Hip Hip Hooray!

Dreams DashedNo photo description available.

So, COVID resulted in the cancellation of my hike the night before I planned to leave in 2020. I know I am not the only one who had that dream dashed. Anyone who has planned a thru hike knows it’s not like cancelling a week-long vacation and rescheduling it later. Nope. This is a huge hiccup in plans. There are financial considerations, not to mention employment status. Mentally, I was thrown for a loop. I think I went through all 5 phases of grief. Anyone else?

Hope Renewed

However, after I had my mental breakdown, I pulled it together.  I enjoyed more day hikes with my friends, wound up increasing my work hours, helping me to save money again, and renewed my hope to reschedule for 2021. I spent my summer hiking and running, keeping my physical and mental condition at its best.

Are You Kidding?

In September, I started having some pain in my left hip. I had a right total hip replacement 3 years ago, but NO WAY was this happening to the left hip! I would just start doing PT on myself and make it better.  I started paying more attention to stretching, my gait pattern, my shoes, core strength, etc. Unfortunately, the problem got worse instead of better.  By early November, I was starting to suspect this was going to require surgery. Still in denial, I delayed a phone call to my surgeon. By the end of November, I could no longer run due to severe pain during the day and night.

I called my surgeon, thinking I had waited too long and would never get this fixed in time to recover enough to start my thru hike in March. I miraculously got an appointment the following day! The appointment went as I expected.; X-rays showed my left hip had deteriorated as the right one had earlier, and I needed another total hip replacement. Luck was on my side, as they were able to schedule my surgery for December 21st, despite all the COVID delays. My husband dropped me off at the hospital Dec. 21st and picked me up in the morning after I received my $20,000.00 Christmas present.

Still in the Game

Today, 1/26/2021, I am 36 days post-op – just over 1 month. I am able to hike (trail hiking) over 5 miles. I have returned to full duty work as an outpatient physical therapist, involving 90% of my day on my feet and moving, and I feel good. However, I keep comparing my current condition to where I was last year. I am WAY off. Last year at this time I was training for a marathon, wearing a 20# weight vest all day at work, and mentally ready to go. Now, I have mental and physical doubts. I am falling back on my motivation, though. I want to do this. I really want to do this.

Maybe I was not supposed to go on my hike in 2020. My beloved 13 year-old cat passed away this summer. I was glad to be with him. My hip may have been painful on the trail, making me miserable. Maybe it really is all working out as it should.

My flight to Georgia is March 26th. Survivor Dave’s Shuttle is taking me to Amicolola Falls to start my adventure. I expect I am going to have to begin a lot slower than I anticipated, but that’s OK. It’s my dream come true, and whatever way it unfolds, I am going to make the most of it. I have to put this new expensive hiking equipment (Titanuium Hip Prosthesis) to good use.

So, “Hip, Hip Hooray!’ I am going to do this!

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Comments 2

  • Dottie “.com” Rust : Jan 27th

    Gwen, glad to hear you are on the mend. Be good to yourself & don’t let the Trail beat you up.

    One. Day. At. A. Time!

  • Wes : Feb 20th

    As a double hippie due to osteonecrosis in 2017 while in my early 50s I too have hopes to get on the trail. I can’t run so at least I’ll make good bear bait! Good luck, I am looking forward to reading about your experiences!


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