Long Day at HSS

I manage to survive all three of my appointments yesterday somehow.

First up was my OS for the six weeks on the left hip and six months on the right hip. He was happy with where I was with both and said to worry about the motion but focus on the strengthening. When I asked for a cortisone injection in my left knee he said okay, but at first he said that he thought the pain in the left knee was probably referred pain from the hip, but after he examined it he did notice fluid. I also ask for a prescription for a home TENS unit, so that is being ordered as well now. My last question for the OS was when can I start horseback riding again? In 6-8 weeks (at 3 months post-op) I can start riding a little but no jumping, and I can ride without restrictions at 4-6 months post op.

The rheumatologist appointment was not exciting, I may eventually get an MRI on my left knee but not for a while since I just had a cortisone injection. We aren't changing any meds or anything. I was not totally happy with this appointment because I do not want to be having the same knee problems in a few months. I am 17 and this is my second cortisone injection into that knee, which isn't terrible since they were two years apart but I don't want to continue at this rate either, and PT in clearly not enough.

My last appointment of the day was PT, my last PT appointment before I leave for college. I have been seeing the same PT was two years and he has been amazing and has gone out of his way to accommodate me more than once, I am really going to miss him.

I also have been trying to set up all my medical care in Philadelphia. By some stroke of luck in September my OS is opening an office in Philly and will be seeing patients there four times a month, so no need to worry about that. I called the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to set up appointments with a opthamologist and rheumatologist there. I managed to get through to the ophthalmology department and the uveitis clinic will probably call me on Monday to set up an appointment. I called to late to get to the arthritis clinic because they close an hour earlier but I have the number for it so I will call on Monday. As far as PT goes I found a place that will treat me on campus except for the initial visit, so I will probably go with them.

I will be on vacation next week so I may not post.

6 Weeks/6 months Post Op

Actually I missed both milestones, yesterday I was 6 weeks post op on my left hip and the day before was the 6 month mark for my right.
Scars! L vs. R!

I decided to look back at the post I wrote the day my right hip was 6 weeks post op, and that post was not focused on my hip. I was in pain at that point, a lot of it, and not hip pain. I was in a flare that day my knees and shoulders were not happy. Here I am 6 month later, having had two major hip surgeries in the recent past, and once again I am in a lot of pain, and once again it is not hip pain. My knees, well mostly my left knee, have been killing me.

Once again I feel like I am having trouble pushing my hip because of my knee, its like a never ending cycle of pain and horribleness. On Friday I see my OS, Rheumy, and PT so I am hoping for some answers on my knee. However I doubt I will get them straight out so I think I am going to ask my OS for a cortisone injection for my left knee, because this has gone on for long enough I have tried everything, I know its not a great solution but I just want the pain to stop and fast!

The Perfect Body?

Today I am going to write about a taboo subject- body image, and how living with chronic illness/pain has affected it.

I get told how great my body is a lot, I am tall and fairly skinny. Not to be egotistic but I look pretty good in a bikini. I should love how I look. I should be confident of my body, after all I just bought a pair of size 2 jeans. Yet I still struggle with loving my body.

My New Jeans!
In middle school I thought my legs were fat, that was when I had muscles from horseback riding, today I miss my muscular legs. My thighs tend to be two different sizes, the left one is almost always smaller. The reason for this is simple, my left quad has atrophied from months of limping and being on crutches when I was 15/16, at one point it was so bad my doctor measured it and the difference was a good 2 cm in circumference. Today they are almost the same size, and probably look the same to anyone else, but to me they still look different.

If you haven't guessed it yet, I have a lot of scars. I have 8 scars from surgery, 1 from a go-kart burn, 1 from a shell, 1 from falling down a rocky hill, 1 from a marble table, and 2 from falling off a bike. In case you lost track that is 14 in total. Those scars are less attractive in a bikini, the ones on my hips and knees are especially ugly. I find it hard to feel good in a bathing suit with my hips exposed. I guess all the scars should remind me that what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

My final issue with my body is I feel like I am constantly at war with it. How am I supposed to love something that causes me so much pain and hardship? It is hard to remember to try to work with my body instead of against it. It is better to stop when I am in pain and fix (or at least try to fix) the problem, weather that means putting fancy cream or a brace on the joint or taking tylenol or getting ice/heat, and not try to push past it. I am not at the point yet where I work with my body as much as I should yet, I try to fight it a lot. My goal is to get to the point where I know how to work with my body to eliminate the problems I have with it and have a better self image.

Do you have self image issues related to a chronic condition? What are ways you improve your self image?