7 months and counting

 

 

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“7 months post operative” sound like a long time but it’s really not. Complete recovery from this takes a full year and since I had a lot of quality time on crutches (20 weeks), that’s not even including building up the muscle mass again.

But I am doing good, I feel stronger and less achier every month but I still have ways to go. I can not really tell the difference between week to week but I sure notice a difference to how I felt two months ago.

~~~

Right now I am waiting for an appointment with an Endocrinologist. I read “if a womens estrogen is too low, it can hinder calcium from getting absorbed into the bones.” Pre menopausal stuff….

 

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~~~

My workouts are going fine, still 5-6x a week for about an hour a day. I try to alternate between the Elliptical & treadmill every day and add PT exercises, stretches, planks (of which I  HATE every single second!), elastic bands and light weights to it.

Right now I am at:

  • Elliptical 14 minutes/ level 1
  • treadmill 18 minutes/ 1.7 walking speed
  • stationary bike 17 minutes/ lowest level

And I admit it, by the time Friday comes around my op hip is tired and aches.

(The one thing I am still struggling with is reaching my op side foot for doing a pedicure or putting lotion on. It has gotten much better, in the first few months my foot seemed like mile away and was very, very difficult to reach. It’s much better but it’s not as flexible as the good leg.)

 

Stairs are no longer a problem, walking goes fine but I am not sure how far really. I know I can for one mile nicely but I have not gone for longer walks yet. Anyways, I am enjoying my summer and it’s nice to be out in the park like everybody else.

 

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It’d be nice to get back into other things too, like tennis but it’s still too early for that. I am not very good with walking backwards or sidesteps yet, leave alone doing it with quick footwork. I know it for sure, if I try it right now, I stumble over my own feet and smack on the hard court.

 

I’d also love to ride a bike again. A real bike. Outdoors.

I have not ridden a real bike in four years. I am always in some kind of hip surgery recovery mode. So that’s my goal for this summer, go biking for a bit.

My goals in general are very modest. If I can get to 20 minutes on the Elliptical, the bike and the treadmill after going through three hip surgeries, I would be very, very happy.

 

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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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Things are going according to plan

6.5 months PO

 

I am doing good. My hips like my new PT/ workout routine much better than physical therapy which turned into bootcamp in the end.

 

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I still get achey with my op hip, on “very special” days it’s both hips, but in general they are much calmer. Compared to two months ago I feel much stronger too. Of course that will be put to the test at some point and I probably still can’t keep up with others over longer distances but I am getting there.

For example, I can walk a bit more than a mile now and I even can pass people, so I am officially not the slowest one in the park anymore. Ha!

~~~

  • My Elliptical is up to 11 minutes on level 1,
  • the stationary bike I can do 16 minutes on level 1 and
  • walking on the treadmill is also okay for 16 minutes, medium fast walking speed. I guess adding a minute every two weeks is safe. Of course it’d be nice to go for more but what’s the result? Two pissed off hips.

 

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At my 6 month follow up with my orthopedic surgeon X-rays were taken and everything is healing nicely. There is continued bone healing and bone remodeling taking place and no complications.

 

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He reminded me again, that this is a recovery that can take up to a year. I believe it but I do feel like I have, for the most part, my life back already.

I can take care of my family again, run the household & errands and except for doing sports, I am the same as before I so geniusly kissed the snow. Now it’s all about fine tuning.

~~~

He examined my hip and it is gliding smoothly and its mechanics work well. It is not completely anatomic anymore since the fracture was impacted and I might have aches here and there from now on, but when do I not? I expect things to get even better with time and I am already very happy with the healing process.

 

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I should “keep doing what I am doing” with my exercises and should be able to go skiing again early next year. Music to my ears!

~~~

My daily steps are also improving. I am now doing 10,000 steps several times a week but I also learnt two lessons the hard way last week.

a) I went too fast on my stationary bike and was limping and hurting the whole next day.

b) I have to watch my walking speed and gait. For one of my walks I walked too fast and my stride was too long, was hurting the whole night. So back to walking a bit slower again and making smaller steps.

