HIP OP: BEYOND RECOVERY!
By Lois Nesbitt, Ph.D., E-RYT
This highly personal and totally revealing book carries you through a single year in which I found myself crippled by arthritis in my right hip. In February, doctors said “carry on,” but by July Total Hip Replacement was the only option.
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What do you do when life throws you a major curveball? Try to ignore it? Try to dodge it? Bombard it with your will power? Lie down and play dead?
Being all too human, I tried all of these when my right hip began to give out. I’m active (teach yoga), I’m willful, I think I’m smart, and I think I know a lot about the body (I run a weekly Injury Clinic where I help other people will all sorts of problems). When I could no longer ignore the pain, I still thought I could fix it. None of this worked.
Over a 2-year period, no matter what I tried (limiting my exercises and my yoga, changing how I walked, bodywork galore, more Aleve than I care to admit, and finally cortisone), by the summer of 2014 I was basically crippled—limping and unable to climb stairs.
The diagnosis: severe arthritis, bone on bone.
The solution: Total Hip Replacement or life as a semi-invalid.
I like to pride myself on my acrobatic yoga practice and my years of rigorous core fitness training. Everyone tells me I’m in incredible shape. But the bottom line is that, like most of us, I was a bit of a mess—all of which came up and out during my pre-op consultations and testing. I’d been severely anorexic as a pre-teen and teenager, which we now know can lead to early onset osteopenia and osteoporosis (I have both) as well as throwing off the entire hormonal system. I’ve had insomnia since childhood and can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. I did more than my share of drinking and drugging in my teens and twenties, before I had the good sense to stop, further breaking down my overall health. I got parasites on a yoga trip to India in 1996 and spent 7 years trying to rebuild my battered immune system, which honestly still kind of sucks.
So there I was, going into major surgery with frankly pretty iffy prospects (what if my thighbone cracked during the implant? What if I got an infection and couldn’t fend it off? What if I couldn’t sleep well enough to heal afterward?
But I really had no choice. So I did what I could to prepare and to recoup afterward. I humbled myself and listened to the wisdom of my doctors and PT. What I did was far from perfect, and there were lots of days when I doubted I had the will to go on.
But somehow, through the power of Grace and the support of what I call my “angels”—friends, family, medical professionals, hired assistants, and countless strangers who saw me hobbling about the city and offered to help me along—I not only got through it but came out the other end shining.
I’m sharing my story because everybody goes through something—injuries, illnesses, breakups, layoffs, and losses of every strip. I learned that there is always a solution, and often more than one. Your choices may not be easy, cheap, or comfortable, but help is out there. And it’s okay to ask for help, but you usually don’t have to because someone always offers.
I was lucky enough to rebound back to my former strength, flexibility, and stamina. But more importantly, going through this ordeal morphed me into a better person: I’m more patient with myself and others. I’m more generous and give away a lot of my time and energy when I see someone in need. I’m less rigid about what I think I need to do and who I need to be to be happy. I’m ready at last to join the human race—humble, grateful, and joyful. If I can do it, no matter what your challenges, you can too!
I am writing this book not just about hips (though you’ll find plenty about them inside) but to inspire anyone facing an unexpected challenge in life.