Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's a Party!!!

And yes....YOU'RE invited!!! I have woken up after yet another restless night of pain, to find myself struck with the biggest pity party of the year. Satan is workin me hard this morning, kids....I REALLY don't like that guy. It's not just the pain (although, that alone is pretty darn miserable) its the sloooooowness of this recovery. I should be getting BETTER by now!!! It's exactly 3 weeks post-op today. And now is where God's amazing gentle and loving voice says to me "but Amy, look how far you've come in 3 whole weeks!" And I want to pout and cry like a 3 year old :-( But folks, there is yet another reason for this "festive occasion" of Amy's pity party for one...I weighed myself yesterday. Yeah, I know, that was kinda stupid. But ohmygoodnessgracious it's happened. It's actually really happened. I am officially the fattest I've ever been in my WHOLE LIFE. Even MORE than when I was pregnant with my 2 ginormous 9 lb butterball babies! Yeah, MORE. There aren't enough words in the human language to describe how heartbroken, disgusted and angry I am at myself right now. I want to scream "how did this happen?!" Ummm, well it was when you went for round 'however many' on the pie, cookies, chips, etc. Just because you eat mounds of Nutella on fruit does NOT make it healthy!!! Just because you bulk up on the blueberries on the "healthy" morning oatmeal, does NOT negate the fact that it's about TWICE the serving it should be! And when you drive OUT OF YOUR WAY just to get you favorite frosty treat....that should be a big, huge red light that "Houston, we have a problem!" And so, here we are. The end of the year. The season of Nicorette and Jenny Craig and Gold's Gym commercials galore (thank you dear God that I don't smoke anymore!). And ya know what? I've decided to make another blog! I know, you're thinking..." Greeeeaaaat, now we gotta read even MORE of Amy's psycho-babble!" Nope. This one's for me. And if I can help others along the way, like I have here....then AWESOME!!! But, this "blogging thing" has proven to be quite therapeutic for me, and well....it will hold me accountable to all the world, and guys, I could use all the encouragement I can get! This will be a major, MAJOR uphill battle...especially with broken hips! But I HAVE to so something! I want to be the healthiest I can be, not only for my dear precious family, but for God. He has blessed me with this body, to be a vessel for Him. And what have I done?? I've overstuffed it with Mexican food and red velvet cake!!! So, there we are. Stay tuned, friends....more to come, much more. Oh, and by the way...the party's cancelled ;-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cut The Cord!

Got stitches out yesterday and strangely, I feel like a FREE woman! However, realistically I know this is only just another baby step. Still, it makes me want to run and jump and skip and do some high kicks over my head! Alas, baby steps, Amy...baby steps. Ugh! Pain is getting better everyday. Range of motion is getting better everyday (albeit VERY slowly!). I am doing my stretches at home and finding them to be a bit easier than the first go around...which is incredibly encouraging! Getting SUPER excited about Christmas too! I'm just a big kid to begin with, so add the holidays to the mix and well, let's just say...I'm happier than a bird with a french fry! But, this bird is ready to bust outta this cage and fly free! Patience is not one of my strong suits. Perhaps that's why God has presented these "road bumps" in my life....to slow me down and teach me patience. Lord knows, it's done nothing but draw me closer to Him...and that alone is the greatest blessing of all of this ordeal! The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways. If only we would just slow down and LISTEN! xoxo

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Blue Christmas

Well, as usual, recovery is slow.  My heart and my mind want to go, go, go and my hips (and my dear family and friends) say no, no, no.  Although, this recovery seems to be going much better than the last one, I have to remember that I am still not even 2 weeks post-op yet.  This, however, does NOT make me any less disgruntled.  I want to go Christmas shopping, I want to go see "A Christmas Carol" with my friends (REALLY irked about that one), I want to be up and in the kitchen singing carols and making cookies....and I want to get back to work!!!  I miss my job, my friends, my patients....I DO NOT like being the patient (I'm pretty sure you've figured that one out now, huh?)  I want to get back to the gym and finally, FINALLY start working off these millions of pounds I've gained through all this ordeal.  I want to completely reorganize my closets.  I want to take my dog on a much deserved walk around the block.   I want to be able to put on a pair of pants, shoes, socks, etc. without help.  So, as you can probably surmise, I'm a bit blue these days.  I know (I do!) that the end is in sight...I can see the faint dim of the light at the end of this ridiculously long tunnel.  I can finally see the peak of this gigantic mountain I'm climbing.  But, it's like the last mile in the race.  You want to give it all you've got and sprint like mad to the finish line....but my body just won't let me.  On a happier note.... I made my very first venture out of the house last night since returning home from my surgery.  Our daughter had her holiday choir concert and wild horses couldn't have kept me away.  She even had a solo, and was absolutely beautiful!  Chip off the old block, that girl!  I even was able to ditch the crutches and just use the cane!  Although I DID need Big Daddy's hand-holding for stability...but, he didn't seem to mind ;-)  So, for now, I'll be singing the Christmas carols from my "office" (the Tempurpedic) and Pinning like a crazy person....if you don't already know, I'm an absolute 100% Pinterest junkie (Follow Me!!!)

"I'll have a bluuuuue, blue, blue, blue Christmas....."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Bare Necessities

The view from my tiny world....I've got all the essentials:
-my adjustable TempurPedic (fav place on earth)
-my fancy red crutches
-my Polarcare cooler pad machine thingy
-my laptop
-Diet Coke (yes, it's essential)
-my iPhone, from which I write this post!
-and my best friend curled up, ever faithful by my side, my precious Golden Retriever, Daisy
What more could a girl need?? :-D

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lefty: status post Day #2

All in all, things are looking up! Lefty is done and I'm officially on my way to a FULL recovery!!! Woohoo!!! My immediate post-op was a little rough, but we got through it and I'm now sitting in my favorite recliner at our new friend's (The Peters Family) house here in Augusta, Georgia. I can't say enough how lovely it is to have a warm and inviting home to rest in, instead of a hotel. Praise God for His people...loving and kind and generous. I pray that when the opportunity presents itself, that we will be able to return the favor to someone in need of a warm place to lay their head, a cozy meal and friendly banter. We have made lifelong friends here and praise God for them every day!

