Back at the Barre

Today I took a ballet class and I walked in like


But my rational, logical self is telling me to


Because my hip issues, while GREATLY IMPROVED, are not necessarily fully resolved.

But seriously. I took a ballet class today for the first time in more than 3 years. So, for now, I’m just gonna leave it at




Side effects of denial and unbridled optimism in the presence of a hard reality can include headache and dehydration

I’ve now heard back from all the specialists I sent my images and records to. The short summary is that all of the arthroscopic surgeons (who can generally repair torn labrums with a non-invasive surgery) have turned me down. They referred me to hip dysplasia surgeons (who generally treat dysplasia with a big, scary, and invasive surgery). The dysplasia surgeons have turned me town, too. They told me that my dysplasia isn’t severe enough to warrant this big bad surgery, but that it is pronounced enough to prevent a successful repair of my labrum. I’m in a grey area and there really isn’t anything that can be done for me. I’m flying to St. Louis to see one of the dysplasia specialists next month, but it would be foolish to expect anything to change. It is what it is.

I am an exceedingly optimistic person and I had been so hoping for a solution. I had so hoped that someone could tell me, “this is exactly what is causing you pain and I can do exactly this thing to make you feel better.” That’s why, after getting off the phone with the last specialist’s nurse yesterday (the latest in a long run of medical professionals who told me to come to grips with my body’s physical limitations) I was completely deflated. I cried for four hours straight, threw two temper tantrums, gave someone the bird in traffic, and spent the rest of the day feeling very sorry for myself.

Today I am trying to move forward and come to terms with the hand I’ve been dealt. I’ve spent the last five months trying to get back to my old life filled with half marathon training, long hikes, and lots of dancing. It’s time to stop wishing for what I don’t have and start focusing on what I do have.

The big picture is that, in general, I have excellent health. I have a bum hip, which is a drag because it hurts and limits my activity. However, I also have a wonderful husband, dear friends, a job that I love, brilliant and generous mentors, and an overall bright future.

I can’t go for a run, a long hike, or take a dance class, but I can find other things that I will probably come to love just as much. I’ve wanted to learn to play the cello since I was a kid – I’m going to rent one next week. I’m going to part ways with my current physical therapist (the lovely ex-ballerina) and find one who specializes in hip issues. We can work together to find new ways for me to be active, like swimming or rowing.

I’m not leaving my optimism behind. I’m still hoping that my appointment in St. Louis next month will be a positive experience. I’m just done with unrealistic expectations. None of us get everything we want in life, but when I look at the big picture, I feel very blessed.

The opinions / referrals keep on coming

I heard back from the hip dysplasia specialist in New York City this morning. Their take on my situation:

  • I have dysplasia, but it is borderline (between 20 and 25 degrees).
  • However, my hypermobility complicates the dysplasia, making it more of a problem.
  • Because of my dysplasia and hypermobility, they recommend against getting an arthroscopic surgery to fix my labrum (this seems to be the only thing all the doctors agree on).
  • At the same time, they think it is too soon to consider a PAO. According to them, four or five months of pain isn’t that long and I should continue to do PT to gain strength and stability in my hips to lessen my day to day pain.
  • Ultimately, I should start coming to terms with my physical limitations and put aside thoughts of returning to running or dancing at all.

To that last point I say PPPPHHHHHFFFFFTTTTTTT! I refuse to consider the possibility that I am destined to live a painful, sedentary life. I am 29, not 69.

Anyway, they referred me to another specialist a bit closer to where I live. I hope I can get in to see him soon… It would be really nice to be able to sit down with these surgeons and have an actual discussion face to face.

A Hip Update and a Stitch Fix Review

I really should bite the bullet and change the name of my blog. I haven’t accepted that I will never dance again, but I have accepted that it will be a LONG time (a year perhaps) before it is even remotely possible.

A quick hip update: I heard back from one of the surgeons last week. This surgeon reportedly can repair labral tears and tighten the joint back up. He refused my case and referred me to his colleague: a hip dysplasia specialist who performs PAOs. He was supposed to call me on Thursday, but of course he didn’t. I’m still waiting.

On to happier topics: I got my first Stitch Fix yesterday and I am really happy with what I received.

I signed up for Stitch Fix after a few weeks of teaching this semester. I realized that I was dressing the same as my undergraduate students, and that a lot of my fellow graduate students were looking more put together. I knew I needed to update my wardrobe, but I am really bad at shopping. I go into a store with the best intentions (to get more grown-up clothing), but I always seem to come away with more tank tops and yoga pants.

When I first opened the Stitch Fix yesterday, I was initially disappointed. I didn’t think that any of the tops were my style. I then reminded myself that my style was yoga pants and tank tops and that the whole point of this exercise was to allow myself to be nudged out of my comfort zone.

So I tried everything on.

Market and Spruce: Paul Colorblock Mixed Material Top — $64.00

Leighton Metal Bauble Necklace — $34.00

StitchFix1a StitchFix1back   

When I saw this top in the box, I hated the color. I resisted the long sleeves. I knew I wouldn’t like it.

