Friday, October 08, 2010

What is up with 'Righty'?

A little over a year has passed since my last blog entry and it suddenly occurred to me that I have several updates I would like to share (although I won’t pretend to imagine there are people out there still following :) – so I suppose this one’s for me!

Screw Removal a Continued Success
Dr. Schrader did a fabulous job with the procedure and I would definitely trust him again should I decide in a moment of pure insanity to ever have another surgery. The up-sides included the following:

  • less sensitivity in my pelvic bone when I have the unfortunate occurrence of smacking it into a counter or drawer or wall (yes, I’m clumsy)
  • less ‘snapping’ noises when walking
  • he used the same scar line so I look less like Frankenstein than originally anticipated

The inevitable downsides were the numb patch that suddenly appeared at the top of my right thigh and the fact the pinching pain that was present since the PAO was still there after walking significant distances or attempting to jog.

A New Roost
Josh and I bought a house this summer which was extremely exciting. We have a huge backyard and the many many hours we’ve spent trying to weed the damn thing and de-kudzu it, has proved to me that my hip is stronger than I thought! I could not have done that two years ago and if I was really smart I’d say I still couldn’t (but I think I use that excuse enough with Josh) :)

Another One Bites the Dust
I got married! Which does not seem at all related to my hip surgeries – but is exciting nonetheless. The truth of the matter is, the wedding was a great test for just how successful the surgeries were. It was the beginning of really working out again – every bride knows there is the crunch time that leads up to the big day where we strive to look our very best (although some of you I suppose didn’t have to worry about that). For several months before the wedding, I would pop in one of Jillian Michael's workout tapes and jump around the basement yelling at the tv – “damn you Jillian”. My favorite moments were when my mom was here working out with me and we had actually done the videos so many times we had her ‘motivating speeches’ memorized and frequently said them with her with dripping disdain and mockery in our voices. The up-side:

  • The fact that I was able to do jumping jacks, jumping lunges, jump squats and every other horrid and painful callisthenic you can think of really made me feel like me again.
  • I actually felt my hip flexors gain strength while doing very annoying pike crunches
  • I rocked out my leg guitar in my wedding dress on the dance floor – which I credit to the kickboxing portion of JM’s videos
  • I wore high heel shoes for the rehearsal dinner (but did opt for flats under the wedding dress)
  • Josh and I hiked all over Greece on our honeymoon and I kicked his butt! :)
  • My left hip – although dysplastic – did great!

The very big downside is that all that jumping – even though I pushed through it – made my right post-PAO hip hurt – a lot! The clunking has increased, the pinching in the front of my hip has increased, and my annoyance for the very painful surgery and the limited results has increased.

Thinking about ‘Jogging’ Again
I’m meeting another PAO ‘survivor’ for dinner in a couple weeks that just finished a half-marathon. Very impressive Jen and I’m going to pick your brain on how the heck you did that!!! My older brother is competing in the World Ironman Championship in Kona this weekend, so my motivation to get off the couch has increased just enough to get back into my workouts and a goal of more triathlons eventually (the mini kind that I can manage). To start, I have only completed two real runs since my surgery and both have been post-wedding. The first was a trail run with Josh that ended in a significant amount of pain in my right hip and my left knee oddly enough. We only did about three miles but this was not a smart idea. The second was just yesterday with the dog and also turned out to be a bad idea – picture a dog running in every which direction and pulling on the short leash dragging an already bad runner all over the place – not ideal. I only made it a mile and a half and the hip was hurting too much to continue. The up-side:

  • Motivation to see Dr. Schrader again to figure out what is up with ‘Righty’ – what is wrong with this damn hip? Can he fix it? No clue – but making the decision to go see him again has been therapeutic in a way.

So that’s about all that is new with me. More later?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Officially Unscrewed

It has been a long time and a long road since my last post. So many exciting things have happened...just last week I underwent a surgery to remove the four screws which held my hip together the first few months after my PAO - please see the evidence below - they are bigger than they appear! :)

I was just as anxious about this surgery as I was the first one - new surgeon, new risks - but it went well. Dr. Tim Schrader is an amazing guy (thanks Lauren for the recommendation) and he preformed the surgery in under an hour and a half and without complications. My surgery was on a Wednesday and by Friday morning I was without crutches. After such a great start I thought I would be skipping by now - it hasn't exactly worked out like that.

My pain has reduced, but I still have limited movement and LOT'S of snapping and crackling - feeling yet again like a breakfast cereal. I get fatigued very quickly - in fact just walking through the grocery store yesterday left my right side feeling like I'd be hit by a truck.

Our hope with this surgery was to determine if the pinching pain was caused by the screws slowly working their way out - or possibly the muscles and ligaments getting caught on them and causing more damage. If the pain continues I will be back in for more MRI's and tests to see what the issues are.

I'll keep you all posted on the progression - thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This ones for the girls

It is an odd reality to get to know someone through this virtual world. The truth is that these hip women that I have been leaning on so much over the past year are so much more than a website.

The fact of the matter is that I have only seen their determination come out through their blogs...their sense of humor in their writing...and their strength so prominently displayed in their profile pictures.

We have learned to laugh together about the silly moments in the healing process, the times when we were walking through the hospital hallway with our gowns hanging open in the back for all to see.

We have been in awe of each others recovery, sometimes secretly cursing that one of us is so much farther along than ourselves and wishing that we could be there with them on that hiking trail. no? Just me? ;)

We have written kind words to each other for motivation when things were not so easy…knowing that the emotional turmoil can far outweigh the physical pain

And through it all, there are very few of us who have actually had the opportunity to reach out to one another and give an encouraging hug when we can so clearly see the tears welling up in the others eye from frustration, or laugh out loud together recounting one of our recovery stories that never seemed so funny at the time.

I count myself lucky for having this opportunity…and although I have always been on the receiving end of one of those encouraging hugs or phone calls…I hope that I can give that gift back to someone soon.

And given all this, it is still very easy to see that us hip women have far more in common then a congenital disease and reconstructive surgery…

I read a fellow bloggers post this morning and realized that very quickly.

Now to that woman…and I hope you know who you are…I have this to say. You have been an inspiration to me since the very beginning. You have displayed a strength I can only hope to aspire to. We have gone through very similar realities…and although I can not be there to look you in the eye and promise you that the future has someone very special out there for you…consider it a certainty.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The day is here...

I never thought I would be happy to report that my left hip is killing me...but I am.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Atlanta and I decided to really take advantage of it. After a couple hours at the gym we took Aidan to the park and enjoyed the amazing weather. Soon after that we headed to the mall to pick up some new suits for work and for the first time in about a year...I walked around the entire mall with no significant pain. I'm not sure if it was the high of buying SO much great stuff for myself, but after three hours of walking and shopping I still didn't feel pain in my right hip.

My left hip did not fair so well.

This marks the first time I was able to walk far enough (without pain on my operated right side) that my left hip finally screamed out that the surgery in December is a good idea. As much as it upsets me that this surgery is a necessity, I feel better in knowing that I can finally count my RPAO a success.

I have only my trips to the physical therapist to thank. Since starting my weekly routine with Michelle at the Atlanta Sports Rehabilitation Center I have grown significantly stronger. I know there are a lot of 'hipwomen' out there that aren't sure if physical therapy after surgery is a good idea...I'm here to tell you...IT ABSOLUTELY IS.

If anyone out there wants more details about my physical therapy routine, please do not hesitate to drop me a note.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not your grandmother's hip replacement...

