The Day of Surgery

I was so excited the day had finally arrived! That means that I was one day closer to full recovery and moving forward pain free!! Yippee!

I was on the verge of tears most the morning.  The kind and sweet messages that I received from friends, family and people that I had more recently met through my blog and Instagram just felt overwhelming; I could feel all the support.

Compared to the first hip I was much calmer waiting in the pre-op room.  I was also 1 of several people waiting for various surgeries where last time there was only 1 or two of us.

How Pre-Op Works

I had to be at the hospital 3 hours prior to my surgery time.  This time my surgery was set for 1 pm so I had to be there for 10 am.  Which worked well as we did not have to fight rush hour traffic into Toronto.

When you arrive you check in with admissions on the main floor and then head up to the pre-op waiting room. This is where everything happens.

First, you’re taken into a change room.  A nurse leads you into the changing area, provides you with a bag for your shoes and a separate one for your street clothes.  He then hands you a bundle that includes 2 booties, a hair cap and two gowns (1 to be put on backwards and the second to be put on as a house coat).  I’m then told to take EVERYTHING off and ensure all jewelry is removed (I did that at home and left is all there as I didn’t want to lose anything).  After doing all this I put my bag of clothes and shoes into my designated locker, which he previously identified and written on my bags, and I locked it.  I then head back to the pre-op waiting room to sit and wait with my boyfriend and parents.


Over the next several hours I meet with the people that will actually be in my surgery!  A nurse (to go over all your info and provide you with the first round of pills – mine was 8 pills… nice breakfast I guess for someone who wasn’t allowed to eat that day), the Anesthesiologist, the O.R. Nurse and my surgeon.  The surgeon signs the hip he’s going to operate on (the left in my case) to ensure that they are entering into the right hip.


Lots of waiting happens before I actually go into surgery.  I get waives of tears and calmness and lots of bathroom trips for nervous pees.  I’m just so thankful to have my boyfriend and parents to wait with me for support, otherwise I may have gone crazy on my own.

Eventually they call my name.  I give everyone a big hug and tell them I’ll see them on the other side (Their excited that they can finally go eat lunch).

Surgical Experiences

Now, I’ve had two different experiences once I’ve left my family and before I fully fall asleep.  One wasn’t necessarily worse then the other but I could also see how someone would prefer one experience over another.

1st Surgery (Right Hip)

Whatever dose of stuff the Anesthesiologist gave me put me out fairly early.  Once they put me on the table and placed the IV in my hand he gave me 1 1/2 glasses of wine (that’s how he described it).  They then did the low back needle.  They put some morphine in and then the nerve blocker (something similar to an epidural).   They then lay me on my back, at which point the Anesthesiologist gave me something else to put me to sleep.  All I really remember from that point is being rolled onto my side and then it was lights out!  Note: Honestly I didn’t remember that I remembered being rolled onto my side until the second surgery happened.

2nd Surgery (Left Hip)

I was awake much longer through this one.  So everything was the same leading up to me being rolled onto my side (except the Anesthesiologist was less charismatic but still super sweet).  When they rolled me to my side I was still alert.  I was slowly losing feeling in my legs.  I could feel someone in the room holding up my leg and moving it around while they prepped everything.  They put supports on the side of the table to keep me in place (big black blocks), they put my arms on separate little shelves to keep the IV lines clear and so they had easy access to them if needed and then they put the blue sheets above my face to cover it. I was alert through all of this.

Which honestly didn’t really bother me, but it would have the first time because I was way more scared about the entire process but this time around I was kinda interested in what was going on.  I was just looking at the clock the entire time (there was a digital clock on the wall in front of me).  At some point I asked the Anesthesiologist when she was putting me to sleep. She said that some people like to fall asleep slowly and others like to be put right out.  Since I was kinda interested in what was happening I told her ‘Whatever works best for you.’ So I stayed awake a while longer.

It was just a couple minutes before 1 pm when I suddenly felt hammering.  Now I didn’t really hear anything but I could feel the vibrations through my body (not through the table) and that’s why I am pretty sure they were putting in the measuring rod (the device for checking my length).  I am speculating, and will perhaps ask my surgeon another time what they may have been doing.  It could have also been something else they were attaching to the table (that is quit possible, and I may continue to tell myself that for a while).  At that point I made sure the Anesthesiologist knew I was still awake and asked to put me to sleep.  Cause while I was curious, I knew that I would not want to be awake for any more of it.  I then fell asleep.

