My reaction to my situation has been of interest to me. Prior to my "death sentence" diagnosis, when I felt pain in my hip I would think: "This hurts, but it's going to get better. I just need to do my physical therapy exercises and keep working on flexibility. This is not forever." After the diagnosis, when I felt pain I would panic and think: "My bone is dead! There is nothing I can do about it! It has to be CUT OUT!!!" This would be followed by horrible sadness after which I would remind myself that I'm not dying and this is a condition which can be remedied (even if the remedy was not what I wanted).
The "interesting" part of all this is that my pain tolerance decreased considerably as I realized I was not going to get better. My general feeling of helplessness increased. My desire to withdraw and cease interaction with people became overwhelming.
The doctor didn't tell me to stop going to the gym. He told me continuing to build the muscles surrounding the bone would be beneficial if I could tolerate the movement of bone on bone in my hip. He made no recommendations for treatment in the interim between now and when the hip would be replaced, preferring to wait for the MRI results so he would have more information before making such recommendations.
My depression increased as my ability to manage pain became nonexistent. In only a few days, I had come to view myself as disabled and old. Random crying was part of every waking hour. Sleep was miserable.
Christmas morning was rather lovely. Around 4 a.m., I got up and did some online work while my family slept. DJ, who has never been able to sleep well on Christmas Eve, finally decided everyone had been asleep long enough and woke everyone at 8:30. We opened gifts, made breakfast, and settled into a game of Monopoly.
My mother had invited us to Christmas dinner. I was trying not to be unpleasant about another Thanksgiving-like turkey dinner--but I have my limits. As I provided most of the dinner for Thanksgiving and grocery shopping had been sparse prior to Christmas day, I chose not to volunteer food or help for Christmas dinner. I know--that was unkind--but I was feeling miserable and I didn't care.
We arrived at my parents' house around 2:00. I visited with my family (parents, brother and family, grandmother), but was feeling increasingly ill. Finally, after 30 minutes, I said I needed to go home. My father, who has experienced the pain of bone against bone movement (he has post-polio syndrome, which causes cartilage to decrease and bones to wear out), sent me home with two of the very potent, prescription pills he takes to manage pain. Legality sometimes takes a back seat to helping a loved one in distress, I suppose.
I went home and fell asleep on what we fondly call "The Napping Couch". When I awoke, I felt better, but still nauseated and in pain. I thought about taking one of my dad's pills, but opted for an OTC pain killer instead. I didn't want drug-induced sleep for the rest of Christmas day.
I read a book. I cleaned my kitchen. I watched the sun set. And I thought about a lot of things.
I decided that until I'm told I cannot, I will continue to work out as I have been. I feel better both during and afterward, so I don't believe I'm hurting myself, and I'm using and building the muscles that will help with recovery after surgery.
I decided I'm not going to feel sorry for myself anymore. It has its place, but I've allowed it enough time. At this point, it's just making me more miserable.
I decided to start researching and looking at my options, finding information about the things I'm facing, and learning about what's happening to my body so I can prepare for my future and cope with my present.
I decided I should probably talk to Therapist.
Thursday I went to the gym for the first time in nearly a week. I lifted weights, ran on the elliptical, and sat in the jacuzzi. There was some discomfort, but the benefit was worth it.
Friday I talked with Therapist. He had some good things to tell me and felt suitably sympathetic toward my situation. He thanked me for talking with him--said I'm a "bright spot" in his life. That was nice to hear. I don't feel very bright right now.
Yesterday, I filled out an application for an appointment to see a doctor who specializes in Birmingham hip resurfacing procedures, which is basically a hip replacement for runners. The procedure is about a decade old and has had fairly good results. I didn't think I would be a candidate for this, but when I went to the website and found it was recommended for "young" people--and realized I'm not even old enough to be considered a "young hip replacement candidate" (young = people in their 50s and 60s), I decided I needed to look into this. I'm really not ready to stop running.
The MRI will determine my eligibility based on the extent of bone death and condition of the remaining bone. I'm encouraged by the fact that avascular necrosis was listed with the conditions that are considered for this joint replacement. I have nothing to lose. If I'm told I can't have the joint replacement I want, I'll get the total hip replacement and plan on a few more before I die. I'll find something else to love. I'll be okay.
In the meantime, my emotions are all over the place and I don't want to be with people at all. I telephoned someone on Christmas day, because I knew the desire to isolate was becoming unmanageable, but I've not been able to talk to anyone since then. I've made attempts, but my ability to follow through is gone, so if I'm not met halfway, it's probable that the attempt will die. I just don't feel able to pursue anyone right now, to insist on attention--and doing so makes me feel unwanted and annoying. I'm not excited about placing myself in that position, so I probably won't.
But I'll keep going to the gym, and I should have MRI answers next week, and I'll see the hip specialist as soon as I can. Therapist said it's best if I keep talking to people, but if I have to chase them down, I would be better off using my energy for more pressing things--like staying sane, and managing pain and depression. I think he's right.
In the meantime, if you come visit me, I'll play you some Debussy. I learned a couple of his pieces to give away as Christmas gifts, but was unable to do so--so I've been giving them to anyone who chances by. They seem to be happy to listen for a few minutes. One sweet friend said it was "transcendent" but she adores Debussy, so that's to be expected. I won't be able to play for a few months after my hip replacement, so I'm performing as much as I can right now.