I couldn't decide on the tagline for the tshirt...but I think it works!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fun with Animation

To see an animation of PAO surgery please follow the link above, click on 'See the Animation' tab, click on 'Hip' Orthopedic Animation then choose 'Periacetabular Osteotomy'. It walks through the surgery in a non-grotesque way (for those of you out there who are a bit squeamish!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's too hot for a penguin to be just walking around

Yesterday a lady with a significant limp walked passed us on our way into work. I turned to Ramsey and asked him how much worse her limp was than mine...fully expecting him to say "LOT's" - instead he frowned slightly and said, "they are about the same." What a reality check. I had no clue I looked like a 5'8" penguin.

So, until my physical therapy starts, the only thing I can do is avoid wearing black and white.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Here we go again

My left PAO is officially rescheduled for December 18th. Not the Christmas present I was hoping for, but I'm thinking this will be enough time to prep righty for all the pressure.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a…pig?

It’s true, pigs must be flying today as I finally spoke with the infamous Dr. M., and only two months after our scheduled conversation. I suppose after relentlessly calling his office over the past couple months, his secretaries kindly asked him to quit ignoring me so they wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore. I actually had the secretary put me on hold for 30 minutes waiting for him to finish with a patient.

Below is a transcript from our very fruitful conversation;

Sam: Hi Dr. M., how was your vacation? (I hope he picks up on my sarcasm)

Dr. M.: Yes Ms. Spreadbury, I saw your x-rays, did I not call you earlier?

Sam: No Dr. M. you did not (I am his only patient under the age of 50, he brought in tons of students for my surgery since I was such a unique case, I have left messageS with him relentlessly regarding my 3 month follow up and he is claiming he doesn’t remember if he called me or not? How much did I pay him for this?)


Dr. M.: Well, they look fine


Sam: They look fine?


Sam: That’s great to hear…unfortunately I have not yet been able to walk over 100yards without tightening in my hip causing me to limp significantly. It doesn’t feel like joint pain, but more related to my muscles just fatiguing very quickly. Additionally, I am hearing a lot of popping that typically occurs when I sit down or stand up which is accompanied by shooting pains down my leg (see mom…I did give him specifics about my pain! He’ll have to pay attention to me now)

Dr. M.: Pain is common after surgeries like this

Sam: (seriously?) Oh, okay, well can you recommend any strength training exercises or cardiovascular workouts that will help me build up strength and therefore reduce the pain?


Sam: Should I start seeing a physical therapist? (Do you really think I can't hear you playing solitaire on your computer right now?)

Dr. M.: I can write you a script for that

Sam: Do you have any recommendations on who I should see or what their specialty is?

Dr. M.: No


Sam: Should we talk about my left hip? We have that surgery scheduled for the end of August but I’m not sure I’m strong enough for it yet and my pain has not been significant in that area since the surgery

Dr. M.: Work with my secretary to determine your scheduling issues

Sam: So you agree I should cancel my surgery?

Dr. M.: If you aren’t having pain now, you don’t need the surgery now


Sam: Okay, so you are sending me a prescription for PT. Do they x-rays show my bones healing and the screws still in tact and in place? Are there any other specifics you can give me regarding my healing process?

Dr. M.: Yes


Sam: Well, great catching up with you as always


Want to know what I took out of this?
- No surgery in August, possibly rescheduling for December
- I should have ignored him months ago and started seeing a PT against his wishes
- The greater the surgeon the bigger the jerk

Monday, June 02, 2008

The long walk home

These past several weeks back on the road have been difficult and proven that my road to recovery is not even remotely complete.

Last Thursday we arrived at gate E2 in the Atlanta airport which, for those of you who are not familiar, is the farthest gate from arrivals. If it weren't for Ramsey and Kris lugging my bags and briefcase through the terminal I would have been in deep trouble. I'm tentatively set to be in Thailand and Paris in June and am worried that my hip might not be ready for such things. It's a good thing work prevents me from really enjoying any part of overseas travel...thanks for looking out for me Accenture!

Any ladies out there have advice as to how I can work up to walking 3 miles without pain? Biking and swimming feel good now, my flexibility (or lack there of) is coming back, but I can't seem to walk over 1/2 mile without considerable pain and tightening of my hip. I can't even guess how bad my left hip is now b/c my right one is giving me such pain. Workouts or stretching anyone can recommend?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Road Rash...

Last night I went for a bike ride with some friends in Piedmont Park. Rebecca is looking to do an MS150 ride at Callaway Gardens this fall and instead of her buying a bike I offered up my old cannondale that has been rusting away in the back porch. I spent some time cleaning the gears and fixing the rear derailer which was not functioning properly, adjusted the seat and obviously brought the tires out of deflation. As I stood it beside my new road bike I felt a sense of sadness for the neglect I had brought upon it...but one glance back at my Orbea made that feeling go away. :)

So Sara, armed with my mtn bike, Rebecca and I set off to the park for a quick spin to see how the road bike suited her. It didn't take her long to feel comfortable and she was quickly racing ahead. I remember thinking how nervous I was everytime I hit a twig or bump in the false move and there goes 6 hours of surgery and 3 months of recovery.

Those of you who haven't felt the drastic difference between road and mtn bikes will appreciate the fact it takes some getting used to. One small glance back at Sara and I sent Rebecca tumbling to the ground. My biggest fear was that she suffered a broken bone, but after several minutes we realized the road rash and cuts were thankfully the worst of it. She handled it like a trooper but it got me thinking about how one second can change it all. I'm glad that I've been taking it easy on the road bike but my next course of action is to get my clips off the bike and put some 'safer' pedals's just not worth it.

I'm hoping that my feeling of anxiety goes away on the bike because it's something I really enjoy...but after last night, I'm not in as much of a hurry as I was before.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I can't run...but maybe I can roll...

So the last couple of days I've been thinking about how I could possibly keep competing in triathlons and adventure races. The answer to overcoming the cross-country running portion of adventure races has yet to appear...but I think I may have found a solution to triathlons.

The way I see it, I may not be considered disabled by society, but the fact I'm assured time and time again that running is not in my future means that I am 'somewhat disabled' in my mind. So I think I'm going to ask the 'Tri the Parks' committee if it would be possible for me to compete in the area triathlons with a specialized handcycle wheelchair for the running portion of the race. I'm not sure what the rules are, but I figured it was worth a's not like I'm in it to win it...I just want to get back out there. I thought of walking, but even that is too much for my this point especially. I would never want to offend anyone by doing this it's still just a thought.

My coworkers and friends have of course laughed at me for the suggestion, but I'm hoping through the jokes and laughter...they understand that not only am I serious...but I completely plan on finding a way to compete again. Even if it's only entering into the race to do the first two stages.

You can't keep a good girl down right? ;)

Anyway, if there are any of you PAO women reading this blog that don't find my suggestion ridiculous and would consider something similar...I would love to hear from you!

