6 year anniversary both hips, no trouble. August 23, 2016

Checking in on my sixth year of enjoying life without pain and living at full throttle.

I want to thank Pat and all of the hippies before me who made this a much easier path to take - knowledge and kindness helps a lot when taking a fearful step.
To all of the hippies that are here now and have passed through, I admire your courage and tenacity.

To those who are on their way to taking this step, go at your own pace, you'll know the right time to go. I can only tell you that this has been the best decision I've made for myself, to let me roll forward with a joyous life.

I just drove from Boston to Mobile, Alabama in two days - 1500 miles which would have been unthinkable without my bionic hips. I question my mental capacity in doing this, but physically was perfect.


Hernan's Bilateral Hip Resurfacing Dr. Snyder 2010

 September 3, 2010

I just had left hip resurfacing done by Dr. Daniel Snyder at Newton-Wellesley hospital in Newton, Mass. I decided on him based on reviews, his web site and a background check on suits, etc. I decided on resurfacing despite one of my second opinions being against it and for a THR.

I am 53 years old, male and have spent quite a bit of time doing athletics of different types. I've done 35 years of martial arts (mostly Tae Kwon Do), played soccer competitively until last year, and a good amount of weight training.

I noticed about five years ago that my flexibility was declining rapidly. Where before I could easily touch my head to my knees, now I was having trouble touching the floor. The groin pain started around then, so I went into the Doctor's and physical therapy with what I thought were muscular issues. We checked for everything - Lyme disease, all sorts of issues. None of the therapy, massage, etc. seemed to do anything, so we checked for osteo issues. Five years ago, they found my right hip slightly arthritic (they thought) and my left had normal amounts of cartilage.

The pain worsened, to the point that two years ago, I could not walk up stairs (or down) without severe pain. I still continued playing soccer until last year, when my left hip started dislocating when I ran, and I would have to pop it back into place.

I figured it was time to do something about it, so I had the first surgeon look at it. My left hip had no cartilage, and had developed bone spurs. My right hip has very little cartilage, so it is just a matter of time. I scheduled a hip resurfacing with Dr. Snyder on August 24, 2010.

The surgery went well, took about 2.5 hours and was done under full anesthesia. I woke up and was well enough to stand up with a walker about four hours after the surgery. I felt so good due to the absence of pain from my left hip that I didn’t need the Oxycontin they prescribed after the anesthesia wore off. I was on a Tylenol Plus regimen (every six hours), a blood thinner, aspirin and vitamins. I was up the next day and walking using a walker, walking with the physical therapist. The following day, I was on crutches and being trained on how to use them, stairs, the right way to walk with them, etc. On the third day, I was released from the hospital to my parents, who had decided to help me the first week.

Part of the therapy is home PT and a home nurse twice a week. All of the PT sessions went really well, I had no problems at all, soreness like a recovering pulled muscle, but no real pain. I was asked to use a scale of 0-10 for pain, with 10 being the worst, I consistently was at 0, 1 at worst. I still have used only the Tylenol, changing it to as needed now. I have been on a single crutch for the last four days or so, walking longer distances as possible. Up to about 10 minutes now.

Sleeping is now a joy. I had serious problems before, waking up pretty much every hour for about three years. Now I get a real deep sleep, waking up once per night or so. Blood pressure is good (120-75 average) and the nurse seems happy.

After a week and a half since surgery, the bandages for the incision are off, held now only by steri-strips and the incision has apparently healed well. They did put two drains below the incision, and although those have been effusing clear fluid, that has slowed as well, and everyone thinks that is ok.
All in all, everything seems to be going really well, the only pain comes from the right (not operated) leg. And that’s ok since the pain there is nowhere near as bad as the left was. That will be taken care of in November. Very happy, positive and feeling good. I am going to be conservative about recuperation, will not go back to anything athletic until 1.5 years from now, will go back to the gym before that, but only doing what is recommended. I want to be solid for the next twenty years and not screw it up with my notorious impatience.
 

September 14, 2010

I'm three weeks into recuperating now, and making good progress. I went out for lunch with family, and tooled around Harvard Square for about three hours on one crutch. I was a little tired (slept for a couple of hours afterwards), but felt fine.

