2. Dr. Clarke and Part Two

Where did we leave off.

Oh yeah January is here. I am now 28 and off to see Dr. Clarke. Just a side note Dr. Clarke is an hour and a half away from my home. So we were headed on a trip.

This is me on my birthday.Probably me at my heaviest. 

January 26 was my appointment with Dr. Clarke. If you have been counting that is a total of 5 doctors in 4 months. Let’s just say that I was not very excited to see him. They did not take any new x-rays they used the ones from October. Dr. Clarke introduced himself  to my Mom and I. Later I would find out that my Mom knew he was the right doctor from that introduction “Clarke here”.  He agreed with the other doctors yes I did need the hip replacement. However he did not want to replace it just yet. He wanted that to be the last option. This was do to my age. There are only some many times that the hip can be replaced. Yes in a 28 year old it will need to be replaced up to three times. That was scary at first but no longer concerns me.  We talked for awhile and it was decided to hold off on the hip replacement. We discussed how I should give physical therapy (pt) a shot. He also told me how important it is that I lose weight. The more weight that you carry around the middle the more pressure on your hips.  He explained that he would be willing to do the hip replacement when I could not handle the pain anymore. Or to put it as Dr. Clarke did, “When you want to go out and buy a gun and shoot someone let me know.” Deal! Dr. Clarke’s hope was that I could make it 5 years before it needed to be replaced. We left there with nothing new just deal with the pain for now. While we did leave there with a doctor that I trusted, liked and would replace my hip when the time was right. Finally, it only took 5 doctors and 4 months to find one.  Fifth and final.

Leaving Dr. Clarke’s office was hard. I thought that I was at the the point where the pain was bad enough. Well let’s just say that it was a longer ride home that day.  Got home feeling down. I would like to explain a few things.  Four months is a short amount of time to take so much news in. I was on an emotional roller coaster, since October. I hated what was happening to me. I hated that I was in pain. I was scared because my only choice was major surgery.  It just sucked. The pain just kept getting worse over the past 4 months and I was sick of it all.  I would cry myself to sleep often. I have learned that crying for me is a great stress reliever. Don’t know why but it helps. I would like to note that in my whole life I have never felt like this. I am a very positive and strong human being. Growing up with a disability has made me this way. I hated feeling like this. I loved life and everything I could do.  After saying all this I made a deal with myself after seeing Dr. Clarke. I was done feeling sorry for myself. I was going to be Blaire no matter what it would take. I also decided to try to lose some weight, couldn’t hurt right? I also was going to give pt a really shot. Since we are on that topic lets talk about pt.

My second PT visit was January 27.  My PT Joe was very understanding and loved having a younger person to work with. I worked with Joe from January 2012 to March 2012.  I think that this was the best thing that I could have done. We were meeting twice a week and working on many things. We started with simple stretching to get the joint moving and moved on to strength building.  With Joe’s help I was able to start working out three times a week. I was riding a bike, swimming and using the weights and enjoying every minute of it. Probably the most active I had been in ten years.  Little side note. It was noticed in pt that I had something called foot drop on the same side as the Hip dysplasia and CP. It just means that my toes hit the floor first not my heal. I did try out what is called a Bioness L300. This is an electric stimulation unit that picks up my foot every time I  take a step and allows my heel to strike the floor first. Oh my God do I love this thing. I am now a proud owner of Bioness. We also fixed the leg length with a heel lift in my shoe. Close to even but not just yet.  The best thing but all of this that by March the pain had decreased greatly. I was able to tie my shoe on my own for the first time in a year. The day I did that was the best day ever.  Joe decided that I was good to give it a shot on my own.  Thanks Joe for the support and helping me be me again. He told me not to be a stranger and I wouldn’t be.

For the next 4 months I worked out 3 times a week and worked as much as I could. I love teaching and loved it even more with less pain. The Bioness was evening making it easier to keep up with the little kidos. They loved learning about the Bioness and thought that it was very cool. There was a good thing thanks to all this extra activity. I was loosing weight by June I had lost 20 pounds. I was even walking laps and climbing the stairs again that’s how good I felt.  Things were good and I was happy again.  Thanks to all the hard work my right leg even felt stronger. The down side to all this activity was that the pain was coming back and was bad.   My leg would just give way while I was walking. I would get sharp shooting pains that would make me want to cry and not move. It sucked again. I had done everything that people said would make it better and it was worse. Dang it. I finally threw the towel in when I was gardening one day and that was causing me to hurt. I was not sleeping well. I may say and my Mom will too, I have a very high pain tolerance, very high. So for me to be complaining means it is really bad. I called and made an appointment with Dr. Clarke.  I was done.

