Hi, my name is Kaitlyn and I am a 32 years old with a right and left total hip replacement with bone grafts (meaning they used the head of my femur to make the hip joint larger to support the replacement and any future work that is needed).
I live in Burlington, Ontario with my boyfriend and business partner (who is the best support and nurse a girl could ever ask for).
Why I started a blog
A lot has changed in the past few years for me. After being told that I required a bilateral hip replacement I found it very hard to find anyone as young as me to help navigate the surgery, rehabilitation and post-replacement life. I am hoping that since I have now gone through both hip replacements that I could be a resource for others that have to go through a similar situation.
NOTE: I am not a normal ‘basic’ hip replacement, due to the severity of my dysplasia I had to have a bone graft done to structurally create my hip joint and therefore was no more then 50% weight barring post surgery for 6 weeks. But I’ll talk more about that later.
The struggle to find answers
What a lot of people didn’t know, except maybe my mom, is that I, for the most part, have always had hip pain and limitations. However, at the time I thought that any pain I had was related to the physical force and demand I was putting on my muscular body. So I would work with the team therapist on how to ensure I was stretching and strengthening my body properly and that was that.
I would speak to my family physician about my concerns and problems. He knew I was active and healthy and would just think that I was complaining or being a wimp for the fun of it (I know right?!? This still pisses me off a bit, but luckily I don’t have that Dr. anymore! Yippee!!)
I had x-rays done in University of my hips. I have never seen the x-rays and all I was told about them was from the technician herself. She told me that my left hip had either a chip out of it or a healed fracture.
Yet, no one did anything… I was speechless and just figured that obviously it wasn’t anything serious and it would just be an interesting fact about myself no one knew.
I had also worked with physiotherapists that could not figure out why my hips bothered me. They would move my legs around and comment ‘Wow, your flexible’. They would then say comments like “you must have flexible ligaments cause your muscle feel really tight.”
I felt crazy and unheard. I eventually gave up on telling people of my pain and asking for help. I just worked through it and figured that I was doing something wrong or that I needed to suck it up!
There was always a gut feeling that I had about my hips. I would often joke with friends that I’d be the first to get hip replacements or at least the youngest (I figured in my 40s or 50s maybe… not 30!!) I always knew that somethings wasn’t right but just couldn’t get anyone else to believe me or see it. My mom would often talk about my walk (I called it my swagger)… the hips just moved differently.
Some athletic history
Now you don’t have to read on (just scroll near the bottom if you want) but I think that understanding my competitive past will help you understand who I am while I share my experience with you.
Growing up I was always active, especially in figure skating. I also found rugby in high school but I’ll get back to that later. Skating was my first love and will always have a special place in my heart. In Grade 12 I had the amazing opportunity to represent my country with NEXXICE in synchronized skating. I had to take time off the ice for the first few years of university but was able to return to competition later.
In my last year of skating I really felt the affects of my hips and legs. I would lose strength and movement in my hips, ultimately affecting my entire leg. I did not feel that I was capable of doing what I once was and it was heart breaking.
After I stopped skating I gained some weight, lose the strength that I once had and fell into a bit of a slump. Skating had been everything and I wasn’t interested in doing much else. My hips were bothering me more, I didn’t know where I wanted to go in life and so on and so forth. Yes… I had a quarter life crisis around this time… it happens.
I realize that some may be a bit older that are reading this for the purposes of hearing my experience with a hip replacement, and I promise, learning some of my back story will help you understand me better.
My best friend (and who I was living with at this time) was involved in the local rugby club, The Burlington Centaurs, and would take me there to watch games, drink and attend social events. Okay, so let’s get this out of the way, if you don’t know anything about rugby know this:
– Ruggers are a very social group and we love to drink.
– We work hard on the field so we can play hard off the field.
– Everyone is always welcomed with open arms and as the club motto goes “Friends through rugby, friends through life” is the heart of the sport and the people.
Now back to me! So I spent a bunch of time getting to know the people and re-educating myself about that sport. I had played high school rugby and one summer of club rugby back when I was 16 or 17 but hadn’t ever thought about returning to the sport. After a summer they were able to convince me to return to the field (Nuts I know!). So through the winter of 2013-2014 I worked very hard to get back into shape.
I dropped 30 (ish) lbs, gained my confidence and got my strength back, so much so that my hips and legs had never felt better!! I actually felt like I had gone several months without any pain and without much medication. A girlfriend and I wanted to challenge ourselves so we entered ‘Storm the Trent’. An adventure race that most people (even if they are in shape) wouldn’t dare to do – approx. 9 km canoe, 28 km mountain biking and 6 km trail running.
I always found that the stronger I was the less my hips and legs bothered me so I was so happy working towards the goal of maintaining my fitness again!
I swear I’m getting to a point!
Finally some answers (the point)
I was able to play 2 full seasons before my hips took me out (aka I learned how bad it was and that I should stop pushing through the pain). Through those two seasons I started seeing an Athlete Therapist that FINALLY helped me with pain management and getting some answers!!! I had a lot of pain, Aleve, ice baths and treatment through those 2 years but it has gotten me to the point where I finally got help.
I hope that my blog can help give some support and hope to those people that were like me and lost in the system. Don’t give up on the gut feelings that you have and make sure to be your own advocate even in the times that you doubt yourself.