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!