Most folks who know me personally, know I have had some major health challenges these last 6 years, with the last 2 years being the most horrific…and the last 3 months have been excruciating.
10 years ago, I lifted a rather large box of paper (17 x 35) that goes into a large, wheeled printer. The box weighed at least 40 pounds. As I bent with my knees, and lifted with my legs, I felt a ‘pop’ in my low back. I immediately felt major pain and sciatica. I sought treatment immediately with my chiropractor, whom I had been seeing for carpal tunnel issues.
Since it was a work injury, I had to stop seeing my chiropractor, and go to the approved MD and the rehab therapists they ordered for me.
I was in therapy for almost 2 years attempting to fix my back. It appears that I had herniated my discs between L4-L5-S1. During those 2 years, I returned to my chiropractor to treat my low back and sciatica. At a session about 6 years ago now, 4 years after the original injury, my chiropractor put my right foot between her legs, above her knees, and yanked away from me, hyperextending my leg and causing a loud popping noise (it actually sounded like the pop of a gun) she chalked up to my hip joint going back into place.
I remember an almost immediate burning and extreme pain, and crying because it hurt so bad. She gave me ice, and left me lying on the table for an extra 30 minutes with ice that day. I continued to have severe pain in my right hip for about 3 solid weeks.
That it turns out was when she tore my labrum in my right hip. A 12 mm tear in the socket partnof my hip bone/tisue. It took 4 years, multiple MD visits, rehab therapists, acupuncture and massage therapy before I finally met Dr. Denes, at the Orthopedic & Fracture Clinic.
He is my champion in my hip issue. He finally sent me for an MRI with contrast. That revealed the 12 mm tear. It also revealed that my hip bone structure is abnormal. In that regard, he meant I have more bone than is necessary for a hip socket. So, he told me to expect to develop degenerative arthritis in that hip which in time will require a complete hip replacement eventually.
At that time, 2 years ago now, I finally had an definitive diagnosis. That was huge for me as I had been on an already 8 year long journey up to that point always wondering why my hips hurt me so much…when I slept, when I exercised, when I sat for too long, stood for too long or drove in my car for too long.
But now I had something I could research and find ways to minimize the pain. Dr. Denes told me he would wait to do any surgical intervention as long as I was willing and able to withstand the pain. In April of this year, 2014 – 10 years after the original injury, and all the subsequent painful experiences, I was at the end of my rope with the pain.
I decided to meet with him and figure out next steps. Mind you, I was prepared for discussing a surgical intervention, not to have him tell me that in the last 2 years, my degenerative arthritis kicked in to high gear and started its progressive degeneration process of turning my hip bones into a spongy, holy mess. I was shocked when I heard him say that. I even told him so. I was expecting “well it is time to fix the hip cause you’re at the end of your pain tolerance“, not I “will be needing a complete hip replacement in the next 2-6 years.”
The last 2 months since April, since my diagnosis of degenerative arthritis, have seen me go to the Emergency Room 3 times. 2 times for excruciating pain related to muscles spasms and 1 time related to a female problem with my uterus – but that subject is another blog!
I have spent over $750 in my health savings on co-pays and 20% of all the imaging fees, lab costs and care provided costs.
UPDATE: My hip arthroscopy was Wednesday, June 11. I am, at the time of writing this, more than 80 hours post-op. My surgeon found that in addition to the labrum tear, I also had cartilage that was detached inside my right hip. So, what was to originally be a 2 hour surgery, ended up at 3.25 hours to fix both issues. The first few days after surgery were relatively manageable – the typical nausea, weakness, just-want-to-sleep, round the clock recovery mode. Today, the 3rd day post-op, the numbing medication finally wore off inside my hip, and my pain level radically increased. That in turn has worn me out and made me a bit on the grump-o-lump side! But, I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel too and I will be healed.
To sum up my blog, and my experience with this injury, I have been walking around on essentially a broken hip for 6 years. No wonder I experienced such excrutiating pain that seemed so out-of-proportion to what the scans and other diagnostic test results showed. It just goes to show that you really never know what’s truly going on until you get inside there and see for yourself!!!
My leg in the CPM machine that passively moves my leg up and back at 0-90°. I started out at 30° for 6 hours yesterday, today I bumped up to 35° for 5 hours so far. Tomorrow, I bump up again to 40° with a goal of 6 hours total time each day – three, 2 hour stints at a time. My surgeon wants me to get up to 90° in the next 7-10 days. This is to ensure my hip doesn’t lose any flexibility. Oh joy!!!