Sunday, December 27, 2009


“I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday” -unknown

So the hip went under the knife on December 10. I flew into San Diego and then drove up to Los Angeles for the surgery. Dr. Matsuda was performing the surgery (he’s the best in the area for FAI/Labrum repair). My other ortho, Dr. Shoemaker, drove up from San Diego to be there as well. I felt pretty lucky to have two of the best doctors in the area there.

However, I was scared…very scared. Honestly though, I think the anesthesia scared me the most. Maybe it was the fact that during the pre-op the doctor that did the consult looked at me and said. “You’re high risk because of your high blood pressure and congenital heart defect and I need to also let you know, as I do everyone, that death can result.” AWESOME… way to make me feel comfortable and secure!

Pat calmed me down (seriously, he’s been a saint through all of this) and I put on a brave face as we arrived early Thursday morning for the surgery.

When Dr. Matsuda came to check on me, I was instantly reminded why I had traveled all the way back to LA from Ohio and why I waited this long to go under the knife He marked my hip before the operation, explained what he would be doing, and calmed my nerves with his confidence and kindness. After that, I just remember being wheeled into the operating room, seeing Dr. Shoemaker and saying hi or something like that and then I was OUT.

Woke up a few hours later in recovery. I felt extremely nauseous. It wasn’t long before the pain followed. It was shooting pain. The worst I’ve ever felt in my life. They hooked me up to the morphine pump and that helped, but it was a very LONG day and night.

I was pretty out of it for the first 24 hours or so. From what I've been told, I got really mad at the nurses for not telling me exactly what they did to my hip and when I could expect a full recovery.

Finally, I got some some answers and some pictures of the procedure (really cool but I don't want to gross everyone out). Anyway, my surgery went very well. In fact, according to my doctor, it was a Homerun...very necessary due to the amount of damage but they were able to fix everything, so I should have a full recovery. They shaved off bone spurs and reshaped my acetabulum and my femur and eradicated the impingement. They released my iliopsoas tendon and saved and repaired my badly torn labrum. I do have metal in my hip but it’s not an implant, just metal suture anchors.

The first few days were pretty painful and it was so awkward not being able to move my leg…all my motor skills were gone. I confirmed with the doctor and I guess the amount of work and releasing the tendon has this effect. I’ll pretty much have to retrain my leg/hip to do everything again but I confirmed it will eventually work again :)

Saturday (two days after the surgery), I went to the gym and got on the raised stationary bike (no resistance) for 10 minutes. It was not easy but it’s required as part of the therapy to reduce scar tissue build up. That day, I also took my first shower….not easy at all. Good thing Pat was there to hold me up when I almost passed out after seeing the size of my leg and the incisions and bruising.

Monday (four days post-op) I went off the pain pills and just took Aleve (I'm required to take two a day for a month).

One week after the operation, I was doing much better. Still having trouble with range of motion but making progress. The pain was minimal and riding the bike for a few minutes each day actually felt pretty good.

I got the stitches out a week after the surgery and hopped on a plane back to OH later that day. Traveling was not so much fun.

It's a little over two weeks today and I get off crutches in four days...just in time for the New Year and I’m thrilled. I’m sure Pat is too….poor guy has had to do so much for me and I’m stubborn as hell so I’m sure it’s that much more frustrating.

Anyway, my wounds are pretty much healed and the scars aren’t too bad. Tomorrow will be my first day in the pool (one thing I’m allowed to do over the next several weeks of recovery)

Other than that, it’s going to be a slow road to recovery but it’s all downhill from here. I’m looking forward to walking without that pain I've had for an entire year now.

One of my doctors is quick to remind me to be patient though. Sharing the email he wrote me:

“REMEMBER – we nailed that procedure but the scope of work was far greater than anticipated = remembering this in recovery. Your hip WILL be in top-notch shape upon a strict rehabilitation process. This is up to YOU AND ONLY YOU. To reiterate (as I do with all my athletes) – follow the plan discussed!!! You can think of this as a race--a long one and it’s with yourself. It may be the hardest one you ever do.”

So the plan he refers to... well it pretty much means I’m out of any impact activity (running, jumping, even walking on uneven surfaces) until around March. Lots of rehab, lots of baby steps.

That said, I’m ready for the road ahead. I know each day is another day toward progress. I’m slowly teaching myself how to use my hip again, regaining my range of motion and even did a sitting leg raise extension today and it felt good. Tomorrow, I think will be even better.

Cheers to progress and going into 2010 CRUTCH free J