this stage it’s not about improving my tennis technique or kicking butt, it’s about being out there and making contact with the ball. Back to the basics.

Might not be the best tennis I can play, but hey, beats being on crutches  ANY  day!

 

I still have to work on my  R  side. Especially the rotation part, strength and sprinting. I tried for a few balls to get to it and while my left side felt great, my op side leg felt like I am a marionette. Stiff and wooden.

 

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~~~

We got another bill from insurance, telling us my physical therapy cost of almost $ 3,000 was covered. Yeah.

This rounds the whole ski accident, with surgery, ambulance, hospital stay, meds ect. ect. up to a whooping $ 50,000. What a memorable vacation.

 

The one advice I can give to others who are going through this is, keep every single bill and paper you get. I have a whole folder with bills from the hospital, insurance and PT. They came for months afterwards and if one is not organized, one can lose track easily. I seriously felt like Harry Potter at some point…

 

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~~~

To make my strengthening exercises “fresh”, I got a book – “exercises for glutes and squats” and looked up some videos on youtube, using your own bodyweight. Kinda nice, doing something new after many months, doing the same old exercises.

Some exercises go well and confuse my muscles in a good way, others are barely to not at all happening.

 

“Bulgarian squats” aka one legged squats?

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Work well on my left leg, my right leg with the operated hip – much weaker and the balance is not the best either.

 

Sideplanks. (For the record, I hate “plank – anything”, but I guess they are good for you. So I have a love/ hate relationship with them.)

Ideally, this is what it looks like…

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Mine look like this on my left side. On my right, my hip stays firmly on the ground. It does not feel too well in the op hip and I guess my cores on that side also need more love.

~~~

The other day I saw my regular doctor and of course my latest hip surgery came up. She assumed I had “ORIF” = open reduction and internal fixation. (Basically the surgeon cuts the thigh, goes through muscles and opens up the hip capsule, to realign the bones with orthopedic hardware.) A way more invasive surgery than mine.

My surgery was percutaneous pinning.

Anyways, two different approaches and two different recoveries. When I corrected her and said I did not have  ORIF, her response was “oh…! So you just  had hip pinning done??”

(What the hell?) I have gotten this response several times already and each time from a medically trained person. “Just hip pinning?” Did I miss something? They make it sound like it was nothing. This was one brutal recovery, I am not sure why it is being belittled.

 

She did get a bonus point again when she told me, I am more active after recovering from a complete hip fracture than the average healthy person though.

 

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~~~

I also finally had my appointment with the Endocrinologist, to see if there is another reason why my hip broke. He said having borderline low bone density and  a fractured hip at my age  AND  being pre- menopausal makes it not just very uncommon but tricky. (Welcome to my world.)

He examined me, asked 1000 questions, blood was taken and as a special treat I am supposed to collect my urin for 24 h in this container. No comment.

 

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The results from the lab will be discussed at my next appointment.

 

Already about 10 minutes in my new doctor threw the name of a medication (“Fosamax”) at me and suggested trying it out for five years.

I have made enough research to know, this is not something I want to take. It increases your bone density but also makes it more brittle at the same time and it comes with an increased risk of hip, femur, shoulder and knee fractures. Nope. Definitely  NOT  signing up for this one.

 

Before I left a nurse shoved a little plastic container in my face and looked anxiously at me. I had no idea what she wanted from me and told her so. “Pee in it” was the response. (Talk about clear instructions and making minimalistic conversation with a patient.)

~~~

So, for now – back to the gym, work on my right side and one of those days is dedicated “orange bottle time”… The fun just never stops.

 

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Sports after hip pinning

8 months/ 1 week post operative – R  hip pinning

 

I was thinking for a while about it but didn’t feel quite ready for it – trying out for some tennis. Yesterday I went for it!

 

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It was only some light mini tennis, easy groundstrokes from the baseline and a bucket of balls for serving, all in all roughly 20 minutes and  VERY  simplified but hey, I was out there!

Of course it was no US Open material and nowhere close to where I used to be, ahem… three hip surgeries earlier, but still. One has to start somewhere!

 

I had a lot of fun and it was awesome to be back on the court.

Here is what I (hip wise) noticed:

  • footwork to the left forward works well, footwork (small, light steps) to the right & backwards feels like I move with the agility of an elephant.
  • (backhand) rotation with the hips to the L works well, (forehand) rotation with the hips to the R not great.
  • going for low balls – difficult, going down and coming up
  • overall stiff and tight feeling on my R side, mostly muscular
  • explosive and fast moves – nope.
  • Rotation, deep knee bends, weight transfer on the serve? Not really.
  • sudden change of direction? Not the best idea.
  • fast sprints? No.

 

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Lots of important things missing but I am sure it will get better with time. (Honestly, I thought it’d be worse with a lot of payback.)

It was a good try out and certainly a great way to confuse the muscles. My hip was NOT  hurting afterwards, I was a bit tight and tired but that was it. Considering where I am coming from, I was pretty happy.

 

So back to the usual – my op side needs more love and attention. Have to work on strengthening, building up muscle mass and gaining endurance. No rest for the weary.

 

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8 month PO update

Another 31st of the month and another milestone – 8 months post operative to hip pinning, to the day. (Longest 8 months ever.)

 

Fortunately I have more good to say than bad.

 

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The positive:

  • I can live a normal life again.
  • I am mostly pain free, aching now and then but nothing dramatic.
  • My good hip took quite a beating for many months but has calmed down quite a bit.
  • My workout routine is going well. (Elliptical – 15 minutes/ level 1; treadmill – 20 minutes walking medium pace; stationary bike – 17 minutes/ level 1. Of all of these exercises my op hip probably likes the bike the least.)
  • Good gait
  • I can walk a mile very nicely

 

Best compliment I have gotten recently?  From my husband, who said “if one does not know you had a hip fracture, one would never know it, just by looking at you.”

