By Charlotte, Greater Manchester, UK
Anyone who lives with hip dysplasia knows that every day can be a battle, some days are certainly worse than others. The worse days make you want to curl up and forget about it all for a while, the aches and pains can become overwhelming. However, life carries on and you have to just pick yourself up and tell yourself that you aren’t going to let a diagnosis get the better of you, especially not at a young age.
I was first diagnosed at 9 months old with left hip dysplasia which led to having an open reduction and six months in a cast. However, over a decade later the hip problem appeared again. The constant clicking, clunking, and locking of the hip became more apparent with the pain becoming unbearable. After years of trying to get someone to believe me and realise that something was clearly wrong, after many x-ray, MRI, CT scans they stated the best treatment was to undergo major surgery, a Ganz Osteotomy. Without having this surgery at 16 years old I would have to face a hip replacement in my early twenties which no young adult should have to cope with.
My surgeon reiterated in my pre- op that the following three to six months would be some of the hardest times that I would have to deal with; intense physio therapy, dosed up on morphine to keep comfortable and not to mention the use of a wheelchair and crutches for months on end, all meanwhile starting sixth form just a month after my operation. A long road to recovery was ahead, and it certainly wasn’t easy.
But here we are exactly three years post operation, the surgery worked wonders but now problems have appeared in my right hip so physio has started again to see if that will ease the pain.
Despite it all, supportive and understanding friends and family are the most important. They listen to you moan and cheer you up when needed, as well cheer you on when doing something – which may appear insignificant to them but is a massive step in the right direction for you.
Being able to horse ride again, all be it not often or even far (the problematic bones soon tell you when enough is enough) compared to most horse riders is such a sense of achievement for me. Myself or my surgeon never thought that I would be able to get back in the saddle, but having a condition which affects your mobility doesn’t mean you need to stop doing something you love.
People aren’t aware of this condition and the affects it has on daily life, or the number of people that live with it, but the awareness is starting to circulate. The realisation that it causes problems in humans and not just dogs too.
I want to spread the word, to make people aware; the next time they see someone who can’t do something or looks to be having a bad day, think… people deal with a lot more than you know, it may be an invisible disability.
If you’d like to share your DDH experiences, email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org