Waking Up

I woke up in the PACU (Post-Anesthesiology Care Unit).  Last time I remember waking up and being so hungry!  (Let’s be serious I was very hungry this time too).  Once I woke up fully I was allowed visitors so my parents and boyfriend took turns coming in to see me.  Your only allowed one visitor at a time but it was nice to see all of them. (I also asked them what they had for lunch as I was trying to live through them since I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the night before)


My surgeon, Dr. P. Kuzyk, visited me following surgery.  He would usually do this in my hospital room but since I wasn’t moved from the PACU yet he saw me there.  Said that everything went just like last time and that they did all the same stuff (perfect!).

Unlike the first time around, I had to wait in the PACU for 6 hours!  The room that I was suppose to be in was not ready, it was still occupied and the cleaning process of the hospital rooms, once the patient leaves, are intense and time consuming.  My parents headed home before I got up to my room at 10 pm but my boyfriend hung around to keep me company.  All I could eat in the PACU was 2 digestive cookies (they both ended up coming up but it was nice to eat something anyways).  I’d have to wait until breakfast tomorrow to actually eat something! (if you know me well that’s very hard for me… but I was patient).

Preparing for Surgery

Lots and lots of preparation!  A lot of organization and preparation goes into getting my home and myself ready for surgery.  I’ll cover these in two difference sections:

Home Prep:

Bathroom

A key area that I focus on is the bathroom.  Removing or taping down the shower mats (I just removed them, it’s easier for the walker), changing the show head so it’s removable, if it’s not already (this makes shower while sitting 100x better cause you have full control of the water).  Also, the toilet.  Make sure the toilet paper roll is accessible!  Reaching in front of you, or even to the side, for some toilet paper may not be an option following surgery.  In one of my bathrooms I have to set it on the side of the shower so I can reach it, otherwise it’s to much of a twist to get it from the roll on the wall.

In my parents house there are no counters beside the toilets (just how the bathrooms are set up).  In this case I use the walker to help lower myself onto the toilet and back up off of it, even though it’s an orthopedic toilet set.  No matter how strong you are going into surgery sometimes you just need the extra help to get up and down no matter what!


Rest of the House in General

In the home there is always stuff to prepare.  From taping or rolling up and moving rugs.  To putting commonly used kitchen items in higher spots for better accessibility.  An example being a pan I often use to make eggs gets set on the counter/stove so that I can make some of my own breakfast once I’m capable and don’t have to try to bend into the lower cabinet to get it.

In the bedroom and the rest of the house I make sure that there are no items on the floor that would be in my way or cause a tripping hazard.  This means rugs, clothes (cause we all know this happens), decorative pieces, baskets, etc.

Vehicle

For the car, we use our Subaru Forester (nice and tall so I don’t have to crouch into a vehicle the weeks following the replacement), we make sure that it’s full of gas and windshield washer fluid for the hospital trip.  I also put a plastic bag in the vehicle for assistance when I am getting into the vehicle following the hospital stay.  Putting a plastic bag between your wedge and your butt helps when maneuvering yourself into the vehicle making any rotating and entering easier on your butt by adding a bit of a slippery surface.

My Purse

For all the women out there you may not initially think of it but you won’t be able to properly carry your purse (at least if it’s like my normal one, bigger and it doesn’t have a shoulder strap).  I find that even the over the shoulder purses can get heavy and swing forward and hit the sensitive hip.  So what I do is I put my important stuff in my fanny pack!  Yes, they are making a come back so you might as well get a head of the trend and us it when your recovering (or at least that’s what a friend tells me that uses it all the time… love you Kayla).


The fanny pack that I use is from my mom (from the 80s or 90s) and it can hold my cards, lip chap, cell phone and a couple other things.  It allows my hands to be fully free for my crutches or to hang onto anything else for balance when needed.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting it somewhere cause it’s just always around my waist.  It also sits high enough that it doesn’t bother my hip!

