Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Land Between

Oftentimes I find myself wanting a more black and white life; I desire to leave the worries of work life behind for the day and fully enter my home life. I want to know if it's going to rain OR snow tomorrow...not a "43% chance of a "wintry mix." And mostly these days, I long to know if I am truly on my way to full healing or if I am just waiting for the next surgery to come along and interrupt our life and hopes and plans.

There are more shades of grey for the Hershey's than any pure black or pure white colors. We have traveled through these undesired transitions and "the land between" for so long, I'm not yet convinced there is an end in sight. Maybe time will show us my hips are moving toward COMPLETE healing, or, maybe I'll need more minor surgeries, or, maybe I learn to live with a level of physical pain for the rest of my life. We simply don't know. Even so, these two years have taught Nate and I the value of grey. While it may be very possible to move through these life tragedies with little growth, they have provided us with the greatest of opportunities to trust our God, to rely on our precious community and family, and to continue building the love story that is our marriage. God has met us in this emotional and physical upheaval; He has showered goodness amidst these upsetting and unsettling two years of pain, surgeries, more surgeries, and recoveries. The grey has been formative and forgiving to us.

Practically, we feel more and more as though we're moving out of the "land between." On February 24th we received hopeful news from Dr. Clohisy. The x-rays show the revision went as best as he could anticipate; the overcorrected was corrected, the labral tear repaired, and the impingement gone. Dr. C is a very humble doctor; it was apparent, though, that he was very pleased with his work! We too are pleased. He lifted many of my restrictions: I have no flexion restrictions (except for lunges, but at least I can tie my own shoes!), I can drive, start PT, and return to work. All of these things have occurred in the past few weeks and it has been good to return to some normal life rhythms. I have even returned to my kitchen, armed and ready to make the recipes I've been reading about this past month!

As opposed to the last time around, Dr. Clohisy wants me to wait another month and stay 50% weight bearing on my crutches/walker as to provide extra care to this hip that has been broken and operated on twice now. The bone has grown in but he wants me to be more conservative than I was on my right swimming yet and only bike riding at the gym with no resistance. I practically begged him to let me have time on the bike as he first told me no exercise at all. I'm grateful as it has been healing to return to the YMCA, if only to sit and move my legs for 30 minutes. Nate reminds me that I'll be swimming and walking the neighborhood in no time.

I am feeling super good about my left hip's healing process. I am still achy and especially so after returning to work. I am confident good things are in store for the left side. My right hip, however, which has been bearing all of my weight, continues to display bursitis both on the outer hip and in the groin/psoas area. My fears tell me I've re-torn the labrum. Dr. Clohisy says he has no reason to believe this and it's due to inflammation..."just give it some time," he says. Again, he reminds me this is the first time in 2 years that my right hip and left hip will share weight while residing in the place they were designed to be. It will take time...but, it means more grey areas. More land in between for awhile still.

While we wait to heal fully, we celebrate good things around us, like a 32nd birthday for me, and a visit to the Super Bowl (in our fine Hoosier city!!) for my darling husband and sweet brother:

Monday, January 16, 2012


I'm glad to have good news to continue to report:

All of my steri strips have fallen off the wounds, ankle pumps have been off for a week now, and I am starting to move onto my crutches, finding more stability and strength in my left hip and leg. Showers are happening with more ease and altogether I am being put back together.

I continue to use my CPM machine for 6-12 hours/day, helping break up scar tissue and prepare my hip for increasing range of motion. I am feeling new (but familiar) pains return, blessedly, now knowing these are worthwhile, necessary pains as bones and nerves start reforming and refiring again.

I am almost fully weaned off of my heavy medication, only taking it as needed. I am sleeping more comfortably. Beautiful, beautiful!

I've had a few small concerns related to heavy nosebleeds, slight wound openings, and digestive issues.

My right hip (surgery on May 2011) is holding up mostly well as the sole weight-bearer. The groin pain and bursitis pain still exists, which is discouraging but understandable. Not until both feet are on the ground and both hips are sharing the weight will both hips finally have a chance at functioning with ease.

I will begin doing some work from home this week; I am ready to participate in the world again, even if remotely.

We return to Dr. Clohisy's office on the 24th, eager to see the repair and regeneration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 8

A week ago right now I was mid-surgery at Barnes-Jewish hospital, pelvis broken and many hands and minds working diligently to reconstruct my left hip.

Now I'm thankfully laying at home, legs engulfed in ankle pumps and a CPM machine, glad to be one week on the other side of my LPAO revision. Family and friends are taking distinctly good care of me, providing love-filled meals, words of courage and expectation, and specific prayers of healing. Mom is home with me today, helping me to and from the restroom, monitoring my medication, and providing her one-and-only motherly care. Nate will be home soon for the night shift; he is such a lovely care-taker.

Our trip home on Saturday was pleasantly uneventful. I was drugged well for a 5 hour trip home and have little memory of pain. Since then, I've been adjusting to medication, sleep discomfort, and new forms of pain as I heal.

