8 months post-core decompression
I know it has been awhile since I've updated, perhaps because things have been so up and down with this pesky hip that I haven't known how to even put words to what has been going on. Even though the MRI came back clean for AVN, I've continued to have intermittent activity related pain. I ended my ski season early because I was having pretty significant night pain again... but with rest, things seemed to get better. I gradually resumed activity again and was able to get out and hike quite a bit. But then again, out of the clear blue sky, I began to develop significant activity related pain that would be much worse at night. This past weekend, I got so sore from just walking around the mall for a few hours- which makes absolutely no sense considering just 1 month ago I hiked Mount Olympus in Utah, which amounted to 3,000+ ft vertical gain in 3 miles, with little issue. During this time, I had a PRP injection to stimulate the body's own healing process. It seemed like this may have been helping a bit, although the true effects of it can take several weeks, so it's hard to really know. I of course have been diligently rehabbing and trying everything I know under the sun to assist my body in healing itself, but it just seems like it is going to continue being stubborn...
9 scars. 5 surgeries. 3 long years. These past few weeks I've had a hard time looking at these scars because my hip hasn't been feeling great... and that has made me feel angry that my body is failing me yet again.
As a PT, I hear this all too often from my patients as they work to overcome injuries... and Mr. H has been no exception over the long year we have been working together. He, too, has been working to overcome 3 brutal orthopedic surgeries over the last year. He has had an incredibly challenging time practicing patience and self love during his recovery. Today, after a particularly difficult session, he looked at me and said, "You know, I am so thankful to have had you by my side through all of this. Even through all the ups and the downs, I am not angry at myself anymore and I have you to thank for that. You have helped me be thankful for this body and all the things it can do right now and for all the things it will be able to do when we're finished here."
Those moments when the patient becomes the therapist- little did he know that his words were exactly what I needed to hear today. Mr. H... thank YOU for the much needed reminder to be grateful for this warrior body and to trust that it will continue fighting for me just as it has done so all along!
So just what have I been up to since closing this chapter of my life you ask? SO MUCH!
A little Wanderlust
I celebrated graduation by spending almost 3 weeks in Europe. It was such an incredible experience... and because of my new hip, I was able to fully enjoy every minute of it. If any of you have ever been to the Greek Isles you know just how many big, uneven stairs there are throughout the island. I can't even imagine being able to manage all those stairs with the way my hip felt before PAO. I was so thrilled to find that I had absolutely no problem with them on our trip! We did so many fun things on our trip that required a ton of walking- like visiting Plitvicka National Park in Croatia or walking the streets Prague in search of the best goulash or hiking the hills between the little towns of Cinque Terre in Italy. No matter what we did or where we went, my hip was ready to go. I couldn't have been more thankful for these surgeries and the life I am now able to live.
Backpacking in the Rocky Mountains
The week before I moved to Salt Lake City, my friends and I took a little backpacking trip to Conundrum Hot Springs just outside Aspen, CO. If you haven't heard of this place, you gotta check it out. It's a long trek in (especially with all your gear!), but it is totally worth it! Breathtaking views and natural mountain hot springs awaits you at the top. It was so much fun... and absolutely no problem for my new hip :)
14,000 ft of fun
This new hip and I have also been keeping busy this summer by climbing some 14ers... 5 of them to be exact! There is no better feeling in the world than summiting a mountain and being able to see for miles around you. You are literally on top of the world... It's a magical experience to say the least! If you would have told me this time last year that I would be climbing 14ers just 1 year out of surgery, I would have thought you were crazy!
Just call me doctor :)
My biggest advice for all the PAO warriors out there is this: Let all the crap you encounter teach you things. Let it change you. And let yourself grow. You will be a force to be reckoned with when all is said and done :)
1 year post-pao
6 weeks post hardware removal (34 weeks post pao)
8 months post-pao
It's been a few weeks since I've last updated you all, but that's because I have been so busy just living life! Following hardware removal, I took 2 weeks to slowly resume activity and have been feeling great ever since. I have successfully completed my 4 month orthopedic clinical rotation and am now enjoying a full week off before beginning my final clinical rotation in acute care. So how am I spending my free time you might ask?
I am living my life on the mountain! I have made FULL RETURN to skiing without any problem! And it's so interesting to me because, although I am significantly weaker than I have been in years, I really feel like I am skiing better than I ever have. It's only in looking back now that I can see just how hard my muscles had to be working to stabilize my hip. I remember the day that I found out I would need PAO and how terrified I was that this very thing would be taken away from me forever. Words cannot even describe the joy that these past few days has brought to me knowing that for the first time in 3 years, I am able to do whatever I want without this silly hip holding me back :)
29 weeks post-pao
28 WEEKS POST-PAO
And finally, the last step in the process... those big nasty screws are officially out of my hip! The timing of this surgery was a bit unfortunate (in typical Jenna fashion) because I had a big due date for my final capstone project 2 days after surgery. And surgery was super easy this time around, but then again, I think anything would be easy compared to PAO! Pain is managed very well with Rx meds and it hasn't impacted my mobility at all. In fact, I'm planning on returning to my clinical rotation tomorrow, just 2 days after surgery! I'm really interested to see if having the hardware removed has any impact on some of the muscular irritation I've been having in the front of my hip... so stay tuned! I'll keep you in the loop!
24 Weeks Post-PAO
22 weeks post-pao
Things have been going really well this past week! I've been battling some pretty significant myofascial restriction of my lateral quad ever since surgery, but this week I think we finally made some good progress with it! In addition to all the dry needling and manual release I've been receiving in physical therapy, I've also been lucky enough to have another therapist (with whom I work alongside on my rotation right now) do some pretty intense release for me as well. But when I say intense... I mean INTENSE. It brings me just about to the end of my pain threshold, but I feel so incredible afterwards that I actually ask for this torture on a daily basis. Check out my killer battle wounds below :) And to think, these bruises are 1-2 weeks old!
Just a physical therapist and her journey being on the other side rehab.