I should probably start…..

Balm Pots Mock up cream

….at the beginning. However, I’ve had some exciting new changes today, 7th January 2013.
This morning at 7.15am GMT, I arrived at a local hospital in Manchester, scheduled for a Total Hip Replacement Total Hip Replacement. To say I was scared was very much understated. Mixed emotions and a feeling of surrealism as I’m led by a porter to my room. Mum and my long suffering other half are by my side yet I feel as though I’m not really here.

So the beginning-Almost 22 years ago, I walked into my bedroom as an eleven year old girl and injured myself falling down and a poster that has become unstuck and landed on my floor. I recall trying to reach on THR wardrobe for my Guides uniform. The rest is much a blur-screams, can’t weightbear, hobbling using the vacuum cleaner as a crutch. I’ve no idea how long it had taken to get me from my bedroom floor to the A and E department on Tameside but it feels now like it was forever. We arrived, mum asked for a chair as I couldn’t walk, could not put weight on my left leg at all, the pain excruciating. My memory is somewhat clouded from that day, although I distinctly remember the emergency Doctor prodding my thigh and telling us to go home and out an icepack onto it as I’d pulled a muscle or had groin strain. So, an 11 year old girl, non-weightbearing, left foot turned out, in excruciating pain on thigh. Go Home. So we did. Ice, heat, exercise, no exercise, several trips backwards and forwards to our local GP. Nothing-no support. Everyone thought I was just a ‘mard’ kid, moaning and using my pain to excuse myself from anything I didn’t quite fancy doing. Family friends brought heat lamps, ice packs, crutches. No one could understand why it still hurt and why I was restricted.

Fast forward almost 12 months-if i recall correctly it was maybe February 1992-the GP finally referred us back to the Orthopaedic Department at Tameside General. Xrays, tests, manipulation, asking me to stand, sit, lie down, turn. None of which was done on my original visit almost twelve months previously.

The diagnosis was clear. Slipped Upper Femoral Epiphysisor SUFE or SCFE, the ‘C’ translation being Capital. The first revelation was that surgery should have commented within 15 minutes of presentation at A and E the first time around-FAIL. The fracture I had walked on for almost 12 months was irreparable.

Salter-Harris growth plate fractures involve a fracture through the growth plate. Imagine taking a custard cream and seperating the top and bottom halves. That was the result. The head of the femur had slipped off the neck of the femur and growth plate. Ouch.

Treatment of this type of fracture usually consists of immobilization for a period of time, 4-6 weeks and surgery to pin the affected bone back into place.

This had not happened. They had failed at primary treatment. I wasn’t even asked to stand up. As so much time had elapsed from the original fall, my femoral head had fused in the slipped position, imagine the ball joint falling off almost and fusion occurring before it can quite get the chance to topple off.

The diagnosis ended in me visiting many different surgeons. Referrals to Manchester Booth Hall, Nottingham Queens, Manchester Royal Infirmary. I saw doctors across the you try as far as Southampton. All were in agreement-something should have been done IN THE FIRST PLACE. It became more and more apparent the original Doctor in A and e had made decisions that led to me not being operated on.

Hip resurfacing wasn’t possible due to the remodeling and osteocytes that had occurred. Avascular Necrosis -death of the bone had occurred, flattening the head of the femur and deforming the entire bone.

My only option was Hip Replacement in my early teens.

Almost 22 years on, a referral to Spire Manchester consultant on 8th November 2012 was the beginning. The real beginning started then and I look forward to a new lease of life without pain and restriction.

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Physiotherapy for hips….

….not for me! Not anymore! No way! You will know by reading this post about the Lack of Physiotherapy in the NHS that I count myself extremely lucky to have had physio after total hip replacement for a whole 14 months. 

Yes, I have been discharged! However, I still keep up with my squats, my stretches and walking. I am walking further despite my general fitness being low. Stretches whilst awaiting for the kettle to boil, squats whilst the bath runs. You can do these exercises pretty much ANYWHERE. And continue you must-for physiotherapy, despite the lack of appointments, is for life.

