Finally going for it...

dcdavies
dcdavies Member Posts: 26
edited 16. Apr 2016, 07:45 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi everyone!

Its been a number of years since I was active on this forum and for that I apologise as everyone was so friendly and helpful. Back then I was in a dilemma about whether to have a THR of the right hip or not. Ultimately I decided to put off the operation. I managed two years, however with a particularly bad winter and symptoms getting worse, I saw my orthopaedic surgeon again who advised that THR really was the only option now as I am completely bone on bone. However he had a little surprise for me as the left side has now degraded to the same extent. The long and short is that I've decided to go ahead with the procedure. The reasons for the decision are:

1. The bad days now outnumber the good days;
2. The pain is always there now to some extent;
3. Recently I have found that I can only walk for 10 minutes before I am in excruciating pain and I have to limp home;
4. My 5 year old daughter is getting more active and I cant keep up with her;
5. My main interests revolve around physical activities. If I do these I end up having around a week of really bad days/nights of pain and I am usually only just recovered for my next session!
6. My consultant advised me that the left one is on the cusp of needing replaced. I think the only reason he has not recommended it is that it is not giving me any significant pain yet. So I figure its best getting one done first; and
7. I'm still fit and hope this will mean a better outcome for the THR. Having said that, I have noticed weakness in my right side when bending down and usually have to support myself on something....

My concerns are:

1. What the new hip will be like versus my damaged hip. I've heard various differing opinions of what the limitations would be;
2. That I have this done and the pain in my knee/thigh/back is still there;
3. My surgeon has advised me that the right leg may feel longer than the left. I have an element of OCD and worry that I'll focus on that (silly I know); and
4. I'm only 40 and will ultimately need a revision somewhere down the line.

Anyway, I'd love to chat to anyone on the forum about this and their experiences and also, if there are any people who have just found themselves in my situation who are curious about the procedure, I'm happy to provide updates as I progress towards surgery and beyond.

Finally, I would say I am definitely getting anxious about this and whether its the right decision or not. All I can do is stay focused on my reasons for doing it.

Thanks,


David.

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again, David :) It sounds as if you have kept your hip going as long as possible and now is the time to let the surgeon take over. I've had two THRs. They're an amazingly successful operation and have transformed many people's lives.

    If you look lower down this page you'll see a thread by 'newhipandy' giving us the latest report on her THR. A search of her other posts will show how she detailed the whole process, with people like you in mind, so that anyone reading her threads would have a good idea of what was to come and what would happen next.

    As regards your questions:

    1. The new hip will, eventually, be painfree. I've never personally found there was anything I could do with my originals that I couldn't with the THR though high impact sports are not recommended. You have to be careful at first not to dislocate the new joint but, once you have strengthened the surrounding muscles with the exercises given, that shouldn't be a problem.

    2. There are never any guarantees about pain. A THR is a solution for a worn out hip, not for anywhere else. I'd guess that at least some of your pain in your knees/ thighs and back is referred pain from the bad hip. Insofar as it is, it should go but, if you do have OA there too it won't.

    3. A good surgeon operating on a first THR should be able to get the legs more or less even but, as with everything else, there are no guarantees. I'd imagine the discrepancy, if there was one, would be no more than could be corrected by using an extra insole in one shoe though it might feel a bit odd at first until the leg muscles strengthen.

    4. You won't necessarily need a revision. I have a 35 yr old TKR and a 23(ish) yr old THR. Take care of them and they last. When I had my first TKRs at age 35 (I have RA) I knew they probably wouldn't last me out but I figured my young children required a Mum as fit as possible. I've never regretted it.

    Anyway, have a read of 'newhiopandy''s threads and see what you think.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello David
    I have just had my second THR..the thing is everyone's so different..my first one went so well and I said it felt like my own hip, this surprised me..this one is 2 and half weeks post op, so hard to say yet..I do have back probs so will always need one crutch or a stick...the recovery i would say the first week is the wrsed..then its uphill from there..and I dont have much pain at all..a couple of weeks ago I was just taking paracetamol..I do wish you well..any questions just ask
  • prefabkid47
    prefabkid47 Member Posts: 1,316
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There's not a lot that I can add to stickwickets post and please read newhipandy's threads.

    I am due for hip replacement surgery in the next few months since my right hip in the words of my GP were 'knackered' when seeing my xray;the orthpaedic surgeon said nothing just put his hands over his eyes.....!!

    I started getting slight discomfort when walking,the pain increasing to the point where I needed to use a walking stick,now I have two sticks or crutches.Walking (and going up and down stairs) was not only painful but found the effort exhausting,this is even over a short distance.

    I suffer pain in my buttock,thigh and especially the knee,some could be referred pain from my back but I'm sure much of the pain is due to the damaged hip,I'm sure you will find the same.As to differing leg lengths.I hobble since my bad leg is about inch and a half shorter than my good leg,the only way I can stand evenly is to to stand with my bad leg on tiptoe!I know people who have suffered the same problem (including my own brother).After surgery the leg had been 'adjusted' so both were very much the same length.

    You are making the right decision,indeed there is really little choice I am in the same situation,it's a problem that isn't going to go away!!It's natural to feel apprehensive,but as you rightly say 'focus on the reasons why'.

    I am more familiar with the procedure having attended 'joint school',where hip replacement candidates met medical staff,occupational and physiotherapists.This is run by our regional health authority.
    Have also watched the operation on youtube.............. :wink:

    The operation has become so routine now that the success rate is consequently very high,greater than 95%.

