Home > Varia > Depressing news on the health front…

Depressing news on the health front…

Well, ok, I knew this. I just thought I could keep things under control. My control. I was wrong.

What am I talking about? This post is not about my dogs and their training. It is about me. On Tuesday I saw my orthopaedic specialist. I have severe osteoarthritis. Both hips and knees. And I am only 43 (well, 44 on May 1st). And I have hip dysplasia. In both hips. And no, I am not the dog. I am the human. I was born with a defect on both hips, so that the acetabulum does not hold the femoral head tightly in place as it should. This, added to a genetic predisposition for osteoarthritis, has acted in such a way that I wore out all the cartilage covering the acetabulum and the femoral head of the right hip. There is nothing left. Nada. The left hip will follow soon. How soon nobody knows. As for the right hip, what does that mean in my daily life? That I cannot crouch down, I have a hard time putting on socks, tying my shoes, scooping up dog poop, standing for a long period of time, I am stiff and in pain in the morning, I am stiff and in pain during and after a walk, I am stiff and in pain during and after training the dogs, I am in pain when I sleep. Well, I do not sleep much really. I wake up during the night and think “ok, now stretch the leg. take a deep breath, you can do it”. And I take pain medication and anti-inflammatories that one day may harm my liver and my stomach, despite all the precautions taken. I hope not.

All this normally happens to people in they late 70s. Not in their early 40s…

I had decided to try and wait until I was 50 before going for total hip replacement surgery, but I have no control on what is happening to my body and on how I am built. So after my chat with the orthopaedic surgeon it looks like it will happen sooner. But when? Of course I could get it done as soon as possible, but since the implants have a limited lifetime and I am relatively young, and hope to live long, I will very likely need a second hip replacement and perhaps a third. And the subsequent implants usually do not work as well and do not last as long as the first one. So we decided to try and wait until the last minute, so to speak. He will monitor my right hip every year, and as soon as it shows signs of acetabulum wear, the next step after the cartilage is gone, we will have to do it. And if I find that things worsen in my daily life, I am to call him and we will do it – waiting lists permitting…

I am scared. And since unfortunately I am a scientist, I am reading stuff.Maybe I should not. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Because I am concerned not only about the surgery and my life after, but also about which type of hip to pick, will I have any say in that, should I go for the non-cemented one or not. Ceramic or metal/polyethylene, can I have titanium (I bet not, too expensive)? Which type of ceramic composite is he thinking about if any? I bet the surgeon will hate it when I will go see him with all this questions…

But at least the surgeon gave me some reassuring information. I was concerned about the fact that I am alone. My family is in Italy. And I live in a house where I need to do 5 steps to get to the bathroom and bedroom.And I have two big dogs. He told me that once we will decide to do the surgery, I will meet a team of people among which a physiotherapist and an ergonomist, who will prepare me and my house for the “after surgery” months. They will check my stairs, my bathroom and make sure that I will be able to manage once home after the surgery, and still in convalescence. Because they send you home after 3 days. Walking. The surgeon said I will be able to walk the dogs after 3 days. When I told him they are a shepherd mix and a border collie, he said – maybe not – but soon enough! Of course there will be no agility for a while, but I could ask Sue or Lisa to work with Krypto. He works for anyone. Pongo would be easier to manage since he does not require so much exercise.

I am hoping things will be ok with Pongo and Krypto. I will maybe be able to drive after 3 weeks from surgery, so I will go to see others compete and play at fun matches. I will bring the to Red Gate and throw them the ball while sitting. They’ll get some exercise…

Then I know one day it will be my left hip. And my knees…So I try to laugh about it and tell myself I will be better than the bionic woman…The laughter does not last long. So I think of the 3o years old lady that shared the hospital room with me when I had my meniscus surgery done last January. She had bone cancer. And she was going to die. And I think. I am lucky. Very lucky.

And I think I should not have posted this, but I needed som outlet for my fear and frustration…I can always delete this post if I want.

Now I feel a bit better. I vented my frustration. Things will be ok. I am grateful for the friends that I know will give me a hand with Pongo and Krypto, if needed. That will make my level of stress much lower.

Categories: Varia
  1. April 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    First, never regret. If this post has helped you in venting your frustration, then at least it has done that. Second, if ever, ever you need help in anything, be sure that your friends will be there to help you. You are not alone, but part of a group of very good people who are always available. One way or another, it will work out in the end. Third, the only person who can make a decision about your health is yourself. I can’t read your mind, but from your post, I believe that you’re halfway figuring out what you’re going to do. Fourth, interesting story about the patient you shared a room with at the hospital. My mother, when she was going through her chimo treatement when she was in her 70s, told me that she could never describe how she felt when she would see young people, in their 20s, ongoing the same treatment at the cancer clinic. However, it didmake her realise how lucky she was, considering.

    I have no right or wrong answer for you, except to say that I (and everyone else) am here for you.

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