four weeks post-op

I could swear that I wrote a two week post op report, but either I didn’t or the Internet ate it.

Anyway, I am now four weeks out from my hip labrum repair and FAI revision surgery. And I have been feeling pretty good!

My surgeon cleared me to being weight bearing at my two week follow up appointment. I am now able to walk short distances, such as around the house, without the aid crutches; for longer trips, I still use one crutch, mostly to help with fatigue. I am still limping, but I have been putting a lot of effort into regaining a normal gait.

I returned to work eighteen days after my surgery. I am happy to report that I am already much more comfortable sitting at my desk than I was prior to the surgery! Due to strict post-surgical activity restrictions, this is the first symptom that I have really been able to evaluate since the procedure.

Those activity restrictions include no elliptical, no jogging, and no abdominal exercises that involve the hip. Lower body exercises (squats, lunges, the leg press) remain off limits, too. My physical therapist just started reintroducing lateral hip movements, but most of my exercises continue to focus on breaking up scar tissue and walking normally.

In addition to walking, I have been focused on healing my surgical incisions. I have three small (one inch) incisions, which I have been massaging daily. I use this Vitamin E gel on the incisions, then moisturizing the entire area with cocoa butter. It takes a long time to do thoroughly, and it can be painful, but two of my incisions are already visibly lighter and smoother. The third incision was slower to heal (and was not fully closed when my stitches were removed), but it is also starting to soften.

With one month behind me, I finally feel like I am getting back to myself. I am so happy that I elected to have this surgery, but I am even happier that the first month of recovery is behind me. And while I am terribly impatient to get back to more strenuous activity, at least I am no longer house-bound. We even went to the pool last weekend! That stubborn third portal prevented me from getting in the water, but I was just happy to be there.

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(Please don’t look at that pedicure too closely, okay?)

 

only one week, already

Has it been a week already, or has it only been a week? Either way, it is hard for me to believe that, as of today, it has been seven days since my surgery.

Overall, I am happy with my progress and recovery so far. I am getting around better on my crutches, and more easily. I can sit upright comfortably for longer periods – longer than before surgery, actually. I had my first physical therapy session yesterday, and my joint feels good throughout its range of motion. Most importantly, none of my pre-surgical symptoms have recurred.

But I miss being active, and I desperately miss my independence. I have to continue using my crutches for another week, at least – I will be evaluated for weight bearing by my surgeon in another week. Until then, I walk slowly, grow tired quickly, and can still barely navigate a set of stairs. I also cannot carry anything while using the crutches, which is endlessly frustrating.

I will be home for at least another ten days. I am not allowed to drive. I spend three hours in the CPM machine, two hours lying on my stomach, and another half hour doing exercises. Between prescriptions and joint supplements, I take fifteen pills a day.

I have no doubt that undergoing surgery was the right decision, and I am optimistic about my long term results. I know that I will eventually be happier, stronger, and without pain for the first time in four years. But in these early days, when full recovery seems so far away, it is hard to stay positive.

In happy news, my physical therapist cleared me to begin riding the stationary bike, although only in short intervals with no resistance. This opens the possibility of returning to the gym, albeit in a severely limited capacity. I cannot wait.

much less hip

On Friday, I had arthroscopic surgery on my right hip. There’s a long– four year!– backstory behind all of this, but I would certainly fall asleep before I could type it all out.

In short, I was diagnosed with Femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, in April. FAI is caused by bony abnormalities in the hip that prevent the joint from fitting together correctly, leading weakness, damage inside the joint, and pain. My surgery including three procedures to repair the condition and the damage:

  • Repairing a tear in my hip labrum, which is the cartilage inside the ball and socket joint
  • Removing the excess bone on my femoral head, which caused the labral tear
  • Performing a partial release of my IT Band

I was extremely nervous prior to surgery. I was crying in the prep bay, and almost had to get a beta blocker because my blood pressure was so high. (Fortunately, my handsome anesthesiologist read the situation perfectly and waved that off!)

I remember being wheeled back to surgery and sliding on to the operating table. Then I was waking up back in the recovery bay. I came out of anesthesia shivering uncontrollably and with deep, intense burning throughout my hip socket. Mercifully, I was not at all nauseated. My surgical team had previously decided to “come at me with everything they had” to prevent nausea, and their special cocktail definitely worked.

After some extra pain medication and a quick talk with my surgeon, I transferred (awkwardly) into a wheelchair and was wheeled out of the surgical center for discharge. Getting into the car was a miserable experience, especially when the nurse leaned on my operative leg to adjust my feet…

Since then, I’ve been mostly bed-bound, except for several exciting forays out to the couch. I spend most of the day hooked up to a machine, either the cold therapy unit or the CPM. Though I am being diligent, I am growing to resent this part of recovery. I’ve become especially tired of the cold therapy machine, which is indicated for use three times a day, at six hours per session…

But I have hit a couple of milestones. The first was getting out of the knee brace on Saturday morning; this was the biggest relief and made moving around so much easier. I also quit the narcotic pain relievers entirely: I switched to Tylenol on Sunday morning, approximately 36 hours after surgery, and have not looked back. I finished the three-day course of antibiotics last night and have also cut back on the prescription muscle relaxers. The only medication I’m still taking regularly is my anti-inflammatory.

My right leg remains extremely weak and difficult to move (unless I physically grab it!), but the physical discomfort is much less than I anticipated. I have experienced some dull aching in the joint while in the CPM, especially near the end of a one-hour session, but no pain or pinching.

My husband returns to work tomorrow, which will be tough; he’s been a very good nurse! But I have friends coming to spend time with me on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I’m sure I will be okay. Right now, I am eagerly looking forward to my first post-op shower on Wednesday and my first PT appointment early Thursday morning!