Dr. R's Story Three Years Later (06/06)
Contemplating my third anniversary, I am incredulous about how dramatically my life has changed since I faced my surgery in July 2003. Most of this change has occurred since my last update to this website a year ago.
In July of this year, shortly after my second anniversary, I set off to attend my sister's wedding in Boulder, Colorado. I had been reluctant to go since, as a lifelong New Yorker, I had little interest in visiting anyplace less cosmopolitan. Well, I certainly am glad I went! It was a beautiful wedding and she was a luminous bride. Moreover, while I was dancing up a storm with the groom's best friend, I fell in love with him and, I realized, I was also smitten by the Rocky Mountain vista and the big sky of the West.
So this year, as I write my story, I am sitting in the house I bought in Colorado. I sold my NYC apartment and got licenses to practice medicine and acupuncture in the state of Colorado. I still am the Medical Director of Turning Point Acupuncture in NYC, so I have been commuting back to the city every other week to see my patients and to run my practice, but my heart is in Colorado.
When I think back to how my life was before my surgery, I am amazed. Everything was so limited and my pain proscribed my possibilities. My life got smaller and smaller. Now my life is so full: I am in a serious relationship (yes, with the man from the wedding), I run a business in NYC and have a medical practice in Colorado, I maintain a conscientious daily yoga practice and I am pursuing my yoga teacher training.
Reflecting on the events of this year, I have to say that I don't think I would have had the courage to change my life so drastically if I hadn't had to face having my hip replaced. Somehow having found the strength to do something so scary for my own good, I have been able to take other steps in my life that are unprecedented. An example on the lighter side: I actually own and drive a car - a real feat for a life-long New Yorker.
My operated (left) hip is great. I have no pain and I have a pretty good range of motion. I can do everything I need to do to be a full participant in a level lll Iyengar yoga class, with the exception of the poses that are contraindicated due to the risk of dislocation. I only problem I have with the operated hip is a clunking that occurs when I come out of deep flexion, as in a full forward bend. I have come to believe that this is an effect of the ball of the prosthesis being too small. During my last visit with Douglas Padgett he informed me that the next generation of balls were significantly bigger and would eliminate this problem. My friend Robin Staff has a newer model and she never had the clunking problem.
I still have traumatic osteoarthritis in my un-operated (right) hip, although it had never been as severe. My biggest challenge is to keep this hip as healthy as I can thus postponing surgery as long as possible. (Forever would be good!). I follow the recommendations I outline on the holistic care page. I keep my weight down and I am taking NSAIDs to lessen the discomfort. Recently I have been applying some of the Iyengar therapeutics to my own practice by using more props (including the wooden trestle) for my standing poses so I don't compromise my structure to get perfect alignment. (Photos to follow).
Every single day I am glad that I had my THR. That includes the four days a month when I travel back and forth between New York and Colorado and get patted down by airport security for setting off the alarm.
Written 06/20/06 Longmont, Colorado
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