Tag Archives: surgery

I’ve Got A Surgery Date (or Almost The 2 Month Countdown)

When I found out I needed liver surgery, I knew I would be waiting a little bit before having surgery. First, I want my parents to come take care of me when I have surgery and waiting until at least April was best for their schedules (this isn’t an urgent surgery so there is no rush for them to get here). Also, waiting does give my body a bit of time to hopefully shrink the tumors. And finally, I am hoping to lose a bit more weight before having surgery.

I had things set on being the middle to the end of April (I have a 5K in the beginning of April that I don’t want to miss), but when I saw my surgeon the last time the April schedule wasn’t open yet. So I was waiting on the surgery schedule to have April up so that my surgeon could pick the best day for it. He knew that I was looking at the week after Easter and had my permission to just give me whatever date he could that week as soon as the schedule was up. My surgery is possibly going to be an all day thing, so I might be the only patient he operates on that day.

I had been waiting and waiting for the schedule to open up and finally at the end of last week I got a phone call from the surgery scheduling assistant. My surgery has been booked and I’ve got just over 2 months to go before the tumor (or tumors) will be out!

Even though I’ve known about this for a while, having an actual surgery date makes everything seem real now. I have almost all my doctor appointments leading up to surgery booked (I just need to have my final MRI scheduled) and I know the timeline of when everything will be happening. I’ve let my agents know I will be unable to audition or work then and I’ve figured out exactly how much longer I have to bank hours at my box office job. I’m hoping I can still work while I’m recovering, especially in the hospital when I’m scared I’ll be bored, but I am banking enough hours to cover me if I cannot work the week and a half I’ll be recovering with my parents.

During my pre-op appointments, I know that someone will go over with me some of the things I’ll need to bring with me for surgery and my hospital stay. I’ve never had inpatient surgery before, so I am a bit nervous about staying at the hospital. I’m a bit set in my ways and in my routine, and I know this will throw me off. I’m looking online at things that people recommend to have for overnight hospital stays or abdominal surgery recovery. If any of you have been through either, I would love some suggestions.

This have been moving pretty quickly after I got my surgery date. I have several appointments scheduled now, my parents have planned their trip down here, they have found a place to stay, and I’ve got a ticking clock in my head of how much longer I have. I’m sure that since I’ve got about 2 months to go that soon I won’t think about it as each day counts down. Eventually I’ll just have it in the back of my mind instead of the front of my mind.

The only downside with having some time to get ready is that I have time to get ready. I have the time think about what I want to do before surgery or to have with me in the hospital. I have time to do a lot of research and read the good recovery stories along with the bad ones. I have time to think about what this will mean for the rest of my life. Since they are taking out my gallbladder, my diet will need to change a bit. And for the time that my liver regenerates, I’m sure I’ll have a restricted diet too. And after surgery, I will have scars on my stomach for the rest of my life. The scars on my hip have faded to the point you can’t see them anymore, so maybe the ones on my stomach will do the same. But I will always know that they will be there.

I’m going to try to limit the number of posts I do about the upcoming surgery. I’ll do posts when I have updates or appointments so you all know what is happening with me. But this surgery is just a minor roadblock in my life. Once I get through it, things will be different but I will be fine. This is just another crazy story that I will be able to tell one day at a party (I’m sure saying I had a tumor the size of a baby’s head taken out of my liver will be a good cocktail party story one day).

I’ve got about 2 months to go before this is all pretty much behind me and I can just focus on recovering from surgery, getting back to my normal life, and moving forward.

My First 2017 Monthly Challenge (or Working On My Tumors)

It’s a new year and I’ve got a new year of monthly challenges! I did buy the Volt Planner for 2017 and I’m very happy that it’s a similar set up to what the 2016 planner was like. There are still the weekly and monthly goal setting pages as well as the monthly challenges. And I plan on doing a new monthly challenge each month just like I did last year!

I think that having the goals and challenges really did help to keep me accountable and focused on doing things to better myself. It’s one thing to say that I’ll be doing something, but to have a list in a planner where I can see what I set out to do is another. Having it on paper makes me want to make sure I don’t slack because I hate to see unchecked boxes on my goals and challenges pages in the planner. It’s the perfectionist in me that makes me want to get something done if I write it down in a planner.

