Sunday, December 30, 2012


So sometimes you just need to do whats better for your mind than your body because as I have learned over the past few years, it seems like those two things do not always agree.  I went for a walk with my dog today, which is something that I have not done in at least a month.  We live in a beautiful area of northern Michigan and it has been very disappointing to be up here surrounded by amazing trails, wildlife, and Lake Superior, and not be able to enjoy any of it.  This past summer me and my husband went swimming a lot, which was fun and something that did not make my hip hurt too bad.  But obviously, summer turned to fall and fall to winter which means no more swimming in the lake, but left lots of time to enjoy the trails close to our home.  Unfortunately for me, it was around fall that my hips started acting up really bad again and I was unable to go for many walks.  Being cooped up in the house though has been hard.  Its difficult to want so bad to do things but know that if you do them you will pay the price and be in a lot of pain either during or after.

So today I went for a walk with the dog in the snow on the trails.  It was great to be out in the woods playing with my dog, who loves snow.  It was good for my mind too as I am about three weeks away from surgery and am beginning to get really nervous.  I am not so concerned about surgery itself, its just the uncertainty of it working and the hard recovery that comes afterwards.  I am trying to be as prepared as possible, but at the same time, there is only so much that you can do until its just time for surgery and what is will be.

I was also doing some research on antroverted femurs and how it effects people and found some articles that basically state that having this condition often makes your feet and knees point inward so making them point outward is very hard and causes stress on your hips.  Well, of course, when riding horses you are suppose to ride with your heels down and toes outward, putting as much of you calf as possible on the horses side for stability.  I don't wonder if 1) falling off a horse and landing on my hips when I was 16 caused some of these problems because I was young and still growing and 2) by always pushing my heels down and toes out that there was lots of stress on my hips, which did them no favors.  Its very frustrating not knowing exactly what caused all this to happen, so how do you know what to avoid in the future?  These are just some of my theories anyways.

So, really, nothing new, just some thoughts.  Hope everyone is well and pain free!  Its almost a new year, a time to turn the page and have a clean slate, right?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lets try this again...

So, here we are, 3 weeks out from surgery (hopefully).  I had called Dr. Philippons office last week and talked with his PA about the femoral retroversion that I thought I had, but as it turns out, I don't actually have a retroversion,  I have an antroversion, which is what I described in my last post, I just got the name wrong.  I had called to get some reassurance that surgery, which is scheduled for January 21st, would actually happen this time as I don't have the money to fly back and forth from Colorado a lot.  But when I called I really did not get much reassurance at all.  I was told that my antroversion was at such an extreme angle that even after this surgery they believed that I would need to visit this doctor in CA to have this fixed.  He said that in the next year he sees me needing at least two surgeries to help with my hip problems.  Needless to say, this did not make me feel very good about my situation.  Luckily, I only have 3 more weeks until we fly out to CO for surgery, but I am getting really worried about the flights back home considering the flight from Chicago to Houghton (where I live) is in a really small plane and often gets cancelled.  I just hope that its not too overwhelming for my husband!

This conversation with the PA is really the first in a string of problems that happened last week with my family.  My sister is applying to vet school and got two rejection letters plus my parents, who are foster parents to three children found out 3 days before Christmas that they had to send the kids with their grandmother for Christmas.  It was devastating news for my family considering me and my husband traveled 8 hours to see the children and have Christmas with them and the rest of my family as well as my in-laws.

Overall, this Christmas 'vacation' was pretty much a bust.  My hips are very sore from sleeping on a pull out bed at my parents house for 8 days plus the 8 hour car ride there and back.  Then there was all this drama with the foster kids, it was just not the kind of holiday that you would normally plan on having with your family.

On the up side I got a new computer to play games on while recovering :)  Hope everyone else had a Merry Christmas and a pain free New Year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The surgery that never happened...

So there was a hiccup in my planned surgery with Dr. Philippon on December 4th.  On December 1st me and my husband flew out to Denver and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Vail, CO.  We did miss our flight from Chicago to Denver because of a delay with our flight out of Hancock, MI but in the end we made it to Vail just around midnight.  We settled into our condo that we rented for the week and went to bed.  Sunday we just hung out, went to the store to get food, explored Vail a little.

