#HAWMC Day 29 My favorite #HAWMC blogger post

Today is Day 29 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Have you checked out fellow HA’s pieces for our HAWMC?
Choose one of your favorites and repost it to your blog.
Be sure to include a few sentences on why you love this piece!

There are so many great blog posts by bloggers contributing to WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge (#HAWMC2016) I had a hard time picking just one.  I also had a very hard time going back and reading over all of them to pick the best one I could find.  You see I’ve been having vertigo a lot recently so completing this challenge has been a big challenge for me, but it looks like I’m going to do it!

This blog post by Julie, on her blog It’s just a bad day, not a bad life, is titled Dear Julie, An AVN Diagnosis.   I picked this post because I too had Avascular Necrosis.  I’m lucky that mine was taken care of with a hip replacement, but I know it could show up in other joints.  This letter explains AVN and other illnesses Julie has, and how she is persevering every day.

dear-julie-a-letter-to-myself-post-diagnosis

(below is a repost of Julie’s post.  To see the original please click on the title of the post, I follow Julie on her blog, It’s just a bad day, not a bad life, and on Twitter, she is awesome.)

Dear Julie – An AVN Diagnosis Letter

Avascular Necrosis. WTF?! Like, what the hell.

I didn’t even know bone could DIE?! THAT’S A THING?! WHATTTT!?

For the past few months, you KNEW something was wrong. Something was off. There was no reason you should have been in that much pain.

Yet, your healthcare team told you otherwise.

“Oh, you’ve just overdone it at therapy. Take these Percocet’s and rest for a week.”

“There’s nothing wrong with your knee, you’re just healing.”

“Just keep pushing through. Once you have your range of motion back your pain will subside.”

“Here’s a kenalog injection and a higher dose of pain pills. Come back in a week.”

BUT YOU KNEW BETTER! You KNEW there was something seriously wrong.

December 17th will be a date that you’ll never be able to get out of your mind. Today, when you crutched your way into that doctors appointment, I know you wished that something would show up on your scans. Last week when you had your bone scan done, the technician told you you “lit up like a Christmas tree” (which you loved the holiday reference btw. It was kinda perfect), you knew you’d get answers today.

But the answer you received was NOT the answer you thought.

You anticipated him saying that your ACL finally finished tearing apart or that there was a complication from your last surgery. But that wasn’t even remotely close to the case.

You’ll always remember the look on your doctor’s face when he walked into your examination room.

“Your bone is dead. It’s called avascular necrosis. I know what it is, I’ve seen it before. But I don’t know how to treat it and I don’t really know where to send you…” will echo through your brain for YEARS to come.

You mind will race and question the fact that he told you you’d probably need a knee replacement. Then you’ll think about how he said you can only get 2 in your life. . . and that will spiral into you crying about how when you’re 60 you probably won’t be able to walk.

Your Dad will joke about how once you’re 60 you’ll probably be able to get avatar legs. But it won’t make you feel any better.

Tonight you’ll spend your evening crying.

Crying about how you may not walk again. Crying how you’ll probably need a knee replacement. Crying how your pain IS valid and that there IS something seriously wrong. Crying because you have no idea where to turn.

And while you’re crying, your parents will be crying too.

Your mom will be upset because she can’t wrap her brain around this diagnosis and your dad will be in shock with the news and wish you did something sooner.

You’re 27 years old and 2 parts of your bone are DEAD. It’s going to take some time for you and your family to wrap your heads around it. BE PATIENT.

I know you’re in pain. So much pain that you’re unable to sleep. You’re exhausted. You’re worn down. You’re a wreck.

But, you don’t need to be a hero when it comes to dealing with this pain.

Your parents will ask you numerous times if they should take you to the hospital to help your pain. You’ll pass it off as you’re fine.

But you’re not fine. Take them up on that offer and GO.