I’ll admit that January 1st got here much quicker than expected so I didn’t have as much time dedicated to planning out my challenge for the month as I would have liked. There are some big ideas for challenges that I have for this year, but some of them involve planning or setting things in place that I didn’t have time to do for this month. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some of my big ideas later this year, but it will have to wait. But there was one thing that I started doing at the end of the year that I knew I wanted to continue to do this year and dedicate time to working on it.

While I know that I will need to have liver surgery no matter what, there are things that I can do to hope that the surgery and recovery will be easier. And one of those things is to have the tumors shrink. There is no medical way that I can do this (they aren’t cancerous tumors so I don’t need chemo or radiation to shrink them), but I can still work on doing it on my own. I’m a believer in the power of positive thinking and I’ve been trying to think that my tumors are shrinking every day.

My mom did the same thing when she had cancer, and her journey to being cancer free went much easier than most people thought it would be. She imagined her body healing every single night and I believe that doing that helped her so much. So I’m doing the same with my tumors. I had been doing this before the new year, but I still decided to make it my monthly challenge to make sure that I do this every day.

Like most of my challenges, I’m using the reminder app on my phone to alert myself every day to dedicate time to doing this. I’m not using my mediation app for this, but I’m thinking about doing that because there is a silent timed mediation option within the app. But for now, I’m just focusing on how I imagine the tumors getting smaller for a few minutes every single day.

It’s not a huge thing for me to do, but I know that doing it will only benefit me in the long run. And making sure that I do dedicate time every day for this will help me not to slack off and forget. I really do love having all the reminders in my phone going off throughout the day so I don’t zone out and then realize the entire day has gone by without me getting anything done. I feel silly that I hadn’t been taking advantage of those prior to the monthly challenges because they are so easy to set up. But at least now I have them and I am always adding more to my reminder list.

While this challenge is a smaller one, I’m really excited to have another full year of these challenges. From the ones that I set up last year, most of them are still things that I do every single day. I have slacked off on a few (mainly the yoga and mindfulness before eating ones but I’m working on that), but most of them have become habits and my day doesn’t feel complete until I accomplish them. And I know that building a few new good habits every year will add up and be something really great for me for the rest of my life.

Here’s to another year of monthly challenges and hopefully using my mind to get my tumors to shrink before my next MRI and we make my surgery plan!

My 2017 Goals (or I Know This Year Will Be Amazing!)

It’s the beginning of 2017 and I’m ready to make this year so amazing! I have a lot of things happening this year and while they are not all great things I know that I can do incredible things even with the struggles I know the year will bring. As always, I don’t set resolutions because I don’t feel like those have a long-term feeling. I like to set goals for what I can get done in the year and I’m ready to share my 2017 goals with you all.

My first goal is a fitness related one. I didn’t quite make my fitness goal for 2016, but I’m still trying to do better than that goal. This year, I want to do 181 workouts at Orangetheory. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. First, I only did 177 workouts last year so this is 4 more than what I did before. But also, with my liver surgery, I may need to take several weeks off of working out. Because of that, I will have to do more 4 workout weeks before surgery and after I recover. But I’d love to make 4 workout weeks more of the norm so setting a goal of 181 workouts is a great way to push myself to do that.

My next goal is to get through my liver surgery as easily as possible. I know that this will be hard to do since I have no clue how my body will react to surgery and recovery. But I am a big believer in the power of positive thought and that’s what I’ll be doing. When I had my hip surgery, I was in the gym the next day on the recumbent bike working out because I was told that moving would be good for me. So my plan is to think that I will be able to get through surgery with few problems. I will have to spend some time at the hospital after surgery, but with positive thinking I’m hoping the time will be as limited as it can be. I know this will be a painful process, but I still want to focus on the positives and hoping that the pain will be manageable and that I will have a fast recovery.

The next goal is to continue on my journey through recovery and to reduce my binge episodes even more. I know that setting a goal to eliminate binges is setting myself up for failure, but to even reduce the average to be one fewer a week would be awesome! I want to continue to reading my recovery books to be inspired and get my brain in a place where recovery is possible. This isn’t an easy goal, but I’m excited to see what progress I can make this year.