Then on Mondy I had a bunch of appointments to go to.  When you schedule surgery and a pre-op appointment at the same time, the day before surgery you have a ton of appointments.  First I had an MRI, then I met with a physical therapist at Howard Head Sports Medicine, then I had my appointment with Dr. Philippon, his fellows, and the athletic trainer.  Everything was going well until I met with Dr. Philippons PA who told me that some of my blood work came back high in two areas which test for an inflamatory response in the body.  They were afraid that I had an infection in my hip.  So I was told that it was a possibilty that the surgery would not happen because they wanted to be sure that there was no infection in the hip joint.  Then I met with one of Dr. Philippons nurses who told me that I had whats called a retroversion, which basically means that the angle in which my hip sits in the socket is no correct and my femur is constantly trying to push out the front of my socket and dilocate.  So at this point I just felt like crying.  I was told that again, Dr. Philippon may not want to do the surgery, that he may want me to go to a doctor in CA who fixes retroverted hips.  It was becoming more clear to me that at this point it was pretty much a no go for surgery the next day.  I was devastated.  Then I met with Dr. Philippon who is the nicest man ever.  He said that he wanted to make sure that there was no infection and then after that we could reschedule surgery.  First, he wanted me to get my blood tested again, just to make sure, then he wanted to asperate my hip (take some fluid from the joint).  My blood test came back high again, so they were going to asperate it.  They did this in the OR to make sure that nothing would contaminate the sample that they took.  But wow, did it hurt a lot!  I was under the impression that it would be like an way!  Its hurt so much worse!  But luckly it was over pretty quick.

So now we just wait.  They said that it would be about 4 weeks before all the cultures came back with results, but that preliminary tests are looking good, there is not infection yet.  So I am working on getting my surgery rescheduled for the beginning of January.  The good part being I dont need any of the pre-op stuff done, all I need is surgery!  So while I am pretty disappointed, I am happy surgery will be sooner than April!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In 2 days...

So this is an odd post for me to be writing because honestly, in some ways, I thought that I would never be here.  Even though I had a surgery scheduled for April, it seemed so far away and surreal, I guess a small part of me thought that it would never happen for me. I am, in Vail, Colorado with surgery in two days.  My husband (Adam) and I flew into Denver last night, rented a car, and drove the hour and a half to Vail.  The day started a little rough with a delayed flight out of Houghton, MI and a delayed landing into Chicago, which caused us to miss our flight to Denver.  When we got off the plane in Chicago though, United Airlines had already re-booked us on the next flight out.  Unfortunately, it was a 3 hour wait, but we made the best of it and got some dinner and picked up a few Chicago suveniers.  The plane we were on to Denver was awesome too because I guess it was originally suppose to go overseas, but the flight got cancelled or something, so we ended up with a hugely awesome plane that had blankets and pillows for you, as well as everyone got a small TV.  So the flight was really nice for us :)

Once we got to Denver we had a little trouble with the rental car, but after a short delay we were on our way to Vail!  We rented a condo so we did not have to check in or anything, just walked in and threw our stuff down and slept as it was quiet late and with a 2 hour time change we had been up and traveling over 14 hours.  I woke up this morning and looked out the windows to see the amazing Rocky Mountains. Even though we were just here this spring (not hip related, just drove through on a road trip), its easy to forget how beautiful and breathtaking it is here.  I went to the grocery store early as we had no food in the condo and just the short drive to the market was amazing.  On the way back to the condo from the store I stopped by the hospital to just see where it was and such.  Vail is such a neat little town.  Its set deep in a valley and the rising mountains on all sides makes you feel very small.  So currently I am sitting in front of a fire, watching some football, trying not to obsess to much about the surgery.

Its odd to think that this time last week I was fussing about how frustrated I was about how far away surgery was and how much pain I have been in.  This hole situation happened very fast and when I originally started this blog it was to give some insight into what life was like for me and my wait for surgery, but seeing as my wait was shortened a lot, I guess this blog may end up being a lot shorter than I planned, which is good for me, but I had really wanted to give those out there who are also struggling a story that they could follow and relate to and my story has become not as long as planned.  So for those out there who are reading and still struggling, please keep your spirits up.  Hopefully this it the end for me, but who knows, I thought that with my last surgery.  I will keep everyone updated as to the outcome of my surgery and what recovery is like, which will hopefully help anyone out there also looking to have surgery with Dr. Philippon.

So tomorrow is a day filled with appointments.  I first have an MRI at 8:15am, then I meet with someone form the Howard Head Sports Medicine for a physical therapy evaluation, and last but not least, I have some appointments with Dr. Philippons team and then the hip guru himself!  The whole process will take about 6 hours.  So it will be a long day of people poking and prodding I am sure, but in the end, it will all be worth it!

