24 December 2006

Christmas Eve

Tomorrow will be five weeks since the surgery. I was really sore (muscles) in the quads and glutes from the walking on the treadmill yesterday, but it taught me that there's no exercise to substitute for walking itself, so I will do more of it.

My high school class, in preparation for its 50th reunion in 2008, has started a Yahoo group.  One of the women on it has read this blog and asked for more information about my decisions.  Because I spent some time replying to her, I'm going to re-post my answers, sanitizing them for privacy's sake:

Where do I begin?
My X-ray was so obvious that I never had an MRI. And I already knew that I had scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, and stenosis in my back.  But I wasn't in pain from my back after I started to do yoga.  Naturally I tried first to treat my hip with yoga. It didn't work at all.
 That being said, anyone else might want an MRI.  Some symptoms are slightly different from mine; I couldn't get my legs straight out on the floor because I had compensated for the hip for so long that my  psoas and quadratus lumborum had tightened and weakened, even with the yoga. I was also losing strength in the gluteus medius. I had lost a lot of muscle strength of which I was unaware.  All I knew was that I couldn't balance on my left leg. I never bothered trying to figure out why :-)

Why I chose the procedure I did:
I knew I wasn't a candidate for a resurfacing. My X-ray said my femur was literally jammed into my acetabulum; I had collapsed into the hip on that side. This did happen within a six month period.

I went to a doctor who does the minimally invasive procedure, and he was very cavalier about the impact of a hip surgery on the delicate balance of my back -- he said it wouldn't matter.  Ten years of yoga study told me it would. Everything's connected.

So I went to a doctor who does the normal procedure -- a woman.  She said that to position the joint correctly so that it didn't throw my pelvis/back out of line, she had to see into the joint space more clearly than the minimally invasive procedure would allow. She said I wouldn't have a large incision, however, because I wasn't fat. That was on the first visit.

She sent me for pre-op physical therapy, and the PT there told me that she had one surgeon client who did nothing but revisions on minimally invasive surgeries that didn't work, and that the failure rate was higher than one would like.

In further discussions with Dr. Whirlow, I cried over the possibility that I could no longer do yoga after the surgery because I needed it for my back. She then told me that there was a new theory that if you put a larger femoral head in, there was greater range of motion and the patient could do more activities afterward, and that she thought since I was an athlete I would want this.  That's how I ended up with the big incision.  I could care less.

I have had a lightning recovery. I was out of the hospital in three days, out to dinner after 5 days, driving after ten days. Yes, my muscles were cut and I am walking with a cane, but I have almost all my strength back after less than five weeks and I am doing many asanas already. I plan to go to a gentle class on Christmas Day now that I can get down on the floor.  It's because of the Pilates and PT I did before.

I delayed the procedure to get mentally and physically ready.  I never expected to become infirm. It scared the shit out of me and I had to come to terms with it.  I have consistently denied the amount of pain I was in. I took the pain meds for four or five days after the surgery, but I find I can deal with a fair amount of pain and would rather have my wits about me.

I think I tried not to feel sorry for myself and to be unattached to the outcome. I had been to India twice, I understood a lot about Buddhism, and I summoned my yoga training.

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