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Ptarmigan Takes Flight

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by Ptarmigan, May 10, 2019.

  1. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    I have a date! August 5, 2019. It’s marked on my calendar this way: “Big Day”.

    My first consultation with an OS was on “no-fooling” April 1. My right hip was clearly kaput. Partially bone on bone, with a large bone spur that looked unnervingly like a shark’s tooth, and a bone cyst forming. Bone cyst? That didn’t sound good. The OS said, “Think of it like a bone blister.” My hip muscles clenched sympathetically. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

    The handwriting was clearly on the X-ray, but I was not yet ready to move forward with a plan. I already had cataract replacement surgeries scheduled for April 2 and 22, a second opinion to schedule, and logistical questions to consider.

    Between April 1 and May 1: I was discharged by the ophthalmologist with 20/20 in both eyes (life changing blessing - highly recommend). I lost 10 pounds on an anti-inflammatory diet (“To Quiet Inflammation” or TQI for inquiring minds), dropping my BMI from 34 to 31. I started “prehab” with a physical therapist/coach who is helping me correct the postural/muscular imbalances caused by the dicey hip. I spent quite a bit of time here, on BoneSmart, warming up to the idea of what lies ahead. I consulted with my PCP and PT about interim pain management and sleep.

    On May 4, I returned to my OS of choice and committed to surgery, and yesterday, received my first choice surgery date. It’s on!

    My avi, “Ptarmigan”, is in honor of my father, a founding member of the Ptarmigan Climbing Club. Here in the Pacific Nothwest (US), hiking enthusiasts know of the Ptarmigan Traverse. My dad was a member of the group who pioneered that route, which included six first ascents in the North Cascades. If he were with me today, he would say, “this too shall pass” about every upset and setback ahead, and he would permit no doubt about ultimately getting to the summit of this particular climb: getting my life and freedom back.

    And so...Ptarmigan Takes Flight!
     
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  2. SarahBee

    SarahBee graduate

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    What a lovely post, @Ptarmigan . I wish you a peaceful and as painless wait as possible. My motto became, this too shall pass. And pass it did, in a big way. Can't wait to hear of your recovery, with the awful pain behind you. :console2:
     
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  3. SarahBee

    SarahBee graduate

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    You had mentioned your OS does both anterior and posterior approach (correct me if I am wrong). Have you decided which approach you want to have?
     
  4. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    I am completely undecided . So, the OS and I agreed to defer the decision until one week prior to surgery. He looked me right in the eye and said, “I do both because I believe in both. If I didn’t have confidence in an approach, I wouldn’t do it. I recommend you think of this decision as having two good options. If you want guidance, I will provide it. But if you have a strong preference, I want you to be confident and happy.”
     
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  5. SarahBee

    SarahBee graduate

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    What a great position to be in! A surgeon with options. Wishing you well as you make your decision!
     
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  6. leejaa

    leejaa post-grad

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    You sound ready for the next steps and for recovery to a pain free life. It looks like you have a really good surgeon who works with you. That is awesome.
     
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  7. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Thank you very much, @SarahBee ! If I get to the last appointment with no strong preference, I am going to defer to his judgement.

    When I was evaluating surgeons, I developed these criteria:

    1. Frequency/recency/volume of performing these procedure(s)
    2. How does this person show confidence? Compassion?
    3. What is their approach to pain management?
    4. What kind of thinker are they? Do they strictly apply rules/principles or do they adapt to individual circumstances?
    5. How do they define success for this surgery?

    Other people will value different things in their surgeons, of course, but this list helped me zero in on a great provider for me.
     
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  8. SarahBee

    SarahBee graduate

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    The only things I could possibly add would be their infection and revision rates (number of their THR that had to be revised, not how many revisions they have done). I also looked at infection rates for the hospital where I would be having surgery.

    In the end, I had a tremendous amount of trust in the hospital, my surgeon and the approach he would use. It kept me as calm as I could be. That and my husband reassuring me daily that it would be okay.
     
