Surgery and Emotions.


Most people at this point know I had my hip replacements done at age 20 due to prednisone use to treat Crohn’s Disease. My surgical journey is different than most with IBD. I have not had to have bowel surgeries yet or anything like that, my surgeries have been trying to save my leg bones and not losing the ability to walk or anything like that. Yet, all of this still stems from having Crohn’s Disease and medications used to control it.

At 20 years old this was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. To have to decide on having a major surgery on my legs that some people never need and most who need it are at least 30-40 years or even more than that older than me. I also knew it would take a good year out of my life due to the recovery process. I could barely walk at this point though and did not have much of a choice. So I went through with it. It was hard. The hardest year of my life, the recovery was brutal the medication I was on and stress of surgery flared my Crohn’s up so was dealing with that, it was just hard. I got through it, and most people said I did it with a good attitude, but my Physical therapist would probably disagree ;). Once I recovered I was told I could get 20-30 years out of these new hips which was fantastic. My original hips only lasted 20 years so if I could get more than that out of my new ones I called that a win. SO three years went by and I have done well. Very active, bike riding, jump roping, zip lining (maybe too active), but my hips did fine. Did they ache every now and then? Sure but thats just part of the process so I thought.

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Then my dislocation happened. I bent and twisted wrong and my left hip popped out. Ended up in the ER where it had already gone back in place and then ended up in an urgent care orthopedic clinic where I was put in a brace and crutches and was set up to see my surgeon. I was expecting to be kept in a brace for a few weeks, physical therapy and then be on my way. But as soon as he came in I knew something was wrong. He asked me how my leg was and what happened and I told him. Then he said the one word I was praying would not come out of his mouth. Surgery. I need a revision. A dislocation this late post op is not a good thing, the prosthetic cup seems loose, and my left leg is a bit longer than my right which could be the main problem and why my left leg has felt a little different than the right and dislocated. But because of the injury he has to lengthen my leg more to stabilize it after fixing the prosthetic and muscles and ligaments. It will be a rough surgery and a couple of days in the hospital and a good 3 week at home recovery but not supposed to be as bad as the total hip replacement I had. Because he has to lengthen my left leg, my right leg will need a revision and lengthening as well. That will happen later, probably at the end of this year. So in one doctors visit I found out I need two more major surgeries this year. This will a grand total of 5 surgeries  just on my hips.

I was DEVASTATED. I got back to my car and just cried. I called my wife let her know and then went to see my research mentor/very close friend who is amazing to me (Erin or Dr. N), 🙂 and I cried more on her shoulder and snotted (sorry) but I needed to go work out my school stuff so I can try to stay on schedule. I am almost 24 years old and I have had two hip replacements and now facing two revisions, once again to ensure that I don’t lose the ability to walk and it  has just been hard.

I just kept thinking to myself right after I found out I need surgery that “This isn’t fair.” Most of the time all of my friends get to see the side of me where I am good at dealing with these things, I handle it as well as possible and get through it and move on. This has not been one of those times. I have been angry and emotions high, cried quite a few times and let little comments get to me and that’s not usually me but I am Human. I thought I was on the upside of all of my health issues, and then got slammed with this. It’s been so hard to come to terms with I am now facing 2 more surgeries this year. My friends this week have seen me cry like a baby, have small break downs, be a little more angry than usual and actually seen the side of me I hate people to see. I don’t like having pity parties for myself at all because I know things could be much much worse.
 

But as someone who studies science and disease I get it. I get that diseases happen and all the factors going into it. Genetics, medications, surgical devices and implants fail. It happens, but that doesn’t change the emotional aspect of it. I also get that I know so many people who have it worse than me, I know people who have diseases that have ravaged their bodies and are fighting to survive. I know children with horrible cancers trying to get through it and survive. It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair that people suffer from disease, it’s not fair that really bad things happen to good people. But it does.

What we can do though is fight. We have to accept the things we cannot change.  I am gonna fight hard to get over this surgery and get back to walking without crutches and get back into school and continue studying and researching, so that one day I can help ease the suffering of someone else. I can’t thank all of my friends and family for being supportive. Those in the IBD community as well have been super supportive. So thank you everyone. My surgery date is March 7th. I will keep everyone posted.