As for me, well it's pretty much like before...just on the opposite side ;-) Pain is rough at first when moving, but definitely manageable. I am getting up and stretching and walking as frequently as I can tolerate. Plans are to fly home to Texas tomorrow....and boy am I ready! Missing my kiddos something fierce! Besides, we have some serious holiday FUN ahead and I need to get my crutches all warmed up and ready to rock!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Countdown is on!!!

In only 24 hours (give or take) Lord-willing, lefty will be FIXED for good!!! Pre-op going well....pretty much identical to last time. Sure am missing these guys though.... Thank God for FaceTime on the iPhone! :-D

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Of Thanks

I am beyond elated to get ourselves to Georgia to get this other hip finally, FINALLY fixed! But some mixed emotions keep sliding in and out of my mind. I am a little worried that this surgery will be much tougher than the last. Logic would say this is a false concern....that the right one is fixed, therefore it is strong enough to withstand bearing most of the weight. However, reality is that it is still healing...even after 3 months, it is still in the heart of restoration and healing. And that may prove to be challenging now that it will be bearing most of the "stress". I pray that I, myself, am strong enough to press forward, to work hard through physical therapy, to keep moving when my body doesn't want to. I pray for patience, that I won't feel defeated when my legs won't carry me as I would like them to, as quickly as I would like them to. I pray that my family and friends remain loving and patient with me when my awkwardness and pain keeps me from moving about as they can (this really isn't a concern, my family and friends have been so incredibly supportive!!! But I pray nonetheless). I pray that our children are well cared for in our absence, that we will be missed, but that they will be content without us as well....that their young lives are as negatively effected as little as possible. I pray that the physical pain is well-controlled and that the long travel there and back home is uneventful and safe. I pray that I can drive right away (seriously, that was SUCH a pain in the rear when righty hip was out of commission...I HATE being chauffeured!!). I pray that we remain financially "okay", especially through the holidays. This is quite possibly the WORST time of year to be having surgery as major as this. But alas, it is what it is and we press forward to bigger and brighter things!

We celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago, and now I offer up my own prayers of thanksgiving.... Thank you Lord God for blessing me with such loving and supportive family and friends. When I stop and think about it, I am overwhelmed...flooded with tears of joy and praise, that God would be so loving to give me these amazing people in my life! I don't deserve it, and yet He continues to bless me day after day. How great is our God!!! Thank you Lord, for my husband. He is truly the rock in my life, the solid place I can trust to not only be protected, but compassionately cared for and unconditionally loved. Thank you Lord for my dear children. Again, overwhelmed with tears when I think of my kiddos. They are so young, and yet so mature in their attitudes, their empathy toward others, their responsibility toward not only themselves, but to their family and friends....and their innocent love of God. They completely amaze me! So much, Lord...far too much, the blessings in my life. I don't deserve them, and yet You give them so freely to me. May I be a living example of You. May I live my life as You would have me do, loving and kind toward others, as your Son, Jesus. May I be an instrument of Your goodness and peace.  In your Son's precious name...Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Thursday we carve the turkey....then Tuesday we carve the hip.  Sorry, that's kinda gross huh?  Well, I'm excited.  Sounds weird, but I am.  I think because the last hip surgery went so smoothly and I'm already beginning to see the change in my right hip (increased ROM, less pain, etc.), I'm anticipating this will be the same.  I'm just ready to be done already, for cryin out loud!  I'm ready to actually join the mobile human race again and not have to "think through" a walk of any distance.  "Will I need my cane?"  "Should I use the handicapped parking today?"  "Am I 'crippled enough' to warrant stares from other shoppers?"  "Should I just keep the crutches handy, ya know 'just in case'?"  Kinda sick of all that....  But alas, I see the light!  And the light looks good from over here :-)

To recap...here's another little lesson in basic hip anatomy and then in "Amy's hip anatomy":

Here is a picture of a normal hip.  So, you see where the labrum is...it's the tissue that seperates the "cup" from the "saucer".  Well, MY labrum on the right hip was completely torn off, flipping on itself and pinching between the bones with each and every step.  Yeah, owwwwch!!!   But, now it's been repaired with some handy dandy screws.  Word has it that the labrum is torn on the left too...we shall see how bad when Doc gets in there.

Now, you see a hip with Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI), this one doesn't show any dysplasia like I have, but you get the idea.  So basically, in a nutshell, there's bone where it doesn't belong and therefore rubs and bumps against one another.  Yeah, again, owwwwch!!!  So, the fix is either to break the pelvis and rearrange the entire thing and screw it back together, OR....a less invasive option is to "shave and trim" the bone so that it no longer bumps and rubs together. This is what we did with the right hip in August and the plan is to do the same to lefty on Tuesday.  Yay!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Making sure all my little chickadees are in a row...
It is now exactly 24 days until, hopefully, my final surgery of all hip surgeries.  Woohoo!  Now it's lefty's turn, or as I call it, the "virgin" hip (it's the one that's never been operated on in the past).  Strangely enough, I seem to have turned a bit of a corner the past day or so.  The pain in the left is surpassing the right...which by my calculations, sounds about right.  The right one is still healing, no doubt.  But the pain in the left is a more acute, sharp, throbbing and the right is stiff and fatigued....very different.  So, as weird as it sounds...this is actually a good thing!  Seems like the right is healing up as it should and the left is about ready to throw in the towel.  Good thing...because the right is about to get a big wake-up call here in a few weeks.  Hope it's ready to withstand all the pressure and there are no setbacks.  Only time will tell....  In the meantime, I've had the strangest "nesting instinct" take over my brain.  And no, I'm NOT pregnant!  But, it feels very similar to when I was expecting my babies.  Perhaps it's because I know that here in only a few weeks I won't be able to squat and scrub those baseboards or climb to dust the ceiling fans (how the heck does dog hair get up on the ceiling fans?!  Seriously???).  I've even already warned my family that my Christmas decorating will be done BEFORE Thanksgiving *gasp*!  I mean, I can't very well trim a tree properly if I'm on crutches, now can I? So, while there's barely a dent in the Halloween candy...I'm already getting all the lights and garland and ornaments down from the attic.  And one simply cannot properly decorate a home for the holidays without listening to *clutching the pearls* Christmas music!!!  I've never loved Pandora more than I do right now!  My kids think I'm nuts, but of course my husband has known this fact for years now.  We just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and that man is proficient in the ways of his wife around the holidays.  He has wisely learned to just be a spectator and let the madness commence...it will be beautiful when all is said and done, so just leave me to my holly jolly nuttiness and peace will come to all in the end.  Now, I just need a warm cozy beverage and we're all set!
Peppermint Hot Cocoa with whipped cream...all is right with the world.  Blog on!

