John 15

John 15
‘I am the vine, you are the branches'

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hip Dysplasia Awareness Gear

I have been actively trying to blog my experience to educate others about hip dysplasia. People that have finally received the diagnosis of hip dysplasia often have endured pain for well over a decade. Symptoms of dysplasia evade many medical professionals in the community to include hip orthopedics. Those of us with this diagnosis have very similar symptoms and pain patters.  It mystifies me how this diagnosis can go undetected in so many of us for so long. 

I have meet some amazing ladies on the Facebook PAO board.  Each person has their own unique story and trials.  Amongst this very inspirational group are a few that have decided to use their talent to help increase Hip Dysplasia Awareness.  Below are the links to their page.  A percentage of their profits goes towards hip dysplasia research. 

PAO Tough - PAO Chick Handmade Jewlery on etsy

Hip Dysplasia Bracelets on Brava

Why the PAO Surgery is Necessary

I am not going to rehash my story here... I have about 40 blog postings that already do that.  What I do want to focus on is why this surgery is necessary.  After diagnosis, I was connected with a highly knowledgeable hip PT specialist.  What this guy is able to do with hips is hands down genius. Even better, he takes the time to verbally explain and visually show you how this situation is structural.

In hip dysplasia, the femoral head does not sit in the hip socket correctly. This prevents certain neurotransmitters in the brain from firing because our femoral head connection to hip socket is not flush. Instead, of the glutes muscles firing to hold our hips in place, other muscles in our body fire to compensate. This is why the majority of people with hip pain also experience muscle pain in different locations of their body.

The day this concept really hit home for me was when my PT placed a band in the crease of my upper thigh and torso area.  He then pulled on this band from the back and had me do a squat.  After about my 4th squat, the light bulb went off, I actually felt that squat in my glutes instead of my quads.  He also did other moves through manual therapy that reinforced all the muscle problems I am now having is truly because of my dysplastic hips.

Having dysplastic hips is similar to driving your car across a poorly designed bridge.  One day that bridge is just going to give out from the poor design and wear and tear.  Dysplastic hips are essentially the same concept. One day, they are going to give out from repeated stress.

You can try and train your muscles to force fire, but at some point, the joint itself is going to wear down and osteoarthritis may set in.  Likewise, tired muscles become angry and create trigger points. These trigger points can cause a slew of problems; pain, atrophy, additional weakness, etc. This is why the PAO surgery is recommended for people that have hip dysplasia. It structurally sets the hips in the right position, as close as possible, preventing any further damage to the joint and structurally aligning our body thus relieving those overworked muscles.  Once the bone grafts back together, pain subsides by correct alignment and muscle firing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pre-PAO Surgery Mind Games

I really do love my mind, on most days that is.  I consider myself to be a pretty happy, systematic, drive person.  Naturally, when it comes to such a big surgery as this, I want to execute it as streamlined as possible. Let me say here and now, last laugh on me.  Remember, God is in control and all my perfect plans are really his plans?  Sometimes I forget that and he ever so gently reminds me.  I have to step aside and trust him.  Each day that passes, I become more and more humbles as I learn this.

Therefore, I think it's natural for anyone to second guess a surgery as big as this.  As I draw closer to my surgery date, my mind definitely started playing tricks on me.  The first trick, that I am normal. My mind decides to reason with my brain that my drastically alternated life is really normal.  That excessive sitting is the new in, modifying your every move has become cool and that my bones are really normal.  I don't need this.... I can get better without surgery, I can do this, I can outsmart my body...

About 3 weeks from my surgery date I start to do some serious 2nd guessing.  This isn't a simple put down, cut, tweak and out procedure.  There will be some major muscle de/reattachment, nerve protection, bone cutting going on.  Caveman like tools will be used by my surgeon to make these cuts into my skin and bone.  Any surgery that needs an epidural in addition to anesthesia has to rate pretty high on the major surgery list; especially when during your Pre-OP you get the tone inflection PAO surgery 10 octect raise from the nurse. I am not an idiot... I just heard that in your voice. Anyway, a portable x-ray machine will be placed over me so as the surgeon breaks my pelvic bone in 3 sections and takes my hip apart like a bad puzzle he can reassemble it correctly with screws.  That brings a whole new definition to being "screwed".  Don't worry- I will post pre and post PAO pictures and the screw part will make more sense; that is unless you care to watch the video "Explaining PAO Surgery" under helpful links.

Ironically, the day I was seriously thinking that I could rehab without this surgery, my hip gave out. This is after being in PT twice a week with a hip specialist, dry needle twice a week, and trigger point injections once a week to manage my muscles and pain. To put this even in more perspective, I have hit my 50th dry needle visit, used all 98 allowable PT appointments through my insurance, charge Trigger Point Injections to my insurance company like a rich girl going on a shopping spree without batting an eye lash, and have sunk at least 3,000 dollars of my own money in alternative care to not do this.  As I've told every doctor and PT person before, I just moved.  That's the thing with hip dysplasia. There is no rhyme or reason when the pain comes. You can't beat it or outsmart it.. I HAVE TRIED.

