Date of surgery: 6/24/08
Surgeon: Dr. Philip Schmitt
Hospital: Huron Valley Hospital, Commerce Township, Michigan
My story: I have been a professional dancer for twenty eight years (I began working at 18, and I am 46 years old), I have danced in several professional companies: Harbinger Dance Company (Detroit,MI), Ballet Michigan (Flint, MI), Dance and Company (Chicago, IL), Opus Dance Ensemble(Las Vegas, NV), Detroit Dance Collective (Detroit, MI), MoreDances Contemporary Dance Company (Troy, MI), touring European road shows, dinner theaters and even cruises on Norwegian Cruise Lines. I have also taught in community colleges, private dance studios, and fine arts camps. I ran my own school with my twin sister for twelve years. I was a full dance merit scholarship student at the Gus Giordano Dance Center (Chicago, Il). Studied Vaganova teacher’s course work and Creative Movement. The last eighteen years I have danced with the Detroit Dance Collective, and ten years with MoreDances Contemporary Dance Company, both professional modern dance companies in the Detroit (MI) area. I have taken class pretty much six days a week for the last 35 years, I love ballet, modern, jazz, and tap, I also started taking yoga in the last few years.
My hip pain began about twenty years ago and this was the beginning of my hip surgery experience. I now own a brand new Birmingham Resurfaced Hip as of June 24th, 2008.
Prior to surgery
When did you first notice symptoms and what were they?
Twenty years ago, hip clicking, pain, increased pain, range of motion problems, limping and need of constant medication.
What was your medical diagnosis (traumatic osteoarthritis, congenital hip problem, avascular necrosis, etc)? Arthritis, Hip Displasia.
What forms of treatment did you seek before considering surgery (chiropractic, acupuncture, medications, bodywork, physical therapy, herbs, etc)?
Started with Ibuprophen, went to Celebrex and finally Mobic in the last year. I also did physical therapy, massage, yoga, Glucosaimine, and Tumeric.
How did you change your work habits, lifestyle to accommodate the hip problem?
I began not wanting to walk in the stores, or outside with the dog, later stopped jumping so much in class, I really kept dancing until the day before the surgery but with much pain. The last three years I felt like I was dancing and walking on sharp glass.
How long an interval was it from the onset of hip problems until surgery?
What factors, physical, emotional, financial, etc. influenced your final decision to have surgery?
I for the first time in my life had to tell a choreographer I could not do so much floor work (I am a professional modern dancer with Detroit Dance Collective), I felt depressed to do that because I have always been a determined dancer. It also made me feel old before my “time”, in every other way my body still felt strong. Also since I work full time as a dancer/teacher I felt I needed to fix the problem to continue to work.
Were there other dancers you spoke with that helped you?
I knew of one dancer here in Michigan who had success with her surgery, I spoke to Ruth Ziegler from this www.dancerhips.com and emailed Jim Roxburgh, both people helped me so much.
What influenced your choice of surgeon?
My ex-husband had double hip replacement with the same doctor (so I knew of him), I also spoke with several people who also had hip resurfacing with Dr. Schmitt and were very happy with their results.
How long were you in the hospital?
What kind of prosthesis did you get (e.g., ceramic ball/ceramic liner? poly liner? highly-crossed linked poly liner? all metal?)?
Birmingham Hip (metal on metal).
Did you have any complications in the hospital?
I was allergic to an antibiotic drug which caused me to itch, but it was taken care of with Benedryl.
Anything else to say about your in-patient experience?
It was excellent, good food (Salmon and Strawberry Salad), nice hospital, and good medications.
Did you have any complications, especially unexpected difficulties, after you got home? No, not really, but I didn’t really know what to expect of my body in the beginning. It was shocking to not be able to move my leg, and my thigh hurt quite a lot.
What steps did you take toward recovery? (Physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, medications, bodywork, herbs, etc.)?
Physical therapy, swimming, walking, small weight lifting, and crunches as soon as possible. I have been doing all that felt safe from the beginning.
How long did it take you to really feel recovered (6 months, one year, two years?)?
I am only nine weeks out of surgery, I am not recovered yet, although I am doing well. I started teaching one class a week (in a chair, with my cane) at three weeks, I went to a fine arts camp to teach for two weeks, six weeks after the surgery (I had an assistant to help), I just went back to company class this week limiting what I can do. In the next two weeks I will begin teaching my regular schedule, I do not expect to perform for several more months, but it felt good to go back to class.
Did you return to dancing professionally?
I am now working on it.
About dance class: Do you take dance classes?
How much facility do you have?
I have some turn-out, can not lunge deep yet, I can do basic barre’ work at a low level, I am beginning to stand on my operated leg better, I use the barre when necessary. I can demi-plie, tendu, jete’, rond de jambe, petite battement, low battements.
All post-THR patients are advised to limit impact on the joint and to avoid overcrossing the legs. Given that, do you actually modify your dance class? E.g., are there parts of the class that you skip (petite allegro, grand allegro?)? Do you use fifth position? Etc.?
I have not used fifth position, and I have not crossed my legs yet. I am not jumping at all yet.
It is all new to me so I am being careful, there are less restrictions with resurfacing, but it is still not healed so I have to move slowly.
Do you do other physical exercise (e.g., Yoga, Pilates, biking, swimming, etc.)? If so do you modify what you do in these activities?
I have found swimming to be great in the last six weeks, I also love yoga, although I have not done much yet since I just had surgery. I have used the bike at physical therapy.
How has the surgery impacted you professionally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially?
I was scared to do the surgery, and I want to keep dancing, but so far I am glad I did it, I feel like I will do well when I am healed. Financially it could have been difficult, but I did the surgery when I was on summer break and the company I dance for was also on summer break. I also have a strong support system which helped me emotionally and physically.
Is your life different now? Did you have any outcome, good or bad, that was different from what you expected? Any other thoughts to share?
It is all too new to tell yet. I am in less pain walking than before the surgery, and I think when I am healed I will be glad I decided to do it.