On a side note, I got back out on my road bike this Saturday for a decent ride and with exception to the sore pelvic bones from sitting in the racing saddle, it felt pretty good. I was wishing I didn't have a double crank as I was gasping up the hills... :)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ironman vs. TitaniumWoman

TitaniumWoman...not enough metal to set off the detectors at the airport...but enough to kick Robert Downey Jr's butt

Yesterday I went for x-rays to confirm everything was healing as expected. Dr. Mautner, my referring doctor, mentioned that besides calcium deposits and a screw that looked to be 'poking out' (he said some medical name, but I can't remember it off hand) everything looked good. My range of motion was great and besides my significant limp when walking he expected that at 6 months I should be back to normal. I asked if that included being able to run and he launched into a lecture about how that is never an option...unless I needed to jog away from a mugger.
All in all, everything seems to be okay and once Dr. Murphy okays the xrays I will be cleared.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pop goes the weasel

I'm sitting here arguing with Josh on whether or not the sound coming from my hip is a click, snap or pop. It feels like a pop...almost like the femur is coming out of socket again. It sounds more like a click or a snap depending on what stupid maneuver I attempted at that moment. The left hip joins in from time to time with the noises and I figure if I gave Aidan (the dog) a tambourine I could start a family band. :) Similar to the Partridge family, we could tour the country side in a van and entertain the masses. In my case the family van would have to have extra cushions and hydraulics in order to accommodate my injury...but we would be entertaining none the less. Just ask my friends and family what an amazing voice I have to accompany the clicking. :)

The last time I went to the gym I stepped on the bike for the first time. Mostly because it was gorgeous weather the weekend before and I spent most of that Sunday cleaning my bikes and wishing I was ready to ride them. Josh got on the treadmill behind me to ensure that I didn't keep hiking up the power...he says I tend to overdue things...phooey. It's probably smart someone was looking out for me though because I did spend the next several hours wishing I hadn't pushed myself so hard. Back to the pool for me tomorrow morning...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

10 Weeks Post-PAO

Tomorrow marks the 10th week since my PAO surgery and I am finally starting to believe I am making progress. I just left the gym tonight and was able to put in a little over a mile. Flip-turns are few and far between and usually leave me cursing under the water, but it is surprising how much faster I can swim when I add them in every now and then.
The pain in my right rear is still present, especially after longer walks or a rough nights sleep. I keep telling myself if it doesn't go away I will call Dr. Murphy, but I'm sure it's normal.

Last weekend I went to Phoenix to spend some time with my family and watch my brother compete in the Ironman. It was so great to see everyone and I was glad to finally see Craig in action. He is now being sponsored by Trisports, so I'm hoping there is some more free gear heading my way! :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pain in the butt...

After a couple good workouts I've developed a new pain. This one I have read about on blogs and forums and I honestly assumed I was in the clear...but no such luck.

It started feeling like a pulled muscle in my right bum (sorry coworkers for being explicit :) and now feels like a pinching feeling on a constant basis. Yesterday I swam 1200m and then walked several laps trying to concentrate on taking large steps with my right leg. When I lifted my left leg up to take a step the pinching sensation felt significantly worse. I'm going to try some new stretches to see if that helps, but otherwise I will be contacting Dr. Murphy to ensure this is normal.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A nice day for a walk

When I was growing up my brother and I were members of a swim club. I was never that impressive of a swimmer but I always managed to have fun. Most of the time that fun was had at others grabbing the leg of a fellow swimmer as I was approaching behind them and yanking them backwards...propelling me forward and leaving them exacerbated. Don't think too little of me though...I had to learn that move somewhere! :)

One of my parents favorite stories of me on the swim team was my coach regularly catching me standing up during the middle of a lap and walking or quickly pushing off on the bottom of the pool. It wasn't so much I was tired or trying to keep up...but I got bored after endless laps and liked to look around. Anyway, my coach used to look up from his chair and yell out over the pool "Nice day for a walk isn't it Spreadbury?"

Something about my swim today reminded me of that story. I decided to walk several laps to get used to putting weight on my right leg. After that was over I decided to swim only 800m today but once I got there I realized I should do at least 1000...could have been the fact I really wanted to beat the girl in lane 3 who was starting to get tired! :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Doggy Paddle

This morning I woke up feeling quite nauseous and immediately told my stomach I would have to go to fisticuffs with it should it hinder me from jumping in the pool today. Luckily I still have some intimidation skills because after a couple hours I was feeling great and headed off to LA Fitness.

It’s the first time I had been in a bathing suit since the surgery and I have to say that seeing the scar exposed on my right leg was a little scary. I decided that I would strut (or as close to it as I could get with a crutch) out onto the pool deck with pride because as I’ve heard many times before…I earned this scar darn it. :)

The pool was only occupied by two swimmers and judging from their lack of water bottles they were just weight lifters and not the dreaded triathletes I wanted to avoid (they make me look bad). It only took me a couple minutes to figure out how to get in the water…I had to use a highly technical maneuver…cannonball. Just kidding…lowering myself into the water by the ladder proved to be quite easy.

I started out with the goal to do 400m (16 laps). I was a little worried as I haven’t swam in almost a year and my body feels quite weak right now. Turns out I had little to worry about as all the crutching had significantly strengthened my arms. The guys in the pool were a bit surprised when I started swimming past them and quickly picked up their pace. My competitive nature must have gotten to me because I instinctively did a flip turn at the wall without even thinking…not a good start. I was in the lead though! ;)

After the first 400m I decided…what’s another 16 laps…I mine as well do 800m today. At 32 laps I realized I still wasn’t getting tired so I started doing IM’s and that took me to 1200m. Of course once I hit that I decided that I was too close to a mile to stop so I just kept going. It helped that a ‘trisports’ waterbottle showed up in the lane next to me and I wasn’t going to let him get the best of me. ;)

So now that I have the first mile under my belt I’m excited to go back. I didn’t use my legs at all this time because I was a little nervous after my botched flip turn, but I’m hoping next time I will be able to at least start with a little flutter kick.

Monday, March 31, 2008

And then there was one

This weekend I went down from two crutches to one. While it makes it easier for me to carry things and 'take care of myself' in general it has caused a myriad of other issues. The most annoying of all being a new, sharp pain in the hip that literally feels like my bones 'crunching' together. I'm sure that the pain is part of the healing process...but I'm ready to be healed already!! :)

I will be purchasing a cane this week and I'm hoping that I can only be half as fashionable as Lauren...with hers coming straight from South Africa. I fear I may have to settle for the Walgreen's special as I have yet to find one that has any character.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Congratulations and Welcome to the Family

Just wanted to congratulate my brother Rob and his wife Terra who officially tied the knot in Thailand this past Sunday, March 23rd.

I hope you have a great remainder of your vacation/honeymoon and I am looking forward to helping you guys celebrate!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

6 Week Recap

Last week I flew up to Boston and met with Dr. Murphy for my six week check-up. After several x-rays and some strength tests he determined my recovery was looking great and in about 6 weeks I should be able to ditch the crutches. His exact words if I recall correctly were 'there is no reason to believe this won't last indefinitely.' Of course this is without any long term studies on PAO surgeries and with the stipulation that I should take the next six weeks very carefully and highly consider not running in the future.

Looking at the x-rays with four very long pins in my hip was a little bizarre, especially with the gaps between the bones. He mentioned that the fuzziness indicated my bones were starting to heal and grow back together which is good news. His big concern is that I will be too active too soon but I assured him that I have been very good about giving the hip the rest it needs. I am to start putting >25<50% of my body weight on my right leg when walking.

The last part of our conversation centered around the amount of pain in my left hip since the surgery. I have obviously been putting the majority of my weight on that leg now and it seems my dysplasia is getting more significant as the weeks go by. With Dr. Murphy's suggestion, we scheduled my left PAO for August 21st of this year. He has never done two surgeries that close together before (6 months), but wants to ensure we take care of the left hip before it deteriorates too quickly.

The next step is to begin PT which includes lots of swimming and my regular excercises. My plan was to start swimming today but it turns out I have the beginnings of what looks like a staph infection on my elbow. It started out looking like a spider bite and over the past two days has grown considerably. My entire elbow is swollen and red hot. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to get it checked out and when it clears I will begin swimming.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Snap, Crackle, Pop...Clunk?

Lately I have had a lot of noises coming from the right hip. It does sound an awful lot like a certain breakfast cereal but luckily it doesn't hurt too much. That is until the clunking started. It feels like my hip is literally coming out of joint and not only does it hurt significantly when it happens but it leaves my hip aching and a pain that radiates down my leg.