You must keep up this exercises, ensuring you hip flexors, quads and glutes stay strong. Being able to stand on one leg and balance is quite something when you have not been able to do it since being 11 years old! Maybe I will get to play netball again someday hey?! Stretching is equally important, and when getting lazy, I know about it, because my hamstrings get tight and I have to rework on those stretches again to keep them in check. DO NOT GIVE UP. Do not give up because you can do it. Your body is able to fix the things that went wrong. You have to persevere. A LOT. You may be frustrated, I know I have been many a time in the past 16 months. You just got to keep it up.

Set realistic goals. There is no use telling yourself that you will climb Mount Snowden in 2 months time, if it is not realistic. Tell yourself that you will walk 500 metres, 1 mile, 2 miles. Then aim for that goal. Small, baby steps. You will achieve your goal, because if you are reading this page, you can bet your bottom dollar you have had some kind of difficulty walking at some point in your life, for some kind of reason.

Just keep on smiling, keep on setting your goals, achieving them and then setting some more. I believe, if I can do it, YOU CAN, ANYONE CAN.




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My New Best Friends-Doc Ms

Doctor Martens! My new best friends in the fight to keep my feet straight! So far, so good,  and they’ve also provided more stability for my ankles. Who knew they were so bloody comfy? !


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Migraines and Dodgy Hips

I am beginning to wonder whether my migraines are to do with my gait and posture. 
I started with migraine after the birth of my first daughter, in which I was pulled and tugged and manipulated in ways my body could not cope with (and now as a doula I know shouldn’t have happened! )
Over the years my migraines have progressively worsened and increased in frequency. I am knocked down fit a few days. My symptoms are typically the same: pain in left side of head and behind eye,  unable to see, increased pain and pressure upon standing, dizziness, auras (usually specks of light in vision and pins and needles in head). The pain is the symptom is love to remove-I think I could cope with the rest.
I have tried migraine specific medication,  meditation,  homeopathy,  hot water bottle, cold compress, dark room, even tying dressing gown belt around my head to squeeze it out in the theory that the brain can only cope with one pain at a time. …

Walking for a couple of miles seems to put sine awfully big knots in my back,  shoulders and neck.  I wonder if it is my bad posture and walking that contributes? After all, I’ve looked at every other trigger! Wheat, gluten,  sun,  cold,  chocolate (god no!) cheese….. the list goes on…. has your head been affected by your posture?

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Biomechanical Assessment

So,  as we know my gait is whacked or of place. Not surprisingly so, after over 20 years of the aftershocks left behind from an undiagnosed slipped epiphysis.

NHS waiting times were promised to be reduced some years ago, and so now, non urgent referrals take upto 18 weeks. Biomexhanical Assessment is in the range of £100-400  including off the shelf or custom orthotics. My GP doesn’t understand why my hip replacement has caused so many issues, simply because he hasn’t read my history. Please just read it before passing judgement. That’s all I ask. So to be told ‘physio haven’t written to us so therefore you can’t still be seeing them 12 months after your operation’ is an invalid comment coming from an ignorant healthcare professional. And I’ve had a few of those over the years.

So I need to take it easy until I can get to see the podiatry team who do Biomechanical Assessment. Hopefully I won’t do my ankle in again whilst waiting!

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A New Year, A New Hip, One Year Later

A year ago today,right about now, I was in the recovery room of the theatre at Spire Manchester Hospital. Strangely, I felt amazing. My surgeon I had confidence in, my anaesthetist ensured my previous reactions to anaesthetic did not happen, the team around them were awesomely attentive.
The quietness of the recovery room, two other women unconscious. Despite being awake and feeling ok, the morphine gave everything a rosy view, blurry yet reassuring. I had a new hip. What have I done? What to expect now? Will I be running after the kids in the summer? Walking down the aisle without crutches? Able to maneuver myself in the huge pretty frock I had for the big day? Things that hadn’t occurred to me when I ordered my dress, because I didn’t have a wonderful surgeon agree to operate on me at the beginning of 2012,but by November 2012, I did.

When you are told something, over and over, you believe there is no hope, nothing left, no options. Over almost 22 years, I was told I couldn’t have surgery, osteotomy wasn’t an option due to the degree of damage, osteocytes and AVN riddled my femoral head. A friend suggested going to see someone again before my wedding because I was getting progressively worse. Crutches became an everyday accessory, pain was worse than ever using 120mg morphine a day to get myself out of bed and into work. I held no hope of seeng the correct surgeon for younger people due to previous appointment mix ups. I had no hope of receiving a yes.

