Friday November 18th was my two-year hippiversary for my left (second) PAO. I am a little late with this update as I was traveling. I celebrated by walking a mile uphill in snow and rain (the snow wasn't sticking to the ground so it wasn't as bad as it sounds). This is something I couldn't have done without major repercussions before my surgery. I was a little stiff the next day but not incapacitated.
When you have a PAO, they tell you that it takes a full two years to heal. At this point I can say that I'm probably as healed as I will ever be. So what's it like two years later?
~I can walk without crippling pain, although walking a long distance, up hill, or carrying a load does make me sore and stiff. I still limp on occasion but it takes a lot. Walking used to be something I loved to do but now it's not my favorite activity. I think I could build up my walking ability if I wanted to work on it, but so far I save my time and energy for other things.
~My overall flexibility and range of motion is far less than it used to be. Period. This has been discussed in prior posts and is probably my biggest bummer. Like the walking, I could probably work harder on this by going to yoga every day or really working on it, but even with a lot of work I will not be where I used to be. It is what it is.
~Skating is generally not painful as long as I don't do anything challenging. My coordination and balance are not what they used to be and this prevents me from doing a lot of things that I used to do without thinking about since I learned them as a kid. It has been a strange and frustrating journey to try re-learning. Sometimes the things that were easiest are now the hardest and vice versa. It's as if my entire body has been re-wired. (Help! I'm trapped in somebody else's body and it won't listen to me!)
~The usual suspect muscles are still weaker than they were, but I am stronger than your average 48-year-old. Hip flexors, glutes and abductors are still fairly lazy -- not for a regular person, but for a figure skater. I say that because for normal activities and perhaps if I took up a different sport, this would not be an issue. Let's be honest; the surgery cut right through the most useful muscles for skating and they have not fully recovered and probably never will.
~My psoas is still very tight and causes some back pain. I am trying different stretches to alleviate this.
~I am not pain free. Now my pain is muscle fatigue, soreness and stiffness and not bone-on-bone arthritis pain. I can deal with that.
~I still don't like to stand for long periods of time or walk or stand on hard surfaces. I can do it, but I pay for it the next day with soreness.
~I still use a cane for long walks and downtown, where I work. This is for balance and also self preservation. I have been wacked too many times in the pelvis by careless people swinging bags around at hip level. Ouch. I use the cane to keep them the hell away from me. I thought about getting a hiking pole instead, but I actually prefer the geriatric look of the cane. It says, "be careful, I have something wrong with me" vs. "I am cool, I like to go hiking in the city!" I still feel vulnerable enough that I want to broadcast the "something wrong with me" part. I also don't want anyone to give me dirty looks if I have to sit down (on the bus, during a tour, whatever) and don't give up my seat. Of course, I do give up my seat to anyone worse off than I am, and that's most people. But it's my choice.
A happy Thanksgiving all. I am still thankful that medical science has come far enough to keep me mobile; in past generations I would be in a wheelchair by now.