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James Horvath

New York, NY

HSS BACK IN THE GAME — Left HIP REPLACEMENT

Surgery on 4.9.2018 - Monday - 11:30am to 2:30pm didn’t come out of anesthesia until 8pm.

Living with hip pain is NOT living. Your waking hours are filled with just trying to find a comfortable enough position to be pain-free, even for a single breath. With the simple act of walking, never knowing the amount of pain your next step will bring is in itself exhausting. Your sleeping hours are filled just trying to find a comfortable position to fall asleep. Then as you start to fall asleep, you hope that you won’t move only to be awakened by the unexpected jabbing pain in your hip.

The crazy thing is, I am a professional dancer. For the majority of my life I’ve performed on stage, screen and TV: Broadway shows, national and international tours, dancing, directing and choreographing my way from job to job. On stage I never missed a step.

But offstage I AM CLUMSY. Sometimes I walk into doors, bump into tables and trip over “nothing” on the floor. It was May of 2015 when I fell down the stairs. I tobogganed down the first five carpetless steps on an empty laundry bag (stupidly left on the floor), resulting in a jammed left hip socket. An MRI revealed it to be bone on bone.

Over the next two years I continued to live my normal life. I continued to water ski, teach tap dance class, dance in two Broadway special events, take yoga, go to the gym, acupuncture treatments, REIKI Energy work and I would book full body massages whenever possible. As a dancer, you live with physical pain your entire career. In the past my body has always recovered and healed from the demands of whatever new choreography I had to perform. So, naturally, my thinking was that my hip would eventually begin to heal from all these alternative treatments. It didn’t. I couldn’t sleep more than 90 minutes at a time before the pain would wake me, and then it would take another 2 hours to try to fall back to sleep. Being sleep deprived, I compensated by taking up to 14 ibuprofen, a Red Bull and a 5 Hour Energy daily.

By June of 2017, living with the pain drove me to finally book an appointment for an MRI. The MRI revealed the bone on bone status eliciting the pain. Then after interviewing two different surgeons and not liking or trusting either, I decided to wait. The only good thing that came out of these early interviews was the knowledge that I could not further damage the joint by continuous workouts at the gym.

I knew I was going to eventually need a hip replacement. But, this new information immediately changed my thinking and my approach to my workouts at the gym. I shifted my thinking from “moving the joint” (bone on bone) to “think of connecting” with all the muscle and connective tissue around the joint. With this focused approach my cable machine exercises, squats and stretches would isolate and strengthen the muscles in the leg-hip area only. By warming up and working though the pain of the hip, the muscles grew stronger and stronger during these pre-op physical therapy workout sessions, resulting in a healthy, faster recovery-post-op. (I learned this approach to the body during my years of study as a ballet dancer from Ms. Peggy Dorsey of the London Ballet.) It was December of 2017 while teaching my tap class that the pain got so bad I had to stop. I felt like a one-legged-tap-dancer which wasn’t fair to either my students or my hip.

In January 2018, within a ten-day period, three independent sources had recommended Doctor PETER SCULCO. On the third recommendation I took that moment as a sign to call him. I booked my first appointment with Peter and his assistant Joy Buechler, which was the start of a beautiful friendship. I immediately felt better after our first consultation. Even though it was January and Peter couldn’t get me on the operating table until April 2018, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was filled with a new found hope that I would be able to sleep again by spring.

My surgery was April 9th, and to everyone’s shock, I was back to work three weeks later on May 1st. Peter is a genius. His conscious approach to my individual circumstance was done with the utmost care to achieve the ultimate best result. Since the day of the operation I am walking, moving, dancing, riding a bicycle and sleeping... PAIN-FREE.

I was back to work at my day job, where I never sit down, crewing backstage on a Broadway show - climbing ladders, running stairs and moving props in the dark as the curtain rises. Again PAIN-FREE!

Time seems to fly by when you’re living “pain-free”. In just four weeks it will be April 9th, my one year anniversary with my new hip. With each passing month I feel my physical energy, emotional confidence and mental clarity growing stronger and stronger. I’m back in full swing at the gym and yoga class. Getting back into a tap studio is scheduled for March 2019, 11 months post-op.

THANK YOU Peter Sculco, Joy Buechler and the incredible HSS team for your expertise, skill, and true caring as well as your continued medical research that benefits us all.

Yours,

James Horvath

Walking, Dancing, Working, Biking, Swimming, Teaching now… PAIN-FREE!

Photos taken with Dr. Peter Sculco during my six week post-op follow-up Exam.