*sigh* NOT my house...but a girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

6 Week Post-Op with Doctor B.

Flew back to Augusta (solo this time) to see Dr. B. for my 6 week follow up.  My doctor is awesome.  I simply cannot say that enough!  My doctor...is...AWESOME!!!  Doc, you reading this??  YOU ARE....AWESOME!!!  It was apparent to him that I was doing much better since the surgery.  Sitting more comfortably, walking with hardly any limp at all (and without the cane too, thankyouverymuch!)  Still some residual pain and the occasional sharp "pull" in the groin, but all in all, appears to be a success so far.  And actually, now the pain in the left hip (the non-operative one) is starting to surpass the right one.  Which is exactly where we want to be!  I left Fort Gordon with a smile on my face and an operative date in the planner.  Hip surgery #2 is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27th....just after Thanksgiving.  We just need a good 'ol Texas turkey dinner and BIG Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys victories so we have good, positive energy in the O.R.  Right Doc?? ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1 Month Post-op....rockin' the cane!

I've ditched the crutches for good!  Well, at least until I need them for next time ;-)  The cane and I are inseparable on distances, but around the house I'm all solo!  Woohoo!  PT is still slow moving and painful, but making great progress!  I can raise my knee to almost a 90 degree angle...almost.  And I can demi plie and releve in both 1st and 2nd positions without holding onto the barre!  Walking back and forth with leg kicks/knee lifts in the pool is my next goal.  Pain is considerably better overall.  It feels like it's the tendon release that is causing the most discomfort.  I have almost NO deep bone pain at all (like I still have in the left hip) which is incredibly encouraging!  Still having some muscle spasms in the groin, hamstrings, quads and glutes, mostly in the evenings, but I've been getting massages with PT and that, along with ice and TENS therapy is incredible!  I feel like a new woman!

So, I fly out to see Dr. B for my follow up appointment here in a couple of weeks and hopefully will be scheduling hip #2!!!  All I want for Christmas is a Hip Arthroscopy with a Femoroacetabular Impingement Debridement of Lesions and Labral Repair.... has a nice ring to it, right?

I like to think I look this hot when I'm rockin' my cane too! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

2 Weeks Post-Op

School started for the kiddos, and well....for me too.  I started Physical Therapy this week and feels like I'm learning how to use muscles that haven't been awake for a very, very loooong time!  It's funny though...during PT, I feel some tightness and discomfort, but it's not too bad.  I'm a pretty tough bird anyway, so I don't complain unless it's REALLY painful.  If anything, it actually feels GOOD to be using my legs again!  I absolutely cannot wait until I am well enough to start working out again....like really working out!  This weight gain has been most depressing and the sedentary life I've been forced to live is nothing short of torture.  So, to get back into a "gym" per se, is wonderful!!  However, it's after PT that the pain really starts to kick in.  Ya know, we talked about those deceiving endorphins last time, right?  Yeah....  So, nights have been rough.  LOTS of muscle spasms!  But, I'm very happy to be seeing some progress.  My Physical Therapist says I'm trying to do too much too soon though...that I need to slow down and take the progress little by little and allow ample time for the joint to heal itself.  Hard, but I'll try to control myself.  I'm like a lone sled dog with A.D.D....LET'S GOOOOO!!!!  Good thing sled dogs love the cold, since I'll be spending most of my "off time" looking a little something like this: 
Brrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!  MUSH!  MUSH!  MUSH!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

1 Week Post-Op

In God's Word
In Less Pain
In MORE Pain
Ever-Faithful..... Always!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Status Post....Day #4

Made it back to Texas, safe and sound. Praise God!!! All involved in the transport of not only my broken self, but crutches, bags, purse, husband, etc. were wonderful!!! Thank you to U.S. Airways and United Airlines for your compassion and "safe handling" getting me home!

Finally, FINALLY had my 1st shower this morning. Amazing! And exhausting.... Either my meds are REALLY awesome (and they are!) or I'm completely delusional (which is highly possible), but I actually feel LESS pain than I did with the 1st hip scope! I have better range of motion, better stability and I can put quite a considerable amount of weight on this leg. Perhaps it's because it's actually been FIXED!!! Hallelujah!!! Still using my crutches for stability, but I can actually go short distances (like bed to bathroom) WITHOUT them! Amazing!!! Needless to say, the shower was incredible....and boy, I sure do smell a heckuva LOT prettier! But I'm EXHAUSTED! And have a general feeling of "I've just been run over by a Mack truck" (or Peterbilt....ya know, whichever you prefer). So, a well-deserved nap is in order! Post more later. Maybe MUCH later..... Zzzzzz ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Status Post...Day #2

Ahhhh endorphins....how deceitful the little beauties are! It's as if all my cells were asleep and today's the day the bloody alarm clock went off. I'm awake already, thanks! Now turn it off!!!

