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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~ Being grateful ~

Today is Thanksgiving. After Christmas my second favourite holiday to celebrate. This year I am especially thankful since life threw me quite a curveball in 2018.

 

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  • I am grateful for my husband who is always by my side, supports and encourages me. We both did not see hip surgery No. 3 coming but he is a trooper and I am incredibly lucky to have him by my side when hardly anybody else is. ❤️

When you go through rough times, you find out very quickly who is your true friend and who cares for you. I hate to say it, but none of my so called friends passed the test. (Practical – less Christmas cards to write!)

 

  • Looking back to that dreadful day when I had my ski accident, December 31st 2017, I am  MORE  than grateful,  it happened at a place that had a medical facility to take care of me and the doctor on call was an orthopedic surgeon specialized in hip trauma. Gotta luck out at some point…

This surgery requires skill and I would hate to be under the knife of a surgeon who is not an expert in this.

  • Another thing I am thankful for is health insurance. It covered the whole mess of a whooping $ 50,000.

 

Most of all I am beyond grateful for my health, being pain free again and having, for the most part,  my life back.

It was a super tough and brutal recovery and I worked my butt off in PT but persistance, together with patience paid off. I don’t take things like “I can walk”, “I can do stairs” or something as simple as “I can put my own socks on” for granted.

Things could have gone wrong many times but I had a lucky star guiding me and was fortunate enough to have a smooth recovery. The lesson is, you are nothing without your health.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving you all!

 

Reality check at 10 months PO

 

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I am slowly sneaking up to 1 year  PO  and what a year it has been. Ugh.

~~~

Two posts ago I wrote about the difficulties I had walking up and down a long hill. This made me think.

Before I broke my  R  hip, I had arthroscopic surgery for labral tears on both hips. I wrote blogs about both recoveries and was curious to see what I could do at 9 months  PO, for “comparison”.

Each surgery was unique in its way and had a different recovery and circumstances (whereas the recovery of a hip fracture hit the ball out of the park!!).

I know I should not be comparing but I have no one to compare myself with, so the closest is my second recovery and interestingly enough, at 10 months post operative hip scope, I went skiing already and did triple the resistance with weights, Elliptical etc.  in the gym.

 

Skiing @ 10 months PO hip scope

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Right now, at 10 months  PO  after hip fracture, I am where I was at 5 months (!) PO after hip arthroscopic surgery. BAM! 

It actually would even make sense because my muscle  strength and endurance is just not there yet. I could not imagine going skiing right now and I wonder if it will happen this winter at all. It takes  f-o-r-e-v-e-r  to build up muscle mass again.

This really shows me just how severe of an injury it was. Recovering from a labral tear was slow. This is at least twice as slow and requires twice the patience and the comparison to the previous hip surgery really put things in perspective.

 

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Did I mention the results of the Endocrinologist came back? He found absolutely nothing wrong with me.

I have had some bone density loss over the years but otherwise, healthy as can be which comes back to my theory all along, it was just bad luck and a freak accident and once I am stronger, I will go skiing again. Got the okay from my OS already to give it a gentle try from 1 year  PO  on, but of course I have to wait and see how I feel this winter.

Even if I could just do a few runs, some easy blues, that’d be a victory for me already.  I’d be happy with this for winter season 2019. I will be even stronger in 2020.

 

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And how am I doing at 10 months PO? I am doing fine, have almost no pain; here and there some aches but overall I have more good days than bad.

My other hip also really has calmed down and is a happy hip again.

 

Still doing my daily workouts and actually cut back on them. I am no longer aiming for 20 minutes on the Elliptical or stationary bike, it’s just not happening yet. With 15 minutes I am keeping everybody happy. Less is more. Maybe I try again for it in a few months.

If I think back what my  PT  put me through at 5 months PO, I could smack him for it. The amount of exercises was brutal (432 repetions in 1.5 hours). I wouldn’t even attempt doing all this now. But of course, afterwards one is always smarter.

 

But so far, I am happy. It is a very slow recovery but I take a slow & smooth recovery over complications along the way  ANY  day.

 

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Comments over the years…

I’d like to share some lovely comments and “great advice” I got over the years;  as a young person, having hip issues/ – surgery and/ or – recovery. I am sure some of my fellow hipsters can relate…

  • “Are you sure you are having hip problems? You “look” okay.”
  • “Why are you having hip ache today? You didn’t have any yesterday.”
  • “Why don’t you just suck it up and skip surgery?”
  • “Arthroscopic surgery is not real surgery.”
  • “Unless you are not being picked up by an ambulance – it’s not real surgery.”

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  • “What did you get your hip problems from?? Too much bull riding?”
  • “Why don’t you just ignore the pain?”
  • “There is no such thing as atrophy.”
  • “Why don’t you just move on?”
  • “It’s all in your head.”
  • “Shouldn’t you be done with rehab by now??”
  • “Aren’t you too young to have hip surgery?”
  • Also, recovering from a “hip fracture”  IS  different than recovering from “knee replacement”. No matter how many senior citizens feel the need to tell me otherwise.

And of course who can forget all those comparisons that start with “my Grandmother got her  THR  when she was soandso old and her recovery…….” ? Don’t want to sound mean, but one can not compare a lady in her 80’s, who got a  “THR” with somebody half her age, getting “hip pinning”.

Two complete different age groups, different activity & health levels, different surgeries and therefore different recoveries. So –  all those stories about “my Granny’s  THR…..”-  not helpful.

Another really  GREAT  advice I heard, regarding hip pain, was “you just have to hydrate more”. (That I didn’t think of this myself!)

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I am not sure which one was the “best/ worst”  comment but one of the most bizarre ones I ever got was… ( get ready for this!)  a friend of mine had pain from….  “earwax” and said, quote: “he does not wish that kind of pain upon anybody”. (I hope he never has to face worse in his life than dealing with “earwax”. For God’s sake.)

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Anyways, just wanted to share some goodies. If you have some smart comments that you came across, feel free to write me. I always enjoy a good laugh.

Walking a fine line

9,5 month PO; R  hip pinning from a complete hip fracture.

 

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I am still trying to figure out what my op hip can do and what it does not like. Last week my hip “updated” me.

 

Walking a hill of about 1 km length down hill resulted in my knees and quads shaking because the op side is not strong enough yet and after visiting a beach, making it up the hill again was tough. I was limping and walking real slow. I felt like I was back at 5 months PO. Hm.

Walking in sand is also pretty tiring because of the resistance of the sand and uneven ground, but still an upgrade doing it “without” crutches. ( “Beach & crutches” don’t match very well. Been there, done that – can not recommend it. See “PO week 11, “the traveling hipster”.)

 

I honestly thought I could do the hill and beach much better at this stage. Bummer. Still lots of atrophy and muscle imbalance going on, as well as strength and endurance need to improve. Same old song.

 

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The next day I had to sit quite a bit and did not get to move enough. Also not great. My soft tissue absolutely hated it.

Basically my whole quads on my op side were deeply aching all night long, like a 5/10, the side where my incisions are was also super aching and I had butt ache almost every night last week.

~~~

Now I know, too much is not good and neither is too little. Hills are tough, walking in sand is not easy and too much rest is also a no go.

Still need to find the sweet spot, keeping my hip and muscles happy, challenging them a bit but not stressing them out. It’s constant fine tuning.

 

The never ending story. My fifth year this month, dedicated to my hip/s, and counting.

 

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