August 2015: I’m one turn away from the finish line. My shorts are mostly dry at this point; the bike ride had aired them out pretty well. I’m out of breath so I’m walking. People run by me, but I don’t care. A lady runs up beside me.
“We’ve been passing each other for miles. Let’s do this. You’re not walking across the finish line.”
And thusly I run. When we get to the main drag, I tell her to kick it. She runs ahead so she can get her solo photos as she crosses the finish line and I keep running. My limp is pretty bad at this point, but I’m used to it…
I’ve been told since childhood that my joints are hyper mobile and my hips are misaligned. So the limp and the way my hips pop? That was just normal.
March 2015: By this point I had been training for my first triathlon for a couple of months. I had also started taking a self-defense class. While kneeing a pad one night, I felt a muscle on the right side of my pelvis pull.
June 20, 2016: The muscle in my lower back had never seemed to heal, even though I had let it rest through the winter. I finally decided to go to an Orthopaedic doctor in town, thinking I must have torn it.
The doctor came in and tossed my x-ray onto the exam table. He shook my hand and plopped down in the chair across from me. “Do your hips pop?” Thinking he was psychic, I responded, “Yes?”
“Reading your file, I was expecting this to be a case of [insert technical term meaning something wrong with the back muscle], but then I noticed your hip joint.”
Long story short: I have hip dysplasia. In vernacular, my right hip socket is too shallow, which is putting undue stress on the cartilage around my femoral joint, which is basically preventing dislocation at this point. The back pain was because it’s one of the muscles that keeps my hip together. If I don’t fix it, the cartilage will wear out and I’ll have arthritis and need a new hip by the time I’m 40.
Luckily for me, the best in the field of young adult preventative hip surgery is only a few hours away at Washington University in St. Louis. I’ll go there soon and get a second opinion and/or surgery. The procedure will include cutting out my hip socket and rotating it to cover my femoral joint like it is supposed to.
Short-term, this means no more running, breast stroke (which is what I compete with), rock climbing, or anything particularly taxing on my hips. Like triathlons. I started physical therapy immediately and will continue for eight weeks.
Long-term sees potential surgery and being out of the game for awhile for recovery. As I was supposed to get more experience in theatre to improve my chances of getting into grad school next fall, this may ruin everything. If I have surgery soon, I may be able to work in theatre after the holidays. We’ll just have to see.
As it is, I am so grateful and blessed to learn about it now while I’m living with family and near such an amazing orthopaedic clinic. If I had gotten into a summer stock gig, I may have not found out about my hip until it was too late to prevent a hip replacement.
So here’s to my newest and scariest adventure. The future isn’t looking very fun, but I will rise up and run again.