My dad’s favorite song is/was “The Impossible Dream“. The last stanza is one of my favorites:

And the world will be better for this

that one man, scorned and covered with scars

still strove with his last ounce of courage

to reach the unreachable star

Last week I had my final physical therapy appointment (maybe not by choice, but because of insurance rules). At the appointment, the physical therapist handed me a slip of paper with the words Girdlestone Procedure written on it. He had been to a conference the week before and was telling a colleague about my situation. The colleague said, “Oh, yeah, that is the Girdlestone Procedure.”

May 9th will be exactly 5 months since I went to the hospital believing I was just going to have an infection cleaned out. (you can read more about that here). Instead, I stayed in the hospital 10 days and the doctor removed my left hip prosthesis and peformed the Girdlestone procedure (somewhat modified for my situation).

As of today, I walk with a cane and have a lift on my left shoe. Occasionally, I have been known to look around and realize I walked around my kitchen island without even using the cane. My goal at physical therapy was to walk with a cane. Now I have set a new goal for myself to walk a mile on the treadmill by the middle of June.

The idea of walking a mile and perhaps walking without a cane eventually all seemed normal to me – until last night.

Last night I was having trouble sleeping. So I got up and found the piece of paper with the name of the procedure on it and proceeded to do what anyone with a computer and insomnia would do – I googled “Girdlestone Procedure” (here is an interesting link to understand more about it).

It was originally developed to treat patients with complications from tuberculosis. With the development of better, stronger antibiotics and hip replacement joints, the procedure is not used very often now. It is considered the last effort, as was the case for me.

[If you are reading this for the first time, you may not know I have Stage 4 Breast Cancer with metastasis to the bones. A large portion of the socket of my left hip was destroyed by cancer in 2010.]

If I didn’t already know I was stubborn, reading the articles and case studies I found last night would have solidified that description (my family has been known to say that when you look up stubborn in the dictionary, you find a picture of me – I have not found a dictionary that has that picture yet).

As I read the case studies and the description of the procedure, I realized I am way ahead of the curve. I was walking with a cane 10 weeks after the surgery.

When I finally put the iPad down and drifted off to sleep, I was thankful that I had not known anything about this procedure and the case studies in December or any time during my physical therapy.

My scars and I are going to use every last bit of courage to reach for the unreachable star. I can hear my dad saying “That’s my girl!”

Got to get the gym and get moving on the treadmill so I can knock that next goal out of the park.