Physical Prep:

Really you can do as much preparation or as little as you want before surgery but I truly believe that how you prepare you body and mind will affect your recovery time and attitude following surgery.  I talked about my mental prep in a previous post.

Food & Drink

There are a couple of things that I do to prepare my body for the trauma of surgery (which it definitely is, there is no way to get around that).  I don’t drink for at least a week leading up to surgery (giving my liver a break and sometime to prepare for the drugs that are coming).  I also move towards softer foods and less meat (which moves through your system much slower then other foods).  As constipation will be a problem no matter what because of the pain medication so I do what I can to make it all easier on my system.

Normally I have a smoothie in the morning to get my fiber and body going on a normal day but leading up to surgery I have more then 1 a day.  It’s full of lots of things that are good for me (in relation to my digestive system and my detoxification system… that’s what I’m calling it).

The smoothie that I make is as follows:

  1. 1-2 pieces of Kale
  2. 1 Carrot
  3. 1/4 cup of frozen spinach
  4. 1/4-1/2 an avocado
  5. 1/2-1/3 of a beet
  6. 4-5 pited dates (for sweetness)
  7. Chia Seeds
  8. Water


Body Prep

Physical prep includes the inside and outside of your body.  Externally, I make sure I have the clothes that I need for post-surgery recovery.  Loose fitting stuff that won’t put pressure on my hip or butt.  Bottoms that sit high on the waist and have a lot of flexibility in the legs (meaning lots of room, not meaning stretchy because that can put to much pressure on the incision and swollen areas and cause a bit of pain… not worth it).  I also make sure I have my looser shirts accessible (not packed away in a container for another season).  I don’t necessarily gain much weight following surgery but my muscle to none muscle mass does change.  The shots that have in my stomach (the anticoagulants, the one I hate most in the world) make my stomach feel tender and flabby (like Swiss cheese) so I don’t really want anything tight on.  Also…. the lack of physical activity change my body as well (the crutches limit me a little).


I get my hair done before surgery.  It’s not for the sole fact that I want to look good while recovering (but honestly that doesn’t hurt, it can help keep the spirits high on those challenging days) but for the fact that I have a hard time sitting for any long period of time (which is needed for a hair appointment).  I would not be able to make it through a hair appointment until at least 6 weeks out from surgery. (this time I am feeling better and am getting it done around the 5 week mark so I’ll let you know how that goes later)

Night Before Surgery Prep:

Devices & Packing

The night before surgery I have all my hospital devices labelled with my name (cause I don’t want anyone walking away with my stuff while I’m in the hospital bed and can’t do anything about it!).  I also set everything near the door so that it’s all ready to be loaded in my vehicle the next morning.  I don’t want any of my anxiety about the actual surgery to cause me to forget something.  Below are most of my devices with the crutches, walker, wedge and reacher coming to the hospital with me.


I also pack my bags the night before with clothes, toiletries and things to keep me occupied.  I have several lists that I follow when preparing my bags but I will do a separate post with them at a later time.

Me

Along the physical aspect, the night before surgery, I make sure that I trim all my nails (especially my toe nails on the, to be, operated leg since I won’t be able to touch those for like 3 months… don’t get me wrong, I get someone to help me trim them later but this way I can wait a while and I don’t have to worry about someone touching my newly operated leg any sooner then necessary).  I also make sure to shave.  In October following surgery I wasn’t as worried about hairy legs (as we were moving into cooler weather) but especially with this surgery in May I’m more aware of wanting those summer hairless legs.  Lastly, I give myself a little pedicure (without nail polish) so that my feet feel nice since (again) I won’t be able to do much to them for a while.

Note: my mother or boyfriend (depends who is around to help me shower) often shaves my one leg for me, but I do the other.  Got to feel good for physio and when the heat starts to arrive! (Their super sweet and I’ll never be able to repay them for all the stuff they do for me).  You can also tape a raver to a stick (ruler, or whatever) to help with shaving the operated leg to allow the extra length so you don’t break 90 degrees.

Per the hospital rules, I make sure that I am not wearing any make up or nail polish the night leading into surgery.  They need to be able to see your toe nail beds to ensure circulation isn’t lost and your finger nails for the heart rate monitor.

The hospital will also have rules about when you have to stop eating and drinking leading up to surgery.  Follow those and then your all set!

