Surgery is Imminent

I knew that surgery was the direction we were headed, but the paperwork had not officially been filed. Everything took a little longer than usual because of the holidays, yet the result was the same. The doctor signed on the dotted line, and we are heading towards operation.

During this period of limbo, we had penciled in a tentative date of 1/31. When I saw the doctor Monday, they said that it is possible to get it done quicker, perhaps as early as next week. The wheels of the medical system turn slowly, however, so we have yet to finalize it on the calendar. My expectation is that it’ll be close to the end of the month as originally planned, give or take a few days.

We still don’t have a definite diagnosis, but we’re nearly 100% certain that the culprit is in the hip joint. The depth of the operation and subsequent recovery period will depend on what they find and what they do. As my doctor put it, they could just find a tendon “flopping around” (his words), which would be a relatively easy operation. There could be something else, any number of things that could be more involved. Since I’ve been living with this thing for 17 months (!), I’m confident that they’ll find something in the hip joint and will fix it.

Even if the surgery ends up being minor, recovery time is going to be slow. Hips heal slowly, as I know all too well. The best case scenario is 4-6 week recovery; worst case is around 8-12 weeks. It will hurt, and there’ll be a long period with no weight bearing. I imagine there will be some physical therapy as well, although we have yet to address that. Since cycling is a low impact sport, I could potentially begin a little riding during my recovery period. Hopefully. We’ll fight that battle when we get there.

I’ve never had surgery before. On one hand I’m a little nervous. On the other, I’m excited and impatient. I’m tired of this injury and ready to be rid of it. Let’s do this thing.

22 responses to “Surgery is Imminent

  • bgddyjim

    A buddy of mine had a replacement a couple of years ago… Different surgery, and he followed the physical therapists advice to the letter (you have to for that surgery)… He was up and cycling in a few months – he’s even jogging a little bit – but we’re not gonna tell his doctor about that. 😉

    Spirits up brother, you’re almost there.

    • aaronwest

      Thanks for all the encouragement, Jim. My bosses boss also had a replacement and he’s given me some helpful guidance. I think even the worst case scenario will not be nearly as rough as a replacement, so I’m optimistic for a quicker recovery.

      • bgddyjim

        That’s what I figured too, about the worst case… I’m stoked for you brother. And believe me – the pleasure is mine. Glad to chip in a bit wherever I can.

  • James Stratford

    I guess you’ve had it checked out by physios, Osteos etc. I know surgery is needed for specific problems but having it without a clear diagnosis doesn’t seem right to me. Best of luck with recovery. Your riding fitness will help with recovery too.

    • aaronwest

      Yes, we have turned over just about every stone imaginable and ruled out all of the above and more. The problem is we cannot really get a proper diagnosis without scoping. An MRI can only show so much and I’ve had 4 of them. At this point, the scope is the last remaining option.

  • suzecycling

    Hey Aaron,

    Wishing you everything going perfectly and a speedy, quick recovery. I have no doubt of that .. you’re young, strong, fit, motivated and good at following directions:-)

    • aaronwest

      Thanks, Suze. Not sure I agree with the following directions part. That’s probably what got me into this mess in the first place, but I’ll certainly do some listening this time.

  • Jim Brennan

    Aaron, man, how frustrating. I can feel your pain, and the range of emotion–excited and impatient. But the only way to go is to go forward. I can’t even remember, who did this all begin? I’m wondering because I’m nursing my first injury in four years, and what I initially thought was a simple groin pull, is beginning to concern me a bit, even thinking it could be something in my hip. Oh, no! Anyway, I’ve been under the knife three times, all on the knees. All went well, and rehab is key. Take it slow, and listen to your body. Thoughts and prayers with you, buddy. jim

    • aaronwest

      Thanks, buddy. Believe it or not, this began 17 months ago. I’ve seen about 6 doctors, had 4 MRIs, 3 shots, numerous x-rays, and a LOT of money spent on co-pays.

      Knees are a little quicker than hips from what I understand, but the rehab should be similar.

      I wish you luck in diagnosing your injury. I’ve become pretty well versed in hips, so you’re welcome to shoot me a note with your symptoms and I’ll let you know my neophyte opinion.

  • Jen Billstrom

    Make sure that the nurse attending to your surgery is aware that you are an athlete and that your resting heart rate is lower than the normal couch potato (if that is indeed the case for you). My nurse withheld pain medication until I was awake enough to remind her that my resting heart rate is normally low. Silly me…I thought I could go without pain meds, but I changed my mind as soon as I was awake.

    Physical therapy may be painful, but it can be a real treat for someone who is interested in helping the body be as efficient and strong as it can be. My advice is to enjoy the experience and don’t skip out before your allotted sessions end.

    I am looking forward to hearing your stories about recovery.

    • aaronwest

      Hi Jen, thanks for the terrific advice. I’ll have to make sure to test my resting heart rate before surgery. It has been awhile off the bike, so it might be a little higher than the last few years.

      I had some physical therapy over the summer which was very helpful, and yes, very painful. But one thing us climbers have is pain tolerance. Physical therapists are a gift and a resource, and I look forward to working with them again.

  • cyardin

    Good luck with the recovery and the surgery. I remember when I had my ACL done when I was 20 years old and the rehab was a son of a b!tch – pain all the way. But the perverse thing that kept my chin up was thinking to myself “I will be able to run again, I am not getting amputated, I am not paralysed, and I have not eaten myself into an obese stupor where I can’t run anymore.” Frustrating, but you have a path forward.

    • aaronwest

      That’s a good mantra for me to get through. I’ll probably be reading a lot of cycling blogs during my downtime, including yours, that will be a nice reminder of where recovery will take me.

  • tuckamoredew

    Here’s best wishes and hoping that this surgery is the fix you’ve been looking for.

    Haute Route 2015, maybe?

    • aaronwest

      Very possibly. One of the toughest parts for this ordeal is that I’ve been registered for HR this whole time. They let me defer to 2014, and I haven’t had any takers for that spot. I may see if they’ll let me defer to 2015.

  • vegieplus

    I hope it all goes well, Aaron – and that you get back on the bike when everything’s right. Good luck.

  • exmaschine

    Best of luck with surgery Aaron. Speedy and safe recover as well!
    I think you’ll come back stronger than before. Put those doubts behind you, focus on the future! No worries mate…(well, a perhaps a little, but that’s it! 😀


  • Brian

    You’ll be in our prayers for a quick recovery. I’ve had friends go through several degrees of hip surgery in the last 12 months, and they’ve all come through fine. Interestingly the friend that had the full replacement was the one that was up and moving the fastest.

  • Scott

    Aaron … BSG, Beech Mountain Metric, and I send our best wishes for successful surgery and speedy recovery.

  • Andrew


    Best of luck and look forward to you being back in the saddle and inspiring us with your blogs to push on to the next mountain!!!

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