Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hip in Sun Valley

Found time to skate a bit while judging the National Collegiate Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho

Monday, July 18, 2011

Randy Gardner Seminar

I like to name drop as much as anyone else, so I can't help mentioning that I attended a seminar by 1979 World Pair Champion, world-reknowned choreographer, and all around nice guy Randy Gardner along with my ice dancing peeps on Sunday.

There were 8 of us in the "high" dance group (including some kids) and I was a bit apprehensive about attending because I don't consider myself a high-level dancer any more. But I surprised myself by keeping up. I tried all of the sequences and was able to do many of them and I wasn't way behind the rest of the group. In fact, sometimes I was ahead.

It's nice to know that I can keep up. A year ago it would not have been possible, even on two feet. It gives me confidence that I'll survive the High Dance Camp as well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Two Year Hippiversary

Today marks the two-year anniversary of my right PAO. That means my left PAO is close to a year and 8 months old. I took this opportunity to re-read some of my early posts. Oh, the drama! Not that all of this hip stuff isn't serious of course, but with the wisdom of two years of healing, I can say that I have mellowed and lost most of my anger about why this happened to me.

In the beginning, I was told that there was a two-year rehab period for this surgery. I was also told that even after two years my hips would not be normal. I would probably have continuing pain and reduced strength/ROM even at maximum recovery.

That's turned out to be quite accurate. While I am happy with the outcome of my PAOs, I am not "cured." There was no promise that I'd be pain free and I'm not. There was no promise that I'd be able to do all of the things I used to do and I can't. I still have many limitations despite what my surgeon and PT would both call a stellar recovery. Their goal was not to give me back the abilities I had before, but to give me as much ability as possible, and they did that.

I realize now how strong and fit and coordinated I used to be, which I didn't realize at the time. I have experienced an interesting progression of aging rapidly, from a sports perspective, practically overnight. By that I mean that I went from being a very fit and fearless 45-year-old, often feeling and skating like I was much younger, to being a 48-year-old with hips that feel and perform like those of a much older person. I am much more risk averse. I am no longer fearless. I don't have the same balance, strength, flexibility and especially coordination that I used to. Despite telling myself that some of this is in my head and it will get better, I know in my heart what I really don't want to admit aloud most days -- I will never get some of my abilities back.

Sounds defeatist but that doesn't mean I won't stop trying. It gives me something challenging to do and provides good exercise for me.

I don't regret my PAOs (and in any case, what choice did I have?). I think a PAO is a wonderful fix for a bad situation that nobody chooses. Truth in advertising: for athletes and dancers, realistically, a PAO may not allow you to perform at your prior level, especially if your hip capsule is opened and a lot of key muscles are severed. (A "simple" PAO where the pelvis is broken and reset but the hip capsule is not opened may be a different story.)

So. See you on the ice, where I'll be working diligently on what I can do, and trying not to think about the things I can't do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Falling ... really?

Over the holiday weekend I fell on my butt twice. In the same day. In spectacular fashion.

This would not be a big deal if I did it while skating because, well, falling happens on the ice. But it happened OFF the ice, which is worse because the momentum of sliding on the ice tends to absorb the impact of a fall. Falls on gravel and wood don't have the same benefit.

Fall #1 happened while I was walking on the side of my house in the morning; a garden step broke when I stepped on it and I went straight down on my back on some gravel. The encore fall occurred in the evening when I slipped on a wood stair riser and fell down a couple of stairs in the house. And I wasn't even drinking.

I've never had a stair problem before, and even navigated stairs for several months on crutches without a single mishap.

I had been scheduled for a lesson on big ice with Coach I on the Cha Cha the next day. After fall #1 I took some Ibuprofen and felt a bit sore, but still planned to skate. After fall #2 I asked Perry to bring me the phone (as I sat in a heap at the bottom of the stairs) and called Coach from that position to explain that I would not be there in the morning.

I hit my left arm on the stair riser and it has a lovely bruise the size of a baseball. My back and hips hurt. I am trying not to whine. I had high hopes of skating a lot this week so I'll load up on Ibuprofen and I'll be at the rink tonight. Because in life, as in skating, you fall. The important thing is to get up and try again.