Posted on: 28 Nov 2018

Good evening Buzzers 😊

Thought it was about time for a bit of a catch up - not terribly active but this blogging lark has to cover the inactive as well as the active. I left you last time just before the Snowdon Marathon with no date set for the hip op (that’s definitely not some obscure kind of Yorkshire music genre 😂😂). The Snowdon Marathon Weekend was absolutely superb, a huge and wonderful meeting of inspirational Buzzer friends. 

I couldn’t run of course, I was on crutches which was a complete pain. Huge thanks to Gaelle for getting me to from and joining me in Beddgelert with the support crew 😘 Double Choc Brownies and home made energy bars seemed to go down pretty well both at halfway and the finish 😊 I’m very proud of every single Buzzer who ran - you were superb, every single one of you 😍 I’m so very very proud of my other half (Richard) who at 66 ran his first marathon that weekend in 6:10 - definitely not an easy one to start out with but he did himself and the Buzzers proud 😍 On Sunday, a few walked up Snowdon and Emelie and I took the train up. We were blessed with the most wonderfully sunny day and the timing was perfect to meet those who had walked. 


Two weeks after going up to Snowdonia came the hip op. 12 weeks post injury. I couldn’t walk at all for the first 2 weeks then the following 10 were partially weight bearing on crutches. I have to say I was actually looking forward to getting it sorted (though I have rather splendid biceps now from so much time on crutches 😂😂). It was going to be done as a day case and I was expected to be back on my feet within a few days and off crutches inside a week. When the surgeon came for a chat pre-op, he warned me that he thought there might be more going on in the hip than just a torn labrum as the pain had been severe and persistent for 12 weeks. He just wanted to warn me that if that was the case, the recovery would be slower. So why the title 21? Well, this was my 21st orthopaedic op. When they noticed that in the anaesthetic room, they discussed whether they should sing some kind of song which really made me laugh and put me at my ease. The staff were absolutely fantastic and looked after me so very well. 


When I woke up after just over 2 hours of surgery I was absolutely freezing but in no pain at all. Those hot air blankets they put on you are really toasty! After 30 minutes I was returned to my room. The nurse told me that the labral tear was much bigger than they’d thought and couldn’t be repaired so the flappy bit of cartilage had been removed. Then she added that they’d also found quite a large cam lesion on the head of the femur and that had also been removed and the surgeon would tell me all about it in a couple of weeks when I had the stitches out - that was a bit of a surprise! 


Back to my room and the first thing I needed was the loo. The nurse said if I felt OK, I could try going on the crutches and I’m relieved to say that I managed just fine. It always amazes me that modern anaesthetics don’t leave you completely out of it any more. I already knew that the latest discharge time was 10pm. I hadn’t gone down to theatre until 3.30pm, was back in my room at 6.30pm and the golden rules of having a pee, having a drink and eating something had to be met before I’d be allowed home. Well, I’d already met the first criteria and it really wasn’t a problem drinking a whole pot full of tea in the first half an hour. Richard very kindly brought me in a home made sarnie and some blancmange and they went down the hatch no problem. I texted Richard at 9pm to say I was ready to come home 😊 The nurse was amazed that I could put my own socks on and how steady I was on my feet - it’s amazing what you can do when going home is the prize 😂😂 


My discharge instructions were strict. I have a nasty habit post-op of misbehaving but this time I was determined to follow those instructions to the letter no matter how frustrating. I wanted to get back out there as fast as I can. The first 2 weeks were basically bedrest with 4 sets of specific exercise a day and pottering to the loo and back partial weight bearing only. That was hard - harder than anything I’ve done this year. Rest and AS are really not good partners so while my hip wasn’t that sore at all (just a bit achy), the rest of me had a party. My beloved ‘keep moving’ lifestyle that is my coping mechanism wasn’t an option, plus I’d had to stop my AS meds two weeks before the op (and wasn’t allowed to restart them until two weeks after) but I’m very glad to say I did it 😊 Without Richard keeping his eagle eye on me as well as looking after me so well, I know I would have strayed 😉 