Pain not unbearable per se....thanks to my new friend (and foe) Morphine. Just a general flu-like miserableness sort of feeling. Love my Millennial Crutches (worth every penny!) and love my ice packs. The Morphine, on the other hand, while necessary at this point, is causing such traumatic dreams, I dread sleep....and my body desperately needs sleep. I am hopeful for some uninterrupted dreamless sleep today to gear up for tomorrow's long journey home. Ever grateful for this warm home that was so graciously opened for us to stay while here in Augusta....it has proven itself priceless indeed!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Post-op Day #1

Right Hip Arthroscopy with Femoroacetabular Debridement, Labral Repair, Osteotomy and Psoas Tendon Release DONE!!! Woohoo baby!!! One down....one to go!! Surgery lasted a little longer than expected, but Doc says he "took care of business"! He took lots of great pics and WOAH....the "Before" looks like a freaky, jagged, rocky mountainside from a horror movie!!! Bone where it clearly does NOT belong and then all this ragged and torn tissue that's been ripped to shreds!! Good grief! No wonder I've been so miserable all these years!!! So, Dr. B shaped all the bone and lined the femur and the hip socket up as God originally intended and gave me 2 new shiny screws to hold it all together! Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, sure.... Haha!

Pain is manageable and I'm minimal weight bearing on the operative leg...not too shabby! My pretty red crutches and I are getting friendly once again. At the hospital, they gave us this fancy schmancy ice cooler device that connects to a pad that keeps it constantly cool...so no runs to refill ice packs every 30 minutes! It's always cold! :-D Thigh area is still really numb, which the docs say might be like that for a while, from the dislocation and traction they had on the hip for so long....it "stresses" the nerves around the hip and takes them a while to come back around. The entire leg just seems to not want to "work", like I can't lift it at all without help. But that should improve with time and therapy. Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled and super excited to get started with physical therapy....but even MORE excited to get done with the other hip too! If all goes well, we should be able to operate on the other hip in about 3 months. Woohoo!!!

I cannot even begin to express how incredibly impressed we were with the ENTIRE staff at Eisenhower Army Medical Center!!! Stereotypes of military hospitals (and yes, I'm afraid they're usually true) out the window! Dr. Bojescul is a true bonafide EXPERT in hip arthroscopy, y'all. To my Tricare "Hip Chicks"....please, please consider traveling to Fort Gordon! He, along with an entire committee of doctors, nurses and therapists, are working VERY HARD to compile case studies (mine included!) to send to Tricare to sway their ignorance that this procedure is "unproven". Yes, still send your appeals! But there's no reason to continue to suffer as we have...and by going to Dr. B, you ARE actively pursuing, not only pain relief, but directly contributing to the very case studies that will eventually overthrow Tricare's policy! Yes, unfortunately, the travel expenses are on our own dime, but what is it worth to finally have the pain relief we've been so desperate for?? If you need any contact info or have ANY questions about Dr. Bojescul and his staff or questions about the procedure itself....please don't hesitate to contact me!!!

And now I think I'll give in to the Morphine induced sleep that is beckoning.... Zzzzzz

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Made it to Augusta and Fort Gordon. It is BEAUTIFUL here! Probably one of the prettiest Army posts I've ever seen! We met up with some friends of friends and had a wonderful Bible study last night! All is well and my heart is peaceful and content :-)

Finally met my surgeon and the chief resident today. Extremely impressed with EVERYONE we've encountered here at Eisenhower Army Medical Center! Doc is very confident that this surgery will essentially "fix" me! He is going in via arthroscopy (yay!) and plans to debride and shape the bones how they SHOULD be. He'll also be repairing all the tears of the labrum and screwing things back in place when he's done. Ya know....your basic Home Depot job ;-)

We report to the OR at 0600 in the morning! I've already put in my order for my Propofol....shaken, not stirred. LOVE TO ALL!!! xoxo

Friday, August 10, 2012

T minus 1 week!

And so the countdown begins! In exactly one week, Lord-willing, I will have hip surgery #1 behind me! We will be flying from Houston to Augusta, GA where we will be heading to Fort Gordon and the Eisenhower Army Medical Center, where Dr. B and Dr. E will work their magic to fix my hips...for good!!! Excited doesn't even begin to describe how I feel....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Aaaand we have a WINNER!

If you chose Door #3.....congratulations!  YOU WIN (a wink and a smile and a big high-five!)!!!  And I win....a surgery date!!!  Woohoo!!!

I am told from the docs at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordan, GA "don't worry about Tricare, we'll take care of all that on our end."  Dare I dream this is really, really REAL???  My head tells me "no way, Tricare will figure out a way to screw this up".  My heart tells me "yes, yes oh yes...well, maybe??"  But my Bible tells me that "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!" Phillippians 4:13

Mark your calenders, ladies and gents!  Friday, August 17th is the day I start a new beginning!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Possibilities Are Endless....

Okay.  Not really....

Surgery with Dr. S is OFF.  No trip to Atlanta for us.  And Tricare doesn't seem to want me to see the military orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio either.  Referral was DENIED.  No explanation, nada, zip.  But they DID automatically approve a referral to an orthopedic surgeon near me, as a consolation.  This doc happens to be a knee specialist...a lot of good THAT does us!!  Seriously???

Soooo, now we have...

Door #1-
Still fighting with Tricare to approve the referral to military doctor in San Antonio (a guy I've never even met).  After faxing the request to about 10 different numbers, surely it will reach someone who can give me a straight answer.  Really...am I asking too much?

Door #2-
Our very, very dear church family has banded together and written letters to both our local Congressman and our State Senator explaining my situation and my continued troubles with Tricare.  My faith in God, that He will heal me and this will all someday be a distant memory, is rock solid.  My faith in our government??  Hmmm, jury's out on that one....

