Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Depressed after a visit with Dr. Mayo

I am not sure whether to be upbeat about my one-year appointment or a bit less so. All is healed, all is well, all looks very good on x-ray, and I have exceeded my surgeon's expectations as an old-fart bilateral PAO'er. However, it has taken me a week to write this update because I haven't felt much like doing so. I saw him on December 6th and the x-rays show that the ectopic bone has solidified into a lovely one-inch long "claw" that hangs down right in front of my acetabulum. I will post x-rays here as soon as I have time.

This piece of bone is now causing impingement and pain with flexion past a certain point. That point isn't considered significant to a normal person, but it is to an ice dancer because it keeps me from "looking good": I can't do a nice forward flair (something that, if I do say so myself, I used to be really good at). Unfortunately most forward flairs in ice dancing occur with the left leg (think of the flairs after the rocker foxtrot mohawk, the starlight mohawk, the foxtrot mohawk, the 4-beat edge on the quickstep, the 4-beat edge on the blues, etc. All impossible. The answer? "If it hurts, don't do it."

I am tired of the assholes who tell me I can "still enjoy" skating without doing anything to make it look good. Yep, I can still skate, meaning my blades are connected to and moving on the ice. But anyone who finds doing an activity with only about 1/2 of their prior skill level and 1/3 of their prior flexibility "enjoyable" is far more jovial and accepting than I am.

My external rotation is still zero on both sides, although left is just a bit more than right ("zero plus a fraction"). Normal external rotation is about 20 degrees, and those who use their body for dancing tend to have more than normal not only due to self selection (people without natural turnout don't choose to dance because it's just too difficult and frustrating) but because over time, normal non-dysplastic/non-anteverted hips will turn out more based on stretching and activities that utilize turnout.

Anteverted post-PAO hips, not so much. Really, not at all in my case. I stretch and stretch and stretch some more and that just keeps me at parity - doesn't increase my flexibility at all. Plus I am always in pain because my body doesn't want to be stretched in these directions. However, if I didn't stretch at all my tight connective tissues would probably cause my body to collapse in on itself like a black hole.

So why didn't I self select myself into a sport that didn't require turnout way back in the dark ages? Something I could excel at like Competitive Pigeon Toed Walking? Why did I ignore all that pain for so long and assume that everyone felt as crappy as I did? What kind of a stubborn fool spends such a huge portion of their life beating their head against a wall?

I hope you all understand these questions are rhetorical.


Matt said...

Bummer! Is he going to go in and clean it out?

HipSk8 said...

Matt - He can take it out and would remove the screws as well (same as yours) but I am just not in any hurry to spend another 3 days in the hospital, go back on crutches, etc. Can't bring myself to even think about it right now!

Matt said...

You didn't ask, but here's my anecdote:

My flexion and rotation was so limited I couldn't wait to get it out, and I am very glad I did. It made a huge difference immediately, and the clean-up surgery was way, way easier to recover from. But I was comparing to the prior SDH+PAO surgeries with its complications.

It sounds like the spur is in a similar place as the major chunk I had. In my case he was concerned that an accident could fracture the femoral neck. Is yours as threatening?

Briony said...

If you didn't have the screws removed, would it basically be an FAI op? If so, I agree that it can't be nearly as bad as the PAO was - I escaped from FAI surgery both times with just an overnight stay and didn't even need the crutches the second time around. That said, I completely understand your reluctance - I've just had a third arthroscopy, this time to remove some scar tissue, so I'm off my skates for another couple of months. It's driving me nuts already.

On another note, a skating friend of mine has just been diagnosed with dysplasia so severe that she has basically been given no option but to have bilateral PAOs. I've pointed her at your blog, so you may be hearing from her at some point!

HipSk8 said...

Briony - Please have your skating friend contact me. I now have several post-PAO skater friends.

I don't know how to compare to FAI surgery since I don't know enough about it. I don't think the bone and screw removal is a big deal compared to my other surgeries (although it would NOT be arthroscopic and would require an epidural which sucks plus 3 days in the hospital which sucks more). I knew this was coming but somehow seeing it on x-ray makes it harder to ignore. Right now I don't want to go through another surgery of any kind.

That doesn't mean I can't complain though!

Briony said...

Unfortunately, I've lost your FB message so I wasn't able to pass your profile details on to her. I hope she'll get in touch through here though.

My impingement removal wasn't arthroscopic, but it wasn't as major as that! I can completely understand why you want to put it off. (And complaining is very therapeutic!)

Anonymous said...

Make sure you watch any further issues potentially developing from that "extra" bone...took a few years, lots of pain, and quite a few surgeries (7 altogether) to know that the pain and ripping was from a bone spike that developed post-PAO. Just be careful...and make sure you proceed with your OS if needed. At least he seems to know what is going on in there! =)