Where Did the Time Go?

I am so very sorry for letting too much time pass without posting.  After relocating to a new state, the kids started school, I started a new job and life got in the way. My intention has been to continue to give updates to those of you who are searching for answers and I dropped the ball...I hope you will forgive me!

This blog was started simply out of frustration and desperation for information and answers that were not available at the time regarding FAI. I never could have imagined how it would grow and reach far beyond my small world, to hundreds of thousands of people and members of the medical community. I truly appreciate every reader and don't take for granted your journey and search for answers. 

Here's the good news, more than 4 years post-op I can say with confidence my surgery was a complete success. I am 98% pain free most days and have returned completely to normal activity. In fact, I am doing much more than I ever thought possible when this whole things started.

I also want to make absolutely clear that there was no immediate fix...no quick route to diagnosis, treatment, surgery or recovery. It was long, scary, painful and frustrating. It was hands down the hardest and most painful thing I have EVER gone through. However, I found out what I was made of and how much I was loved...even when I wasn't lovable and for that I am thankful. 

My prayers were answered when I found Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville and his excellent staff as well as the physical therapy I received under his care at  Nashville Sports Medicine. I noticed today protocol for the hip is now posted on their website: http://www.nsmoc.com/nashville-sports-medicine-tennessee.html.

Having the surgery at that time was considered very controversial although it seems to have much more awareness now. It was not covered by most insurers and there weren't very many surgeons with the skill and experience to perform a hip scope. Actually, there weren't many surgeons even familiar with FAI. Like many of you, I worried if i would make the right decision. I took a long time, almost a year to decide. Once we had a wheelchair at the house, it got easier. If you can't walk there's less reason to wait.

After the surgery every tinge of pain scared me. I was terrified of injuring myself or tearing my labrum again. I doubted for months...I was still experiencing a lot of pain even 8 months post-op. I am an impatient person, but I followed orders exactly and used my crutches for weeks, followed the PT protocol and was very conservative in my activities well beyond the one year post-op mark. At 12 months post-op I began a program to run by alternating a one minute run with a one minute walk, increasing the run time by one minute each week....that's slow folks. Once I could run for 30 min (over 6 months to get to that point) I started increasing by mile.

It took FOREVER. It was slow, but you know what? It worked and I never (knock on wood) suffered the dreaded overuse injury.

I did compete in that adventure race in 2012 and placed in my age group. I've ran in many other races since and have returned to normal activities I had once grieved the loss of. I snowboard, kayak, train run...mountain bike regularly and even get this- I've started CROSSFIT!!! Which I've been trying unsuccessfully to hide the obsession of.

What's different now is that I know my limitations and have nothing to prove to anyone. I've already proven to myself that I'm tough as nails. I've known how it feels to be at the bottom, so there's no falling left to do. I am careful with my body because it is precious to me now. Everytime I am blessed to have the warm sunshine on my face during an afternoon run I thank God for his mercy, my friends for their support and my family for their patience.

I want you all to know how much it means to me to look back and know you have followed me through this journey. I will try my best to post more regularly and hope to hear good things happening in the lives of others who have been touched by FAI. My heart aches in knowing that not everyone has a happy ending. I hate that some of you who started this with me years ago are still suffering. I only hope that as more attention, research and experience continues to bring light to this condition, success will be the norm for those in treatment.

Happy Healing,



Amy Classen said...

Thank you Vanessa. I just want to say that your blog was the first honest and candid first hand account of FAI I found pre-surgery (and post now I'm finding them left and right).

When I first read your blog on "Understanding FAI: for friends..." it was at the point when each visit to the doctor left me with more questions than answers and when I thought maybe I was just crazy. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you because when I read that back in October or so it was the first time I felt as though someone really understood.

Sorry you had to do this all on your own but I know a lot of us are also thankful for it since it resulted in this blog. All the best to you Vanessa, and I'm glad you've been responsible with your recovery and are living! To think 4 years ago you were crawling around the house and now (going off the photo) you're in family races, I'm glad you've had a happy end to this FAI journey! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your blog, might help me roll the dice on surgery, I have seen 5 surgeons but the lack of evidence on the long term has made me wait and wait too long and now a grade 3 -4 chondro labral junction full thickness lesion shows up that will need microfracture

Joint Pain said...

(Y) awesome motivation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vanessa. I'm so happy I found your blog. It has brought me so much peace to see that I am not alone in my struggle.... especially the part about "you're so young." I have been struggling with debilitating lower back pain for years - I am a former athlete. Multiple doctors could never find anything wrong with me until recently when I started having another symptom of terrible groin pain. I have a labral tear and FAI. My question for you is about your pain prior to surgery -- Was it specific to your hips or did you feel lower back pain too? When I say lower back pain I mean pain that is in the SI joint region and the back of the pelvis. It would make me happy to know that the surgery could correct this issue for me. My hip is sore, but the lower back pain really kills me when I overdo it. Thanks so much!!

Amy4kids said...

SI joint pain is a symptom! I've had it along with IT band, hip bursitis and groin pain for 6 years. It started while training for my first marathon at age 40. I haven't been able to consistently work out since I crossed the finish line. I've been to doctors, chiropractors and spent thousands on PT. I have had MRIs of my lumbar spine and hips to no avail. Finally I went to a spine doctor (I had been to the hip guy months before and was told nothing was wrong). My spine doctor quickly recognized FAI and torn labrum and sent me to get an MRI with contrast injection. It was positive and now I'm headed to Birmingham's hip specialist for surgery. Dr. Emblom actually trained under Dr. Byrd, and is recognized as the go-to hip doctor in Alabama. Andrews Sports Medicine is well known nationally, and I couldn't be happier to have a diagnosis finally! I had major ankle surgery a few years ago and the recovery was awful. You are so correct when you said that you found out what you're made of. I'm scared because I know how hard it will be, but I do know I can get through it, and maybe start crossfit again. I had to stop after a month��. Thank you for posting!

Anonymous said...

I like many of you did not know what the problem I had was. A friend of mine had sent me an article out of the local newspaper about a dance instructor who had the same symptoms I was experiencing. It was from that article that I found my new surgeon. There are few doctors that have the understanding of FAI. I had surgery in 2014 that was supposed to address this, but sadly it didn't fix my hip. So 2015 I went to see the Dr. Harris, a Sportsmedicine surgeon who understands FAI and has a very strict process in place for surgery and post surgery. I am now 8 weeks post surgery. Take the time to find a good surgeon that has experience with this type of problem.

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