I'm hoping this is normal, but it leaves me looking forward to my trip to Boston next week for my six week check-up. I'm assuming Murphy will be taking more x-rays and an MRI to determine how my bones are mending and how the screws are holding up.

I bet if I calculated the amount of radiation I've been subjected to in the past couple years...or even months...that it would explain my green glow.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big Weekend

This past weekend Josh made a detour to the Birmingham airport to pick up Craig and Jos (my brother and sister-in-law) who came in town for a visit. The whole family spent some time in the kitchen on Saturday making dinner...yes, even me. Thanks auntie Brigitte for the great recipe!

Craig, Jos and Bernie will be running in the Boston Marathon in a couple weeks and although I would love to go I'm not entirely sure I can get around enough to head up there...especially with all the crowds and people. The real reason I'm not going is because Craig kept stealing my crutches this weekend and poking me with them. Oh the joys of having an older brother! ;)

Also this weekend my roommate and great friend Ramsey got engaged. Congratulations to Rebecca and Ramsey!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

4 week recap

I can't believe that tomorrow marks one month since my surgery. Some days I feel like I have come so far and others I feel like I have so far to go until I'm back to normal (or at least the point I was at before the surgery)

What I can do now:
  • Get in and out of bed with ease
  • Get in and out of the shower and bath with 'relative' ease (after being left in the tub one night for two + hours I quickly mastered how to get out before I contemplated having another one) ;)
  • Use the non-handicapped version of the toilet (laugh all you want but this is a huge accomplishment :)
  • Sit for about an hour at a time without huge amounts of pain (stretching every 20 minutes really helps this one)
  • Beat my mom really badly at card games (part of the healing process)
  • Mastered the stair case...I no longer approach a stair and hesitate...trying to remember what the PT told me about which foot / crutch goes first
  • Use my hip flexors to lift my knee up in the air in the sitting position. I never thought those muscles were going to respond!!
  • Regained my singing skills much to the relief of my mother who enjoyed my rendition of Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing' this morning...Even Ramsey would have appreciated my effort here (no mullet wig though)
  • Crutch long distances by going to the grocery store...Super Wal-Mart no less...that's a lot of walking!
  • Make my own breakfast (okay, so this only happened once so far, but I think mom really appreciated it)
  • Pick my dirty laundry up off the floor, ball them up together in one tshirt and carry them to the laundry room with my crutches

For me these are all huge accomplishments and I hope there are many more to come. With exception to a couple days last week when I was in significant pain, I am still completely off the pain meds although it helps having tylenol around...and plenty of it.

The Picture Re-cap

Pre Surgery - flight to Boston and the Last Supper

Post-Surgery (hospital): Pain pump...and five minutes later

Post-Surgery: First supper and three weeks later

Lucky Girl...

Over the past couple weeks at home I have had an amazing amount of support from family and friends. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to have so many people praying for me, sending me funny emails and voicemails (since I'm not good at answering the phone anymore), sending me books, movies (Liz and Ryan), beautiful scarfs (Belinda and mom) snacks which got me through many a pout session (WCMC office), teddy bears and more beautiful flowers (see pictures below) and sticking by me during a very difficult time when I KNOW I'm at my worst.

I just wanted to thank all of you again for being so patient, motivating and thoughtful.

The Finley Family sent me beautiful flowers...thank you so much for thinking of me!

Dipak, a good friend from work, sent me the greenery he promised! :)

The Tinevez family (Brigitte, Paul, Noah, Sam, Ben and Justin) sent me a gorgeous arrangement of flowers...don't let the fact I'm in the picture take away from how beautiful these were! :)

Monday, March 03, 2008


During my daily workouts last week I tried to incorporate some stomach crunches and even upped the weights when 'pumping iron'... I think I added a whole 3 pounds when doing my bicep curls...impressive, I know! ;)

I'm not sure what went wrong but at some point I overextended and it resulted in five days of a lot of additional pain and swelling in my hip. I also had a radiating pain down my leg into my knee and tingling in my toes. Mom took my blood this morning and we will find out tomorrow if I might have a small blood clot. The pain has decreased this morning but the swelling is still pretty significant. Even with all the swelling, there are times I can swear I feel one of the screws poking out of my hip and that feeling is so bizarre.

We also noticed that I was walking a bit bow-legged with my crutches and when I stand straight my right leg almost appears longer than the left. So I'm sure I'm creating a great mental image...huge swollen right hip with a screw poking at the surface and me leaning to the left because I'm lop-sided. If you were also to see my many looks of pajama bottoms and oversized t-shirts you would assuredly nominate me for a makeover show. :)

On a more positive note, this weekend I had some good friends come over to visit and that definitely lifted my spirits. Thanks for making the long drive guys and thank you to my parents for being great hosts! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blood IS thicker than water

Today we measured my INR level again and found that my blood has become a little too thick for my own good. This is not good news given the fact I want to get these tight knee high socks off my feet. I distracted mom this morning and she didn't notice until too late this afternoon that I didn't put them on. Ha! These cheap thrills probably won't last too much longer!

This weekend was nice, although it feels like I have a bit of the could be laziness though...hard to say really. Mom tried to get my mind off my nausea by holding a calligraphy lesson at the kitchen table...too bad we didn't have Grandad here to give us some real lessons because our 1/2 hour attempt ended with a couple squiggly lines and unfortunately nothing to call home about. We also played cribbage and it's a shame, but my flu must cause a bit of memory loss because I can't remember who won? I'm sure it was me though...

I have been very diligent about the exercises and lifting weights everyday, but oh what to do with the other 23 1/2 hours!?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Around the Town...

In an effort to pry out the crutch that had found it's way up my behind, mom and Bernie treated me to dinner out last night. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant where I ate two loaves of bread, caesar salad and half my dinner! :) Probably my biggest meal to date which not only brought the thought of weight loss to a screeching halt, but also could be the cause of some 'flu' like symptoms this morning.

Sitting straight up for that amount of time wasn't the most comfortable, but I know the outing was good for my morale. It even forced me to blow my hair dry for the first time in two weeks instead of throwing it up into some unrecognizable knot on the top of my head.

Tonight Josh is coming in town and I'm sure my parents are thankful for the reprieve...I'm not sure he knows what he's getting himself into...but he definitely always has a way of putting a huge smile on my face so my mood is lighter just thinking about seeing him soon.

On another note, I haven't had pain pills/narcotics in three days (if I make it thru tonight) and I'm feeling pretty good about that. The hip pain has proven to be manageable most of the time and when it's not I take tylenol. I also can't believe the amount of reaction I have from my quad the sitting position I can now lift my right foot into the air almost as high as the left. My arms are also getting quite strong from crutching around and I like to think I am starting to look like Linda Hamilton circa 1980's Terminator...although cruelly, like a fun house mirror, I am still reflecting more of a Roseanne Barr.

My real bone of contention lies with these stupid tight 'anti-blood clotting' socks I have to wear all day. They have holes at the end that are supposed to line up right under your toes on the bottom of your foot...but darn it if they don't manage to twist around and out pokes one or several of my toes. It's the most annoying feeling and mom finds joy in my complaining about something so trivial and only rarely can I convince her to twist the sock around to give my toes a rest. I suppose if I have to be complaining about something post-surgery...I'm glad it's this!

Today I am thankful. Thankful that I have great friends and family and VERY thankful that I chose Dr. Murphy. I realize his lack of personality might be too much for some to take, but I truly encourage those of you looking into this surgery to give him a real once over. He is pioneering a new technology (computer assisted) that allows him to cut less muscle/tendons, etc and prevents the many restrictions post surgery I have heard other individuals endure. I realize it is such a personal choice to determine whose hands you will put your life/health/body into, but at this point I truly believe I made a wise decision.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Pint a Day...

