Jackie’s Story

I grew up in a household who had a physical education teacher/track coach as a father. So you can say that that was one of the many reasons why I was so active throughout my life. I was a dancer, soccer player, but most importantly a distance runner. The love I had for running was immense, and it all started at the age of five. The bond I had with my father due to running was incredibly strong, and it truly molded me into the person I am today.  I worked incredibly hard my whole life and ran so many miles just to try and become better. Running made me a strong, resilient individual, and my mind and body was dedicated to the road. I ran all the way through college, and after graduating, I was excited to start the next chapter of my life. So, I began to train for a half marathon. My mind set was to get a couple of races under my belt, drop my times and work my way up to a full marathon. I was hoping this would be my chance at becoming the runner I always thought I could be.

Unfortunately, life does not work out the way you want it too sometimes. After running a half marathon in San Diego in May of 2015, I decided to take a month off and then begin training for my next race. My rest days were over, and the first day I laced up to hit the road, I literally

could no longer perform hip flexion on my right leg without pain. It was the strangest thing, just out of the blue like that, I could not even run 200 meters. It began to get worse and worse to the point of no longer being able to put my own pants and shoes on, without the aid of a person.

 So, I finally went to an orthopedic doctor, who told me I had torn my labrum and needed surgery. They assured me it was not a big deal, and that it was an easy fix. Fast forward to post surgery, the doctor let my family and I know that they misdiagnosed me, and removed a part of my femoral head. We had no idea what had just happened, but they told us it will be fine. Well, I began PT and it was not fine. The pain began to get more and more excruciating, and my hip began to give out more. So, when that would happen, I would fall more often and not be able to get up by myself. My right leg was withering away and I could barely walk without pain. After all this, my doctor essentially said they don’t know what happened, and they could no longer help me. Thus, starts my journey to finding a doctor to help me. To make a long story short, no doctor wanted to take me as a patient, because I wasn’t even a year out of surgery, and they just didn’t know how to approach it. (Their words, not mine).

Finally, I ended up going to Hospital for Special Surgery, where they let me know that I was born with hip dysplasia and that the previous doctor removed the only part of my hip that was stabilizing and supporting it. So, I needed to have a second surgical procedure called a PAO (Periacetabular Osteotomy) performed. They cut my pelvis into three pieces and put me back together.

 My new doctor let me know that my hip was pretty destroyed from the previous surgery, and that my life would never be the same. They let me know that using crutches would probably be in my future forever, and that I would never be able to do the things I once loved. It was not an easy journey physically, mentally and emotionally, but I worked hard and pushed through it. Slowly but surely, I began to feel a bit of normalcy in my life once more. It took almost two years to recover and I felt that my life was getting back on track, until I fell ill with a life-threatening heart condition.

Unfortunately, after they had performed the heart surgery on me, I was not recovering very well. At that point in time, my body was a mess. I could barely move from place to place, without feeling extreme pain and weakness all over my body. Here I was again, at another cross road in my life, where I felt so vulnerable and weak (defeated). I had nothing going on in my life at this point, until one day I stumbled upon a physical therapist (Lara Heimann) who had created a style of yoga called the LYT Method. It is a style of yoga created based on the functional teachings of physical therapy and anatomy. I decided to give it a try, and because I did, my life and my body has changed drastically for the better. Not only did my breathing come back, but my hips felt incredible!

After becoming certified in this yoga method, I learned how to teach others to become more aware of their bodies movement patterns. Just by gaining the little bit of knowledge about the human anatomy, and how we should be moving more functionally throughout our lives, has given me the drive to want to learn more. So, I applied to Physical Therapy schools and got in! I could not believe it, me, the girl who has had nothing go right in her adulthood finally had a win. I was so excited and thrilled that I finally accomplished something, until tragedy struck again. After finding out I got accepted to University of Vermont’s PT program, I fell ill again. I have been so sick and tired for months and found out that I need the heart procedure again. I am writing this on Thursday April 15, 2021, and will be going in for surgery April 22.

I am truly trying to find the good in this life, but it has been incredibly hard. I am scared of having this heart procedure again because of what happened last time, but I am hoping and praying that it will be okay and that I will be able to go and start PT school in June and finally have a life I can be proud of. My goal at the end of all of this, is to be able to help others whose lives have been put on hold because of some form injury, and to be able to bring awareness to hip dysplasia to others in the medical community.