I know I'm in medical school and it is expected to work hard and long hours, but working roughly 69 hours this week on one bad hip and one iffy hip made my week miserable. I feel like I am expected to function like this:
I'm really getting excited for the holidays now that December 1st hit. I don't know what has me very excited this year, but I am truly excited!! I suppose it's because last year I was taking boards and had a lot of stress with having to put my cat down, health insurance issues, getting dumped by my orthopaedic surgeon at the time, anxiety issues. And the year before that I was sick and trying to work through Christmas so that I could have my surgery January 5th out in Vail. This year, despite me working most of the time, I am more relaxed and less stressed. Don't get me wrong, I am very busy with finishing up school and interviewing for residency. But I don't have an impending issue this holiday season. And for that I am thankful. (I suppose my impending issues will begin in the New Year when I prepare for my surgery and for ranking/matching for residency). Until then...I'll cherish my holiday cheer.
Today my family and I decorated our Christmas tree. It was so much fun. We watched Home Alone on VHS and managed to completely fill our tree. Each year we get a new ornament from my Mum so that when we "grow up" (no, I have not grown up yet since I am still living at home, going to school, and needing my mumma myself!). This year we each got an ornament that has an angel with a crystal ball on the bottom. A fraction of the proceeds went to Make a Wish Foundation. I thought it was a really cool ornament that is thoughtful. I have more than ten years of decorations from my Mum. One day when I get my own tree (maybe next year!!!), I'll be good to go!
So, it's less than three months until I am done school and ready to roll onward and upward in life. I am very thankful that I am able to get my surgery done, even if it does suck trying to get there with current pain levels.
I was texting with a friend today and was saying how incredibly consuming hips and pain can be. It is a bit discouraging that they dictate everything I do in life. I think about them far too often to be healthy. Really? What would be consuming my brain if I didn't have to worry about my hips? I must have been a less-boring individual prior to my hips acting up! Whatevs...a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do, eh?
Happy American Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today is the 28th, which means that I am exactly 3 months until my LPAO on February 28th. Woot woot and eek eek.
Today I bought a new shower chair, one that has two of it's legs that are on the outside of the tub and two that are inside of the tub. We have an existing chair but it's just a chair that is inside and sitting down with legs on the outside of the tub ledge will be dangerous post op. I managed (with a lot of help) after my scopes, but being super careful to not fall is essential after a PAO. I ain't risking nothing. I also got two grab bars to put up in our bathroom as well. The shower is a dangerous place to begin with and I am terrified of falling after my PAO. I think the above will be worthwhile investments since I will most likely end up needing more than just this one PAO (fingers crossed the right settles a bit after I get the left all fixed up).
I'll put up pics of the shower chair and railings once they are made/installed.
I received a lovely pre-operative package in the mail this past week. Only 4+ months early, but hey, I couldn't be left alone to forget that I'll be having major surgery in just shy of four months. No! They need to remind me. Ah well. I've got pre-op appointment two weeks prior and then my post-op appointment two weeks after. I am glad it is organized. The entirety of the package was not extremely helpful as I know the drill before surgery.
I will not be getting the GameReady or the CPM this time around. The package says that my recovery will not be hindered and good golly the rental is expensive and inconvenient since I live in another country. So, I will be forgoing these DME and I hope that I do not regret it.
As far as how I am feeling, it is the same old same old for the left hip. The right one is acting up lately, about as much as the left. This is so uncool since I was hoping to not need more surgery on this right side of mine. Maybe once I get the pressure off of it by getting the left hip fixed? It could be a possibility, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my surgeon will want to PAO the right side as well.
I also had the lovely experience of weighing myself for the first time in months and months today. That also is uncool. I have gained 9 pounds since May! I attribute this to lack of activity outside of work and my eating habits not changing. I literally lie around with ice packs after coming home from the hospital/clinic for the day and don't move all weekend off the couch in hopes of regaining some energy and rest for the hips so I can tackle the week. This leaves me munching lots and not burning many calories. I am starting Myfitnesspal with a friend and we are going to try to get some weight off. I do it in hopes of relieving a wee bit of stress of the hips before surgery. My goal: lose one pound a week. It says that I need to eat 1400 calories a day. I am unsure if this is accurate, but it seems like very little calories to me. And BOY do I love to eat! This will be a challenge but maybe I will feel better about how I feel and maybe a little less hip pain? Every pound off will help reduce some stress off the joints. Since I have never been this fluffy and my pain is at its worst, I think it's time to put my big girl pants on and eat clean and lose some weight. Goal: 12 pounds.
So nothing tremendously exciting has been happening on the hip front lately. I have had a fairly decent previous three weeks of relatively tolerable pain levels. Which is extremely welcomed. In fact, any reduction in pain is extremely welcomed! The weekend has been tougher with increasing nerve pain (LFCN has decided to freak out bilaterally these past few days), but I am managing the best I can. I was able to rest a lot today--essentially I laid on the couch like a sloth for the entire afternoon and evening and I loved every second of it!
I only have 130 days left of school and the same number of days until I am able to get my next surgery. I really have absolutely no idea how I am managing to get through with school feeling the way I do. But then when I think about it, I know, it's only through the strength that God gives me to get up out of bed every morning, get dressed, and go to the hospital/clinic and learn as much as I can by working with attendings, residents, nurses, technicians, and patients. I want more than anything to become the best physician I can possible become and throwing myself into my school is how I am going to do this. I will most certainly not allow my hips to stop me from continuing through medical school. No way. No how. I AM finishing this last stretch and will do it regardless of how much I hurt. I have become extremely good at suppressing my pain and feelings. It is natural for one with constant pain to become depressed, down, and sad. And I do experience all of these from time to time. And despite my constant tiredness, I feel like I am handling this pretty darn good. The Lord is testing me to see how strong I can be, and man, I never thought that doing medical school in this shape would have been possible. If you had told me during my undergrad that I would have to do medical school and have six hip surgeries during this time, and do the entirety of my clinical rotations having constant pain, I would have laughed at you thinking that it would not be possible. But it IS possible.
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
So alas, I press on through school and life with so many different things for which to be thankful. I could ramble on and on about how this and that hurts and how much things suck. And yes, things suck sometimes, not gonna lie. But I have to try and look at the bright side of things too: I am finishing up my school for something that I have always dreamed of doing, I am getting many interviews for my upcoming residency next year, I have found an amazing field of medicine in which I will be very happy practicing the rest of my professional life, I have an amazing family, and amazing friends (especially those certain hip gals who have texted me thousands of times....I'll forever cherish the shared experiences and conversations we have and will have in the future), and I have God who helps me through absolutely everything!!!
