At the age of 37, I had a left total hip replacement. I had no warning signs that this was coming other than I had had knee surgery at 20 and the doctor told me then that my hip didn’t rotate completely and, like my father, I’d need THR someday. My dad was in his mid-forties when he had his first THR so nowhere in my mind did I ever imagine I’d get diagnosed for one at age 36.
The summer when I was 35, my nephew came to visit. He was almost a year old and needed to be carried up and down the stairs, put in and out of the stroller and car seat, etc. After a few days, my hip started to hurt from this. I thought that since I had multiple knee surgeries, I was just bending my hip badly to protect my knee. I really didn’t think anything of the pain. The pain continued intermittently – only occurring when I exerted myself until May. In the middle of May, my lower back started hurting and I could barely move. I went to the chiropractor several times. One day at work, I bent over to pick something up, and I couldn’t get back up. I was stuck. After about 10 minutes a co-worker came by and helped me up. When I was telling my Dad about it, he said he thought it sounded like my hip. I asked the chiropractor about it and she moved my hip and told me to go see an orthopedic doctor. I went to see an orthopedic doctor and he thought I had bursitis and arthritis. I thought–no problem. I saw a different orthopedic who gave me a cortisone shot and sent me on my way.
I went on vacation, I was supposed to be gone 21 days and came home after 8 – the pain was too much for me to bear. The first orthopedic doc set me up to get a 3rd opinion. The 3rd opinion took new x rays and found a hole in my hip. They did an MRI and found out that my hip was mangled and would need to be replaced. He had me get a shot of something that had to be put in with an x-ray. The shot would ease the pain and buy me some time. I didn’t want to have my hip replaced right then because of work. I had the shot the first day I returned to school, I’m a teacher. The shot started working almost immediately and offered great relief.
It worked until January. In February, the pain was too much and I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon. He told me I needed to lose 30 lbs before he’d do my surgery. I buckled down and got my weight under control and lost that weight by the end of May – perfect for the end of the school year. I e-mailed the surgeon and he had another surgery and couldn’t do my surgery. I was referred to his colleague. Now I was on my 5th orthopedic doctor. He was willing to do surgery as soon as he could fit me in, which was about two weeks later. He was the best thing that happened to me I believe.
We don’t know what caused my hip to become mangled – other than basic osteoarthritis and genetics. We know at this point, I will need my left knee replaced – same thing, genetics and arthritis – and that at some point the right side may need replacement as well. Right now, I’m doing my therapy, almost 2 hours a day, and working to become strong. Whenever it hurts and I want to give up–I remember that so many others have it worse than I do and if they can fight like a girl–so can I.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.