Door #3-
Last Monday I received an email from Dr. S (the Atlanta doc) telling me that he is friends with another orthopedic surgeon and hip specialist who works at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, GA.  Also, Dr. S had an intern that once worked under him, that now works with this other doctor in Augusta.  What?  Are the stars aligning??  By Friday, I received a phone call from this intern and basically did an "appointment" over the phone.  He says they should be better able to get Tricare approval from their end, with direct request from the surgeon....and I could have a surgery date within a month!!!  Is this even possible?!?  Stay tuned for more "Let's Make A Deal with Military Health Insurance"!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keep Calm....

Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. Seeing only limited distribution, it was little known. The poster was rediscovered in 2000 and has been re-issued by a number of private companies, and used as the decorative theme for a range of products. (copied from Wikipedia) 

Personally...I am typically the antithesis of what is considered "popular".  These posters from Royal British WW2 origins have seen a recent surge in pop culture and I'm sorry I just can't help it....I love them.  They're a quick, brief, to the point reminder that "hey, things could be a lot worse, so chill out!  And have a cupcake..."  And well, they're cute.  So there.  And now in further news, here's what's happening in my neck of the woods.  Hold your hats, ladies and gentlemen.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

**I have a surgery date of July 13th with Dr. S in Atlanta.  He has taken the time and care to examine my diagnostics and consult with other hip experts throughout the country, to come to this conclusion: 

5/29/12: What I see wrong with both hips is that there is too much socket in the front of the hip (retroversion), there is a bump on the front of the femur (cam lesion), there are tears of both labrums.  That's the typical pattern for FAI, a little wrong with all the different parts.  You also have borderline dysplasia and I don't see any osteoarthritis.  There may or may not be some damage to the acetabular cartilage.  MRIs are not perfect at showing that even with the arthrogram.  The retroversion can be dealt with by rotating the entire socket (reverse PAO) or by triming away just the front part of the socket (either open or scope).  The labrum will need to be repaired either way and that is actually easier with a scope than during the PAO unless you combine it with a surgical dislocation.  The cam bump of the femur can be removed either open or with the scope.  I think some of your retroversion comes from posture.  If you have more lumbar lordosis then your pelvis is more flexed forward and then looks more retroverted.  With the CT scan you had done, we were able to upload the images and correct the tilt and rotation of your pelvis and the retroversion was very minimal.  The dysplasia was likely there from birth or shortly thereafter.  Your dysplasia is borderline and not at a point where I think you have to have corrective surgery.  Dysplasia doesn't hurt by itself.  Torn cartilage and a torn labrum cause pain.  Looking at your situation, I think the impingement is the major problem and not the dysplasia.  You probably developed the impingement morphology during growth.  Most babies have tremendous range of motion and are not born with impingement.  

**So, call me crazy...but I trust him.  Yes, we already did a hip scope which was unsuccessful, but now I'm beginning to wonder if it was the skill of the surgeon doing the scope.  Perhaps he saw all that mess in there and just didn't know what to do with it and wisely sent me on to someone who did?  Whatever the case... now we're getting somewhere!  Now I feel a REAL sense of hope, that relief is in sight...that I'll actually be able to walk normally again, without pain.  So, let's do this!  July 13th can't come fast enough!  Woohoo!!!

**In planning for the week Big Daddy and I will be in Atlanta for surgery and the subsequent weeks of recovery and intense physical therapy, we have a wonderful plan for the children, to help keep their worried minds off their Mama and have an awesome Summer!  Their grandparents are generously flying them up to Pennsylvania to stay with them for 3 weeks in July!  As much as it pains my mother's heart to think about being away from my (very grown up) babies for 3 whole weeks, I know this is the opportunity of a lifetime for them!  They'll get to see a part of our beautiful country and travel to places they're never been before!  And while I wish I could share in this experience with them, I am elated for them!!!  I am blessed with the best in-laws a girl could ever dream for...truly!  

**6/6/12:  Letter from Humana Military (a.k.a. Tricare)....
In the course of performing the authorization review on the HIP ARTHROSCOPY WITH DEBRIDEMENT OF ARTICULAR CARTILAGE SURGICAL TREATMENT, our reviewers have DENIED your request.  Our determination is based on the following: "The service is a non-covered benefit per TRICARE Policy Manual 6010.57-M, February 1, 2008, Chapter 4, Section 6.1, Musculoskeletal System (5.0)(5.10)(5.11), Issue Date: August 26, 1985, Authority: 32 CRR 199.4(c)(2) and (c)(3).  
5.10 Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) open surgery , surgical dislocation (CPT2 procedure codes 27140 and 27179), for the treatment of hip impingement syndrome or labral tear is unproven.
5.11 Hip arthroscopy with debridement of articular cartilage (CPT2 procedure code 29862) for the treatment of FAI is unproven.
You have the right to request a reconsideration in writing...  blah, blah, blah!

**Surgery is off.  My dear husband risks his life for this country and this is the thanks we get.  Out of date healthcare and "don't let the door hit ya on the way out!"  EVERY other health insurance provider INCLUDING Medicare (MEDICARE!!!) covers this surgery...and "stuck in the stone ages" Tricare does not.  You see when this policy was written (1985!!!) and when it was last updated (2008!!!)  I have very, very dear loving friends beating down the door of our Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson with this news and with pleas to help, not only me, but other "hipsters" who are living with this excruciating pain like I am, with absolutely no help from Tricare in sight.  I am told by fellow hip chicks, this will be fruitless.  That since Tricare isn't exactly an "insurance company", but a government entity, that no one wants to get their hands dirty and take them on.  Yet, we press on anyways....

**And life continues to be on hold.  And pain continues to worsen, and I age years within weeks and gain weight by the minute while I starve myself to madness, and my muscles continue to waste away and my mind is filled with thoughts of just crawling into a hole and never coming out....but please throw me some Hydrocodone and ice packs and bread crumbs and water while I'm down here, thanks.  

