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Author Topic: Bionic's Bone Blog  (Read 97598 times)

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Bionic

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Bionic's Bone Blog
« on: December 06, 2008, 08:41:23 PM »
Since my surgery won't be until March, and since I don't plan to disappear between now and then, I thought I would start my own thread to document what I hope will be another successful journey to a more able and pain-free life.

I came looking for this site because of fairly continuous and often severe right hip pain, and the considerable disability that goes along with it. 

I've had hip pain in one form or another since at least 1998, although I waited until 2001 to see a doctor.  I was not quite 40 at the time.  My symptoms were a loose feeling in the hip joint--kind of like it could be pulled apart.  It felt like there was a gap between the ball and the socket.  I had the sensation that parts inside my hip were shifting.

The hip usually didn't hurt, but occasionally it did, and occasionally it was severe.  At times it was so severe that I could not put my full body weight on it.  Most of my pain was toward the outside of my hip.

Interestingly, it was not a grinding, deep pain, like the "tooth pain" some people describe.  When I got the pain it was intense, but I usually didn't get it.

Believe me that arthritis was the last thing on my mind.  Correction, it was not even on my radar screen.  I had no idea that arthritis might be my problem.  That was for old people.  I was young and very fit and strong.

In fact, the reason I waited so long to see a doc in the first place was I thought this was an athletics-related problem.  I had been a big-time weight lifter in my 20's and 30's, routinely squatting and benching some very heavy weights.  But late in my 30's I decided to go back to school.  The weight lifting slowly fell away, and my muscles slowly receded.   My hypothesis to explain my hip pain was that, since I had lost muscle, there must have been more space left in my joints.  My ligaments hadn't caught up with my reduced muscle mass.  Given enough time, I thought, everything would come together and I would be fine.

You can imagine my shock when the doctor matter-of-factly informed me that I had arthritis.  It was like everything went silent.  He said something about my perhaps having sustained an injury in my youth, which damaged my femoral growth plate, but I couldn't remember any injury.  My right foot had always turned out slightly, as does my father's.  That gave me trouble from time to time, like when I ran on the track team.  My coaches always told me to pull in my feet--that I would run faster if they were straighter.  Maybe that caused my problem.  Who knows?

The point is, like many of you, I was shocked at my diagnosis.  I looked around the doctor's office and saw that most of the patients appeared to be in their 80's.  There I was, not quite 40, in their same company and with a hip in nearly their same condition.  That was a mind-warping moment.

In the years that followed, the pain became more consistent and there were several more doctors visits.  Each time I was offered THR as a solution, but I was also told that I was really too young for that and my best bet was to learn to live with it.  I gave up my stairmaster; it hurt my hip too much.  I bought an elliptical trainer.  It was awesome, and I loved it.  I got fabulous workouts and started getting in great shape.  I picked up a second hand Bowflex and went to town on that, too. 

Hey, I could live with this, I thought.  I often walked with a limp but felt generally okay most of the time.  I was able to stay in shape.  No need for surgery.  I even lost 50 pounds of fat I had put on while going to school and working full-time days.

Then, around 2004, came a truly spectacular workout on the elliptical.  Sixty minutes at level 6 got me sweating and puffing like a locomotive.  Man that felt great!  The athlete was back!  But in the hours that followed that workout, a different story was told.  By that evening I could not walk.  The pain from my right hip was intense.  I dragged myself around, essentially by hopping on my left leg and pivoting off of furniture and walls.  I took lots and lots of ibuprofen.  That was eventually enough to get me to work on Monday and back on my feet, but I was never the same again.  I don't know what I did.  Perhaps I opened up a huge lesion somewhere.  Whatever the injury was, I did not go near my elliptical machine after that, and have not been able to get back on it since.  It still sits in my basement calling to me!

Determined to stay in shape, I started swimming.  Swimming was fun, but I'm not a natural swimmer.  I'm not especially boyant or fast through the water.  It got a little boring.  MOre than that, it really didn't help my hip.  I was often in more pain coming out of the pool than I was going in.

Fast forward to stationary bike, and then recumbent bike, where I am now.  I even ride an outdoor recumbent (Yes, I'm one of THOSE!).  So far, the recumbent feels great on the hips, and it's my primary line to fitness.

But you can see the progression.  One thing after another has fallen away.  There's just so much that I can't do right now.  Not just for exercise, but for everything.  I went camping for the first time in my adult life this year, and it was hellishly painful.  I can't walk long distances.  I can't go hiking.  I can't even play ping-pong!  At any time, I might get an attack of acute pain when I can't walk at all.