Next are money related goals. I have a number that I want to get my debt below this year. I’m not sharing that publicly because that won’t mean much to everyone else, but it will be a reduction of about 25% of the debt I currently have. I would love it to be lower, but because I am not making a ton of money right now I know that I must have slightly realistic goals. And along with that, I would not only like to pay down my debt but I would also like to have some savings as well. I don’t want to have to use my credit card for unexpected expenses like car problems or wanting to buy things like my Disneyland pass. If I had savings, I could use that for those expenses while still being able to pay down debt.

I also have a goal of hopefully setting a PR again in my 5K race time. I have 2 races planned for this year so hopefully I can PR at one or both of them! I plan on increasing how long my running intervals are so that should hopefully help to make getting a PR easier for me. I’m not as focused on increasing my speed right now, but maybe that will be something I work on toward the end of the year for future PRs.

And my last goal (which I seem to set each year) is to have more fun. I’m even trying to make my liver surgery fun by telling my friends that they will have to come and visit me in the hospital so I can have a good time there. I plan on continuing my adventures to Disneyland and Universal Studios and hopefully having more fun random outings. There is so much stuff in LA that I haven’t done yet even though I’ve lived here for almost 16 years and I want to have more fun in the city I call home.

So that’s it for my goals for 2017. I think I’ve set some really good ones and I’m excited to do my best to accomplish them all! And I hope that at the end of December, I look back at this post and am proud of what I got done. But for now, I’m just happy to start working on all of these and checking things off throughout the year!

Health and Not Weight Loss (or My Current Game Plan)

Since getting sick, I’ve lost a pretty significant amount of weight. This is a good thing since I’ve been working on losing weight and I’m pleasantly surprised that the weight has stayed off. Typically when I lose weight quickly like I did, it comes back just as quickly as it came off. But this time has been different and I’m starting to be ok with that and not in constant fear that the scale is going to jump up like crazy the next day.

It does freak me out that many people are commenting on my weight loss. I’m hearing it from so many people lately. I know it’s a good thing, but I still feel like I didn’t earn it. But I’m trying to just accept that now I’ve been keeping the weight off even though I’m not sick anymore and focusing on that.

While I am trying to lose weight, I’ve decided that it isn’t my focus right now. I’m basically preparing my body for surgery now and I take that very seriously. When I was preparing to have my hip surgery, I did the UCLA RFO diet to lose weight. Being at a low weight was good for that surgery since it was helping to make my joints have less weight on them while I was recovering. But I still hate that I lost and gained that weight so quickly. But that was the best option at the time to get my body ready for surgery.

I’m really working on the physical part of surgery preparation. And yes, that does involve working on weight loss but that is more of an after thought for me. I know that this surgery will be tough on my core, so I want to get my core as strong as I can. After surgery, I won’t be able to do any core or abdominal work for a while as I heal. So being extra strong there will help with that. Being flexible will help too since I know I won’t be able to bend like normal for a bit of time too, so I’m working on stretching a lot and making sure I won’t have a hard time when I’m not able to move around as much.

I’m doing this by pushing myself even more at Orangetheory. I know I won’t be able to work out like normal right after surgery, so I want to make as much progress as I can now so the setback won’t be as bad. I’m looking into more workout stuff I can do at home that will help get my body ready for this. And I’m working harder than ever on my eating disorder recovery because that will help with the weight loss aspect of preparation. I know that the smaller I am the easier the surgery will be. The surgeon will have an easier time getting the tumors out and my scars should be smaller. Those are good things to focus on when I’m having a bad moment.

And there is a lot of mental preparation I’m doing to get ready to have surgery next year. Right now, the only thing I need to focus on is hoping the tumors get smaller. The smaller the tumors are, the less of my liver that they will have to remove (which means less liver I need to regenerate). My mom is a big believer of how much thinking positively can do to help your body. When she was dealing with chemo and radiation, she spent time each day imagining that little Pac-Men (that’s what she called them) were going to her tumor and eating it away.

I can’t see Pac-Men in my liver working on my tumor, but I have my own thing. For some reason, when I think of my tumor getting smaller, I think of the Dwarfs in Snow White with their pickaxes. So I spend time each day thinking of them using their pickaxes and busting up the tumor. I know that the tumor won’t go away completely from this positive thinking, but I’d love to see them significantly smaller when I have my next MRI in April.