The date I get my left Periacetabular Osteotomy with first look arthroscopy.
Lets hope the hip is in good enough condition to have the PAO, if in surgery he feels it will not be good enough for the reconstruction, he'll close up and I'll see his colleague for a replacement a couple of weeks later.
I believe I have herniated fat and or muscle through some fascia. Last weekend I woke up on Sunday with a small, well defined lump on the lateral aspect of my hip. I thought WOW it sure is swollen but didn't think much of it. I iced more and thought it would resolve. It remained stable until Thursday when I got home from the hospital it was huge.
It is soft, well defined, and slightly tender. I asked my residents if herniation was a possibility and it most certainly is a very likely possibility. They told me to call my surgeon to notify him. I think that I should let him know, but really, what is he going to do for me now? He'll look at it and say, yes, you've herniated, maybe we will fix it during the surgery next year, collect his money, and move on his merry way. And I'll end up with $25 co-pay and not any more information than I have now. So, I didn't call. But I will be in contact with him if it changes in any way. I would imagine strangulation of the tissue is a concern, so if it gets red, hot, bigger, I'll ABSOLUTELY call and get it taken care of ASAP. Why must this dang hip remain so interesting? I'm over it.
I was going to put up a picture of the lump, but I'll spare any posting of my butt online....it would be traumatizing for all involved.
159 days until school ends (and hopefully surgery day....will schedule it later on this month early next month).
Ha! I started a new rotation today. This new rotation is a great program to which I plan to apply for residency. It was a good day, although hard to tell my first day how great of a program it is. Stupid thing though, to leave the hospital I have to walk through the Children's Surgical Center. I felt sick by the time I got to my car at the end of the day because in less than six months, I will be at this surgical center getting my hip fixed. It's just weird to see the place where such a life changing surgery will take place.
Me being on vacation is glorious rest for my hips. Seriously. MUCH needed. Although the drive home killed my back. I realize that most of the pain is muscular, but this is unnecessary pain. I had to use a portable heating package thing all day. I literally feel like everything hurts, even with my time off. I can't imagine how crabby I'd be if I was doing rotations now.
Plus, I had decided that I needed to start strengthening core and upper body because I have to be able to hold myself up on crutches in six months and I'm so weak in the arms that it could cause problems (since I am prone to dislocations in the shoulders, clavicles, wrists). I can't see how I could do 8 or so weeks on crutches without making my upper body miserable in my current state of strength. Yesterday I tried with VERY light weights upper body exercises. I will stress that I was taking it VERY easy. Nonetheless, my shoulder hurt immediately after I finished, as did my darn hip. So I haven't done anything and need to let things heal up. I may email my previous PT to have him send me some upper body isometrics/stretching/etc. I need to build up strength without hurting myself.
I also gathered up enough courage to call the surgeon's office to have a chat with his nurse about my medications. I literally ration out my tramadol so I don't have to call back to have refills (they seemed very leery about giving me meds previously). Now though, I can call once a month, leave a message, and she will call in tramadol and voltaren no questions asked until I can get surgery. I should have asked about scheduling, but totally forgot because I was so elated about getting the medications so easily. I will surely ask about scheduling next time I call...in one month.
In exactly six months I will hopefully have had my PAO. Yay and eek.
I could have told you that my hips would suck prior to me driving home, but THEY HURT. I suppose 12 hours and 1,176 km later, this is what I should expect. But, it had to be done, I had to get home. I managed to stop twice for pee/gas/food breaks. I hobbled out of the car each time. It was prolly a sight to behold. But, I just sucked it up and drove on through. Frankly, I'm not sure how I did it, but I did and I got to sleep in my own bed last night which was glorious!
I have a week long vacation this week. Which will be full of residency applications, sleeping, resting, etc. I have to return an outdated library book from my base hospital (which I didn't even realize I had until they emailed me a rather nasty email!). I also have to do some paper work, organize some school papers, call the doctor, and I want to stain an old coffee table we have (I painted it bright blue to move away for med school and essentially ruined it and I want to make it look lovely again).
I have a lot planned and hope these hippies settle down cuz I hate feelin' like this. I mean, really!!?? It is just a bit of instability. My angles aren't even really severe and I'm hobbling around all day hurting. It doesn't make sense how much it can hurt. I realize that chronic pain becomes centrally sensitized, but dang! I need better meds or reduce my activity (the former may be easier than the latter since I can't really tone down the school stuff).
~186 days until I get fixed. woot woot. (which is also the same number of days left in school).
Despite the fact that I have been extremely busy for the last few months, this weekend has been quite the opposite. I have laid around and rested for the majority (meaning 95%) of my entire weekend. I know that this is kind of lame being that this is my last week here on my rotation down south but I had no choice. Yesterday I spent the entire day on my bed reading, emailing, and wasting my life away on Facebook and other modes of social media. It was entirely welcomed! I wish I could have done more, but I enjoyed the resting and relaxation that comes along with pouring rain all day and bum hips.
Today, even though the rain continued, I managed to get my butt up and go out. I went to an art festival downtown. It was really neat. Lots of fancy, handmade jewelry, and crafts. I wish I could have afforded to buy a pair of earrings. But, when one is a student, needs and wants are heavily weighed. It rained the entire time we were there but I did manage to get a good picture from the park of the downtown area:
We also walked around the perimeter. It was so nice to get outside and get some fresh, albeit damp, air. It is difficult for me to get around and walk for any significant period of time. So we do random stops on wet park benches sitting just long enough to get my butt soaking wet. It was real sexy! As we walked around the park looking at the various tents of crafty things, I noticed several drinking fountains of peculiar shape. They were all over the place. No disrespect, but who would think that this water fountain is okay to put all around public parks?! This is not okay. Like, really?! What were they thinking when they approved this design?
After hobbling around the park for an hour and a half, eating some amazing Italian ice (raspberry-lemonade flavour), we came home and I made some amazing tortellini. I had purchased this from the international market in town and was excited to make these spinach flavoured delights for supper. Fix it up with a fresh salad and I was good to go! I am thoroughly enjoying my time here cooking with all these different foods available. When I go home we tend to eat the same things as always, not very adventurous. But when I get to get out on my own, I love trying new things and cooking up a storm. Yum!
