This past Monday I spent all day in the New York finding out some new information. First I went to see Dr. Coleman, my hip surgeon. This is now 7 weeks post surgery, and he wanted to check in on how I was doing. The good news is he's very pleased with my progress. All my hard work seems to be paying off. I'm doing very well and he gave me permission to start hitting tennis balls again. I can't serve, but I can hit groundstrokes and volley. And then in a month I'll be able to start running. So it looks like I'll be able to play in the fall- I'm only going to play doubles, but that's fine with me. At least my life is getting some semblance of normalcy. I'm also allowed to start the elliptical as cardio now, so I can get off the bike. I'm not sure if the bike was making things worse for me, but I know it wasn't the best.
Sitting has become very difficult the past couple of weeks. It's been very painful and has moved to my buttock region, so right on the bones I sit on. I was pretty upset about the increase in pain, but after seeing Stacey, I feel much more relieved. Right after Dr. Coleman, I went to see her and she did an exterior, vaginal, and anal examination to see if I felt any different. She also made a great point that even though my pain has gotten worse, it has also moved right after surgery, which means the hip does have a strong connection to my pain. Now that I'm starting back from step 1, I just have to rebuild and retrain my muscles so that I can finally release my pelvic floor. This will apparently take up to a year, but I just have to be patient. I don't care if it takes a year, as long as I know this is what I have to do, that's fine. I just need a clear-cut path set before me.
The great news is when Stacey did the vaginal examination, it felt so much different. There was a little pain upon penetration, but compared to what it used to feel like, it was incredible! I had tensed up and was preparing myself for the worst, but it didn't happen. She also did a lot of work releasing my posterior muscles, because that's where all my pain seems to stem from now. And again, these muscles wrap around and reach the front of your pelvis, which is why I'm also having vaginal pain at the bottom of my vulva. The anal examination and release was pretty difficult to tolerate. It's definitely more painful, but it got better as the muscles were released. But that's definitely where my biggest problems are right now.
After that we worked on some core stablization exercises. My biggest problem is I've been working very hard at physical therapy for my hip. In doing this, I've been training the wrong way. When I lift weights or do cardio, I tighten my pelvic floor instead of my abs. At this point my pelvis floor is constantly tightened and does all the work for me, which is why I'm having such problems sitting. So we're trying to retrain my ab muscles to do all the work. Stacey says my abs are not as strong as they should be because they haven't been doing the work. We tried doing very basic exercises, which I'm having lots of problems doing, because my pelvic floor is just used to being so tight all the time.
When I had gone in for my appointment, I had told Stacey that my pain level was about an 8 sitting, and after the hour was up, I was around a 1 or 2 sitting. It was wonderful. It lasted a significant about of time too. The train ride home was a lot easier. These past two days I have seemed to return to my original pain levels, but at least I'm taking steps in the right direction. I'm going to start going to NY for PT once a week to work on this, as well as my regular PT three times a week for my hip. It's going to be hectic, but so worth it in the end.
As always, let me know if you have any questions. And for my friends also going through post-surgery recovery right now, keep on fighting!