A Mother’s Perspective

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

My mom wrote a little perspective and message regarding everything that has been going on and we wanted to share it.

When I first discovered my first born had Hip dysplasia, I was in disbelief.  You’ve been tested for that, I told her.  A couple of times, I watched the doctors do it!  – And I had a lot of guilt.  Not protecting my baby, I could have solved that problem from the get go.  But I guess you can only do your best and work with what the professionals tell you.  After talking to her surgeon, I felt a little better:

#1 – hip dysplasia in babies usually only happens in one hip.  So when she was tested, both hips would have felt similar.  Doctors would not have suspected.

She had a natural birth except for one thing – she got stuck in the channel.  I don’t quite remember the reason, or if there was one, but she was eventually brought out with forceps.  We will never know if that was a factor or a contributing factor.  

My daughter never quite walked right.  You could watch the strange hip movement from behind.  But she proceeded on with life, taking her pain as part of it.

As she is now a grown women, I can only wish her well in her next surgery and hope it goes as well as her last.  And yes, I will be by her side to support her and help nurse her back to the strong healthy women I know.

Just one more thing, as the surgeon told you, child birth would be cesarean.  You felt disappoint with that:

Don’t be.  

When your ready and our beautiful grandchild comes, – we will have a booked date (that’s helpful!) and it will seem so inconsequential in the whole processes of life.  

Love you

Mom

Pre-Admission Day

While I was sitting waiting for the first of several people to see me I started to remember more about my first pre-admission day.  I had so many questions written down and was anxious to ask them, afraid I would forget some so my boyfriend and I had made a plan.  I’d ask the questions and (try to) absorb the information and he’d take notes, cause I knew that there was no way I could properly take the information in and write it down at the same time.  Thank goodness we had this plan because I wouldn’t have remembered half the stuff or been able to process the large amount of information.

While meeting with a bunch of disciplines they document a lot of information down in a booklet.  At the end of everything they provide you with the booklet in a package so that everything is clearly outlined (as you can see in the picture for this blog).  The day before my pre-admission yesterday I looked through my previous package to remind myself of what to expect.

I also used this package to keep any paperwork and prescriptions received from the hospital during and following my time there.  It’s a nice central area to keep everything organized.

So last time I had a list of questions and definitely utilized my time with each discipline that came to see me.  The people that met with me were: a nurse (RN), a pharmacist, an anesthesiologist, a social worker and a surgical resident (not the actual surgeon).  This is your one on one time with someone that knows a whole lot about what you’re going to be going through.  While I didn’t have the same massive list of questions based on EVERYTHING yesterday, I did have questions that more specifically related back to my previous experience and how my body reacted and recovered (which I speak about a bit at the bottom of this post).

What Generally Happens on a Pre-Admission Day

Yesterday was short and sweet for me (surprisingly, I didn’t anticipate being back home by 11 am), but this was simply because I had already been through everything about 7 months prior and I did not have to meet with everyone or do the class again.

Usually the day is from 7:45 am (at the hospital, not including the 5:30 am alarm to drive into Toronto) to about 2:00 pm (not including the drive and traffic to get back home).  It is a long and draining day.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, not because you’ll be walking around but because there is a lot of waiting around.

Ultimately, don’t be nervous to ask any questions you have!  It’s your body and you have to be comfortable moving forward.  There is no stupid question when it comes to surgeries (it’s not an everyday occurrence that anyone can anticipate you already know all about). It will change your life and you should be ready for what’s to come.

The RN

The nurse is the first to meet with you; she co-ordinates everything by the looks of it.  She took my blood,  some swabs, checked my lungs and heart and took down a lot of general information on my paperwork (confirming what I had previously written down or getting more information).  The nurse was also very willing to answer any questions (like my high heart rate, I’ll get to that near the end of this post) and was very supportive and helpful.  She pops back into the room from time to time to check in and ensures the day goes smoothly.

The Pharmacist

This is where the bag of drugs comes in (you have to bring any and all medication and vitamins that you take… consistently or inconsistently.)  She will tell you when to stop taking particular medications prior to surgery and address any questions about in hospital medications that they may give you after surgery.

