Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two Years Post-RPAO

It has been a long time since I last wrote here, and an even longer time since I visited Dr. Millis. But today I made the old familiar drive up to Boston again.

The main purpose of my visit was to get a contrast MRI of my right hip now that it has been over two years since my March 16, 2009 RPAO. I am part of a study Dr. Millis is doing on cartilage regeneration post-PAO surgery -- the study will compare the MRI taken pre-RPAO with MRIs taken one year and two years post-PAO. Ideally, the MRIs will show that cartilage damaged by the poor alignment of the dysplastic hip will repair itself once the joint alignment has been corrected by the PAO.

One of my favorite qualities about Dr. Millis is that he will sit down and geek out with patients about the science of the surgery -- this time he sat with my mother and I and took us through all my MRIs, explaining how the contrast material indicates cartilage damage in the pre-surgery image, and then tracking the cartilage repair across the two post-surgery MRIs. Today's MRI showed no cartilage damage at all, indicating that my body has repaired all of the painful damage my hip had suffered prior to the surgery. It is an amazing result -- two-and-a-half years after my diagnosis, I am truly "cured" of hip dysplasia as well as the damage it caused.

Of course, today's MRI merely confirmed on a medical level what I already knew to be true from my own experience. For the last year I have been active with tennis and horseback riding and long walks around New York City, limited only by stamina and blisters. Most of the time I don't even think about my hips, but from time to time I am still struck with wonder and gratitude at the amount I can do, and the pain I don't feel.