I’m doing whatever I can to make this surgery successful. I’m grateful that I have time to get my body and mind prepared as much as possible. I know that even if I’m not as skinny as I was during my hip surgery, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be healthier than how I was back then. Health is the focus because that is what will control how successful the surgery is and how easy my recovery will be after.

Tumor Updates (or I’ve Got A Plan For My Liver)

It’s been an interesting adventure so far with my liver. In the past month, I’ve gone from thinking my liver was fine to thinking I had a cyst to finding out I had a tumor. Since I had no symptoms of the tumor, I’ll admit I was pretty shocked to find out it existed. But I was set up with a great medical team and my doctor has been very persistent in trying to figure this all out.

Before Thanksgiving, I went in for another MRI. This time, it was a different type of dye they used so they could figure out what type of tumor was in my liver. I knew I’d be meeting with my liver surgeon the Monday after Thanksgiving so I assumed that I would find out answers then. But on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got a call from my OB/GYN (who was trained by my dad and has known my family for a while). She told me she had been following my medical records and saw that there was a report about my last MRI.

They officially declared that my tumor is an adenoma. This is the type of tumor that is a rare side effect from being on hormonal birth control. So my OB/GYN called me to tell me to stop taking my birth control pill because we didn’t want the tumor to get any bigger. She also told me on the call that they actually found out I have 3 tumors in my liver (the big one plus 2 small ones). She was able to send me the MRI report so my family and I could read it and she also talked to my dad to fill him in. We learned a lot by reading the MRI report (thankfully I have so many medical people in my family), but we were all still curious what the liver surgeon would say.

When I finally met with him on Monday, he pretty much agreed with everything we already heard. Yes, I have 3 tumors and they are all adenomas. He was happy to hear that I had already stopped my birth control and he explained my options. I could choose to not have the tumors out, but there is a very small chance that one day they could become cancerous and a larger chance that they could rupture and cause internal bleeding. Also, I could not get pregnant while the tumors are in there (pregnancy makes the tumors bigger and more likely to rupture). Or I could choose to get them out and have liver surgery that will take out 2 of the tumors (one isn’t in a spot where they could remove it right now) and then deal with recovery from surgery.


That large circle with the line through it is the tumor. It’s pretty large (almost the size of an iPhone) and covers a good portion of my left liver. The other tumors aren’t seen in this image but one is below the large tumor and the other is more toward the middle of my liver.

To me, it’s no question. I’m going to have surgery to get the tumors out. Even though the risk of the tumors becoming cancerous is very very small, I don’t want that risk (the chance of me getting these tumors to begin with was very small so I’m not a fan of odds right now). Also, I do hope that one day I will be married and want to have kids so I need the tumors out to have a safe pregnancy in the future.

Fortunately, nothing needs to be rushed right now. I’m not at a very high risk of rupture for the tumors (although I have been told to be careful with any trauma to my abdomen) and I don’t plan on being pregnant anytime soon. I was able to make a plan with the liver surgeon that I’m happy with right now. I need to stay off the hormonal birth control so we can see if the tumors will shrink at all (and I’ll be getting a copper IUD very soon to make sure I don’t get pregnant). In the spring, I will be getting a new MRI to see if the tumors are smaller and then I’ll meet with the surgeon.

And sometime in late April or early May I will be having my liver surgery. They will take out those 2 tumors (and maybe if the tumors shrink they can take out all 3) plus about 25% of my liver. And since I already need to have my gallbladder out, they said they could probably do that in the same surgery! I’m happy to know that I can do 2 surgeries at once.

It’s not an easy surgery to recover from. This will be much more difficult than my hip surgery or my tonsils coming out. I’ll need to stay at the hospital for a few nights and will take some time to get back to normal. And even though my liver will grow back (it’s one of the few organs that can do that), that will also take time and may be a bit uncomfortable or painful for a few months.

