Tag Archives: Surgery

Dwarfism Awareness: 2016

13 Oct

It’s October, which means that it is Dwarfism Awareness Month again. It’s the month where I like to try and summarise quite quickly some information about Pseudoachondroplasia – the form of dwarfism that I have.

Last year, I summarised physically how the genetic condition has formed me physically – from misshapen joints, to short stature, and an extra-curvy spine: https://lifewithpseudoachondroplasia.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/pseudoachondroplasia-the-low-down-dwarfism-awareness/

The year before that, I demonstrated in photos a few situations where having this condition can make navigating various aspects of life and environments a little extra challenging, and touched on how the disability can make an impact on a person emotionally: https://lifewithpseudoachondroplasia.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/little-things-about-little-me-dwarfism-awareness-month/

This year, I thought I’d try to summarise how living with a form of dwarfism is a life-long thing, which simply isn’t ‘just being a bit short’, as many people seem to think!

Whilst what I’m showing is simply my own experience of how dealing with the condition has interfered with my life, it does begin to show how people with pseudoachondroplasia have to build in time for medical interventions in their lives… and it’s worth noting that there are a whole load of other surgeries that pseudoachondroplasia can cause need for, including some pretty nasty spinal surgeries.

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From the age of 3, when I was diagnosed, I have had many, many hospital/doctor/surgical appointments, with daily injections beginning at 5 years old, and my first major surgery when I was 7. Most recently, I have had two total hip replacements, and there have been various operations between. Next on the list will be a knee replacement, as my right knee is becoming more painful as time goes on (the cartilage is wearing down to nothing).

… And in the future? More hip replacements. Knee replacements. Probably shoulder surgery, with possible replacement. Constant worsening pain as osteoarthritis spoils my joints.

My attitude is just to get on with it; Pseudoachondroplasia is a part of my life and it’s something that I need to juggle with everything else, but I want this post to highlight – for anyone hoping to learn more about dwarfism during this awareness month – that living with a form of dwarfism is not always just ‘being a bit shorter than average’. Dwarfism is needing to adjust life to living with a body far from the average, it is enduring constant pain, it is spending time in hospital, being operated on, and for some, it can also be dealing with prejudice and bullying.

For those who would like to know more about the details of the surgeries I’ve mentioned, how pseudoachondroplasia has played a part in my life, or more about the condition itself… there are plenty of other blog posts for that 🙂 If there are still questions unanswered, I’m always happy to have readers make contact ( rubysallen@hotmail.com or facebook.com/rubysoniaallen ). I’ll try my best to answer anything that may help spread awareness and understanding 🙂

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‘Hippy Birthday’ Hip #1

18 Sep

Exactly one year ago today, I had my right hip replaced. Pre-surgery I was pretty nervous as it was by far the most major surgery I had had to date… But a year on from the new body part taking up residence in me? I couldn’t be happier I went ahead with it!

In the past year, I have not only had my left hip replaced too, but been on many walks, been able to sit cross-legged for the first time in my life, been pain free on many many days, been on holiday and not needed to take my crutches as I know I can do the walking and many more things as ‘firsts’ in my life. My surgeon says I am doing very well and is happy to see how much the surgery has improved my life and I still cannot thank him enough. Yes, I’ve had to take a year out of my life plans to get this done, but it was the best decision I could have made. Sadly, my knees are now letting me down, but this post is a positive one, so I won’t dwell on that!

These hips are by far my favourite body part of mine and the scars I was initially so down about are now nothing more than a reminder of the good changes I’ve had in life due to the surgery… So ‘hippy first birthday’ hip number one! 🙂

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Hip Replacement Surgery- Final Update.

15 Apr

This morning I went for my final (well, for the short term) follow up appointment with the surgeon who replaced my hips. Having inspected how I was walking and how I can control the new joints, no x-ray was needed, but he says I can now go crutch-free! Hooray! This is the first time in well over a decade that a ‘no crutches’ life has been an option for me, I’m thrilled.

Obviously with my ‘push the limits’ attitude, I had to ask what I can do safely with these new hips… He suggested swimming, I suggested jet skiing, he suggested riding a bike, I suggested riding a horse – or a camel! After some discussion about what the hip implants I’ve now got can actually take, we settled on how I will try things I want to try, but be sensible about it- no trampolining for me then! This is all so exciting though, it means I can finally try a few things I’ve always wanted to but in the past have been unable to due to the pain. I cannot wait to try some new things with my shiny new hips! 🙂 Starting tomorrow. I may well be joining a gym! Wooooo!

