Be thankful for your health!

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.


10 thoughts on “Be thankful for your health!

  1. Thank you so much for the update. We were wondering about how things were for you and we are keeping you in our prayers
    An activity without legs would be to correspond with 2016 and 2017 SOBOs from around the world giving them guidance.
    BTW – Kendra told her younger sister Kaitlyn that she was too small to use the BIG slide and she should use the little slide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May as well get as much use out of the small slide as possible while she’s still small enough!! 🙂
      I think more and more people will go SOBO now that there’s more info out there!


  2. I have a 23 year old friend who had that surgery last year. she was a gymnast for many years and also a pole vaulter in college with a partial athletic scholarship. She never had any problems. She began having pain that would not stop. She was very surprised as you were to find out what the problem was. She had the surgery last summer with Kaiser in southern Ca. She is doing very well now. It has been a year since the surgery. She will not go back to the sports she was involved with but find something that suits her. The important thing I could offer from seeing how her recovery went is that you may need one or two dedicated care people to be there 24-7 for 2 weeks and maybe longer. It is quit a major surgery and all precautions after surgery have to be taken to insure proper healing. Carry on with your discovery of what you are going to be doing in November. You will be a hard core hiker again, the best.


    • I have been told that many gymnasts and ballerinas suffer from these sorts of problems– flexibility is not always healthy, it turns out. I was a ballerina for many years growing up, and when I mentioned that to the doctors they looked at each other like “See? Typical case”. I’m lucky that I have my husband and my mother in law who will be able to take a number of weeks to be with me practically 24/7.


  3. Thank you Dormouse for sharing what your up against. I just can’t find a song or words that even come close express how I feel. But I do have to say that there is a lot of inner strength and hope in what you just wrote. And yes, I am Thankful for my health and so much more.
    You Got This. Just Bruce

    “May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your sweet words, the world needs more kind people like you! I hope you continue to brighten people’s days with your trail magic, it certainly was a highlight of our PCT hike, and I often tell people about it 🙂


  4. I met you two very briefly at fourth of july pass in the north cascades after breaking my hip in a bicycle on bicycle accident the previous year in 6/2013. Of course my condition was very different from yours, there a few practical suggestions that will enhance your comfort post surgery. During your recovery, I recommend getting a zero gravity chair from target that costs about 50. It will allow you flexibility to be with others in a comfortable position with your foot raised when you are away from home. buy lots of big ice packs that are easy to apply to you hip with velcro. try to obtain an electric mobility scooter with four wheels if you are frustrated with ability to get around town. The insurance paid for my rental. make sure you take off enough time to heal properly. find fun hobbies that don’t require legs.

    I wish you a speedy recovery,
    Dan in seattle


    • I’m so sorry to hear about your accident, that’s the kind of thing you really can’t predict 😦 Also, thanks for all the helpful surgery suggestions!! I’m also taking suggestions for fun hobbies that don’t require legs (or a TV screen). So far I have reading, knitting and cross stitching on the list. 🙂


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