If you are reading this page, you are either:
– Curious about osteoarthritis as a men’s health issue and you hope my story will enlighten and encourage you. Read on!
– And/or, you sincerely care about my well-being and wish to privately pray for my specific needs. Pray on!
– Or, you are nosy and can’t wait to find out juicy details about my personal health, Nose on! But remember, this is MY STORY and I’m the only one allowed to talk openly about my personal health with others.
It began several years ago when I started noticing difficulty lifting my right leg to cross a fence or jump into the bed of my truck. Not long after that, my left hip started showing signs of what was to later be diagnosed as osteoarthritis in my hips, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis.
I’m in my late fifties now and my active lifestyle has finally caught up with me. It’s not that unusual… for anyone who grows old. That would be all of us! Nearly everyone will experience this type of arthritis in their lifetime – if not in the hips, then in another joint of the body. It might be unnoticeable or it might be unbearable, or maybe somewhere in between.
The Mayo Clinic defines osteoarthritis as the wearing away over time of the protective cartilage on the ends of bone (any bone). Symptoms present as pain, tenderness, stiffness, loss of flexibility, grating sensation, and bone spurs – all of which I can attest.
I tolerated the pain for several years while trying to continue an active lifestyle. Numerous doctors’ visits took me from my family physician to several orthopedic specialists, and even to a pain management physician. I ran the gamut of injections, nerve ablation, physical therapy, cartloads of ibuprofen, contorted movements, and endless sleepless nights. No acceptable solution seemed likely until I ran across a relatively new surgical procedure (in the USA anyway, since 2006) called hip resurfacing arthroplasty, or HRA.
For my own peace of mind, HRA on both hips was a fit: I’m otherwise very healthy, active, and within the age bracket, although in the upper end! I’m also committed to exercise, nutrition, and the lengthy healing and recovery process. I like the fact that HRA conserves bone: no large hunks cut off or irreversibly altered beyond what I am willing to accept in order to get back to a full, unlimited, active lifestyle. It also doesn’t hurt that HRA can last the rest of my life. So on a date and at a place undisclosed to all but those with the need to know, I had bilateral HRA.
My story is an example of not settling for the opinion of one specialist – not even two. Thanks to some unexpected and inconvenient delays in finding help, I actually wound up in the offices of five orthopedic surgeons and one anesthesiologist/pain management specialist. The two doctors who helped me most also had the words “joint preservation specialist” on their shingles, but only one of them specializes in HRA.
Men, never hesitate to seek a second, or third, or fourth, or fifth opinion! If you are experiencing hip pain and have exhausted all forms of treatment, talk with your doctor about treatment options, including hip resurfacing before it’s too late.
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