I've kept up with the PT exercises religiously, both on the bed and standing. I am able to walk without a crutch within my apartment with a slight limp, switch to the crutch if tired. I take a long walk three times a day, about 1/4 of a mile (measured it), with one crutch, but am doing stretches of ten paces without the crutch mixed in.

I lie down several hours either on the couch or on the bed, to rest muscles I'm not aware are strained. Still sleeping really well, night sweats have completely gone away and no more changing the bandages since the incision has healed nicely.

I am noticing that the other hip (still needs to be operated on) is getting a bit sore with all the exercising. I make sure that any exercise I do on my operated side is done on the other as well, since I don't want any muscular imbalance to pop up.

Overall, going great so far, really looking forward to getting both hips done and go on with a painless life.

 

September 23, 2010

I am at four weeks, and have been discharged from in-house PT. I am walking without any aids for about a week and a half, now doing about 1 mile per day at a good pace, have full range of motion according to the physical therapist, and have been doing stairs (about three flights, twice per day) for the last week.

I am switching over to outpatient PT, both regular and water, and began driving a week ago. All in all, things are going great, will work to get strength in both legs to prepare for the right hip resurface on Nov. 29.

 

October 27, 2010

Well, 9 weeks along now, my progress in PT is pronounced since I began about four weeks ago. I was just measured for strength and flexibility, compared with the beginning, and the results were very encouraging.

In all sorts of measures, my flexibility (ROM?) has increased by an average of 20-30 degrees of motion. This took me into normal to above normal ranges. Strength has increased commesurately, to the point that my operated left leg is now stronger than my right. This was one of my goals, since I wanted the left leg to be at least as supportive for my upcoming surgery as my right was for my past surgery.

Very excited by the results, will be discharged from outpatient PT in two weeks, giving me two weeks of "rest" (I will be continuing the exercises) before my next procedure in 11/29. I just filed the papers with my work for medical leave for that, so I'm very optimistic (cautiously of course) about my final procedure.

 

December 7, 2010

Just had my second hip resurface on my right hip, about a week ago. I had Dr. Snyder again, and they arranged to have the same anesthesiologist/physical therapist, etc. to satisfy my superstition.

The procedure went really well, the damage was not as bad on the right as the left, but the process was pretty much the same. The difference was that I made better progress, so they let me go two days after the surgery, which was a day earlier than last. The pain management is like last time, extra strength tylenol every 6 hours, and have already started physical therapy at home.

Will report more later, but the pain is now gone from both hips and am on two crutches and very excited to progress.

 

December 15, 2010

It's been two weeks since the surgery, and things are going pretty well. I've been doing in house PT and have progressed doing both bed exercises and standing execises.

I'm walking about 1 mile a day with two crutches, am using one crutch inside of my apartment, and have incorporated stairs in my indoors walking. The visiting nurse took off my newfangled bandage (more later) after one week and the incision had healed perfectly.

Overall good recovery, and expecting to be discharged from the visiting nurse at the next visit, as well as the in house PT by the 23rd. Then outpatiend PT starts.

The newfangled bandage used was pretty amazing. It was put on the second day after surgery, it was very thin and apparently made of a thin layer of silver. All I know is that the swelling was very low, I didn't have to change it for seven days and I could take showers with it (not allowing it to soak, but it could get wet). In my previous surgery, I had to change my bandages daily and had steri strips to deal with afterwards, but with this, no steri strips, staples, nothing. Pretty amazing and apparently kept any bacteria squashed. It was awesome, and when removed, the incision had healed perfectly. Thank you Dr. Snyder.

 

January 13, 2011

I'm in my 6th week post right hip resurfacing, with my left at the 20 week point. Both are doing well, with my left very strong and flexible. I had my post-op appointment, everything looked good and was cleared to return to work.

I just went back to outpatient PT for my right (and left), am walking most of the time without a crutch, still have one more week with one crutch and then I am done with that. I have to focus when walking not to have a slight limp, or when I'm very tired.

