Friday, April 12, 2013

Three Month Check-up

As it has now been 12 weeks since my hip arthroscopy, I had another follow-up appointment with my surgeon yesterday. She is still very pleased with my progress and I continue to have no issues with any of the areas of my hip that were surgically repaired. However, my physical therapy, which is now focused on large muscle group strengthening, is complicated by knee pain (plus a nasty grinding noise in both knees that makes my therapists wince when they hear it) and right shoulder pain (I was diagnosed with bursitis in 2011). Dr. Herzka examined my knees and discovered that I have patellar tendonitis and “cartilage irregularities” in both of them.

We briefly discussed my medical history (I had surgery to repair torn cartilage in my left knee about 20 years ago) and then Dr. Herzka fitted me with a Cho-Pat strap. She had me perform a few squats and walk around the exam room. Unfortunately, I found the strap to be extremely uncomfortable where it exerted pressure directly below my knee (as it is designed to do). Even after adjustment, the pain was almost unbearable. Dr. Herzka said that she has found that people either get instant relief, or, as in my case, cannot tolerate it at all.

The next treatment option, which I will start next week, is called iontophoresis. My physical therapist will administer an anti-inflammatory medication onto my knees transdermally. Dr. Herzka said this method is more effective for patellar tendonitis versus steroid injections. We have already regressed my physical therapy regimen back to a less strenuous level, particularly eliminating any exercises that put additional strain on my knees.

Another issue which has flared up recently is the inflammation of my right hip flexor. This tendonitis previously occurred about six weeks after surgery, when I was doing a bit more walking than my body was ready for. At that time, Dr. Herzka prescribed a month's supply of piroxicam (an anti-inflammatory drug) and told me to use crutches for any long periods of walking. I felt much better within a week. This time she ordered an ultrasound-guided steroid injection, which I will have done on April 16th.

It's pretty frustrating to have all of these issues occurring at once, not to mention that I'm always in pain! The timing makes sense in that everything started when we changed my physical therapy routine by adding strength & agility exercises. My recent regimen has been twice weekly physical therapy at OHSU, 30 minutes on an exercise bike at mild resistance plus 15 minutes on an elliptical machine 2-3 times weekly at the gym (followed by a soak in the hot tub and relaxing in the steam room), plus exercises at home 2-3 times weekly. With the new developments, I will have to continue twice weekly physical therapy (it was supposed to be reduced to once per week after three months) and scale back on most of the strength-building exercises and anything that hurts my knees.
Of course, I haven't let that discomfort stop me from enjoying life! The last weekend in March was unbelievably beautiful so Greg & I planned some activities to take advantage of the nice weather. On Saturday, we took the bus to SE 82nd Street (where a large number of Portland's Asian population resides) and ate some delicious dim sum at Ocean City, then traveled an hour north (really only about 14 miles but it takes forever on a bus!) to the St. Johns neighborhood. After enjoying a beer at Plew's Brews, we did a self-guided walking tour of the town, then strolled through Cathedral Park before making a well-deserved stop at Occidental Brewing to taste all of their German-style beers. We ate dinner on the patio at The Baowry before starting the long bus ride home.
I was very excited to ride my bike outdoors on Easter Sunday, the first time I did so since the surgery. It was another unseasonably warm & sunny day, so Greg & I rode one mile to Laurelhurst Park and enjoyed lounging on a blanket reading for a few hours and then had a picnic before riding back home.
This weekend we have planned a short getaway to Eugene, OR. We will bike from our house to Union Station and take the train down tonight, a 2.5 hour trip. Tomorrow we are going to ride our bikes along the southern section of the Willamette River Trail, around the University of Oregon, and to as many breweries as time allows. On Sunday, we'll ride the northern portion of the river trail all the way to Springfield (namesake of the Simpson's hometown), stop at one or two breweries there, then ride back to Eugene. As there are no trains scheduled in the mid-afternoon, we will be taking an Amtrak bus back to Portland (after we stop at one more brewery!).

Prior to the escalation of my knee pain, I had decided I was ready to start working as a background actor again. You never know when you are going to have to run, crouch, or just stand around for long periods of time and it was too risky to put myself in that situation while I was still healing from the surgery. Over the past two weeks, I have gotten numerous casting notices for Grimm and for a new TV show now filming in Portland that stars Geena Davis as a bounty hunter. While I indicated I was available to work in all but one instance, I have yet to be selected for a role.

I'm the cop directly behind the dead bodies. Grimm Episode 214: Natural Born Wesen
In closing, I am scheduled to have sinus surgery at OHSU on Tuesday, April 23rd: a septoplasty to fix a deviated septum and turbinate reduction to alleviate chronic nasal congestion and nasal obstruction. I know you're probably thinking "Why in the world would she want to have another surgery so soon?!?!" But I've already reached my out-of-pocket spending limit for my health insurance plan this year, so it makes sense to address any other medical issues that arise.

I was diagnosed with both problems in New York City in 2006 and advised to have surgery then, however my boyfriend at the time had the surgery while we were together and it was not a pleasant experience. Methods have improved in recent years and my ENT has assured me that it won’t be that bad. I’ll have to limit most activity for the first week following the surgery and then will see my doctor for a follow-up appointment on April 29th and hopefully will get the green light to resume my usual routine (whatever that may be!). I’ll have another check-up on May 13th and then can focus on getting ready for our 2-week Alaska vacation which starts May 25th.

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