Yesterday, I spoke to the Pharmacist about my reaction to the pain medication after the last surgery.  How I struggled with taking it because of the severe nausea that I would get (nothing stayed down… nothing).  She said that because of how I reacted to the drugs that we would try to focus more on non-narcotic pain medications, such as Tylenols, to help me out.

The Surgical Resident

The Resident goes over the procedure and what the new hip joint will be made out of and work (we had a TON of questions about all this the first time around, we spoke to him for quite a while).  They then do a little physical exam by watching me walk, and having me lay down on the exam table and moving my leg around in different directions.  Lastly, as they go over the risks and get you to sign consent forms for the surgery to happen.

My resident yesterday started using medical terminology for a few things.  For example he called Dysplasia DDH so I looked at him funny and said him “I have what?”  I had never heard it called that before.  He then started talking in a way that I understood, none medical terminology.  Don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t understand something, we don’t all have medical degrees.

Since I previously had a lot of my questions and concerns addressed prior to my first surgery many of my questions were curiosity questions (like the small incision I spoke about below).  The resident was very helpful and willing to answer any questions we had.  He also told us a few things to tell my surgeon on the day of surgery (type of bone graft, type of stitches and ask if they could get a picture of the chip that’s chilling in my left hip) that we had talked about during our meeting.

The Anesthesiologist

This is your best friend when it comes to surgery.  Be nice to them, they make you feel good (aka nothing at all)!  I learned so much when we met with him before the first surgery.  I hadn’t thought much about how they would put me under, I just knew I wanted the good stuff!

I was completely surprised by the way they tend to deal with hip replacements.  There is general anesthesia and then there was also a low back needle (similar to but not the same as an epidural).  Learning that this was the recommended means (as it’s a better recovery process) absolutely blew me away!  They want to cut me open, saw off the head of my femur, screw on new bone, hammer a stake into my leg and grind a new socket into my pelvis while just putting a needle in my lower back to number my lower body?!?!

Yup!

Mind you, he then went on to explain how he would also put me to sleep but that I could be woken up with a nudge if needed…

I told him that there was absolute no way that I wanted to see, smell or hear anything that was happening!  I was very surprised about this entire process.  He laughed at me a little and told me that he can ensure that I won’t.  And that this means of sedation is beneficial because the recovery is much easier and less morphine is needed follow surgery.

Note: They did an amazing job when I had surgery, super friendly, and a few jokes about my rugby drinking while prepping me.  He feed me some glasses of wine through my intravenous.  And I didn’t wake up during and when I woke up afterwards I was fully alert and felt great (sorry no loopy post surgery video to post later).

Today, I didn’t meet with the Anesthesiologist as things went very well last time (as outlined in my note) and I did not want to change anything.

The Social Worker

This is who helps with any post-surgery stuff, including your discharge plan.  They provide the information for the rehab clinics in your area, when to call to arrange the appointments, accommodations for family while you’re in the hospital and lots more.  They are the resource for you to get answers, even if they aren’t the person with the answer, they will tell you who to ask.

Michelle is super sweet and the same Social Worker I meet with at the last pre-admission. She provided me with her phone number so I could call with any questions prior to my hospital stay.

Pre-Surgery Hip (and Knee) Class

After spending hours in one small room you get to move to another room with everyone that was there that day for orthopedic pre-admission.  A physiotherapist and occupational therapist teach this class.  They go through all the assistant devices and tools that you will use in hospital and later at home.  They show you how to get in and out of bed, a chair, the toilet, etc.  They also show you all the hospital physiotherapy exercises that you have to do and what you will need to be able to do before leaving the hospital (go to the bathroom without assistance, meaning a person, and go up and down 3 steps without assistance).  It is all outlined in the booklet in the package you received earlier in the day but being able to see it actually happen and the tools is very useful.  I felt much better after this class before my first surgery.

When I attended the class before the first surgery (which I didn’t have to yesterday because it happened so recently) I was the youngest by 30+ years.  The group is made up of hip and knee replacements and everyone has someone with them (again, it’s a long day, company is appreciated).  Seeing how the therapist actually did the movements and used the tools helped me understand better how limited I would be for a while.

