Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Month Post Op Update

Well my weekly post-op updates didn't quite go as planned, sorry about that! Thank you to those who have been praying (prayer requests at the end of this post).

Tomorrow I will be 5 weeks post-op. Recovery is slow as I knew it would be, and there have been lots of ups and downs. I just got back from 4 days (5 sessions) with my wonderful pelvic floor PT and hip PT out of town. I feel so much better when seeing them, but it is very disheartening to return home knowing that I will go another 4 weeks before I get the PT I need. I just feel like if I had access to consistent good therapy that I would be able to manage my pain much better, but apparently that is not God's plan for us right now. 

Here's a little recap of the last few weeks:

Day 16-21 post op: I experienced a big flare up in my pelvic floor pain/burning. I couldn't even sit for 5 minutes without being on fire! I feel like it was due to being too aggressive with my glute sets and bridges while trying to strengthen my hip. I backed off these exercises for a while and it finally calmed down some thankfully. This is frustrating though because I need to strengthen, but I know I am just going to have to be patient. At three weeks post op I went to see my hip PT out of town. I saw a major improvement in post-op hip related pain thanks to lots of manual therapy. My quad was really angry prior to seeing the PT. She didn't add any new exercises since I was still struggling with an increase in pelvic floor pain, and encouraged me to get in the warm water pool as much as possible.

Week 3-4 post op: I got a massage (right now I am trying to do bi-weekly massages) - this helps with all my overall muscle pain due to the dysfunction and compensation. I also went to the warm water pool 4 times this week without any real flare-up in pain. I tolerated my hip exercises much better in the water than I did on dry land.

Week 4-5 post op: I began to start taking steps around the house without my crutches or with just one crutch. My hip PT didn't really want me to use only one crutch due to fear of worsening my muscle compensation so she suggested I use a cane. I don't feel like the cane really helps that much so unless I am walking outside my house, or unless it is the end of the day, when I often begin to feel like I can't stand up on my own anymore, I've just been walking without an assistive device. I'm glad to be walking some again, but I am experiencing a good bit of muscle pain. A lot the muscles that support my pelvis are so tight they feel like bricks. The muscles that are the worst are my psoas, rectus abdominus, quadratus lumborum, and the erector spinae (which are more superficial - to the surface of the back - than the quadratus lumborum and psoas).

Image source

Image Source

I've had problems with these muscles for a long time now, but my psoas and rectus abdominus got so bad this past week that it felt difficult to stand up straight or even eat as my abdomen was so swollen/irritated. I'm not sure what exactly caused this, but I think that maybe I was overly aggressive trying to tighten my transverse abdominus (TA), to support my core, while trying to do my pool exercises.  Since I am very weak, due to years of dysfunction and worsened due to recent surgery, it is easy to recruit other muscles . My pelvic floor PT said that you only need to contract the TA to about 30% of maximum contraction. This is much easier for me to do lying down than standing up in a pool though!

I've also been having some significant knee pain. Getting down on the ground to play with my daughter is still difficult and the knee is also painful when walking. My hip PT gave me a SERF strap to borrow to see if it helps with the knee pain. So far it has I think, but I hope the knee pain will lessen once I build back some quad strength.


  • My circulation issues seem to be getting better. I still have some tingling in my foot and after standing for a long time occasionally my surgical side foot is more red than the other. I saw the surgeon for my 1  month follow-up and he and the PT are hopeful that with time and full-weightbearing this with go away. Although they have bought mentioned Complex Regional Pain Sydrome as a possibility. Continue to pray that this will resolve at least to my pre-op normal.

  • My bandiad rash finally went away!!

  • Praise God I have access to a warm water pool (for a price we can afford!) and that it provides reduced pain levels, even if for only a few minutes.

  • Praise God I am regaining the ability to walk around the house more. Please pray that this continues and that the knee pain will go away as I gain more strength. 
Prayer Requests:

  • That I will be able to get the muscular tightness and pain under control so I can continue to strengthen. The main goal of this surgery was to regain strength, please pray that in time I will be able to do this.

  • Pray that God will provide a way for us to get good physical therapy more consistently. The only way we see this happening is if we move. My husband continues to look for jobs in larger cities where I would have access to the specific medical care I need. If it is not God's will for us to move, please pray that He will help me learn how to manage my pain with the resources I have locally.

  • I continue to have some numbness on my upper and outer thigh either from surgery or from the nerve blocks I received in recovery. These areas are very sensitive if I rub up against them or try to lay on my left side. Pray this will decrease in time (sooner rather than later!).

  • Pray that we would rejoice always that I have a living hope and a future in Jesus! This is a daily battle as chronic pain wages heavily on us.
I was reading in a devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young that a sweet new friend with chronic pain gave me. (I do not necessarily advocate for reading this devotional as I feel the author's take on "hearing from God" and writing in the first person as Jesus is a bit presumptuous, but as with any devotional book one must take the author's writing as just that - the author's writing. So if you read "Jesus Calling" take Mrs. Young's writings as a grain of salt and be sure the majority of your spiritual food is coming from God's true word - The Bible.) Today's reading was so very appropriate as I am tempted to worry about the future and how I will ever get my crazy tight muscles under control (and especially without good PT!). Here is a portion of today's reading:

I am your Strength and Shield. I plan out each day and have it ready for you, long before you arise from bed. I also provide the strength you need each step of the way. Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what's on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with Me.... Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare. (Psalm 28:7, Matthew 6:34, Psalm 56:3-4

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