Will post tomorrow (if I am not too tired) with an update of how the day went!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An early Christmas Miracle

When I started this blog I was wollowing through the aftermath of another failed surgery while at the same time, preparing for another surgery what was 6 months off in the future.  Last week I had emailed Dr. Philippon's assistant and let he know that I would like to be put on the cancellation list for surgery.  I was not sure at the time how I would make a cancellation work, but I thought that I would just figure that out at the time.  Well, yesterday I got home from a doctors appointment and had an email from his assistant stating that they had an opening for surgery on December 4th.  I was beyond excited, but at the same time, scared.  How would me and my husband make this work?  Would we be able to?  After much discussion and many phone calls to the insurance company, we were able to make it work and surgery was scheduled!

So, we will be flying out to Colorado either Friday or Saturday and will stay through December 9th.  I am very excited about this opportunity.  I never thought that I would be so lucky to be able to have an opportunity to get fixed by the best!  So for the next 2 days there is a lot of planning to be done and reservations to be made and while this time in the process will be stressful, it will be totally worth it when I have a working hip!

I will write more and keep everyone updated as to what is happening as I get more information and such.

I am especially thankful for my husbands family who is making this whole situation possible for me.  I am beside myself regarding their generosity to help me in my time of need.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Its always something...5 months from today?

So, its been a while since I have posted mainly because there has not really been anything new happening, but this past week a lot changed.  I have been having increased pain over the last two to three weeks, which has been frustrating.  I called the pain management clinic that I go to, to ask them about hip injections, as this had been mentioned to me at my first appointment in October.  They thought that an injection would be a good idea, as did the surgeon.  So I had an injection (which is just a mixture of a steroid and anesthetic) on Monday.  I have had injections before, once before my first surgery in 2010 and once again in January for my MRI (where they inject the dye into your hip to see cartilage better).  The first one that I had was horrible, very painful during the injection, very painful afterwards, and it did not really help much.  Both of my past injections were done by moving x-ray but this one was done by CT scan, which was interesting.  It was not too painful, although I was still very nervous about it.  The CT scan images were really disturbing though. The joint space was VERY narrow and part of the femur head was actually touching the socket, as well as loose cartilage floating around in the joint space.  It was pretty upsetting to see this because while I have been having increased pain, it’s always in the back of my mind that maybe it’s not real, it’s all in my head.  It’s hard to not think this way when often many health care professionals have no idea about things that are wrong with the hip, especially in someone as young as myself.

So after the injection I was a little stiff, but not to bad and my husband (Adam) and I stopped at Walgreens to get some ice packs for the drive home (which is about a 2 hour drive).  All was well until we hit a snow storm on our way home and it was white out conditions.  Once we got through that and home, I was in excruciating pain.  I could barely walk.  For a few hours I tried to get the pain to go away, but nothing was working, so we ended up at the ER.  Once we finally got home again and I was comfortable I was able to sleep.  For the past week since the injection my hips have been giving me a lot of pain.  It’s frustrating and annoying.

So due to the above unfortunate situation I decided to drop the 2 classes that I had at college.  I am really disappointed in myself, but I feel like I don’t have any other options.  Trying to work and do school plus live with this pain has become impossible for me and I just end up driving myself insane over it.  I just need to realize that this hip stuff is going to consume my life for a little while.  

On the up side, surgery is 5 months from today!  I am nervous but excited!  I hope that this is the last one!  Once I get the images from the CT scan I will post them.  Thanks for reading!

Here are those images from the CT scan:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where things are at now

So, I have a hard time knowing where my limits are, even after dealing with this for years now.  I always want to push myself.  Thats just the kind of person that I am.  I always want to do more, see more, be better and push the limits.  This is probably from growing up with parents who let me push things.  They never told me no, you can't climb that tree, or no, don't swim that far.  So, when you have a part of your body that does not allow you to do these things anymore, I get beyond frustrated.  Its a hard mental game that I feel I always have to play with myself.  I would LOVE to go running with my dog on the beautiful trails that we have in our backyard.  BUT logically I know that even if I could go running, it wouldn't be for long and I would probably end up crawling back home because my hip stopped working.  SO...I am left with limited options.  Even going to the store alone causes fears of at any moment my hip will catch just right and the pain will be so intense that I can't move.

