Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Six Months LPAO

Yesterday I hit the six month mark for my second PAO. The first PAO is just over 10 months old. I had totally forgotten about the six-month milestone until I wrote the date of my surgery elsewhere, and realized what day it was.

I am no longer thinking in hip milestones. I am also not thinking ahead to the next hip surgery, which is nice. I am having more and more pain on flexion with my left hip and my thought is that there is more ectopic bone growing. It also sometimes hurts when I am not flexing. This could also be normal healing pains of course; I have no way to tell yet.

I may need a final surgery to remove the ectopic bone some time in 2011, or I could just choose to live with my limitations, whatever they end up being, once all of the extra bone is done growing. Right now I am leaning toward living with it unless I am in constant pain and Dr. Mayo can assure me the surgery will correct that.

But right now I am not worrying about or planning for a future surgery, and that means I can go on with my life.

For those who are facing their own PAO recoveries, here is what 6 months feels like after bilateral PAOs. Note that healing is slower overall with bilateral PAOs so close together.

~My right hip almost never bothers me. Hip flexors are still weak, but getting better. If I walk a long way, or skate more than 45 minutes, or do any other type of physical activity that is strenuous, it might hurt or be sore the next day. This is muscle pain, not bone or joint pain, and tells me that I'm not fully recovered yet. ROM is better, although not what it used to be. All in all, I am happy with my RPAO outcome.
~My left hip has started to bother me more, as discussed above. ROM is very limited, and there is more pain now than there was 3 months ago. I still have a very slight limp on the left side - not all the time, but it comes and goes. I don't think my gait is ever entirely normal even if I'm not limping. Some days I don't think I am limping but Perry tells me that I am.
~Although I have lost weight since before my first surgery, I carry my weight differently now. Interestingly, I seem to carry excess weight in my hips more than before. Actually, it's just below my hips, not at the iliac crest but significantly below that. The technical term is, I believe, "saddle bags." Ugh.
~I am flabby all over due to lack of training and it is hard to create or maintain any muscle tone, especially in my legs.
~Working out is a double-edged sword. I know to build up muscles I have to work them, but if I work too hard I have to rest for a day or two (or three). So I have to ration my activity, and it never seems like I can really ramp up to any kind of "training" which will create true fitness.
~Some days my yoga class is so difficult I can barely get through it. Other days I do pretty well. I try to do yoga twice per week.
~I would like to skate 3 times per week, but right now I'm lucky if I can handle an hour once per week. It's just too taxing.
~Walking is something I do, but not as exercise. I should start walking on a track or other soft surface and work up to longer distances. Right now I am just not that interested in doing so. Elliptical trainer seems to cause less trauma to the hip, although I am not supposed to use any incline and it is hard to feel like I am getting a good workout. Too much resistance and I pay for it the next day, so I keep that low as well. Dr. Mayo cautioned me to move my legs fast with little resistance and it would be better on my joints.
~I still lift my left leg into the car and over barriers with my hands. I don't think this is normal at 6 months. I can do it without hands, but it hurts.
~I would love to try Body Pump or Zumba or Spinning - but right now I'm afraid of what that would feel like the next day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


One thing I am sick of ... people who say things like, "Aren't you glad you had your surgery, no more pain now!!!" Some people had the nerve to say this when I was still on crutches.

If I do any kind of physical activity I know I am going to pay for it during and after with pain. It's a different kind of pain on my right than I had pre-PAO, but it still hurts. And, my left hip barely hurt pre-PAO, and now it hurts a lot, so that's hardly an improvement.

I wish I lived on Planet Pollyanna where there were magical quick fixes for everything. Some day in the future when I'm fully recovered I may not have any pain with activity; right now I'm still in the recovery phase and pain is expected. At least, it's expected by me; almost everyone else expects I'm "cured." Sometimes I vow that the next person who gives me the big smiley face and tells me how great I must feel is going to get a piece of my mind.

Then again, why bother. Let them live on Planet Pollyanna.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hike Hangover

It has taken me a week to get over my 3.3 mile hiking adventure. I am not sure if I'm fully recovered yet, but after some horrible skating and awful yoga-ing this past week, I am feeling a bit better.

I've found that I can do a lot on two feet at the rink. In fact, yesterday at social dancing I two-footed my way through the entire Westminster Waltz, Viennese Waltz, and Midnight Blues. All of these can actually be solo'd on two feet, which could mean we need a new event at Adult Nationals: Two-Footed Gold and International Solo Dancing (on half ice). In lieu of regular skating costume, competitors may wear butt or other padding; there are no test requirements but all competitors must have some sort of metal or artificial part in their body. X-rays will be taken. I'd rock that event.