So, I finish up my relatively relaxing weekend and psych myself up for yet another week on rotations. This is my last week until I get a week vacation. A week vacation that is SO NEEDED!!!!!!! Oh gall. So excited. I just have to get through this week!
first clue was when my hip started hurting when going over bumps in the car
Maxing out the daily recommended Tylenol dose every day (plus needing other meds)
Waking up every time I roll over in bed (assuming subluxing the dang hip)
Ice becoming my best friend (don't forget the constantly on heating pad for the back)
Choosing to wear slip on shoes as much as possible because I can barely tie up laces
Developing amazing, yet awkward ways of shaving my legs (it can be done in the shower without having to flex hip near 90 degrees!)
Having to decline social outings because I have just worked all day and need to lie down
Hating the damp and rainy weather....yes I am an amazing weatherwoman these days
Having a countdown on my phone that keeps track of my anticipated surgery date (I am actually looking forward to getting fixed)
Other hip starting to hurt because that is the only leg I really stand on these days
Hurting before I even get out of bed in the morning (which is highly depressing)
Although depressing, this is certainly personally justifying that I in fact do require more surgery. It's so tough to keep pretending that things are fine, having previous surgeons tell me things are fine, when they are actually not fine. I am not very vocal about my hip problem socially with my friends and at school. It's almost embarrassing to say that I need even more surgery and that all of the previous surgeries were essentially a waste as they did not fix the underlying structural abnormality. I am, myself, disgusted that it has come to this point. I had put my life on hold a year ago to have two more scopes (one on each side) and now I am no better off....in fact, my left is even worse!
I have been thinking, as of late, that I should notify my previous surgeon's staff of the final outcome of my hip. He had performed three surgeries on me last year and the surgeon has no idea how I am doing. I would have kept in touch with them and "complained" to them regarding my inability to return to normal activity, but they were very insistent that I need a break from medications and was outright told not to call back for several months. I feel like if this isn't the biggest hint to not call back ever, I'm not sure what is! I wish there was a good way to go about notifying the staff of my situation. I may construct an email and send it off to them when I get closer to my PAO in the new year. I do seriously believe that they should know what is going on and how their work helped (or did not help). This is one of the ways surgeons can become better surgeons. Perhaps if I notify them, they will look more thoroughly at dysplastic hips and have a lower threshold for referring out to a surgeon who does PAOs. Despite the fact that the surgeon I previously saw was the hip scope guru, I think he is too scope happy....and add this with a bit of over-confidence in his abilities to fix pathology with hips, spells out a recipe for over-scoping and under-PAO/FO/SDD-ing. Having said this, with proper patient selection, the hip scope can be very successful and help a lot of people with hip pain.
That's my two cents from a rambling-annoyed-and-hurting-gal-trying-to-survive-through-med-school-with-bum-hips point of view.
Yesterday was very eye-opening for me and where I stand with this hip deal. I know that I hurt and have difficulty doing rotations, but it didn't strike me that I can barely be on my feet for any significant period of time without being in significant pain. I realize that pain is all relative, and that by this point, I undoubtedly have some sort of central sensitization and feel more pain, but this does not excuse the reality: I can barely do anything extra beyond my necessary activities.
Albeit, I did see some amazing wildlife at the aquarium!! It was a blast! Just very very very hard for me to walk around. I suppose this is a very important lesson to learn because I do not want to do more damage. But I also need to live my life. I only have one! Sitting around and icing every moment not on wards is not exactly the most healthy way to live.
On another note, I really feel like I am scared to take my tramadol because I am afraid I will run out. I am only given 40 pills with no refills. This is not a very strong medication and there is no way that I should be scared to take meds to make it through the day. I only feel this way because the nurse with whom I speak to on the phone isn't very receptive to my asking for refills. In general, she isn't very receptive during any of our phone conversations. I realize that my surgeon is a surgeon first and deals with operations and post-op care, so I can't blame him to not want to deal with pre-op people like myself. But, it was his idea to call in as much tramadol as I needed, not mine. Which makes me wonder if I should get myself a new PCP who will be willing to prescribe more than simply Aleve (which is what my current PCP believes will help me get through my days). I should be able to have medications to help me get through my days and be able to take my tramadol every evening and not be worrying if I am going to run out. Why suffer when there are medications out there to help? I am not asking for narcotics (although the odd one at night would really help), I just need somebody willing to refills scripts. The surgeon himself keeps saying he is willing to do so, but the nurse is the one who does the actual calling in, and she is a bit persnickety. Ah well. I suppose a phone call when I am on vacation will clarify the confusion.
I may sound like a freak, but if all goes according to plan, I will be able to get my surgery done in 208 days. That's not too too far way when you put it into days like that. I can survive 208 more days of this, right?
My hip slips out of the socket every so often. Rolling over in bed, standing or twisting the wrong way and BAM! Sharp pain that makes me gasp for breath. The other side does not hurt very much. It does on occasion but not nearly like the left hip. It does slip outwards but it goes right back in and then doesn't cause me any further grief. I hope to avoid any type of surgery on that side for many many years, but will see how things shape up after I get the left hip all sorted out.
I was looking at an article of the PAO surgery and had to stop reading because it was making me worked up. The article included some pictures. Talk about graphic! It amazes me that people can break peoples pelvises and other bones for a living. This type of work is definitely not for me on so many levels. But I am extremely thankful that there are special people out there that can do it....this gives me a chance at getting my life back!
As far as pain management goes, now I am taking Tylenol--3000mg total in a day, and Voltaren 75mg daily, and then in the evenings taking Tramadol when I need it and a muscle relaxant at night to help me sleep. This regimen is ok, but does not really cut it for when I am on my feet all day. Ideally I'd be taking the Tramadol during the day, but I can't chance it being that my mind has to be sharp all day. Maybe after my important rotations are up in September I can fiddle around with meds during the day...until then, I'm sucking it up. I didn't ever think that I could have such a sore hip and keep on going on with life. I mean, I have hurt for many years but this is, by far, the most daily pain I've been in since this whole ordeal started. I never have good days, I just have bad and worse ones. I'm not even 30 years old and am popping pills within 5 minutes of waking up and throughout the day just to get through the day on my feet.
And, to add on to the issues, I have seriously hurt my shoulder. About a month ago I dislocated my shoulder putting on my purse and something inside REALLY hurt. I knew I had hurt it. I took it really easy and it eventually started to feel better after 2 weeks. So as soon as I started using it again the pain has come back. The pain is definitely coming from within the joint. I am icing and putting Voltaren gel on it as well. So back to taking it easy on this shoulder. Gotta love being a bendy person. UGH.
