Shaun’s Story: “I’m in pain but do it anyway”

I was born in July 1988 with Hip Dysplasia in both hips and had a cast on each leg. My right hip healed as it was supposed to but my left hip did not heal. Being born with hip dysplasia comes with a lot of pain and residual problems. I was in a lot of physical pain which made it difficult to enjoy life. Despite my pain and diagnosis my parents let me do anything I wanted to do as long as I could withstand the pain. The doctors told us that there was not much they could do because at that time they did not do hip replacements that young. So, I did just about everything there was to do. I played football, baseball and did Boy scouts.

As I grew, the pain just got worse. I developed scoliosis due to my legs not being the same length. Being in pain made it difficult to do school work and I developed some anger issues due to my pain. I did not do well in school because of this. When I was 17, we went back to the doctor to see if there was anything else they could do and I was told to stop going to school and working because my condition was not going to get better and there was not anything they could do. I took that hard. I was offered pain medication and going on permanent disability at 17.

I was angry with that news but also more determined to defy what doctors had told me and projected my life to be. I had already done so many things I was told I could not. I played nearly 8 years of hard contact football and was a starter. I am a eagle scout and did 50-mile, 20-mile, 15-mile hikes along with doing a 50-mile canoe trip with my scout troop. I have been told most of my life by health professionals what I cannot do so I went and did it anyway. I wore lifts in my shoes for several years until at the age of 22 I received a Hip replacement and leg lengthening procedure. I am 34 now and still on the same hip replacement.

I am more mobile than I have ever been, and I go to the gym regularly. I have a Master’s Degree in Human Services and Counseling and am still in pain at every moment of the day and night. I developed a self Mantra of “I’m in pain but do it anyway.” Enjoy the things you love doing despite the pain is how I have made it and it has kept me from falling into Depression or having anxiety about my diagnosis. You can have a great life and be successful despite the pain even if it does not look or feel like you will.