I’ve known Dr. Leone for over 15 years as one of my husband’s partners. I saw him officially as a “patient” in August 2006. After dancing most of my life, I decided to try figure skating. It was sheer joy. One day I was practicing a routine twisting maneuver, when I experienced a sharp, sudden hip pain that would not resolve. I tried resting it and avoiding activity, but it was better only sporadically. Honestly, I had been experiencing occasional mild hip discomfort for a couple of years, but chalked it up to “getting older,” and put it out of my mind. Some years prior, I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but I was lucky—it was well controlled with medicines. I wasn’t sure how much of the hip symptoms I was having now were related to the rheumatoid.
Despite the hip problem, my family and I proceeded with our planned vacation to North Carolina. I attempted an easy hike with my husband and some friends, and recall being in tears because walking down the hill was so painful. I couldn’t even take our dog for a walk, and playing with him was out of the question. I began using crutches. The pain was awakening me at night. I wondered how this could happen to someone at 43 years old, despite being so careful to exercise and eat properly. My entire self concept was wrapped around the joy of movement, so this situation was miserable. To make matters worse, the crutches were aggravating a past injury to my elbow and wrist. Even my back hurt.
When I saw Dr. Leone, he told me that I would ultimately need a Total Hip replacement. He believed that the arthritic changes in my hip were due to hip dysplasia – which I was born with — and not rheumatoid arthritis. I could see on the X-ray that the ball of the hip joint did not appear to be fully seated in the acetabulum, and bone cysts had developed. He emphasized that I should explore all other options, so that if I did decide to proceed with surgery, I would have full confidence that it was the correct decision.
After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to have a hip arthroscopy. Replacement seemed so radical, and I had felt fine when the injury happened. The procedure was done in early 2007. The labrum and bone cysts were repaired, and I remained on crutches for 3 months following surgery. Apparently, my hip was too far gone, because once I started to walk, the pain returned. My hip continued to deteriorate, and the symptoms worsened. Every step had become excruciating.
I returned to Dr. Leone in February 2008. He was completely supportive, and again recommended a total hip as the best treatment with the highest probabilty of success. In March 2008 I had my hip replaced. It has given me back my life. I’m glad I tried “everything” before having surgery, but definitely should not have allowed myself to suffer so long – two years was too long! My advice to others would be to have the procedure if you are in a lot of pain. There are no rewards for toughing it out, and you lose precious time and quality of life. My husband likes the quote, “time lost can never be found,” and it is so true!
Happily, life is now back to normal – most days I don’t even think about my new hip. I’ve been going to a local dance studio, and have been like the proverbial kid in the candy store. I’m back on the ice skating, which I love, exercising with a trainer, and enjoying Pilates. Finally, I once again feel like me.
P.S. Just wanted to send you a quick note thanking Dr. Leone again for the excellent job he did with my total hip replacement. I am so grateful for everything he did —thanks to the surgery, I am able to dance five days a week, and am fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning partner lifts and ballroom dance.