I love it. This shirt is so soft and it fits so nicely. Even though I won’t be able to wear it for a few weeks (because summer refuses to die this year), I’m keeping it.

I really love the necklace, too, but it’s pretty expensive for what it is. I’m torn. I find myself thinking, “I know I can find something like that for less money,” but then I think, “Ugh, the whole point of this is to NOT HAVE TO SHOP.” I’m torn.

Kut from the Kloth: Larson Collared Knit Top — $48.00


This is my husband’s favorite from the Fix, but I’m not convinced. It looks cuter tucked in with a belt, but I’m not altogether happy with how the buttons are positioned. If I unbutton just the top button, I look busty and matronly. However, if I unbutton two buttons, it’s all hello, nurse! I need to try it on again.

Raelene Striped Draped Front Cardigan — $48.00


This is adorable and perfect. I love the stripes, I love the little button detail on the sleeves. It fits perfectly and I will wear it all the time. I’m definitely keeping it.

Kut from the Kloth Jennifer Ultra Skinny Ponte Pant — $68.00 (not pictured)

These were too small, but the main problem is that Ultra Skinny is not for me. I love me some skinny pants and I adore leggings, but these were just not it. I really don’t know if I want any more pants sent to me anyway. It’s so hard to find pants that fit – I wear anywhere from a size 4 to a size 8, depending on the cut of the pants.

All in all, I am really pleased with the clothes my stylist sent me. I’m still not sure if I’m keeping the necklace or the purple shirt, but I have until Tuesday to decide, so I know it will work out. If you want to give it a try, use my referral link (I’ll get a $25 credit when your first box is delivered).

Technically, this is the fifth opinion so far…

Today I heard back from one of the hip dysplasia specialists. He says I am a likely candidate for a PAO. He’ll get the rest of my x-rays on Monday will be able to give me more information then.

He also told me that there IS a specialist in my area who may be able to help me. I have an appointment with him on Tuesday. Hopefully this local surgeon is able to answer my questions and help me decide what I should do.

I feel the semester tick-tocking away and am anxious to get more concrete information on my condition. If I need surgery, I must get it at the very beginning of December in order to give myself time to heal before the spring session begins. Right now I’m more afraid that my studies will be interrupted than I am about the procedure itself.

New blog title: Hip Saga of Doom

It’s been two months since my last post. There just hasn’t been anything ballet-related in my life to discuss. I’m still having hip pain. I haven’t taken a ballet class or gone for a run in sixteen weeks, and now I’ve learned that it will likely be many months before I can return to exercise… and I may not ever be able to return to ballet.

I got an MRI a couple of weeks ago which showed that I have a torn hip labrum. While they injected contrast into my hip joint for the MRI, they also injected steroids. The steroids alleviated my pain 100%, so the doctors believe that the torn labrum is the reason I am in pain.

Because I have been going to physical therapy for sixteen weeks without seeing improvement (in fact, the pain is increasing), surgery is the only remaining option to repair the labrum. Normally, this is a straight-forward arthroscopic surgery – they make three or four small incisions and use special scopes to repair the joint without having to open up the area.

However, I consulted a hip surgeon last week who told me that I could not get this simple surgery. He told me I have hip dysplasia. This means that my hip joints are very shallow, so the tops of my femurs aren’t properly sitting in their sockets. This makes my hips very unstable. The problem is worsened by my hypermobility. As my joints tend to be very loose anyway, the surgeon can’t simply go into my joint to make the repair. This would result in further loosening of the joint and cause a lot of problems down the road.

He told me there are two (2!!) surgeons in the country who can repair the labrum of someone with hips as unstable as mine. They are able to re-tighten the joint after the surgery (which wouldn’t be arthroscopic, but instead be a full open surgery and an in-patient procedure). However, I may need to have a surgery to fix my hip dysplasia as well because untreated hip dysplasia can result in early osteoarthritis. The surgery most commonly used to treat dysplasia is called a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO). It looks brutal.

He also told me that, while it is possible I could return to running after these surgeries, it would be unwise to return to ballet. I’m more devastated by this than I expected. I was so happy this past summer, running and dancing as much as I could. I love ballet class. I love the quiet meditation, my special sweat-drenched spot at the barre, and the slow but consistent progress towards something graceful and beautiful.

I won’t lose hope, though. The specialists may have a different opinion, after all.

Speaking of specialists, this week I mailed my x-rays, MRI, and medical records to the two specialists the doctor recommended, as well as two hip dysplasia specialists. They will review my records and let me know what they think should be done and whether they are willing to take my case.

This process will take a few weeks. In the meantime, all I can do now is wait.

Light at the end of the tunnel


I no longer have shooting pains down my leg. My calf has regained all sensation. I only occasionally have pain in my groin. My core and gluteal muscles are getting stronger and I’ve been able to increase the difficulty of my physical therapy routine exponentially in the past couple of weeks.

In short, I’m getting better. I’ve been cleared to begin using an elliptical machine or a stationary bike. If I continue to improve, then I may be able to take the barre section of a ballet class in a week or so. If that goes well, I may be able to start jogging within the month.

Hot dog.