my hip dysplasia story

Yesterday was my two year hipiversary, AKA its been two years since I had reconstruction surgery on my right hip, a procedure called a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO).

The surgery fixed deformities in my hip that I was born with that caused severe, chronic

PAO Screws // Put in January 2017 – Taken out October 2017

pain. The surgeon performed a scope first (a seperate procedure) to fix a massive labral tear and clear out some cartilige. He then broke my pelvis in three places before screwing it back together in a new, better position.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And that’s saying something.

Since being at college, a lot of people have asked me what kind of surgery I had after seeing some of my old pictures on social media. This story has so many God moments that I feel as though it would be wrong not to share it. ❤

So here’s the quick version of my journey with hip dysplasia and what I learned from it.

When I was two, a nurse heard a click in my hip. They performed some tests and I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, which at that point in my life meant my hip was dislocating when I walked. I was put in braces, but nothing worked. By the time I was three I had surgery on both hips at the same time to correct the issue. (For you medical people out there it was a dega osteotomy.)

My poor parents, man. My dad was in PT school, so they were newlyweds with a toddler in a body cast living in Wisconsin away from all of their family.

God was good to them.

So the surgery was a “success,” (pretend those are air quotes) and when I was thirteen I was told I would no longer need to get routine checks. The doctor said I would never have hip problems again.

And God laughed. 🙂

When I was a sophomore in high school I was working out more than I ever had before. My theory is that this is when I tore my labrum, because my pain came out of no where. I can vividly remember the first night (out of many) that it was out of control.

The torn labrum is what made me aware that something was wrong. It is a common injury, but for me the fix was much more complicated. If the surgeon had just fixed my labrum, it would have retorn right away because of how my femur fit into my hip socket.

Top // Post-SHD & PAO Screw Removal Bottom // Post-PAO

So my PAO was January 17, 2017. I was in the hospital for three nights and four days. I was out of school for two months, and on crutches for two and a half. I was in rehab for six months plus another three to get my other hip strong for its surgery.

One of the hardest things about it was the fact that we had to travel to Michigan (about five hours in the car) for a surgeon. I went to several who either didn’t know what was wrong or knew but felt they were not skilled enough to fix it. God sent us Dr. Zaltz, and I am forever indebted to him. 🙂

My left hip had a lot of different issues. Because of the surgery I had when I was two, my hip is arthritic which was the main source of pain on that side. My doctor was really reluctant, and ended up presenting us with three options.

  1. Do nothing and wait as long as possible for a hip replacement.
  2. Take on the task of finding a surgeon who would do a hip replacement on a 17 year old.
  3. Have a surgical hip dislocation, a procedure with the same goal as a scope (to repair tears, clear out cartilage and shave bone) but with an large, open incision and dislocation for better viewing.

We went with option three. I was in so much pain, especially when walking and I was

Its called fashion. 😉 Post-SHD 

about to go to college! I couldn’t go doing nothing, and a hip replacement would have seriously inhibited my quality of life.

My surgeon said over and over again that he couldn’t promise this would help. That a hip replacement might still be the only hope to have managable pain as a freshman in college. The thought of going through two back to back surgeries and recoveries was terrifying, but the thought of going to school doing nothing was even more so.

So I cut short my senior year of volleyball to get the process going as fast as possible. I had a surgical hip dislocation on my left hip (as well as screw removal on my right) on October 13, 2017. This time was easier in some ways, harder in others. I was in the hospital for two nights, on crutches for about a month and half, out of school for only two weeks (!!!) and in rehab for about five or six months.

My post op pain was less severe, but lasted for way longer. I was constantly terrified that the pain was a sign that the surgery had failed, despite the reassurance from my parents and my surgeon.

Post Screw Removal // July 2018

That was me being sinful and terrible to the God who had brought me this far.

Because He had me. The surgery worked.

There were screws in that hip too, so I got them removed in July 2018, relieving the last bit of post op pain I had. If you’re counting, that’s a total of four surgeries. And I’m so thankful that that’s all, for now at least. Through this I’ve met people who have had six, eight, ten and still feel no relief. God has been so gracious to me.

And now, I’m a freshman in college walking miles and miles a day, working out, fulfilling all her tasks, living life uninhibited by hip pain.

Don’t get me wrong. Its still there. But honestly when my hip hurts I feel so grateful, because I remember when there was never relief.

Here’s what’s really hitting me as I reflect on these past two + years:

Who am I, but a dirty, rotten, wretched sinner?

Who am I that the Creator of the universe should heal me of my broken body — a body that I honestly deserve?

Who am I to have the privilege of serving a God so faithful and merciful and kind?

He is good, my dear friends. I wish I could express how I’m feeling. All I know is that He. Is. Good.

Here’s a song that describes my heart more clearly than I can. I can’t tell you how perfect it is. Give it a listen:

I hope this story helps you in whatever trial God has you in right now. I know there are trials so much harder than this, and I thank God every day that He was able to teach me so much through something so treatable.

Thanks for reading.

All my love,
Abigail ❤

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