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  9. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Very important considerations! Agreed @SarahBee. I belong to an HMO, so I didn’t have options. But, thankfully, the HMO contracts with the #1 ranked hospital for orthopedic surgery in my state (yay!).
     
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  10. Mojo333

    Mojo333 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    :wave:How wonderful to hear about your father's accomplishments. What a courageous, interesting man he must have been.
    Glad you have your date for getting started on the road back to healthy and happy.:happydance:
     
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  11. CPH

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    Congrats on committing to have it done....I committed right away, then went through my denial then acceptance phase. My surgeon has done both approaches, but prefers posterior. I read about the anterior and the initial recovery timeframe was very appealing. He said most his posterior incisions are in the 4-5 inch range and he does a muscle sparing technique. He will be using a polyethylene liner with ceramic head. He said that overall he believes the posterior gives him the best overall access/ visibility to the joint, so that’s his preference. My 2 cents...if you have a great surgeon, who has a lot of THRs under their belt, let them decide what they think is best.
     
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  12. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Think there is a lot of wisdom in this - definitely agree! I will be watching for your recovery thread, as I think my surgeon does have a slight preference for posterior, too. Best of luck!
     
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  13. ahipgma

    ahipgma senior

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    I am anxious to go have a second one done.
    Both my hips are bad but I wanted this surgeon and he does not do 2 at once
    Already my post OP hip is behaving better than my one needing surgery
    Your surgeon sounds wonderful, I believe total confidence in your surgeon is most important.
    I had a posterior what-he-calls -a-mini 8 ish inches.
    For me at least that first week was wicked but I did what I was told and it was ok
    They give you enough pain med tho I probably under medicated because I'm a nurse.
    As for your wait-- your thoughts and fears are real but not reality---these surgeons love what they do and do it every day.
    Try to enjoy your summer as much as you can and before you know it you'll be on the road to no more bone spur and pain free reality!
    Oh PS I am looking at bilateral cataract surgery and have nearsighted since I was 7 years old! Was encouraged by your words!
     
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  14. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    @ahipgma I am so so pleased you were encouraged by my cataract comment!

    Let me elaborate (and perhaps those who aren’t curious can skip over):

    My vision was terrible virtually all my life (like yours); developing a cataract was the best thing for it. I started legally blind in both eyes and finished 20/20 within a week of surgery. Your mileage may vary, of course, but like everything else, the technology continues to advance. If doctors can correct your vision now (basically, if your retinas, maculas, and optic nerves are healthy), then the new lenses will not only give you the same or better correction, they will add UltraHD resolution and color saturation. If there are other challenges with your eyes, it turns out there are things they can do to help. That said, I have 2.0 readers, and that’s just fine by me.

    I would compare the surgery to an elaborate dental appointment in terms of the energy it demands and the degree of invasiveness that’s involved. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes. Your eye is completely numb (done with drops) and you are pleasantly woozy (an IV). My only pain was IV related. Post op was barely even uncomfortable - certainly not painful. There’s a bit of bother with appointments and drops and shields taped to the face - and I had vertigo between the two procedures, but this is uncommon - and it’s all over in a matter of weeks. And my goodness, the world is a beautiful place!
     
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  15. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Today I had a very nearly pain free day. I can’t remember the last time I could say that. I was laughing all day - and I can’t remember the last time I could say that, either. And just for one day, my kaput hip acted like its old self, and I could stand tall and walk with confidence and move with grace. Oh my goodness - I really had forgotten what this felt like! And it was such a gift, because now I know for sure why I am getting this surgery. As much as I would like to believe I am better, I have seen the X-ray and I know I didn’t regrow cartilage, absorb a bone spur, or vanish a bone cyst. But I also know, in time, all those things will be in my past.

    So, I am filled with gratitude tonight for this reminder of better times and promise of good times to come.
    Wishing you all a lovely day tomorrow!
     
