Bev Hobaugh - August 2008, Dr. Su
At 47 years old, my doctor in Pittsburgh had nothing to say to me other than, “It’s your call, when you cannot tolerate the pain anymore, and the pain is taking you out of your life, the only thing that we can do is a total hip replacement.” Wow! I was already at least five years weathered and torn, no sleep and slowly taking me out of the gym…my oxygen. A cortisone shot gave me a bit of relief in November 2007; I had another one in May 2008, and it did nothing for me. But I kept on keeping on. As a hairdresser of 29 years, I continued in pain to dress hair. It got harder and harder to hide the pain in my face. As a Personal trainer of 2 years, I could no longer demonstrate to my clients. I kept revising my work outs to get “something done” and rest my mind.
As I walked into the nail salon in February 2008 there was a woman getting her nails done, and she looked over at me and said, “Hello Bev, are you still working at the YMCA?” Hiding the limp and the pain in my face, I said, “Yes, I am a personal trainer now.” She replied, “I know you from the YMCA, I took a personal training class with you; I had work done on my hip a few months ago in Belgium. The doctors in Pittsburgh wanted to do a THR. I continued with cortisone shots and towards the end I had them every couple weeks to the point that they began to eat my bone away. When I learned of the hip resurfacing, I sent my x-rays to the doctor in Belgium and he told me that it normally takes two months to get an appointment, but I couldn’t be there in two weeks, he was unable to help me. “I then shared a bit of my story and she told me not to get a THR at 47 years old. As the next few months passed, I thought about what she said and things began to worsen. My husband came home from the dentist and said that he ran into a woman who had hip resurfacing in Belgium. He realized that he knew her from his job. She then forwarded Vicky Marlow’s name to me. Then the day came that I tried to walk up the hill in front of my house to plant flowers and the pain was so bad that the hip gave out on me completely.
As I sat in the yard crying, I realized that my depression had reached its peak as well. I then asked myself what I could do to help the depression…that is when I would normally go to the gym; it hit me in the face that I couldn’t. I went to the phone, and I called Vicky crying hopelessly. I didn’t even know what to do with myself at that point; she felt my pain both physically and mentally. She had been there before. She calmed me down and reassured me that I would get my life back if I was a candidate for the hip resurfacing. I immediately e-mailed her my x-ray, and she then forwarded them to Dr. Bose in India, Dr. Desmet in Belgium, and Dr. Su in NYC. Within 24 hours, she heard back from all three doctors with the same reply, “she is a perfect candidate for the procedure.” So one month later I was in the Big Apple with hopes and dreams. I walked on my newly resurfaced hip 6 hours post-op – was using crutches 24 hours post-op – released from PT 48 hours post-op and was discharged from the hospital sooner than any other patient with this surgery at this time.
I made a total vacation for myself choosing to make the best of the situation. The afternoon that I was released, I was shopping with my daughter in the big city, and yes, I was trying on dresses! I had my Bichon Frise, Abu, with me, who was my constant companion, and who loved Central Park just as much as I did. My husband and children were there with me also to cheer me on. My biggest fear throughout this entire experience was the anesthesia and the idle time. Dr. Su and Blair (the PA) were awesome in reassuring me that the anesthesiologist would work with me and that I could return to the gym 2 weeks post-op to avoid too much idle time. I was assured that I would be able to be on a stationary bike, and doing seated dumb bell curls, although I couldn’t exceed a weight of 30 pounds. I had an epidural and Versed, so I am told that I was awake and talking, although I do not recall it. I was relieved that I didn’t have to be completely sedated.
Indeed I was back in the gym two weeks post-op, walking my two Bichon Frise’s with two crutches along my road 11 days post-op, and cutting hair/personal training three weeks post-op. I love my elliptical and was happy to step back on that two weeks post-op. My energy level was sustained and I have yet needed to attend PT at three months post-op. I work with different stretches daily and am now taking yoga classes to help improve my flexibility. I see the whole experience as a blessing while learning that I am not on this earth to run a race and it is ok to stop and smell the roses. It was a help that I had great muscular strength and endurance when I went to NYC. I am a very high-energy person and I would not give in fully to the pain prior to the surgery.
All of my relationships in my life have improved because I am no longer in pain. With my mother having two THR’s and one total knee replacement with the second knee just as bad, it is inevitable that I have the genes working against me. It has been great that she and I have been able to bond over this experience. I foresee that I will have to have my other hip done, but won’t think twice about visiting Dr. Su because with him there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. I have my life back. I am a much happier person to be around in both my salon and the gym. I feel my happiness radiates on those surrounding me. My husband and children have loved me through both the good times and the bad times as they show me on a daily basis their appreciation for my pain free lifestyle. Last but not least, my two Bichon Frise’s love me even more and have actually taught me a lesson through this; “how to walk instead of run through life.”