Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Memory Jogging

A shout out to Matt, who yesterday underwent surgery to remove ectopic bone which had formed after his PAO. According to his blog he is up and about and doing very well today. Hope you are on your way home from the hospital soon Matt!!

I skated this morning for the first time since Adult Nationals. A week and a half of healing made some noticeable difference. I felt more balanced and at ease over my skates today. Coach R. worked with me and even though I hadn't practiced since our last lesson 3 weeks ago, I had improved. Note that I am not advocating that skaters forego practice in order to improve! Generally it doesn't work very well.

Despite the improvement, I fell on a 3 turn. That's right, a 3 turn, and a slow one at that. I just didn't get all the way around (because half a rotation is a long way to go, I guess). But I didn't fall anywhere near my hips so didn't get a chance to test out the butt pads. My right hip hurts a bit now since it was twisted, but it's clearly nothing to worry about. I should be fine tomorrow.

It's amazing which things are still in my muscle memory and which have departed. Interestingly I was able to do pretty good cross rolls both forward and backward but (***lightbulb goes on***) those don't require any turnout, and actually require some pigeon toeing. Holding edges after 3 turns is difficult because my toe turns in; forcing the hip to open is something I have to re-learn. When I do it, the turn improves. My glutes don't seem to be firing when they should, so I have to actively think about using them. I'm not always sure where to put my weight on the blade, even on maneuvers I've done most of my life. Once Coach R. corrects me it makes sense and feels right, but left to their own devices my muscles have lousy memories.

We did mohawks with swing rolls a la Starlight Waltz. The mohawks I can get through somehow (though they aren't pretty), but the step forward from BO edge to FI edge is difficult, especially on my weaker side. I did say "a la" Starlight Waltz, but what I am doing right now no more resembles a waltz than Buzz Aldrin resembles a dancer. Like Buzz, I can only earn points for trying.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Five Month Hipiversary

My five-month goal was to skate the social dance session at Adult Nationals this morning. Today is exactly five months after my LPAO (9+ months after my RPAO) and I met my goal.

I was judging at the Adult National Figure Skating Championships all week, and brought my skates for this morning's social dance session. I was stiff and sore (it was colder than I was used to and I had not done much exercise during the week). I did a Dutch Waltz, Rhythm Blues, 2 Canasta Tangos, and 2 Cha Chas - all forward dances - with six different partners. Three were friends (thanks L, K and JB for bravely holding me up), one was a fellow judge, another was someone I knew informally but had never danced with, and the last was a stranger. "Nobody fell down and nobody threw up, so it was a success," as my friend Marilu likes to say.

Not that I have an ego, but of course I do, and it was hard to be the worst skater on the ice and wearing crash pads. It looked like I had wandered over and accidentally got on the dance ice from a nearby public session. (The only worse scenario would be if I showed up wearing a helmet too.) The person who partnered me on the Canasta Tango (the easiest compulsory dance of all) did not know me, and counted every beat out loud (really loud! 1-2-3-4!) for two patterns as well as calling the steps for me which I didn't ask him to do (I did ask him to please go slowly and told him my edges were pretty weak) ... of course I know the steps (and I was actually on time) but some of the steps are difficult for me so I was on two feet a lot. I am sure he thought I just didn't know the dance.

I had help staying vertical!

Another person asked me if I had ever taken any dance tests, and I said the last test I took was the Silver Samba. He laughed, thinking I was making a joke. I explained about the surgery but it was kind of awkward.

I later told another skater that I had been a judge on her panel and enjoyed the performance she and her partner did. She paused, looked at me funny, and then said, "but you are not an ice dancer!" I explained about the surgery but again, kind of awkward.

I turned down a Fiesta because I'm pretty sure I can't do the step forward. I wanted to try a Swing Dance, but nobody asked me and none of the guys really made eye contact as I skated toward them. The one I was able to corner said he "hated the dance." They probably thought I was too scary to skate with on a dance with backward skating, although I actually skate better backwards.

I really shouldn't be so sensitive, but the comments (all innocent and none malicious) were still hard to take. They tell me I really look scary out there. I could say I don't care but I'd be lying.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

4.5 Month Check

Today was my checkup with Dr. Mayo. I posted the following on Hip Women today:

Has anyone had post-PAO ectopic bone removed? Just went for my 5 month/9 month
checkup with Dr. Mayo. On my left side, there is some bone growing over the
screw head on the front of my hip, which is why I am having trouble with flexion
on that side. He wants to let it heal for a full year then re-visit to see how
bad it is; at that point he said one option is to go back in and remove the
ectopic bone. While he's in there he'd also remove the screws on the left.
Normally he doesn't remove screws unless there is a problem so we'd probably
leave them in on the right.

He said this would entail 3 days in the hospital, and while they wouldn't detach
my muscles, "soft tissues" would be moved, so it would take some time to get the
strength back again. I would not have to be non-weight bearing so muscle
atrophy shouldn't be a big issue.

Just curious if anyone else has had this happen and if it really means 3 days in
the hospital. I know scew removal by itself can be outpatient so I am wondering
why this would be so much worse.

The thought of spending three more days in the hospital followed by more rehab
does not thrill me ... this was NOT something I was envisioning! I was hoping
today would be more along the lines of, "You're doing great, we don't ever need
to see you again, good-bye!"

Thanks, Terri

Sunday, April 4, 2010


On July 6, 2009, Tim and I skated together for the last time two days before my first hip surgery. Today, almost 9 months to the day later, we had our first reunion.

He has only skated a couple of times since then, and obviously I am not at my best. I have only skated solo until today, and was a little hesitant to subject anyone to my bad balance and lack of edge quality. I told him not to have high expectations, and mine were low as well.

But interestingly, when I'm holding on to Tim, I am able to do far more than I can alone. We started out just doing hand in hand stroking and moved on to a Dutch Waltz and Cha Cha. We did a Ten-Fox and I was thrilled that I could do a decent three turn and mohawk (things I can't do if I am not holding on to him). We then did part of a European Waltz, with 4 three turns in a row on my left (weaker) leg.

When the Viennese Waltz came on I was resting by the wall, and when Tim wanted to try it I figured he was joking. This is the competition dance we practiced for a year and it's good to know all that practice time still has some positive effect a year and a half later. The dance was slow, the edges were shallow and the pattern was small, but it felt comfortable. We did two more patterns just for fun.

I know that I could not do any part of the Viennese without holding on to my partner, but it's good to know how much confidence I have just holding on to his hand. We're still a team, and there is still nobody I'd rather skate with.