Granted, I am doing tiny patterns and no pushing or edges, so pretty much just dinking around on two feet and turning now and then, so these are not recognizeable as the dances I want them to be. But I can pretend, and thanks to mothers' day there weren't enough people on the dance session to care that I was trying them.

It's Midnight Blues madness right now anyway, and so I was about the only one attempting the West when it came on. Everyone is learning the steps to the MB in anticipation of the High Dance Camp in August. Since I know the steps, I've been teaching them. I can demonstrate a lot of things on two feet and holding on to the wall, and since these are really good skaters and they've watched the videos they are able to translate my feeble attempts into actual skating.

It would really be nice if I could actually skate in time for the dance camp, but that remains to be seen. There are good days and bad days and I never know when I wake up in the morning which it will be.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yoga Dropout

I am really regreting that 3.3 mile hike last Sunday. I didn't think 3.3 miles was very much, but evidently my hips disagree. They've been sore and cranky ever since.

I figured it was time to go to yoga class and stretch them out; maybe they'd behave. How wrong I was! After only 10 minutes of class, I was ready to leave. Another 10 minutes, and I was barely moving (much to the annoyance of Flexy Freddy, the guy to my left). I could not do "crescent lunge," "low lunge," "warrior 1" or "warrior 2." I couldn't even touch my toes. So slowly, carefully, I gathered my things and crept out the back door.

I have never left a yoga class in the middle, even when I just started back after surgery. I can usually modify the poses enough so that I can get through class even if I am having a bad hip day. And a week ago at yoga class I really thought I'd had a breakthrough, since I did almost all of the poses unmodified. But today there was no point in staying because everything hurt.

I know it's still early in my recovery, but I want to be able to do more than one activity per week. I want to be able to walk on Sunday, skate on Tuesday and Friday, and yoga on Thursday. But I am just not there yet. I still have to be careful and take it easy when it comes to physical activity. I am not good at doing that!

Tomorrow I have a lesson with Coach R and I AM NOT CANCELING. I plan to go to Sunday social dancing and I AM NOT CANCELING. Yoga I can live without, but skating is non-negotiable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dysplastics Take Over The Ice

Watch out! Two post-PAO gals took the ice this morning at Lloyd Center Ice Arena and rocked it. It was good to finally meet Sarah, the "other" post-PAO Portland ice dancer I've heard so much about. She looked great and even did some jumps near the end of the session. I hope some day I am recovered enough to skate that well, although I am banned from doing jumps for life and I plan to honor that so my hips will last longer.

Today was a pretty good day on the ice. I led some of the High Dance Camp ladies through the steps of the Midnight Blues. I can slop my way through them without pushing and what I can't do, I can describe. Despite that, I can't do the Swing Dance solo at speed because I chicken out on the mohawk. I just am not sure if my hip will work or not when I do it. Checking three turns is still dicey as well.

Dichotomy: I can't do the "easy" Swing Dance without bailing, but I can step through a slow and very sloppy Westminster Waltz (including rocker turn); none of the turns or edges are distinct and some are on two feet but I don't chicken out. I did a horrid European Waltz to practice my 3 turns; the step forwards are just as challenging as the three turns. I can step through a lot of dances but when I try to do the steps correctly or at speed I run into a problem and it doesn't work. So right now, slow and sloppy rules the day. The turns may be unrecognizeable but at least I can "do" some of my favorite dances. My hope is that with time and practice things will become faster and more correct.

I can do, at glacial speed, the Blues choctaw. I didn't think I could do the Rhumba choctaw, but when the music came on I tried an itty bitty slow one in the corner, and made it through "on the correct edges" per my friends. I was so thrilled that I did a bunch more, and made several people watch them. It was like the little kid who lands her first axel and makes everyone watch it: "OMG, look what I can do!" Coach R was there to witness this exciting milestone. Granted there's no way I can do it at speed, but for something I thought would not be possible yet, it's way cool.

So overall this was a good day. Still frustrating that I can't do so many of the things I never gave any thought to like stepping from backward to forward, making the easy stuff difficult; but interesting that I can do some difficult things here and there without too much worry.

I'm thinking about ditching the butt pads. They are just too distracting and if I fall, I fall. I'll live.

ADDENDUM: After skating for an hour today (although to be honest, I spent much of the hour socializing), Perry and I walked around the Fairmount Loop hiking trail above our house. It is 3.3 miles and we did it in an hour and 15 minutes. When I was home recovering from surgery #1 last summer I would watch hikers go up our street toward the loop, and couldn't wait for the day when I could do it too. Today was the first attempt. I was limping by the end, but now I am in the recliner and feeling OK.