Walt Goldsmith (DAST) 10/18/08 Dr. Bose

Walter Goldsmith (DAST Candidate)
RBHR 10/18/08 Dr. Bose

At age 44 I became an unemployed, uninsured, disabled American. I was totally caught off guard, I've had pain before, but not this bad. I used to be sore after a workout, but not this sore. It hurt to stand for too long. It ached when I sat too long. The pain began to wake me at night and limit my sleep. The exercises and stretches I was doing weren’t helping anymore and caused pain rather than easing it. I was running out of things to try on my own that would soothe my aching hips, legs and back.

walt.jpgChiropractors were great but the results were not lasting and the funds were not always available. I accepted the fact that I was in need of medical attention, it felt like bones grinding bones when I would move; not good. My plan was to move back to Pennsylvania to stay with family and seek help for my hip.

I have always had trouble with my hips.  I broke & dislocated my left hip at age 13. That means I have had only about 11 years of my life with good working legs. I had surgery back then on my left hip, with traction, 4 stainless steel pins and a body cast from my ankle covering my left leg up to my navel for 6 weeks. Following the healing of my left leg, my right hip gave out at age 15, trying to do the weight bearing for both hips. This included another surgery, with the traction and pins again on my right hip, but no body cast this time, just crutches for most of my adolescent years.  I managed to heal, but with a limp. I never let this stop me trying to live a normal life.

20 years of living skateboarding, biking, running, walking, working, snowboarding and surfing later, my hips began to ache again.  The thought of having to go thru all the doctor visits, hospitals and surgeries again as an adult now, made me sick to think of it.  So I didn't, I went on trying to live a functional life as possible. In 2006, my hip became so bad it began to affect everyday things, working, walking and providing for myself.  I would work jobs only long enough to pay rent for a month at a time, and then I would quit, only to take a rest and be off of my feet.  In 2007 I went from being an average athlete, surfing and kiting a few times a week, to being handicapped and barely able to walk more than a city block. I then realized I could not fix this on my own.  I researched everything I could to find an alternative to surgery, I tried more exercises, yoga, I looked into Prolotherapy, and none of these treatments would take away my pain. So my hips basically, cost me my job, which lead to losing my home and moving back to PA to rely on family for help and support. They are great, we are not the wealthiest family, but they have been generous in their love and concern. 

  In Pennsylvania, I have seen three Orthopedic specialists, showed them my X-rays and told my story.  All three were hesitant in treating me because of my young age. They wanted to perform a THR (Total Hip Replacement), this means they want to cut off about 3-4 inches of my femur head, then hollow out the femur bone itself and stick an implant into it.  The problem here is that a THR only last 12-15 years. All three Orthopedic surgeons talked about my "second" surgery or the" revision surgery", before I ever received the first one!  Meaning they would go back into my thigh, remove the old implant, cleanse out the femur neck, drill it deeper than the first time, and stick and even longer implant into me, and wish me luck for another 10-12 years. I am too young for this procedure. I WILL outgrown the implant and need a revision operation within a decade or so.

Finding this unacceptable, I researched "Hip Resurfacing" a procedure that leaves the femoral bone intact, and Relaxing on Beach TED'sonly "resurfaces" the damaged areas off of the bone, Preserving the majority of my femur head, which is critical in case a THR is needed later in life.  The resurfaced femur is fitted with a Metal Ball, which swivels about in a Metal Cup.  Allowing greater (ROM) Range of Motion, bone growth and more natural stance and gait (walking).  I have found a doctor online who has seen my X-rays, and feels very confident that he could perform a successful HR (hip resurfacing) procedure. This is Dr. Vijay Bose from Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India.  I have been exchanging correspondence with this doctor since March 2008. He is one of the world's best orthopedic surgeons and a thoughtful and caring humanitarian.           Photo: T.E.D.'s relaxing on the beach  

I have explained to this doctor that I have no insurance, but I need help because I didn't feel that a THR was right for my age, he agreed.  He also agreed to do my surgery "without" his usual charges & fees, as long as I could cover the hospital fees, airfare, & his assistant’s costs. This brought my medical dream goal down from $60k to about $10k. Thank you so much Dr. Bose!

There are qualified doctors here in the USA, I have contacted them. Most of them only accept the major Insurance provider’s coverage, which I do not have.  Medicare views this as experimental surgery and is NOT widely accepted by these specialists. Their out of pocket costs average between about $32K to $85k.

  Walt KiteboardingSo the only catch was raising the money to go find the best treatment for me. Being a member of the online Hip Resurfacing Groups (surfacehippysinfo) was a huge help, actually corresponding with others whom have already been through what you are currently experiencing. They had tons of knowledge on the topic and alot of firsthand experience to share.  Another source for my research was Healthbase.com, a global medical source which assists in matching patients up with leading healthcare facilities worldwide, finding the best in quality care and at a much more reasonable cost than back in the states. Their database of information on the procedure I needed was helpful with lots of pictures, videos, testimonials and support for all the questions I had. They even offered advice on how to raise funds. I took them on their advice and asked my friends, a group of kiteboarders from Virginia Beach, and they really pitched in and helped out, they put the call out all over the world for help in my cause and managed to raise the travel money & hospital fees! What a great bunch of friends, they aided me in raising the necessary funds to give me my life back! 

  I am now 2 months post op and feeling better every day, it’s hard to believe that I used to be in so much constant pain and now it is gone! I look different, I feel 100% better about myself, and I am walking longer distances every day and gaining back my energy! I owe alot of thanks, thanks to the Surfacehippy info site for all the support and guidance, Healthbase.com for all the support and patience with me! Thanks to Vicky Marlow & DAST for the caring assistance and support and helping me put my life back together by donating cash towards my hospital costs and kept in touch with me during the entire surgery/travel process.  And special thanks to the incredible Dr. Vijay Bose and his skilled staff at the Apollo specialty Hospital for giving such wonderful care.


Walter Goldsmith

RBHR 10/18/08 Bose