No Bone to Pick

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In March of 2008, I started 6 chemotherapy treatments consisting of Taxol and Carboplatin, the standard treatment for a diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer.  Every three weeks I would go to the hospital for my infusion.  6 months later, I completed my chemo treatment.

In 2010 I was experiencing hip pain in both hip joints.  It was painful enough for me to make an appointment with an orthopedic physician known for treating hip issues.  After x-rays and a discussion of my medical history, he told me I was born with “deep sockets” and that over time will result in very little room for cartilage in the joint.  He said down the road I will need hip replacements as it will become all bone on bone.  He recommended Advil as necessary and some exercises to build up other muscles to alleviate some of the pain.

Four years later I was diagnosed with a recurrence of Ovarian Cancer and had to yet again go through chemotherapy.  This time the protocol would be 18 treatments of Taxol (lower dose weekly) and 6 treatments of Carboplatin (one every three weeks).  During the second treatment, I went into anaphylactic shock from the Carboplatin (not abnormal) and was prescribed Cisplatin instead.  Same number of doses.  Note: Cisplatin sucks!

After my treatments ended, my hip pain over time became extremely noticeable and debilitating.  I was limping constantly, had to give up walking the golf course, and the pain kept me up at night.  I couldn’t stand it any longer and went back to see my orthopedic.  X-rays showed I had all bone on bone in both hips.  My ortho wanted me to wait as long as I could to have the double hip replacement and I explained that the pain was so bad it affected my quality of life.  I also pointed out that I had had Ovarian Cancer twice and really wanted to enjoy any and all of my years on this earth without this horrible pain.

He agreed to do the surgeries and on Nov. 30, 2016 I was scheduled for a right hip replacement.  I came through it like with flying colors.  No complications, started using a walker and crutches without issue.  On Dec. 15, 2016 I went back into the hospital for the left hip.  Surgery was twice as long (not that I knew what was going on) and what he found, or didn’t find, was shocking.

Back in my hospital room, the surgeon came in to tell my husband and I that there was no bone in the back of the hip socket and very little bone to work with in the rest of the joint.  I was a walking disaster.  He explained that he had to use a much larger socket, secured with 3 long screws and bone graphs constructed from what bone was available.  I was told I couldn’t put any weight on that leg at all for at least 12 weeks (3 months).  Remember, I had just had the 1st hip done 2 weeks prior and could not put much weight on that one without a significant amount of pain.

After a long winter home and a trip to the south to start my recuperation, I was able to swing a golf club (one of my few passions in life) by June of 2017 and on my way to a full recovery as I write this entry.  My learning for this story is this.  Chemotherapy, in my opinion, contributed greatly to the bone deterioration in my hips.  Without speaking up and sharing how much of my quality of life was being affected by my pain, I would not have shot an 82 on the golf course yesterday!  Be your own advocate!

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