A skater at the rink asked me to do a high-level dance on Sunday. I told him that (obviously) I couldn't do it, and that I might never recover enough to do it. He was partly joking, but then he said that I should be able to do it some day, because he knew another ice dancer who had the same surgery I had who could now skate just as well as she could before.
This shouldn't bother me, but it did. To compare two people's recovery is really unfair. I am only 4 months out from my second PAO, and while I have never met the other skater, I understand hers was many years ago. I don't know if she had bilateral PAOs or just one. I don't know if her skating muscles were cut or not. I don't know her age or fitness level.
The person who asked me to dance seemed to think that I was pretty full of shit and that I was making a big deal out of nothing - and that I should be just fine soon. I certainly hope he is right, because I would really like to be just fine some day. But realistically, I know my body. It is going to take a long time, and a lot of work, to make progress in my flexibility, which is greatly limited despite yoga twice a week and daily stretching. Strengh I am more optimistic about, but after hearing other PAO patients' experiences I know that our muscles still tend to fatigue more quickly than pre-surgery, even many years post PAO.
The goal of the PAO was to give me everyday functionality, not to make me a great athlete. The likelihood of getting back to my prior level of function is between slim and none. I am 47 years old, and I don't have hours to spend working out every day. This is a reality I accept. I wish others would accept it too.