Even with all the negatives that the surgery may bring, I feel very confident in my choice to have the tumors out. I understand that I don’t have to do it, but in my mind having the surgery is the only reasonable option. Unless something crazy happens, I probably won’t have any more liver updates until my next MRI in the spring, but I promise to keep you all updated. One thing I’ve learned while researching liver adenomas is that there aren’t a ton of stories out there like mine. So I want to share the journey in case someone else has the same situation to help them feel less freaked out by it all.

Meeting A Surgeon (or Working On My Liver)

After I found out that there might be a cyst on my liver, there have been a couple of different medical tests I’ve had to do. I had to do another MRI with contrast and some more blood work (both things involved needles) so that the doctors could figure out what was going on. I knew that there was something wrong (I didn’t believe that the situation could just be one big mistake), but until this week I really didn’t know exactly what was happening. I just knew that something didn’t look normal but nothing looked so horrible that I had to rush to get tests done.

I tried to avoid looking things up online because if there was a cyst there are so many types of cysts that I don’t know what to look for. And if it wasn’t a cyst, I had no clue what it could be so trying to research things was pretty pointless. I figured that when I met with the surgeon I had to meet I could ask him all my questions and try to understand what was going on. I made a decent list of questions to ask him and went to my first consultation with this surgeon this past Monday.

The first thing that I learned was that I don’t have a cyst in my liver. I actually have a benign (non-cancerous) tumor in there. I know that the word tumor sounds bad, but this may actually be better than having a cyst in my liver. The tumor is both inside and on the outside of my liver and it’s pretty large (not as large as they thought, but still close to half the size of my liver). This is not an urgent situation and I’m not in any pain, so there’s no need for me to panic.

This tumor is likely one of two types of tumor. One type doesn’t have to be removed and is a relatively common type of benign liver tumor. The other type is a rare type of liver tumor that is almost only seen in women around my age who take birth control. The tumor is a side effect of the birth control hormones (but a very rare side effect) and it would need to be removed. Because the tumor doesn’t present like how either of those types of tumors look, I have to do some more medical testing. But I did get a good laugh out of the fact that my tumor is not typical since it seems like all my medical issues present as atypical and I’d expect nothing less from this.

The surgeon I met with was really amazing. He was fine answering all my crazy questions I had and let me take pictures of the MRI images so that I could show them to my family. And he was explaining as much as possible about the tumor to me. It’s tough to explain it when he’s not sure what type of tumor it is, but he did his best. I’m really happy that this is the surgeon that I randomly got paired with to work with on this. Some doctors don’t understand my need to understand things as detailed as I do, but he was almost happy to find out that I want to know things and make educated decisions.

While I was hoping that at this appointment I would get a proper diagnosis, plan, and find out if I need surgery; I’m ok with this just being the first step in whatever this journey ends up being. It’s going to either be something to monitor for the rest of my life or be a surgery sometime next year so I’m not in a rush. I want to make sure everything is understood before decisions are made and that’s what’s happening. I’m hoping I’ll have the additional testing (which will be another MRI and possibly one more test) in the next week so that I can have some better answers by Thanksgiving. That way I can discuss things with my parents in person (they help me make all major medical decisions since they worked in that field).

No matter what type of tumor this ends up being, I’m going to be fine. There is no reason anyone should worry about me. I’m not in any pain (my stomach pain had nothing to do with this and was possibly a really severe stomach flu) and there are no restrictions on my lifestyle right now. I can do everything I’ve been doing and I don’t need to worry about this hurting me or causing major issues right now. While it’s not great to have something in your body that isn’t supposed to be there, this isn’t a huge deal and whatever ends up being the plan will be just fine. I promise to keep you all updated as I have more information!

Ten Years Ago (or Another Big Milestone)

Ten years ago was my hip surgery. I’ve had very few surgeries in my life (eye surgery as a baby, wisdom teeth out 16 years ago, and tonsils out about 7 years ago), but there is no question that the biggest and most impactful one was my hip surgery.

Ten years ago I was wheeled into the operating room after signing paperwork that was pretty scary. I had to sign something that said I understood that undergoing surgery could make my condition worse, not fix it at all, or kill me. I had to sign medical power of attorney paperwork in case I was in a vegetative state and couldn’t make decisions on my own. I had to sign my right hip a few times so that the surgeons would operate on the correct hip. This was all pretty overwhelming for me since I still felt like these were things my parents should do for me (I was 22 when I had my surgery so I was an adult).

