Winds of Change

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After what was a rather miserable winter, April brought a storm of welcome news. Earlier last month, I was admitted to a doctoral program in my field where I will begin studying and teaching in the fall. With such a major alteration in career plans and living arrangements suddenly just around the corner, another summer adventure was in order, and so the great debate began. Where to go, and what to do?

Aside from the fact that we had no idea where our trip should take us, we also had another nagging concern. I’ve been struggling with a labral tear in my hip all winter long, and though I’ve experienced a huge amount of relief since my cortisone shot in March, we don’t have any guarantees that it will hold. As it stands, I still only feel about 70% on any given day. Some days are better than others, but I know I’m at risk to be back in crippling pain with no warning at all. At that point, surgical correction would be my only option. Despite all of that, I couldn’t bear to watch this opportunity to do what we love this summer fade away and so we decided to take a risk.

After weeks of deliberation, we booked flights to Athens, Greece departing May 18 and returning home from Helsinki, Finland in August, filling in the middle as we go. We’ll travel mostly by bicycle and probably quite a bit by train train as my hip injury and our whims dictate. Ben will be working as we travel and I’ll be freelancing as we go. Here’s to another summer on the road!

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Heads up, you should make sure it’s not Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI), and not just a labral tear. If you get the tear fixed, but don’t fix the core problem, you’ll just see more issues.

    And tears can’t be resolved through PT and injections. Hip arthroscopy has come a long way, and the sooner you get it fixed, the better.

    • Breeanne says:

      Hi Josh, thanks for the feedback. I do indeed have FAI and the surgery I’ve been trying to avoid would both repair the tear and fix the FAI issue. My doctor cleared me to be as active as I can stand, but I’ve been warned the relief from the injection may not last long. If that is indeed the case, I’ll probably have the whole mess repaired in December between semesters. Any chance you’ve been through the surgery and want to share how it went?

      • Josh says:

        I actually just had it, and am 2 weeks into recovery. I was scared I was going to die, haha. But it’s not that bad. I can already walk with a limp, but use 1 crutch until my gait is good. From what I’ve looked into, it has about 85% “success” rate (meaning the individual was happy, returned to sport), and about 1.5% “made it worse”. The rest is it just didn’t fix the problem. Given that I’m young (and you are), recovery should be pretty good. I can’t tell you if it fixed the problem yet.

        It’s really important to find a good surgeon. The most popular one in Utah, and the guy who’s been doing it the longest here, is Dr Aoki at University Hospital. I had mine done by Dr. West at TOSH. Both have quite a bit of experience.

        Injection is a temporary relief — and really, something to make you say “yep, that’s the problem”. My personal opinion is getting it fixed sooner is better. And I’m saying don’t wait 5 years — you can wait a few months or so. You don’t want to put it off and get guaranteed osteoarthritis later (it’s theorized but not proven that having surgery early will help prevent it later in life).

        The main group for people with FAI is http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Femoroacetabular_Impingement/. Just keep in mind that the people posting problems are usually the minority, as people who are “Fixed” don’t dwell on it as much.

        Good luck.

        • Breeanne says:

          Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen Dr. West as well, and he will be the one to do the surgery if that’s the direction I end up going. Did you have have a good experience there?
          Best of luck with your recovery, I hope you’ll stop by again and let me know how things have turned out for you!

  2. Josh says:

    Yea, it was a good experience. I thought he initially seemed overly optimistic, and I couldn’t get success/failure rates out of him (he kept giving non-numeric answers like “we’re working on getting it better”), but I just decided to go with it over laziness of finding another surgeon. Everything has turned out well so far.

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