My Chrome Parts
I wish to share a bit about my journey with hip replacements. Not to scare people that this will happen when you have AS, but to take away the fear for those who might need prosthetics. My AS journey has been an extreme one though. From age twelve AS has influenced my life a lot. Fourteen years ago it took a turn for the worst, I started having a lot of problems with walking. I could only move using crutches or a wheelchair for a longer distance. All while experiencing excruciating pains. I walked hunched over and couldn’t take normal steps. All the cartilage between my femur and pelvis had been eaten away by AS. Every step I took was bone scratching bone.
The ortho pediatrician
My hips were damaged to the point where placing prosthetics was the only way to get my life back. I was 25 at that time and didn’t want anything to do with it. Hoping that there might be another way. I wanted to cry and hoped that this painful hell would end soon. But as much as I tried there were no tears, stuck in my emotions I guess. The moment when I changed my mind however came when my ortho-pediatrician examined me. Like a straightforward man from Amsterdam, he said the following words: "Boy, just give me green light and I’ll jam two new hips in there for you." Him talking to me like that gave me the reassurance that it really was a routine task. It took all the tension away and gave the green light the following day.
Within six weeks I had two operations to replace my hips. Of course, having an operation causes pain afterwards. But not as much as I had expected. Yes, they gave me my own morphine pump to manage the pain. But I only used that for one day. The pain that I had experienced for months was gone. This was a different pain. And that already was a huge relief for me. Like when I had enormous pain before the operation, I would slam my crutch on my pinky toe, just to feel something different. But being rid of that pain for good was freeing beyond words. Nowadays it even does less pain than when I had surgery due to the ortho pediatricians having methods that cause less pain.
Back at it
After the operation, my rehabilitation only took me three months, where the doctor told me that it might take up to six months. I finally got my life back. And it was a huge lesson for me to not take anything for granted. To be able to walk without pain is a blessing for me. The inflammation and damage pain was gone for good from my hips. I did cry eventually, new years eve I broke down in tears happy that that horrible year was gone for good. Yes, it was a difficult period to live through but, I still am glad that I gave my doctor the green light. And I am forever grateful that right now I'm even able to run long distances.
Do you use the word disability to describe your AS?