Amber’s Story

All I knew growing up was limitations due to my hip dysplasia. My first surgery when I was 18-months old. I loved moving and being active, but my hip told me different. I couldn’t sit crisscross like the other kids. I had to stop dancing because it was getting too intense, and my mom was starting to get scared I would get injured. I couldn’t play sports or do all of the active things, even though I always wanted to. I found a love for music, but there was always something missing in my passions.

I started trying to run when I was around 16 or 17-years-old, and my knees and back hurt so much from it. It drove me insane. I started working, and at my job I would start falling because my knees or hips would give out. I thought this was normal and never connected the two. I went to a knee doctor and was prescribed physical therapy, a brace, and an MRI. Nothing.

I went a whole year with this my freshman year of college. I continued to run, thinking I’ll have to live with it. I got to my sophomore year, and I started getting extreme back pain so I went to a chiropractor. I mentioned my history and they took x-rays of my hips back and neck.

What came next changed my life for the next two years and so on.

He showed me what my actual hip looked like, and I was truly shocked. I saw the difference from my right and left, and my right was deformed. I call it “ice cream scoop” shaped. This was the best way of explaining it to my family and friends as I got more and more information. I underwent adjustments by the chiropractor because we thought it would help. But my hip was so bad, I ended up having a hip arthroscopy.

During this time, I also found my passion for yoga. I take it very seriously, so I was worried I wouldn’t get back to it after surgery. Because of how eager I was to get back into my yoga, I healed fairly quickly and got back to my practice. Exactly a year later my hip started giving out more than it had ever, and the pain was now unbearable. I went back to the doctor, and they said they couldn’t do anything else. I felt hopeless at this point because I went to a hip replacement surgeon, and they told me I would have to deal with it until I couldn’t walk. And I had walked into this appointment with a cane and crying because of the pain!

It’s very common to overlook someone who is 21-years-old, and tell them that their nerve endings aren’t matured enough and that I can hold on a little longer. Hearing this made me feel insane and, honestly, I ended up getting this feeling of being over dramatic and possibly thought he was right.

Fortunately, I had a plan to meet with another surgeon for a second opinion. He gave me the answer I wanted to hear and made me feel heard. At that point I has stage four arthritis in my hip, and he was wondering how I was even walking. He asked me if I was ready for a replacement, and I said yes. I knew this was going to be a big hill to get over, but I was ready. I was ready to not be in as much pain as I was in. At this point I hadn’t been able to walk to class, go out with friends, or hang out with family. I even had to stop working for a couple months because I couldn’t walk anymore. Yoga felt like a distant dream, and it felt like it kept getting farther and farther away. It’s hard finding your passion at age 21, and seeing it drift away in a couple of months due to something out of my control.

I ended up having my hip replaced and I have been taking it slow to recover and get strong. It has been three months. But I am back in the yoga studio, and I have mobility I have never had before!

Having hip dysplasia has really, REALLY shown me patience and what really matters to me. I’ve grown to accept myself as I am and how it will go on. I know there are a lot of stories out there, and all I want to do is bring awareness to others about hip dysplasia. People don’t know how common it is or that they might even have it. You are NOT crazy. Your pain IS real. Other people can’t feel your pain; only you can. Stand your ground and don’t let people believe you are crazy. You are not.