Meanwhile, as I've continued to decline, my surgical options have continued to improve.  It is not unreasonable now to expect a resurfacing to last 15, 20, or more years.  At my current age of 47, I could get a resurfacing now, a THR in 20 years, and that would be all I would need.  Hell, the resurfacing might be all I ever need.  The traditional argument against surgery just does not hold up any more.  I'm ready to get my active life back, and I'm eager to join this distinguished group we call surface hippies.

For your reference, I have attached a recent x-ray.  This is a composite of right and left films that were originally separate, but which I stitched together in Photoshop.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 01:41:24 AM by Bionic »

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 08:51:04 PM »
I am very interested to get impressions from other members as to how my hip looks on x-ray compared to how yours looks or looked before surgery.

Do you think this is bad, or is it "nothin'" compared with what you had to deal with?  I'm not asking to test my manhood or anyone's tolerance for pain, I just honestly want to know.

The infuriating (or life-saving) thing to me is that, now that I have a fairly inactive lifestyle, I can actually go for several days straight with minimal pain.  Especially now that the weather's turning cold, I feel better.  It's quite a contrast from this autumn.  This invariably leads to second thoughts.  Am I ready for surgery?  Should I wait for it to get worse?  Shouldn't I really be waiting until I'm in pain all the time, or nearly so, before operating?

stevel

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2008, 11:22:51 PM »
Bionic,

It looks bad enough.  My left hip x-ray also looked bad.  At most I had moderate pain.  This Summer I had loss of function.  I gimped about a lot and used a cane.  After mowing the lawn, my left hip was toast for a couple of days.  So I proceeded with LBHR on 9/29/08 and I'm doing great at 10 weeks post-op.  See attached x-ray of left hip, which was taken 8/6/07.  It didn't change much prior to surgery.
Steve
LBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 9/29/08 age 55
RBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 11/1/19 age 66

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2008, 01:45:48 AM »
Hey Stevel,

Thanks for posting your x-ray.  You have the same bone-on-bone contact at the very top of the acetabulum that I have.  It appears that you had more cartilage elsewhere than I do, but I think I also see a large osteophyte right at the apex of your femoral head.  I could see that causing some pain.

By the way, after seeing your excellent, generously sized x-ray, I went back and reprocessed mine.  It's now bigger and easier to read.

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2009, 07:25:28 PM »
My new surgery date is in February.  I am now eager to get this done and to move on with life!

(By the way, I am the same "Bionic" listed above--the thread starter.  I had to recreate my account, which reset my post count, among other things.  But I'm the same guy as above.)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 05:47:47 PM by Bionic »
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

stevel

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2009, 08:00:12 PM »
Hi Bionic,

Congratulations on scheduling your surgery!  I researched from Februray through July of last year before finally taking the plunge on Sept 29, 2008.  I feel great at nearly 16 weeks post-op with no complications.  Is your surgery also on the left side?  If so, you might update your footnote to distinguish between bi laterals and right side implants.
Steve
LBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 9/29/08 age 55
RBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 11/1/19 age 66

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2009, 09:31:09 PM »
The right side for me, Steve (I just updated my signature).  I was initially concerned about having the surgery during the winter (I live in New England) but then decided I was more worried about the economy.  I want to be able-bodied as soon as possible.

Congratulations on your trouble-free outcome.  I am hoping for a similarly successful recovery :).
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2009, 07:32:49 PM »
Surgery is just 2 weeks away.  I recently had a DXA scan, as required by Dr. Gross.  Thankfully, my results were normal.  The spine was quite good (72 percentile for my gender and race overall, 78 percentile for my age, gender, and race).  The hips weren't quite as good.  The left (healthy) hip was 38 percentile overall, 69 percentile for my age.  The right (arthritic) was 61 percentile overall, 78 percentile for my age.

This is a little strange.  I would have expected bone density to have been higher in my healthy hip, since I favor it very strongly, but it was lower.  It could be that the measurement was off for the diseased hip due to the arthritis.  The test report gave a warning indicating that the results for the right (arthritic) hip may not have been reliable on account of the unusual bone growth and sclerotic bone.

Now the issue is getting insurance to pay for the test.  The bill for the DXA scan came Friday, for $422.  My insurance company denied payment because the claim was submitted under the code for "osteoarthrosis."  I'm going to try to have them resubmit it under "osteoporosis," which my insurance covers.