For my surgery, my parents came to town to take care of me (one of the few times my dad took off work for something other than a vacation) and my mom did her best to keep me calm when my IV was put in my hand. Both my parents came back to give me a hug and a kiss before I was wheeled back and I gave them my valuables to hold. The surgery took several hours, but it felt like it only took a second for me. And I remember every moment until the time they put the drugs in my IV to knock me out and then again from the moment I woke up (I think I might have woken up faster than they expected because they were still removing my foot from the surgery boot when I started asking them how it went).

I remember how scary it was from the time I was injured until my surgery because of all of the unknowns. I was misdiagnosed for a while and when I finally met with my hip surgeon I had to have an MRI to confirm my injury. I remembered him telling me that if the pain in my hip went away during the MRI (the saline they used to open up my hip had some numbing medicine in it), that I would need to have surgery because that’s where my injury was. When the pain went away almost immediately, I burst into tears. It was great to finally have an answer after being in blinding pain for so many months, but the idea of surgery terrified me. But it really was one of the best things to have happened to me.

Recovery from surgery wasn’t easy. I hated being on the crutches and I had to be on painkillers around the clock for almost 2 weeks to not wake up in the middle of the night in pain that was almost as bad as the pre-surgery pain. But I did get to the gym about 24 hours after surgery to ride an exercise bike (I’m so glad my dad was there to help me on and off the bike) and I was almost fully recovered within a few months of the surgery.

10 years later, I would say I’m about 95% recovered. I will probably never fully recover because some of my flexibility and range of motion are gone from how things were corrected. And I don’t know if I will ever be pain-free again like I was before the injury. But I’m in better shape now than I was then (even if I weigh more now) and I’m running which is something I didn’t believe could ever be possible for me!

I’m aware of the reality of my physical limitations and the fact that I will still be needing more surgeries in the future. But this 10 year anniversary of my surgery is a huge marker for me. My surgeon was pretty sure I’d need my second surgery within 3 years and I know that while he was hopeful that I wouldn’t need a hip replacement before I was 40 he thought I might need one within 10 years. I know that I’ve exceeded all expectations that were given to me and I have no clue why I’ve been that lucky. Even at my last surgeon appointment where I met with a new surgeon, my hips look better now then they did last year (which is basically impossible since I am always putting pressure on my bones).

Yes, there are days that I am mad that I was born with this birth defect and even mad that my right hip started to hurt when I was 21 and didn’t wait until I was older. But I also have no idea how my life would have gone if I hadn’t had this problem when I did. My biggest weight loss, while not maintainable, happened because of this surgery. I knew I needed to be at a lower weight for the surgery and I did it. And it did put me in a different mindset than I ever was. And I worked on strengthening my body to support my hip before and after surgery and that is what got me working out more often. And I even started running because I decided I was done with being super careful about high-impact activities (although I will still stay away from ones that have a high fall risk like skiing or ice skating). My life would not be what it is if I didn’t have to have this surgery 10 years ago.

It’s crazy to think that this was 10 years ago. I told a friend recently that it felt like it was last month and a million years ago at the same time. I don’t really remember a time before my hip issues but I’ve also forgotten about how bad the pain was before the surgery. Hopefully I won’t need anything else to be done for the next 10 years, but I’m also in a place now where I know I’ve done more in the past 10 years than any surgeon thought I could and whatever happens now happens.


Another Year Another Orthopedic Surgeon (or Not Worrying About My Hips As Much)

I wrote last year how I was meeting a new hip surgeon because my original hip surgeon had left the hospital I go to (I loved my original surgeon and wished he was still with Kaiser). At the appointment last year I was told that some of the issues I had been told I have in the past weren’t quite correct and there were other issues that I needed to worry about.

I left that appointment a bit confused. I tried to be ok with the idea that I had the wrong diagnosis originally and that there was a new plan in place. But the more I looked up hip dysplasia (what the new surgeon told me I had), the less it made sense to me. I don’t have the same pain and walking issues that dysplasia patients have. I know that I had bone spurs and torn cartilage because it was seen on the MRI and that is the surgery I had. I couldn’t understand how my original surgeon could have missed something so big when he operated on me and examined my hip so many times. And lastly, I hated the surgery options that the new surgeon gave to me when I looked more into them. One of them had a very extensive recovery and it still would be a hold over until I had a total hip replacement.

