Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Time Heals All Wounds?

I can finally spill the beans--I am once again gainfully employed. Yippee! I'm excited about the company I'll be working for and the job that I'll be doing; it's in an industry I've been trying to crack open for years.

Maybe it's about time I answered some pending questions. Questions like "Why are you bionic Ragdoll?" and "Why did you need to have your hip replaced?" and "What's it like to have a titanium hip?" You know, those Barbara Walters on The View, sorts of things.

For anyone who might be squeamish about all things medically related, read no further...

When I was 19, I got very sick and was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis. It's a rare, auto-immune disease that presents itself in my kidneys and lungs. Needless to say I was on death's door and almost kicked the bucket before they figured out what was wrong with me. After two weeks in the hospital, I was put on some very serious drugs, prednisone and Imuran. I was also taking a sulphur-based antibiotic called Septra, which was kind of nasty.

One of the side effects of the steroids is they add fat cells to your bloodstream. This makes it harder for blood to get through thinner veins, the kind that snake their way to your hips, elbows and fingers. So, halfway through my treatment, my right hip bone started to die because no blood could get there. Ouch!

Because the bone wasn't live any more, they needed to fix the problem. In my third year of university, I had a vascular bone graph. The orthopedic surgeon extracted a part of my fibula, and inserted it into my hip to give the area live bone. It worked well for many years, but over the last eighteen months, the graph started falling apart. The result was much pain, discomfort and an acute restriction of my movements. Hence the brand-new hip! It's pretty cool when you think about how routine these types of surgeries are becoming. I spent five days in the hospital, and then recovered at home for the rest of the time. With the exception of the surgeon cracking my thigh bone to get the new hip in and having to keep weight off for the first six weeks, this surgery was one of the easiest things I've been through medical wise.

It feels different, and I can tell I'm sitting on something metal when I move certain ways. But I'm no longer in any pain, and that's a miracle to me.

Oh, and thankfully, now that the disease is once again active, I'm on a new drug called CellCept. It's making my stomach really upset and my hair fall out, but compared to killing my bones, I'll take those side effects any day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

man, that really sucks. be brave, bionic girl. i have learned lately that everyone has something, even the friends you think are healthy...so don't feel you are alone. wishing away the disease and wishing you well in as many ways as possible.