Warning, scar photos at the bottom of this post.
Being the obedient PT patient that I am, I did exactly what Dan suggested. I rested 3 days and then started back up with my activities. Two Saturdays ago I started by doing some yard work. I sat for a while collecting kindling in a crate. I trimmed back some ferns leaves that had died. A little while into it Steve joined me and began tackling the horrible hillside of ivy (I hate ivy). I’d been avoiding that task because it involves climbing up on a steep hillside, so I was very glad when he decided to take on that task. As he threw down bunches of ivy, I would collect them in the yard waste container. Later that night we were both a little sore. I had used my arms more than I realized and my hamstrings/glutes were sore, but that seemed reasonable considering what I had done.
Sunday I did some strengthening exercises on my left leg in the morning and went for a 45 minute bike ride in the afternoon. I was still sore from the yard work the day before, but my hips felt the same after the exercise as they did before. Monday morning I did my bridge exercises and felt fine after. I felt good enough that I cancelled the PT appointment I had scheduled for the following morning. That clearly jinxed me. Later that afternoon I was standing and milling about in the kitchen as I made dinner and noticed that both hips started feeling more and more sore. Ugh, not again. After we ate dinner I sat on the couch for a while and gradually the pain returned to “normal.”
The following day I called the PT front office first thing when I woke up hoping to get my appointment back. Of course the slot had already been given to someone else. After I ate breakfast and got ready for the day, I called Dan to tell him what was going on. Despite how booked up he gets with appointments, I’ve been pleased with how easy it is to get him on the phone. Either I’ve been lucky and caught him between patients, or he takes calls during appointments. I told him the whole series of activities for the previous few days and how I felt after them. I could tell he was taking notes. My fear was that he was going to tell me to take a longer break, so I was actually pleased with his directive. He told me to stop all strengthening exercises (a foreign concept…I’d been doing strengthening exercises a couple days a week up until surgery #2). He thought walking and cycling were still okay, but he wanted me to cycle in 15 minutes increments (which means on the trainer, can’t get anywhere on the roads in 15 minutes). If I felt okay 2 hours after trainering, do another 15 minutes, up to 3 times a day.
Starting the next day, that was the new regimen. Trainer 15 minutes, rest 2 hours, repeat. The goal was to get to the point that I could do that 3 times a day for 3 days straight and feel pretty good after. Cycling has always made my hips feel better. I think the bent over position on a road bike helps the scar tissue not to interact with the muscles underneath as much. Starting out the first day, I had a typical amount of pain from the scar tissue on the right and from the bursitis on the left. As I cycled I would feel better and within 30 minutes after riding I would return to that typical pain. This remained the case for several days. I tested myself out a couple days by adding walking along with the cycling. I reverted to shorter distances, 2.5, then 3.5 miles, and felt okay until I had to go uphill. The tightness would increase as I was ascending but once I returned home I would go back to typical. Good signs I guess. At least I wasn’t getting worse.
By last Saturday, I started to notice a slight improvement in my typical pain. At the same time, I started using ice on both hips after every time I exercises. I also began taking more anti-inflammatories. I’m not sure if it was the ice that helped or if it was just time. Sunday I felt a slight bit better. Same thing on Monday and Tuesday. Today, I decided I would trainer for 2 25 minutes sessions instead of 3 at 15 minutes. So far so good. I’ll do that a couple more days and then try one 45 minute session, maybe outside.
At this point I think the bursitis is getting better. I am noticing the pain less often throughout the day. I’ll keep up on the anti-inflammatories and ice and hopefully that will completely go away in a few weeks. The tightness in my right side is not back to where it was before Dan and I started treating it, but it is better than it has been the last 2 weeks. I am less discouraged, but I’m not to the point of being encouraged quite yet. My next appointment is Tuesday and I’m anxious to hear what the next step might be for the scar tissue. I think if I didn’t have that issue, I would probably be discharged from PT already.
An aside here: I learned an interesting tidbit at a dentist appointment on Monday. He is aware of my hip surgeries and asked if I was taking any medicines currently. I mentioned I was taking Ibuprofen for inflammation with the bursitis. He told me that 400mg (2 Advil pills, the recommended dose) would only help with pain. To have an effect on inflammation you have to take 600mg. I happened to have a physical with a new doctor today, my old doctor left the state. She confirmed what the dentist had said. I find it interesting that you have to take a higher dose to deal with inflammation.
It has been a while since I posted scar photos. It’s actually been a while since I’ve taken any photos. At this point there is not a lot that changes week to week. My first scar, left side of the photo, is now 1 year and 5 months old. It still has some red at the top and it’s a little thicker there. Of course that’s the part most likely to be seen because it’s above the waistband of some pants. The second scar, right side of the photo, is 4 months old. It is starting to turn white in a few spots. Dr. Mayo’s PA Kenda told me during my pre-op appointment for #2 that they do their best to make a new incision match an old scar. She said they even get out tape measures. She mentioned that Dr. Mayo has daughters, so he’s sympathetic to a woman’s concerns about vanity. I’d say they did a pretty good job of matching old to new. I’m becoming less self-conscious of the first scar since it is mostly white and blends in. The redness of the second one still bothers me. We’ll see how I feel about them a year from now.