With all this confusion in my head, I decided that I really wanted to get another opinion and another treatment plan figured out. My Wednesday Orangetheory coach, JZ, has a similar hip issue that I have (but hers is much less severe and she was able to treat it with stem cells). She was going to refer me to her doctor, but he wasn’t Kaiser and I wasn’t going to go outside of my insurance. But then JZ told me that a guy who sometimes works out in her Wednesday class is an orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser and introduced us. He doesn’t specialize in hips, so he couldn’t meet with me. But he got me a referral with the hip specialist at Kaiser Panorama City (where he works). While I don’t love having to drive so far to meet a doctor, I figured that it was worth my time to see what was going on.

I had my appointment this week on Tuesday and things couldn’t have gone better for me! First in my appointment was another set of x-rays. The x-ray techs were super nice to me and laughed because I knew exactly what positions I had to get my body into for the next x-ray (I had 4 taken).

After the x-rays, I went back to the exam room and waited for the doctor. It seemed like it took forever for him to come back and I started to panic a bit. I was worried that it was taking so long because there was something really bad in my x-rays and he was trying to figure out how to break it to me. But when he finally came into the room, he seemed to be all smiles.

He started by asking me my history and what my original and secondary diagnoses were. We discussed the surgery I had (which was almost 10 years ago!) and the treatment plans that I got from the original surgeon and the one I met last year. Finally, he asked me about the pain that I’m feeling in each of my hips and he did a quick exam to test the rotations on my hips.

After that, he brought up my x-rays and said that my right hip specifically looks much better than it did last year which is not something that he would have expected to see based on my history.

Hip X-Rays

(last year is on the top and this week is on the bottom)

He said that the arthritis is still showing in my right hip and you can see where the points are that are worse off. But he said that if I did have hip dysplasia, it is so mild that I don’t need to treat it. He pretty much agreed with what my original surgeon said felt like I was doing a pretty great job so far. My hips look as good as could be expected (or maybe better since the space in my hip socket is better now than a year ago). He did discuss how I need to lose weight (I know that and explained to him that I’m working on recovery from an eating disorder) in order to keep my hips as healthy as possible. He also discussed potential knee issues that I could have down the line, but honestly right now I’m only worried about my hips.

This surgeon said that the only surgeries that he could see me needing in the future are hip replacements (no alternatives to total hip replacements will work for me). But he doesn’t see me needing them anytime soon so I don’t need to worry. When I feel like I’m in so much pain that I can’t keep going, then replacements will be the next step. But for now I can keep doing what I’m doing, keep taking my anti-inflamatories (I take ibuprofen for pain and Zyflamend as a daily supplement), and I’m going to start taking Glucosamine to see if that helps. But this surgeon pretty much said that he expects that he will be retiring before I need my next surgery so it’s likely that this will be the only time I see him.

I left Kaiser feeling better than I have in a while! I don’t have any negative feelings toward the doctor from last year, but I’m glad that he wasn’t right in what he said. Knowing that my original diagnosis was correct and that I’m not in need of surgery any time soon is a great feeling! Of course, I wish I wasn’t in any pain and didn’t need any surgeries but that isn’t my reality.

The only thing that bugged me a bit is there really isn’t anything for me to do know for the pain I feel. The pressure and pain that I feel in my right hip is from the arthritis and that will be that way until I get the replacement. It would be awesome if the doctor had said that there was something I could do now or a medication that I could take to make all the pain stop now.

Overall, this was exactly what I wanted this appointment to be. I was told that my original plan was the right plan and that I’m doing everything right for now. This took such a huge weight and stress off of me and I’m just so grateful that I can put my hip fears out of my mind and just focus on pain management when needed and continuing to be as active as I can!

Another Week In Workouts (or Finally Able To Do Some Jumping Jacks)

First of all, if this post is a little crazy, I apologize. I’m writing this after having been up for 38 hours straight. I’ll write about that soon, but for now, I’m doing another weekly recap of workouts!