I'm not talking blood here either...

Last night I was feeling about as sorry for myself as possible and coaxed mom into handing over a pint of hagen daaz and a glass of wine. By coaxing I mean I of course held her at crutch point and she really had no chance. I may have the reaction time of a three-legged turtle, but take away my guilty pleasures and I'll surprise you.

This morning has found me with an upset stomach, a stale attitude and a desire to rewind two weeks and tell the surgeon I had a momentary lapse of sanity by agreeing to the surgery. Laying on my back for the majority of the day has not been good for me. Trips out of the house are exhausting and usually leave me needing a pain pill...which I actually have almost completely weaned myself off of (meaning mom has placed them on a shelf just barely out of my reach and even my handy grabber won't help me).

The good news is that my family and friends are still being patient with me, although I have a feeling this leniency won't last too much longer. I really am looking forward to this scar healing over so I can start getting in the pool without risk of infection...that and a nice long bubble bath...

Bit of good news though, I just skunked my mom at I've got that going for me...which is nice. ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now that's a lot of fluid...

For those of you who I have had the opportunity to talk to this weekend...I'm pretty sure I mentioned my displeasure at not only the GINORMOUS size of my operated leg, but the weight I gained in the hospital as well. After really not eating for 7 days I came home weighing 15 lbs more than when I went in. As mom tried to console me that it was just fluid from my leg...all I really heard was FIFTEEN POUNDS!

At the cost of numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which also means the cost of mom getting up with me 6 times a night to get me in and out of bed), I was elated to see the number this morning...down 17lbs. My leg is still the size of a tree trunk (I'm thinking Pine...more than Giant Redwood) but I'm told this is a normal reaction to such a serious surgery.

The pain from the surgery has subsided since in the hospital, but I do notice in the mornings, after switching from back, to side to stomach in an attempt to get comfortable, I have a great deal of pain. I truly wish I could be comfortable sleeping on my back, but it just ain't happening.

The exercises that Dr. Murphy gave me are going really well and my quad muscle is finally starting to respond to my attempts at lifting it off the ground. 1/2 inch is something after all. :)

I've been very worried about all the weight that my left leg is taking while I'm on the crutches as I have a pretty severe case of dysplasia in that hip as well. The more I do, the more my muscles seem to be responding and helping to compensate for that pain.

After the scar has healed, which we are assuming is next week, mom and I will be heading to the pool everyday. I'm told that I have to leave my competitive nature behind me, which includes the thought of flip turns and trying to beat the little wimp over in lane one who just lapped me again. Now this might be a big challenge.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thank You All!!!!

The Hospital Window

Chanda AND Craig and Jos (Same beautiful bouquet)

Bernie and Mom


Bill , Mike, Gram and John


Katie, Luke, Emily and Brent


Liz and Brent


Granny and Grandad

Dad and Yvonne


Bernie (mostly for mom for V-day...but I like to think they were for me too! ;) )

So as you can see I am so lucky to have such amazing friends and family. There were so many other people who sent their love, prayers and thoughts through phone calls, emails and visits to the hospital and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. It takes something like this to really understand how very lucky a person is....I feel like I am the luckiest woman in the world. Thank you again...everyone!
Also, a special thank you to Lauren and Denise who helped my mom especially through this difficult time by ensuring we knew what to expect and were always there to call anytime for support and encouragement. We can't thank the two of you enough. You too Jennifer and Rachel for all the pre-surgery support! :)

Back in the saddle again

Much to the chagrin of the nurses...who I like to think secretly enjoyed my boughts of head to toe itches, nausea and even steeping low enough to call me Sandy....I am finally home sweet home.

What I have been able to do so far:
1. Use my crutches to move around the house (mostly from the bed to the bathroom to the couch and repeat
2. Get in bed by myself by using my arms to drag my body behind it
3. Get out of bed by myself by 'hooking' my leg with my good toes and slowly moving it to the edge of the bed
4. Use my crutches to pick up random things I drop on the ground. I do have a 'grabber' but I tend to leave it in any other room than the one I'm in.
5. Small exercises to start getting my quad back working again.
6. Wheel myself around the neighborhood in a wheelchair to help cheer my parents on when they are running and prepping for the Boston Marathon (mom even gave me a stick to ensure I could chase away any stray dogs...that had us laughing for a good 5 minutes)
7. Alternate standing and sitting in the shower

These may all seem like small feats to some of you...but believe me, I'm just happy to get out of bed each day and not feel that nausea. I've been spending a lot of time on the phone this weekend thanking friends and family for their thoughts, prayers, gifts of flowers and laughter, phone calls and emails. For those of you I haven't had the chance to talk to yet, please know how much you are appreciated and that I hope to talk to you soon. Everyone has also been asking about my time in the hospital, including my hip dysplatic 'sisters', so I thought I would give my day by day recap of the last week.

Day -1: The Last Supper
Mom drove into Atlanta the night before and we spent that morning finishing our last minute packing and trying to figure out how two people could possibly be taking five huge bags for a one week trip...especially since one of us would be wearing a hospital gown the entire time. The flight was a good one to Boston and once we got settled in the hotel (after a slight detour completely due to the lack of street signs in the city and not the orienteer genius in the passenger seat) we drove back to pick up Josh. Mom was right about one thing, I was on complete edge and definitely pushing my luck with the two of them with snide remarks and horrible humor to attempt to disguise my fear. In the end it wasn't hard to convince mom to let me take a sleeping aide to end the attack.

Day 0: D-Day
Having to be at the hospital by 9 left very little time that morning for anything...even Starbucks (now for anyone who knows my mom they are probably starting to really understand the sacrifices she is making latte in the morning?). After checking in and another set of x-rays I was directed to a room where they told me to get ready. Obviously they meant physically because my mind was a wreck emotionally and that part of 'getting ready' wasn't going to happen until the drugs starting flowing. After a significant amount of time the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed the fact a epidural would be insane (I must add my mom coached me to make eye contact and 'act sweet' so he would take care of me...If that wasn't enough her last words to him were 'don't make any mistakes or you'll have to deal with me'...or something along those lines ;). Dr. Murphy stopped by and autographed my right hip, further explaining it was a game time decision to include the femoral osteotomy. It was the first time mom or Josh had met Dr. Murphy so as he left we of course had another good chuckle that it was a good thing I wasn't looking for a friend or someone to smile at my jokes...which I of course expect from everyone. They wheeled me down to OR shortly after and I left Mom and Josh with tears in my eyes and huge hugs of encouragement. The next thing I really remember was asking the orderly if he would sing me a song while he pushed me to my room. I started up with 'no woman, no cry' but I don't think I ever really got him to open up to me...I'm sure he's pretty used to ridiculousness.

Day 1: If your itchy and you know scream out loud
This day is a bit of blur with exception to watching beautiful flowers being brought into my room...which I only saw in between scratching fits which left my body covered in welts and Josh and Mom's arms tired from my requests to SCRATCH HARDER!!! The icing on the cake this day was the nasty nurse who decided to take liberties with my name and call me Sandy repeatedly. I tried glaring at her but it came out looking more like I was constipated and I ended up with a Sandy it is.

Day 2: Slow learner
The second day was much like the first with Josh and Mom really wishing that their scratching duty was over. Apparently it took me a long time to figure out the more I pushed my pain pump the more itchy I would think my common sense would have kicked in...but I'll blame it on the pain. I do remember getting out of bed to walk three steps in the walker. At this point I was still very conscious of the fact the hospital gown did not close in the back and kept asking my mom to ensure I wasn't flashing the entire hospital. Believe me, this modesty went away VERY quickly.

