The Next Adventure – Chapter I

July 08, 2019:
This is the week! Surgery is on Thursday and I’m ready – actually kind of excited. In fact, as the day approaches I find it hard to focus on things like work and day-to-day responsibilities.
I haven’t been as diligent as I had planned with my workouts leading up to surgery. I did come to realize that being active was painful, but no more painful than not being active. So, during the last few weeks, I have been riding the street bike and the mountain bike, working in the yard and walking.

This past week included the pre-surgery meeting with the PA for Dr. Holley, (the pic shows what the components are and how they “fit” in), pre-registration for the surgery at the hospital and joint replacement class.  Both Ann and I found these sessions to be informative and useful, although the nurse who did the pre-registration gave me a real scare.  The conversation went something like this.

Nurse – “So are you prepared for your lifestyle to be completely changed”?

Me – “What do you mean, I was under the impression that it was pretty much back-to-normal after recovery”

Nurse – “You will no longer be able to bend past 90 degrees”.

Me – “Oh, you mean for the first few weeks.  Yeah I didn’t know that, but that’s cool, as long as I’m skiing by December”.

Nurse – “No I mean for a long time”.

Well, that didn’t go to well from my point of view, BUT when I brought this up in the pre-surgery interview the PA smiled and said, “ah, she was thinking a posterior surgery – you are doing the anterior surgery”.  Yes!!! Skiing, mountain biking, climbing, hiking and street biking are now back in the plans.

So, that meant it was time to buy the new powder skis and get committed to this recovery!

June 10, 2019:
I have really been in a funk since my return from the Tetons over Easter weekend. Exercise and physical activity are important to our well-being and for me, it not only drives my physical state, but is also critical to my mental and emotional states as well. I know that I need to remain as active as possible, but it is a struggle when I can’t even walk down the neighborhood pathway without a limp. I don’t wish to garner sympathy with this statement, but I am beginning to realize how much of a struggle life can be for those who suffer from physical pain and ailments. Some have to endure much greater levels of pain and for extended periods of their lives, and so I know that I’m only getting a “taste” of what some experience in their circumstances.

I refuse to label myself as “old”, but the more years that I have under my belt, the more that I realize how foolish it is to judge people. I must admit that I have either thought, or voiced my opinion far too many times during my younger days that this person or that person just needed to “dig in” and work harder and they would be fit and healthy. For those thoughts and words, I am sorry. I have realized for quite some time that we must not judge someone else’s effort or their situation. The last couple of months have definitely reinforced that for me.

A lot of things have come into focus this past week. And now I’m feeling much better about moving forward. As I stated in my last blog entry, my surgery will be performed by Dr Keith Holley of Allied Orthopedics. We now have the surgery date nailed down, and I am looking forward to getting this done and moving on with my life. The surgery date is July 11th.

June 3, 2019:
Although many people seem to have issues with birthdays, generally I have looked forward to mine over the years and have welcomed each celebration of my trips around the sun. However, three specific “decade celebrations” do stand out in my mind:
1) The thirtieth – The good: I was competing in adult ski racing leagues at the time and this meant that my handicap bumped up to where I nailed a gold medal in every comp that winter! The bad: Up until my 30th birthday I could fall asleep anywhere, on anything and wake up the next morning “ready to go”. After the 30th – no more sleeping on the ground, or the floor, or even a couch – only a bed will bring me a decent rest.

2) The fiftieth – This brought on the decade of the mid-life crises, and that’s all that I have to say about that.

3) And now the sixtieth – This seems to be the year that my body decided to fall apart on me. First it was the hernia, now my right hip is shot.

I began to notice pain in my hip flexor area and the hip about the same time as the hernia diagnosis. This all began in the fall of 2018, shortly after my 60th birthday. When I went in for my annual physical in the November/December time frame, the doc diagnosed the hernia and we began to focus on that. Both the hernia surgeon and my physical therapist were pretty certain that my “hip pain” was a result of the body compensating for the hernia issue. They said as soon as you have the surgery, “it will go away”.

After the hernia surgery in late January, the hip pain did indeed “go away”. Problem was, that was because I was under doctor’s orders to basically lay on the couch for a couple of weeks. As soon as I ramped the activity level back up and started skiing and trail hiking, the pain returned. As the winter progressed, it became worse, even with regular physical therapy appointments.
By the time late April rolled around the pain was a constant companion and my mobility was becoming noticeably limited. I had one more big ski mountaineering outing to complete, the Live to Ski camp with Exum Guides in the Tetons. It was indeed a struggle, (I had to turn back early on one of the days), but otherwise, I was able get through the camp.

The month of May was a series of doctor appointments, x-rays and very little physical activity. The x-ray did come back and the report confirmed what all of us were now suspecting:
FINDINGS: Bilateral hip and sacroiliac joint space narrowing is severe on the right. Degenerative changes of both sacroiliac joints and the symphysis pubis. No displaced fracture. Heterotopic ossification is seen within the soft tissues about the
subtrochanteric right femur.

I had my initial meeting with the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Keith Holley of Allied Orthopedics. We agreed that if I want to get back to my active lifestyle, there is only one realistic option – Total Hip Replacement. We will be scheduling the surgery tomorrow, and I’m shooting for a date in mid-July.
At this point, I’m approaching the THR and the recovery as my “next big adventure”. I will post regular updates as I go thru surgery, recovery rehab and ultimately “get back out there” doing what I love in the mountain

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