Well, not really…
This post is not meant to be a “downer” but really to inform curious family and friends about my journey and struggles that I have been experiencing with my hips.
I plan on writing in my blog a lot while I am couped up from my surgery that is scheduled for April 1st. I guess that is why I feel like sharing my perspective of my (what I consider to be) long journey leading up to this point.
As most of you know, I was pretty involved in exercising and doing an interval style workout back in 2010. After our wedding, I started a boot camp in May of 2010. As of August 2010, my hip flexors started to feel tight from time to time, but I would just stretch before and after working out. I thought it was normal and stretching seemed to help manage it. Problem fixed (or so I thought). I continued to exercise as I had been. Pretty intense.
As of April 2011, my “condition” of tight hip flexors worsened. It was to the point where my hip flexors felt tight all day, every day. In my mind, I thought that maybe my hips were just off alignment. Easy fix by a few trips to the chiropractor, right? I went to the chiropractor who thought I had a case of tendonitis. He instructed me to take a break from working out and did a series of adjustments. After about 5 weeks of adjustment and little to no improvement, the chiropractor referred me to physical therapy. I started physical therapy and went through about 5 weeks of physical therapy with also little to no improvement. The physical therapist then referred me to an orthopedic specialist at Steindler Orthopedic Clinic in Iowa City.
I started with a hip specialist there that took x-rays but really didn’t think I had a hip issues and referred be to a spine specialist thinking the issue was with my back. This spine specialist was an injection doctor. After following his recommendations and a number of injections that I literally lost track of, I was becoming very frustrated and discouraged.
Then I had a friend approach me and inform me that I should talk to his daughter-in-law, as he thought our symptoms seemed similar. He put me in contact with her. Upon our first phone call, she asked me to explain my symptoms to her (she did not tell me her symptoms, as she didn’t wanted to just hear mine to determine whether they were in alignment with her symptoms, and whether I might possibly have the same issue as her). I respected that.
I informed her that I had tight hip flexors constantly, which affected my other pelvic region muscles that would flair up randomly. I explained to her that I had developed a “knot” feeling in my right buttock, and at this point, that was the main source of my discomfort. It was a constant, 24/7 feeling that there was a knot in my right butt cheek. I told her that if I wasn’t careful with how I maneuvered that my lower back would suffer from the tightness in my hamstrings and glute muscles. (As one doctor reiterated to me in a light, airy tone “the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone is connected to the hip bone”…oh, I get it all too clearly now :)….)
Anyways, on with my story…
After a long discussion with my friend’s daughter-in-law discussing my symptoms, she told me that she was diagnosed with a labral tear. She asked me about the diagnosis and treatment that I had gone through thus far. I told her about the x-rays, the MRI, and injections that I had done. She informed me that I needed to request an MRI with contrast dye, as a labral tear would most likely not show up with a standard MRI.
I went to my doctor at Steindler Clinic and requested that he order an MRI with contrast dye, Lesson learned. Doctors do not like to be give “suggestions”. He immediately disregarded my request and insisted that my problem had nothing to do with my hips and was still convinced that I was experiencing symptoms due to back related issues. My thought was that insurance covers it, so why not rule it out as an option? If I am wrong, you can tell me “I told you so”. I finally convinced him to order an MRI with contrast dye.
A few days later, I received a call from my doctor’s nurse at Steindler and sure enough, I had a labral tear. I wanted so badly to scream in my doctor’s face “I TOLD YOU SO” but I refrained. I thought, let’s just move on and fix this, now that we know what is wrong. Wishful thinking. Not that simple apparently.
First of all, my doctor at Steindler claimed that there were no reputable doctor’s in the state of Iowa that he would refer me to for the surgery necessary to repair a labral tear. He would refer me to a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, if I wanted. That was not an option for me due to insurance. Okay? So that is it? Yup. You’re on your own. You may want to call the UIHC (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics) to see if they know if any doctors that can help you. I asked if he or his nurse might be able to look into it and make a referral but no. At this point, it was pretty clear to me that since I no longer wanted or needed injections that his doctor was done “helping” me. Again, lesson learned.
I did a little research and found Dr. Amendola at the UIHC. I did all the leg work to get my records sent from Steindler to the UIHC. After some consultations and following treatment recommendations of Dr. Amendola, he referred me to Dr. Noiseux at the UIHC. He just didn’t feel like he had all the answers I needed. He had a great quality of care, and even told me to come back to him if I didn’t get the answers I needed. I was very impressed with Dr. Amendola.
Dr. Noiseux diagnosed me with hip dysplasia after taking some additional x-rays and running some other tests. He then referred me to another doctor, Dr. Ilgenfritz at the UIHC, based on my diagnosis. After the consultation with Dr. Ilgenfritz, he explained to me that I was a surgical candidate for a surgery that he performs called periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) surgery. Essentially, my hip sockets retroverted and are so shallow that eventually the cartilage will completely wear away leading to the possibility that I would need future total hip replacement. The PAO surgery is preventative of having to have total hip replacement in the future.
I have done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people with hip dysplasia that have had this surgery. After my research, I have determined that this is the best option for me at this time. I hope I am making the right decision. A few of the things that I have found that guided my decision to get the surgery:
-a main symptom of a number of people that have hip dysplasia and get the surgery is buttock pain and discomfort (ME)
-research shows that the younger (mid to late 20s being the optimal age) you are with more mild to moderate symptoms the more success you have with the surgery (ME)
-the surgery is preventative of total hip replacement (of course something I would want to avoid)
There are a number of other reasons, but those are just to name a few.
Am I nervous? HECK YA! I thought I would sense nothing but relief, but I cannot help but be slightly anxious as there is no GUARANTEE that this surgery will give me the relief and answers I have been looking for. There is no GUARANTEE that all of my symptoms will be relieved and that I will be able to get back to my regular lifestyle. I have never relinquished more faith in God to guide me that this is the right decision for me. I am leaving it up to him for now, and hoping and praying that it will give me the relief and answers that I have been looking for.
Thanks for reading my LONG, LONG post of my journey thus far. I wanted to give a background to my readers to give you an idea of what I have been experiencing up until now, so that the rest of my journey makes more sense. I am just slightly over one month out from surgery. I will be using this blog as a way to share my story, to keep family and friends updated, but also as a way to cope and to vent. Thanks again for following 🙂 Stay tuned!