Saturday, March 3, 2007

A little background

I was first diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia about 5 years ago. I started feeling a strange pain in my hip when I drove or occasionally when I walked too much, and I saw a physical therapist who believed I had a groin pull and said it would just take a while to feel better. After a while became a really long while and there was no improvement, I went to see a second PT (Dr. Areta Podhorodecki) who had X-rays done and gave me the correct diagnosis. I went on a course of physical therapy with her but it didn't do that much for me - I was practicing yoga a lot and the physical therapy was nowhere near as intense as my yoga practice. They had me stop my yoga practice while the physical therapy was going on and I ended up just kind of miserable and not actually feeling that much better, although giving me the right diagnosis was a great gift. I was told at that time that my only other option was hip replacement surgery, and that I should just "manage my pain" (a phrase I have come to truly hate) as long as I could, since replacements have a limited shelf life.

Anyway after the PT was done I went back to my yoga practice and got more serious about it, and it did so much for me that although I would still experience pain from long walks it was tolerable for the next few years. I would highly recommend developing a yoga practice for anyone with this condition and in particular check out Anusara Yoga - their knowledge of the body is so deep and will help enormously.

Then about 6 months ago it started to get much more intense, and I started to feel pain in the front of my right knee as well which made me nervous that things were getting worse. After complaining to a friend for the millionth time he turned around and said "Why don't you do something about it?" So I started looking online and talking to people and went to see some orthopaedic doctors. I saw Dr. Della Valle at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC (which I have read is the second best hospital for this kind of surgery, #1 being the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN) and Dr. Khanuja at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (I especially loved him, he gave me so much information - if you're in the area he's a great first doctor to see), and both recommended acetabular osteotomy as a possible surgical option. PAO is the kind of surgery that you have to do at that exact right time in your life where you're too young for hip replacement, and still young enough that the cartilage is in good enough shape.

Every doctor that I've seen has said not to even bother with arthroscopy (basically going in and cleaning out debris in the joint) or cortizone shots/steroid therapy, that the situation is too far developed for that. So big time surgery it is. I'm strangely unafraid - I have a lot of anticipation, but I feel like even if I have to go through a really huge and tough experience with surgery (and from everything I've been reading it's no picnic) if I can come out the other side with a hip that I can walk on, that doesn't grind and cause me to limp around, and even maybe allows me to get deeper into my yoga practice - it's worth a little short term suffering. A lot of people talk about doing everything you can to avoid surgery, but for whatever reason I don't feel that way. I'm waking up in the night in pain now, my yoga practice has regressed sharply (so frustrating), walking is not comfortable at all. I'm not the kind of person who will just take Tylenol or Aleve for the rest of my life, and they're not doing that much for me anyway when I do take them. There's a lot of support out there online (and I'm hoping this will add to it) and like I read in a post the other day, it's not like being in a car crash and suddenly facing some huge surgery with no idea what to expect. This feels like the right way to go, so I have my fingers crossed that the MRI and CAT scan will agree.

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