Lisa’s Hip Resurfacing with Dr. Rogerson 2007
My hip story began ten years ago, when I started experiencing pain in my left hip flexor area. This pain came on rather quickly and became intense within just a week or two. The long arduous process of attempting to have this problem diagnosed and properly treated lasted almost a year, with treatments ranging from steroid shots in the muscles at the hip flexor and groin area, to various pain medications (which had the side effects of making me tired or nauseated), physical therapy, and even to acupuncture. After seeing several physicians at a well-known medical center to no avail, and having one of them imply that this was most likely a psychosomatic issue, I gave up and spent the next nine years managing the pain on my own – knowing that there was something they had missed in their assessment of my pain and its potential causes.
As a workplace health educator and fitness instructor since 1979, I found it very difficult to give up the activities I enjoyed. I loved fitness and had enjoyed 24 years of good health after having had surgery to repair both of my kidneys at age 17. Despite the constant pain and increasing limitations, I continued to teach group exercise classes (while participating as I was able). I also completed a master’s degree and began working on a doctorate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After so many years of pain, it just felt like the pain was part of my identity and a factor that determined what I would be able to do each day. Hiding the pain and pretending to be "normal " was the primary goal every time I left the house.
About three years ago the pain began to worsen, and I sought help from a new physician who indicated that there most likely had been a type of injury and voiced his surprise that no one early on had determined what it was. He then showed me the x-ray of my left hip and I saw the very small space where there should have been cartilage. This doctor then told me about a friend of his who had gone to Belgium to have a new procedure called hip resurfacing and that the physician who cared for patients after they returned home was right there in Madison.
I contacted the young man who had gone to Belgium to have the procedure done by Dr. de Smet, and he told me that there was going to be a gathering of "surface hippies " in Madison soon, and that Dr. John Rogerson would be there to provide updates on the pending FDA approval of the BHR hip resurfacing. We attended that party, and I was amazed at how mobile (and happy!) the people were who had undergone the hip surgery quite recently. Dr. Rogerson was there giving support and encouragement to all of the "hippies " as well as to people like me who were just learning about this procedure.
I will fast-forward this story to May 14, 2007, when I had the BHR hip resurfacing surgery at Meriter Medical Center in Madison, with Dr. Rogerson as the surgeon. A new job (I hesitate to call it a job because it’s an excellent position and a great learning experience) provided insurance coverage, so I was thrilled at finally being able to try to start a new life without this incessant pain.
The night before the surgery, I checked into a cozy apartment at Meriter’s HipHab facility, and must admit to gobbling up all of the treats left there by Dr. Rogerson and his staff (along with a few extras of my own). I did my exer-tubing exercises and stretches because I knew it would be a while before I’d feel like exercising again. The first two days post-surgery were pretty unpleasant, but the care given by the hospital staff, particularly the CNAs, made the experience tolerable.
The morning of the third day was the last time I needed any kind of pain medication, and I was taken back to the HipHab facility for a few days of therapy and rest. The warm water pool was most definitely the best part of the stay! The therapists at HipHab gave each patient personal attention, and were understanding and helpful when it came to individual challenges. Dr. Rogerson also visited each of us in our little apartments, which I found to be very comforting and reassuring. The physician assistants, Joanna and Rene, also contributed their expertise to every stage of the process beginning with my first visit to the clinic. I celebrated my 51st birthday while at HipHab by walking (well…toddling, actually) up to an outdoor restaurant across from the state capitol building with the most important person in my life – my partner Steve, who has been there for me at every stage of this process, and whose constant support has been so valuable to all aspects of my life.
After being discharged and returning home, I found that moving was actually pretty easy if I followed instructions given by Desiree, the therapist at Meriter’s HipHab. I quickly learned that it was not a good idea to stray from those recommendations! The first time I was able to walk up a flight of stairs, one foot at a time, not leaning against the handrail while balancing at a 45 degree angle, I was really excited because this meant progress (I hadn’t been able to navigate stairs normally during the entire ten years of hip pain). It was also great to walk without the limp.
As I write this story, I am almost five months post-surgery. I am now up to a level 6 on the stairclimber, 4 mph on the treadmill, teaching group strength and a traditional aerobics class. Since I am not back to jumping yet, I do the low impact modification which is helpful to newer participants in class anyway. At the next available opportunity, I intend to become certified through the Arthritis Foundation to teach their exercise program for people living with arthritis. Also, I feel that I’ll soon be able to get back to doing occasional yoga and pilates classes, which were not possible given my hip and referred pain in the past. My preferred forms of exercise are higher intensity, but I’m trying to keep in mind that I am 51 years old and need to make some concessions (just a few) in my fitness regimen. But I’m very thrilled to be teaching once again!
As I complete my final semester of coursework toward my PhD and begin preparing for the dissertation, I am so thankful to have had this chance to get my life back again. From that first "surface hippy " party in Madison – after meeting Dr. Rogerson and those who had had the surgery, there was never a doubt that this wouldn’t work for me. The entire process that Dr. Rogerson, his staff, and Meriter Medical Center have developed goes beyond what I expected for a surgical procedure and after-care. I believe they set the standard for this procedure. While walking to my car recently on the way from work, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was just a couple of months post-surgery. She said that Dr. Rogerson and all of his professional staff "walk on water " as far as she was concerned!
Every day I wake up with energy and cherish the realization that I don’t have to lie there and wonder how intense my hip pain would be, and what I may or may not be able to do as a result. I can now look forward to hiking our hills (we live on 120 acres of wooded land) and doing all of the other activities I had to let go due to the hip arthritis. For anyone contemplating this procedure, I suggest not waiting any longer to have a real life again. While we’re in pain, we forget how limiting it really is and how much energy we have to expend managing it, working around it, hiding it, and dealing with it psychologically. When I see Dr, Rogerson on November 14 for my six-month check-up, I intend to do a few jumping jacks in his office followed by a demonstration of the fact that I have gotten almost all of my flexibility back already! Perhaps we should choreography a "surface hippy cheer " to show how exciting it is to just move freely again…