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THR Am I thinking of surgery too soon?

dunestar

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Greetings! I'm a newbie and pleased to find this forum! I've had {known} hip issues since last January. I originally went in for what I thought was sciatica and it was diagnosed degenerative left hip. I was not satisfied with the original Doctor's results and found another...who diagnosed the same thing. I was due for surgery last November, but had to cancel due to severe gout in right foot! Arrgh! Now that it is stabilized, I have a new THR scheduled for early February. It will be Super path...which looks like the way to go. My pain threshold varies but it has never been unbearable. Idk...maybe my threshold is high or i'm getting used to some of it...after more than a year. I am able to use a stationary sit down bike and can still swim laps. It's the walking part that hinders me some. After a block or two My hip grates and grinds noticeably and I get some pain in my outside to groin area and thigh but most seems to extend down the outside of leg to knee and ankle, causing a slight limp. My nights can be somewhat painful...depending on what and the amount of activity I had that day. It's annoying...to say the least. Been sleeping in the recliners on my back a lot the last year! With date approaching, I'm kind of getting second guesses...as if I'm going to quickly with my decision. I think that's natural...right? On one hand...I don't think this is gonna get better and I'm almost 66...so I'm thinking it is inevitable anyway. On the other hand...I'm still functioning somewhat. Of course...if I lay around the house and do nothing...it's not bad...which can be confusing! My Doctor's and friends all are saying I should get er done! I've enclosed my last Xray in November for a general opinion...as I don't have much to go by. Thanks in advance!
 

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Eman85

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Like I tell everyone ultimately the decision is all up to you. You've already come to the realization that it's not going to get any better no matter what you do short of THR. The other thing to consider is are you going to get any healthier or younger? My GP gave me the final push to do my first by telling me that I'm in good condition and recovery will be easier now than later. Also the fact that I would hopefully get years of being pain free mobility. I wanted to retire also so the timing was good for me that way also. Everyone's situation is different.
 

VSlowLife

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Welcome!
Been sleeping in the recliners on my back a lot the last year!
I started sleeping in a recliner this past year, too. Painful nights can really make for unhappy days, in my opinion. Just got back from my pre-surgery appointment.

I am having the Direct Superior Approach, which is very similar to SuperPath.

I just learned today, the CT scan is from your knees up, for my surgeon. Apparently he tries to balance things when he does the planning. It went so fast, If I blinked a few times, I would have missed it.

Mine was progressive and now I could not even tolerate pre-surgery PT. No second guessing in my mind. It is an elective procedure, so it is your decision once the surgeon says you qualify for the surgery.
 

DesertDiva

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@dunestar - I'm sorry that you have to have a hip replacement and that you're experiencing pain. Many of us know that feeling all too well, and some of us (me) had avascular necrosis (AVN) and had no choice as to whether to have surgery if we wanted to live a pain free quality life.

You're description of your limited activities, pain, and symptoms in a way have answered your own question. No one is willingly "racing to the operating room" to have surgery, but I'm sure that you realize your condition isn't going to improve without intervention. It might be helpful to write out the pros and cons regarding surgery - sometimes seeing it on paper is affirming and helpful.

No one can make the decision except you. As for me, I'm still somewhat "angry" at the time my failing hips stole from me. I want to do the things that feed my spirit and bring me joy. I can't wait until I can travel in my RV again to explore new areas and meet up with friends.

No surgery is fun, but you can do this. However, your life (and decisions) are your own...
 
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dunestar

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Thanks for the replies/encouragement! Crazy thing for me is, there are times when walking and it hurts and grates, that I can say good riddance! Then, there are the moments where I'm sitting around and it's not that bad. Sounds wild but I almost want it to hurt more so I won't be in doubt at all! lol! But the Xrays and scans don't lie and there has been progression since last January. There was a tiny space left, on top of the ball last year...now that is clearly gone. I did pick the Winter months cause I am lots more active in the Summer. I guess it's like off season time to fix stuff. Oh well.
 

VSlowLife

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and it's not that bad.
I need to sit on two thick cushions, on a chair, with my leg out straight, at an angle, and it’s still not good.

At this point I feel like my whole femur needs to be replaced. On a really bad day two femurs. Wish I was not at this point, and could have done this in the fall, but my surgeon has a long wait time.

I am at the point where Tom Petty’s song, “I won’t back down,” is in my head. “There ain’t no easy way out....” sounds about right.

Only you know what is acceptable to you.
 

CricketHip

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@dunestar :welome: to BoneSmart! I hope you stay with us to get the support and friendship that I received years ago when I was in the very same place that you are now.
It's a very difficult decision to make.. but I'd like to leave you some reading material to possibly help you make your decision:

HIP
If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:
Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic hip?
Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:
Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced hip, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
Stories of amazing hip recoveries
 

GrannyC

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I think we all had those “doubt”days before surgery but as you said, the pain you do have won’t go away on its own. Mine wasn’t as bad as some on here but I felt it was better to get it done before I reached the point of being nearly immobile. When I went to the store, I couldn’t wait to get that grocery cart so I could lean on it. Luckily for me, I was always comfortable sitting or sleeping. My pain came only when I walked and some steps would sent a jolt through me, enough to make me gasp at times. That was about the time I felt I’d had enough and it was time for surgery. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. You, too, will probably feel the same way once this is over and done with. I wish you well and I’m sure you’ll make out just fine.
 