    Of course will give updates both pre and post op (as I did with my ankle replacement surgery).

    Regards
    Ron
  • dcdavies
    dcdavies Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Stickywicket,

    I had written quite good reply to you there, posted it and the site kicked me out and lost the message.

    Thank you for your post. I'll be sure to check out Newwhipandy's record of her THR. I'm starting to plan what i need to do prior to surgery so that I am prepared for post-op so any advise will be invaluble.

    I have to admit that it is difficult to keep a resolve to having this done. I think I have lived with pain and discomfort in my right leg so long that when I have a 'good day' its easy to convince myself that I'm jumping the gun. But on the flip side, I do something that involves physical exertion and I end up in pain unable to sleep at night and to sit at my desk for any length of time. I suppose I just have to keep telling myself that the joint is worn out and by delaying things, I'm only giving myself more pain and will still end up with a THR. Plus it would also speed up the OA in my left hip as just now I rely on my left leg for standing up, bending down, supporting myself when standing still etc. etc.

    Thanks,


    David.
  • dcdavies
    dcdavies Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Barbara,

    Its good to hear that your first went so well and that i looks like the second is looking good too! Not so good about your back problems though. I know I have OA in my lower back and that is one thing that worries me regarding delaying the THR (i.e. I do irreversible damage to my back).


    Thanks


    David.
  • dcdavies
    dcdavies Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Ron,

    Thank you for your reasurance and I hope your journey goes well too! It sounds like your a bit worse off than me. I decided a few years back (in discussion with my surgeon) that I would delay the THR until the point it was affecting my quality of life in such that I could no longer do the things I enjoy. At present I feel like I need to be using a stick to walk, however I battle on and end up limping. I can only imagine what it looks like to passerbys. I've had one person stop me to ask if I was okay and ended up in a huge discussion about OA as it transpired he has OA in his hips.


    David.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    dcdavies wrote:
    Thanks Barbara,

    Its good to hear that your first went so well and that i looks like the second is looking good too! Not so good about your back problems though. I know I have OA in my lower back and that is one thing that worries me regarding delaying the THR (i.e. I do irreversible damage to my back).


    Thanks


    David.
    Hello David
    That is one thing I did, delayed getting this second hip done,and did lots of damage to my spine, and when I say my first hips feels like my own , I meant without the pain :? ...I really do wish you well..has I keep telling people gets a few helping hands..ie grabbers, they are needed to get trouser on and underwear, and for anything you drop especially while in bed..I have one in the bathroom..and 2 downstairs...and carry things around in plastic bags..I collected them before they became scarce.. :lol:
  • dcdavies
    dcdavies Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well its only two weeks until my pre-op appointment and two and a half until my surgery. I'm feeling very very aprehensive. However my body continues to tell me I need it done as I am struggling to walk anywhere now without pain.

    I've found the suggested posts very useful, especially newwhipandy's. A lot of good info on there. Also www.thr.org.uk has a wealth of info on there, although I will be honest, his experience of the operation scares me!

    At the moment I am making a list of things to get and mod's to do around my house as I will be living by myself. However I know I wont be able to keep my mum away! It feels a little strange at 40yrs old to become reliant on my mum (to some extent) again! I'm also doing strengthening exercises to build up the muscles before the op to hopefully aid my recovery.

    Work have been okay about me having time off on one hand and awful on the other. It was suggested by head office that I only needed two weeks off work! Theyve now realised their mistake, however I feel like I was being accused of going on a jolly. Also my boss rather than be understanding seems to just want to make fun of my situation. Perhaps its a defensive mechanism on his part? I dont know....


    David.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think men, in particular, are inclined to make a joke of serious medical stuff, often even when it's they who are to undergo it. Just try to ignore it. Please take as much time off work as the docs say you need. Head office will just have to deal with it. Some things can't be rushed and, if you try to rush it, you will only jeopardise the good outcome.

    You are so wise, doing the strengthening exercises. I did them before my knee revision and managed a straight leg raise or two the day after the op which delighted my surgeon. Getting into shape beforehand will really help afterwards.

    It will seem odd having your Mum taking care of you to some extent post-op (My sons would hate it :lol: ) but that, too, will aid your recovery. You can stay in charge but, if you can have some good, nutritious food, and just know that difficult things can be left for another to do or fetch, that, too will all help because it will be a weight, or several, off your mind and you can reserve your energy for the important things like exercises. Independence is often best achieved, or regained, by knowing when and what to delegate.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    David it is normal to be apprehensive..in my case it was more terrified..Im glad to hear your mum will be on hand, the only things you will need help with is fetching and carrying hence my carrier bags..and for the first few days someone just to help you lift both legs into bed..it makes such a difference..and getting the stocking on and off..I left them on for has long as possible..OH wasn't very good at this..and still isn't...at the pre-op they should ask what equipment you need apart form the toilet frame and raiser..they have trolleys for people on there own to wheel your meals around...tell me to shut up if I am going a bit :lol:
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I waited until I was in agony before going ahead with a THR and because I had 3 young children.

    But it is a straight forward operation and definitely worth it as the there was just aching rather than that stabbing pain.

    I stayed awake during the operation, listening to music ad totally unaware of what was going on around me.

    My legs are still the same size.

    I'm now due my left THR and just waiting on the right time!

    Elizabeth x