My leg is having a party, celebrating being free at last! It is truly amazing how fast this recovery is going. I feel my whole body breathing a deep sigh of relief. It’s like I’ve been all crunched up on my right side, drawing the leg protectively into my body and not using it fully because of the pain. I can already do things pain-free that I haven’t been able to do all year. For example, I can do belly dance hip drops and figure 8 moves that have been impossible. I can lean forward on the leg, though not very far yet. I’m starting to get my forward and side lunges back, and was able to do 24-short form Tai Chi this morning and sit cross-legged for meditation!
I had a couple of tired days on Thursday and Friday, which is pretty normal and often more about getting over the anesthesia and all its various effects. Today I feel great! I have had virtually no pain since Wednesday, so I stopped all the pain meds. So far so good. I’m not even using Tylenol. In fact, the leg is less painful now than it was before the surgery!
Physically, my body has already moved on. It’s over. Emotionally, however, I go from anger to sadness to relief to gratitude to joy and sometimes back again. I’m angry that this brutal piece of hardware was placed in my body and it hurt so much that it really set back my recovery. I’m sad about all the pain and disability I suffered for the last 13 months. Every time I’m able to do something which has alluded me all this time, I cry all over again. When I touch the cable, which I keep on the kitchen table, I tear up. When I notice how much better I feel as I move, that I’m not off balance and favoring the leg, I feel relieved. I don’t feel like I’m 80-years-old anymore. And then there are those ever-increasing moments of gratitude and joy. It is finally over and I am whole again. There were times in this process when I wondered if that would ever happen.
I do want to say in support of my most amazing surgical team, Dr. Shukla and Davis, it wasn’t your fault. You did the right thing by putting a cerclage cable around that femur. I was the one who stubbornly kept walking on a totally destroyed hip until I stressed my femur. It already had bone spurs when you started. The wise and prudent thing was to support the femur until it could knit around the implant and repair any micro-fractures that might have occurred during the replacement. On this end of it, I have two solid replacements that are holding perfectly and I have equal leg length for the first time in my life. I also noticed, looking at my wet footprints at the pool the other day, I am no longer duck-footed! I have real hips for the first time in my life and I can walk again. For me, this is a medical miracle! I will be forever grateful to the two of you for the magic you’ve worked in my body. Without you, I would be in a wheelchair.
What I do want to say is that this piece of hardware does not belong in the human body. I realize that this is the cerclage system that comes with my Smith & Nephew implants. Why they are still using this cerclage system is beyond me. But there is a better one that uses a polymer system and a connector that lies flat against the bone and doesn’t have sharp ends, both for the safety of the patient and the surgeon. Here is a link (which may be helpful for my fellow hip people, or any of you who have to have orthopedic surgery): http://www.kinamed.com/products/orthopedic-products/supercable. I think I could have tolerated this cable better and might not even have had to have it removed. I found this site when I was Googling problems with cerclage cables.
I do plan to discuss this with Dr. Shukla and Davis at my follow-up appointment. But, I also want to share it here, especially for my fellow hipsters. From my perspective, Dr. Shukla and Davis are gifted in their ability to perform minimally invasive replacement surgery, which causes very little disruption to the muscle tissue. I had the benefit of experiencing this on my left side–I was able to walk unaided in 4 days! It took 3 months to walk as well on my right side, because of this cable. It seems a shame to ruin the amazing work they do with a piece of hardware like this! My hope in talking with them, and in sharing this here, is that others might be spared the pain I have gone through.
On a lighter note… Me and my new friend, the Prevena pump are figuring out how to better live with one another. Scott discovered that it could be disconnected from the bandage for showering, which I did yesterday and it felt wonderful! I also found two pairs of pants I can put the tubing in and still get around. I located my old western belt, which the pump case belt loop fits over, thankfully. So, I am mobile and can drive! In fact, right now, I’m going to the store to go grocery shopping for dinner.
I must say that this unit is pretty amazing. There is absolutely no swelling, bruising or pain in or around the incision. But, it does have one little quirk… It farts. That is the sound it makes about every other hour when it suctions. So, pray for me that it doesn’t do that in line at the grocery store!