So this past week I went to the gym to lift some weights to help my upper body strength.  I want to make this part of a weekly routine to help gain as much upper body strength as possible before surgery.  Using crutches is exhausting on the upper body so hopefully some pre-crutch upper body work outs will help.  As well, I decided to be happy and not loose my mind while waiting for surgery (which is April 18th if I have not mentioned that yet) I needed to find an activity that will be rewarding mentally, so I decided to start sewing.  I have never sewn anything in my life, well except for that stray button here or there, so it should be an interesting experience.  Just today I finally got my sewing machine working, so I am very excited to try it out and make my first quilt.  Its easy to get discouraged when you so badly want to participate in the activities that you normally would but cannot due to an injury, but not just any injury, one that has turned into a chronic pain situation.

Mostly I spend a lot of my time inside, sitting in my recliner, icing or heating my hip(s).  The first time a doctor called my hip a chronic injury I was taken a back a little.  I did not re-injure it at any point.  I did not do anything I was not suppose to, I was told that after both of my surgeries I would be able to do any activity that I wanted without any restrictions.  So by no fault of my own I was not thrown into the category of 'chronic pain management'.  This means that I have to go to a pain clinic to help control the pain until surgery.  I feel lucky that I found a good pain clinic that is willing to help me control my pain.  They also have a lot better understanding of how to control pain, whereas my primary care physician only knew of limited ways to help.  So currently I am on a few different medicines that are to help never pain and help me sleep.  For the most part they work pretty well at controlling the day to day pain.  If I push it as all, like a few days ago I ran in spurts while playing with the dog, I am in a lot of pain that requires me to take stronger pain killers.

Well, anyways, I have blabbed on long enough for today.  I am going to start on my quilt!  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is FAI and how does it cause pain?

So, in my last post I just gave a lot of information on my situation, but I did not really explain what FAI is and how it creates pain.  There are two kinds of impingements that you can have, a cam impingement, which is extra bone on the femur head, and a pincer impingement, which is extra bone on the acetabulum.  This website has some very clear diagrams of what these two types of impingements are:

I have been diagnosed with both cam and pincer impingements.  This is most common, that people have some form of mixed impingements.  Often times this impingement causes the labrum (the cartilage that surrounds the hip socket and creates suction to keep it stable) to tear and shred as it moves.  Some people have tears of the labrum without FAI and often this is caused by trauma of some kind (ex: car accident).  There is a lot more technical terms and such that go into FAI and I am no doctor, so this explanation is very much in layman's terms.

Currently I am waiting for my third surgery, as I said before.  In the mean time I just have to wait and find ways to live with the pain day to day.  Some days are better than others and I just never really know what I am going to get.  I often have a hard time sleeping and getting comfortable.  I have lots of pain during the day when sitting at work and school so I have to be aware of it and get up and walk often.  The pain that I get is mostly in the groin area that then goes down into my knee.  Then I will get sharp pains deep in my bum.  The hardest part is the inability to know how much you can or cannot do.  For me, my hip will randomly become very painful, to the point that I cannot walk and it feels as if my hip is stuck.  Usually after a few minutes it becomes unstuck and less painful, but its a very scary feeling of being unable to walk and in intense pain.

I am seeing a pain clinic to help me manage the pain until surgery.  I am, as well, attending physical therapy.  Its a difficult trade off because often the meds that I am given to help with the pain, help to a certain point, but they also have side effects that make me drowsy and unable to concentrate.  School has been difficult and I am thinking about not attending next semester as being in daily pain makes it hard to concentrate.  I also do not want to put myself in a position where I know I would be disappointed with my performance.

So today is Sunday and I was able to get a few household chores done before the pain got to be too much.  I hate the feeling of being useless so just being able to do something was nice.  Adam is sick too, so I am trying to help him as much as possible.  So we are just relaxing and watching football today :)  Since I have a lot of down time, I have also been looking at places to stay in Vail for surgery.  Its a beautiful place, at least we will have a nice view while we are there :)  Have a good day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Introduction

So, I have tried blogging some before with little success.  I always seem to loose my momentum, not have enough information to post, or get lost in my own thoughts and forget the direction that I want to go in, but finally I think that I can do this.  My reasons for wanting to blog have changed over the years.  Originally I thought that it would be a good way to keep family members up to date on what me and my husband were doing in life after we got married, but with Facebook and email, that does not seem to be a problem!  One theme though that seems to follow me around the past few years, among other things, is hip problems.

