Sarah K — Week 12

I cried during PT today.

I hate crying in front of people.

But here it is week 12 and I am still not cleared to run because I still can’t stand on my bad leg with out my torso twisting to adjust for muscles in my hip that can’t hold all my weight and yes, a few weeks ago I couldn’t even lift my good leg but progress has been slow these last couple of weeks and every day that I’ve pushed past the boredom at the gym on the elliptical or rowing machine or in the pool I just kept telling myself — just a couple more weeks.

And now I still have a couple more weeks.

And while I love my physical therapist, if she suggests spinning to me one more time or asks if there is something else I can try, I might punch her in the throat.

Really, I think this is what brought on the tears. Not being told I still shouldn’t run — I knew that was coming. I’ve been doing the exercises, I know my hip muscles are too week. But her sweet face as she asked if I’ve tried the elliptical. I just wanted to punch her and never stop. Instead, I started crying.

Yes, god damnit, I’ve tried the elliptical. And hot yoga. And walking on the treadmill on an incline. I’ve tried it all. If I enjoyed any of these things half as much as I enjoyed running, if any of these things cleared my head and made me feel as good and accomplished and physically fit as running I wouldn’t be here right now.

I’d be at a spin class.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week Nine (revisited)

So, about all that patience I had …

Every  year my office participates in the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge. For those of you not in the know, it is a 3.5 mile race through Central Park that kicks off JPMorgan’s wellness program.

I had signed up to run the race back when I thought I would be up and running by now. When I realized I might not be ready to run, I resigned myself to walking the 3.5 miles as many folks do.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week Nine

Three weeks until I can run again and three weeks of PT under my belt.

I must admit, I was very skeptical of PT when I first started down this road and was relieved when my doctor told me I wouldn’t need any PT for the first month. I even agreed with the nurse practitioner during my one month follow-up that I wouldn’t need to see my PT more than a couple of times (but of course if I wanted to, I should call her so she can refill my PT prescription).

Well, today I made that call, because PT is amazing.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week Six

Or as I like to call it: The Start of Physical Therapy.

I had my first physical therapy appointment today. I returned to UPenn, where the doctor who I love works (but also where the surgeon who thinks I should take up bowling resides). At first the PT didn’t seem on board with my goals (Goal. Singular. To run again in 6 weeks), which shouldn’t surprise me given the surgeon her patients typically see. She was also shocked to learn I wasn’t given a list of restriction (crossing my legs, bending my legs beyond 90 degrees, turning my foot inward or outward) telling me her patients typically have to wait until after eight weeks before they can cross their legs.

Man, am I glad I didn’t go to that surgeon.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week 4

The past seven days I have reveled in the small advances I was making, whether it was climbing the stairs normally, not needing my Tylenol regularly (and then not at all), leaving both my crutches at home or taking the subway again for the first time in almost a month (funny how you can miss something like a smelly subway so much). I started to feel like the poster child for hip replacement surgery at the office and among my friends (“I can’t believe how normal you are.” Because, yes, my limp is normal). But more than anything these past seven days I looked forward to my 4-week post-op visit. The visit where, if all was going according to plan, I would be given the all clear to go back to the gym.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week Three

My dad visited over the weekend and as we sat in my backyard, enjoying a beer and a cigar (him) he started to get wistful (as cigars often make him) and he started talking about when he leaves my house (or my sister’s house or my brother’s house) he always feels a little guilty. He also always looks in his rearview mirror hoping to see us chasing after him, begging him not to go.

This last part turned out to be a lie.

An hour or so later, my father left and as I turned back into my house, I saw that he left the bag of things my mom left behind. I grabbed the bag, hobbled out the front door, down my stairs and started screaming “Dad.”

I waved my arms. I screamed louder. But he pulled out of his parking spot and headed down my street.

I had to run for it.

And by run, it was more like a really awkward skip with my arms still flailing.

Fortunately, I only had to awkwardly skip half a block as there is a stop sign at the end of my street.

While I was proud of my sort of half block run, I won’t be attempting that again anytime soon. They say you have to walk before you can run and I’m still very much limping (in general – not from the run). I’m down to one crutch and getting up and down stairs easier and faster. So I’ll refrain from any more awkward skips in favor of getting off the crutch and walking without a limp.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Week Two Point Five

I returned to work on my two week anniversary. I know this is early for some, and I promised my mom and my boss that if it proved to be too much I would go back to working from home, but I was bored at my house and feeling really good. So, it just made sense to go back to the office.

Also, I thought it would be nice to put some distance between me and my fridge.

The main thing holding me back from going back to work was transportation. As great as I am doing, stairs are still tricky – tricky slow going; not tricky hard. And after venturing out downtown last weekend I knew people don’t care if you have crutches – they will plow right over you. I assume this goes double during rush hour. And since the stairs from the subway platform are crowded and scary enough when I’m not on crutches, I thought it would be best to avoid them all together until I could take them two at a time and throw an occasional hip check if necessary.