**A tiny glimmer of hope:  I am told by a fellow "hip chick" that if the surgery is done at a military hospital, that if deemed medically necessary (well, duh!) it is covered by the military directly.  The only kicker is...hip scopes are no small deal.  And there are only about 2 or 3 surgeons in the entire military (according to her sources) that even do hip scopes!!!  And one of them is at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio (practically in our backyard!).  Wait, WHAT?!  Why, WHY are we just now finding out about this???  Why doesn't Tricare disclose this up front instead of making us fight and go through the fruitless appeals process for YEARS!!!  WHY?!  Calling BAMC to get referral/appointment/donate blood/give my firstborn and hope for a surgery date before the decade is up....

**Stay Calm....and Stay Tuned! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I think I've sat here staring at the blinking cursor for what seems like an hour....unsure what to say, where to begin.  This post is not about me, but about my dear family.  I realize now, I could probably start a whole new blog for what I'm about to discuss (and I may perhaps do that very thing...who knows?), but for now it will begin here.....

In the winter of 2005, just before the holidays, my husband...a very big, strong and powerful Special Forces soldier, was hit with something that even HE couldn't overcome.  On a routine physical exam, it was discovered that his EKG was anything but normal.  So abnormal in fact, that the Army sent him to a Cardiologist right away, where they discovered a rare heart condition that would change his life forever.  He was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a genetic disorder of the heart muscle, which causes the muscle to become abnormally thick and rigid.  It not only causes the heart to become overly fatigued, which eventually makes the pumping mechanism ineffective.....it also causes electrical "glitches", in which the heart beats abnormally, sometimes so abnormal that it stops.  On a dime.  With no warning.  This is called Sudden Cardiac Death.  And yes, this should sound familiar.  You have seen this on the news.  Young, healthy athlete collapses after scoring the winning goal....unable to be revived.  My husband is one of the rare few diagnosed with this potentially deadly disease, because more often than not, it is diagnosed too late.  It is not discovered until a tragically early death, post-mortem, upon autopsy.  This is why you have seen a surge of AED's (Automated External Defibrillators) everywhere...airports, ballparks, schools, etc.  Out of tragedy, comes awareness....  As you can easily presume, this diagnosis ended my husband's life in the military, a career of prestige and honor, a career he had dreamed about his entire life.  Ever since he was a boy and watched "The Green Beret" with John Wayne, this was his destiny...or so it seemed.  And he was good at it.  He was MADE to be an S.F. soldier.  His mind is sharp, his patience steadfast and his physique is strong.  He can tell you, down to the very tiniest screw, about pretty much any weapon in the world...take it apart, clean it, put it back together and fire it with such swiftness and precision...it's an art.  But his heart...big and beautiful and devout and loyal... is weak, and it is slowly failing.  

Very good, you were paying attention!  That's right, I said this is a genetic disorder.... Upon diagnosis, we were advised by my husband's cardiologist that we have all familial ties undergo "heart screenings", consisting of an EKG and an Echocardiogram (this is an ultrasound picture of inside of the heart muscle).  Parents, siblings....and children.  Everyone one by one had their screenings, and all (praise God!) checked out clear.  Our son Parker, was 8 and our daughter Lily, was 3 at this time.  Their pediatric cardiologist advised they get routine Echo's every year to monitor their growth and look for any changes.  After about 2 years, and more research on his part, the kid's cardiologist recommended genetic testing.  This was a fairly new process at the time, and rare for insurance to cover, but by some miracle they covered it.  And so, to the lab we went...blood draws for everyone!  The genetic lab first tests Big Daddy's to find and pinpoint the "mutated gene" responsible for causing HCM, then they look at the kiddo's to see if they are carriers of this "mutation".  BOTH children tested positive as carriers of the gene.  Which means that while the disease may not necessarily manifest itself, they will directly pass this gene on to their children and their grandchildren and so on....this was in 2009.

Fast forward to April 2012.  Kids taken to their new pediatric cardiologist here in Texas.  They know the drill by now...EKG and then the "cold gel test" the Echocardiogram.  As a nurse, and a veteran of these Echo's, I pretty much know what I'm looking at now.  I can make out the anatomical structures of the cardiac muscle, the way the valves open and close, the flow of blood from one chamber to the next.  It's a beautiful thing, how God so intricately designed us!  Remarkable!  So, Parker went first (he's 13 now)...and his heart looks perfect.  Like a stallion, big and strong and healthy.  He's been having some headaches and blurry vision at school during football practice and the doctor pegs it right away.  "Quit holding your breath when you work out!"  Duh!  Why didn't I think of that! *slaps palm to forehead*  Next, it's Lily's turn (she's 8) and she wants the boys out of the room.  She is growing into this very lovely and very modest young lady, and it thrills me to the core!  So, it's just us girls...the two of us and the ultrasound tech.  And there it is...clear as day...my baby's heart.  And it looks EXACTLY like her Daddy's.  And she looks at me and she searches my eyes and we communicate like only a mother and daughter can....and she knows.  She knows something isn't right.  And she takes my hand with her sweet little hand and that precious little girl strokes me, not saying a word....but telling me, it's all going to be okay.  And I'm watching the technician scan my baby girl's broken heart, while mine dissolves into sorrow...all over again.  And I feel like I did that day, almost 7 years ago when my husband's life was changed forever.  But this time it's different.  It's my baby girl.  It's my precious little gift from God, my pride and joy, my very heart and soul.  If only I could rip MY heart, beating healthy and strong, from my chest and give it to her.  But, I can no more give it to her than I wished to give it to my husband to save his.  So I remain helpless, once again.... in the hands of God.

