Just Keep Moving

Let’s see, where was I?

When I finally gave up on trying to get surgery from Mr. Traveler in Seattle, I had to find another person to try and help me. After hours of internet research, the closest PAO surgeon I could find was all the way in southern California. One by one I called, e-mailed, and attempted to reach out to each surgeon. The most frustrating part is that not one of them ever returned any calls or e-mails.

Eventually I contacted my general practitioner and I explained the pain I was dealing with and the rate at which my mobility was decreasing. What does he do? Let’s try physical therapy and here’s a giant bottle of Vicodin. Oh great, just what I needed, to become dependent on opioids. Okay fine, I’ll try physical therapy and see if that may help, I hadn’t tried it before so let’s give it the old college try. First appointment, we try some stretching exercises, the range of motion in certain directions is great but in others, I fly off the table in pain. Five physical therapy sessions later we have a chat about the progress and where we should go from here. The general consensus is that my issues are structural and all the physical therapy in the world isn’t going to help me. After the fifth visit, I pay my bill and say my goodbyes because I’m paying $25 a week for something that isn’t helping at all.

Now what? I have no idea.

For the next two years I basically stop trying to find someone else to help me. No one had even tried to help at this point, and I was tired of feeling hopeless and discouraged. I try my hardest to go about life like I had hoped to. I was attending Western Oregon University at the time so at least I had something to occupy my time. I started finding small ways to make things a bit easier on myself. Getting to campus a bit earlier so I would be able to find a parking spot that might just be a little bit closer to where my first class was. And biggest of all, asking for help. Since I was majoring in art and concentrating in ceramics, I came to find that I was needing a lot of extra help. Lifting the 25 pound bags of clay and carrying them from the storage room to my work spot. Carrying large buckets of glaze to where I would be able to sit and glaze my work instead of standing over the bucket and hoping that my hip doesn’t start screaming. Sitting in the studio while everyone else worked their asses off unloading the tons of clay that was delivered every Spring term. Feeling a mixture of guilt, frustration, and depression everyday because of my inability to contribute the way that I really wanted to.

I began reading blogs and articles about women going through the same situation as myself. It seemed like they were all getting the help they needed, and not having any issues with getting some sort of treatment or surgery. One woman went from diagnosis to PAO in less than a year. Here I was, three years after diagnosis and hadn’t been offered anything to help except a huge bottle of Vicodin. And the request that I start trying to work out to keep my joints moving, and to lose the load that I was carrying.

Okay fine, I’ll play your dumb little game.

I decided to get a membership to the health club that was a couple miles away from where I was living at the time. I started slowly and went about three times a week. Really trying to give it my all, and show that I was really wanting to change everything.

First, I started with the machines. Elyptical, stationary bike, rowing machine. Everything hurt. I was starting to realize that just moving my joints was excruciating. So, I started taking a Vicodin before I went, hoping that maybe it would stifle the pain so I could try and get some sort of workout. Trying to workout while loopy on Vicodin, talk about an experience. Yes, I was able to get some semblance of a workout in, but the next day? What a vicious cycle. Taking pain medication just to get out of bed isn’t what I would call an ideal situation. I never realized how opioids effect your body. The way that your gut slows down and is in knots all the time. That alone made me stop taking them. Even though it eased the pain a tiny bit, it wasn’t worth it.

Try swimming.

Swimming it is then. I got myself a shiny new swimsuit and I was so excited to go and try wading around and maybe even swimming a few laps. Nope. That wasn’t happening either. Halfway down the lap pool, the whole lower left side of my body cramped up and the pulsating pain started. I wasn’t about to take a vicodin to go swimming. That just spelled disaster. So, I went in the shallow, warmer wading pool next to the lap pool. Hopping around on my right leg and letting my left leg just sort of dangle in the warm water. That worked I suppose.

I can’t keep paying $45 a month to float around in a warm pool. Forget this.

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