 

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Big milestone!!

 

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Today I am 6 months post operative and hopefully things continue to go well for me.

The past half year was very tough, physically and mentally.  First the ski accident and surgery that came out of nowhere, trying to accept the situation and the fact that I had to start from scratch yet once again; deal with brutal pain the first few weeks, to doing my 20 weeks on crutches – learning how to walk again, do stairs and just little things.

Especially “the little things in life” everybody takes for granted are not so little, if you can’t do them on your own or not for a long time.

~~~

I seriously could not have done it without the endless support and care of my husband. He was and is there for me when nobody else was/ is. ❤

 

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This was my third and by far, the most difficult hip surgery recovery and what you learn very quickly is, who is a real friend and who truly cares. Let’s just say the list of people who stood by my side was very, very short. Teaches you a lot about people…

~~~

I started physical theraphy at 6 weeks PO with my PT and did home exercises on a daily basis at home ever since. I am still not done with it but the roughest part is over.

Now it’s all about endurance, strengthening, giving it time and waiting for things to fall into place.

 

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My range of motion is good in my op hip, the pain level is okay on most days but I still get achey quite a bit. On a good day I am on a 1-2/10 pain level, on bad days it can go up to 5/10.

My gait looks good but the more tired I get, the more I will start limping. Also, still lots of compensation going on which my good hip is not too fond of and gets upset too. (Good times when both hips are cranky…)

~~~

Stairs are working fine, if they are reasonable and my op hip is in a good mood. The more tired or achey it is, the slower the stairs will be.

Driving my car is no problem anymore and sitting in general is fine.

I am still putting a huge effort into my recovery and do my exercises. As I know from my previous hip surgeries – “happy hips are a lifetime commitment”.

 

Atrophy (as well as scar tissue & adhesions) is also still a problem I am working on.

At this point I can walk 1 mile/ 1.6 km nicely. Not as fast as other people, but not slow either. I also can do about 8,000 steps/ day and feel fine. A bit more is doable but I will get achey. 8,000 steps is a good day.

This was last weeks summary, according to my Fitbit.

 

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In general I feel good and I am happy again but I know there is still lots of work ahead.

Pretty much the only thing that is totally not happening right now is sports, anything beyond PT exercises. Hopefully this will come with time.

Till then, chin up and keep going.

 

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Trying to figure things out

5 months/ 3 weeks PO

 

Since both my hips were seriously not happy last week, I took about five days off and did no  PT  exercises at all. My hips needed a much deserved break.

 

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My op hip is still recovering and the other one has been majorly working overtime for the last six months and has had it too. If I keep plowing through this with my PT’s  “no pain, no gain” attitude, I am setting myself up for a nice stress fracture in either or both hips and that’s not part of the plan.

I kept following my PT’s instructions to the “T” and did everything he asked of me but at some point it became too much.

 

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I am more of the “slow and steady wins the race” kind of girl and like slow approaches, but my PT just kept on piling on, one exercise after the other.

The days off felt so good, like a breath of fresh air to my hips and muscles. Less is more.

~~~

Now I started again with my exercises at home. I made up a workout plan that involves the Elliptical, walking outdoors, the stationary bike; planks, free weights, stretches and of course my PT exercises. Every day a different mix but less.

 

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My muscles need to be confused, if I do the same old, same old – day in, day out, I will build up muscle memory and won’t improve my situation.

~~~

Last week I tried walking a mile on my treadmile. What I know now is, “a mile in the park is not the same as a mile on the TM”. (Again, a lesson learnt the hard way…)

The  TM  pulls too much on my hip. I have to get used to that again and build it up gradually.

~~~

This week I noticed my glutes are starting to fire again. Finally! I am glad they snapped out of it and start doing their share. The gluteus maximus is a huge muscle and if it hangs out in lala land, others muscle have to compensate and muscle compensation is never a good thing. So – welcome back!!