Lily and her Big Daddy....
Fort Bragg, North Carolina- 2004
Glenwood Springs, Colorado- 2005

Colorado Springs, Colorado- 2005

Dallas Mavericks game, Dallas, Texas- 2007
New Orleans, Louisiana- 2010

Fort Worth, Texas- 2011

And our story goes on....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Children's Hospitals

I have decided that I want to receive my medical care at a children's hospital from now on....for the rest of my days.  Little old lady with her walker and hearing aids at the kiddie hospital??  Yep.  Sign me up!  For one thing, they're colorful.  I mean, literally every wall is splashed with some beautiful bright color...reds, blues, yellows.  How anyone could possibly ever be in a bad mood with all those pretty colors is beyond me.  Aaaand they have fish tanks everywhere..... c'mon, who doesn't LOVE looking at fishies?!  And they play awesome Disney movies all day (need I say more on that one?  Hello?!  Disney rocks!!!)  But, my absolute favorite part is how NICE everyone is!!!  I mean, from the moment you walk in the door, everyone has a smile on their face (probably all the bright colors and the Disney soundtracks in the background)  Seriously, genuinely, honestly NICE!  They love their job and they are happy to be there (or they're all really, really good actors) and they go above and beyond to make me AND my family feel at home and comforted.  They offer lots of praise and encouragement, like leg and arm pats and "good job" and "you're doing great, almost done" and "thanks for being so still, you're such a good patient"....a girl could get used to that, ya know!  So, this time Mom came with me again.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Personally I think Mom's in it for the free Disney movies and juice boxes, but don't tell her I said that.  

Mom...lookin' like a PRO! 
I had a hip CT first.  No big deal.  In, out and done in about 15 minutes.  The poor CT tech was clearly uncomfortable asking about my "pregnancy status" and "last menstrual period" and "are you sure, like REALLY sure?" ....poor dude probably only has to encounter such discussions, on average, maybe twice a year.  My adamant reply "mister, if I'm pregnant, we've got bigger problems here than these broken hips" *wink*  He got the picture.  Next stop, radiology for my hip arthrogram and then on to MRI.  Hip Arthrogram (Amy's definition):  where you lay face-up on a cold, hard table with your "bum side of choice" exposed, but they keep a sheet to cover your "girlie bits"....hip area is scrubbed and draped in a surgical/sterile fashion, and then injected with lidocaine on the surface of the skin and then deeper into the tissue and then again deeper into the hip joint until it is all relatively numb.  Feels like that "swollen lip" feeling you get at the dentist...only it's inside your hip joint.  Then the doc injects contrast, or "dye" directly into the joint space, all under the guide of an xray machine.  This feels like you are being filled with glue, or sand....or glue mixed with sand.  No matter how numb you are, it is still very painful...not gonna lie.  THEN, you sit up, swing around (with only one working leg, mind you) and lay the opposite direction, so they can do it all over again on the other hip.  Mom got to watch the whole time (something that is typically only allowed at children's hospitals too)....she says she lost count of all the needles used.  After both hips were thoroughly filled with "sandy glue" I was taken to MRI, where I had to lie perfectly still for....an hour and a half!!  Yes, you read that right.  So, not only are my joints filled with a horribly painful substance, the lidocaine starts to wear off after about 30 minutes or so, and I can't move my legs.  Worse still, whenever I have any kind of imaging done, they always have to tape my feet together so that my legs are perfectly straight.  You see, with the retroversion and the unnatural way my hip sockets are angled, my legs naturally rotate out, like "frog legs".  It is not only uncomfortable, but downright painful, to have my legs parallel and straight because the "cup and saucer" of the hip joint is literally rubbing against one another and pinching bone against bone.  Yeah....ouch!  About an hour of the MRI, I did alright...took a little nap, glanced back and forth at all the "Finding Nemo" stickers all over the giant machine only 2 inches from my nose...not too bad.  Those last 30 minutes were rough, though...REAL rough.  Lots of deep breathing and relaxing and imaging and all that crap they teach you in nursing school for you to use with your patients.  When the MRI tech released me from the magnetic beast he said, quote "Wow, you are one tough woman.  There's no way I'd be able to be that still, in that much pain, for that long"  Thanks darlin'....now gimme the narcs!!!  By the time they wheeled me into the recovery area where Mom was, I was shaking.  Very weird, I've never done that before....  Anyway, all done and ready to get home!!!  I had my son meet me at the door with my crutches, fully knowing I wouldn't be able to walk for the rest of the day without them.  Little did I know, I wouldn't be able to walk the next THREE days without them!  Just warming them up for surgery I guess....

Still no definite surgery date yet, folks.  We're looking at a date in May, but we all have to coordinate our schedules first.  Otherwise, possibly June (seems like an eternity away)  But as promised, you'll be the first to know!  Until then.... xoxo

Big smile under that mask :-D  This is me, BEFORE the needles....obviously!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just an old sweet song....

Georgia on my mind....

Trip to Atlanta to meet my new (and hopefully FINAL!) hip surgeon was a smashing success.  Dr. Tim Schrader is a wonderful, very sweet and very thorough doctor and I am absolutely elated to get to work with him and his entire delightful staff!  My white knight....  *sigh*

Snap!  Back to reality!  So, now that I'm back in the Houston area, Dr. S wants me to get another set of MRI/Arthrograms and a hip CT before surgery with him.  He says I am a perfect candidate for a reverse PAO (see definitions for acronym discernment) and gave me the highlights of my pre/post op instructions.  Stop NSAIDS 2 weeks prior to surgery.  Arrive in Atlanta about 2-3 days prior to surgery for labwork and to donate blood for cell saver, should they need to give me a transfusion during surgery (apparently there can be significant blood loss with a PAO).  I should be in the hospital for about 3 days post-op, with drains from the operative site (yay....not!) and a foley (double yay...NOT!).  After he removes all that mess and discharges me from the hospital, he wants me to stay in town a few days before hopping back on a plane.  Recovery at home will include TED compression stockings for 4 weeks, daily baby Aspirin for 4 weeks (no Lovenox shots...yay!!!) and crutches with very light toe-touches for 6-8 weeks.  Then progressing to only one crutch for a month, and then a cane should I feel the need for support on long distances.  Yes, yes...let the jokes commence...Amy is getting screwed!  There will be 3-5 large screws in place in the greater trochanter (that's the "elephant ear" looking part of your hip, y'all) that he says will be quite painful.  After the bones fully fuse and heal, should they remain painful, he says he can later remove the screws.  So, basically we're looking at a 3-4 month full recovery, Lord-willing.  THEN we'll start talking about the OTHER hip....
Sweet!  Sign me up!  When do we start???  :-D

