As I approach being 3 years out from my SI fixation surgery I realize I have been asked the question, “Would you do it again?”. Funny thing about life and most experiences is you grow through them, as a result of them, or sometimes in spite of them. I hate when this question comes up because how do I answer that…. really?! Did I have a successful surgery… of course I did. I live this amazing life that never dreamed would ever happen… but I also know WAY more now than I did when I went under the knife. I thought I was a well-informed patient, and I was… but just like the medical professionals we see, I didn’t know what I didn’t’ know! How do I see my success now? Lucky… damn lucky. As I have seen so many other online friends have the same surgery with seemingly the same symptoms and same diagnosis at the same surgeon and have such horrific outcomes…. would I do it again? Honestly? I have no idea how to answer that question anymore. The REALITY that I could have come out of that surgery FURTHER disabled was not something I considered 3 years ago…. it is now. Was my pain horrible, was my life a shell of existence, did I feel as if I might die day in and day out… yes. Did I think it could be worse? No….. I thought I might not get better as a result of surgery, but it never occurred to me I could get worse. I understand that now. So what would I tell that younger me? Here are a few thoughts….
To the 18-year-old me that got hurt….
You are NOT unloveable because of your pain… physical or emotional.
There is a man out there who will see how beautiful you are, despite all you can not do. Please don’t hide from the world. It’s ok that you can’t ski or hike… not EVERYONE does that anyway. Enjoy living the life you can, and be safe within it. Don’t quit because of fear, but stop putting yourself in situations your body can no longer handle. You have no business skiing down a black diamond in Colorado…. you just don’t! The youth group kids and the boys will like you JUST fine if you stick to the greens, or even hang out in the lodge. Your attractive, enthusiastic, smart and interesting, you don’t have to push the envelope on extreme sports.
Your first PT was right, about everything.
1. You will have to manage this forever, you will get better but you can’t ever get lazy!
2. You will need surgery and surgery still hasn’t caught up to the real problem – they can’t replace your ligaments, all they can do is bolt your pelvis together. True in 1993, still true in 2014…. that’s sad :(.
3. You might want to consider not having kids… maybe adopt… it will be hard on your body
4. NEVER stop doing your exercises, always stay in shape, keep the weight off and keep your core strong ( I did the best I could and it was priceless advice!)
5. You have a sprain to your SI joint ligament complex, most people won’t recognize that. Don’t worry about it… if they can help who care what they call it, if they can’t help… move on to someone who can.
6. Only you know how much it hurts, don’t let others down play your pain, it’s yours and yours alone.
7. Your medical team should work WITH you, YOU have to be in charge of you and your decisions.
8. It takes longer than anyone really says it will to get where you want to go, don’t give up, keep fighting, you deserve it.
God is NOT punishing you.
Ok, I know you think you have done some unforgivable things, and you have deep deep wounds, but dear sweet Amy, God did not do this to you on purpose. This is not your thorn in the side like Paul. It is an injury that happened in a sport you love that will affect you for a long long time, but PLEASE do not tie this to the emotional trauma in your life right now, they don’t belong together. As for why does He not take it away…. sweet Amy, you got good care and a diagnosis so much sooner than others in a year where so little was known. God WAS looking out for you, you just didn’t know. The pain is as bad as you think, but it’s not because you deserved it. There is no way you can see into the future and I promise you God will take this horrible pain, and seemingly endless experience and he will use it and your passion to go back to school , to start a blog, to share what you have learned, to help start a foundation, all of these things come out of this experience, and it’s amazing. So no, God is not punishing you and he will use this to mold you and teach you, and it’s not what you wanted, but it will bring good things into your life. So please, stop crying and BELIEVE God loves you as much as he says he does.
To the version of myself in pain trying to figure out what to do next and where to have surgery!
If it looks to good to be true it probably is.
You have waded through so much material and spoken to so many surgeons…. Your asking important questions, but what you don’t know is NO ONE has the answers to them. Not yet anyway. Just because someone SOUNDS knowledgeable doesn’t mean they are. You’re a patient so you have no reason not to believe what people say, but Amy…. you know how to research claims. You wanted to believe the information you heard so desperately that you left logic to the way side. You wanted a medical professional to be in charge so you didn’t have to be anymore. THAT was your mistake. You gave up control, you ignored answers to questions that made you want to ask more, but you didn’t. You were so tired, so exhausted from fighting that you just laid down and let someone else sooth you and tell you it would all be ok. It worked out for you, it didn’t for others. You were lucky. You never held as tightly to the “alignment” issue as others… yes, it makes perfect sense. Yes, you wanted it as part of your surgery BECAUSE it makes sense….But here is the deal…. no one knows HOW to measure that. Checking those boney landmarks…. turns out that doesn’t make the surgery more or less successful… just puts you out 1,000 bucks plus airfare, hotel and food. Stay at home if you need a revision. ALLLLLLL those others surgeons seem to have a point when they say the body relaxes when your knocked out… they might not be right either, but Vicki and Dr Weiss can’t prove they are any more right than every other surgeon who does this surgery without PT alignment…. soooooo yeah….
Let go of the idea you “should” be better in 6-8 weeks.
Your PT keeps tell you this is going to take as long as it takes. STOP comparing your recovery to a sheet of paper or what the surgeon said. Yes, your surgical wounds will heal in 6-8 weeks… you have a lot more to heal from after that. IT will be hard, it will hurt, it will be scary. Dont’ beat yourself up when you can’t make yourself get better faster. Your doing everything you can. Eating right, sleeping, doing what your PT says, taking your meds, and resting as needed….. you WILL get better but it is going to take a LOT longer than 6-8 weeks… and that’s ok. Your going to learn a lot about you and you might even find a whole new life wrapped up in this recovery.
NEVER give up on a dream.
For my friends thoughts on this same topic visit her here: