I had a request to do a video on what I do for hip stretches so here it is! Obviously I made this video before my hip surgery (I planned in advance!). This video includes stretches, strengthening exercises, and range of motion exercises for the hips that are great for tight hips, arthritis, and labral tears (the last 2 exercises were given to me because of the tear, the first two due to hip pain/tightness). Please consult your own healthcare team before trying them out. If you have any video requests please shoot me an email or a DM on Instagram @janeversuspain.
For more on the importance of stretching, check out my podcast episode, “Massage Therapy for Chronic Pain,” where Danielle Potvin explains how stretching can help your body.
First of all, I’m going to say that I’m pretty impressed with myself for writing a blog post just 24 hours after coming out of surgery. Also, this was my first ever surgery, so I thought I’d share some thoughts and feelings about the whole experience. If you’ve been following me for awhile you are probably aware that I was diagnosed with a labral tear in my left hip back in March (MRI was back in January). Of course, with Covid-19 any kind of surgical consult, let alone treatment was pushed back and back (also I was floated around to 3 hospitals because very few surgeons specialize in hip arthroscopy apparently).
I didn’t choose the surgical route lightly. Actually, I took advice from several physicians and healthcare professionals before making the decision. My rheumatologist (actually my rheumatologist was on mat leave so it was the one covering for her) diagnosed the hip tear and sent off for a surgical consult. She also told me to start physiotherapy for the tear as it is often helpful. Because things closed down because of the pandemic, I started virtual physio with my regular physiotherapist mid-April. Though exercise helped a bit, it was minimal. I added chiropractics, and massage back into my routine care (because of my undifferentiated connective tissue disease as well) in July, and then most recently started seeing the naturopath again at the end of September. All helpful, but not enough to take away the excruciating discomfort cause by the tear. They all also offered opinions, some differing, on whether I should have surgery. At the end of the day, with research done on my own, I decided that as my naturopath put it, surgery was really the only option to fix the problem.
Now, I actually wasn’t nervous about the surgery, especially after finally meeting with the surgeon mid October, and literally being booked for surgery less than a month later. He was confident, read me off the risks which were minimal, and again, I did some research on long-term outcome studies. Yesterday, after I had been checked in, and then taken into the pre-op area for some vitals and questions, I started to get nervous. However, the amazing healthcare team (all the pre-op, op, post-op nurses; pre-op and op anesthesiologists and assistants; and of course my surgeon and surgical team) made me feel at ease. According to my surgeon after surgery, it went “perfectly.” Also a relief.
Post-operatively not so fun. I wasn’t actually nauseous at first and the pain in my hip I rated at a 6-7 (for which they had me on morphine) after about 30-45 minutes later (really was out of it and couldn’t keep track of time) I rated the pain about the same, so they gave me oxycodone, which then made me nauseous. It took another 2.5 hours for me not to feel “as nauseous”… basically the least amount for me to go home (and my pain was also down to about a 4 at the time). Long day. Probably longer for my amazing friend, Mike, who picked me up from my appointment and then took care of me at home (even brought groceries, and Starbucks!). The nausea stayed until like 7:30pm. Honestly, I think food helped. And I was pretty out of it all day. Oh yeah, they gave me Gravol for the nausea which totally made me drowsy. But we had sushi, and watched Netflix until like 9, when I passed out in bed.
At this point I’m more annoyed about the post-op complications I guess? First, sore throat which apparently is common after coming off of general anesthesia, but I didn’t know that. I’m trying to drink a ton of liquids to help! Second, I have numbness in the groin area… maybe I’ll share more about that on a later post but let me say, not fun. Finally, living alone and trying to get around on crutches post-op is not fun. I have to ice my hip constantly, and then it took me forever to get coffee/breakfast ready for myself this morning. If it weren’t for the pandemic, my mom would’ve flown out to help me. Oh well, I suppose this is Chronic Pain Warrior life.
That was mostly thoughts… as for feelings, I’m tired and sore and frustrated (about the numbness) but also relieved to have the surgery over with, and hopeful that I will have significantly less pain in my hip. I mean, if I’m going to be a practicing therapist soon I need to be able to sit for long hours without looking like I’m in discomfort, so I can be present on focused on those future clients of mine!
If anyone else has an op/post-op experience they’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. And remember, keep making the most of it. 🙂
When it comes to work, a lot of people have difficulties setting boundaries. For those of us with a chronic illness, it becomes a difficult but necessary part of literally being able to work. Why am I bringing this up today? I have been off of work for the past week because of my hip tear, which seemingly go worse when I (a) accidentally leaned against it at work, and (b) my hip popped out of and back into place when I was doing an elevated pushup. Now I’m set to go back tomorrow but I will probably need some accommodations, because, despite the fact that I felt worse on Monday and now better today, I do a lot to mitigate the pain. The other part of this equation is that work has been so stressful since we fully reopened (limited customers) at the end of May, and I haven’t been able to set boundaries around that, I’ve become more anxious and had a general increase in body pain anyway. Now’s the time to make a change.
