It’s been two and a half weeks since my surgery on November 11, 2015, and I have been healing well. I wanted to provide a round up of updates since I last posted. It has been a very busy and eventful two months! Since scheduling surgery, I made it my goal to have as much fun as possible (despite some mobility restrictions) since I knew I would be facing a long recovery. I began my pre-surgery adventures by seeking out some really awesome food. I ate fish fry in Wisconsin, hit up the Wildfire steakhouse in Chicago, found the best macarons in the city (from Alliance Patisserie), tried fondue for the first time at Geja’s Cafe in Lincoln Park, ate my favorite tacos at Velvet Taco, filled up on brunch at Hash House A-Go-Go, and made some pretty good home cooked meals too.
Although one of my doctors advised against extensive travel, I did manage to take a few trips before surgery. I visited my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and managed to squeeze in some of my favorite Madison pastimes in a 24 hour period – the Madison Farmer’s Market, Babcock ice cream at the Memorial Union, and dinner and old fashioneds at the Old Fashioned. I even stocked up on new Badger gear at the University of Wisconsin.
Knowing that winter was swiftly approaching, I got in some quick beach time on Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast, and even found a perfectly intact sand dollar.
Late to the party – I bought my first tablet knowing I would need a lightweight device to keep me entertained while recovering from surgery. Enter the new Kindle Fire HD 8. It’s a lovely little fuchsia tablet perfect for watching shows, reading the news, and browsing the web.
And then, after a full belly and happy heart from weeks of tasty dining experiences and weekend excursions, I had my “last blast of fun” before surgery. I attended my cousin’s wedding in Tinley Park, IL (congratulations, Mike & Lisa)! I had the pleasure and honor of singing and playing ukulele in their wedding ceremony, and I danced the night away knowing that the simple task of walking would become difficult in just a few days time. That weekend, my cousin Jenny, who is an expertly talented crochet queen, stitched me a new cat good luck token to bring me good luck during surgery. The flower girl at the wedding named her Marshmallow. Welcome to the world, Marshmallow! Here she is pictured in the surgical waiting room.
The day of surgery, I woke up with a cold. I had a sore throat, cough, and stuffy nose. I was very worried that they would not be able to perform the surgery since I would undergo general anesthesia. Although my lungs were not entirely clear, the surgical team decided to proceed after concluding that my illness was upper respiratory in nature. Since I would be paralyzed and intubated during the surgery, the anesthesia team would be breathing for me so they were not too concerned about complications from my being sick. I was pretty nervous for the surgery since it was my first time going “fully under,” and since I had no idea how my body would feel after the surgery. But the surgery was a success and I tolerated it well. I was given a hefty dosage of morphine and demerol after the surgery, so I was pretty confused/bewildered/upset once I started to wake up. I took this Snapchat video during my narcotized state.
The most frustrating, difficult part about recovering from arthroscopic hip surgery is this machine below. It’s called a continuous passive motion (machine), and it moves your leg slowly up and down to help get things moving and healing in the hip joint. I was on this machine for 4 hours a day for two weeks. The rest of my days were spent on the ice machine with compression cuffs (to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis), lying on my stomach (prone) to gently stretch the hip, and doing physical therapy exercises.
For those with a keen interest in medical terminology, this is what my surgery involved (all in the right hip):
- labral repair
- acetabular rim trimming
- femoral osteochondroplasty
- capsular plication
To sum it up, they removed bone from my pelvis and thigh to remediate my femoro acetabular impingement (FAI). The FAI is likely what contributed to the tear in my labrum which they repaired using implantable anchors. Next, they “Roto-Rootered” my hip by clearing out the inflammation and removing the mass pictured below (sorry if you are squeamish). You can see from the photo that it was just over 1 inch in length. This mass is what was initially thought to be PVNS. Interestingly, when they sent it to the lab for testing, this particular sample appeared to be “general synovitis.” That said, they have no definitive way of confirming my initial PVNS diagnosis. Only time will tell – I am advised to schedule an MRI in one year to check for recurrence and regrowth of the mass.
While recovery has been slow and boring, and it took a week and half for me to feel comfortable going out in public, I took my first excursion to Target. I used one of the electric wheelchair carts and had way more fun than I thought possible. Too much fun. I nearly knocked down an entire display of Jack Daniels, and I dragged more than one clothing rack behind my electric wheelchair cart…
On the day before my first post-op doctor’s visit, I made a quick visit to Chicago’s Christkindl market. This is one holiday tradition I was not willing to miss despite the difficulty of navigating through the crowds on crutches. We found an open picnic table and enjoyed a warm glass of glühwein, German mulled wine.
I had a successful post-op appointment and had my sutures removed. I am now off the CPM and ice machines, and I’m focusing on bearing more weight on my right side so I can begin to wean off crutches. I rode shotgun up to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving, and I temporarily transferred physical therapy here until I am walking on my own and able to fully care for myself.
While I have many months of therapy ahead, I am healing well. I am so grateful and appreciative of all your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers. They have helped me keep a positive attitude which has been quintessential to my healing process. Thank you all, and happy belated Thanksgiving!