In my sleep deprived state, I really can’t remember a ton of specifics about each workout this week. But there is one thing that totally sticks out in my mind.

Pretty much since 2005, I haven’t been able to do jumping jacks. 2005 is when my hip issues started. And honestly I don’t know the time prior to 2005 that I ever did any.

Before my hip surgery, everything was just too painful to try any higher impact activities. And right after my surgery, I had to avoid them as the bone healed from where the bone spur was removed.

I had been warned for several years in follow-up visits that high impact activities can cause my other hip to go bad quicker or to need a hip replacement quicker. So I did modifications for most high impact things (or avoided them all together).

When I used to workout with Richard Simmons, modifications were easy to find. He would always do several types of modifications (including some for the people who worked out while in chairs). So I was fine doing them there.

At SoulCycle, it wasn’t as much modification, but more avoiding specific motions that aggravated my hips. Since I didn’t have to find a new way to do something, that was easy too.

But at Orangetheory, modifications aren’t always given (they are given a lot though). And sometimes I have had to remind the trainer that I’m not able to do that specific motion that they have asked us to do.

But as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been pushing myself to do more and more things. Part of it is that I’m getting stronger, and the other part is that I’m no longer living in fear of hurting my hips quicker (but I still am avoiding things like skiing or ice skating that are really dangerous for me to do). I’ve done jump squats (and it turns out I can jump pretty high!), plank jacks, and mountain climbers.

And for the first time this week, I did jumping jacks!

They weren’t pretty but they were done. I think we only had to do 10 at a time so that wasn’t too horrible. And I did take it easy on the second round of them.

But the point is that I did them! I’m sure if my hip surgeon is reading this he wouldn’t be thrilled about it, but like I said, I can’t live in fear of hurting my hips. I’ve pretty much been told that these other surgeries are going to happen eventually, so I can’t put them off forever.

I wish I could tell you more about the workout this week, but honestly my mind is so foggy right now (I’m writing this at 9pm on Sunday night and I’ve been awake since 7am Saturday morning). But I wanted to make sure that I got my Monday Workout Recap out to you all!

More Hip Problems (or Thinking Out Of Order)

After my 5K, my right hip was pretty wrecked. I could barely walk, and when I did my hip kept locking and I couldn’t put my right foot flat on the ground (I was walking on the outside edge of my foot).

This terrified me. I was taking all my usual painkillers, but by Sunday things had just gotten worse. I could only walk if I was balancing against a wall and not putting much weight on my right side.

All this time, I assumed that the next part of my journey with my hip issues would be to have the surgery on my left hip that has already been done on my right. And then the steps after that would eventually be hip replacements. That’s pretty much the order that things were explained to me. In fact, my surgeon didn’t think I would make it 5 years after my first surgery before I needed the surgery on my left side (this was almost 8 years ago).

So for forever, I’ve been cautious about how my left hip felt. I got nervous with any pain and if things just didn’t feel right.

I never thought that maybe the next step in my surgeries would be on my right side again.

I talked to my parents about it and we all thought that I should wait to see if the pain went away on its own. It’s now Tuesday as I type this and while the pain isn’t gone, it has gotten better. I’m not rushing to make an appointment with my surgeon just yet, but I’m thinking differently now.

I have another 5K coming up this month and I’ll see how I feel after it. Maybe it was just this one 5K with the long time standing still and the elevation changes that made me hurt so bad. Maybe it was because I wasn’t prepared for the hills (like I am with the weSPARK 5K).

It has just thrown me since for so long, I’ve tried to ignore any pain I feel on my right side. I’ve almost considered having some pain normal now. I know that things aren’t exactly how they should be in my body and to me, expecting pain doesn’t seem weird. But now I’m going to pay way more attention to all those twinges of pain.

They could be a sign that I might need my next surgery on my right hip sooner than I hoped (I really didn’t want to have to have a hip replacement before I turn 40 and that’s kind of what my surgeon said to me as well). There’s not much I can do to prevent all of this. I just have to accept it as it is (which I have done) and know what’s best for my body.

Now I’m glad I didn’t make a goal of a certain number of 5Ks for this year so I can focus on low or no impact workouts (like spinning).