Two days post op, I had to go up for a long-awaited full spinal scan that had been requested back in January. Although the journey wasn’t exactly comfortable, neither was it too bad. They made me so comfortable in that scanner that I fell asleep for the entire hour 😂😂😂 5 days later I had to go back up there again for the results. The results weren’t fantastic 😕 Entire spine degenerative with bulging discs all over the place (that’s old news!) but in my neck, a new growth of bone already pressing slightly on the spinal cord (below the level that was operated on 5 years ago - so the same old problem, different vertebra). Humph! The surgeon said we’d reassess in 12 months but if it continues to grow it’ll need sorting. My neck vertebrae now look like badly stacked Jenga bricks which for some reason I find hilarious. At least now I know why the neurological symptoms in hands and feet have come back but there’s no way it’s going stop me! 


I had my first physio session the day after that - 7 days post op. By happy coincidence, my physio was also an ultra-eventer who’d had exactly the same op 6 weeks before me. At my first session, she was a bit surprised that my range of movement was already better than hers 😂😂 Last Thursday was the follow up with the surgeon. When he showed me the photos of inside my hip I must admit that I was a bit surprised. That dratted cam lesion had damaged about 60% of the cartilage in the hip socket itself and the cartilage had peeled away from the hip socket over that area. He explained how he’d tidied it all up, then applied heat at many points all over the cartilage surface to shrink it enough to get it back in contact with the socket again (clever stuff eh?). He hopes that’s enough to hold off a hip replacement for many years yet and I have total faith in him 😊 


So, all that pain in my hip (especially going up hills) since my teenage years has been down to the cam lesion. He thinks the lesion is heriditary (seems highly likely since both Ma, Pa and both my boys have always had hip pain - darned genetics!). The right and left hips have had exactly the same problems so the right one is yet to be discussed but as far as I’m concerned, it can stay there until I’ve had enough of it 😊 He was extremely pleased with progress which was good and said I could now stop using the crutches and fully weight bear, which was even better 😁 He said that I could gradually start walking again but lots of rest was still needed in the first few weeks. He reckoned that walking 5k by Christmas was a decent target to aim for. He also said he’d like me to stop running (hang on, I’ve only just started again!). He understood ‘the look’ perfectly well and followed that by saying ‘OK, but not until 3 months post-op and if there’s any pain, you stop’). 


It felt seriously weird walking on that leg after essentially 3 months of not walking on it, but most pleasing of all - no pain 😁 Sure it aches a bit, but I’m assured that’s perfectly normal and will last a few weeks yet. I had my 2nd physio session last Friday and again, she was very pleased with how I was walking without crutches and extended the exercises (good, they were getting quite boring!). This week we move into the gym and start some gentle resistance work - can’t wait 😁 


I started the ‘little walks’ again on Friday afternoon after physio and have kept them up daily so far, all followed by a good icing and rest and so far it’s going really well 😊 Friday - 1.79km, Saturday - 2.07km, Sunday 2.02km, all in about 30 minutes, Monday 2.64km in 35 minutes, so hardly speedy! Yesterday I was feeling great, the leg was feeling much more like it belonged again so I pushed the boat out a bit, speeded up the pace and managed 5.13km in 1:00:45 (ooh that 45 seconds smarts! 😂😂). I felt absolutely fine - bit achy for the last km but still no hip pain. I did make my first mistake last night though 😕 I went to the NASS gym session as usual last night and did my first full session (with appropriate modifications). One of the problems with being hypermobile is poor proprioception - I don’t really get a terribly good idea if I’m overdoing things or stretching too far. A couple of hours after the gym session, I knew I’d overdone things - not badly thank goodness, just a gentle reminder that I’m not Superwoman 😊 So today, I dialled back the distance and pace and went back to 2 steady km. I’m actually feeling quite proud of myself for being ‘good’ today 😊 There’s a heck of a long way to go to getting some fitness back but I’ll get there 😊


I’ll be back volunteering at Parkrun on Saturday then fully intend to return to taking part the week after, albeit walking. My first event next year is The Big Half in March. So, if can start running at the beginning of February, at least I’ll have a few weeks to get some training in 😊 Likely it’ll have to a run/walk but I’ve got to start back somewhere. The Thames Path 100k and the Snowdon Marathon next year are my big targets but I’m sure that all being well, there’ll be more than that thrown in 😁


Happy training everyone 😁


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