Hi! My name is Irla, I’m 19 and I’m from Italy. I was born in Albania, where I was diagnosed with congenital bilateral hip dysplasia at 2 years old. After that, my parents decided to move to Italy so that I could have surgery in a more advanced hospital.

I was 4 when I had my first surgery on my right hip, 5 when they first operated my left hip; they broke it into pieces and secured it with a femoral locking plate – which I still have. I only remember the uncomfortable cast and the excruciating riabilitation, nothing else.
When I was 7 years old my family and I decided to move to Northern Italy so that I could be visited by an amazing orthopaedist. I had my third surgery in 2011. After many X-rays, CT scans and MRIs I was told my left femour had been rotated wrong by my previous doctors. During that summer I was hospitalized. I remember vividely the pain after the surgery, the itching, which would never let me sleep. I remember that ugly, heavy cast and being restricted to bed for fifty endless days, completely dependent on my parents. I remember taking the cast off and almost fainting while the nurses helped me to get up. After that, I did riabilitation for what felt like ages and it took me 4 months to walk without cruches.
My journey has not come to an end. I cannot run, walk fast or walk for long distances. I have very little mobility in my right hip and because of this I’m going to have a femoral head replacement in the next few years – and I cannot wait!

I deal with pain on a daily basis but it is nothing compared to emotional pain. At 14 years old I began hating myself, my scars, my hip dysplasia. Depression hit me hard. I had suicide instincts almost every day for months. To me, hip dysplasia means being stared at, bullied and humiliated every time I step foot outside my house. I used to cry every single time a person stared at me. Oh, the stares; they never stopped.

During the last few months I stopped hiding my hip dysplasia. I stopped caring about the stares, I stopped feeling anxious and trapped while passing by a group of people. I want to be an example to every person who knows me, and for those who do not. I cannot imagine a life without my birth condition; I would be a complete different person.
To me, the hip dysplasia is who I am. I consider myself as unique, and unique is beautiful. I cherish my scars – I embrace them. I am not just a woman, I am a bionic woman. I know my worth.

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  1. Mary Hassett says:

    Hi Irla, my name is Mary and I could be your grandmother.Reading your story about your Dysplasia journey echoes my story too ,even down to the scars. I have had life long pain and surgeries and feeling sad when people stared or were unkind.i thought no one would ever want me or take me out on a date …….well I was wrong,I have been married for 42 years and have two children a son and daughter and seven grandchildren ❤️ Both my children had dysphasia and one granddaughter,fortunately they were treated early and early detention is the key…… When people stare at me now ,I smile and inverably they smile back .Irla a you are worth and an inspiration x

  2. María Cristina Policastro says:

    Hola Irla desde Argentina te mando un gran abrazo.Se valiente…Cuando sufrimos una discapacidad todo es mas dificil…pero lo que vale es como la afrontamos. Me toco nacer en Argentina pero mi sangre es Italiana.(Salerno) ..Me diagnosticaron tarde la displacia a los 6 años..y el día de la operación optaron por no realizarla…..Hoy tengo 56 años ya casi no camino…y me costo todo …estudiar…trabajar..y hoy ni siquiera me quieren dar la jubilación por invalidez….dicen que como fue desde nacimiento no me corresponde.
    Todo es dificil…pero lucho por salir gusto mucho tu ejemplo Fuerza !!!

  3. says:

    Mary, thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story with me. I thought no one would ever want me too! I felt unworthy of being loved even when I started dating my boyfriend, especially because I didn’t want him to bear all my problems. Now I understand that it was all in my head! As for the stares, I still notice them but they don’t bother me that much. Maybe I’ll start smiling at them like you! Thank you again, wish you the best x

  4. says:

    María, sorry but I can’t write in Spanish. Thank you for sharing your story with me! I do not have a disability pension anymore too. I’m sorry to hear your suffering, I really wish I could help you in some way. Disabilities like this impact every aspect of one’s life and many people cannot understand that. I wish you the best, everything is going to be okay, fuerza! x

  5. Jennifer Sheftal says:

    Hi Irla,

    Your story is very inspiring and I must say you are very brave ! I’m 22 and never knew I had dysplasia (Despite my funny walk) until now when my right labrum tore. I half to repair that and have PAO on both hips. I must admit your story does scare me, i’m so terrified of the pain after surgery that it makes me not want to do it even though I am in pain everyday all day.

    Do you think the pain after surgery is barrable? lol

    I know this is a silly question and I should just toughen up but I literally have the worst anxiety over it.

    Anyways, I hope your recovery is getting better everday ! God Bless, -Jennie

  6. Amanda says:

    Hi Jenny
    How did it go ? My daughter is facing a POA and she is 21, did you go ahead

    Bless you

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