Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I haven’t really felt afraid yet, and that’s because my surgery is 7 or 8 months away (exact date still TBD). It seems so distant that I can’t be afraid of it yet. I’ve read many blog accounts of PAO surgery and I think I know what to expect. Some people would rather go into a surgery without knowing the details; for me, it’s better to know and get used to the idea of it than to be surprised. I’m such a control freak and I’ll be handing over total control of my body and all its functions to the anesthesiologist and surgeon for 5 to 7 hours, followed by weeks of dependence on others to take care of my most basic needs. But this is not my biggest fear.

I also fear doctors and needles. Even drawing blood from me is a major event. I have bad veins and a “simple” blood draw really hurts me. I have to get past this fear since there will be needles and tubes and drains and catheters and I don’t even know what other things attached to all parts of my body before and during surgery. But this is not my biggest fear.

I’m afraid of losing my abilities. Walking, skating, stretching, working in the garden. I stuck the skating in there casually as if it’s not too important, but who am I kidding. I have worked so hard on it the past many years that, to lose it all and never get it back would be a shame, a waste, something to cry about. Because of my hip issues, skating has been twice as hard for me as it would be for a “normal” person. Ice dancing is all about turnout. Those of you with turnout don’t know this … because you just think what you can do is the norm, and among skaters that is generally true. For those of us without it, everything is a struggle, even simple inside to inside Mohawks, about which I’ve said for years, “I can feel my hip grinding when I do this.” Doing the “simple” swing dance mohawk hurts like hell for me and it takes all my power of concentration to do that turn. That’s my version of “normal.” I stopped asking coaches about why it hurt and what I was doing wrong a long time ago and just did it, feeling and hearing the grinding at the same time as I forced my ankle to fake turning out my leg on the exit. A big smile usually hid the fact that my knee and hip were really turned in even though my toe was pointing out.

Tim and I are still skating and improving as a team. We’ve had a couple of great practices recently. I don’t even want to imagine him having to find another partner if I can’t get back to my current level of skating. I am terrified of that.


Acy said...

hey, I don't think I've talked to you yet but I'm Acy from the hipwomen group and recently found your blog. My PAO was Oct 16th. I just wanted to say that I can relate to the feet not turning out, I've been pigeon toed all my life and tried to do ballet when I was growing up.. never knew why I couldn't do a simple point!! Anyway, feel free to email/check out my blog if you want.


Anonymous said...

I know that none of this seems remotely simple and the more you think about the further your head goes into hipville. It's easy to worry and to run worse case scenarios in your head all day. I think it is important for those of us who have been through this to tell our stories and to also let those of you pre-PAO know that this surgery does change lives and does reduce or end pain. None of us would have gone through with it if it didn't. As hard as it may seem try to focus on the positive. That one day you will get back on that ice and moves will no longer hurt. Think about that statement. No more pain. Can you imagine that? I know there are no guarantees that this surgery will improve your quality of life but the odds are that it will.
On another note, you will also find how going through this experience strengthens you in ways you never expected. I have for the longest time been afraid of breaking bones and especially of pins & screws etc. I also have always felt that I could trust in the strength of my legs. Get onto a tricky ski slope, no problem, I can at the very least snow plow down. PAO made me face all of that. Not being able to trust my leg strength, broken bones and screws in my body. And I survived and feel all the stronger and sure of myself because of it.
So while this will never go down as the best time of in your life it does hold the possibility of being a positive life changing experience.
Okay so that is it for my two cents worth.
Happy Wednesday.

HipSk8 said...

Thank you both; I've read Lauren's blog and will now read Acy's over the weekend. I'm not sure why I am feeling so compelled to tell this story so that others might learn from it. Perhaps because this is such a shocking diagnosis for those who didn't know until adulthood, and we all have the same story, in various forms, to tell.

Oddly, I feel spiritually closer to many of the women whose blogs I've read than I do to some of my friends, just because we share this circumstance, and because we are all trying to help complete strangers get through it. That in itself is positive and life changing.