I remember the day the doctor told me I wouldn’t be allowed to run again. I stared blankly back at him. Being an athlete had always been part of my life. My identity. And although the hip pain had worsened dramatically over a period of only 6 months, I prolonged going to see an Orthopedic because I knew I was going to hear those words.
At birth, I was born with a condition called developmental dysplasia of the hip. My hip socket wasn’t aligned correctly. At only 2 years of age, I had surgery to help correct the condition. I was placed for 6 weeks in a double-legged cast. Growing up, my parents never focused on what I couldn’t do. I started gymnastics at a young age, then soccer, track, cheerleading, and my college dance team. Upon graduation of college, I ran my first half marathon. I was raised to believe my condition didn’t prevent me from completing any of my goals. I am grateful my parents instilled this faith in me at a young age.
However, as I progressed into my late 20’s, I could no longer ignore the pain that had worsened in a short amount of time. I was referred to Dr. Richard Santore, one of the top Orthopedic surgeons in the country. It was then he said those words. “Stop running.” He recommended I get another surgery, called a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO). My hip X-ray showed the beginning stages of arthritis, and this surgery would preserve my own hip joint, and potentially prevent me from needing a total hip replacement down the road. February 2012, I went into the operating room. I spent five days in the hospital, and two and a half months on crutches. Four months off of work. For a year, three large screws were embedded into part of my hip.
Living in sunny San Diego, one of the most active and fit cities in the country, it seemed as if everyone around me was athletic and running. There were days I was depressed. I couldn’t imagine what a life without sports would look like. Thankfully, I found Yoga, which has now become my passion. I feel healthier than ever.
Today, I work as a Pediatric nurse on an Orthopedic floor. I assist in caring for young children that are placed in the same cast I was at a year old. I also care for teenagers that receive the same surgery I had as an adult. I am able to show parents of these children pictures of me as a child, in a spica cast, and help ease their worries that their children will be able to live a normal life. Since being a patient myself, I am now able to relate and connect to these children in a powerful way that I couldn’t before. My job has never been more satisfying and rewarding.
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