A woman gazes at a hospital building.

Getting Ready for My Hip Surgery

Soon I will undergo right hip surgery.

The situation

After a more than a year of hip pain, trying every conservative measure possible (physio, osteopath, exercises, injections), it is time for surgery. Diagnosis: Cam impingement and labrum tear. I consulted several doctors, and everyone agreed that this is the right way forward.

Movement and exercise play a huge part in my life. As an ex-college tennis player, exercise remains part of who I am. It is one of the key pillars of my lifestyle to manage my AS. To be able to maintain the frequency and intensity of my activity, it is important to take care of this hip issue now. This will prevent further damage down the road, and fix the labrum tear, which can’t heal on its own. It would just get worse with time and the type of exercise I do (tennis, running, yoga, weights).

Questions and self-coaching

I’ve asked myself if this hip issue is related to my AS. I’ve always had a tight right hip, and my SI pain from AS is mostly on the right side. Coincidence? As we know everything in the body is so connected. While no one can clearly say what caused what, I believe that the SI problem didn’t help (and vice versa).

Using my coaching experience, I decided to shift my approach and do some self-coaching around my mindset (I had too many questions and negative thoughts floating around in my head). I know how important our thoughts are when it comes to injuries and healing.

I decided to work on the three points below

1. Acceptance of the situation

To accept that I need this surgery, that it is the best option for me. To accept that I have tried everything else and really stayed patient throughout the process. Once I made the final decision to go for the surgery, I felt a big weight off my shoulders. I trust my decision, I trust my surgeon.

2. Self-compassion

It is easy to ask ourselves “why me?” in such a situation. Probably many of you can relate as it links to your AS situation. However, I realized that I needed to step into a space of compassion, self-kindness, and mindfulness. Some things in this situation are out of my control. I can look forward to the better days, practicing sports without pain and fear of further damage. It is a big deal for me, but I know that I have all the internal resources needed to face this challenge.

3. Mental and physical preparation

As an athlete, I know that preparation is key. For the physical part, I see my physiotherapist regularly and do strengthening exercises. Lots of time in the gym to get fit and build my physical resilience. I want to make my time on crutches and the rehab go as smoothly as can be. For the mental preparation, I continue my meditation practice, as I want to find an inner calmness and peace before the procedure.

I would love to hear your experiences with surgery.

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