In PT, I am doing bike riding, strength exercises (leg lifts to all directions, with weights, stomach exercises and back exercises), stair practice (step up and down), flexibility (stretches both with the leg extended and bent). Overall, feeling tired but good when finished. Just a little sore afterwards.

I set some goals with the PT this time, to achieve enough flexibility to support doing low level martial arts (punching bag, further stretching, stances) after PT is done, and to identify the amount of weight lifting to do right away and in the future. Really excited to get this going.

 

January 20, 2011

I finally got a stick at my local drugstore (CVS), and have to admit, I was amazed at the variety available; some are very fun... some psychedelic, others with different visual themes, and one was camouflage (if you don't want people to know you're using a stick ). I settled on one that folds up and is extensible, black with a copper ring just below the handle. Very cool.

Walking with the stick (my first experience with this) is fine once you're used to it, and it seems to be just the amount of support I need with longer walks. Thanks for the advice, will keep it for a bit.

 

August 16, 2012

I'm calling a two year anniversary (wooo hooooooo !!! )

I had my two year checkup; almost two for my left, three months short on my right. There is no description for how psyched I was walking into the office and realizing that even compared to my one year visit, I was feeling awesome on my hips. I walked without a hitch, smiling and feeling like the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I had my XRays, scanned them mercilessly as they came up on the viewer, and grilled Dr. Snyder about the bone connection, my angles (40 degrees and 15, respectively). We then talked heavily about exercise and whether he thought my going into the really heavy impact Tae Kwon Do kicks was advisable (he had no problem with it), weight lifting and of course that most demanding of physical endeavors - the panoply of latin dances!

The good Dr. was very pleased with my progress. I still need work on balance - he had me on one leg, bending down and holding it in that position, which apparently needs more work.

Dr. Snyder now does routine blood work for metal ions at two years, so I went for that. Not concerned, as I haven't had symptoms and look for them to be in good shape.

To mark the day, I'm posting my pre HR hips, and my two year hips. And now to get a bit maudlin, I want to thank the surgeon, staff and therapists galore whose efforts got me to this point. I also want to thank Pat, whose site has been both a research library, a refuge and a place to find friendship and solace while walking in hard places. And a great thanks to all of the hippies who are both here now and who have left (I think it's great you're loving life); in the words of Anna (who I think is great), you are all awesome!

 

August 20, 2012

My levels are:

Chromium - 3.4
Cobalt - 3.1

My surgeon is happy with anything under 7 for both, but to use the most stringent study to date, the latest accepted upper limits for both are:

(from this source: http://www.hipresurfacingnews.com/categories/20-Metal-Ion-Issues )

Chromium - 4.6 for one hip, 7.4 for bilats
Cobalt - 4.0 for one hip, 5.0 for both.

The levels tend to drop over time unless there's a problem, so good.... sounds like time for another Dos XX, if it wasn't Monday and I wasn't at work.
 

September 27, 2012

I'm at two years and still get a bit of soreness in my right hip when I sit too much.

Exercise definitely keeps me loose and overall makes me feel better. I can tell the difference since I work on a computer all day; when things get intense at work, I can be sitting in one spot for hours. I don't really get startup pain anymore, but do get a bit sore when I've sat in one position for way too long.
 

 

October 1, 2012

Here are some things that my PT did with me to help strengthen the smaller muscles in the hip:
 

  • Take a step (like from a step class?) and step up, one foot, followed by the second, step down one foot then the second - repeat 30 times.
  • Balance on one foot for sixty seconds. Once you can do that with ease, take your shoes off and repeat, once that's easy - take a ball of any size, hold with both hands and describe figure eights in the air in front of you, balancing on one foot for sixty seconds. Add standing on a pillow for instability after that.
  • Get some exercise bands, tie them on your ankles and walk sideways, allowing them to give you increasing tension as you extend.
  • If you feel up to it, get a slide board, it simulates skating and has helped quite a bit.
  • Get a pilates ball and do reverse planks - lay on your back, put both heels on the ball, raise up so you are balancing on your heels and your shoulders. At first I could do only 5 or 10, eventually get to 3 X 10 repetitions. This really helps your core.