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  16. ahipgma

    ahipgma senior

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    Wasn't that a gift? I abduct my new hip in a move that always hurt and guess what?
    It doesn't hurt anymore.
    I try it one my undone one and, yep, still hurts like toothache
    I'm walking around on my proof that I did the right thing!
     
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  17. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Hippies: Can we talk? About the way this defective hip is hurting more than just me?

    To put you in the picture: my DH (darling husband) and I just celebrated 27 years. We have one DD (darling daughter), college grad, lives at home by choice. My DH is a contractor - I do books, taxes, hr, run errands, misc mgmt. My DD does admin at a high school by day. By night she is a professional actress, teaching artist, producer, soon-to-be MFA applicant. I help her learn lines, run her to auditions, help her cope with rejection, mentor professional development. I have been 80%+ responsible for homekeeping. It has been my greatest pleasure to nurture them - and I have never had anything more serious than bronchitis.

    They are exhausted. Already. And surgery’s not until August. And rehab will take...a long time, right? Until I get all the way back to what I just described. And now that I am on “sick leave” so to speak, I realize just how much I love this job. I was needed. And wanted. They aren’t thriving right now.

    My DD has willingly and cheerfully taken on all the meal prep for the family. Believe me, I am eating my veggies! She’s been an athlete all her life, so she’s coaching core and upper body to get me ready for rehab, and taking me to PT. She’s devoting her August break to my immediate post-surgery care. And that’s the best choice for us as a family. But she’d set aside that time for grad school applications...and Mom doesn’t want to be the reason those apps aren’t what they could be.

    My DH is the world’s best fix-it-up-chappie. It is killing him that he can’t fix this for me. He has scars from childhood (lost his mom at 11 to ovarian cancer) and seeing me go through a prolonged period of pain and limitation hits him in the feels. He wants his wife and partner back, and who can blame him? I want his wife back.

    This is a different kind of pain. I don’t like it one bit.
     
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    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  18. Hoppy Nanny

    Hoppy Nanny Sr Bonesmartie

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    @Ptarmigan
    You Hubby & your daughter will have you back... only a better you... with no hip pain.

    After the first few weeks you will be able to resume some of your chores.... I’m 9 weeks post op & I’m doing everything at home... cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing & a little gardening & my hip is just fabulous.

    But it’s not only the chores is it? It’s Wife & Mum enjoying life... going out without worrying if you can get up without looking like an old lady.... making arrangements that you know you won’t have to cancel due to pain...your ever shrinking life will expand after your op...good luck hun. x


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Elf1

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    @Ptarmigan I can't say for sure about the hip op fixing everything for certain since I'm still waiting for surgery like you. I can tell you that after I had back surgery my life changed drastically, I was able to live again and be the person I used to be, until the hip got stupid.

    I think most of us are in kind of the same boat, we're used to being the ones that keep the ship going it's course while everyone else is doing them. When we get sidelined, even for a short time, it totally throws us and our families for a loop. Most hubbies are way more capable than we give them credit for around the house, etc. If they weren't they wouldn't be successful in their jobs. And our darling children can be quite helpful when given the chance to step up and sometimes can really surprise us. You and they are all in this together, it's called family and sometimes you have to pick up the load for one or the other.

    Please don't get down on yourself or feel like you're letting your family down because you need to take time to take care of yourself. If you don't take care of yourself it will only get worse and may be a permanent issue instead of a fixable one. Just like on an airplane, they tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first. Gentle hugs. :friends:
     
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  20. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan senior
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    Just when you think you’ve got it all sorted it out...

    I am doing a prehab protocol that’s quite unusual: Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT). I’ve had 5 treatments so far. It’s already had a dramatic affect on my range of motion and gait. I’ve gained an inch back of lost height, my formerly valgus knees can bend directly over my toes, and long-time dormant muscles in my legs are coming back to life. It seems the damage to my hip may have originated with postural defects and repetitive use consequences. Or osteoarthritis. No one knows.

    What does this mean for surgery? This overthinking thing is no joke.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2019

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