I've been active my entire life. From playing baseball, working out daily in the gym, distance running, etc., I was constantly moving. Until I couldn't.
I first noticed the pain in my backside about three years ago. At first, it didn't stop my workouts because it was more of a nuisance than anything else. But after the pain got progressively worse, including shooting pains down my leg, I sought help. Two chiropractors made the same diagnosis - a tight piriformis muscle. For more than two years, I went to chiropractors and acupuncturists while placing a heating pad on my piriformis muscle every night.
The pain never got better, it just got increasingly worse. I went from being active my entire life, including running 11 marathons, to not being able to take my dog for a walk over one block. The pain was intense, 24/7.
One of the chiropractors suggested I get an x-ray. I did and brought it to Dr. Gregory DiFelice at HSS. Upon entering the medical room, Dr. DiFelice began the conversation with, "So when do you want to schedule your hip replacement surgery?" At first I was a bit taken aback by his candor, but I loved his confidence which put me at ease. He showed me my x-ray and patiently explained that my hip was bone on bone and it was NEVER going to get better unless it was replaced.
He then said the most inspiring line which I've since quoted many times. He said, "Brian, hip replacement surgery is by far the single greatest surgery in medicine today." Dr. DiFelice specifically cited hip replacement surgery's tremendous success rate, short recovery time and relatively easy physical therapy. But the greatest benefit he said was, "You will be immediately pain-free from the arthritis." I was sold. At 62 years old, I was too young to ruin my quality of life.
I had the surgery on May 14th. Dr. DiFelice came in before the operation to explain exactly what was going to happen and to put me at ease.
The great folks at HSS led by Sophia (a nurse in recovery) and Nadine on the 11th floor, made my overnight stay feel special. I was up and walking just four hours after surgery. It felt so good, I asked Nadine to walk with me at least five different times for about 15 minutes. NO PAIN!
When I was released the next day, I got home and walked a few times around the block, just 36 hours after surgery. I felt amazing and was pain-free from the arthritis. I had forgotten what it was like to walk without pain.
In the days following the surgery, family and friends would comment that I looked happier, that my eyes looked bigger and that I was smiling more. People don't realize that when they are in constant pain, it affects other parts of their bodies as well. In my case, for three years I was holding my pain in my face. Upon release of that pain, people saw a noticeable difference - relief.
It's been nearly three months since my surgery and things could not be better. Of course, there were some so-so days because I tend to overdo things, but being pain-free from the arthritis in my hip allows me to get back to doing what I want.
I walked three miles the other day. Worked out hard on the elliptical yesterday. Swam 40 laps today. And of course, walked my dog. All things I could not do before my hip replacement surgery. Getting my hip replaced was one of the best decisions of my life.
So to Dr. DiFelice and the rest of the HSS staff, THANK YOU! Your expertise and care will never be forgotten.