Picture from the first hospital room I was in during my week long stay. Dear Julie, A Letter to myself after receiving the diagnosis of Avascular Necrosis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome itsjustabadday.comI know you want to celebrate Christmas and enjoy it, but you’re not going to enjoy the day. You’re going to end up passed out for the majority of it because you finally caved and took high doses of pain pills. You’re going to end up going to the ER early in the morning the day after Christmas because you’ve hit a breaking point.

Don’t wait – go earlier.

You’ll spend a week in the hospital and you’ll start to get SOME answers. You’ll receive 2 more diagnosis – Psoriatic Arthritis (officially, after having first heard it back when you were a teenager) and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. As you leave the hospital, you’ll think that your AVN is the thing you need to treat first. . . but it’s not. You need to take care of YOU and calm the storm in your body before you even find a solution for your knee.

Oh, and also… Just to set realistic expectations. Don’t plan on counting on your orthopedic surgeon. He’ll provide you with no helpand will just frustrate you more than you need. Your Dad will take it pretty hard, but just know, in the end, you don’t end up needing this doctor. He actually does you a favor by stepping aside because it forces you to go out and find the best possible solution for YOU.

Put on your armor, because it’s going to be a battle for the next few years. You’ll face injections, pills on pills, stomach issues which make you unable to eat for months, nerve blocks, anxiety, depression, melanoma, rejection from over 29 different health providers – just to name a few of those battles.

But guess what, you’re going to be fine.

Actually, scratch that.

You’re going to be more than fine – you’re going to come out on TOP.

You’ll end up changing your whole life to manage your conditions.

You’ll end up having your path redirected to be exactly where you should be.

And, you’ll end up blossoming into the person that you’ve always wanted to become.

You’ll never define yourself by the diagnoses that you receive in December 2012, but you’ll use them to help fuel your passion, motivation and to help others.

I love you and you’re strong.

You’re going to get through this. One day at a time.

SPOILER ALERT: In a few Christmases time, you’ll get to film this video and be well on your way to recovery from your Avascular Necrosis. And, you’ll end up speaking at an FDA hearing regarding stem cells because of your AVN! GRAB THE TISSUES!

Wishing You A Pain Free Day!

Julie Cerrone | Spoonie, Autoimmune Warrior, Certified Holistic Health Coach, DoTerra Wellness Advocate, 200 RYT Trainee, Reiki 1, Nutrition Geek, ePatient Advocate, IT Consultant, Pittsburgh Based Practitioner Living the Chronic Life

 

 

 

This post was in response to the WEGO Health HAWMC prompt:

Do you remember the day you were diagnosed? Perhaps you were scared, felt alone and surely you had tons of questions. Write a letter to yourself for the day you were diagnosed, knowing all you do now.”

 

 

I’m participating in WEGO’s #HAWMC, if you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

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Hip Replacement Week – 6

My New HIp. 14th April 2015  by Dr. Springer, OrthoCarolina
My New HIp. 14th April 2015 by Dr. Springer, OrthoCarolina

I just looked by at my last post about my hip replacement, that was a long time ago!

Let’s see what has happened?  I should tell you the good and the bad…I think this is going to be a short post.

The Bad:   I had vertigo attacks every day for 37 days straight.  I think I had good reason to be concerned.  My personal belief is that the Coumadin had something to do with it.  I was on the medication for 28 days, give it a week more to get out of my system….vertigo slowed down drastically.  I’ve had some vertigo since then, but nothing like I had before.  Thank goodness.

About a week or so after surgery I had vertigo that was very different than I have ever had before.  I felt like I was being thrown around the room.  Literally like my body was being tossed all around.  It was horrific.  I threw up and threw up.  My brain felt like it was coming apart in my skull.  I thought I might be dying.  I was so pale Stuart called an ambulance and I was taken to the emergency room.  My darling husband and sister spent about 7 hours at the hospital with me.  The tossing around stopped when I was in the ambulance, but I still felt like I was moving.  (I got vomit on the Ambulance attendant, I was so embarrassed.  She was so sweet.)  It is very difficult being in the emergency room when you have vertigo.  They can’t really do anything.  They gave me the same medication I have at home, I was just much more uncomfortable.