Oh it takes days like today to wish wish wish that I was screwed screwed screwed. I wish I had surgery scheduled for Monday! Living like this sometimes seems like a nightmare that doesn't end. Every day I wake up and hope that the darn hip stays relatively quiet and reasonable pain levels. Today was not a good day. I did, stupidly, help out in the garden. Although I had a chair to sit in, I still managed to stand way too much (which isn't very much longer than two minutes at a time), and paid for it the rest of the day. This is a humongous sign that I am going to be doing the right thing by committing to more surgery. This is no way to live whilst being younger than 30.
I attempted to schedule my surgery this past week, but their books don't go out far enough. When I called she took my information down and asked if September 13th looked good for me since that was the next available surgery slot. I kinda laughed because I wish I could get fixed then, but I have to wait to finish school which puts me February 28th if I save up all of my vacation. So I have to call back mid-October/November to schedule out in February. I get to choose either a Tuesday or a Friday for surgery day. I will choose a Friday so that two of the days in the hospital both my parents will be able to be there without having to take vacation.
It will be posts like this that I will have to re-read before my surgery to remind myself why I am in fact voluntarily signing up for such a large procedure. It takes repeated days like today to convince anybody that surgery is necessary. Although I am scared to death when I think of the thought of somebody doing a periacetabular osteotomy on my pelvis, I do think that it will be worth having a stable hip. What makes this all worth it is the chance of having reduced pain and getting my life back. That is what I truly hope and pray for each and every day. Even though I will have to work very hard to get through these next six months and then even harder during a notoriously tough recovery, I look forward to the challenge as it provides a chance for me to return to a normal young adult doing normal things. I'll be able to go out with friends after work! I'll be able to do things on the weekend! I'll be able to go out dancing! I'll be able to shop in a mall! This actually makes me excited. After more than 7 years of hip crap, this could in fact be the key to successfully functioning hips.
The PAO. Those letters sound terrifying. Really. Who wants their pelvis broken, twisted, then screwed back together. Nobody in their right mind. So, perhaps I am crazy, but I am going to call the surgeon's office this week and schedule a left PAO. Ugh, I can't believe that I just typed that.
So here are the plans: suck up the next 6-7 months doing medical school rotations and then take all of my vacation at one time (giving me 7 weeks off). So at 8 weeks post op, I will return back for one month of rotations (likely radiology/pathology...something that is not very intense), and then I'll have a month off after this rotation before I start residency. It ends up that I will be 15ish weeks when I start up my new job (wherever that may be). It sounds reasonable to me!
In the mean time I have a lot of 'hanging in there' to do! It's a daily struggle as I can't stand for more than 2 minutes without needing to sit down. I'm taking Tramadol almost daily. I am not sleeping well anymore. I suppose this all comes with the territory of having dysplasia, but doesn't mean I have to like it. So, that's the scoop.
Now I have several months to mentally prepare myself for this surgery. And I'm gonna kick the PAO in the butt! The left hip better watch out, cuz he won't know what hit him!
I can't believe I am even flippin' considering this as an option. Really? I mean having somebody breaking my pelvis in three places so as to give me a hip joint...sounds just...barbaric!!
According to my MRA results, the cartilage looks surprisingly good...great rather. Like what the heck?! I'd rather not have a decision. But now that I have a decision. Do I want to look like this:
Or do I want to look like this:
I do not know at the moment. I have started to get my crap together to send to a world re-known hip surgeon who does the PAO. And if he agrees with my current surgeon, I am afraid I will have to submit and have it done. Although I would MUCH rather get a replacement for current pain levels, but is this the best thing to do in the future? I need to be able to walk when I'm 70! But I also need to function now. There are no guarantees that the PAO would work either. I am so incredibly confused. I wish I had seen a PAO surgeon a LOOOOONG time ago!
The only thing I know now is that I want my life back.
On May 31st I had my fourth arthrogram and my eighth MRI test. And let me tell you, this was one of the least pleasant experiences I have had (as far as arthrograms go). I was nervous about this test for a week prior and the day of was no different. I had to work in the morning so I was at my hospital prior to having to drive across town to another hospital. Morning rounds were fairly uneventful (although we had a couple of very interesting yet puzzling cases on our list). We had noon lecture where I couldn't gag any food down my throat because I was so nervous. The residents let me go after lecture and I headed off to the hospital in which I was to have my test. I had to arrive 30 minutes early to fill out paper work, get changed, and then sat around for only 10 minutes or so. Then the real fun started.
After I climbed onto the fluoroscopy table, I found that the PA was the one doing my injection. I thought it was odd that a PA would do it, but whatevs, it shouldn't be terribly difficult. I couldn't have been more wrong. After explaining what she was going to do, she started up the injection very nonchalantly. Then she started wiggling the needle and making weird faces at the monitor. I was like, umm, this can't be good. She moved the needle around more and more and, after 15-20 minutes of trying, the radiologist had to come in and he had to put sterile gloves on and try. He tried for 30 more minutes to get the needle past my hip capsule into the joint space. He kept saying that it didn't feel right as he was jabbing me, poking me, repoking me, and grinding against bone (which is a horrendous noise). He explained that my hip capsule is so thick that they couldn't tell if they had any space at all in which to inject the gadolinium. To make matters even more complicated, my entire hip is scarred down so none of the muscles felt normal as the needle was passed through. He did finally end up getting a good blush in the joint and then sent me on my merry way to MRI.
In between the MRI I had to walk around to get the joint well lubricated with the gadolinium. It seems that this wouldn't be such a problem because I was all numbed up, until you think about having extra fluid in an unstable hip. I could barely walk since my hip felt like it was going to fly out the front of my body (no joke, horrible feeling). After my limping around for several minutes I was called back to the MRI.
In the MRI, I was happy to be vertical for a bit. I got all strapped in with the intensifier around my left hip, they put on my favourite country music on the head phones, and the banging began. It wasn't terrible, but very long. It was most uncomfortable for my back since I've been having a flare up of the back pain lately. When all the banging stopped, they pulled me out and told me that they were going to MRI my knee. I was totally caught off guard, but apparently my surgeon is doing a study on knee anatomy and people with hip dysplasia. So, back into the machine for a couple more rounds of banging. By this time my ankles were sore from being taped together all afternoon and my back was pounding. Luckily my hip was well lidocained up and wasn't too painful.
