Well I’m sitting at the 2.5 month mark and not where I would prefer to be. Please know that I am a person who would rather give it to you straight then have you disillusioned because I’m trying to paint a rosy picture of something when there isn’t one. I went into this SI Joint fusion with extremely high expectations of being ZAPPED back to a normal, healthy body in 6 weeks with the most amazing si joint surgery method in the world and all would be well.
Oh, not so.
I talk to people from all over the world on a daily basis with sacroiliac joint problems, most wondering about the Rialto fusion method, others needing encouragement post-op, etc. Here’s my advice…
- Do your research on all the si joint fusion methods before deciding. Talk to real patients, get real numbers, and look at the FACTS. Don’t take the first fusion method that is shoved in your face because it seems easier to not think about it…and often, that method is iFuse.
- Check your expectations at the door. Just because you saw one patient video where they were galloping around the hospital in an embarrassing open-butt hospital gown without crutches or a walker does NOT mean they recovered seamlessly after that video. Because they didn’t…I know, I asked later.
- There is no magic pill, folks. Recovery takes months, no matter how you slice and dice it (like what I did there?). Even the famed Rialto method will take time. They are drilling holes in your bones…come on! Realistic expectations (talking to self, see #2).
- Recovery has normal valleys and mountains and you CANNOT evaluate your “success” at any point in the first 3 months. Sorry. So don’t compare, don’t over-analyze (even though you will) and ride the rollercoaster with your seat belt on because it’s a Beast.
So how am I? Today…I’m a little better today. I’ll call it a “meh” day. The past 2-3 weeks have been god-awful. I am overly-ambitious, you see, and did 6200 steps on day and dive-bombed my recovery after that like a drunk virgin 18-year old man at a nude beach. Faceplant.
This is where the fear can either make or break you. “Fear is a Liar”, remember? The fear that it was all for nothing and now I have to start from the beginning of not knowing what to do next. Fear is ugly. Fear is a virus. Don’t feed the monster, seriously. It’s out to destroy you.
I have pain when I walk in my si joint, buttock, and around the side to the front of my pelvis. It took me a bit to realize that it’s a different pain than I had before, although just as intense. Pretty sure it’s muscle and piriformis pain. I have to remember that for years, I have had a dysfunctional pelvis and to romance the dream that I would bounce back without any trouble in such a scenario was foolish on my part. I wanted the dream….I wanted the happy success video/miracle.
Here’s what I do know that shows me I DO have success/progress in choosing to surgically stabilize…I used to be able to tense up my left butt cheek and pop my right si joint. I can’t do that anymore, it’s solid. And pre-surgery, I needed a scooter to go shopping at Target or to get groceries. I can now successfully walk through the stores without assistance. Sure, I’m uncomfortable and if I walk too far, I have pain afterwards. But this is different and it’s progress. I can accept and celebrate that!
My CT Scans came back normal and the pelvis is stable. So my next step is physical therapy. Joy!! Just what every girl wants for Christmas! Thankfully, I have chosen a Pelvic Floor Specialist to assist with my prolapse pelvic organs, Interstitial Cystitis and she happens to also specialize in SI joints…so she is my one-stop shop Superstar! I’m a little ticked that I have to do this, but have so much determination to get well that I will do anything to get there. So let’s do this thing.
Side note: I really think Dr. Beck and even other surgeons could do a better job of giving a more accurate picture of recovery looks like. I was told to “listen to my body”. Honestly, that sounded like a reasonable, lofty idea in the beginning. But what I came to realize is that advice didn’t help me at all when I didn’t know what my body was supposed to feel like, what was normal, when sitting felt good but if I did that too long I would have stabbing pains in my joint, etc. Even physical therapists don’t know what to do with that information. I personally need more direction. Let me be clear….Dr Beck is an absolutely amazing surgeon with an amazing team and I would do it again! But the post-op instructions need some love, yo.
Also, if you are recovering from fusion…a GREAT website to read about realistic recovery markers and tips is MySIJD.com. You can thank me later. I wish I had found that website BEFORE I had surgery.
I’ve also this past week found out that I have a 3cm thyroid tumor and other growths that need to be addressed, as well as continuing my holistic healing of my Interstitial Cystitis. My body didn’t get the memo, people. I CAN tell you that faith, prayer, determination, a good support system, and a funky sense of humor have and will continue to get me through every obstacle in my path. So…if you’re reading this and struggling…don’t quit. It’s not time to quit and it’s not time to freak out yet.
If you see a big fat lady with a fish head instead of a face who is singing half-naked in front of an army of weird winged creatures with bazookas…THEN it might be okay to freak out. Or zombies. Until then, keep up the fight. We, the warriors of chronic pain, have the power to inspire or depress others. I choose the first.
PS. My husband has been really pretty amazing during this “falling apart” stage. He even makes me paleo ice cream. Oh, the path to my heart.
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Read the rest of my SI Joint Dysfunction Journey.
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