Sore but surviving
Saturday, May 22, 2010
First, thank you all so much for your wonderful warm wishes and loving thoughts :D They have meant more to me than you can possibly imagine!!! I am certain your prayers have truly helped. It has all been very frightening (and lonely... and boring) but I have been greatly encouraged by knowing that people all over the world are sending loving thoughts and prayers for me.
I am still in hospital. There was some suggestion that I might go home on Friday morning but we decided to wait a bit longer to ensure my recovery. It is a 45 minute drive home and I have to practice - at the moment I can only sit still for 15 minutes before crawling back to bed... I cannot bend my knee more than 30 degrees - and that is painful... I also have to show I can do three stairs on crutches (necessary to get inside my house) and that I can get on and off the toilet without using the handrail (which we don't have at home.)
I know Memory (who has been phoning me daily and has been a wonderful help - sending care packages to me and the boys) is eagerly awaiting the full story - with pictures - and I have finally got myself set up on my dad's old laptop. The sun shining brightly in the windows is making it impossible to see what I am typing, but it is so cheerful, it is a welcome visitor.
OK, let's start at the beginning. I really want to recall all the details while they are fresh - kind of like a trauma debrief, so sorry for what is likely to be a long entry. I think I'll break it up into a couple of episodes.
You all know I have been battling with a sore hip for about 8 months. I had the bone scan in early January, and since nothing showed up there, we have assumed it to be muscular and treated it accordingly. Here is my theory of what happened, based on cobbling together bits of the story from everywhere and everyone.
When I was a baby I contracted paratyphoid fever while camping with my parents in far north Queensland. This can apparently leave bone lesions or cysts - small areas of weakness in the bone structure which can remain dormant for years, decades or a lifetime. I need to do some more research and am also waiting for pathology results but there are numerous other possible / unexplained causes for cysts. The rapid weight loss and stress-related digestive illness I experienced in my 20s may also have been a factor in creating the original weakness.
I have just spoken to the surgeon again. Apparently this kind of cyst is extremely common in young females, most usually children. It is an area of the bone which has failed to develop properly - instead of becoming hard bone, a section of my femur stayed spongy and soft. It never worried me because I never really placed any big demands on it before last year. I was never a very active child or youth, and I have never had cause to have my hip xrayed which would have shown up the weak area. With the running etc, small stress fractures occurred in the thin hard surface which covered the soft bit - hence the constant pain in my thigh and groin, which seemed to be coming from my hip joint. It got weaker and weaker until BAM conditions were right and it snapped right through.
The bone scan only showed up the muscle injuries (it would have picked up cancer due to increased activity in the cells - but these cells were not rapidly dividing - they were just not the dense, strong bone cells they were supposed to be). No wonder treating the pain with physiotherapy and specific exercise was getting me nowhere. The big question is why my gp didn't send me for a normal xray at that time, as it would have shown up clearly there. But he was expecting a muscular cause and just trying to rule out any tumour.
Fast forward to the car crash - pretty much irrelevant (other than the transport difficulties it has created for us.) IF I had agreed to go to the hospital and be xrayed following the crash, or chosen to have a hip xray then (instead of just my neck) then the cyst would most likely have been discovered then. I would still have needed an operation and a bone graft, but it would not have been quite so dramatic, and not such a long recovery time. The benefits of hindsight, hey?
Anyway, as my longtime friends would know, I have been trying to combine my own exercise with increasing my 4yo's confidence on his bike. Wombat and I had been doing really well. We would push his bike up the hill to a flat stretch of road and ride back and forth for an hour each day. At first, I pushed Munchkin in his parent-steered trike. He got bored with that after a few days, so I put him up in the baby backpack. Since he weighs nearly 13kgs, this was a definite test of MY endurance lol. The next day I decided that since Wombat was needing less and less assistance, I would get brave and attach the chariot (bike trailer) to my bike for the first time, put Munchkin in that, and we would all go riding together. We tried it, it worked well and we had a really good time. The next day was cold and windy so we didn't go out. Then came the fatal Friday...
(TO BE CONTINUED)