I managed to get a CD of my imaging but it is a shame I don't know how to read it. I got home and iced up real well and had pizza for supper. Which was absolutely amazing since I hadn't eaten anything all day. After supper came the pain. I took a tramadol thinking it would curb the pain a bit. Boy was I wrong. I felt like I was post op, pain extremely bad and radiating all the way down my knee and anterior leg. It made me cry and had to simply go to bed. I figured I would be sore given they shoved a needle in and around my hip for 50 minutes, but whoa! Dude, UNCOOL.
Saturday was a bit better than Friday evening, but I was still having a very difficult time walking. I hurt when I put weight on my leg and if I move too quickly it catches me and makes me do that grunting sound and takes my breath away. I'll tell you, it is extremely sexy when trying to walk when you have to stop and grunt. I can't stand up straight because my hip still feels like it is going to fly out the front of my leg. It is still a very odd sensation. Frankly, I am super unimpressed with this entire experience. I have had arthrograms before and they were 90% easier than this. It is almost ridiculous how sore I am, I still couldn't get comfortable this evening on the couch with a Tramadol on board. I am seriously hoping tomorrow is better because, like, whoa, I can't do this much more without stronger pain meds.
I will be getting a phone call from my new surgeon when he reviews the study. I was supposed to call the office and leave him a message after my studies were done, but since it took 2.5 hours total, the office was closed for the weekend. I called the answering service but my only option was to have them call the ortho doc on call to see what he could do. And I know what it is like to be on call and I wouldn't want to have to deal with a patient who just wanted an MRI result. So I'll call Monday and see if I can leave a message and the surgeon should call my cell to tell me what he finds and what he thinks our next step should be for this hip. Although I am very certain I want a hip replacement, having this study will give us a better idea of what we are up against and how long I can possibly put surgery off. I reeeeeeeally hope I can get a THR in March-ish if I can save up all of my vacation time. Fingers crossed! I will def post again when I hear back about what the heck is really going on inside my hip.
Fortunately or unfortunately, whichever way you want to see it, this left hip will most likely end up to be ceramic or metal within the next year (hopefully March-ish) but we will see how things shake down.
I had my appointment with a new orthopaedic surgeon this past week and after examining me, watching me walk, listening to my history and pain levels the surgeon said that when he sees patients present as I do, that they have always ended up with a THR. The radiographs have slight joint space narrowing (not significant, nor has it changed since December), so he has ordered an MRI/arthrogram to determine the extent of cartilage damage and to see how long I can delay having to have it done. We may do an exam under anesthesia as well, if the cartilage looks good, just to ensure that it isn't the muscles that are causing my issues (I am guarding so much due to pain that the full ROM cannot be tested in the office).
My only other option would be a periacetabular osteotomy as I lack any form of anterior hip socket (meaning very severe anterior congenital hip dysplasia). But my cartilage would have to be good enough for that, and even then it doesn't guarantee a success. My right side is just as dysplastic as the left, so that hip won't last me either (although it is less symptomatic than my left and I am not sorting out this hip until the left is organized). After much discussion, we were both disappointed that the dysplasia was not identified as a problem with any of my previous surgeons, as I could have avoided several unnecessary scopes, had a PAO, and possibly avoided or delayed a THR.
I feel almost relieved, because I have made up my mind and will be perusing a THR at the end of medical school. I have done my fair share of hip preservation and I can't go through such a large surgery like a PAO with even the slightest chance of failure (I already know I have grade II arthritis from previous operative reports). So, regardless of the MRI/arthrogram results, I will be doing the full replacement, but the results may dictate how long I can put this off. The surgeon feels that I need to consider taking time off from school, again, to have this fixed because I am, "...so young, not even thirty!" And, "...we are talking about your health here, and we can't mess around with this because you need to be able to live your life." Both of these statements are absolutely true, but there is no way that I can mentally or physically handle another surgery in the very near future (as the surgeon is eluding to wanting to do). I need some time to try to recover from my previous surgeries. I realize I am exhausted from the constant throbbing, but I just don't think that I can do another surgery for a couple more months. I feel that if I save up my vacation I can use it all at the end and finish school early and have the replacement on the left side.
I thought that he would be pushing for me to do a PAO or something, but he was adamant about the fact that a THR will most likely be my best bet. And even if the MRI/arthrogram comes back with small amounts of arthritis, he wouldn't blame me one bit for still going through with a THR. Enough is enough and I need my life back. Living like this is in no way, shape, or form tolerable or desired. Life is too short. I will be willing to curtail my activities in order to allow my replacement to last as long as possible. I haven't been able to do anything physical for the last 7 years, and to just get the chronic pain relief will be more than welcomed.
So this week is the week that I meet with a new surgeon to determine what my hip's problem is and hopefully to get some pain management solutions. I am excited, but even more nervous. I can't stop thinking about what he might say. What does the fresh set of eyes with no previous surgical experience inside my hips see? I am curious and scared. But I'll have to face the fact that something is not right with my hip. I particularly realized that something is wrong when I was driving to the hospital last week and every bump hurt my hip, THAT was a sign that I am doing the right thing by seeking out another opinion.
In light of my upcoming appointment I have been thinking of different questions I should ask at my appointment. If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me or comment!
Pain meds/NSAIDs for day?
Pain meds for night?
Do I need a pain management referral?
Go through my angles (CE, Sourcil, Alpha)
THR vs PAO vs SDD?
Arthrogram still needed if I am not going to do surgery in the near future?
Scar tissue issue? Could my bone structure be causing the recurrent scaring?
Will I be able to wait another year if I do need surgery?
Yes, this is where I am. I have to say that I am extremely thankful for having completed my surgery rotation, that was the least fun I've had in medical school to date (well, boards are right up there, but you get the idea). I am thankful that I am able to do my medical school, albeit, with physical difficulty, but I am still getting up every morning, driving to the hospital and do what I need done. Yes I hurt, but I can't let this stop me. I know it's not normal for somebody less than 30 years of age to be throbbing by noon time, or have hip pain while going over every bump while driving, but there are a lot of things for which I can be thankful.
I have 10 days before my appointment with a new surgeon. I am basically freaked out...maybe I'll ask for a Xanax the day before from the residents! (hehehe) --I won't actually do this! I feel like I'm stuck: darned if I do and darned if I don't. I realize my pain is abnormal, but if I do find out what is wrong, that may mean more surgery. Surgery that cannot fit into my life right now. I have hurt this badly in the past and I have tried to get it fixed, and look how wonderful that turned out for me. It makes me very weary about seeing yet another surgeon. Every single doctor I have seen for my hips ends up saying that they can't help me. What makes this one any different? I shouldn't be so skeptical, but I can't help it. With so many failures over the last 7 years, how can I trust that things are going to get better? I have to, or else I will end up going crazy...it's just amazingly difficult.
