January 31, 2006 – how very strange this universe works…
I am recently back from Belgium with a brand new right hip (De Smet, Jan.11/06). So far, life “on the other side” (as Alan called it once!) has been great. Slow and steady, but already feeling so much better than I was before I went to Ghent.
I have been reading the posts since I have been back with great interest. For the little age survey, I am 48, and have been in great pain (in answer to another’s question on a post) for 2 years. I was on a cane for the last 2.5 months before surgery, and it was difficult to walk any distance even with the aid of that ‘stick’ by the time I left for Belgium. As anyone knows who has talked with our PT in Ghent (the wonderful MARC), he suggested the use of the stationary bike as soon as I got home, and then very light weights (extensions, presses) for the affected leg. When I asked him about the use of the treadmill, he was hesitant at suggesting that, and simply reinforced his recommendation about using the bike instead to start with. I didn’t ask why or why not, but left it alone from that point as we were in the middle of changing exercises at the time. Having trained with weights for many years, it will be nice to get back to the gym again for me, as I was far too sore to do so the months before surgery.
For the people who are feeling the pain now, but haven’t yet deteriorated to the point of cane use or total debilitating pain, please do not wait. For what it’s worth, I reinforce what others have said here. I was initially told by Dr. De Smet that he could NOT do a resurfacing on me when he first saw my x-rays. I persisted, not taking no for an answer (I had counted on it, so was shocked to hear a “no”) and sent him another set of x-rays. He then told me that yes, he could do it, but I had to get there ASAP if I still wanted a resurfacing and not a THR. Here, I reiterate the post that said that there IS a window of opportunity, and please do not wait too long and have that ‘window’ shut on you! I almost did…and as Alan said here…the deterioration does NOT follow a steady course. It will hit very suddenly sometimes, and can then drastically deteriorate in a short period of time. Mine did, as was the case with other hippies that I have spoken with about this.
Now, the strangeness of this wonderful universe… I hadn’t heard at all of the resurfacing until I started poking deeply into the researching of the THR. When I first had started to look into the THR and typed in a search in a search engine, resurfacing didn’t even show up until page four of the search results!
However…on my nutty and wacky trip home from Belgium to Alaska, (a crazy long trip, with missed connections, missed planes, cancelled flights, etc…I left Brussels on the morning of the 21st, and didn’t get back to Alaska finally until the morning of the 23rd…a nightmare!), some wonderful conversations just kind of hopped into my lap. I met many people on that trip home that would ask about my leg (seeing the crutches) and by the time I got home I felt like I had become an international ambassador for the resurfacing!! People were either looking at their own sore hips, or had a family member, etc. Many asked for my email address for future information and questions. I directed many of them to this site, actually, as well as happily giving them my email address.
You see, I heard some horror stories that to me, border on (or simply ARE) malpractice on the part of the orthopaedic surgeons that advised these people. If we, as laymen, can find out about this procedure, I ask why is it that many surgeons, who are privy to much more information in orthopaedics, seem to be totally ignorant of this procedure, or at least, seem to ignore the fact that it exists? I am continuously amazed at the seemingly colossal ignorance of many of these so-called specialists. I was told by the first one that I had seen, that I needed a THR but that I’d have to wait a long time for it because I was too young. Plus, I was in Canada…and the waiting lists are ridiculous for hip surgery. Period. Then I was more or less dismissed, after he told me that I had a hip of a 70 year old! This was before I was even limping, and simply had a feeling like an annoying pull in my groin…and I know that my x-rays that were taken not even a year later were shocking to the clinic where I had them done! I refused to stay a cripple at the young age of 48, waiting for a hip until I was in my 60’s or whenever it was deemed ‘time’. At that point, I didn’t care that a THR wasn’t supposed to last long. I was going to get it somewhere (in the USA if I had to) and hope that by the time mine wore out, the technology for the second one would be better! All this before I found out about resurfacing…
I digress. Well, just a little. Anyway, as soon as I did get back to Alaska, lo and behold, I got a phone call from a friend’s boss, asking if it would be ok that he get his wife to call me! I don’t know many people here in Alaska yet, so this was quite amazing to me to get a call out of nowhere from one of the few people I DO happen to know. When I heard that she needed to talk to me about my hip. etc. because he had been quite fascinated hearing about my ‘odyssey’, I happily agreed to talk with her. Still playing ‘ambassador’.
I thank you for listening to my tale here…but the main point that I am trying to make in my long-winded way, is that we do need to get that word out there. The opportunities for me to do so simply just kept landing in my lap for whatever reasons! I hadn’t heard a thing about this resurfacing just a short time ago, and now I have people asking me about it at every turn. And these have all been strangers. Now, how wonderful is that?
Thanks for all your support and valuable info. here, as always.
The crazy Canuck, living in Alaska (for now, at least)…and yes, where I am it was just -51 a couple of days ago! Not exactly “strolling” weather, but one makes do… BRRRR!!!!!!! Have to have SPIKES on the bottom of the crutches here!
Jan RBHR De Smet 1/11/06