I haven’t blogged in a while, and the main reason is because I created this blog so as to be able to talk about my adventures as a hiker, not an invalid. But, as you may be aware, my hiking life has recently been stymied by pain in my hip. I also did not want to blog to the world about my medical choices because I didn’t really want to hear everyone’s opinions on what I should or should not do. There are enough people in my everyday life doing that, and over the course of the last few months I have done more research and more soul searching than I’d care to relate, and it has been overwhelming at times. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a tough road already, and it’s about to get tougher.
I decided in the last couple days that I did in fact want to give everyone an update and write another blog post. Mostly because I now have some answers, but also because I think that a lot of people, including most hikers, take their health for granted, and I just wanted all you hikers out there to be thankful for all your working parts!!
I think that most people feel more in control of their health than they probably should. I recently asked a fellow hiker what they did for health insurance, and they told me they had figured out when to push themselves and when to ease up, and hadn’t needed a doctor for more than 5 years. It’s great to eat well, get lots of exercise and be in tune with what your body needs, but that won’t save you from a major health issue as soon as tomorrow. I’m not saying you can’t control your health at all, but I’m just telling my story…
So this year, after turning 30 I found out I was born with shallow hips and nothing I could do short of surgery would fix that. Up until this year I thought I was a perfectly healthy person with great potential to do basically anything I saw fit. To be told otherwise really rocked my world, especially because my world revolves around being active.
Two hip doctors who specialize in hip dysplasia have separately told me that without surgery, I will likely need a full hip replacement in about 10 years. Hip replacements tend to last 15-25 years, so I would need many of them over the course of my life. One of the surgeons, Dr. Millis at the Children’s Hopsiptal in Boston, is one of the top surgeons in the field of hip dysplasia in the world, and I have decided to go forward and have surgery with him in November. I will be having a periacetabular osteomomy, where they break your pelvis in three places and then screw it back together in such a way as to increase the coverage around the hip. There’s a good chance I will need to have this done on my left hip as well. The recovery takes a number of months, with high level activities to be allowed about 5 to 6 months after surgery. So, that’s the bad news.
The good news is I’m a great candidate for this surgery as I’m still young (under 35), I don’t have significant bone or cartilage damage yet, and my hips are a good shape for the sockets. I’m also lucky this surgery even exists. It has only been around for about 25 years. Also, unlike hip replacements, this surgery will leave me with no restrictions (yes, maybe I’ll be a hard core hiker again!), and if I’m lucky I will never need a hip replacement.
So, for the first time in almost a year, I see light at the end of the tunnel.
For all of you who can, go take a hike for me! And remember to always be thankful for your health.