Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hip Woes

Just a few short months after turning 18 and graduating high school, I had a triple osteotomy performed on my left hip to help correct some of the hip dysplasia I was experiencing.  The surgeon cut the top of my femur off, rotated the ball joint, and then plated and screwed it back together.  He did the same thing with part of my pelvic bone, rotating the joint socket to help it cover the ball.  I'd had surgeries before to help lengthen tendons in my feet and remove bone spurs, but nothing like this.  I spent 5 days in the hospital, and another 6 weeks not putting any pressure on my leg.  I needed help standing, going to the bathroom, and even moving my leg forward to walk.

I recovered from that surgery well, and was back to normal function (for me, anyway) within about 6 months.  I had two lovely battle wounds (aka, scars) to show for my suffering, one of which was 12 inches long down the side of my thigh.  The doctor, my parents, and myself were quite happy with the outcome, but I distinctly remember one specific thing that the doctor told me.  

"You should try to be done having your kids by the time you're 30, because you'll likely be looking at a hip replacement by then."

I was a bit concerned about that statement at the time.  I was only 18 years old, and nowhere near getting married or having children.  12 years to do all that seemed like not much time!  Luckily for me, in this case, I had my first child at age 21, and had my last at age 28.  I was done....I had made the deadline!

My hip hasn't given me too much grief, except when I tend to wear myself out or push myself too hard, but that's expected.  That is, until about 2 months ago....2 months shy of my 30th birthday.

As I sat in the Hip Specialist's office this morning, I started feeling a lot of anxiety.  I had gotten my x-rays, and the tech had commented, "Wow, that is one bad hip!  And it looks like it's been bothering you for a long time!"  Yeah....not reassuring.  As I waited for the doctor, I began perusing a pamphlet about total hip replacements.  BAD IDEA!  I could feel both the anxiety and tears welling up, and I tried really hard to shoo them away before the doc came in.  I was really starting to despise all this CMT stuff...

Luckily, things were not at all as bad as I was fearing.  The hip dysplasia is still there, and still fairly bad, and I have bone spurs on the top and bottom of the ball part of the joint.  However, I still have a good amount of "joint space" and a decent amount of cartilage!  That means no surgery for me!  At least not yet.  I will eventually be looking at a total hip replacement, but as the doc said, the longer I can put it off, the better off I will be in the long run.

So for the time being?  Physical therapy and lots of anti-inflammatories.  Oh, and a prescription for custom shoes.  We found out today that there is about a 1-inch difference in length between my left leg and my right.  My AFO makes up for some of it, but if we build up the AFO any further, I won't be able to fit it into any shoes.  So, custom shoes it is!  Hopefully this plan will help eliminate a lot of the pain I've been experiencing, and if not, it will be back to the drawing board!


Christine said...

Wow! I can understand those anxious moments in doctor's offices, as I've had a lot of them too. Glad you can put it off for a little while longer:-) Good luck with the shoes!

Lenka said...

Oh, I hope it all works! I wish we lived closer so we could go get caffeine and commiserate. I am having trouble with my left hip, too! Though mine is early arthritis causing inflammation. He says I have a few years before needing surgery, too. Not fun at all! I completely understand doctor-office anxiety. So often, at home, I know it's trouble, but I don't feel the reality until I get to the doctor office. I wish we didn't have to deal with all this stuff at our ages- we are too young! Just makes me appreciate what skills I have left :). Sending good, happy-hip thoughts!

Annalee said...

I'm glad you can put off the hip replacement! Happy 30th birthday!!Though it's not related to CMT, my mom was in the dr's office a couple weeks ago and found out that her leg is not actually connected to her hip bone because the ball joint is out of place (yuck). So she DOES get massive surgery again next summer when she has "time" for the long recovery. :(

Casee said...

Oh my, you are one tough cookie! But, I am so glad to hear that you can put off surgery for a while!