It’s a pretty positive outcome for what was a nasty situation just a year ago. I was in excruciating pain on a daily basis, now I am pain free! The decision to have these joints replaced now (even though I’m aware they’ll need doing again in the future because I am so young at the moment) was the best decision of my life.

I’m happy. 🙂

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Hip 2 Updates…

5 Feb

It’s been 2 weeks and 2 days since I had my second hip replacement, and I thought I’d give a little update on the situation.

No painkillers being taken. No pain being felt. I can get my own socks on (quite a challenge when you can’t bend in the usual ways!). I can get about with relative ease on crutches. I’ve been told I am allowed to drive again (I have an automatic car, it’s my left hip, and I just had to ask the surgeon for permission even though I should be waiting til 6 weeks post op! My usual impatience with recovery shining through there!). Today, I’ll be taking the hired wheelchair back, having had it sitting being completely unused.

… What I’m saying is, is that this recovery is going really well. My legs certainly seem to be back to matching lengths now, the scar is neat despite being over two scars from previous surgery (I’ll post a pic once the steri strips are off tomorrow) and all the achey pains from before are gone! Very happy.

I’m eager to get to the point where the bone graft has solidified and I can begin to get off these crutches, but I know I must be patient with that bit as there is no point causing damage by rushing it…. But for now, things are going well.

🙂

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Hip Replacement 2.

24 Jan

On Monday the 20th, I went into hospital to have my other hip replaced… Yesterday (the 23rd) I left the hospital with my matching pair of hips 🙂

The surgery went well, as my surgeon did a fantastic job of getting the implant in without having to break and straighten my femur to do so. The pain was under control for almost all of my stay in hospital, and I was able to get up out of bed and walk a little two days post surgery. I’m now at home, relying on just paracetamol to keep the pain at bay, learning how to get about with two legs which are now back to being matching length! It does seem bizarre having spent four months with a 2 inch length discrepancy, but wow am I pleased this surgery is over. 🙂 I feel like I’m at the beginning of a recovery period which will lead me back to living my life how I’d like to- pain free for a while!

With a planned recovery of three months long term (using crutches) I should be crutch free for the first time in years (13? 14 years?) in time for my 23rd birthday…. And that excites me. Finally I can get on with the things I want to focus on, and not what my body dictates I must!

So for now, I am on a mission to strengthen this hip up. I will post again once I have an x-ray or something interesting to say, but I am happy and for anyone who reads this wondering if these hip replacements truly lead to a better life? Yes, yes they do! 🙂

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4 days to go…

16 Jan

With just 4 days to go til my left hip is replaced, today I went for my pre-admission tests. The usual blood tests, ECG, oxygen levels etc. and a chat with the anaesthetist and physio too. By the sounds of it, this surgery shouldn’t be too different to the first- same epidural and general anaesthetic set up, same length of stay in hospital probably and the same ‘no physio’ rule during recovery. 🙂

… However, there were a couple of things which were revealed during this appointment which have put a smile on my face.

1. My efforts of being slightly healthier in order to lose some weight and get fitter have paid off so far- 12lbs lost! Woo! This means my BMI is now better, and should hopefully help these hip replacements last as long as possible!

And

2. Where I thought I had gained enough height to put me at 4 ft 8″, I am actually 4 ft 9″. So still pretty small but every little counts when you’re this size, so I’m pleased! 🙂

There weren’t any reasons discovered during the tests though which will delay surgery, so I’m still going in on Monday. I have to arrive at 9.30am and am booked into theatre at 1.30pm. Getting a little nervous now, as the thoughts of sitting about for another few weeks and having to take a break from driving again aren’t appealing. But! I am excited to get on with this, the sooner it’s done, the sooner I’m recovered!

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Ta-dah! Reveal of the Scar!

8 Oct

Last week, the stitches were removed from the hip replacement wound (not a pleasant experience), but more dressings were put on to protect it for a little longer. Today, I’ve been to see the nurse again (who told me my scar is ‘beautiful’ haha) and all is well, so now the scar is free to breathe fresh air, and to be looked at properly.

Whilst the scar is fairly long (25cm ish?) it is neat! Very impressed by the surgeon’s skills and steady hand… And thought I’d share the mark of his masterpiece on here…

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Impressed? Knew you would be 😉

3 weeks til my next appointment with the surgeon for x-rays to see how the bone graft is healing, so I’ll post after that… but til then, I am day by day getting back to normal life and I’m happy! 🙂

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