Today I had a phone consultation with my health plan's orthopedics guy to discuss my diagnosis.
I had a massive list of questions for him and was anticipating him to be a pompous, disdainful jerk. I based this on his online reviews. What I quickly realized once we began talking is that smart doctors appreciate well-informed, energetic, proactive patients. On the flip side, smart doctors tend to be a little dismissive and impatient with patients who don't really take care of their bodies. This guy is a smart doctor. And I am his perfect patient.
(all quoted dialogue is not necessarily directly quoted!)
Right away he said, "I'm not sure if I should give it to you straight...or if I should sugar-coat it a little."
"Give it to me straight up," I told him. "I don't mess around."
Then he got serious and said, "Your hip is done."
He proceded to tell me that there is no evidence of cartilage in there...it's a bone-on-bone situation. I am lucky that I am thin and active and fit and healthy...and "obviously very energetic."
I asked him about getting an MRI. "No need," he said. "The damage is done. There is no repair surgery to do. There's essentially nothing left." He went on to say that I had not done this to myself...I had done nothing wrong.
Then we talked about what I've been doing for the past 2+ years. He was floored. And not annoyed or frustrated or scolding. "I'm not going to tell you to not do anything," he said. "You can keep doing the things you want to do with the comfort level that works for you. The only thing I suggest is that you please don't wait until you've been inactive due to the pain for months and lose your fitness and your positive outlook to get the surgery. Being strong and positive will be critical for you to do well. Keep that in mind!"
He said running is not the best choice. Rowing is fine. Cycling, elliptical, pretty much anything except running...but he's not going to tell me to not run. "You'll know if it hurts too much...you can't make the condition worse," is what he basically said.
Based on my x-ray, he had wanted to put me on his surgery schedule immediately, but after talking with me he feels that would definitely be premature.
"Radiologically, you're a mess. Clinically, you're amazing. I can't say when you will need the replacement...or when you'll want it. But when that time comes, I'm here."
And we wished each other a nice day.
So now I begin setting up appointments to talk with various providers about treatments to help keep me strong. Physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, naturopath...I'm building an team.
If anyone has dealt with this and has some great ideas for me, please let me know in a comment or email!
Many thanks to RockStarTri and The Unexpected Runner for all your advice and willingness to share your insights. And many thanks to all of you, my generous and thoughtful readers, for your kind words and enthusiasm for my journey yet-to-come!
Anyone have personal experience with prolotherapy?
–this treatment option has me intrigued...