It took me 10 months and 3 doctors to get the proper diagnosis. In 2002 I was living and working in Philadelphia, PA. I walked 2 miles to work every morning. I didn't own a car so I walked or biked everywhere. I thought SEPTA (the transit system in Philly) was a total rip off. I was taking Vinyasa Power Yoga for about 3-5 hours/week. I felt good. I was never slim. Even as a child I was borderline obese, but for the first time in my life I was fit, healthy and my weight was under control.
I was walking to work one morning in the Fall of 2002 when, in mid-stride, I felt excruciating pain. So much so, that I almost fell over and had to balance myself against a building. My right hip felt ripped open. I hobbled to the corner, really confused and surprised at what was happening and hailed a cab to work. I had to get into the cab, arse first, and actually lift my right leg with my arms to get it in! Well, 10 minutes later I got to work and to my surprise, I was able to get out of the cab, no problem and continue on with my day. WEIRD!
Well, similar instances started to pop up. First, very infrequently and always solved by sitting down for a minute or two, then more and more regularly. I went to my doctor. My first doctor was Dr. Lizerbram. Having just become eligible for health insurance, I picked her out of my "preferred provider" manual as my new general physician. I explained to her that it actually felt like the pain was INSIDE my hip joint. I could feel it clicking and popping and the pain felt like something was torn. She immediately told me that it was impossible to feel pain inside a joint (my first red flag) and that I had most likely pulled a groin muscle in my sleep (my second red flag).
Well, I foolishly returned to her a few more times. The last time I was running/hobbling to catch a bus to her office, as I could no longer walk long distances, and I tripped and sprained my ankle. I did catch the bus and hopped on it. When I got to her office, my knees were skinned and bleeding and my ankle was the size of a football. She asked me, "what seems to be the trouble" (another red flag). She sent me home with nothing. No crutches, no prescription. Her office didn't even call me a cab. I never went back.
My new doctor was wonderful. Her name was Dr. Regina Baime. If you live in center city Philadelphia, LOOK HER UP! She took a thorough case history of my hip problems and immediately ordered x-rays which showed possible hip dysplasia. I eventually had MRIs done and was sent to Dr. Charles Nelson who informed me I had Bi-Lateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia.
He said I had 2 options. One, Have an incredible complicated and difficult surgery called an osteotomy (which Dr. Nelson did not recommend) or two, take the more conservative approach. Dr. Nelson recommended conservative so I opted conservative. He told me to "Lose as much weight as HUMANLY possible" (no, I am not kidding. That lined is burned into my brain.), "take glucosamine and chrondroitin and Aleve" (ok.) and "try not to walk much".
TRY NOT TO WALK? I LIVED IN CENTER CITY PHILADELPHIA?!?
and that's it. that was his conservative treatment. every year or two we would have xrays and MRIs again. wow. I was 26 and I shouldn't walk anymore. Technically, I was able to...but every step I took hastened me to an early crippling. awesome.
Then we moved away from Philly and started our own business. That means I lost my health insurance and couldn't get it back. I just got it back in November of 2005. The interim found me losing weight but limping more, walking less and realizing that Aleve doesn't do anything. My new friend became Tylenol Arthritis (V. Good, by the way). No doctors of any sort for almost 2 years.
Now, I'm in South Carolina. I am properly diagnosed and I am less than 3 weeks away from surgery. I tried the conservative approach. I lost more weight. I only got worse. After consulting with Dr. Hartsock I was told that surgery was necessary. He said that in another year I might miss my window for the surgery. There is a window to have this surgery done. You have to be in enough pain for it to really ruin your life but your joint still has to be in decent shape. That's a fine line to walk. So here I am. And there you go.