Back on my feet | Surgery Update

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Let's do a quick up-date check. Back in December 2015 I had pain management surgery, so repair some damage to one of my hips and give me a new lease on life. (If you already know about this you can skip ahead a little).


Since the age of about 12/13 I started feeling discomfort in both my hips which lead to pain that increased into my adulthood and as time has gone by my ability to engage in physical activity became increasingly less frequent.

By the age of 25 I was no longer able to walk for longer than 20 minutes without severe pain and was significantly missing out on a great deal of life. Thankfully after 20 years of fighting for recognition and diagnosis I got one and on I went to a two year waiting list for treatment.

If you'd like a little more background you can find some in these posts:




I'm now 4 months post op so I thought I'd do an update to let you know how I'm doing, and to give myself a written record to look back on as I go through the stages.

So lets look back...the first three months were definitely the hardest. I surprised myself, I've always been fairly comfortable in hospitals. I've had surgery when I was younger so I never thought I was particularly scared of it. I've always been confident that in most circumstances you'll wake up with minimal problems and go on to lead a much better life.

But this time around I was frightened, really frightened. I think not having my Mother there was definitely a factor, but mostly going in as an adult, having to look after myself, being responsible, made it a much harder challenge.

After all I was going in for experimental surgery that was incredibly invasive for a condition that until two years ago I'd been told was imaginary. So I had a lot of doubts...

Could I be making it up? Some how have I managed to convince a surgeon to operate on me when nothings wrong?

I really felt this very overwhelming feeling that I'd made a big mess for myself and now I was committing to a surgery that would leave my body more damaged than it was and I was screaming for a way to back out. Of course at the time I didn't tell anyone that, but in my mind I was going through a lot.

It was hard.

In hind sight I would have asked so many more questions, to reassure myself and really have a full understanding of what would happen and how my recovery would go. I wonder if it's an NHS thing, limited time, limited staff, limited funds and all the difficulties that entails... but when I arrived in hospital on surgery day, changed into my gown and sat down with all the other day surgery patients I really had no idea what was going to follow.

It was only then, that I was really informed of how this would impact on the next year or so of my life (and even then it wasn't a true representation) but I was committed now.

I went in, and I came out and the first conversation I had was:

Over heard *We had to give her three times the dose...*

"You're awake now, you're in the recovery room"

"I'm going to be sick, I think i'm going to be sick"

"You're being over dramatic"

...

I hope that usually this is not the response any medical staff would give a patient but it certainly took me by surprise!

I felt so humiliated in that moment. I lay my head back down and thought to myself...'What have you gotten yourself into? Just try to sleep, it won't be so bad if you just sleep'.

I spent the next 12 hours being quite frightened. The feeling of nausea and just that telling feeling that something was seriously not well with my body was truly fear giving. Only twice, with a great deal of persuasion on my behalf did someone check on me. I was the first to go into surgery that day, and I was the last to come out. Full recovery from the medication took me 4 days.

The first few weeks of recovery were quite an emotional roller coaster. When I left hospital, I was given no aids but a pair of crutches and a strong dose of pain killers. I was told to have someone stay with me for 48 hours. Luckily my loving siblings obliged, it would have been an incredible struggle without them.

Recovery was hard and slow. I had no idea just how debilitating it would be and I was very heavt with regret.

For the first three weeks, I was told not to cook, not to bend past 90, not to sit for too long, but not to stand, not sleep on my side, not to shower and not to dress myself... but I live on my own and if you're not offered support how are you supposed to do all those things? I asked this question at every point of contact during those weeks and when my response to the question "don't you live with someone?" was "no"...I was left with silence and blank stares.

I'm afraid to admit I spent most of the first two weeks walking around in a top and a dressing gown because I couldn't put on underwear or socks or trousers... I ate microwave meals that someone would collect from the supermarket for me once a week because I couldn't cook, and I spent all my days sitting on a dining chair in the middle of my sitting room because I wasn't allowed to sit on soft furnishings...

It wasn't until I finally returned my crutches 9 weeks later I began to regain some of my life. I could cook again, I could slowly bend my legs to put socks on and dress myself, I was finally able to leave the house and walk a little way. That was the first time I left the house. 

I walked around the corner to my post box and back...progress.

With physiotherapy every fortnight and keeping myself as motivated as possible to exercise at home I started to gain more mobility in my leg and hip. Now 4 months on I can walk around the supermarket to do my groceries with minimal pain, I can garden providing I don't have to bend too much or sit, and I have enough mobility that I go for a walk every day and sleep for the most part with minimal discomfort.

I'm still in pain but its easing up with every week, and I can finally see that my life might finally return to normal.

I realise now that recovery is going to be a really long road, but I've joined a wonderful community who are very supportive and helpful along the way. It might be two years before I'm doing any form or challenging activity (rock climbing I hope!) but for the first time in so many years I think I might be able to do it!

When I first went in for surgery I was told "you'll be up and walking in a month" well that was a very misleading line. I might be up and walking now but I still have 5 more months of physiotherapy and 18 more months to fully recover but in a way I'm glad he said that. When I came out of the surgery room and was told how long my recovery might be, I was furious. I felt cheated and lied to. But in hindsight if they had told me you won't walk more than 10 minutes for the first 3 months, won't run or jump for more than 8 months and won't be back to normal for 2 years, I don't think I would have taken the surgery.

I know now that in the long run it will have been worth it.

I still need to do the other hip, and I'm not sure if I want to yet but lets see where the next few months go and I'll decide then, for now I'm just glad I can get out and enjoy being outdoors.


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4 comments:

  1. Wow, what a journey you've been on. I read a couple of your other posts about this (surgery day and recovery) and I can't imagine what a rollercoaster it's all been for you. You are also so brave, I'm not sure how I could cope with having such a major operation so you've done an amazing job so far and should be proud.
    I hope you continue on your path to recovery and manage to enjoy lots of outdoors time now the weather is brightening up!

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Thanks Lyndsay. It's been tough at times but on the most part I've kept a chipper attitude and certainly will be beaming with the coming sunshine! x

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  2. Hi Thea
    My first time on your blog. So sorry to hear about this difficult time! You'very really opened my eyes to how it would feel to have major surgery and the strength and courage needed for recovery. All the best for your continued improvement!

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    1. Thank you Gail that's so kind. It's been a few months now and things have really come along. So much of it is in your attitude I think! Thanks for the words of support.

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