So next Thursday I will have my appointment with a local surgeon. I am basically going there for some direction, for some pain relief. I have ended up with no doctor willing to write me a single script for pain or inflammation. This is my main reason (in addition to the fact that I'd like to know what is going on with my hip and to get a fresh set of eyes on my case). In any event, I'm nervous.
I am officially half way through my general surgery rotation, and, as previously mentioned, it is a huge struggle. The pain is most distracting. I stand there wishing I could just sit down. I really do think that something is wrong. I have been very patient and hoping for some healing and relief with time, but this does not seem to be working. When I hurt 24/7 and need heating pad and muscle relaxants to sleep really makes me wonder what's up. Is the dysplasia the culprit? Narrowed joint space? Would I need more surgery? PAO? THR? What medications should I take? I have so many questions and no answers.
For obvious reasons, I have made an appointment with a local orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip scopes, open hip surgeries, PAOs for some direction and help to figure out what I can do to help me get through life right now. It is inappropriate to live in so much pain and simply be trying to struggle through life without any plan. I need a plan of action to help reduce my pain levels so that I am less miserable. I really believe that a fresh set of eyes on my case will help determine what the next step should be. I am no looking for surgery at the moment, although realize it may be a possibility in the future. I am just looking for an understanding of what could be wrong with my hip at this point in time.
I am currently 10 months post op and have been very patient to see results from the surgery. Given that I have had four previous hip scopes on this hip, I was told that I should see results from 6-12 months. I will give it longer than 12 months before I do anything drastic, but I need something to help me currently. NSAIDs and ice is just no cutting it currently. So, May 16th is the day I meet with another surgeon to discuss what's up and what we can do to make me less miserable.
I have started another rotations at school and have survived a week of pure torture. This surgery rotation is the worst possible rotation of which I could think. Not only is is mentally challenging (which I don't really mind at all, I thoroughly enjoy thinking and learning), but physically, I am struggling to say the least. I have been doing 12-14 hour days on my feet. Something that is next to impossible with a sore left hip and a sprained right knee. But I don't have a choice and must keep up. Yesterday was particularly difficult as the case in which I was scrubbed, turned into a five hour surgery. Imagine trying to stand for five hours when it normally hurts to stand for 5 minutes. Needless to say, it was difficult and I really don't know how I did it. I am paying for it now, but this was absolutely expected. I have no idea how I am going to be able to do three more weeks of this intense work schedule. It is very tough for me. I know that this type of work is difficult for everybody, but coming off of so many surgeries and still struggling makes it particularly hard to handle the physical demands of my rotation. Please pray that I get through these next few weeks--I seriously need some divine intervention.
It would be unfair to try to give an update on the status of the hips as everything just darn hurts. I really, really hurt and am struggling and don't want this post to turn into a poor-me discussion. Thus, I won't elaborate. Suffice it to say--I need some prayers for strength and perseverance. Thanks!
I am trying to remain positive and am currently taking one day at a time. This is easier at some times than others. If I am honest, I am extremely happy that I have my right side pain free. It is a dream and I am extremely thankful for the relief. This has provided me with one side on which to stand for the majority of my day on my feet. I try to sit when I can, but this is nearly impossible on the rotation that I am currently completing. I try to count my blessings, I really do, but sometimes it is very difficult especially when one hip has constant pain and reduced ROM. It seems that pain and hips decide on what I can and cannot do; which is annoying. Having said this, I realize that there are many other people who have it a lot worse and I am not as bad as I was before (at least now that I have one decent hip). God gave me so many blessings in my life and I need to be thankful and acknowledge them more often...especially here on my blog where I tend to vent my frustrations and fears.
I have learned many things throughout my hip journey. I have met amazing people and realized who will support me and encourage me through thick and thin. I am blessed. Also because of my hips, I have chosen a completely different field of medicine than what I had originally planned before all the surgeries last year. I think that because of my hips, I will be better in my field and be a better physician. I understand the chronicity of pain and the social, mental, emotional, and physical tolls it takes on an individual. Pain is so multifaceted that it is hard to empathize with patients dealing with chronic pain if you haven't experienced it. I am thankful for the guidance the Lord has given me on choosing my career and will definitely do the best with what I have been given. Bum hip and all!
Yeah, I've calmed down some since writing my last post. I truly believe that I need to get my act together and become more positive. Everybody keeps telling me how positive I am during the last phase of my life, though deep down (and apparently on my blog) I am a Debbie Downer. I need to get my act together and become more positive and focus on the great things in life. I am truly blessed in life. I have my health (except for my orthopaedic issues), I have an amazing family, I am doing what I want in life and will have an amazing career of my dreams when I am done with school. These are things that I must be thankful for and not forget that I have them. It is too easy to focus on the chronic pain, the things I can't do, the things decisions I have to make all because of my hips. They truly do impact life and make me who I am, but they should not take over and make me miserable. Although I have to acknowledge that I have this pain and may have to do something about it in the future, I have to realize I have an amazing support system. All family and virtual friends have been amazing through this journey. I will most certainly keep the friendships I have made through this journey for the rest of my life. I am blessed (even blessed with bad hips!).
I am contemplating going to see a pain management doctor or a sports medicine doctor who may be able to prescribe me some medications that would help me get through my day. I would be grateful for a way to get through my day (or the majority of it) without hurting. I am usually throbbing my noon whilst on Voltaren. We will see what I decide. I am doing a physiatry rotation beginning next week and may ask the doctor for a recommendation for a doctor that may be able to help me.
Yes, I've essentially been dumped by my surgeon and his team. Unfortunately, despite having continued pain, I was told today that they would only give me 30 more pills of Voltaren and then would have to go on a "drug holiday" Yes, you read it correctly, a freaking "drug holiday" from anti-inflammatories despite being completely asymptomatic and taking a PPI. I fail to understand the logic as they are currently the only doctors I see in the US! My current family doctor is here at home refuses to prescribe me any medications for my hip as he is "not managing it." My hip surgeon's team keeps telling me to "hang in there and things will get better" while I am barely managing through the day on my anti-inflammatory, and now they want me to wean off and not take anything despite me continuing to hurt. I'm confused. It isn't like I am asking for a narcotic of any sort.