Bless my dear friends heart, her name I will leave out, but she knows who she is.  That very day she called right after it happened and immediately could tell something was wrong. So, what do super friends do, they barge in your house unannounced.  Awkward moment, she finds me on the living room floor in tears with a crayola marker in my hand dotting my leg with just underwear and my shirt on. Too bad they weren't superwoman undies... I think I will get some of those. Superwoman got bolted ... I was in such pain that I didn't care.   The marker was pink by the way... have to have some cuteness while in pain.

Now, this is the type of girl that has an answer for everything... You don't mess with her. She is country and smart.. Not that us city folk aren't, but there is something different about country girls. They have a way of setting everything straight. They are doers... Her husband has sworn her off from fixen' her own car, funny part- she could do it.  Yet, she had no answer for this situation.  All's she could do is look beyond the fact that I was sitting in my underwear with a crayola marker in tears and emotionally pick me back up.

Luck was on my side that day as I had Trigger Point Injections with my physiastrist.  I have been very open to his PA doing the injections so that she can learn, as I have plenty of them to practice on. So, that day when I told his nurse no, he has to do the injections he new something was wrong; I am all about training the next generation.

In he walks with 3 large syringes and with tears streaming down my face he starts injecting my leg. That day, my left leg took all 3 syringes.  Normally he has some left for my right and upper neck area.  Well, because of my body weight, he can only give me a certain amount of lidoacane.  I thought about begging for a 4th needle to take home; insurance just in case.  I really do think with all the hours of injections I've had, I could be an honorary member to inject myself.  Diabetics do...

My point with all this is, even with all the PT and personal therapies I invested in I could not out-run this surgery.  I could not make my muscles compensate for dysplastic hips.  So, I write this because one day, another person facing this surgery will feel the exact same way... 2nd guess the surgery when they are feeling good, thinking they have outsmarted it... but it's only a matter of time...

Pre OP Jitters

After coming down with a pretty nasty cold/sinus infection, I made it to my PRE OP day and passed initial screening.  Seven hours of driving for a one hour appointment... EPIC.  What I do have to say is Duke has it together.  I am not normally a germ-a-phone, but I have become ONE OF THOSE before surgery.  Three kids, all in school, cold and flu season and a 3 month waiting list to get this surgery done... I was not looking forward to setting foot into a hospital.  All this technology, can't this be done over skype? Traveling lab techs? I am down with that.  

So back to why Duke has their act together.  From the moment I checked in until I was called back, I only had to wait 5 minutes in the waiting area. From that point on, I was given my own room and all necessary personnel came to me; anesthesiologist, nurse, lab tech. I couldn't have been more thankful that I didn't have to walk all over the hospital passing potentially sick people.  I think it makes sense... more hospital should do this, maybe they do?  

I didn't picture myself being holed up in my house like a prisoner until surgery date.  I kind of envisioned myself going about my normal life until then... but given the circumstances I am willing to self isolate.  Dr Olson doesn't have the best of availability and it would be another 3+ months before I can slide back in.  I would like to be on the end of rehab, not just getting surgery. So, inside and away from people I will stay. Now just to heal stay health until November 5th... 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hip Dysplasia and the Pelvic Floor

Right around the time my symptoms of hip dysplasia set in, I also started to have pelvic floor issues. I did not see these events as related, just a series of unfortunate events as I aged.  In September of 2012, I had one really bad UTI. After that initial UTI, the symptoms never fully went away.  I circled between urgent care, my OBGYN, and PCM.  Finally my PCM sent me a to a urology clinic for further testing as my test results continued to come back negative but I still had symptoms.

At the urology clinic, a brilliant PA concluded that my pelvic floor was not working correctly.  This could be attributed to chilbirth.  In my case, my pelvic floor muscles were tightening up to protect the hip joint due to the dysplasia.

A month later, I saw a very compassionate Pelvic Floor Specialist PT.  She explained that the medical community is not aware of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and many women deal with this pain needlessly for years before seeking treatment.  Of course, this angered me.  How could OBGYN's not be aware of Pelvic Floor issues when the female reproductive system is their specialty?  I know for a fact I am not the other female to deal with this and I wouldn't doubt that they see routine patients in their office for the very same thing on a monthly basis. 

Because of this, I wanted to share my experience to educate others. To drive my point further home, this article in Science Daily states that 1 in 3 women suffer from some kind of pelvic floor issue  Further information regarding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can be read 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Become YOUR OWN Health Advocate

Let me save just a sliver of your sanity now.  BECOME YOUR OWN HEALTH ADVOCATE. The medical community truly does want to help you. However, they are bound to practice within the guidelines of the insurance company.  Below are some suggestions to better help you become your own "Health Advocate".


