Doctor Guy visited me before the operation to chat about how things were going, what to expect, and so forth. He asked how I was doing, and I told him that to my surprise, I had felt a little better these last couple days. I even wondered if maybe rest was helping heal whatever condition I had.
He told me that there was still an option to back out. I could still leave if I wanted. I seriously considered it. I even asked him what he would do in my shoes. He didn’t answer that (and frankly, he couldn’t), but he did get into specifics about possible outcomes. My main concern was that they would find nothing, and I would be spending a lot of money and pain for nothing.
Ultimately I did not take the door. That was the right decision. If I had left, I probably would have started riding again, and the cycle would repeat itself. The solution to this problem was only going to be found in the operating room.
We were pretty convinced that the problem I had was in the hip joint. As he put it, neither of my MRIs were very “exciting,” but they might not always show everything. If they found a tear, they would either repair or debride. Even if they didn’t find anything, they would still do the iliopsoas release where they trim the tendon to relieve me of the clicking and popping. That set my mind at ease. Even if they found nothing, there was going to be a surgical fix.
I gulped and said, “Let’s do it.”
Hours later, there were a lot of people yelling at me to wake up. I was disoriented, temporarily forgetting where I was. As they wheeled me through the hospital, I found myself telling people “good morning” as we passed by.
I would later learn that I had a labral tear and they had fixed it with debridement. Doctor Guy spoke extensively with my wife, even showing her pictures, which she translated for me.
During their first pass through the labrum, they didn’t see anything. As they delved deeper, they finally found the tear. Dr. Guy said that if I were younger, in my 20s, he would have repaired it. Instead, he debrided, removing damaged cartilage. He felt that this was the cause of all of my pain, all of the popping, and this should fix the problem. There was no need to do anything with the iliopsoas.
As I slowly came out of my fog and realized what had happened, I was thrilled. This was the cause of all of these problems over the last 17-months, and they would be no more. In the back of my mind, there was a worry that I would never ride again. That won’t be the case.
This was almost the best possible outcome of surgery. Even though today I’m in a little pain because of the surgery, I can tell that it is different. Even today, it is less painful than the worst days living with the injury. Before I felt like there was always something in there, like a big walnut as my anesthesiologist said, who was also dealing with a torn labrum of his own. That feeling is gone, and I couldn’t be happier.
As I understand it, there are advantages and disadvantages of the debridement. The best part is that this will be the quickest recovery, possibly even 3 weeks. Repair or release would have been at least 4-6 weeks. The downside is that this was not a total fix, and it might limit me my physical capacity. Or it might not. I may come back stronger than ever. The key is that I WILL come back.
This long nightmare is over. I’ve said this many times before, but I cannot thank all of you readers enough. Having so much positive encouragement and prayers through this blog has made this process so much easier. If not for all the great advice I’ve received, I might have given up long ago.
For now, I will rest. Eventually I will climb.
I feel like shouting from the rooftops! YES!!
February 1st, 2014 at 8:50 am
Just remember that your wife does not speak medical-ese, so I hope I translated correctly.
February 1st, 2014 at 10:15 am
but wives are better listeners than husbands;-) Glad to hear things went well for you. Hope to see you on the road in April.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Yes, you translated well. And I agree, John, my wife is a far better listener than I am. There were things that were said before surgery to both of us that I completely forgot.
February 1st, 2014 at 10:57 am
That’s fabulous news, great to hear. Best wishes for a speedy return to your bike.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:31 pm
February 1st, 2014 at 12:32 pm
Awesome news! Congrats on a successful surgery. Maybe you’ll be like all the pitchers who get Tommy John surgery and come back stronger. A little less speed on the fastball, but they regain their touch for pitching. Just substitute cycling and climbing for you.
Good luck with the recovery. Sounds like you’ll be on the bike soon enough.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:32 pm
That is an interesting analogy because the hip labrum is very similar to the shoulder labrum. So there have been pitchers who have had this type of injury that have come back, and it’s not nearly as bad as Tommy John surgery. I believe most pitchers would get theirs repaired though.
February 1st, 2014 at 2:03 pm
Great news! I wish the very best outcome for you.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:32 pm
Thanks so much!
February 1st, 2014 at 4:24 pm
Uncertainty over….planning for the future can begin. Delighted to hear of the outcome.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:33 pm
Thanks, Frank. I’m going to wait a bit before making any concrete plans, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of some exciting things to do.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:51 pm
….and that’s the best way to overcome adversity…… dream about tomorrow.
February 1st, 2014 at 8:12 pm
What fantastic news!!!! A speedy recovery, and my best wishes for a pain free and THANKFUL 2014!!
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:34 pm
Amen sir. I am so thankful that I plan to write a post at some point just to thank people.
February 1st, 2014 at 8:30 pm
So happy to read this great news! Congrats on a successful outcome. Knowing for sure what the definite problem was, & having that “fixed” (hopefully long-term) has to be such a relief.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:34 pm
You have no idea Natalie. Or maybe you do, since you probably remember when I first started complaining about this. Can you believe it was a tear this entire time? I am so relieved.
February 2nd, 2014 at 1:04 pm
Aaron, Congrats! I’m happy for you. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. You will climb again, at the pace your body will tell you.
February 3rd, 2014 at 12:36 pm
Thanks, Jim, and you’re right about the pace. Probably for awhile, my climbing pace will be extremely slow and that’s fine. After all this, I’ll have nothing to prove and no need to push myself.