It seems like ages since that August visit to Boston- and it really has been! After Boston, the next step was to visit with my doctor at Orthopedic Associates here in Portland for our next steps. They've seen my pretty little face a lot lately, and thankfully they are all nice and have my best interests in mind. Suffice it to say, that as of today, I am on track to getting the surgery I need to fix my problematic left hip! Now, let me back up and tell you how I got to this point.
When I was in Boston, as mentioned in the last entry, a literal team of people were in the room with Ethan and I, poking, prodding, bending and looking. I had had my first ever MRI, and Dr. Millis had me pull up a chair so I could look with him. His explanation; that the hip dysplasia was not the real immediate pain problem and that the "fix" could be much more minor than reconstruction or replacement, was exciting. I had never seen and MRI, and left a little bit confused about what was really wrong, but I knew it wasn't as major as I had thought, so I was ok with it. Something about a bone protrusion and a torn/irritated labrum. His recommendation was to do the cortisone, see if that works, and go from there. (I promise to give you a full account of what's going on later in the entry!)
After phoning OA once a week til I got an appointment, I met with my doctor, Dr. Crothers to talk about where to go from there. He agreed to try the cortisone per recommendation of Dr. Millis. The shot was so weird- it didn't really hurt, it was just uncomfortable. I could feel something was in my hip and it was freaky. Had to hobble out on crutches, because apparently some people go totally numb and can fall down. As I have a tendency to fall and stumble, I gladly took the crutches. I went home, laid down, and began to wait. Dr. Crothers said to come back in 3 weeks for a follow up. I made sure to schedule it before I left that day.
In the interim, I was feeling pretty good! I had much less pain and pinching. I walked home (up hill!) from work without feeling the ache/pinch in that hip. Amazing. Its like I can feel the cortisone in there- a little cushy ball of softness saving my joint. :) I felt like I could move freer. Occasionally I'd get up too quick or move just the wrong way and feel the crunch/pinch. Once, I almost dislocated it, moving around in bed. But overall, I'm feeling good! The right hip, which is also dysplastic, was bugging me more because the left was bugging me less. Go figure.
3 weeks go by and we're into October. I go back in to see Dr. C, and I tell him I am feeling great. pain here and there, sometimes the "Dead leg" thing, but overall, status report: good. He says to me, "Great. Come back in 3 months for another cortisone shot." In my head, I'm all: "WTF?" I politely tell him my understanding was that Dr. Millis recommended one round of cortisone, then, if it worked, we would discuss options for a more permanent fix. He consulted the notes/file from Millis and said something like "Oh yeah, there it is. I think you're young and healthy enough to have the surgery for a more permanent fix. Let's have you talk with the surgeon." DUH! Boy am I glad I spoke up! He was just going to send me away, prolonging surgery and pissing me off. I have waited long enough, and I am not waiting any longer. The moral of this story is, speak up! Its what got me to Boston, what got me a shot, and what's now getting me the surgery I need.
The surgeon @ OA is Dr. Huffard. He's younger than Crothers and really nice. I went to see him on the 27th of October, MRI in hand. He took a look at it, and at me. He is the fist to have explained to me what's going on in a way I actually understand. Let this picture below help you:
What's happening to me is that the labrum is being torn/irritated by the top of my femur. There's a small protrusion at the top of the bone. Because of that and the dysplasia, the labrum is being attacked! Its what causes the pain, pinching and stiffness. OW! It houses nerves and protects the socket part of the joint. Doc Huffard thinks that the degree of my dysplasia is small enough that they can repair the labrum, shave down the bone protrusion, tighten my loose ligaments (which I just learned about at that appointment) and feel relief.
The surgery is laproscopic, so no real serious open-me-up stuff, which is great. He said that there's an 80% success rate (which at this point, is ok with me!) and it can take 6 months to a year to feel a lot better because of the kind of surgery. Again, ok with me. Seems like a small price to pay for relief. I still may need a replacement when I am older, and it will likely be at a younger age than average because of my dysplasia and family history of arthritis. But, this will help with my current pain.
Right now they are drawing up the plans, so to speak, to send to my insurance company to determine if they will cover it. Thanks to the university's amazing insurance I am not worried. They've covered everything up til now, including the whole Boston trip. After the approval, I get a surgical evaluation and we go from there.
Its. Really. Happening.
I will update as soon as I know more. Got a call yesterday that the info was sent off to my insurance company, and I should hear in about a week. I will keep you updated on my Hip Story.