I've just joined this forum, having spoken with one of the wonderful people on the support line. I was feeling both depressed and distressed, because of my condition, and because I am expecting to have a hip replacement that has been delayed, and also due to fear of the future. I am also recovering from illness.
My story begins about 10 years ago, when I had sciatic pain and was treated with epidural steroid injections in my lower back. The doctor used ultrasound to guide the needles, and afterwards reported that he could see some arthritis, but that I wouldn't need to worry about it for quite a lot of years. I was 48 at the time. The sciatic pain turned out to be due to a prolapsed disc, and after almost 3 years of agony, I had the prolapse dealt with surgically.
About 5 years ago, I noticed that I experienced pain when rotating my left leg outwards to the side - I thought this was again due to my back, and though nothing much of it for about 3 years, but the problem increased. I became unable to sit comfortably on the floor, ground, or even to sit up in bed. I still thought my spine was at fault. In February 2016, my husband and I went on a short trip to Scotland, and walking around was painful for what I thought was my back, and also for my feet. During our summer holiday last year, my left leg kept on collapsing under me, and I was experiencing pain. My feet also hurt.
I developed a clicky small middle finger joint, and my GP referred me to a hand and wrist specialist, who diagnosed arthritis, but said that those joints are not replaced in the UK - one would have to go to Japan or South Korea to have that done, but it wasn't bad enough to warrant it just yet, and by the time it is, then maybe such a joint would be available here.
I was referred back to the spinal surgeon because of the pain I was experiencing. My MRI scan showed OA at the L4 and L5 vertibrae, with a misalignment, and a slight stenosis of the left foramen. There is nothing to be done now, but one of the vertibrae could be surgically evened up in later years to realign it. He could not see anything that explained the degree of pain that I was experiencing.
Then I demonstrated the outward rotational problem I have. He suggested that it could be my hip that was the problem. Following this, my GP sent me for a pelvic x-ray, which confirmed this suspicion, showing advanced OA of the left hip, and OA in the right hip as well. Things moved fast then, and I was referred to a specialist at the Horder Centre in Crowborough, East Sussex. He said I must have a full left hip replacement, and I was put on the waiting list.
In amongst all of this, I detected OA in some toes in my right foot, although they don't hurt as yet, my right big toe joint hurts, as that toe is precessing again (successful surgery 15 years ago to correct a bunion) and needs surgery, and in February I detected OA in my left big toe joint, which does hurt. On movement, my lumbar spine often clicks and grinds, and so does my right hip. At times it feels like my whole body is affected in some odd overall way that I can't really explain.
I had a date of 18th March, a Saturday, for my op, and went in, but it turned out a) I was right at the end of the operating list for the day, b) they were short staffed due to sickness and had some agency staff, c) they have fewer staff on duty on a Saturday, and d) they were not willing to take the risk of doing surgery on me, because I have asthma and bronchiectasis, under those circumstances. They had my interests at heart, I guess, but it was a blow.
I very quickly had another date, last Thursday, 30th March, but I woke up last Monday feeling very unwell. I had had a chest infection in January and February, and it had returned with full force. The next date I was given for surgery is 25th May, and I was devastated at the time. This is the next available date with that surgeon. I have since been put on the list of another surgeon as well, and feel very, very lucky. His date is 2nd May. All provisional, of course.
So, now I am being ultra careful, my GP has told me to continue antibiotics for another week, I didn't go out and enjoy myself with my friends playing music last night, which grieved me, and I won't be going out any other evenings this week either. Just to get myself well for surgery. The hope is that I can get an earlier cancellation with either surgeon.
Does this make me happy? No. That's why I'm posting here, and I'm sorry it's such a long first post. I fear for the future.
Thank you for reading.