 

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I still have not found the ideal rhythm of being active, challenging my hips & muscles and “pushing myself” but not overdoing it. That will take a while, years probably, but I am used to it from my previous hip surgery recoveries.

My new plan is a hit or miss with countless adjustments coming up and an even bigger need of patience. I am aching again, op hip/ good hip, seperate or together. They are flexible like that.

 

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On my own

Borderline 6 months PO.

 

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Last week was crappy. Every day my hip had something else in store for me, I just couldn’t do it right.

Either it was aching so bad I could not sleep at night or it was very cranky during the day; the hip flexor absolutely hated me and made me look like I just turned 100 when I tried getting up from a chair; or both hips were miserable and since I am being told to “keep pushing myself”, I tried that too.

It took me almost six months to get to 15 minutes on level 1 on my stationary bike, so I thought “let’s try 10 minutes on level 2” instead and see how that goes.

That fell in the category “felt good while I did it….” – not so good afterwards. The payback set in about six hours afterwards with  BOTH  hips being angry, 5/10. Bummer.

 

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~~~

My PT always wants to know how my week was and after I told him, he said it sounds like I have a burn out from PT. (No kidding.)

I counted the reps (of all exercises together) I do while I am at his place and counted 432 – in 1.5 hours! Anybody would have a burn out doing this for months (AND my daily PT exercises which went on for two hours/ day for months, reduced to one hour/ day only recently), leave alone trying to recover from a hip fracture.

 

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He wants me to take some time off from PT and ice more as I am already. Preferably twice a day.

~~~

My good hip is hanging in there, sometimes better than other times. In general it has calmed down quite a bit but it still gets upset easily. My PT even suggested getting an MRI  for the good hip or at least talking it over with my OS, next time I see him, which is in three weeks for another follow up.

 

So right now the plan is this, I let my hip/s calm down and continue with my exercises on my own for a while and see how that goes. In case I need help again, I can always go back to my PT.

Doing too little makes my hip stiff and achey, doing too much pisses things off. I need to find that golden middle that keeps my hip/s happy and challenges them just enough to keep improving.

Sounds like yet another fun journey ahead.

 

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And… more PT!

Same week, more of the same.

Had physical therapy twice and my PT is really pushing me. The second I am not looking he sneaks another plate of weight on the leg press and exercises that are tough already are  REAL  tough now. Just when I think “this exercise is monstrous”, he tops it with something.

I have made my peace with “clams” by now but two exercises just got more advanced and are killers.

  1. walking sideways 8x with a super tough elastic band around my ankles. It takes everything out of me and burns my gluteus medius muscles to a point that’s beyond funny.
  2. getting up and sitting down from a chair 20x with a 4 lbs./ 2 kg ball in my outstretched arms  AND  an elastic band around my thighs, while the feet are wider than my shoulders.

They are both tough exercises but I really do hate the first one. That band is so incredibly tight, it hardly gives. I swear it’s the elastic band from hell.

 

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I am doing my exercises but I certainly have an opinion about them.

~~~

Did I mention already I almost fell at PT?? I was done with the elastic band from hell, which by the way is so tight it left my skin bloody as I noticed afterwards (!), and hobbled that one meter over to the bench to take it off, when I tripped and almost fell. That could have been catastrophic!!

~~~

Also, my PT thinks it’s a splendid idea to start doing incline on the treadmill. (I personally  KNOW  it’s not a great idea. Already before I broke my hip and I was “just” dealing with two recoveries from FAI & labral tears, incline was a baaaad idea.)

For the moment it is on the lowest level and only a few minutes at a time but I know my PT by now. Very soon it will get steeper and the minutes longer and then I will put my foot down.

 

Coming home from PT I was completely exhausted. So many exercises in a relatively short time, a few were made even tougher and to top it off – incline. I fell asleep immediately,  with my lower body feeling like dead weight. That’s the best I can describe it.

 

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~~~

Last week I tried walking a tiny bit more than a mile (2 km). I needed about 5 breaks and my op hip was not happy afterwards. So back to my mile. Obviously my hip needs more time.

 

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