 

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The negative:

  • Sports are still not happening. Neither is outdoor biking on a real bike.
  • Walking anything over a mile gets tiring very quickly and the more I walk, the slower I get and the more the limp comes back.
  • Muscle atrophy is still a big subject
  • Muscle imbalance

 

Task ahead:

  • Keep doing what I am doing
  • Work on endurance
  • Build up strength
  • Keep  ROM  going
  • REPEAT! 

 

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Putting the hip to the test

 

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7.5 months  PO,  R hip pinning.

 

We just came back from vacation and it was a good test to see where I am at. It was a  pretty active few days, nothing too crazy but still, challenging enough for somebody in my situation.

What I learnt was, “speed walking” is not my friend, nor are many “uneven, high” steps, uneven ground or long distance walking. (All in one day…)

 

The mentioned uneven and challenging ground.

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For example – we did a day trip and first thing – a pretty long walk on uneven ground. I thought I was smart by walking behind some senior citizens (they had the perfect pace for me, as pathetic as that is…) but we were told by the tour guide to speed it up and put “a bit more passion into it”.

I did the walk but on the way back my knees were really shaking.

The day was pretty challenging and in the evening I had  NOTHING  left. Zero. I was limping heavily; walking very, very slowly and was exhausted. Once home, I fell onto my bed and slept for two hours like in a coma, only to wake up in the exact same position, pretty much like this guy…

 

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What I learnt this vacation was, 10.000 steps are not 10.000 steps.

I can do 10.000 steps/ day now again but it is a  h-u-g-e  difference if I accumulate this with many, many short distances (grocery shopping, household chores, doing the Elliptical etc.)  OR  if I have to crank it out in several long distance marches. Definitely not the same thing.

~~~

Was I surprised by it? Not really, since this is hip surgery recovery No. 3 and it was a more severe injury, more invasive surgery and yep, more time on crutches than after the first or second surgery ( FAI & labral tear).

I have lost  A LOT  of muscle mass during my time on crutches (20 weeks) and it takes forever to get it back. Probably around two years for me, but I was happy about what I could do.

 

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We had to take one day off, to recover and give my hip some rest but otherwise I did everything. Walked over lots of gravel and uneven ground, climbed up to see waterfalls and iceberg lagoons, hiked around the crater of a vulcano and did a good amount of sitting in busses too.

 

Hiking around the vulcano crater and taking a well deserved break. 

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I had to do the activities my own speed and choose my walking paths more careful than others but I did it. Most of the times my op hip and surrounding muscles started aching in the evening which was okay. That’s why I brought the icepack along.

~~~

So I know now I can walk in an airport without wheelchair assistance and I can do a whole vacation again. Endurance on vacation was at about 40 % to where I was before I broke my hip.

I still need more overall strength and endurance in my op hip, glutes and quads, strengthen the knees as well and work on muscle imbalance. Unfortunately this will take its sweet time.

Some people can just go ahead and really crank it up in the gym to see faster results. Good for them but it does not work for me. My body heals slowly and what I have going for myself is persistence and consistency with my hip friendly, PT based workouts, patience and time will work for in my favour.

 

But the good news is, even though I am not as strong yet as I want to be,  I see improvement to a few months ago and considering where I am at in my recovery, I did really good.

I am happy. The trend is still going uphill.

 

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Plot twist

6 months, 3 weeks PO

 

Since it is  VERY  unusual for somebody in the early 40’s to just “slip & fall” and have a complete hip fracture, it was time to investigate further. A  DEXA  scan was performed to measure my bone density in my spine and left femoral neck (my R, op hip, has too much metal in it. Go figure.).

My spine is great but my hip shows early signs of “Osteopenia”.

 

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Osteopinea is the step “before” osteoporosis. The bone is not quite as dense as a healthy bone but not as bad as one with osteoporosis.

~~~

Last time I had one done was 8 years ago, before my hip saga started five years ago and it came back with very good results, spine and hip.

 

I made research and know now that I got this probably because of being on crutches for so long and being very restricted. (3 hip surgeries/ 4 years = 44 weeks on crutches.)

To maintain good healthy bones you need a good, healthy diet and weight bearing exercises. My diet is indeed very healthy and I am quite active but I have not been able to do “sports” like I used to. I am either in recovery mode or doing physical therapy/ exercises since years.

My first two hip surgeries, combined with two stress fractures in my pelvis, took me three years to recover and now I am in my 3rd recovery and in my 6st month.

 

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In one medical article I read “if one is inactive or bedridden for a long time, it can cause it”. I am sure that’s it. EVERY  other question I answered with no.

  • Are you over 50? No.
  • Are you done with PMS? No.
  • Do you drink alcohol? No.
  • Do you drink soda? No.
  • Do you consume a lot of coffein? No.
  • Are you petit? No.
  • Are you small boned? No.
  • Do you drink a lot of coffee? No.
  • Does it run in your family? No.

 

Some other risks include being white and female. Guilty.

I have to make more research because the  LAST  thing I need are brittle bones. With Osteopinea also the risk for hip fractures increases. No kidding!!!

 

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My doctor prescibed me a diet, rich in calcium, take vitamin D 3 pills and exercise “more” which is a bit easier said than done because all of this aside, I am still recovering from a hip fracture and need to be sensible about it.

~~~

Looking back to December 31. 2017, my accident on the slopes – it really was the perfect storm and the last missing piece of the puzzle was just found.

 

Time to rethink and face another challenge. At least I know now.

 

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