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Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Post For Newbies

I was reading cancer blogs recently as my friend has had a recurrence of her Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was interested to read about other's struggles with cancer, and realized that many of the blogs were very informative and gave advice rather than always wallowing in their despair of having to deal with cancer.  Now, I am not comparing hip dysplasia with cancer, but I thought that the idea of trying to give a bit more information versus simply keeping this blog self-centered and yes, sometimes a place to throw a pity party, would be a better way of approaching things.

So here this post goes: providing information for newbies to the hip dysplasia/FAI world.  I know if can be overwhelming.  I remember the first time finding out I had a labral tear:  I was sitting on my bed 7.5 years ago taking a study break when I decided that I would pop my CD of my images from the arthrogram/MRI and, after fiddling through stuff that I didn't understand, I found the written report.  My heart immediately starting pounding and I felt light headed:  anterolateral filling defect consistent with labral tear and associated CAM boney prominence.  Meaning labral tear and impingement.  I didn't tell a single soul and kept this information to myself until I went to the orthopaedic surgeon as I didn't want anybody to freak out, nor did I really know what I was reading.  In any event, my point of telling this story is that I would have loved to stumbled across a blog post from somebody who had been through a similar situation very early on in my hip journey, because maaaaybe some of the mistakes I have gone through could have been prevented.

  • Always get a second opinion.  I know this is hard with socialized healthcare, but seriously, wait to get re-referred to another surgeon because having two or three opinions is enough to make a sound decision.  I went ahead with surgery after one surgeon told me I needed a hip scope.  In hindsight, I should have waited the additional months to see yet another surgeon, because turns out my hip should have never been scoped in the first place.  In places like the US, second, third, and fourth opinions are easier to come by compared to that in Canada, UK, etc.  But still, pleeeeease, get a concurring opinion.  It will be worth it to ensure you get the proper diagnosis and proper treatment.
  • Don't let any physician tell you that your pain is in your head, or that you should be all healed by now so you won't need to come back.  I've had two separate doctors tell me this, and I know I'm not cray cray, my hip does in fact hurt me.  I ended up forcing the first doc to tell me this to please refer me to another doctor because this is obviously not working out and the second doctor I kinda dropped like a hot potato and never returned.  Case in point, don't let doctors tell you you are crazy and that you don't hurt.  You are a patient and know your own body the best.
  • Weigh risk vs. benefit..  If you are deciding whether or not to have surgery you must be willing to risk getting worse or staying the same in order to gain what function/ROM/pain you have lost.  I initially had my first two surgeries because I was having a hard time fully working out and participating in all my activities to my potential.  Well, 6 surgeries later, I can no longer stand well, nor can I work out at all.  Just seriously weigh the risk versus benefit.  And I'm not trying to scare you out of surgery, just make sure it's really the right thing to do.
  • Research. You need to be an informed patient.  Plain and simple.  You can't believe everything your surgeon tells you.  You need to be able to question his/her thought process to make the best decisions for you and your hips.
  • Make contacts with fellow hipsters. I could not have asked for a better cyber-support network of gals that totally get it.  There is always someone out there who has done what you are going through, pick their brain, ask questions, make friendships.  The contacts I have made through the Internet have formed into relationships that are closer than some of my physically present friends simply because they 'get it'.  Its a great bond and makes you feel less alone in trying times.
  • Listen to your body.  And don't let things get too bad before seeking an opinion.  I did this with my left hip and it has snowballed into a mess of sorts.  You should not hurt doing physical activity, sitting, standing, walking, jumping, etc.  Don't be afraid to go to the doc, maybe there is something out there to help! And this point can be related to recovery too:  don't overdo things when recovering (MUCH easier said than done).  Slow and steady wins this race!!
  • Find a place to vent.  I have three main outlets: my mum, my hip-friends, and my blog.  Each of these serves as an area in which I can freely discuss my feelings, fears, difficulties, and successes.  It's so important to not keep it all bottled up inside!
  • Do your exercises.  Keeping a strong core with strong glutes is important with hip pain.  I will admit was better at this in the past, being with school is so busy and all, but there is no excuse: some bridging and planking will do wonders for the body and hips.
  • Keep your weight in check.  This is MUCH MUCH easier said than done.  It's a vicious cycle for many people who can't fully exercise properly (as with those who have hip pain), but portion control is important: the kitchen is where the money is at for us hip folk!  I like Myfitnesspal to record my daily intake of food when I am feeling on the fluffier end.  I know that every pound of body weight = 3-9 pounds on a hip.  That's a frigging lot of weight on the hips.  It's hard.  I know.  And I'm not trying to offend anybody who is overweight, but simply making a point that it is something to think about.
Obviously I could continue to go on and on, but it wouldn't be helpful to read a novel in one posting.  Maybe I'll add to this list in a future post.  Until then, peace!!!!

54 days until surgery.

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