June 2012 is here. June 5 headed to see Dr. Clarke. I was all set to tell him that I wanted it fixed.  The drive down gave me time to think. I can do this and it will make things better. Met with Dr. Clarke’s PA and she thought a cortisone shot would be better to try then the hip replacement at this time. I was game, but I was one up on her, Dr. Clarke in an email already told me that would not do anything. So she was going to talk to Dr. Clarke and see if he would do a cortisone shot. She also decided a new set of x-rays would be good.  While after the x-rays lets say that I got to see both the PA and Dr. Clarke at the same time. Oh man. Dr. Clarke came in and asked me what I wanted him to do. Very shyly I said “fix it”. Simply enough he said OK. Wait he just said OK. Just like that.  I was not ready for that.  We talked for awhile about how important it was that I lose more weight. We also talked about how the joint would not last forever and would need to be replaced. He did say that my CP might complicate things a little. However he did tell me that he could make my legs even. After this discussion we decided that it was a good idea to replace my hip. He asked how long I could wait. I said I could make it through the rest of the summer and we made a deal I would try to lose 40 more pounds by the surgery. With all that settled we picked a date for my RTHR Sept. 14 2012. Just over 3 months away. With a goal in hand I was willing to do anything. It was also decided that I give pt another shot and if the pain got better I was to cancel surgery. Yeah if that happened it would be a miracle.

After hearing that I was finally getting what I needed I didn’t know what to do. I was excited and scared at the same time. Holy cow I am really going to go through with this. I was ready. I can do this and I will show the world what I am made of. Over the next three months the emotional roller coaster was there. But I had learned how to deal with it. I used groups on Facebook to vent and share good news. I would talk to friends and I always had a shoulder to cry on. My mom was a great moral support during these months. Oh yeah I finally got to see the x-rays. They were bad. I am living with a half dislocated right hip. This is not a good thing, I can see why Dr. Clarke said yes.

My bad hip is on the left. You can how it is half dislocated. Pretty gross.

The rest of June flew by. School was over no longer teaching I could focus harder on losing weight. By the end of June I was down 30 pounds and only had 30 to make my goal.At the end of June I decided to start occupational therapy for my right arm and hand. Due to my CP my right arm is weaker then the left and works differently. I was also back into pt for my leg. Yeah I get to see Joe again. Let the fun times continue. So I was headed in every which direction this month. But everything was working out.

July hit and I was working out three times a week. I was using the elliptical or treadmill, riding the bike, lifting weights and swimming. I was swimming almost everyday in my own pool. It felt great, the pool is best thing going for me. I have always loved to swim.  There was a treat this month. I was going to teach Vacation Bible School. This is something I look forward to every summer. Let’s just say that it was great and not so great. I had the best time with the kids. However I was in the worst pain I had ever experienced. Even with pt I was dying. This is the moment where I knew I had made the right choice about the THR. I wanted to be able to enjoy this week, not dying in pain. The day I finished Vacation Bible School I left for a family vacation and finished PT for the second time. Bye Joe, hopefully see you after surgery. The family vacation was just what my body needed. It was a great break for my hip. I got to relax and swim as much as I wanted. Ended the month by losing a total of 37 pounds since January.

August was here only one short month until my hip replacement. Still working out like a champ. The pain was bad. I was taking Tylenol like it was going out of style. However I think I gave myself the greatest gift I could have gotten. At the end of Aug. I went and visited my sister and her family in MN. It was a great break from everything that was going on. I had so much fun with them and it once again showed me that all my hard work had payed off. Thanks to the work and my new Bioness I was able to walk around the MN state fair for 7 hours. I was on my feet for seven hours it was amazing. I would have never been able to do that with out all that hard work. I did take Tylenol every 4 hours and ibuprofen every 6 hours, but I did it. It once again just showed me how important the hip replacement was. This was such a great time. Hated saying good bye to them but had to get back home. August ended with my pre-op appointment.

Pre-op was simple. It was just an exam. Talked about what drugs I could and could not take before surgery. Learned all the fun things that I would need to do before the surgery. Like taking a disaffecting showers. Simple blood draw. While not simple on me they needed to use a pediatric needle. After all of that I started to get nervous only 2 weeks away from surgery. The days were counting done fast. We are now at the end of August.

I will need this post here. The next one will be a short one hopefully. Then the one that you are all waiting for the THR.

This is me after walking 7 hours at the MN sate fair.

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