• Hayley W

Beginning my journey towards becoming the Bionic Woman!

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

Step *crunch* step *crunch* step *cru-* collapse *grunt*...

The general sounds of my crippled legs dragging me around each day. Well what do you expect after 27 years of Arthritis gnawing away at my joints? I am impressed they have carried me this far, to be perfectly honest!

Let's hop back in time 10 years. I am 17 and meeting an orthopedic surgeon for the first time, to review the possibility of a hip replacement...luckily, my joints were clinging on and he decided it would be best for me to continue using them for as long as possible, but gave me a pretty clear warning that they wouldn't last forever. He also informed me that I had hip dysplasia, so my hip joints would've been buggered regardless of the JIA - always nice to know. #buggeredbody

Anyway, back to present day, well...nearly.

During 2018, my Rheumatologist and I tried everything possible to alleviate my hip pain, from new drugs to inter-joint steroid injections (ironically, the thing my surgeon would later refer to as the 'nail in the coffin'). As an entertaining side note, during my final steroid injection into my left hip, I had an odd reaction to the local anesthetic and begun to hallucinate that my leg had inflated and was floating off the bed - I kept apologising and trying to grab it, much to the annoyance of the Dr, and in the end a nurse had to come and distract me! Haha!

Anyway (sorry, I am prone to tangents), in 2019, we decided enough was enough and it was time to consult a surgeon. As someone who is reasonable active, works full time and is regularly told she 'doesn't look sick', I was nervous and began to worry that the surgeon would think I was exaggerating the pain or that I was too young to have the replacement. In March, I hobbled into Mr T's office (with my stick in hand - partially for stability, partially for effect) and any fears I had were immediately relieved. He took one look at my recent MRI scan, told me both hips were dead (no blood supply was reaching the joints - potentially due to over-use of steroids!) and said he was eager to replace them ASAP. I only actually went in for the left hip, but hey, who can refuse a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer?!

So that was that. He gave my hips and spine a quick prod, ran me through all the pros and cons of surgery and put me on the waiting list.

And so the endless googling began...and what did I find? ...A lot of information - some terrifying, some helpful, some blatantly not targetted at people under 65... and mostly, a lot of pictures of elderly people. Don't get me wrong, I am sure a lot of older people do require joint replacements. But with 1 in every 1000 children in the UK being diagnosed with JIA, how can we not provide information on how to deal with join replacements during the busiest and most exhausting periods of your life? I want to know how to still hold down a career, how to cope with household responsibilities, how it can put stress on a relationship or how it will affect my ability to have children in the future. I don't want to know about microwave meals and removing rugs from hallways.

And so this blog was born - I hope that through documenting my experiences, I can help shed light on some of the lesser understood moment of this process and therefore reduce stress for others in similar situations. And maybe, at least in some way, I can start changing the image in people's minds when they think of Arthritis and joint replacement!

#youngpeopleneedsurgerytoo #chronicpainwarrior #JIA #hipreplacement



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