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Hips don’t lie…

Or how I came to find out that both of my hips will have to be replaced.

 

Ever get a dull pain and try and ignore it, thinking that it’ll go away even though it’s been there for months? Yeah, it’s never a good thing to do that.

Thinking back I’ve had problems with my hips for years but I always put it down to being unfit, not being limber enough, not taking fish oil supplements etc. Then in January I decided I’d start going to pilates classes thinking that would help things overall. I ended up over doing it and pulled a muscle in my left hip. One day I noticed that that it was painful to walk up stairs. I figured it would go away in time. Next my hip began to hurt when I climbed into bed at night and when I woke up in the morning it would be incredibly painful. Sometimes it hurt if I’d been sitting in a certain position. Still I did nothing. I wasn’t even trying to take painkillers. I finally went to the doctor when it began to hurt to walk.

I was prescribed anti inflammatories and told that if the pain continued I’d need to have an x ray. The medication helped a little but nothing changed. I began taking the lifts at work to avoid walking upstairs. Of course I went back to the drs who gave me anti inflammatory gel to rub in this time, I’d been concerned about the reams of side effects of the other tablets I’d taken, and an appointment for an x ray was booked. This time the doctor was convinced that I’d need physiotherapy for the muscle if nothing wrong was found with the bone . The next day I ran for a bus and it nearly killed me, the pain was excruciating. The gel didn’t help.  I had the x rays and was convinced that I’d be referred for physiotherapy. Not once did it occur to me that there would be something else wrong.

So when I returned to the surgery on Friday to get the results of the x ray, I went into shock when the doctor told me that he had bad news for me. I had been born with coxa profunda and had an aceto femoral impingement. Basically there was a problem with the  joints in my hips. There wasn’t enough room where the hips connect with my pelvis. I would need surgery now to try and ease the pain and also in ten years would also need to have both my hips replaced.

As you’d imagine, I had real problems taking all of this in, I had not expected to be told something like that. Well, who would? At one point I said “shit” and then apologised to the doctor, who’s about the same age as me, for swearing. He wasn’t worried. He’s probably heard worse. It can’t be a picnic having to drop bombshells on people.

I tried to keep it together, reminded myself how strong I am. I am strong but crying in the pharmacy as I waited for  the painkillers I’d been prescribed was a low point in my life. I have always had a fear of surgery and so far in my life I’ve managed not to need any. Now I will have to have several operations and there’s nothing I can do about it. It just is. And that’s the thing. I do just have to go with the flow, let things get sorted out, hope I won’t have to wait too long. How long will it all take? God knows, I certainly don’t. I’ve been referred for physiotherapy and also to the surgeons.  Also I have to slow down, walking is ok but nothing strenuous like running, cycling, anything like that.

After the doctors I met my friend Hannah for lunch and her face changed from horrified to even more horrified and shocked as I told her my news. I couldn’t help laughing at that but I told her that I had to find humour where ever I could. I wondered if that was how I’d looked when the doctor told me the diagnosis? I think I’d just looked shocked and on the verge of tears.

After Friday I am veering between being okish and terrified. On one level it’s still sinking in. Sometimes I forget all about it and then suddenly remember. I’ve also been worrying about the fact that my mum is worried about me. Mostly I am just trying to get through the days. I was on leave last week and I’ve taken a few extra days to just try and used to this new phase of my life.

Part of writing this post is to help me process the whole thing. There is a cure for problem and although I may be in discomfort now, I won’t always be. My friend Jay had both his hips replaced when he was 38 and he’d never looked back. He’s told me that I’ll feel like a teenager afterwards. My fantastic partner, Doug, has been my rock. I have forgotten sometimes that it’s been a shock for him too, to hear that I have to go through this. While I’m recuperating from my operations Doug will stay at my house to look after me. That means a great deal to me. I am still concerned about my mum as she’s taken this very hard. I’ve tried to reassure her that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent this, it is hereditary.

I will get through this and I’m lucky that I have the most incredible support from my other half, family and friends. And although I’ll have to go through some more pain afterwards my new hips will feel better, so much better than my old ones.

 

3 Comments

  1. Magpie Mimi says:

    Wow. That is a bombshell. At least they’re sorting it for you and you know someone who’s already experienced it so they can help you through it too. Take good care of yourself. xx

  2. M-H says:

    I’m sorry you’re so upset by the idea of surgery. I’m a bit older than you, but have had several surgeries: One when I was a child for a cyst on my hand (these days they would do that with a local), then as a young woman because I had an ectopic pregnancy. That was scarey! Since 2000 I have had my gall bladder out, cataracts on both my eyes (very young for that, it’s the result of a genetic abnormality, like your hips), elective surgery on my sinuses which has stopped me getting sinusitis all winter and an achilles tendon repair after I ripped it after tripping on a tree root, just walking along the road.

    What I think I’m trying to say is that surgery is really nothing to be scared of, and they only do it if they think it will make a good difference to your life. Imagine being without pain – you will be, and that’s got to be a good thing. I’m glad for you that it’s possible – 50 years ago you’d have had to live with the pain.

    Oh, and be rigorous with the physio. After my achilles surgery I had many long months of excercises, but it sure paid off. I see other people of age who’ve had this surgery, and they all walk a bit funny – I don’t. (Well, not much… :) )

  3. S-B says:

    Just had the same diagnosis as you. Coxa profunda with labral tear. Still reeling from it too…
    How are you getting on?

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