A Few Things I Learned Yesterday

The last time I was in the hospital following surgery they almost kept me an additional day because my heart rate was consistently high and I couldn’t seem to lower it (it also continued to be high at home for a few weeks as well).  The RN told me that it could be due to 3 things:

  1. De-hydration (I was drinking water like a fish in hospital to try to help lower my heart rate and there were not changes);
  2. Anxiety (this would make sense, one ward mate was definitely causing me anxiety and I just wanted to go home, but I tried meditating and breathing exercises to calm myself down.  My heart rate was still high when I was at home and in a relaxed state); or
  3. Poor pain management

Ah ha!!

I suddenly understood.  I never knew the pain management aspect.  While my body may not mentally allow myself to externally react or feel the pain like other people, my body will still react internally, aka increase my heart rate.  Just because I think I can handle the pain and I don’t like taking medication (but I’m also not crazy! I did use the morphine in hospital) doesn’t mean that my body doesn’t need it.  Normally you would know to take the drugs since your body is sending pain signals to the brain but I need to pay closer attention to the smaller warning signs, such as my heart rate, as I do not register pain in my hips/legs the same way.

Another thing I learned yesterday had to do with a separate small incision that I had near the top of my hip bone, for which I never understood its purpose.  I didn’t see it in hospital (as it was covered up) and never remembered to ask during any of my follow ups, so I asked the surgical resident when we meet.  I was thinking maybe a scope? (You know based on my medical knowledge learned through television)  Apparently, the incision is where they inserted a rod (or something, I can’t remember exactly what) that’s used to make measurements for the leg/hip length.  They use that point to ensure the leg lengths are as close as possible.  There are other ways of doing this but that is how my surgeon does it at Mount Sinai.  Suddenly the small incision made a lot of sense.  I knew that they had to deal with the length of the legs but had never found out how they did it as it just wasn’t a concern of mine.

Overall

So here are the important parts:

  1. Ask any and all questions that you have, this day is for you so utilize it!
  2. Ask any and all questions that you have… there are no stupid questions (I can’t stress how important this is, talk their ear off, that is what the day is for)

Since attending the pre-admission yesterday morning I am feeling calmer and less overwhelmed.  While I am remembering parts of my hospital stay that I didn’t enjoy (like my loud and stressful ward mate) I am also remembering how excited I was to be on the road to recovery.  Once surgery is over it’s only going to get better!  And I’m starting to feel that excitement again.  I am so close to never having arthritic hips again in my hip!!  Who wouldn’t be exited?

Mental Preparation for Round 2

I started getting nervous about surgery no. 2 on Saturday night.  A week and a half before my date.  Now, I can say that I have always had some nerves (which makes complete sense, their cutting me open) but I was feeling good about it.  But last Saturday, after getting home from a friends place (all alone, as my bf was out of town) I really started to feel it.  The thought of being out of the game (normal functions), all the things that I still needed to get done before surgery and the journey ahead started to feel overwhelming.

Side note: When I say all the the things I still need to get done, I mean stuff with our company, personal organization in our home, getting bridesmaid shoes for a wedding in July, and etc. etc.  Some of which truly need to be managed and done before surgery (i.e. business and shoe stuff) but most of which are not necessities but my brain is turning into necessities.

This is where I have trouble.  I’m so use to having complete control and managing my own things that, even though this is the 2nd time around, I’m having a hard time losing control and my independence.  I don’t like being a burden on others.

I thought the second time would be easier!!  I’ve already been through all this once!

For the first surgery I worked very hard on accepting that I didn’t know what was coming or the true capacity of what rehab and my limitations would be.  And I had gotten to a place where I was comfortable with that and accepted that I would do whatever I needed to do.  I felt empowered and ready to tackle whatever was to come!

This time around I have been feeling like I was pushing against a brick wall.  What I was doing obviously wasn’t working for me, I was feeling stuck.  Now I know more so I am thinking about the entire process and it can be VERY overwhelming.  I have less fear this time but more analysis/anxiety/I wasn’t sure what to call it.  I couldn’t get myself in a place where I felt mentally ready.

But I think I have finally figured it out.

For surgery no. 1 I had gotten to a place where I was taking one day at a time.  This time I could already see weeks and months in advance and it was clouding my short term vision.

