My left hip was worse than my right. At age 43, I had an arthroscopy on it (two small incisions made for a camera and lasers to go in and clean out the damaged cartilage in the joint). In the end, the operation didn't help one bit. Yet, I turned down offers for steroid shots in my hips time and again. I didn't want that toxic junk in my system, and only for temporary relief anyways. I knew I was headed toward complete hip replacements on both sides. I no longer felt this was unfair -- I had been doing my work around it and began to accept it as my path for a reason, though I wasn't sure what the reason was.
Time passed. I used my hot tub several times a week and eliminated or limited my sugar, gluten, caffeine and alcohol intake, but, at age 45, I was creaking painfully along in the winter of 2015. Cold weather aggravated my condition. By spring 2016, it was time to take action, otherwise the following winter would be wretched. I carted my x-rays, list of supplements and dietary habits, eliminated activities and painful activities around -- shopping for surgeons. After having 3 consultations, I chose Dr. John Masonis at CMC Mercy Hospital, Charlotte, NC. His credentials were great (specializing in hip dysplasia), and he entered the room like a dynamo -- all encouragement and confidence. He was going to completely replace my left hip, and access it through the anterior (front), which is less invasive than a posterior entry. A had a few weeks to prepare.
I used the time well, swimming 3 times a week, becoming more strict with my diet, and making the house ready (night lights, taped down wires, raised lounge chair, wheeled adjustable desk). The prep time was less emotional than the period before my hysterectomy, but had it's own qualities. I had carried lots of frustrations and misplaced energies in my flexible, poppy hips all these years. When I was younger, I would vibrate along with someone else's emotions or the suffering of many around the world, and had to carefully part my way through a space filled with tension or dysfunction. These sensitivities are still a part of me -- now I'm more protected and am better prepared. The hips are a place for such excesses to reside -- mine were. Yet, they also harbor pleasure, joy and creative expression, along with the shadow: guilt. They'er related to the 2nd Chakra. I was going to lose a site for these emotions and memories and a joint that had served me very well most of the time. After it was over, getting through airport security will to require me to flash my scar. As my Sci-Fi and Fantasy writer friends said -- I would be a cyborg.
On the other hand, I have a new focus. Instead of attending only to my diminishing capabilities and increased pain, I began to visualize myself after both hips are replaced (next year will probably be the right). There I was, able to bend and move without care, hiking and dancing again, perhaps even doing yoga -- all without stiffness or having to pay with several days of pain afterwards. I decided that my new left hip (the left side of the body is feminine) is named Shakti, for the dancing goddess of creation and destruction. It personalized it, and emphasized that my situation is no accident or misfortune -- I was excited to receive her. My right hip obviously will be named Shiva -- master of Yoga, and her mate.
We drove to Charlotte the eve of the operation and stayed at a hotel. The May 2nd surgery went well. They didn't use general anesthesia, but a spinal tap, so I was "partially awake" during the procedure. However, before inserting the spinal, they gave me a drug that wiped out a piece of my consciousness. I have no memory past that point, except of waking up afterwards. Yet, they said they were able to speak to me during the surgery -- weird! My spouse, Drew spent many hours in my hospital room, while I would cycle between sleeping after getting my dose of oxycodone and waking. He was terribly sweet, but I had to convince him to leave at 11pm to get a good night's rest at the hotel -- after all, he would drive us home the next day.
Nurses visited my every couple of hours all night. I began to suspect the oxycodone was bad for me. Though it wiped me out almost immediately, I couldn't sleep because I was trapped in an endless REM sleep with the intense, random images drifting before me. I also began to develop chest congestion and several times, my throat partially closed when I was reclined. Of course, reclining was nicer on my incision. I though I was coming down with something, so covered up liberally with blankets and sweated it out. By the morning, I had put the pieces together and refused the final dose of oxycodone. I took Tylenol instead. After a long anticipated shower to remove the sticky tape residue -- they used like half a roll of tape on me during the surgery, we were discharged. I was spotted making a distraction in a Panera along 64, where we stopped for lunch. For some reason, a person using a walker, with hospital bracelets dangling on their wrist and their leg sporting yellow iodine drippings was an odd sight.
Recovery has been quick. The above photo is from Mother's Day, a mere 6 days after my surgery. I walked around with the crutches for a couple of hours. When I got home, I iced my leg, but there were no ill affects. For every visit, my PT was stunned by my progress and minimal swelling and bruising. I used the walker for 3 days, then crutches for 4 more, then a cane for a while longer. I threw the prescription oxycodone in the trash and only took Melexocam -- a once a day anti-inflammatory that seemed to have no side effects, Tylenol, and lots of Traumeel cream. Still, I'm humbled and blessed by how quick my recovery has been -- while my healthy lifestyle played a large part, my Spirit Guides held me close -- informing me just how much I could push and when to rest. It took about a week to get back to my personal practice -- but, I cleansed the incision site with sage and florida water and rewound my 2nd Chakra when I did. I've done it a few more times since then, to remove any leftovers and seal up my luminous energy field (LEF). I had my first Shamanic client since the operation yesterday.
As of tomorrow, it will be 7 weeks since the surgery. While I still have some internal ligaments and muscles to heal, there's no more bone deep pain. My scar is smooth, I'm swimming and walking again, doing gardening, able to sleep on my sides at night, and to slowly put on shoes without pain. Shakti and I have more acclimating to do, but I'm grateful to her, to all the doctors and staff at CMC Mercy and to my loved ones for their support. When I'm completely healed, there's a possibility that my right hip may feel better too -- healing has given it extra work, and winter will have a say as well. But, when I'm ready, I will welcome Shiva -- the holy pair will be together again and I'll be shimmying!