When I was about 6 I started having pain in my left leg. I don’t remember it but my mum does! I was an active child, I used to do ballet, swimming and riding. Originally the doctor didn’t know what it was but when we moved to Devon just before my seventh birthday, I struck lucky with my new doctor. Another local child had the same pains and had been diagnosed with Perthes Disease. Cut to many hospital appointments, surgery (a left hip osteotomy which essentially meant breaking, moving and pinning my hip bone and then removing the metal a year or so later) and ultimately being banned from all the good things in life. No more ballet, no more riding, no PE.
It wasn’t all bad, the pain was in existence but manageable and I still got involved in my overachieving family’s compulsory walks and cycling holidays. Swimming was my one fully allowed activity. It was an opportunity for exercise and for a bit of social engagement! Swimming morphed into waterpolo when I moved to Gloucestershire in my university years and the pain increased but after all the years of a ‘dodgy hip’ it was just part of life.
I started riding (more on that later) when I joined the working world. I loved it, it was the best thing in my life (and still is) but it probably wasn’t the best thing for pain. It was during these years that I got back into the hospital system. I went from my GP to physio, to my GP, to my local hospital, to more physio and finally to a specialist in Bristol. I had a steroid injection into my hip which did nothing and the discussion turned to a hip replacement. It wasn’t the right time yet.
In September last year I started a new job. It was full time horsey but at a school, the perfect job for me. I loved it but by December I was crying to my surgeon that my hip just couldn’t cope anymore and my name got put on the dreaded waiting list.
To cut the trauma of the last few months short; I quit my awesome job, moved back to where I lived before, took up crutches for any proper walking (on the recommendation of my physio) and started a number of small jobs to pay my bills and bide my time until my op. Now for the next part of the journey!