It really pays to make sure the doctors and hospitals submit their claims under the proper codes.
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

Todd

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2009, 08:07:44 PM »
Bionic,

I wish you well during your journey.  If you have a laptop bring it with--pretty invaluable to have some outside contact when stuck in bed.  That way you can report your status soon after! ;D  You will wake up in that hospital bed a new and truly BIONIC man.  Enjoy the experience as it is a new beginning.
Todd  LBHR, Dr. David Palmer 1/7/09; RBHR 5/6/09 St. Croix Orthopedics, Stillwater, MN

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 01:49:52 AM »
I like the BIONIC image: "We can make him better than he was.  Faster, stronger."  Maybe Steve Austin was before your time?  Although super-human abilities would be most welcome, I would happily accept 70-80% of my previous capability.

I plan to bring my computer, along with Season 1 of "The Wire."  I hear it's great but I've never managed to watch it.

For those who are paying attention, I should apologize for mixing robotic metaphors in my user profile.  "Bionic" refers to Steve Austin and the like, humans with mechanical or robotic parts.  But my avatar is not of a bionic man but rather of a Cylon, a non-human robot, which over time evolved into a human form.  Any other BSG fans out there?
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

Todd

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 03:34:39 AM »
Once my second hip is done and healed up, I'm going to find a surgeon who is willing to try out abs of steel (or maybe the cobalt-chromiom molybedenum abs) on me.  I'll be sure to post my detailed recovery plan and progress.  Should be very interesting.
Todd  LBHR, Dr. David Palmer 1/7/09; RBHR 5/6/09 St. Croix Orthopedics, Stillwater, MN

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 01:13:17 AM »
Last Wednesday was my pre-op appointment with my primary care physician.  It consisted of a general physical (really, a quick once-over), EKG, chest x-ray, and blood test.  The results just came back and everything thankfully looks good.

I confirmed with Dr. Gross's office today that everything was in order.  All that's left is for me to show up.

I leave for S. Carolina on Monday.
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

stevel

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 01:33:22 AM »
Do you have a surgery date?  If so, you might update your signature.
Steve
LBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 9/29/08 age 55
RBHR 60mm/54mm Dr Su 11/1/19 age 66

obxpelican

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 02:09:54 AM »
Good luck on your journey towards walking straight lines without pain.


Give Nancy, Lee and Dr. G and the rest of the crew our best.

Chuck



Last Wednesday was my pre-op appointment with my primary care physician.  It consisted of a general physical (really, a quick once-over), EKG, chest x-ray, and blood test.  The results just came back and everything thankfully looks good.

I confirmed with Dr. Gross's office today that everything was in order.  All that's left is for me to show up.

I leave for S. Carolina on Monday.
Chuck
RH/Biomet U/C Dr. Gross/Lee Webb
8-6-08

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2009, 06:53:42 PM »
Surgery is now 5 days away, and I'm feelin' good!  Well, that may be overstating it, since the ibuprofen stopped last Saturday.  But the pain has been worse.

I'm in good physical shape and even have gotten close to my "fighting weight."  I've kept up my recumbent bike routine: 45 minutes per day, 5 days a week or so.  I've also been doing some weight lifting on the Bowflex, including leg extensions and leg curls, which don't bother me at all. 

My hope is that all this fitness will serve me well and help to speed my recovery.  I would like to move from crutches to cane as quickly as possible, while applying all due caution, of course.
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

Tekka

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2009, 07:27:57 PM »
Good luck mate,

I had a cancllation come through in the end for me, so I did'nt have to much time to think to much about it all.

How are you feeling.....

Terry
LBHR 23/01/2009 Mr Mcminn

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2009, 08:15:15 PM »
I'm feeling good, Terry.  Thanks.  Not too nervous.  I just want to get it over with!!
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

obxpelican

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2009, 08:44:07 PM »
Don't worry about the surgery, just worry about the dye job that Lee is going to give to that mohawk.

You're going to be fine, you're prepared, you know what to expect (except the mohawk) just let the doctor do his thing, sit back and enjoy the time off.  Although I suspect you're a type A who will probably drive your wife crazy for 6 weeks.


Chuck
Chuck
RH/Biomet U/C Dr. Gross/Lee Webb
8-6-08

Bionic

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2009, 02:05:54 PM »
 :)

I'm heading off to South Carolina today.  A weekend of rushing around to get ready, without ibuprofen, has reminded me of why I'm doing this.

I'll try to post again before surgery.
Right uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum
Feb. 11, 2009 with Dr. Thomas Gross and Lee Webb

Todd

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Re: Bionic's Bone Blog
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2009, 04:48:07 PM »
Good Luck Bionic!  You will soon be posting about your miraculous recovery and the state of the hospital food.  We want to hear all about it!
todd
Todd  LBHR, Dr. David Palmer 1/7/09; RBHR 5/6/09 St. Croix Orthopedics, Stillwater, MN

 

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