Even on the beach I had to change positions a million times.
So how do you set work boundaries? I mean, no boss or company wants to have to accommodate for an employee, right? Yet as much as I hate asking, I have seen some managers do it for others, and have had some managers do it for me. Plus, legally in Canada and some other countries, employers can’t discriminate because of (dis)ability. In the past I’ve always approached it with a very direct attitude. This is what I need, this is why I need it, and without it I can’t do my job properly. Direct works best. And when in doubt I have a doctor’s note as well (I currently have a few doctor’s notes in my file with no “expiry” date to them). Plus, I always tell my bosses that I will be flexible when needed (and I have been) because I understand the importance of the business (I work in electronics retail so it’s importance really depends on your own value to it).
What’s the difference now? Covid-19. As I’ve mentioned, we aren’t through it yet. At my work, we still have 18 staff members not back yet, we let limited customers in the store which is still too many at a time at times, and things are definitely not running as “normal.” What I currently need because of my hip: to be able to change physical positions as needed – sitting, sitting with my legs up, standing, walking, lying down. What I need because of stress: to not be the only person scheduled at customer service where I get long lines and yelled at by customers all day. Here’s the thing, I am scheduled alone at customer service for the next 3 days. The only other person scheduled for my entire department is collecting web orders, so literally nothing to do with directly dealing with customers. Therefore, I can’t just leave my post to change what position I’m in. I will stand for 9 hours with just my 30 minute break. Bad for hip and bad for stress. Do I need to say something? Yes. How will it go? I guess we’ll find out.
Being in nature is helpful for stress. Take a time out every know and then in order to heal.
I’m curious if any of my fellow Spoonies have been back to a work environment yet and what they are doing for boundary setting. This is a time where I wish I could work from home, but wishing isn’t going to make that happen at the moment. Please comment or DM me on Instagram and share your work boundary stories. Stay Safe.
I always have a million topic ideas in my head (well technically I write them down on Stickies because I don’t want to forget them) but I often end up going with something currently relevant to me because, well, it just makes more sense to. As I’ve mentioned before, in addition to fibromyalgia (and maybe lupus) I also have a tear of the anterior labrum (hip) – I’ll throw in a picture of what that looks like). This tear is brutal. Initially my rheumatologist told me that it could be taken care of with physio and if that doesn’t work, then surgery. She asked me if I’d like a referral to the surgeon, to which I said yes. This was March 2020. About a week before Covid-19 really went for it and we started shutting everything down, including “elective” surgeries (because is a surgery that will take away pain really elective?).
Anyway, the pain has normally been around a 7 in my hip. I’ve been doing physio (virtual) since the end of March and while my physiotherapist is amazing (check out my podcast), it also doesn’t really seem to be helping with this particular problem. Fast forward to last week Thursday when I leaned against a counter at work while I was talking to my boss… and I happened to learn right against the tear. Talk about excruciating pain running down my entire leg – hip to ankle! But I sucked it up and stayed at work and powered through. The pain now around an 8.
Even with pain at an 8 I can still enjoy the great outdoors (Niagara on the Lake, Ontario)
Fast forward to Monday, when I’m doing my normal hardcore workout. It’s an upper body one, so I’m not too concerned because my hip is normally fine on these workouts (sometimes I have to adjust lower body and full body workouts to accommodate my hip). Well, as I moved to get out a position, I heard and felt a “pop.” This seemed like my hip popped in and out of place (though upon some research I read that’s not really a thing that happens, so I’m not sure what exactly happened). Now the pain is a 9. I went to work Monday and Tuesday, and then got a doctor’s note for a week off from today (Wednesday) through next Wednesday.
Spike is a good nurse.
So how can I still smile and laugh through all of this? First of all, that’s not always easy. I have to frequently change my position (standing, sitting, walking, lying) in order to feel comfortable because I can’t really be in any of them for too long. At the end of the day though, I can sit and feel sorry for myself (or be hard on myself because technically it’s my own fault it got worse) or I can (a) be productive and constantly call the hospital to see if they can do this type of surgery now, and (b) realize that pain, even chronic pain, is a temporary sensation. I can do meditations that focus on physical pain (which I did this morning), I can write a blog post, I can rest, and I can still have a life with this, because the other option is to not and I refuse to do that.
Also, if you haven’t yet checked out my podcast – Chronically Living and how to make the most of it (Apple Podcasts and Spotify), the latest episode is on Pelvic Health. I would really appreciate some reviews and ratings for it (plus I have a little promotion going for that – see my Instagram @janeversuspain for more details).