The Waiting Is Over

The waiting is over and plans are being made. Time to finish up several things in process before my self-imposed 3-week deadline. Life is about to take another turn…for the better, I’m certain. Total hip replacement. Finally.

Some of you already know that I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia back in 2006. After a bit of research, I realized the extent of my condition. I was sad. I cried. No more tennis. No more volleyball. No more high impact sports.  The recommendation back then was that I put off hip replacement as long as I could given my young age and the supposition that most hip replacements last 10-15 years, meaning a second one would be in my future. First hip replacements have become more art than science, making hip replacement an operation with the highest success rates. The second ones? Not so much.

Pain would help me decide when the time would be right. Five years ago, I had tightness and pain that could be somewhat relieved with physical therapy. Eventually, well really, the last couple of years, I’ve come to depend on Ibuprofen for my pain reliever, along with a slathering of Biofreeze at the pain points. Physical therapy helped last Spring, just before our summer in Norway. It was livable then and through the Fall. But my physical therapy visits stopped in November when I got busy with work and…life.

I started up again about two weeks ago, this time at BaySport. After a week of daily exercises prescribed by Tegan, my new physical therapist, I didn’t really feel any improvement. She encouraged me to set up a new consult with a local hip doctor. In fact, she arranged the appointments and everything. I can’t begin to say how thankful I feel for her push to get this done.

My meeting with Dr. Matt Miller was eye-opening. What I thought were pain and tightness in my hip flexors were the loss of cartilage in and around my hip joints and bone-on-bone grinding. It was time. Then we had a far more encouraging discussion than I remember 5 years ago (with different doctors). New materials for artificial hips have been developed and become more widely used in the last 5-10 years. The target is now about 25 years before degradation in hip joints will require a second replacement surgery. This is huge – from 10-15 years to 25-30 years. Yippppppppppeeeeeeeeeeee! It also means that the second hip surgery may also include higher success rates; a lot of research and testing can happen in 25-30 years.

My limitations? Nothing as cut and dry as I had come to understand five years ago. Sure, my doctor said that he doesn’t want me doing any high-impact sports like running a 10K or something but running after my kids here and there? No problem. What about tennis – my old favorite sport? Well, doubles is preferable over singles. And no, don’t go chasing after that errant ball that you’ll have to stretch out and slide after. Be conservative. The message? For obvious high impact activities, stay away. For gray area activities – just remember that I’ll have mechanical parts in my body that will wear down over time. The more wear, the less time that part will last. Words I’ll live by the rest of my life. I’m looking forward to getting back on that court.

Eliminate pain, recover function. My hopes are basic. Simple. But my plans are far more extensive. I know that I will be a better photographer. Right now, I see things – angles, perspectives, expressions – and if I could react just a little quicker getting into position or running faster to catch up, I could create even more amazing image(s). I get so excited just thinking about the possibilities.

But honestly, most of my hopes have to do with being able to keep up with my twin almost-7-year-old girls. Bike riding, hiking, cross-country skiing, [maybe] downhill skiing, walking to/from school, working with them on their Tae Kwon Do form, teaching them to play tennis, dancing and well, so much more! Without pain. I can’t wait.

Right now, my girls’ image of me is far different than the way I want them to know me. I’ve had pain and tightness since my girls were born. If it wasn’t my back, it was my hips. They’ve never seen me at my most active…or active, period. Truls knows me and how unlike me I’ve become with the decreasing function in my hips. I met him when I first started doing triathlons and loved playing beach volleyball and tennis. I did a marathon and several long bike rides. I went for a run when I felt like it and entered 10K’s and shorter runs whenever I felt the need for a challenge. He taught me to windsurf and ski (downhill and x-country). There wasn’t a sport or activity I hesitated to try out. If it looked like fun, I was there. Lately, not so much.

I am biased; I admit it. I want my girls to be athletes, the way I grew up. I played field hockey at Stanford for four years; the last two years on scholarship. In high school, I played tennis, basketball, field hockey and soccer and earned the Golden Girl award (my high school’s scholar/athlete of the year). I’ve biked a couple of centuries and run a marathon simply because they were there and I wanted to challenge myself. My mentality did not question whether I could do something or not but how I could do it and what I would need to do to train. I want my girls to think like this. I want them to look at something and think, I could do that! But I need and want to set the example for them. Soon, I can. No pain. No hesitations. I can’t wait.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

 

To see all of my posts related to my hip surgeries and recovery, check out these posts:

The Waiting is Over

Hip Dysplasia – It’s Not Just For Dogs

Halfway There – Right Hip Done!

You May Now Call Me The Bionic Woman

Time to Start on Some Personal Challenges

Finding My Temporary Limits

Too Much, Too Soon

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13 responses

  1. Linda, that is so exciting. I remember when talking about this with you way back in 2006. Glad to hear there are some better solutions, and that hopefully you will be pain free soon.

  2. Linda…

    Wow! I had no idea you had this issue and am thrilled for you that you are soon to be pain free & back to “normal”. You were always a stellar athlete and very impressive in your athletic abilities, strength & stamina…that is the Linda I know! 🙂
    My brother-in-law, had this surgery a few years back & is doing FABULOUS! You will be in my prayers for healing & great success!

    • Thanks, Beth! hahaha…oh, the glory days. I don’t need it all back. I just want a little bit…enough to run around with my girls and have some fun playing doubles with my husband. Oh and so my daughters won’t act so shocked when they hear about their Mommy playing this and that way back when. 😉

  3. I wrote almost this exact same piece a few months ago; just insert back for hip. I’ve found that, in my case, recovery has been a really, really slow road. Painfully slow. For every 3 steps forward, I take 2 back; I have to keep reminding myself that I’m still 1 step ahead of where I started. Good luck w/the surgery.

  4. Linda~this is fabulous news! I know you new found “freedom” will be invigorating and fun. You will get to enjoy activities with your girls, rather than just watch them! Nothing like feeling like your old self again!

    • Thanks, Polly! Yea, it’ll be sooooo nice! It also means no skiing this season but next season, especially on the x-country trails, watch out! We’ll definitely have to ski together next season. 🙂

  5. I knew it was coming but wow, I didn’t expect it to be this year! I’ll be rooting for your recovery and of course, I’ll be there for coffee and walks down the trail (slow at first, but then work our way up to a jog?)! xoxo Akemi

    • Thanks, Akemi. This year – how about this month?! Now that I’ve decided to go forward, I wish it was this week. I have strong discouragement from running/jogging but hey, we’ll just hike looooooooonger. 😉

  6. Linda – that is such great news! I remember talking about this last weekend, and how waiting another 5 years seemed like such a long time! Wow – keep us posted!

  7. Although I don’t know you, I saw your blog and was immediately pulled into reading it as I have hip dysplasia myself, and am/was also a tennis player. I just had my left hip replaced and am scheduled for the right side in early June. I wish I had done it a few years ago. Soooo much pain could have been avoided. However, denial is a strong emotion and hope springs eternal for us tennis players. For me, I doubt I will be playing much tennis. I hope to extend the life of the current replacements.
    Best of luck with yours!!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Sally B.! Yes, all is well. I can’t believe it’s been a year since my right hip was replaced. And in a few weeks, it will be a year for my left hip. All is well and honestly, I don’t even notice it. I intend to get back to doubles tennis but that’s the only pounding/twisting sport I’ll subject my new hips to. It’s going to be a while, though, before I’m in shape to play again – want to make sure all of my muscles are strong enough. Best of luck to you and your surgeries! I hope it all goes well for you!

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