Funny story, I had to pee when I was in the ER, and of course I had to use a bed pan (they gave me a huge bed pan), can you imagine how much pain that caused when I just had my hip replaced 6 days before?  I must say I’m glad they gave me such a big bed pan, but I still over flowed it.  It was a mess.  The nurses had a big laugh though, they swore I could not have held that much pee and not burst my bladder!  However, it was not a comfortable thing to change my sheets and clean me up!

I’m still having a lot of pain because of my back.  The sciatic pain is hard to deal with sometimes.  My doctor told me to wait a while before I went to the see the back doctor, he thinks it will get better when all the swelling goes down and that could take a few months.  I can’t see the swelling now, except in my foot, but I guess it’s probably still there inside.  I’m really hoping the aqua therapy will help with this again.

The only other bad thing was that my physical therapy was a little behind because of the vertigo.  Unfortunately, I missed quite a few sessions of the home PT.  However, I work hard on my own, my physical therapist was always surprised that I was as far along as I was considering hadn’t been able to keep on schedule.

Another view of my New Hip - by Dr. Springer - OrthoCarolina
Another view of my New Hip – by Dr. Springer – OrthoCarolina

I saw my doctor, Bryan Springer, MD of OrthoCarolina, exactly one month after my surgery.  The first thing he said was when he did the surgery  my hip looked pretty bad in there, then he showed me my x-ray of my new hip, and said I was doing great!  I go back to see him in 3 months!  Woo Hoo!  I did request to go to further physical therapy since I didn’t get to finish my PT at home and he was all for it.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to start it yet.  I’ll be doing Aquatic Therapy and the place I went before have drastically cut their hours so I’ll be going to a different place.  I’m a little nervous because the other place was very quiet and I could easily hear my therapist.  I don’t know how the new place will be, I have a LOT of trouble with my hearing so if it is the slightest bit noisy in there I may have a lot of difficulty.

Wendy walking at 4 weeks.
Wendy walking at 4 weeks after hip replacement.

By the 4th week I was able to walk around the house with just a cane.  Now I can walk around just about everywhere with just a cane, if I didn’t need a walker for my balance issues.  I don’t put pressure on my walker though, it is there just to help me with balance so I’m putting my weight on my hip.  I’m walking a lot.  I can easily go up and down stairs, as long as I’m not too dizzy.  🙂  I can walk around the house and yard without any assistance at all…unless, of course, I need it for my balance. How cool is that??

Wendy going up and down the steps for the 5th time, at 4 weeks after hip replacement surgery.
Wendy going up and down the steps for the 5th time, at 4 weeks after hip replacement surgery.

I think I’m doing pretty good at PT by myself, but I want some guidance from a therapist about when I can stop following the “rules” I have to follow, and how hard I can push myself in certain exercises.  I know from experience I can get more range of motion exercising in the pool so I’m really looking forward to that.

For anyone out there who may be reading this who has Avascular Necrosis (AVN), I want you to know that the pain from AVN stopped the moment I had the surgery.  The pain from recovering from surgery has not been anything close to the pain of AVN.  I sincerely wish all of my illnesses could be taken care of so easily.  I do realize that this could show up in other joints, I will deal with that if it happens, until then I’m not going to worry about it.  If you are reading this and you have AVN in multiple joints I have the utmost compassion for you and hope you can find help.

*You may have notices my shirt is way too big.  I plateaued with my weight loss when the pain from the AVN started and I couldn’t move around much.  I didn’t want to get clothes that weren’t going to fit when I started to lose weight again. 🙂  It has started again…yay!  Very slowly though.  I did get the pants from Good Will so they fit pretty good.

**yes this is late, it has been more than 6 weeks since my surgery but I had a bit of trouble with my computer.  I’ll catch up a bit more soon!