Mr Shah (and I do hope he does not mind me mentioning him) is an absolute angel. Understood my concerns, offered studies to ease any worries and reassured me that the excuse I had been given previously, that I was overweight and therefore not a candidate, was no more a risk than operating on a slimmer version of me. How does somebody immobile and using crutches exercise enough to lose weight? Surgery is surgery, and as long as I understood those risks, total hip arthroplasty would promise at least some pain relief and maybe some mobility. His professional manner and clear orthopaedic expertise managed to somehow get that difficult piece of bone of of me and replace with some nifty ceramic components! He knew I had a long journey ahead, as it seems physio did, and they have been brilliant in the facilitation of my extensive recovery.

Offered quick appointment dates, I needed to rearrange work to fit. I hoped to be back in work, if only doing admin after a few weeks. Things don’t always go to plan! Returning to work after 18 weeks off actually didn’t seem right at the time, but as I had been speaking to work regularly and trying to sort things over the phone I felt I had to. Fast forward another 5 months or so, and I realise that although some people may have had my best interests at heart, that work was not and should not have been t he place for a ‘non textbook’ hip surgery recovery. Support is key and that certainly wasn’t gleaned from all angles. I am now looking for other options whilst I get my head around the stress and anxiety the past year has caused me emotionally and resigning from the job I loved has unfortunately been a result of several factors related to my disability.

It has been a long recovery, seeing my surgeon again yesterday for my 12month check, a day shy of a year since my surgery, brought back fond memories of the awesome nursing staff on the ward at Spire Manchester, and when I go back for my Physio I must remember to go and thank them. I will be starting a 3 month discharge plan from now, with a goal of being able to walk without falling over or losing balance. Fingers crossed and a lot of hard work, but now I have the time to dedicate to my recovery I feel I may succeed.

I have waited 22 years to get to this point, to be ‘normal’ (of i coild ever bear that label) and be able to go to the park, or for a walk, or play with the kids without being in bed for three days or out of my face on morphine. I will not give up and will get there in the end. If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am now. You know who you are and whether it be a small part or a big part you have played in my recovery, from bringing me cake, to getting me dressed or listening to me moan, I am hugely grateful.
Throughout the life of this blog, it has also reach over 40 countries worldwide. Many messages of support and also that my rumblings have supported others. So thank you too!

To anyone thinking about hip replacement, stop thinking and go do it! Choose and Book to your nearest hospital, do your research and you will succeed :-)


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Podiatry and Hip Replacements

Happy Winter Solstice!!

Almost 12 months out. 12 months from my Left Total Hip Replacement (or Arthroplasty if you are looking for the medical term) and boy have I had my work cut out. My long suffering husband warned that it would be at least 12 months until I had fully recovered, and I guess I should listen more often-he was right.

Hip replacements are usual performed due to falls or arthritis, dysplasia or breaks, fractures, cancer the list goes on. Depending on how long you have had the problem, how your mobility is previously, whether or not you have muscle atrophy or are fit and healthy depends on how your recovery pans out. So if your legs have been different lengths, facing the wrong way and supported by non existent muscles, you may be in for the long haul like me.

I have recently seen a Podiatrist for a quick 15 minute session and I will be scheduling another appointment in the New Year for a Biomechanical Assessment  to assess my gait, walking style, balance and create some bespoke insoles for my shoes, because as expected, my feet are as wonky as my legs are.

Hopefully, strengthening up my glutes, quads and flexors, in turn with straightening up my feet may help my balance and ability to walk correctly. When I read back over this blog, I realise how far I have come. I aim to chase my children around the beach and park next summer, so we shall see in the New Year how my feet play their part in my recovery.

I will balance one day!


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Hip bone (or fake hip) connected to the. …

Rest of my body! Due to the lack of mobility I had prior to my op, it seems I had more problems than I had realised. My feet are a problem,  which makes my knees a problem,  which makes balance a problem,  which causes umpteen other problems,  this month including, but not exclusive, bulging disks and trapped nerves.

