Just in case I should forget, my one-year LPAO hippiversary is coming up this month. And I may forget, since I haven't been very good about blogging lately.
So what's it like a year out from bilateral PAOs?
~I have to do a lot for my hips to hurt. Right now I am battling a pinched nerve in my neck and that's been so annoying that I haven't even noticed my hips.
~Scars are not visible unless someone is looking for them.
~I can sleep on either side for as long as I want with no hip pain.
~Walking is fine but I am still not up for a lot of big hills or long distances. Of all the exercise I do, walking is definitely the hardest on my body. Skating and elliptical are much kinder to me and while I'd like to be able to do some hiking next summer, I don't think it's in the cards for me.
~I can jog if I want to (I've tried a few steps here and there) but don't make it a regular habit and see no reason to.
~I'm done with PT. For those of you having PAOs, I highly recommend it.
~Vanity rules - I wear high heels (not stilettos, just business attire) several times per week with apparently no issues for my hips.
~Numb patches are about the same, and I get odd pinging/tingling sensations on occasion. Numb patches don't really impact my day-to-day life, they just feel a bit odd but otherwise I don't notice or care.
~I can clean my entire house without having to take the next day to recuperate.
~I don't think I've limped noticeably in a while.
~Some types of flexibility have improved slightly. Turnout still sucks. Left is actually better than right now that it has healed some more (not a surprise, it always was). I can grab my left foot and pull it up but not yet above my head as before. The saddest thing is that V sits are at about 35 degrees and remain there as if I am sitting in cement which frustrates the crap out of me. It was only a couple of years ago that I was working on them with my Pilates instructor and was at about 150 degrees. All that effort down the drain! I don't even want to work on the damn things any more, they just make me too angry.
~My typical workouts include Pilates twice per week, elliptical twice per week and skating 2-3 times per week. I'm usually not sore unless I really push myself. I skated for about 90 minutes today and while I paced myself and rested here and there, I felt fine afterwards and had no pain or soreness while I was skating (just limitation in strength and stretch). I realized as I was driving home that I didn't feel beat up as I would have only a month ago.
~FINALLY my hip flexors are starting to get stronger. They are still relatively weak, but there is definitely improvement.
~A few skating maneuvers that have eluded me for a long time have magically reappeared in my repertoire with no effort or practice on my part. These include left FI 3 turns most of the time and blues choctaws on occasion.
~Others maneuvers I have just gotten up the nerve to try recently include FO to BO closed mohawks, outside brackets both F and B, and FO rockers (I can do the BO rockers for some reason).
A friend who hadn't seen me skate since Adult Nationals (in April, when I was still mostly attached to the boards) was at the rink today. She was totally amazed to see me actually skating under my own power. She thought the progress was incredible, and really it is.
I tend to focus on what I still can't do, which is how I keep motivating myself to keep improving. It can also be frustrating to see that I've come a long way and still have a long way to go, and I may never go all that way. I get frustrated when coaches tell me what I need to do (usually the same few things over and over) but they can't tell me HOW I'm supposed to make my stupid body do them. In particular things that my body used to just do on its own, and things that they think are easy, but which don't translate to abnormal hips.
I was having a very good day today on the ice, getting through complete solos of the Cha Cha Congelado (did every step); the Blues (did every step including the choctaw); the Samba (did every step); the Paso except for the restart mohawk; the Westminster except for the end 3 turn stepforwards and with very nice RFI rockers, I might add; the Argentine except for the twizzle which for some unknown reason requires me to touch down in order to initiate and I can't do at speed; the Starlight except for the steps forward after all of the mohawks. It's the "except fors" that would make me sad if I didn't remind myself that I can do everything else in the dance.
***Addendum: my skating friend Larry reminded me in an e-mail that non-dancers will have no idea how high level the dances I am doing are and he is right, they are "quick and difficult," not that I always do them well and not that I can do all of them with a partner, which is harder since it gives me less room to cheat. Those I can't do at all and bitch about are actually considered some of the easier social dances. Since it blows Larry's mind to think of me doing the Silver Samba, I guess it's time for me to post some videos soon.***
I came back down to earth when Doug asked me to try the Rocker Foxtrot mohawk (my nemesis before surgery and certainly my sworn enemy now). We tried it at a snail's pace. The only reason I tried is because I was able to get up the courage to try FO to FO closed mohawks solo for the first time this past week. With a partner they are still, and may always be, absolutely impossible. There is just no way I can make my body turn in that position. People with real hip joints have no idea what that stuck feeling is like. It would be like walking down the street and turning your body around to look behind you, but falling down because the foot you are turning onto can only keep pointing forward. It's truly an out of body experience.
I'll try to post any important updates from my one-year follow-up with Dr. Mayo at the end of the month. Meanwhile it's off to judge Sectionals this week. Last year I had to cancel my participation as a judge for Sectionals (and Jr. Nationals) since I was having surgery which had been moved up from December. I am happy that I will be there a year later with no crutches, cane or limp; anyone who didn't know me would have no idea what last year was like and that's fine by me.