Life has been a bit all encompassing lately! I know that’s what life should be like….lived….but sometimes I feel the need to just step off for a while to assimilate & digest. So that’s what I’m doing now. Spending time with myself & my mat. Coming to terms with some of the events of recent weeks.
However time on my mat is not the joy it used to be. For more than the last decade I’ve suffered with impingements & arthritis around my hips. In recent years I have had to move within the confines of pain & restriction but lately it’s been worse. In 2009 I was told I needed a double hip resurfacing but postponed it, working with my yoga practice & lifestyle to strengthen, mobilise & adapt. It has taught me to learn to manage pain, to not try to push the body beyond its capacity. Its taught me the importance of strength and softness. How we can work with our breath to explore our edge. However for the last year it has really restricted my practice & even my teaching as I am only able to demonstrate on one side.
Many of my longer term students are aware of my physical limitations & know how beneficial yoga has been in my healing journey. This has obviously been intensified by losing the use of my left foot 3 years ago. My poor right hip has had to do extra work in adapting around that disability so I think that has probably speeded up degenerative changes too 😟. It’s a long while since I had the pleasure of balancing on the right leg without feeling pain in my hip joint. I have spoken to many different surgeons and tried to postpone surgery but now I have been advised not to wait any longer.
I’m careful in my teaching to only demonstrate within my range & to avoid movements that cause pain. However in recent months (the last couple of years if I’m honest) this has become so restricted that I am unable to even step forward with my right foot in a lunge. Warrior 3 or other single leg balances would aggravate the pain, sometimes for days. Yoga is my hobby, not just something I teach. It’s something I practice daily, on holidays & at weekends. I love attending other teachers classes & workshops. Or I did. There came a point when I was so restricted in the movements & postures I could do without causing either immediate or longer term pain that I’d spend most of the practice anxiously working within my limitations. Which stopped being fun so I stopped attending other people’s teaching & focused on my own. When I got to a point where my own practice is so restricted that it became anatomical rather than inward focused I knew I had to make a decision.
I have seen many consultants! Amusingly on the initial visit they all query my suggestion that I have chronic arthritis & impingements in both hips as I don’t look immobile. I think many years of adapting an inward focused yoga practice has allowed me to move more easily around pain than maybe a non yogi does? However on seeing scans of what’s happening internally, all these consultants suggest either consecutive or simultaneous hip replacements. All saying that I am just waiting for the day when I am ready.
That day has come!
I’ve reached the point when I’ve stopped or restricted so many of the fun things in my life as they cause pain. I am no longer able to practice yoga without pain or to get through a day without pain relief. I am more easily tired as my body copes with chronic pain. I’ve realised how much I’ve stopped doing, like long walks or gardening as they aggravate pain. It’s not just my yoga that I’m restricted in, it’s my life that’s got smaller. Plus my surgeon has suggested that waiting any longer could result in more complex surgery and even bone grafts..which I do not want.
So I’ve made the decision that it’s time to go ahead. Since technology has improved surgically in the last decade they can now use robotic assisted surgery to improve precision & reduce the chance of something going wrong. So that’s what I’m having…bilateral (both hips at the same time) robotic assisted surgery😳. I’m looking at the positives….how much I’ll be able to do with two new hips! How much my life will expand. The pleasure of slowly pottering around this summer while I recover. I have amazing yoga teachers to cover my classes so please know that my students get the opportunity to practice with great teachers while I heal. I’m not thinking (too much) about the addition of more surgical scars to my body…they are evidence of the journey I’ve been on to be who I am. All of our scars internally & externally are evidence of success. We are still here, often stronger & happier because of all that we have been through. This is just another step on my journey & afterwards I’ll be happier to step forward in less pain!