So, I am left in limbo, with a family doctor who won't prescribe me anything for my hip and a hip surgeon (PA actually) who won't give me any more medications. I'm peeved to say the least. I suppose I need to find a family doctor or a sports med doctor or a pain management doctor who would be willing to work with me to get me the correct medications to help me get through medical school on my feet with a hip that is less than ideal.
I still can't believe the fact that I am back on rotations and being on my feet. Nobody at the place even cares that I have been off...they are all too busy and we all have way to much to do to. I realize that nobody really cares, but me having to sit when I can and hanging on the countertops really does stink. In all honesty it is horrendous on my hip that I had done in June. I am throbbing by noon. I hate to complain, but wow oh wow, returning back to life as a medical student isn't all laughs and giggles. I had anticipated this would be difficult, but did not expect it to be so painful.
The pain actually has me slightly worried. I am currently on Diclofenac (Voltaren) and it works alright but, as mentioned, can't make it past noon. And evenings really hurt. Like almost-need-a-pain-med hurt. A friend gave me some of their left over Vicodin (shhh) so I take a half a pill sometimes. I wonder how much pain would be normal at this point? I was told that I should see improvements within the next 3 months. I have a LOT of healing to do to be considered a successful surgery. Dare I even consider another surgery? It makes me nauseous thinking of the possibilities.
On the other hand, my psoas has started firing more easily and getting in and out of the car and I can almost get my socks on normally. Not quite, but alllllmost there! And my bursitis is settling down. So those small improvements have to be focused on and celebrated.
Well, not a full week...rather four days and now I get four days off. It was a gift from God having my doctor have his kids off from school for Friday and Monday! Because of this I got a very long weekend and my body was extremely thankful for this. I can survived to about noon and then the throbbing starts. My right side is holding up amazingly well, no joint pain at all, yes some swelling on the lateral hip, but nothing that a little ice-pack can't help. My left side is another story. It hurts. A lot. I think I've established my concern with my left hip, and now I don't know what to think.
I received my operative reports this past week and it states that I have left hip dysplasia with a 'very shallow anterior wall'. Forgive me if I am over-reacting, but the fact that my MRI notes say my CE angle is 20, 21, or 24 degrees (depending on positioning) and I still hurt does plant a small seed of concern about this 'borderline' dysplasia in the back of my mind. I will give it 12 months before I start to get really concerned, but the facts line up to cause concern.
I feel like this hip journey goes on and on and on and on. I'm totally over it. I'm back at school and don't feel like my body likes it very much. In fact, I am pretty sure it (being mostly my left hip) detests me being back on my feet. I'm so frustrated I could scream. And I feel almost embarrassed to say how much I hurt. My family and friends just don't get it. How could they? I do hint to my mum that my hip still hurts, and I think she gets it, but nobody else knows nor cares. It's really weird to bring it up to anybody anymore. Frankly after six hip surgeries, how much more hips can people take. So, I make a conscious effort to not bring it up to friends and family. I'm over it and so is everybody else. Now my leftie needs to figure out that everybody is over him and it is now his turn to join Mrs. Rightie on the other side of hip pain.
Yup. I do. No question 'bout it. I hurt. Period. Boo. Hiss. Uncool. Bummer. Thumbs down. Sux. Yuck. Ick. Blah. Barf. Etc.
You know, when I made the decision...erm...correction, when my surgeon essentially forced me to stop medical school (which WAS the right decision)...I thought that when my 8 months off and my surgeries were done, that I would be hopping along ready to jump back into life again. Well...this isn't exactly how it has panned out. Don't get me wrong, I am better than I was when I stopped medical school, but I still darn tooting hurt. My right hip is amazing! I am in love with it. Seriously, it feels like an elbow: no pain, full ROM, no clicking, pure joy.
My left hip is still icky. After getting fed up these last couple of weeks I called the PA and asked what we should be doing differently. I got some Voltaren because, in his opinion, my hip flexor is ticked off and causing pain. The ROM reduction he described as the lactic acid build up thus reducing my flexion to decrease. We are working the posterior chain, more pool, and NSAIDs and seeing how it goes. Honestly, the Voltaren does help, but not for the full day. I am still aware of the pain in my hip 24/7, but the Voltaren takes off some of the edge of the throbbing.
Frankly, something I would rather not have to still be dealing with after being off so long. I realize I have had so many surgeries on this left side and still has room for improvement, but life is starting back up again and I still hurt. I can't believe that I am still throbbing all of the time. I also can't complain to my family anymore. They keep telling me that I need to build up my strength, do more work, be on my feet more, get better. I feel like they keep telling me this because I am going back to school that I should be better. I should stop thinking or worrying about my hips. At this point, I AM worried about how I will hold up on my feet all day. I NEED some normalcy in life again and returning back to rotations will help mentally, physically, we will just have to wait and see. It's just tough because everybody around me expects me to be better now. I am still dealing with a lot of pain and simply don't vocalize it anymore. Just because I start back to school doesn't mean I miraculously heal. *sigh*
PS: my next posting will be much more positive. I just needed to vent to my cyber-space....I'm actually not sure if very many people actually read the crap I put down.
I try, I really do, to be patient. The surgeon says I need time...so here's to time healing all wounds! I continue to plug through this hip journey. Regardless how I feel, I am trying to remain positive and have things to look forward to that are not, in any way, shape, or form, related to hips. Although I basically detail my hip journey on these posts, I really try not to let my hips dictate my every thought and activity. This is definitely easier said than done. I truly believe that keeping a level head and forcing myself to do things that are not related to my health is extremely important. I feel like it is so easy for a journey like this, chronic in nature, to become who we are, dictate everything we talk about and everything we think about. We are more than our hips. We are more than our pain. I'm not minimizing the fact that bad hips (or any other chronic illness or that matter) really does dictate how we live our lives, but keeping things in perspective and remember that I am not completely my hips; they are only a part of who I am is essential. I am a daughter, sister, friend, medical student. I have been surviving my chronic pain for six years now, and over this time I have been in contact with some amazing people. Having seen many perspectives on similar situations, it amazes me as to how people cope differently. I know that everybody has to do what works for themselves, it is just interesting to me how people respond to health challenges.
