October 22, 2007

My Hip Surgery Story and Update

Welcome to my new blog!!!

Because people are always wondering where I’ve been and what I find that’s interesting, I’m thrilled to have this space to share with all of you some of the more personal happenings that occur in my life. Enjoy!

It is a really frightening thing to hear that you need a major operation but, as many of you know, that is just what I was told after dealing with an aching hip that just would not get better for two whole years.  I first became aware of a problem when I could no longer do certain yoga postures comfortably.  I tried massage treatments, chiropractors, and different medications, but nothing brought relief.  When I could no longer walk without visibly limping, I started talking to several different surgeons about my options.  It became clear that I needed a hip replacement, which included the upper head of my femur, or thigh bone, and the hip socket that it fits into.  However, one doctor said I wouldn't need the surgery for 10 years, while another was ready to do it immediately.  I was afraid and uncertain.  Then I met Dr. Steven Stuchin, the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, Chief of the Arthritis Management Services, and a wonderful surgeon.


Dr. Steven Stuchin

Dr. Stuchin spent a great deal of time talking to me, explaining that my X-rays revealed that the thin layer of cushioning cartilage between my left femur and hip socket had worn away, causing my awful pain.  He told me there are many reasons why this can happen, including heredity, injury, and daily wear and tear.   He showed me models of the latest, extremely high-tech replacement parts made of highly polished cobalt chrome, parts that would last a very long time –- 120 to 2,000 years, in fact!  He walked me step by step through the entire procedure, describing the incision, the sawing and removal of the bones, and the fitting and bonding of the new replacement.  He answered my questions clearly and confidently and told me that this surgery is equal parts carpentry, arts and crafts, sculpture, and science.  It started to make perfect sense to me to go ahead with a hip replacement.   Timing of the operation was critical because I had to be certain that I would be completely healed by the start of my new television season in September.  So, we counted back from that date and scheduled the procedure accordingly during the summer.  Dr. Stuchin performed what is considered a minimally invasive surgery.  Unlike older hip-replacement procedures, which required large incisions and cutting through two or three muscles, he made one 4-inch-long incision and cut through only one muscle, which makes for a much faster recuperation.

My new shiny parts!


When I woke up after the operation, I was amazed and so happy with how little pain I felt.  The morning after the surgery I got out of bed anxious to try out my new hip and with the aid of a walker, I strolled twice around the hospital hallways.  It was wonderful to think I would no longer be limping and I was anxious to begin my physical therapy.  I felt it was really important to have therapy every single day that was possible, about six times a week for eight weeks and twice a week after that.  My program was centered on stretching, muscle strengthening, and massage. I used a cane for stability, but after five weeks, I could walk with no cane at all.   

Today, with my new hip and no more pain, I am so very happy.  I also am so appreciative to Dr. Stuchin and his wonderful team of medical professionals, who really put me at ease.  I am also happy to report that I am practicing yoga again and it is pain free!