Day 3 and 4: What goes in...must come out
After switching meds, so did my issues. After boughts of nausea I finally succumbed and wasn't able to keep anything down...not that I was eating much at all anyway. The PT's came in and encouraged me out of bed to make a stroll down the hallway in the walker. Mom had set up a CD Player to blast 'Eye of the Tiger' which was very motivating...and also completely in my head.

Day 5: Trouble comes in three's
So I'm somewhat over the nausea and a new friend has come to stay in the form of a Candida infection in my throat combined with some strep. At this point any hope at me eating anything had gone down the tubes and I was feeling even weaker than ever. I did manage to get out of the room to walk on crutches to the end of the hall. I wanted to enjoy my time out of the room so I decided to stretch the walk out a full 20 minutes...which of course had nothing to do with the fact I am pathetic on crutches and incredibly weak...
The best part of this day was a visit from one of my great friends Ryan, who drove down from New Hampshire. Not many people can make me laugh like Ryan, so it was a great distraction and his care package of my favorite DVD, CD and t-shirt was definitely enough to keep me going for the duration...

Day 6: Ice Cream Run and Pep Talk
Mom finally encouraged me to eat some food and even forces some prune juice down my throat. Screwed up taste buds and an inability to really distinguish food did not stifle the horrible, disgusting, putrid taste of prune juice. Vivid enough? So mom asked me what I really wanted and my answer was simple...a Dairy Queen Blizzard. So off she went, the amazing trooper and support system she had been, and came back with the largest ice cream I had ever seen. I should probably also mention there is only one DQ in Boston and mom paid over $20 for my request because of the fun parking situation in this city. So here I was, sitting in front of a dream of a meal and after one bite...I looked at my mom and with tears in my eyes I had to tell her that I wasn't going to be able to take another throat had got the best of me. Trying not to look upset that her efforts were in vain, mom put it in the freezer for me and we settled for some ice chips. We also had a visit today from the hospital psychiatrist. Apparently one of the lovely nurses had mentioned that I ‘jumped’ everytime they brought a needle in my direction. Forgive me for not enjoying the four IV’s and 14 or so blood draws and injections that I endured during my stay there…I suppose I must be a little crazy for not enjoying that. Anyway, the visit turned out to be really great as he was focused more on how I need to accept the fact I need to lean on people for so long after the surgery…and that it’s not a burden. He also helped me with some yoga breathing tips for pain and dealing with the loss of the fact I will not run again. Not sure breathing will get me to accept that…

Day 7: The Great Escape
I woke up this morning feeling quite nauseous which stifled my excitement at leaving...but mom quickly reminded me to put a smile on my face or I wasn't getting out anytime soon. Boy was I beaming after that. Nurse Mary stopped by one final time (imagine the old lady from King Pin...) and told me I was good to go. So with about 10-15 prescriptions in hand, my first trip in a wheelchair led me out of the hospital and into the rental car on the way to the airport. Upon checking into delta I realized my phone was still in the rental car. Good thing I was in a wheelchair because the police officer behind the counter flirting with the ticket lady felt sorry for the 'little handicapped girl' enough to call Enterprise personally and ask them to deliver it to the airport. He was either trying pretty hard to play the sympathy card or he was stuck in the 60's because he must have called me handicapped about 4 times and finally convinced them to bring it to me. My mom and I waited until we were through security to have a good chuckle about that. The flight home was quite simple and with me standing a couple times to stretch (and attract hordes of attention due to my tree trunk leg) we made it with little incident. Ramsey and Josh were at the airport to help load me into the SUV but it turns out my arms were a tad stronger than anticipated and I was able to pull myself up into the vehicle. Upon arriving home Bernie had cooked us an amazing dinner and the entire house was full of 13 dozen roses and flowers…it was the most amazing sight and it solidified the fact I was happy to be home sweet home.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

We have touchdown!!!!

After a 3 hour flight and a 4 hour car ride, Sam is back home in Alabama. Ramsey and I saw her today when she came in through Atlanta and we were amazed to see how well she looked. I had thought the flight would have been pretty rough on her but evidently was fairly uneventful; I'll let Sam ellaborate in following posts (just never refer to her as handicapped). To our surprise, with the extensive bed and comforter spread that her mom had prior prepared in the back of the SUV, Sam chose to sit up in the front seat. Im speechless.................. When I left on Sunday, I didnt think she would be released today but once I saw her in the airport today (with my Bo Sox hat by the way............which I miss but wouldnt think of asking for it back since she looks really cute in it), she had turned a 180. Still a little under the weather slightly, but in regards to mobility and overall look, I am quite certain that if I had told anyone out of the blue about what she had just gone through, they wouldnt have believed me. Crutches and all, 'hopped' right on in and off they went.
Sam will have her laptop on Friday night so she'll start taking over the blog by this weekend. Of course, that's after she has the chance to read the other 11 dozen sets of flowers that were awaiting her when she got home....................

Homeward Bound!!!!

Finally, she's coming home! Spoke with Sam last night for about half an hour and she sounded amazingly better. Aside from the increase in hip pain due to some more extensive hip OT/PT, she's doing much better since the nausea, spasms, and sore throat are being kept under control. They started giving her PO Dilaudid as opposed to the IV Dilaudid she was taking during the first days that was evidently causing the itches.
She's so ready to get out of there. Like Denise wrote in one of her comments, a week is behind us. She's up on her crutches and slowly gaining control of her right quad. It's fairly weak (given the fact that it was partially removed) but she's moving it as much as she can.
Her flight leaves today around 12:15 and she should land in Atlanta around 3:11. Im a little concerned about the flight since she hasn't had to sit up in a chair for that long. Im hoping that it'll be a pretty smooth ride which will allow her to get up every 30 minutes or so to get the blood circulating. We all know that those seats aren't the most comfy.
Ramsey and I will meet her at the airport and help her mom get her transfered into the SUV for the following 4 hour trip to Alabama. She's got a complete mattress and bedding setup ready to go so I hope it will be as painless as possible.
I would expect her to start calling and emailing all her friends, family, and supporters once she gets back in. Thanks again for all of your help!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 6......Coming home soon

It's been 6 days since Sam's surgery and all signs are pointing to the hospital releasing her on Thursday as planned. However, much to Sam's dismay, she has had to battle her way through a series of unforeseen difficulties since she came out of surgery. Things she didn't expect nor anticipate have made the last 6 days that much more challenging. A combination of intense pain, body itch spells, nausea, and spasms have been her unwelcome companion during the last week. To add insult to injury, she has had a sore throat over the last couple of days which her mom believes to be tonsillitis/strep throat. After I spoke with Sam last night, the throat culture had not come back yet but it doesn't take a doctor to know that all the signs are pointing in that direction. To make things worse, she has had zero appetite which doesn't help fight off the infection nor help build up her strength for her daily physical therapy sessions. Her mom has informed me that she's doing great in her physical therapy sessions (she's up on crutches now) but after completion is completely exhausted since she's not getting the energy she needs due to loss of appetite. The nausea comes back from time to time, as you would imagine by taking some pretty stiff pain meds on an empty stomach.
For those that know Sam well, you know she is fighting to stay positive and get back on her feet. She's giving it everything she has. Every time I speak with her I tell her about the comments on her blog and how everyone is sending their best wishes and thoughts. Please continue to show your support for her. We all know this will get better as the days go by, but for Sam, each day is another challenge.
I'll post again when I know if she will be released for sure on Thursday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another day behind, another day forward

It's Monday now and Sam is still fighting with her old pal 'Nausea'. I can only imagine the type of pain she's feeling right now. She's been trying to fight the nauseousness for the last two days but after speaking with her mother this morning, it sounds like her buddy got the best of her last night. She's been trying to get it over with since it started, but she's been struggling between dealing with either the pain of not vomiting or the pain she would incur if it finally ever happened (lot of stress on the hips when that happens, evidently).
I had to leave yesterday to come back to ATL but found out this morning that Sam had a pretty rough night. All the pain medication is having its toll on her. Good news, however, I also found out once I got back, that she was able to get out of bed a second time yesterday afternoon. Just as twice in one day isn't amazing enough, with the help of her walker, she was able to make it down the hallway and back. I'm so proud of her. To know the extent of what her surgery entailed, seeing her get out of bed this soon after surgery, speaks highly of her drive to get back on her feet. I hope that she's seeing the progress she's making and that it keeps her in a positive mindset as she's fighting with the nausea and occasional spells of head to toe body itch.

