When we first discover, through bone-on-bone pain or an achy thigh or hip area, that we will be needing a hip replacement – our minds might be flooded with fears, questions and a WTF moment or two. I know that my mind and emotions were constantly alternating between disbelief, panic, and numbness. I went right to the internet and researched all night long, and also kept a journal because I had so much emotion and so many questions pouring out of me all at once.
I wasn’t a dancer, I didn’t jog, I didn’t do extreme sports or obsessive workouts – I just had wear-and-tear arthritis (AO) and dysplasia of the hip (which I did not know I was born with). The shit hit the fan when I was 50 and raising my son in his teenage years, as a single mom. So, if single parenting wasn’t enough I had to add a few hip replacements into my life’s mix.
Chronic pain is no fun for anyone, and we can easily become isolated, depressed, depleted and feel alone in our journey into becoming bionic. With young hip replacement recipients, many surgeons would ask patients to wait as long as possible before having surgery, and we did what our doctors told us. We waited until our quality of life got so bad we had to cry “uncle”; I waited two years until I could not even walk. DON’T WAIT. Research your options, get advice. Do your homework. Create a joint replacement support team.
What I didn’t know then or could not have fathomed is that my career and journalistic voice was about to change as well, but first I had to go through the dark night of the soul and TWO hips replacements in 3 years. I chose the conventional replacement the first time, with the posterior approach and titanium on plastic – and that was a very hard recovery for me and my little body.
Three years later, and with my right hip, I went to a surgeon who offered the anterior approach and ceramic and plastic. I was driving after two weeks and did not have the restrictions of the other. I was happy to become a guinea pig of sorts (a very cute one if I may be so bold) and see which approach lasted longer and which had less pain throughout time and travel. By the way, I was told that both approaches end up the same after the recovery period.
Well, it’s 12 years later, and I have to admit I have had a few bouts of scary pain and ache, which also created a sense memory of all that I went through. The pain was most uncomfortable: (1) upon rising from a movie theater seat, (2) after more than 3 – 5 hours of walking (Note to self: stretching first is a great idea), (3) I have to get up every 2 – 3 hours of sitting so I do not get stiff or achy.
Remember, it’s the miles – not the years that remind us how long our hips might last. They could last a lifetime or a few decades – but it is the quality of our lives as hipsters that matter. Don’t take dangerous chances with your hips but also don’t live quietly either.
Feel your strength for all you have been through, be proud of the new bionic YOU and go out there and rock the world. Make a difference. Express your strength. Be there for others. And be YOU in all of your bionic glory!
Feel free to write in your own tips and experiences of pain or relief. And write me if you need anything in your journey from HIP to Hero.
Jodi Seidler, Hipster Girl