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The Protocol

For most of you hippies, the word “Protocol” can conjure a variety of images. From torture (maybe) to hope filled activities. For me, after my hip revisions, I looked at the word and saw, “challenge”. I looked at my "Protocol" every day as I gazed with longing eyes at the next phase of recovery. I know that sounds a bit melodramatic, but I did cross off each week's goals and geared up for the next week's challenges. I'm pretty sure my PT realized that I was the kid who, on vacation, incessantly asked, "Are we there yet?"

Most hip patients start out with very regimented restrictions – weight bearing status and degrees of flexion. You get to progress as your body heals, but your progress is still micromanaged by your surgeon and your PT. But one thing that is forgotten is the mental stamina that is required to recover. Where’s the emotional and mental protocol?

If I was to write a “Protocol” for that part of my recovery, I would include:

  • Patience

  • Hope

  • Focusing on the “can” (as opposed to the can’t)

One such patient has done this not once, but nine times. Yes, nine times. Nine hip surgeries! Did you hear the word, “nine”? She has a smile on her face and she is two weeks post op from her last hip surgery.

Joyleen (what an amazing name) says, “I am 𝓯𝓲𝓷𝓪𝓵𝓵𝔂 learning to embrace the healing process.” She talks about being able to dress herself, help a little bit with her child and cooking small meals with lots of breaks. How amazing is that?

I can see why Joyleen’s parents gave her a name with “Joy” in it. She is able to find the joy in the little things that many of us take for granted.

Her protocol is to find JOY in her recovery. She says, “The common theme here is what I 𝓬𝓪𝓷 do. If I focused on the things I still need assistance with, I’d be a depressed and unpleasant person to be around.” Joyleen wants you to understand though that her “journey has [not] been easy - it’s been hell on several occasions.” Nine surgeries? Of course, there has been hell. We’ve all been through it – those days where you are in pain or frustrated with your challenges. Those days where you feel like crap. Those days where you can’t catch a break. Those days where everything is a struggle.

But through struggle, there is achievement! Joyleen’s achievement has been supported by her husband and family and the attitude found in her protocol!

Besides, joy, patience and an “I can” attitude, Joyleen’s protocol also includes

  1. Advocating for yourself. Your voice matters – never settle!

  2. Accepting help doesn’t indicate weakness. It’s a sign of strength.

  3. Staying positive. Setbacks are always a possibility, keep moving forward!

  4. Do not compare your story to others. Everyone’s story is different.

  5. You are strong and capable of getting through this!

She wants you to also know with every breath of your being, “You never realize how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” She also believes that “you get stronger every time you show up to fight.”

Figure out what you want your emotional and mental protocol to be for your recovery (or any of life’s challenges), set the bar high and be accountable to that "Protocol" just as you are to the physical protocol that your surgeon expects you to follow.

So, go knock it out!

Also, check her story out on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute's website.

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