Fortunately, a good friend offered to drive me to work when I was ready to get back to it.

The transition from my kitchen office to my office-office was smooth, there were a couple of unanticipated bumps. For instance, I now know the importance of a cross-body work bag: when on crutches, a standard purse on your shoulder will mean stopping every six or so steps to adjust your straps.

Also, when you make a Starbucks run, be sure to bring a friend to help carry your coffee.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K — Week One (and then some)

The bandage came off and it is ugly.

And I had prepared (mentally) to talk how my friends argued that it was a cool scar and I countered that there is nothing cool about a hip replacement scar and how I was thinking about coming up with a better, cooler story for my scar than hip replacement when this morning I opened Huffington Post and saw the images of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing at the finish line and felt nothing but shame.

These runners, these survivors, they have been through so much and to be back at that place, with their scars and their running shoes and their messages of hope and inspiration shamed me and my silly worry about my silly scar.

It also made me feel incredibly proud to be a part of the global running community and has me more sure than ever that I will be back to running. Maybe not soon, but soon enough.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K — Day Three

If ever there was a day for sleeping in and doing nothing it was Day Three in Philadelphia. It was gray and raining and chilly outside.

So, after a call from the hospital asking if there was any seepage from my wound dressing and if I had a bowl movement, I remained camped on my couch, doing my exercises, eating lots of food and alternating between watching bad TV and reading trashy magazines.

The nurse who called warned I might experience a lot of swelling over the next couple of days, so I kept ice on my legs. I still haven’t experienced a great deal of pain, I still haven’t taken anything stronger than Tylenol (and Pinot Noir), but I did notice that the longer I sat, the harder it was to get up and get moving again.

Day Four will involve much more walking and moving. It is supposed to be gorgeous out.

 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K — Surgery Day is Here

I didn’t sleep well the night before my surgery. I thought I was okay with everything, but as more friends, family and co-workers expressed their support, it suddenly all became very real.

I had to report to the hospital at 5 a.m. I changed into the dressing gown, peed in a cup so they could confirm I wasn’t with child, and then waited for transport. My mom was next to the whole time and when I had to say good-bye to her, I lost it.

I knew the surgery was routine and I was going to be fine — better than fine, I was going to be fixed. It didn’t matter though — I was still terrified.

Which is what I told the first nurse in the pre-op area when she asked how I was. I was still trying to compose myself when the nurse anesthetist approached to insert my IV. She promised to give me something to take the edge off. She did more than that. … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Pre-Op Appointment

When I first scheduled my operation, I immediately called my mom to tell her the decision I made and let her know the date so she could get off from work. My mom is a nurse, so I know any day she takes off she isn’t getting paid. With that in mind, I told her she didn’t need to come down the day of the surgery, but the next day to drive me home.

I thought I was being a considerate daughter.

She told me I was being too independent and that she would be down the night before my surgery.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Sarah K – Second Opinion

I’ve set a date.

I didn’t go into my second opinion expecting to come out with an appointment for surgery. I went in with my list of questions and a determination to keep both my hips.

My appointment was at the Rothman Clinic at Jefferson, a teaching hospital, so while my appointment was with one doctor, I first had to sit through meeting with his intern (or whatever you call a doctor who is still in training). I started my appointment the same way I have started many appointments just like this one, “I should warn you, I don’t like doctors.”

She laughed. “Who does?”

Interesting. (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

About Me – Sarah K.

My name is Sarah and the first time a doctor suggested hip replacement surgery to me, I was 20 years old.

I have shallow hip sockets and, at the time, was experiencing, at times, intense pain in my right hip along with the sensation that my hip was giving out. The doctor, who looked at all my films and tested my hip’s ability to bend and flex and stretch, determined, other than the shallow hip sockets, there was nothing physically wrong with me. He then joked, “other than replacing your hip, there is nothing we can do for you.”

I stopped seeing doctors about the pain in my hip after that. Instead I used exercise, Advil and acupuncture to treat the pain many doctors made me feel was all in my head.

And I did that for 15 years.

After running the Marine Corp Marathon in 2012, my right knee started bothering me. I iced it, took more pain killers and assumed it was just from running 26.2 miles. The following weekend, on an easy run with a friend, the burning began and I officially freaked out.

More doctors’ appointments and x-rays and MRIs and having my right leg lifted into the air, bent, twisted in, and twisted out all while being asked, “any pain when I do this” after I told him/her it always hurts, I learned that I just didn’t have shallow hip sockets, I have arthritis in my hip.

And cysts.

And a torn labrum.

And while these last two problems could be treated surgically, the extent of worn away cartilage would make those procedures similar to “putting a new tire on a bent rim.” The only option left for me was hip replacement surgery. But, if I wanted to continue to run, the doctor wouldn’t advise surgery. Surgery, he said, would get me back on the golf course (I never said anything about golfing) but not running. Running after hip replacement surgery, according to him, would be a big mistake.

So I said I wasn’t going to have the surgery.

Then I cried. And called my … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)