I am now seeing a podiatrist (which will need to wait until after Christmas because funds are low being off work again for reasons I shall not disclose just yet, but is necessary) who will do a Biomechanical Assessment to analyse my gait and walking pattern in more depth and prescribe some orthotics. NHS would not cover costs in this area so I pay. I count myself lucky everyday that my physio pays attention to me and my niggles.

Despite being on one crutch still for longer stints at putting one foot in front of the other, I can manage,  in some fashion, walking without. Only for a minute without losing balance,  but losing balance is nothing compared to the years of pain I endured. I look forward now and not back.

So, again, don’t rush things,  don’t think everyone is the same and of you aren’t walking correctly or are limping post op, get some help! Most people may not need physio,  but some most definitely do.

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Hard Work Pays Off? Please? One day?!

Feeling meh.

Hips are not just replaced and magically fox everything,  this is especially so when you’ve walked 21 years with a fractured and fused one.

My knees aren’t good which is due to them being misaligned which is due to me using tendons instead of muscle. It is ridiculous to think my feet don’t play a part….which I was shown today.

Stand with feet at 5 to 1. Tuck your tail in. Squat… the result of which is me looking like I am going to break into a Charleston routine from the 1920′s. I turn my knees in first. How BACKWARDS am I?

Every squat I’ve been doing has been wrong. Fancy that. No wonder they were easy (I use the word easy with a hint of sarcasm)

So today I come away with more exercise,  more things to do and an appointment with physio AND podiatry next week. Being off work makes this easier as I don’t have to explain or discuss why I am back to weekly physio, I JUST NEED TO GET MY BODY BACK. After 21 years of not walking straight, I  amazed at myself for being so naive at the miracle that isn’t me walking straight after surgery.

Very grateful for physio (in my area it is standard 6 weeks amd ticked off list) my physio actually wants to get me walking straight and that is only going to be good for me. She works me hard and I am grateful she takes the time to do that.

Some things just aren’t for ignoring-my health will not be ignored anymore. I have come to realise that you are mentally affected by surgery more than you realise. I am emotionally drained now after dealing with everything else and not putting me first.  Anxiety always makes it to the surface first then comes stress. I am exhausted but work towards feeling better. Fingers crossed my mind and body will work in harmony-one day!

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Walk down the aisle no limping! !! Woohoooooo!!

Walk down the aisle no limping! !! Woohoooooo!! This goes without saying…… this was on  my pre-40 bucket list…..

To say I loved my wedding day would be an understatement! !!!!!
My wedding day turned out to be just perfect in every way-even when the groom and best man managed to break the cake!

I tried dressing my crutches up with lace,  ribbon,  swarovski, everything looked tacky.  I was stuck with the generic,  cold, grey metal and plastic stick. 

The day arrived-my crutch was in the car-I hadn’t thought about how I was going to walk in the huge princess dress I had chosen 18 months  before-before seeing my Consultant, before my operation,  before any rehabilitation. ….

I managed it down the aisle,  limping,  but without crutch all the same, with torn ankle ligaments to boot. I walked back down the aisle,  mingled with guests,  had lots of photo opportunities with awesome  photographer Karen Hesmondhalgh. Lots of Bombay Sapphire I am sure contributed to the fact I didn’t feel my ankle swell up like a balloon nor did I feel the nerve amd muscle pain in my leg.

Awesome, awesome day; not needing to worry, not needing to stress, not needing morphine (4 months ‘clean’ by now!) and managing some ‘stylish’ dancing haha! We even finished the night with some hardcore,  hilariously zapping me back instantly to my teens with DJ Jeff Parris/MC Man Parris as my wedding DJ-we cleared the oldies in seconds!

So I paid the consequences afterwards!  Even using two crutches again whilst away at some points. I will enjoy walking and dancing crutch free again one day!!



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Fed up

Fed up-of having no time to rehab properly
Fed up-of people presuming surgery is a fix all
Fed up-of wanting to do more
Fed up-of waiting. …waiting
Fed up-of everything else that needs to be done, getting in the way of the gym, which is also a need
Fed up-of crutches
Fed up-of explanations
Fed Up.

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