We are still hoping that she'll be ready for release by Thursday so she can make the trip back to Alabama with her mom. I'll keep posting throughout the week as I get more info.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"I feel like crap".........

I'm sitting here watching sam and her mom catching some brief zzz's. Her mom needed it just as mush as sam. Once again, typing on the BB since her room doesn't pickup wifi.

One complete day behind us. Last night was not as easy as we hoped. Evidently, the pill cocktail didn't do much to help quell the horrible itches that sam gets about 5-10 minutes after every dose. Comparable to bee stings all over, it has been the leading cause of discomfort since the surgery and we are hoping the new pill meds will keep the pain down while the dilaudid clears her system. Dil (as her mom calls it) has been a two sided friend; helps great with the hip pain, butis what we feel is causing the stinging. She's now on a combo of percocet, oxy ir, clartin, benedryl, and a one time dose of prince "V". I've never seen sam on valium before and I will forever be able to know if she takes it again. Talk about a complete knockout. She fought to stay awake in order to eat a full bowl of soup, crackers, and jello, but she would fall asleep in mid drink. She fought hard to stay awake but it wasn't easy.

Now we have this new companion called 'nausea'. Sam has come close to losing the soup about 3-4 times in the last few hours but has managed to keep it down.I feel that its the combo of meds on an empty stomach, later food, and repeated doses of more drugs that have brought her to this point. If it just wasn't for the nausea and the stinging, she would be doing amazing. She was running a fever earlier but it has come down to normal. The PT has come by a couple of times today but was unable to get sam up since she's been so nauseous. She's been soild sleepimg now for about 45 minutes (as her mom too) and I hope the nurses don't come by anytime soon. They've been pretty good but she just can't get any solid sleep due to the constant vitals checks and rounds. I hope this sleep she's getting will wear off her nausea and itchiness. As I sit here in my chair in the corner, lights off, door closed, BB in hand, and watching sam sleep, my eyes are constantly drawn to all of the flowers and gifts that she has received. All of her friends and family have been amazing and I want everyone to know how much it means to truly makes her smile when the "flower guy" comes by. I mean, honestly, her whole window is covered. Count on seeing pictures once she's aware enough to get on her computer. Thank you everyone. This has been unbelievably painfull and challenging for her but your love, thoughts, and prayers have made it easier to bear.

I might as well wrap this up since I don't want to wake her with more clicking of keys.thanks to all again and count on hearing from her personally once she has gotten past the first week or so.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Spasm = Nobody's Friend

Sam has spent the last few hours dealing with spasm's and incredible itches across her body. She's doing well; still making us smile with her typical little jokes. All the flowers she's been receiving has been keeping her in high spirits. Another day has passed, one more behind us.

I hope she rests well. I think her mom will....

Do the Hippy Hippy Shake

This day has been much like As the World Turns.
If you are into soaps read on. Sam & Dilaudid were intoduced to each other late yesterday evening, just prior to leaving the recovery room. Sam immediately took a shining to Dilaudid (Dil- as she likes to refer to him). Dil on the other hand was a reluctant companion- after all they had only met a few hours earlier.
The night was a tad on the rough side for Sam. She could not convince Dil that he should open up to her. Apparently Dil did not wish to share too much of himself with Sam on their first evening together. Sam on the other hand was willing to enter into a very intimate relationship with Dil. She really felt she needed him. Perhaps she was a little too needy for Dil.
As it turned out Dil may have known best as Sam suffered through a rather unpleasant evening feeling as though her skin was crawling all over and she could not make it stop- lets just call this experience ICC (Incredibly Creepy Crawly). Amazingly it happened everytime Dil got too close. Ben (Benadryl: antihistamine/anti-itch) and Ti (Tigan: anti-emetic/anti lose your entire stomach contents) were around to help the relationship.
A rocky romance for sure, leaving Sam with barely a wink of sleep.
Stay tuned for more on that relationship later!!
Phenergan better known as Phen (again- anti lose stomach contents) entered into the equation early in the day. He however would only agree to grace us with his presence every 6 hours (hard to believe, but apparently hospital policy in relationships like this!!). Anyways, between Dil, Ti, Ben & now Phen, Sam felt as though she was on a true roller coaster ride. The day progressed somewhat like this: Sam is alone, "Pain" (in the butt- or at least the hip; Did I forget to mention him?) rears ugly head, Dil shows up-briefly and ofcourse again not committing very much to the relationship. (Read here: MEN!!)
Anyways: Pain followed by Dil; followed by ICC; Sam feels incredibly creepy and yes quite nauseous (too many men in the room maybe?) so of course Ben, then Ti come along. Sam- feels no better. They bring in Phen, again not much help. Finally Sam's nurse decides "This is too much", she has a good talk with Dil and convinces him to show up more often and to stick around for longer too!!
He does and Sam finds herself a little unsure now; she feels a little unlike herself- floating, sometimes far, far away- often with her mouth open in disbelief.
Suddenly to everyone's surprise (including Mark & Emily- Sam's physical therapists) Sam leaps (well ok- inches) out of bed and springs up (drags herself up with walker) and does the HIPPY, HIPPY SHAKE (this part is true- if the hippy hippy shake is 3 steps forward and 4 steps back performed gingerly with only 25% of body weight on right flat foot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Anyways at the end of the show- I mean the day, Sam finds herself deciding she would be better of without Dil. There's a new guy in town.
Stay tuned tomorrow for ......................

Some moms handle stress by creating great literary works, I write soaps.
PS: From the bottom of my heart thank you all for the calls, gifts, e-mails and mostly for your prayers- you have made such an incredible difference.

Meet my best friend....."DILAUDID''

One night behind us. Sams mom stayed the night with her. Our plan is to take shifts being with her so at least one of us is constantly by her side. I plan to stay the night unless sam's mom says otherwise; and of course, her word is the order.
The night was tough. She's in pain but maintaining that sense of humor. As you would imagine, the dose of morphine that's only a push button away, keeps her in and out of sleep; awake-pain, dilaudid-sleep. The dilaudid, however, is making her extremely itchy. She's sleeping right now; I hope she stays that way so the pain stays at bay.
Its not easy to see her in this type of pain but I get internal salvation knowing that as each hour passes, she's one step closer to having less pain.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

coming out of recovery.....more to come

Sam should be out of recovery in about 15 mins so ill keep this short, plus I'm typing on the BB and sausage fingers don't work to well.
Address is:
New england baptist hospital
125 parker hill ave. Room 543
Boston, ma 02120

No phone yet

Four and a half hours later....GREAT SUCCESS!!!!

Update #2.

