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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Patience, Patience

I try, I really do, to be patient.  The surgeon says I need 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.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy One Year---and still recovering

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!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

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.