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.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for your amazing blog! I have a similar new diagnosis and have been recommended for hip replacement ("in a few years when you are bone on bone") but PAO was mentioned as a possibility. I am trying to decide which route I will go and have to do it quickly if I want a chance to do PAO. Do you know if after a PAO, you will likely later in life still have to have a hip replacement? Does this surgery just postpone the hip replacement or is the hip dysplasia issue done for good???

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    1. If you would like my opinion, contact me at: mmtmonica4@gmail.com If you see a surgeon, they will operate. I had the most horrific experience with this 'Dr. Millis'. He LIED to me!

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  2. Anonymous - Thank you for the compliment, I am so happy that my blog continues to be helpful and informative to others. My advice would be to go for the PAO if you still can. Ideally you will *not* have to have any other hip surgeries (including replacement) after the PAO corrects the alignment of your hip. It is intended to be a permanent solution to the hip dysplasia issue! Granted, it is not guaranteed success for everyone, and I'm sure your doctor will lay out the chance of success for your case. But if a PAO is an option for you, I'd say go for that! I personally have had a fantastic result from both my PAOs. -- Good luck and good health to you, no matter what you choose! -- AKM

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    1. It is 2017, AKM (if this is a real person?) how are you doing today?

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    2. Monica: I am doing great (and I continue to be a real, live human being, thank you for checking on that)! In fact, inspired by your comments, I will update my blog this weekend to give a current report.

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  3. Your blog is the most encouraging thing I have read about PAO in the serious amount of time I've invested in researching it. Like you, both of my hips are dysplastic and so both of them will have to be corrected. I had my right hip done by Dr.Millis two weeks ago and could relate to so much of your experience up to this point. Anyways, I'm impatient and so I went ahead and read this entry to see how you felt about the whole experience once it was all said and done. It made me tear up. THANK YOU for making something that feels like a curse and something that must be endured (TWICE) appear to be so worth it in the end. Best of luck to you - and thanks again for chronicling your journey so well.

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  4. Anonymous - Thanks for your kind compliments. I'm so happy my experiences could offer you encouragement. That was the exact reason I wanted to keep this blog in the first place, so it is great to hear that it is benefiting others -- like you!

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  5. My daughter, now age 18, has had 6 hips surgeries to day - all for hip dysplasia (bilateral) for which she was diagnosed at age 11. She has had bilateral PAO's by Dr. Millis - Her recovery and ability to move have been remarkable. Unfortunately she has her 2nd labral tear since the last PAO...Dr. Millis and Dr. Yen repaired the first tear 2 years ago - she is scheduled for surgery again in January, over her college break (surgery #7). Discouraging, to say the least. But Dr. Millis and Boston Children's Hospital make the experience a positive one - we look forward to our return, though we are always hoping it is our last (not likely). My daughter's threshold for pain is extremely high - to hear her ask for the surgery scares me. Thank you for writing/blogging about this...It somehow makes us feel less alone...

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    1. @jwlamplit - I'm sorry to hear about how difficult your daughter's road has been so far - but I'm glad you are in the best hands there are with Dr. Millis! I hope things are getting better for your daughter these days...

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  6. Thank you for your blog! I'm from Brazil and all the things that you said, I feel the exactly way! But here in my village, you can't find people who has the same as me!! To talk about it and share things that fears us... I'm preparing to travel to see Dr. Millis next moth. I would like ro talk to you more. Could I let my email? It's luisa.cunhachaves@gmail.com
    Thank you a lot!

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  7. So glad I found your blog. I am in the process of trying to get an appointment by Dr. Millis for my 3 year old daughter recently diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. I had it too as a girl and ended up having my left hip totally replaced a few years ago. I really do not want that for my little girl. Thanks for all the info.

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