MARLENE'S STORY

        Hi, my name is Marlene and I had my LPAO in December of 2019. When I got diagnosed with hip dysplasia, I knew it was a long road to go. As a child, they told me it was only pain from growing. Later on, they told me it was my knees because they did hurt the most. I had physical therapy and electricity treatment for over a year, but it only got worse... So my doctor signed me in for knee surgery at 16 years old. It just felt wrong, so I decided to get another opinion before doing that. This doctor immediately found my hip dysplasia and canceled the knee surgeries. But he was unsure of how to treat me further. He told me from what he sees, my dysplasia is bad, but maybe not as bad as it could be. He didn't want to put me through a corrective hip surgery if it wasn't necessary. After a year or two, he decided that he still can't make this decision and gave me the number of another specialist, who is more specialized in young people. This doctor now is my surgeon. He is the most reassuring and devoted doctor I ever met. He said the same as the doctor before: the left is worse than the right hip. But they hoped that maybe it could be treated with pain medication and therapy. However, he told me that the moment he thinks it is necessary then it will be necessary and he will proceed to operate on my hip. He was a little bit skeptical because I choose a profession where I needed to walk and carry heavy stuff. After a few years, it got so bad, I couldn't walk anymore after a few hardcore days at work. My knees hurt so much that I couldn't even stand. Then I switched and did office work for a year, but it didn't help much. So I called my doctor and said I agreed to surgery. I thought this will be the solution, that after half a year going on crutches, I will be healed. But this was not the case. After waking up, my leg didn't respond. I didn't feel it and couldn't even move my toes. After a few days, I could wiggle my toes again but not move my leg. So I needed to learn to navigate myself with that heavy not moving plump leg.

PAO WARRIOR

        It was torture, it was so hard. I cried nearly every day. After two weeks I couldn't handle the hospital anymore and it also was Christmas where I wanted to be home. I lied to my doctors so that they would send me home for Christmas. I shouldn't have done that, because once home, I couldn't do anything. My leg shrank half of its size because my muscles weren't working. I got treatment for that and other physical instruments that I never used because, in the hospital, I wasn't ready to use them. It was horrible, they didn't even give me a wheelchair at first because over Christmas, everyone forgot about doing their job obviously. I was pissed and so afraid. I couldn't go to the bathroom alone with crutches, because I couldn't move my leg properly so I needed to kinda swing my hip to move forward. It was shaky business on crutches. I had some very angry phone calls with insurance because obviously, health insurance can decide if I really need my treatment and walking aids. "You are young you don't need that," they told me. I finally had everything I needed at home.

        My boyfriend helped me with the shower, cooking, cleaning, the dishes, and laundry. He did everything without hesitation. At this point, I really learned who is helping me when I really need it. It really shows everyone's true colors at times like this. Of course, my boyfriend and I fought and argued, but he was there for me no matter what. He helped me and I know he will do it again for RPAO, which will be next year (probably). The family that I thought will be by my side, wasn't. The moment they really realized that I won't drive them anywhere or that I am not able to listen to their problems anymore, they stopped caring about me. We were the kind of family that is more joking than talking but in all past challenges, we mostly stuck together. Now I realize that it was always only me. I took a family break and now we are mending again, but it's hallow, not real anymore. So, pick people that will be there for you but be ready that not all will be. My LPAO was two years ago, I still have pain and my main leg nerve is still not working ideal, I needed a wheelchair for 4 months and crutches for over 1 year. My right hip hurts more than ever because of the burden to be my only good leg. So when my hip got unscrewed, my doctor practically pleaded with me to sign me in for the right side. After that he told me, he will correct my knees. My journey is not over. PAO is a hard path and most people won't be willing to understand your pain. Online there are incredible stories of fast cures and supporting families, but not all journeys are that simple. Thanks for reading my story and uniting PAO - people, I wish I knew others while going through my first PAO. As much as my journey, while far from over, has torn me apart, I know I will come out stronger at the end of this!

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