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dunestar

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"When I went to the store, I couldn’t wait to get that grocery cart so I could lean on it. Luckily for me, I was always comfortable sitting or sleeping. [GrannyC]" Yep! I know what you mean about leaning on a cart. Seems that most large stores tend to get the ol hip grating and the leg hurting. I had a lousy night last night and had to end up in the recliner. Knee was hurting...as it tends to do...from there to ankle...or hip. I sleep with a bunch of pillows. My wife calls me the Michelin man! lol! Well...it most likely has to happen next month. Taking a break now...but prepping is gonna start in the next few weeks...blood tests...Doctor visits...etc. Fortunately some of the things were covered a few months ago. We shall see! I really want my body up and at em by March, so i will do what needs to be done!
 

Eman85

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Hip pain will radiate down to your toes and after the op it's surprising how a lot of that is gone, not all as it's not the fountain of youth.
Read a lot of threads on this site to be well prepped and get a realistic recovery timeline. Once you commit the hardest part is the mental adjustment for the recovery.
 

Jaycey

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It's the walking part that hinders me some. After a block or two My hip grates and grinds noticeably and I get some pain in my outside to groin area and thigh but most seems to extend down the outside of leg to knee and ankle, causing a slight limp.
One word about your x-ray - OUCH! That grinding is bone on bone. Please be very careful and baby that hip for now. I experienced the same pain and even the medics said it was sciatic pain. Then my hip collapsed. I am sure it looked like your x-ray before it blew. Believe me - you don't want that pain.

Get that hip done and get on with living again.
 

CricketHip

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@dunestar We would love to have your surgery date so we can make you a signature, it will show up at the bottom of any post that you make and it is very helpful to staff and members when they want to offer support, advice, whatever. If you notice under my post to you here that I have my details in what we call our signature.
We like to have which hip is being replaced and date. Just reply here on your thread and a moderator will get it fixed up for you. Thanks!
 
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dunestar

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One word about your x-ray - OUCH! That grinding is bone on bone. Please be very careful and baby that hip for now. I experienced the same pain and even the medics said it was sciatic pain. Then my hip collapsed. I am sure it looked like your x-ray before it blew. Believe me - you don't want that pain.

Get that hip done and get on with living again
.

Thanks for the X-ray opinion, "Jaycey"! I'v shown it to many, both Doctors, G.Ps and friends who all pretty much say the same thing.
Yeah, it's pretty funky alright, and I have been exercising and doing what I can do...mostly riding the stationary low bike and swimming 3 times a week for an hour...upper body conditioning...etc. But walking for a while seems to just aggravate things eventually. Gotta get up and walk the dog now...but we go slow. Here is the previous Xray done last January when I was first diagnosed. It's kind of hard to see...but there is distinct loss from then till last Nov. He may do another pre surgery one also. We shall see!
 

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scorow

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Well, I literally registered just now so that I could reply to this thread because I am in the same boat. I just found this forum a couple of days ago, and am scheduled for right side THR on February 19. This forum has been a wonderful find.

I have the same fears as you, and much the same pattern of days with very little pain and days that are pretty darn bad. I suspect that the "good" days are only "good" relative to the bad days, and really aren't "good" relative to a healthy hip. Intellectually, I know I need to have this done. But psychologically, I'm struggling to get there. And the fact that I can still do a lot of things like ride a bike, etc., at least on the good days, and have no pain sitting, sleeping, or standing, creates doubts. Walking is OK - for about a couple of blocks. Then it gets pretty bad. And when I compare where I was 6-8 months ago to where I am now, the trend is clear.

My Xray looks fine - plenty of cartilage. But I had a hip scope done 6 months ago, and they found that mild dysplasia (and resulting impingement) had - after 60 years - caused Grade 3 and Grade 4 arthritis on the two surfaces. Had they known that was there, they wouldn't have tried the 'scope.

My friends who have had this done all went through the same thing, and not a one has said they wish that they had waited. I'm trying to focus on that, as it sounds like you are as well. I think that we grow accustomed to dealing with the gradually increasing pain and lack of range and slowly pull back on triggering activities and thereby lose track of how bad it has really become until a bad stretch of days hits. And I have to admit that I am somewhat relieved when those bad days hit because they confirm the necessity. I have no desire to spend the rest of my days just "sitting, sleeping, or standing."

Congrats - Getting it on the calendar was a big step. As the date approaches, I suspect that we'll both adjust to the new reality.
 
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dunestar

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Thanks for the reply, scorow! Yes...I can sympathize! The bad days DO make decisions easier! It's the "denial part" hurdle you have to get over, for sure! It's been sooo hard to deal with...but I will follow through. It's been getting weird walking with the grating/thumping bone on bone part...not a terrible amount of pain...but enough to tell me it will be worse! Walked around the mall the other day with Wife and it starts up eventually and I get muscle pain down my leg from knee to ankle from walking weird. I can still walk a bit but it just turns me off. I've had more pain at night also. Radiating from all round hip, but mostly around the knee and thigh. Heck...the Xray doesn't lie. I've been swimming [which is fine] and I will exercise with the bike and upper body strengthening also up until I go in. I'm giving up the swimming end of this week till after I'm well because I have to begin detox for any bacteria with the special hip wash stuff soon and I'm super paranoid about bacteria! Freaky stuff, but I really feel it has to be done regardless! Who else is gonna do it for us...huh? Lol! I'm trying to be fairly low key about this right now, because I'm trying not to think too much about it. Been keeping myself busy with mindless little projects to keep from getting nervous. I will post as I see fit though. Mostly afterward, as it may be my duty to report on Superpath and its advantages, or whatever. Have a great day all! Prayers!
 

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