So, I already know what I’m going to be missing.    It’s the anticipation of not being able to cuddle or curl up with my boyfriend (sappy I know) or even just being able to curl up at all (no 90 degree bend in the hip), being able to sleep on either of my sides, or being able to drive or the freedom to move around without an assistant device or someone keeping an eye on me.  Also things I’m not looking forward to like waking someone up to help me get the bathroom in the middle of the night (a 10-15 minute ordeal) or giving myself shots for 21 days (uhhhhhhh, the worse).

Since initially writing this down in my journal (it’s very therapeutic, I’m glad I started) a couple days ago I have been able to change my mental track heading into surgery next week, but it wasn’t until I started to write out how I was feeling that I could figure out why I was feeling that way.

I was trying to prepare myself the same way I did heading into the first surgery back in October… it wasn’t working.  This is because I am in a difference place now then I was 7 months ago.  I now have knowledge, experience and expectations, where I previously had none.  I can’t prepare myself for the same event the same way.  After completing my first adventure race I did not prepare for the second race the same way.  I used that knowledge and experience to better prepare myself for the challenges and was able to plan and mentally prepare myself faster because I had expectations.

I am feeling much better now that I have been able to see where my anxiety and nervous are actually coming from.  I have been able to step back, and while I am still nervous, I have relaxed and am in a better place mentally heading into pre-op tomorrow and surgery next week.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Long-Term Medication

Medication, over the counter or prescription, is something I’ve had both good and bad experiences with.  Ultimately, it is something that I can’t avoid.  There are people that talk about other means of pain management and trust me I have tried them.  I have done therapies, essential oils and other natural avenues but nothing beats prescription drugs (good ‘ol western medicine) when it comes down to severe structural problems.

Over the Counter Medication

I use to take a lot of ibuprofen to help with my pain when I was younger (late teens to early 20s).  So much so that I had to stop taking it all together as it did a number on my stomach.

The next step was to move onto Tylenol and eventually onto Aleve to help minimize the muscular pain that I was feeling daily (which I later learned was arthritis, not necessarily muscle pain).

Prescription Medication

Once I had the MRI completed on my right hip my family doctor offered me something stronger to help with the pain.  I said YES, PLEASE!  Cause while I am not a big fan of taking pills I needed something stronger to help me manage my pain on a day to day basis.  What I had been doing just wasn’t working and the pain was interrupting my daily life.

The Good

I’ve been taking a nerve blocker (the good one) for a while now.  This has worked well for me and while I could be on a higher dose I find that I need to be aware (of some) of the pain in order to know when I am pushing myself to hard (cause as I’ve been told by my therapist my pain tolerance is f&#%ed… which makes sense) and I don’t like being on drugs.

The Bad

Following the MRI results my doctor initially prescribed me something that was originally used as an anti-depressant and then utilized more as a pain management tool.

She warned me of the potential side effects, especially depression, and I told my family and boyfriend about them as well.  And I am glad that I did.  I did not have a good reaction to this medication.  It wasn’t something that happened over night but over a few months or so I could feel, and others could see, the changes in me emotionally.

I am not a depressed person or someone who lacks drive but when I was on this medication it changed me.  I lost my drive and motivation.  I did not want to do anything or leave the house.  I lost interest in going to the gym or socializing.  And while dealing with the knowledge that my hips were screwed (aka I had not idea what the next steps were or what my future looked like) probably caused a little bit of depression anyways, the affect of the medication made it WAY worse, it was a bad combination.

One day, my boyfriend told me that he had seen this change in me.  It confirmed what I was feeling inside but couldn’t quit put my finger on.  I immediately contacted my family doctor to change medication.  I made an appointment and was weaned off of it and started the medication I mentioned under ‘The Good’ title.

Looking back it looks clear cut that there was a problem but during the time I was on that medication it wasn’t.  I was very lucky to have the support system that I do, especially during those low times.

The Ugly (but hopefully not)

While I knew that taking drugs was only helping the surface problem (the daily pain), they allowed me to manage my pain until I was able to get someone to help me with a long-term solution.  I don’t want to, but have, thought about the affects that taking these over the counter and prescription drugs have done to my body over time.  I have tried to counter act them with a healthy lifestyle but am greatly looking forward to the day that I no longer have to take anything!

 

Side Note – different people will react differently to the same medication.  This was just my experience.