To start out, I am 27 years old.  I currently live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been and I feel lucky that I get to live and work in such an amazing place.  Me and my husband have been married for 4 years and attend school at Michigan Technological University. I also work part time for an attorney in town as a legal assistant.  I LOVE my job.  So to give a little background on my hip story, I rode horses for years when I was in junior high and high school.  It was my hobby, my sport, my life for years.  But, as it always seems, good things must come to an end at some point, so did my riding and showing horses.

It was a cold winter day, Christmas Eve day to be exact, and I was at the barn, riding a horse that I was leasing to show in the up coming year.  As it seems to go, when you are least concerned about falling off a horse, you fall off, and so I did.  While cantering by a door, my horse spooked and bucked and off I came, landing on my right hip.  I tried to get up, feeling stupid that I feel off while doing nothing intense, I could not stand.  I stayed on the ground on my hands and knees, unable to move because of the hip pain.  Luckily my mom was there and got me into the car and took me to the emergency room.  X-Rays were taken, but showed nothing, yet I was still unable to walk.  I was given crutches and sent home, telling me to walk when I feel like I can.  So a few days later I was able to walk again.  But this was the beginning, where it all started (I think).

Paleramo, the horse who started it all:

For years after I would struggle on and off with hip pain.  It would never be constant, but while riding and running I would start getting intense pain.  Finally, in the fall of 2009, my husband convinced me that I should go to the doctor.  I was hesitant as I had been to the doctor before for the pain and was told there was nothing they could do, they did not know why I was in pain.  But I went and x-rays showed FAI (Femoral-Acetabular Impingement).  I had never heard of this, but it is basically where there is extra bone growth on the femur head and/or the acetabulum causing it to impinge and create pain.  As well as the pain, this often causes labral tears, which will also cause pain.  I was getting more and more pain daily at this point, I was having a hard time sitting at work for 8 hours, a hard time running for more than 3 miles, and riding my horse.      I saw a specialist who told me he did not see FAI on my x-rays and after spending 5 minutes examining me, told me that I did not have FAI and that if I continued to have pain I should go back and see my GP and that it might be my SI joint.  I left feeling defeated, mad, and upset.  I thought that I would finally have answers and all it left me with was more questions.  So I went back to my GP where he ordered an MRI, which showed possible (likely) tears of the labrum.

After this I decided to see an orthopedic surgeon in my home town of Traverse City, MI.  He thought that it was possible I had a tear as well as FAI.  So in May of 2010 I had surgery where a large tear was repaired. Recovery for the most part was easy.  Crutches for 4 weeks.  For a year and a half this surgery seemed to fix everything.  While I had some pain on and off, it was never too painful to prevent me from doing anything.

Around the spring/summer of 2011 I started having much more intense pain.  I was having a hard time even sitting at work again, I was unable to walk long distances, or exercising.  In November and December it got a lot worse, to the point that I was having a hard time even walking.  I was now taking pain killers all day and night to get through work and sleep.  The beginning of January 2012 I got a second opinion for a surgeon in Kalamazoo.  I had more x-rays and an MRA done about a week later.  They results were bad.  I had at least 3 more labral tears, as well as a cam impingement and possible pincer impingement.  Needless to say I was devastated that I needed more surgery, but hopeful that this would be the end of the pain.  Below are MRA images showing the tears.

 So on Feb. 8th, 2012 I had my second arthroscopic surgery to remove the labrum and shave down the bone that was causing the impingements.  The surgery went well it seemed like although the surgeon took out 40% of my labrum as it was shredded to the point that it was unable to be repaired.  As well, the sutures from the first surgery were floating around in my joint, so that was removed.

Its been almost 9 months since surgery though and I am still in daily pain.  Although not quiet as bad as last time, its to the point that I am unable to sit comfortablely at work and school, I cannot walk more than I mile again, and all the same symptoms are back.  So again, I went for ANOTHER opinion of a different surgeon. This time I sent my stuff to Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, CO, a world renowned hip surgeon.  He believes that I still have an impingement and he also wants to use part of my IT band to create a new labrum in my hip.  So I have another surgery scheduled for April 2013.

So this first post has been really long winded, but I wanted to give people an idea of what I have been through in the past few years, and where I am headed.  I want this blog to be a place where I can express my frustrations, triumphs, and disappointments as I try to live with, at times, debilitating hip pain, all while trying to live a normal life of school and work.  Thanks for following me on my journey!