Right Hip Revival


It's been 8 days since I had my right hip replaced. With it being my second replacement, I knew what to expect going into surgery.

I was feeling good about surgery, but as the nurse was prepping me before anesthesia, she went through a group of questions. One was: "If you die on the table, would you like to be revived?" I wasn't expecting that one. "Um, yes, please," I responded to the nurse. She walked out of the room and it was just my husband and I left. I went into panic mode and began to tell him my wishes for our children and family through my tears. He asked me to stop, but it felt so necessary at the time. After all, it was a possibility. I don't know why the fear set in with surgery this time after I'd already survived 4 others, but after the nurse asked me that, part of me felt selfish -- like I was taking a risk I didn't need to take. I was having this surgery to improve my quality of life, but what if it resulted in the absolute worst?

I took a few deep breaths, and I said a prayer.

I was taken to anesthesia, where I knew it wouldn't be long before I knew my fate. Time would begin to warp and I'd wake up in recovery ... or I wouldn't.

Low and behold -- I woke up in recovery and made some desperate attempts at eye contact with a nurse. I was in pain and under heavy medications, but I was alive. The hospital was in overflow so I ended up being taken to a wing of the hospital where the nurses didn't typically tend to orthopedic patients. They were all great, however, and did their best.

I think I was so joyful to be out of surgery that it completely masked any pain I was having. I was exhausted, but not completely drained like I was with my first replacement in 2012. I walked up and down the hall using a walker the night of surgery. It was a slow walk, but it felt as normal a walk as I'd experienced in nearly five years.

They discharged me from the hospital the day after surgery, which was a huge relief. I didn't need a blood transfusion this time and I couldn't wait to get home to my own bed.

Since I've been home, I've had good days and some really bad days. There's been struggles with figuring out how to manage pain, get rest, keep my appetite and just get around the house to do very mundane things. Getting from one side of the house to the other is my equivalent of a marathon right now. I'm still using a walker to get around.

When I first came home, my right leg felt like it weighed 200 pounds. But just in the last day or two, it's gone back to a normal weight and I'm able to lift it with some ease. I can already feel my range of motion in my right leg improve.

Before surgery, my husband noticed that I was starting to walk and sit with my right foot turned inward. I'm certain I was doing that because when my hip rotated outward, it hurt so badly it felt like it could break off. I got used to turning it in to avoid the pain. Now that my hip can turn out, my entire right leg down to my toes are getting used to being able to turn outward again. The first few days, I had terrible pains in my leg as it adjusted, but that pain lessens a little each day.

I'd hoped to start PT by now but I haven't yet, because my doctor held off for a bit until I could get some strength back. I should begin in-home PT in the next few days.

Although I'm sure there will still be some tough days ahead, I feel like the worst of them are behind me. It's honestly difficult at this point to even imagine myself with the strength and balance to just walk normal. But each step on my left leg is a reminder of what's to come for my right.

For now, I just need to be patient with myself and let the healing continue.

Ready to Remember


I wrestled with the idea of returning to blogging. It's been two years since my last post. I decided to keep some things close, and honestly, my focus was elsewhere.

This blog has unexpectedly found a unique audience of mostly women who are living out some terribly unfortunate side effects of using the Mirena IUD. I never imagined that was where this blog was headed when I started it with a simple reason to believe in January of 2012.

Nearly four years after that original post, I still have a reason to believe. Lots of them, actually. Two weeks from today, I'll have my other hip replaced. I've been putting it off for several years. Surgery is never convenient, but I know it's time.

I truly can't remember what it's like to wake up without pain, to walk without a limp or to even sit "indian style." But I want, so badly, to remember what life felt like before all of this began.

I don't want to re-hash the full story, but four years ago my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis (bone death due to blood clotting) in both hips and shoulders. Four consecutive surgeries repaired my shoulders and replaced one hip. I was too exhausted after all of that to have the other hip replaced. I really hoped my right hip would repair itself despite my doctor telling me that wouldn't be the case. As it turns out, he was right.

It's progressively gotten worse with time. My right hip is beginning to collapse and once again -- I find myself crooked.

The surgery nerves are definitely starting to set in, but I'm feeling mostly optimistic about it. I've done this before so I have a better idea of what to expect. I know that hip replacements work wonders, because one half of me is strong and the other half of me is not. The hardest part, as always, are in those still, helpless moments after surgery. But I know I have to go through those moments to get to where I want to be.

In the past, it has helped to set some goals for myself. After my last set of surgeries, I completed a 5K. I know that isn't much to some people, but when I set that goal, it seemed impossible. But I did it.

This time around the thing I'm most looking forward to is less pain, more mobility and more strength overall. My new goal is to take an adult ballet barre class at my daughter's dance studio once I've recovered enough. I can't put a time stamp on it just yet, but I hope to make it happen before the year comes to an end.

In the last year, my daughter decided to hang up her pom poms to focus on dance. Watching her dance has really inspired me. I would never expect to be a good [or even a mediocre] dancer — that's not my goal. But I often admire her movement and strength. Her dancing reminds me of what life probably felt like before Avascular Necrosis. And it's just beautiful. Not even because her dancing is beautiful or because she's beautifully happy when she's doing it -- but because she moves so freely and that is a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, my two youngest children were just a toddler and a baby when this began. They never really knew me as the physically strong, balanced, pain-free mom that I always thought I would be. My teenager knew that mom, but I'm sure that recent years have faded out that version of me in the same way that my own memory has.

I know that things will never be the same, but I'm attempting to remove as many obstacles as possible. And for now, that obstacle is a very damaged right hip.

"In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul."
-- Psalm 138:3


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