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Hannah's hip replacement blog

Hannah Purdy Photo: Happy Hips

Under 20 and had a Hip Replacement

I know what you're thinking, A hip replacement? I thought that was for old people! Well, I'm certainly not old but have the scars to prove it!

My name is Hannah and I was born with CDH (Congenital Dysplasia of the Hip) in my left hip, however I wasn't diagnosed till 18 months. When the doctor completed the standard Hip checks he told my family that I did indeed have Hip Dysplasia, however he later went back on his word and his final decision was that I was "normal". The only reason why my CDH was picked up was due to the fact that I had been taken by my family to the GP with something else and she became highly concerned by the way that I walked saying that I walked "Like a Ballerina". She referred me to hospital and in time I had 2 major operations to insert a metal plate and screws into my hip.

I had never really had any problems with my hip until September 2009. This was certainly not ideal as it was my GCSE year! I was simply walking around the house when I was suddenly in a lot of pain. I went to hospital in acute pain and was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss my case. In Late September I was told that I would need a Hip replacement that year. This was devastating for me at the time. I really struggled to come to terms with it. I remember vividly being told this and crying my eyes out for a few hours. I sat in the car crying as my mum drive home and just sat there. I'd managed to get the day off school, so was pleased that I didn't have to go back to my peers and tell them just yet. However that night was parents' evening and I did have to face them, but was relieved that I had my mum by my side if any questions were asked either by my friends or my teachers. Both my mum and grandma were fantastic support and I knew I could always turn to them and I knew they found it tough to deal with as well, Watching me suffer!

My surgeon could clearly see my fear and distress at having a Hip Replacement (THR) at such a young age and decided to attempt a few options to buy me some extra time to get through the rest of school. They attempted to do a steroid injection under local anaesthesia, however I had too much scar tissue so this had to be completed under a General in the end. This gave me a few months pain free and I was thrilled and back to what was normality for me.

Sadly, the pain returned so we tried another steroid injection, but this only left me free of pain for a few weeks. So it looked like THR was my only option! I was petrified by this idea (for I, like most other young people, thought that Hip Replacements were for the older generation- how naive I was- but when I asked in my local area for some information on this matter all of the leaflets that I was given they all said something to the effect of "As you're getting older..!")

In January 2010 I was called to see my surgeon and I quickly left school in order to get there to find out what he had to say (I was terrified again). He actually was telling me some good news, he said that he had shared my notes with some other surgeons and they had advised and agreed that he should perform an operation, called am arthroscopy, before performing the Hip Replacement in order to see if we could buy some time to allow me to get through my GCSE'S. In February I had my operation and it was all successful. I then managed to get fantastic GCSE results- I hope this will inspire others to keep going.

Unfortunately, a year later my pain returned and I was scheduled for my THR in June 2011. The only way I was able to cope with this horrible situation while completing my AS's was by talking to others who were facing similar or whom had already been through it all. I found the charity STEPS, which is an international charity located in Cheshire who were able to talk me through some points that I was struggling to understand or come to terms with. Similarly they put me in touch with some amazing people, who still remain fantastic friends even today a few years down the line. One of which I'm extremely close to, Ruqayyah. I actually met Ruqayyah through another STEPS contact and it was great as we are of a similar age. With similar experiences as each other. Both of us were going through the same emotions and needed the same support! Our friendship soon changed and we became much closer friends and more like family and I am terribly proud to call her my (Hip) Sister these days.

I had my Total Hip Replacement on the 7/6/2011 (The day after my public examinations finished). It wasn;t a straight forward surgery due to my Metal plate and screws still being in my joint and took 6 hours. However still today I don't have a single regret about taking the plunge and having a replacement at such a young age. Following all this I still managed to receive good A-level grades which secured me a place at Cardiff University. I am having a great first year at University, as an Officer Cadet in the RN, a Brownie Leader and enjoying being able to socialise with the wonderful people who I have met at university thus far. I hope that I will remain pain-free for many years to come.

During this experience I realised how LONELY I felt, as nobody really understands and everyone just tells you that you will be Ok and they don't even know what I am going on about. I really felt that I needed to talk to someone else in a similar situation to me or even someone who had been through similar.

Through these emotions Ruqayyah and I soon realised there was an opportunity opening up to us. So, we set up a website specifically for teenagers and young people who suffer from Hip Dysplasia and Impingement as well as other Hip Problems. This site has been a great success for us and we are pleased that in less than 3 years we have reached out to over 70 young people.