Understand your insurance.  I can't emphasize how important that is.  Doctors treat based off of potential diagnosis defined by the insurance company.  Understand how your insurance reimburses for medical supplies in advance or purchasing.  Familiarize yourself with their website.  Know what your co-pays are, learn who's in network and who's not, and what your maximum yearly medical expense is.


Ensure your doctor(s) document all your symptoms. Once a diagnosis is found, that documentation may be needed to prove the need for treatment.  Likewise, circle back and ask for the doctors notes.  I found that there was additional information that the doctors wrote in my notes that wasn't presented to me at my appointment.  Make copies, bring X-Ray's, MRI's, reports, and notes with to appointments.  This will save you and your insurance company money by not having redundant testing or imaging done. And, if your journey is like the rest of ours, you will more than likely see more doctors than what you can remember.  It's far easier to collect the data along the way vice trying to backtrack.


Create one main timeline of your illness and or injury and add to it outlining all previous testing, diagnosis, current symptoms, courses of treatment, etc.  This will help prevent you from forgetting pertinent information assisting your doctor to determine next course of treatment.


EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE yourself.  As potential diagnosis were suggested, I researched them and writing down any questions I had.  Don't be afraid to ask questions or be respectfully aggressive when trying to understand a diagnosis. You would be amazed at what you can come to understand when determined. 

My hip dysplasia evaded went un-diagnosed for 18 months at the onset of symptoms.  As we worked our way through various specialist, my husband suggested that we create an exclusion list of what I don't have.  This helped me to stay positive as some pretty serious testing came back negative.  

Likewise, once you have a diagnosis and settle on a course of treatment, don't be afraid to connect with other through professional forums, FB Boards, or other venues. People are more than willing to share their experience with previous doctors; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  By conversing with previous patients, I was able to educate myself on the pro's and con's of each surgeon, what to expect at my first appointment, and the hospital environment.  As nice as it is to get a referral from your main doctor, the wait would have been longer.  Instead, I was able to communicate with over 1,000 people over the weekend and had my surgeon picked out 4 days later.

Most important of all, keep trying even if there seems to be no hope.....

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”—Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red Sea Moment

In reality, this post should have been my first post.  Over the last few weeks I've tried to formulate the words in my mind to not only express gratitude towards my mentor for bringing Christ back into my life, but how much I've needed Jesus and God through this journey. I wanted to perfectly explain my love for God and how much HE has carried me through this journey...

But then tonight I laughed... here I am waiting for the perfect words to express myself.  God doesn't care about perfection.. he only cares about the love you have for him in your heart and your willingness to share his word with others.  Jesus died on the cross for our sins; God knows that we are imperfect people.   

I have come to my Red Sea Place in life where in spite of all that I can do, there is no way out.  There is no way back. There is no other way but through. I must wait on the Lord with trust.  I have lost hope many times by using my sight instead of faith. Faith works when sight ceases. God has prepared a path for us all, even if all you can see is the very next step in front of you, you'll need to move forward -- (When you need a Miracle; The Seven Secrets of Faith by Cherie Hill).

I thought I had understood life. All my carefully crafted plans were only as strong as the weakest link, in this case being me.  But as I was creating these carefully laid plans what I failed to realize is that God already had plans for me; bigger and better plan.

This journey has made me realized that what I thought was faith was a shallow attempt at me walking in faith.  Prior to this journey, it wasn't faith that has gotten me this far in life, it was my careful attention to detail and desire to execute the plans I strategically crafted out for myself. This journey has shown me that faith is much bigger than any planning I can do. Faith in God is trusting with all your heart when you see no way out, when life is wearing thin, when then only person that can provide a way out for whatever situation you are in is him.

To walk through the Red Sea in faith requires patience. God is infinite.  His ways go beyond our understanding.  It wasn't during the day the Israelites fled through the Red Sea, it was at night.  God led them through the Red Sea at night and it was only those who had Faith in him that did not drown (Hebrews 11:29)  The same holds true for me and my situation.

"Faith is a footbridge that you don't know will hold you up over the chasm until you're forced to walk out on it." -- Nicholas Wolterstorff

I am learning to "Trust in the Lord with all my heart; to not depend on my own understanding.  Seek his will in all that I do, and he will show you which path to take" (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

By putting my trust in God and letting God take over in this journey, it has been less painful for me emotionally. God knew that I had dysplasia, but he made a path in my life to ensure I would be taken care of through my Red Sea moment. I will continue to pray that my faith in him grows and that I seek God in everything I do.  I will forever be grateful to my mentor for bringing me back to Christ and teaching me that God is a gracious person.  I  hope to return the favor one day to someone who is going through their Red Sea Moment... to let the Holy Spirit work through me bringing another person closer to Christ.