No surgery date set quite yet....working through all the insurance hoops and shenanigans, but I promise y'all will be the first to know!  In all probability we're looking at May/June...woohoo!  Just in time for those yummy GEORGIA PEACHES!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Today I feel a tremendous victory in the right direction.... I finally have an appointment with THE hip surgeon who is going to (Lord-willing!) make me whole again.  Unfortunately, this incredibly talented surgeon is in Atlanta.....yeah, that's right....Atlanta, GEORGIA!  So, I'll have to fly from Houston to Atlanta for my initial appointment with him and then back again for the surgery.  But, I'll tell ya...I don't mind a single bit!  In fact, I am absolutely ecstatic!  It feels real now.  That little flicker of pain-free hope is in my sights and I can almost reach out and grab it!  So. So. Very. Excited!!!  And it couldn't have possibly come too soon.... my work days are absolutely miserable.  I'm now starting my day taking TWO Tramadol (along with a Prilosec, of course!) and it seems like it's not even touching the pain.  I think I've finally reached that terrible, awful, lousy, no-good point in pain control where NSAIDs are simply no longer effective.  The joint is just too damaged.  So, I limp....and I hate "the limp", ugh!  But, it's all about survival, right?  And, in other news...an odd new development.  So, my hips have always had a strange, loud, painful-yet-relieving POP!  But, this week the POP has taken a life of it's own....much more frequent, and much more random.  And very, very loud!  Prompting strange looks from family and friends with wrinkled noses and wide-eyed stares "ewww, was that...your...hip???"  Yes, folks.  Yes it was.  And now, for my next trick....


Monday, February 6, 2012

PAO surgery video

An excellent video describing PAO surgery.  *WARNING* Graphic Operating Room coverage, not for the faint of heart!  Being an R.N., I kinda love this stuff....It's a little sick, I know!  Enjoy! ;-)
xoxo, Amy

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The International Association for the Study of Pain has a definition that is widely used: "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".

I'll admit, I've avoided posting for a while because my goal is to keep this blog positive.  However, my goal for this blog is to be therapeutic as well, and I suppose if I'm not able to be completely honest...well, that's not very therapeutic for either me or my followers, is it?  I especially want to be a good resource for my fellow "hip chicks" and if I'm not completely honest about this process, then that's not fair to them either.  Girls, you're not the only ones suffering and you're not alone.  These hips hurt, and they hurt bad...really, really bad.  But, we're all in this together, ladies!  And we're not going down without a fight, right??

So, I've done another musical since my last post.  Bim, bam, boom...rehearsals and production DONE!  It was a whirlwind of an experience, only 3 weeks total, but as always very, very rewarding.  This one was especially bittersweet however, since I don't know exactly when I'll return.  I have 2 PAOs on the horizon, with many months of recovery....and unless a particular role calls for a "girl on crutches", it'll be a while before I'm on a stage again.  And that's a very, very hard pill to swallow for me.  

Honestly though, the pain has gotten so intense lately, I find that I am simply just suffering through my days.  I try not to complain, but my dear friends (who know me all too well) can see it.  They can see it in my tired eyes... in the way I desperately seek a chair to collapse in... in the way I avoid challenging tasks (which isn't like me at all!)  I think I would find myself more depressed, if it didn't hurt so darn bad.  It is equal in both hips, more intense in one or the other at a time...probably because I exchange favoritism of one over the other from day to day, moment to moment.  It is sharp and grinding and they "catch" when I walk, as if there's something stuck in the joint.  Now it is not only localized to the groin anymore, but reaches all around the circumference of the acetabulum and is deeply rooted in the posterior as well.  Standing hurts, walking hurts, sitting hurts.... and everything in between.  Taking NSAIDS around the clock and using my ice packs as usual.  But, when I get home from work in tears from the pain, nothing's gonna help but the narcs.  And, that makes me mad.  Real mad.  I know, I'm probably just being a stubborn fool....but I HATE being dependent on a pain pill.  And I hate feeling crippled.  And I hate that so much of my life is "on hold".  I'm sort of between a rock and a hard place....and a barbed wire fence.  Trapped.  Well, at least until someone comes to my rescue with some wire cutters....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Affliction and Comfort

Just over 7 weeks post-op from my right hip arthroscopy.  Status?  Well, we'll just say "moment to moment"

There are days I forget I even had hip surgery, the pain is so minimal....  And then, out of nowhere, it'll rear it's ugly head.  Sometimes a sharp "catch" or "stab" and sometimes a dull burning ache....all of which just serves as reminder that this isn't over.  We didn't really 'fix' anything.... and this next year is potentially going to be a pretty darn busy one.  But, instead of doom and dread, I feel hopeful....  And folks, that's a choice!  The good Lord gave me a strong, healthy body and a smart, sound mind and a compassionate, loving heart....and I don't plan on wasting ANY of it!  Now, I'm not so foolish to believe that it's going to be sunshine and roses all the time.  I've already had some 'dark and cloudy' days....chronic pain does that.  It begins to invade your every thought and affect your every decision.  But, HOW I react is entirely up to me.  Does that mean it's not okay to cry, or feel frustrated, or to ponder the ever-present 'why me'???  I sure hope not....'cause *two thumbs* GUILTY right here!  But, I must remember that there is always hope.  There is always a purpose for me and my life, until I take my last breath.  There is always someone who is suffering more than me...much, much more.  And, I'll tell ya....it's absolutely fascinating how even through pain and afflictions, we can feel comfort from helping someone else.  I've learned this after nearly 10 years as a nurse...I may be limping from patient to patient, and counting the minutes until I can take another Tramadol *sigh*, but there is most definitely an indescribable joy in my heart from helping others.  It's kind of amazing, y'all!  But why should this be any mystery?  God designed it that way!

   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4