Just spoke with Dr. Murphy. It's 4:45 Pm EST and she's done. Everything went perfect from what I understand. After I tried to listen and look like I understood all the medical lingidy, he said she should be just fine. Luckily, he didnt have to conduct the femoral osteotomy (the removal and rotation of the femoral head)!!!! No more blood loss than expected. I want to speak to him again just to hear him say it all over again so I can relax. Sam, when you read this, you have no idea how hard this is to sit here and wait...........................We literally chunked our laptops when we saw Dr. M. Your mom didnt want me to get her a coke since she didnt want to miss him coming in to give her the results. Baby, IM SO GLAD YOU ARE DONE WITH THIS. The hardest part is behind you. Now you can look to the future as the days go by and as you regain the strength and mobility of your leg, knowing that everyday you will see improvement.

I cant wait to get in there and see her. Unfortunately, we wont be able to see her for at least an hour or two. Therefore, I'll continue to bite my nails, or whats left, as the anesthesia slowly wears off while the nurses keep a sharp eye on her.

Again, a testament to her tenacity and strength. I knew she would do great. I wish I could fastforward the next few months.

Well, more updates to follow. Once we get her room and phone number, I'll post for everyone. Acting on behalf of Sam, feel free to send flowers.............lot's of flowers ;)


We are a go for launch!!!


Sam officially went in for surgery at 12:20 PM EST. Although she was taken in an hour late, she entered into the most challenging event of her life with courage and bravery. As we told her every minute that passed, we know she will do amazing. Sam asked me to update her blog once she went in, and after a somber lunch of New England Baptist Hospital's finest grilled chicken sandwhich and Lentil soup, we found a nice quiet place to keep every one updated. By 'we', I mean THM (see prior post for explanation) and Josh (otherwise known as 'Sam's Special Friend').

It wasnt easy seeing Sam battle back the tears as we anxiously awaited the trip to the OR, much less mine. And now its here......the day, the event, the challenge, the impending fix. I cannot express how proud I am of here. This has been something that she has dealt with for years and now the day has come. We have tried to keep her positive and motivated throughout the months (and as well since I have known and fallen in love with her) by telling her that she will be back on her feet in no time. I only hope it has helped. Throughout the last 3 months, she has opened up to me about all her fears and uncertainty of the surgery and now that its here, I feel that she was fully prepared; emotionally and physically.

A bit of good news: Once Dr. Murphy came in to discuss the surgery with Sam before taking her in, he informed her that he might not need to conduct the femoral osteotomy. Not to get into the specifics or that I could if I really wanted to, the femoral osteotomy would add about 2 hours to the surgery and more extensive rehab. In a nutshell, they were possibly going to remove the head of the femur, rotate a few degrees, and reattach with some extensive hardware in order to marry up the knuckle with the socket. But alas, we are keeping our fingers crossed that his opinion makes it through the next few hours. We'll keep you posted.

We've spent the last hour or so opening up her thank you gifts. To my surprise (although I know I shouldnt be since it speaks of her character), she bought gifts for me and her mom and gave us explicit instructions to not open until she "goes in". So here we the waiting room, and I open up a big red bag and discover the following: The classic childhood game of 'Operation'-----how fitting right?, 1 pound of Cherry Twizzlers (my fave), a box of calming tea, some Ferrero Rocher's, a battery powered shaking plush doll that screams out that it's MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME (you should have seen the audience in the room with us), and one pack of Breath Savers (since we have recently started to dog on each other that we can both have bad breath from time to time) See attached pictures. I like how she wore my hat :) ................... I love this woman.

Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts over the next few hours and days. I'll have her phone with me during her surgery if anyone wants an up to date status. Feel free to call. Wish her the best!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Eve of Re-struction

This is Alexis, Sam's Mom.
I have promised her that I will contribute to her blog around her surgical time.
It is Wednesday night and we are checked into a Boston hotel.
The trip here was pretty uneventful with the exception of Sam learning some pretty interesting methods of how to quiet a mild to moderately turbulent flight.
We get lost on our way to the hotel, but manage to see Fenway Park and Harvard University in the process. Sam navigates us through the city in the dark and we arrive unscathed, despite seeing a record number of ambulances and police cars along the way.
In the event that we would have been lost in a Boston "neighborhood"-
Josh (Sam's special friend) is here to protect Sam- so all is well.
The road to Boston has been a long and painful one for Sam. She has suffered from hip pain for at least 5 years, had 2 femoral stress fractures and through-out that time ran several 1/2 marathons and adventure races. The pain persisted and eventually she was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia and referred to a surgeon for PAO. On Monday her surgeon informed her that he may do a a femoral osteotomy as well. Sam never does anything half way. Dr. Murphy told her that he will make the decision regarding the femoral osteotomy following the PAO. It will add several hours to the procedure and at least 236 gray hairs to my head.
Faith- an essential part of the equation.
Sam has just completed her night-before-surgery hibiclens scrub and is moaning about how tacky (terribly sticky- not tawdry) it is. She has had a rollercoaster day- emotionally. I, who know her well have managed to stay out of the thick of it. Josh, who is fairly new to the equation has been caught in the cross-fire more than few times. He takes it well, and Sam- who is more than aware of her ricocheting psychological well-being lets us know how much she appreciates us both being here.
We will report for duty at 9:00am and her surgery will begin at 11:30am.
After all this tme I can't believe that "we're on the eve of "re"struction.
Sadly Sam & Josh have no idea what I am talking about with that line- I only hope that some of you might!
Thanks to all of you who have called and sent her well wishes. We will keep you all posted.
THM (Tragically Hip's Mom)

Monday, February 04, 2008

This is ground control to Major Tom...

I am having a hard time keeping my feet on the ground...

...I officially have 71 hours left until I am on the operating table. I have to say that I think I am handling it beautifully. Now you ask my friends and family and they might tell you that I am full of it and am a complete basketcase...but what do they know! ;)

Starting today I am focusing on packing everything I will need for my time in the hospital. For those of you who have your surgeries in the coming days and months, I hope this proves to be as helpful as the lists I have stumbled upon while preparing for this day.

1. Baggy pants - comfy pj's from the Tinevez family and some yoga pants from Lu Lu Lemon

2. A t-shirt to sleep in that smells of a certain individuals cologne. An additional shirt to wear during the day that reminds the nurses that yeah...I'm kind of a big deal. ;)

3. I-pod with all the music in the world...thanks to Sara for the additions last night. I also have two playlists with a bit of 'feel sorry for myself' music and another with 'suck it up and get better...worse things could happen' music

4. Non slip socks - and some bright new white ones care of Ray and Marion this Christmas! :

5. Toiletries: Incuding Bath and body works sweet pea lotion, Wet wipes and no-wash shampoo

6. Feather Pillow given to me from Yvonne and Dad about 15 years ago...still my favorite! I'm also bringing the shopping in Macao book to plan for my trip to visit you both in China this year...get your walking/shopping shoes on! :)

7. Beautiful quilt made for me by my granny and given to me this Christmas

8. Candy for the nurses...anything to get that private room and additional morphine... ;)
9. Comfy shoes. More specifically a pair of crocs from Auntie Fran!

10. Sodoku puzzle books, magazines and GMAT preps care of Richard's "thank God you are finally leaving us in peace" present and The Secret (Positive thinking book recommended by Bernie)

11. Netflix movies to watch on my latop thanks to the Accenture crew in Raleigh

12. Beautiful scarf and leather gloves from Terra, Rob, Craig and Jos to keep warm on the way to the airport after the surgery

13. Painting to remind me to always live, laugh and love...You are a bright shining star Jill!

14. My support crew: Mom and Josh

It is quite obvious, I hope, when reading this blog that I have amazing support from my friends and family. I can't thank all of you enough for your patience, advice, comfort and light hearted humor that has prepared me for this day. I'd also like to thank Lauren, Denise and Jennifer...individuals who had never met me prior to this operation but have provided unlimited amounts of support and encouragement...thank you SO much!