I am currently trying to put the pieces together to return to school. I am scheduled for rotations to start Feb. 18th and I am ecstatic about this. I still have two required rotations: Emergency Medicine and General Surgery in addition to two electives (of my choosing). Since I have to do General Surgery before I do Emergency Medicine and because I cannot just hop back into rotations in my current stage of healing, I have asked to begin with an office rotation (most likely Family Medicine). Although the details are still being worked out, I am pumped to start having a schedule and be moving forward with life. Deep down inside, I am scared to see how my body will hold up because my left hip still throbs the majority of the day (especially if I do any sort of physical activity--cleaning, swimming). God know what is in store for me and I completely trust what He is doing with my life. Even when I am scared and sore, He is there for comfort and courage. For that I am thankful.
Since I have been hurting more lately, I have been in contact with the head PT dude in Vail. We have been talking, on average, once a week. I am truly impressed because I feel that he truly cares about me feeling better. We are adjusting exercises according to pain levels. This and keeping in regular contact really help me feel like I am trying what I can to get this pain under control while gaining strength bilaterally. I have been instructed to reduce my Naprosyn to only 220mg BID. Ugh. But, I have began something that I had read on Facebook: Golden Milk created with turmeric paste. At first I was leary: turmeric paste, almond milk, sesame seed oil and honey. I could barely gag it down for the first few days. When I removed the honey and added a dash of cinnamon, it was muuuuuuch better. So I drink a cup of milk with a heaping teaspoon of the paste. It really isn't that bad and it is supposed to be anti-inflammatory in nature. I'm not sure how much different I feel while drinking this every day. But it is inexpensive and I am willing to try anything at this point in the game. While speaking of foods, I am trying to eat more healthy too. Not necessarily starving myself, but counting my calories so that I remain at my current weight. Having a visual representation of the foods I eat really is an eye opening thing. I must have been eating SO MUCH before I was recording my food/calories! I'm surprised I'm not 200 pounds.
I actually began this posting a couple of days ago, but never got around to finishing it and so it sat in my drafts for days. Anyway, the updating continues:
Jan. 5th marked my one year hipiversary for my first left hip surgery with Dr. P. I can't actually believe a year ago I was getting ready for my third hip scope and my first surgery with the 'king'. That surgery was problematic from the get-go. And I am glad that we have potentially fixed this hip. He had to do another surgery on it in June and I am still trying to get relief. I was told that it could take another six months before things settled down enough to see any appreciable improvements since I've had four surgeries on it. So, I await. I am not going to lie, I am much better than I was before my last surgery, just not pain-free. This, I think, will come with time.
I am having a difficult time remaining positive and hopeful. I know I have to trust what the doctor says, but I've had so much go wrong. And to make matters worse, I am starting the fight of a lifetime with my insurance company with respect to coverage. They are denying me coverage even though I checked with them before I signed up for the policy. My school is being amazing and advocating for me, but this is NOT what I want to do now.
On a happier note, I have a very dear friend coming to visit next week. It will be epic! I can't wait. That lifts my spirits and makes me happy. Plus I am beginning my preparations to return to school, which is also very exciting. Some sort of a normal life will be very good for my emotional health. It is just not normal to sit around in the house all day. Mind you, sipping on coffee and lounging around in the mornings isn't exactly hard to swallow. Albeit a very abnormal thing to do. So here's to a new year filled with less pain, less surgery, more happiness and health!!!
I am thoroughly happy to say that I have made it through 2012, and I am still in one piece! Woohoo. After three surgeries, having to stop school, and numerous physical and emotional struggles, I made it. 2012 has changed me as a person (I hope for the better) and I look forward to returning back to a normal life of productive and meaningful activities this year. In 6 weeks I will return to school. I am excited/nervous about this, but I do really need to return to a somewhat normal lifestyle because sitting around at home is not very healthy for anybody.
I haven't updated in a while, and it is simply because I have been too busy. I took my second board exam on Dec. 17th and then went out to Vail the next three days for a follow-up, then Christmas came, after that got some horrendous insurance news that could literally ruin my financial life (more about this plight later), and then New Years just crept up and went without any update.
On the hip front, things may be getting a bit better. Any progress is progress, right? My left hip still has pain and limited ROM (about 100 degrees of flexion) and a very weak psoas, and bursitis. While my right hip is almost pain free (just dealing with soft tissue swelling and a bit of a pinch with internal rotation). After an intra-articular and a bursa injection, Dr. P thinks that in 6 months or so I should have my hips all settled down and not need more hip surgery. The longevity of the hips cannot be determined as they really don't know, but at this point, I have no activity restrictions and I should heal up nicely. I really do hope he's right because I barely have any tangible results on my left side. It is exciting though.
It was very anticlimactic, I have worked so hard to be able to have these surgeries and make it happen, we have had so many struggles. During my appointment he had his mind up that I was all better even before he examined me. He wasn't even going to look or touch my left hip without me having to basically force him to. It was a weird appointment and a little disappointing. He's done three surgeries in 9 months on me and he kind of just waved me off. It just happened so quickly and that was it...over, done, never have to go back.
On the insurance front, I am terrified and scared. I really am frightened that having this last surgery may have ruined my financial future for years to come. I just got a letter from the insurance company stating that I am not eligible for my policy because I wasn't an 'active' student for the first 30 days of the policy. Ok, technically I wasn't actively participating in class, but I am enrolled and my school requires me to have health insurance with this particular carrier. And now the insurance company says I can't have insurance. This is very concerning as the bills for the last surgery are at $90K now and I apparently don't have insurance. This is NOT what I was told, I had called the insurance company and my school before purchasing the policy. In fact, I called my school and asked if I needed to return back to school for a month to qualify for insurance and they said that it would be silly that they would write letters and ensure that I get insurance. Well, apparently their initial letter did not suffice and I am facing having to self pay for my surgery. This option is horrifying as I simply cannot pay for bills of this magnitude. I would have to file bankruptcy before I could pay these bills. I have a sinking feeling all of the time and cannot stop thinking about the mess I have got myself into. I know I could have problems with insurance, but I would have never had major surgery if I thought that being on medical leave would null my ability to qualify for insurance. I was led to believe that this was not going to be any problem at all by my school. I really have a sense of impending doom. I am trying to keep calm, think straight, and not draw any conclusions until I speak with my school and appeal the initial decision of voiding my insurance all together.
If you've made it this far through the post, I beg you, please pray about my situation. Each and every prayer helps. I do believe in miracles, and I hope that I get one that will help me through this difficult time. Just when I got news that I am done with surgery, the fight continues in a different form. I do think it will work out, although it may be VERY difficult for me in the future, I have faith and that is what keeps me sane.