For those who are interested, here's a brief summary of Wednesday's surgery:

Total surgery time was 4.5 hours. Dr. Clohisy first did a hardware removal (9 screws, which were offered back to us per Nate's request!) on the right hip. Only a small portion of my right scar was opened and screws were removed to avoid any future pain that could occur from the screws. Dr. Clohisy then began the main event, my LPAO revision. He shaved the head and neck of my left hip, repaired a labral tear (which was a new occurrence, re-torn in a different spot since my August 2010 labral tear--this was a surprise to us), and corrected the impingement that was not addressed during my first LPAO. He also tipped my hip back to a more "normal" position. My doc believes my ongoing pain was caused by the impingement, the labral tear, or a combination of both.

This surgery was more involved due to scar tissues from my previous surgeries and the bone being more dense after previous surgeries. Dr. Clohisy believed it was an extremely positive outcome which will provide good range of motion and positioning.

Regarding healing times: Some are back to full activity in 4 months, some it takes up to 2 years for a pain-free experience, and some learn to live with some discomfort for their lifetime. In my case, not having a correctly positioned left hip and a right hip still healing has not provided a solid base for either to heal properly. The right is covering for the left and most likely delaying healing. All in all it will take time for pain and muscle development to even out for both sides; we're in the best case scenario to progress and heal fully.

Thank you, Great Healer. We pour out our hearts to you, O Lord, for you are our refuge.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recovery - Day 2

Update from Nate for Dec 30: Megan is recovering well for the hospital part of the journey. She battled some nausea throughout the day as she weened off of the heavier IV pain meds; the nausea and itching is subsiding now, and the epidural and catheter have all been removed. She has gotten out of bed with the help of P.T. and made it to the bathroom 3 different times with the walker. We are really pleased to see how well pain is being managed and expect to be coming home tomorrow assuming she can pass the P.T. "steps" test. We should be home to party like rockstars with ice packs and strong drugs...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recovery - Day 1

Megan's first day of recovery is coming to a close. She is doing about as well as possible at this point - experiencing nausea and itching from her pain meds, so she didn't sleep much last night. Her leg was immediately put into the passive motion machine following surgery and she will continue with it 6 to 8 hours a day. She hasn't gotten out of bed already and took several steps with a walker during PT.

Pray for rest, calm, well controlled pain, nausea and no itching. Thanks all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Surgery Complete!

After 4 1/2 hours in surgery this afternoon, Megan's surgery is complete! Dr. Clohisy was encouraged and spoke very positively of how the surgery went. He corrected the previous repositioning of the ball and socket, corrected/fixed the labrum, and shaved the head and neck of femur. This is a great start, but the success of the surgery will be measured by Megan's pain levels weeks from now.

Megan and Nate are thankful for Dr. Clohisy and all of your prayers and thoughts. Please pray for Megan's pain, sleep, nausea, comfort levels, perseverance...

Thank you friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

St. Louis bound...again

Over the Rhine's Christmas album is playing, presents are wrapped, and we are packing our bags for the weekend in State College, PA with Nate's parents.

An entire autumn season has passed since I last posted here.

Regarding my right hip (which was operated on last May), I continue to strengthen and heal. I am mostly happy with the progress. There is still some pain from my bursitis as well as my psoas, which my doctor believes will settle down in time. Dr. Clohisy says he continues to believe I will heal completely on my right side. We are hopeful for this as we move forward to addressing my left hip once again.

As you all know, my left PAO surgery from a year ago August was a failed surgery, overcorrected and missing a major addressing of my impingement. Over time, the pain of the failed surgery has only heightened; there is significant nerve pain alongside the joint structure that has failed. As time has passed, and now having compared two distinctly differing outcomes, we were ready to consider scheduling a re-PAO of my left hip. My doc was encouraged by my strength and mobility on my right hip and was willing to schedule my surgery. After a fierce battle with Anthem, they overturned our case and are now willing to cover my surgery. WE ARE SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 28TH IN ST. LOUIS. We will return from PA on Monday and head to St. Louis on Tuesday.

A re-do PAO is not a cut and dry surgery; it is more involved, there is more bleeding that will occur due to the soft tissues build-up, and altogether it is more of a "gamble" (says my doctor) in that it is the 2nd time around. My hip is not as strong as the first time and whereas at first I would have had a 95-100% chance of full recovery, I now have a 60-70% chance. It is heartbreaking to note how this would have been different had we met Dr. Clohisy and known of him to begin with. Even so, the reality is we have a 2nd chance at this surgery and relieving pain and we feel the time is right to choose it. It's within the deductible year, I'm still young and have the cartilage to qualify, the pain is intense, and we are in the best hands, literally, for this particular need and surgery.

Please pray with us for WHOLE healing, for HOPE and encouragement. After two years of PAO surgeries, and no entirely healed hips yet, we are in need of others to pray and hope for us.

We will keep this blog updated as my surgery occurs next Wednesday and in days following.

For now, Merry Christmas. May the birth of Christ bring joy in your hearts and and a thirst for His tender love.