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.


Matt said...

Thanks Terri. I saw the good doc yesterday to see if he thought my skin had cleared up enough, and he said yes, so we're on for Monday first thing. I'll blog what I can and maybe Krista will if she's up to it.

I was going to ask him why such a disparity in PAO surgery times between different docs but they were shoe-horning me into his schedule (since it wasn't a clinic day and he'd just gotten out of surgery) so there wasn't time. But something Renee said may be relevant: evidently he sutures up each individual layer, from the inside out, unlike some docs who just suture up the last layer (or something like that). That may account for some of the extra time.

Matt said...

Not sure if you're receiving follow-up comments, so I'll paste my reply here just in case. Nuke at will.


I'm not sure of all the particulars of how they administer the radiation, but I do know that I'll be mostly covered with lead blankets and a sort of lead clamshell around the reproductive organs to protect against the scatter. The linear accelerator, which emits the radiation, is positioned and the beam is shaped using lead cones or wedges. If I recall correctly the actual exposure is about a minute and a half.

One question I've asked a couple of the radiology/CT techs is whether they track the amount of radiation a patient receives. One CT tech gave me the lame "you wouldn't understand" non-answer, and the other didn't seem to know the answer. What are the units used to measure the radiation, and how much is safe to absorb? They ought to record that info with all the imagery, and track the total.

According to the radiation oncologist I saw at the hospital the important part is for the linear accelerator to be properly calibrated; that's his answer to the Jan 23 NY Times article on the subject.

The radiation therapy people will come get me from the pre-op waiting area, wheel me down to their office and zap me, then wheel me back.

The treatment is effective from six hours before to 48 hours or so after. Dr Singh said that the chance of HO forming again after radiation therapy is something like 3-5%, vs about 60% without.

Somewhere I read that HO forms in something like 57% of hip surgeries. You and I both rolled the dice twice, and proved the odds.

There are lots of comparative studies between radiation and NSAID treatments here:

Looks like radiation is more effective. This statement is comforting: "Carcinogenesis theoretical concern (no documented cases after HO prevention thus far)."

Thanks for the encouraging story. I'm glad to hear the PCA was adequate. I'm guessing it won't hurt as much, especially as much as two surgeries five days apart, plus no epidural coverage for a couple hours the one time, with an ileus thrown in for good measure. I'm just hoping he can get it all through the PAO incision, which might be wishful thinking since two separate surgical approaches are involved. I'll find out soon enough!