Hip Dysplasia Surgery, PAO, Big News reveal

Well I’ve sat down to write this post more times than I can count and each time I end up calling it off. I had planned to tell you all about my surgery prior to it actually happening. Then I decided I would wait until after the fact so that I would have more answers and more understanding of what my actual condition would be.

Well fast forward to a week after surgery and each day has been a struggle. Sitting up in bed, reaching for a glass of water, sleeping, eating, and other basic activities are seemingly impossible. And to be frank, writing a blog post has been the least of my worries. As much as I have wanted to fill you all in on what has been going on in my life, sometimes life itself gets in the way. Sometimes it’s messy and ugly and down right hard.

Last Friday, I had major hip surgery on my left hip in order to correct hip dysplasia. The surgery that I had was called a Periacetabular Osteotomy or a PAO for short. I’ll save you the trouble of running to your good friend Google and summarize what this is but let me first tell you how it all started.

Although I was never tested as a baby, I was most likely born with hip dysplasia as it is not something that is commonly developed after birth. I did not discover that I had this until 5th grade when I felt like my right hip was popping out of socket. Several doctors later and I found out that that was not the case and that I had a more serious issue. Insert my hip dysplasia diagnosis here.

I went from doctor to doctor to doctor all the way through high school and each one said the same thing. I would have to have major surgery that would put me in bed for 3 months and then would later have to learn to walk again. Well at this point in my life and being that my hips didn’t KILL me, the obvious answer for this college party ready girl was a HELL NO to surgery.

Fast forward about 6 years and I now have a desk job where I sit for 8 hours a day. Apparently my hips have a problem with that being that they are all high maintenance and what not. I decided it was time to go see another doctor. He said my only answer was surgery so I went to another doctor to which I heard the same diagnosis.

Here was the hard part. I was not in excruciating pain. My hips did not cause me daily pain. I was living what I thought to be a pretty normal life. I was having to make a decision to undergo a major surgery solely on the fact that my hips were disintegrating and at some point they would completely give out. At that point, my only option would be total hip replacements. My doctor told me it could be 2 years or it could be 10 but either way the hips that you are born with will always be better than fake ones.

I’ve always been a realist and someone who needs to see all of the facts. I talked to a couple of girls who had had this same surgery and both of them decided to go through with it because they were in serious pain. So why did I need to do this? For me it was completely preventative and not so much a necessity right now. Thoughts like “what if I could make it another 25 years on these hips” consumed me. I felt like why put myself through this now when I could play my odds and see how long my hips could make it?

At this point I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed for a sign because I honestly had no idea what to do. On one hand I rationalized that this would technically be the perfect time to do it. My job was flexible enough that I could take off for the surgery, I was not tied down with a significant other or kids, and my parents were willing to take care of me post-op. On the other hand I felt like why fix something that is not broken? Ok so I was kind of broken. But I have always been the type that won’t take any sort of medicine or seek help until I’m basically dying. So the thought of undergoing “preventative” surgery was just crazy talk to me.

Well from the time that I started praying for clarity, my hip pain got considerably worse. I was experiencing pain every day and at a stronger pain level than I had ever had. Keep in mind this started after we were told that our only option was surgery from TWO different doctors. This was my sign people. I’ve gone 25 years on these hips and they had never hurt me the way they did in the 2 months leading up to my surgery.

We scheduled my PAO surgery for my left hip for March 24th (last Friday). I would have to have both hips done separately as this is a major surgery and only one hip could be done at a time. My right hip will be done at a later date. Long story short, a PAO is where the surgeon cuts out the socket portion of your hip, rotates it to correctly cover the hip ball, and reattaches it with several screws. The surgery was 6 hours long and I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. So pretty serious stuff.

The good news is that I am home (well at my parent’s) and I have an AMAZING nurse aka Mama bear 🙂 It is a long road to recovery but I am getting stronger and more mobile each day. I have been completely overwhelmed by family, friends and even complete strangers that have reached out to me to bless me with their prayers, presence and gifts. Never have I ever felt so loved and for that I am truly thankful to each and every one of you. It is because of all of you that I have felt motivated to continue on and push through the pain. I know that this phase is temporary and that God promises comforting for the broken hearted and pain stricken.

God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:28-29)

I know that this may not answer all of your questions right now and I apologize for leaving you all in the dark for the time being. I greatly appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes during this time as well as understanding that I’m not completely sure what my blogging schedule will be like. Since writing is a huge outlet for me, I don’t foresee becoming a stranger to you all, but then again these pain meds make me say and do some crazy things so I apologize in advance for any crazy talk, inappropriate language, rants, and anything else that seems un-Shelbi-like. Just go with it 🙂