 

October 3, 2012

I've been doing some serious kicks lately and have really tried not to change my movements to accomodate the hip. My thoughts were that if a kick (or a punch, they can put a lot of stress on the hips) is going to cause issues, then I won't do it and if the whole thing will compromise the hip, then I'll make the hard decision and walk away.

I've actually been trying to be more exacting on the proper way to do things, since in looking back, I think in some kicks (yeah, that's right roundhouse kick, I'm talking about you!) in my eagerness for impact and speed, I let my form suffer and it may have made things worse for my pre OA hips.

We are all concerned about letting our hips live as long as possible, but you don't want to push other parts of your anatomy to compensate for a problem that may not be there. I've been doing some hard kicks for about six months (20-40 minutes heavy bag work) now, and have not run into knee swelling or pain. I've been through the preparations for a black belt test before, and I know you're pushing your limits, but the pain should be all around, not just on your knees.

One thing I did was to hunt down a physical therapist about five months ago and have her watch me hit the bag. Then she commented on whether the way I was striking was at strange angles, etc. I explained to her what to expect, and she observed me and let me know if I was doing things in the right way. You have some great resources at your school, maybe you can get another black belt or your teacher and have them look at your form. They may be able to tell you if you're twisting or moving in a way to put too much on the knees.

August 24, 2013

Well, it has been three years today and some light observations:

  • It is the best thing I've done for myself. Ever.
  • The recovery is not easy. But like most things that are worthwhile, the work pays off handsomely.
  • I am back to most of my activities, martial arts, sports, just walking, parties, picnics without any pain and no fear.
  • The people I've seen here both now and in the past are brave, proud and inspirational.
  • This is a necessary option and a great treatment for a truly dire disease.

I am just enjoying life. My hips are in very good shape. I can feel there are still some small improvements to be made, but that's true of anything in my life.

Hip resurfacing has been a complete life changer, and I want to again thank Pat for this site and all of the services and hard work that she has painstakingly gifted us with.

Keep up all of your efforts for current hippies and for those considering it - if you're a good candidate, I can tell you that it is worth it.

April 21, 2014

This is a sort of four year anniversary with an asterisk.

A couple of months ago, I wiped out on an icy entryway, doing a very picturesque fall and right on my resurfaced right hip.

I worked out later that week hard, punching bag kicks for about an hour, lifted weights, some good amount of time stretching. Pretty usual.

That laid me out. I think now I pulled something on my lower back, twisted, sprained... you enter your malady.

The problem is that it was on my lower back, on the left near the center right above my hip. As it persisted, I had trouble walking. Not like with the arthritis, but it was pain.

So I started to worry a bit. I thought - pain, lower back... maybe something was up. It kept up for a month, so I started (as I do) to make plans in case it was the worst case and I needed a revision... for some evil reason.

It improved, but I didn't want to lie to myself, so thought... Ok - this is the time to check it out completely. I had a 4 year checkup coming in August, but even without that, I've always felt that you need to clear the fog and face the good or bad.

So I called my surgeon and made the appointment for about a week ago. I went in, prepared either way, got my XRays and waited. My surgeon came in, immediately told me that everything was great, showed me my pictures (I looked very carefully for any telling lines above the cup).

Huge sigh of relief. He then said that he now does a metal ions blood test for every visit. I would have insisted on one anyways, but was glad not to have to press for it.

This past Friday I got a call from the nurse. My blood levels have gone down from the previous Chromium 3.4, Cobalt 3.1 to Chromium 1.7, Cobalt 1.1.

I was ecstatic. Only ecstatic because of the release of my fears, otherwise it would have been in August and I would have been very happy.

My take is that even at four years you can freak out (slowly in my case), but the best thing is to clear the fog and go forward, these hips are strong when put in right.

August 27, 2015

I have officially reached my five year anniversary (for my left hip, my right will be 11/26).

Everything is just fine and dandy. I've gone through all of the ups and downs of a recovery, including many an assumption that somehow I've mucked up my resurfaces.

Luckily, those scares turned out not to be an issue. The hips are strong and have faded into normalcy. I am physically active and any physical challenge does not involve my hips.

The world is good, I can heartily recommend a hip resurface to get your life back.

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