Tuesday, January 12, 2010

E-Decision-"to cut oneself off from all other possibilities or courses of action"

I feel nervous but excited.  My hip has gotten to the point where it is difficult to get through a lot of basic daily activities, let alone playing sports or any kind of impact activity.  Because of my baseline strength and youth I can still do my job, but that won't be the case for too much longer without an intervention. This experience has certainly given me an early advanced view on what aging can feel like.  Four and a half years ago I was playing professional basketball, usually training twice a day, and now I can’t do anything requiring bending at the waist without looking and feeling like a 90 year old.  
There’s little doubt in my mind that the time has come.  The only doubt at all comes from the fact that pretty much everyone I talk to in the medical community seems to have a different opinion and there is no one clear course of action.  Therefore I have had to spend hours of time researching information from as many reliable sources as possible to come to my own decision.  
Basically I have 2 options left.  The first is to do nothing.  Continue to manage the pain as best as possible, severely limit the use of my hip, really try to avoid injuries that are easy to sustain when compensating for such poor range of motion and hope that I can hold out long enough that better technologies become available and also delay the start of an irreversible treatment path.  
To a certain extent that is what I have already been doing.  For months now the pain has been bad and I feel like I have really been deteriorating physically.  However I know that with strong enough painkillers I can continue enduring this for longer. I may not be the most pleasant to live with, but I can get through it.  What really scares me though is injuring myself in other areas, most likely my back, because it has become physically impossible to use the proper biomechanics for so many things.  Apparently I am a very rare patient to have such advanced degradation of the joint and not be experiencing back pain.  Because I am only 35, delaying the start of the treatment path a few years hardly seems to be a huge benefit worth enduring pain and risks for.  The one thing that each surgeon I have met with seems to agree on is that there isn’t likely to be any major breakthroughs in technology in the next 5 years that will totally replace the current ones.  
The other option is surgery.  Although there have been doctors recommending I do a hip replacement, I feel quite strongly that it would be wrong not to try resurfacing.  Every patient I have met who has done resurfacing told me they were very happy with the operation and just wished they had done it earlier.  They are all back to playing sports with few limitations other than the self imposed ones made to limit the overall wear and tear on the artificial joint.  Although it is a more difficult surgery, I think it would be crazy not to try it given that it is possible to go from a resurfacing to a replacement but the reverse is not true.  Here's hoping I can look back at this time in my lfe and the decisions I have made without any regrets or "what it's".

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