You are about to read an honest account of how it all went down.
In January of this year, I went to Rothman Institute because my lower back and lower extremities had been paining me for quite some time (so much so, that I was seriously contemplating retiring; didn’t feel as though I could go on in that way until 2017 – had sent away for my estimate and everything). After taking x-rays, I met with the doctor and the consultation went a lil’ something like this:
The doc pulled the x-rays up on the computer screen for both of us to see: left hip, right hip, pelvic area.
“Did she almost fall off the chair?” I asked myself. “Is this lady drunk?”
“You need to be on the table now!” she blurted out.
With eyebrows frowned and confusion in my head, I asked with attitude, “For what?”
Before I knew it, “What the fuck!” had escaped my lips!
My mind was racing with the following thoughts:
Don’t you have to be old for that? I’m too young! I got a 15 yr. old kid – we got things to do! My mom and dad didn’t even have hip replacement! For real though, Jesus?!
And then the real truth; I am in a lot of pain….
“I want it done,” I said.
And that is how it went down. The doctor explained that I had no cartilage in either hip and I was walking bone on bone – no cushion whatsoever, which explained everything. Bone had begun to grow on top of bone, causing bone spurs to form when cartilage is completely gone. When that happens, you can develop a limp when you walk – I did. I was really messed up with excruciating pain. Bones grinding together with no shock absorption – unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my entire life; however, I had been dealing with it. I continued on with my daily life: work, church, soccer mom for the kid, shopping and whatever else needed to be done until I could do it no longer.
February 2014, my husband and I met with the surgeon. He walked in the room and said, “Okay, where’s the 51 year old woman with the 80 year old hips!”
Doink! A comedian! That broke the ice and put us at ease. During the interview, we asked a host of questions (every time we thought of something, I wrote it down, including the lawsuits commercials). The surgeon was very thorough in his explanation of procedure, tools, and all things related. He asked how did I get to such a bad state. I told him I didn’t know; I needed him to tell me. He asked if I played sports or if I was ever injured. “Nope, was just a regular ole tomboy growing up – that’s about it.”
I asked if I could have both done at the same time. He said he would suggest it because he’s never seen so much arthritis in someone my age. He also explained that the pain I was experiencing then would be gone but replaced with surgery pain. I told him I could endure that because it would be temporary. That alone should give you an indication of how much pain I was actually living with. If he could’ve scheduled me for surgery the next day – I would’ve agreed to it.
During pre-op when you meet with several doctors, they all asked the same question, “How did this happen to you? You’re not old or overweight.” Well, maybe I am by five pounds or so, but I realize each one had to repeat the same questions for background information – but my answer remained the same, “I do not know! I need you all to tell me!” They couldn’t be sure whether it was hereditary or just the way God made me.
But there is something Wayne and I realized throughout the entire process; and I’m switching course here, but just stay with me. There was plenty of paperwork to complete and interviews to be had. And the one thing that we were so proud of was that we were there as husband and wife. I felt like I was signing my life away and when asked if I had an advanced directive, I said, “No. Now what?” They asked if I was married. “Yes, that’s my husband sitting right there.” If anything happened he would be the one to give a directive on my life! I looked at him and said, “You literally hold my life in your hands.” And it was the truth. If we weren’t married, the man I have been with for years, the father of my child, would not be able to make a decision for me if I couldn’t. He would be skipped as my next of kin- my siblings would have more say than he, and mind you, I come from a large family. Now what kind of funky sense would that make? Here I am with this man for over two decades and he can’t make a medical decision about my life when we make household decisions together and decisions involving our child? The man who would be, and is currently, my caregiver would be silenced in the eyes of medical services. To the naysayers about marriage, go through something like this and see just how important marriage is and how little you will matter by not being Mr. & Mrs. He’s my husband and I’m his wife. We are a team. Those words changed the entire tone of the room.
My sister mentioned that we are in love all over again. I might agree. I’ve never been the type to tell a man, “I love you,” but I have said it every dang day since my surgery – that and “thank you.” No matter what we’ve been through in our marriage, we’re at this stage now. The first day home from the hospital, I cried because it was beyond difficult for me to climb the steps. Once I got to the bathroom, I cried again being too afraid to get off the toilet without the lift. But right there with me, literally giving me his shoulder, saying, “I got you, babe. C’mon, I got you,” I knew I was okay. And when I had to shower using the chair he was right there washing my lower legs and feet (I could reach everything else), and afterward he cocoa buttered the same. I could not do this without him and I’ve thanked him every single day since, which is something coming from a woman who used to adamantly say, “I don’t need you!” Circumstances obviously changes and God has a way of shutting up the stupid from your mouth!
At this point, my loving husband has gone from being empathetic to a drill sargent. “Get up! Gotta keep those hips moving and that blood circulating! Did you exercise yet? Get up!” Needless to say I can’t wait for him to leave for work.
When my co-workers gave me a sendoff, they told me they had no idea of what I was going through. That’s because I didn’t tell anyone. I put up a brave front. It wasn’t for them to know. I was there to do a job; not complain about my health, but when I shut my door, no one knew what I went through behind that closed door. And when asked about me wearing heels. That was my preference. It would’ve been no more comfortable if I walked barefoot on cotton balls.
So, bring on all the jokes you can think of – heck, I’ve gotten a few good ones already and even some of my own. I’ll tell you something else too – I have a new appreciation for Steve Austin, Jaime Sommers, and Wolverine!
Hopefully, this has been helpful to you all because trust and believe, you or someone close to you could go through this same thing.
I can’t possibly continue this journey without God who gave me my husband. Make sure the person you’re with is the person you trust with your life.
Wow!!!! That was a Very interesting story there auntie…. Didn’t know it went down all like that behind the door…. Just knew what was going on from what u told me…. Hopefully I don’t have to go through the same thing… But only god knows…. Glad everything went well
Yeah, nephew, it was like that – just continue to pay attention to familial health issues. 🙂
I can truly relate to this blog. Tillie I know what you are talking about from age, surgery, husband etc. I really enjoyed reading this blog and feeling you. We had a chance to talk and I shared with you about my back and spinal cord surgery with left me with no feelings in my left leg at the age of 39. I had to learn to walk all over again, and needed assistance with everything which I was not use to. With the help of my husband, daughter, mother (living at the time) therapist, family I was able to overcome it and become independent again but not 100 percent. i was not going to leave a response but after reading this I felt obligated because I could truly relate to the blog. From going to the bathroom, needing help in the shower, going up and down stairs, doing household chores, and just being independent was taken from me.
I can’t leave without saying this “I gave my husband permission to move on because I thought this was too much for him”. He told me “that’s why he is my husband” it also bought me and my husband closer than ever. (We never had time to discuss the situation or talk with the doctors because my surgery was emergency I was going into being paralyzed)
But I thank God, for strengthening my body and allowing me to be able to care for myself again. Tillie. He won’t put no more on you than you can bare. Take your time and allow your body to heal. “God is in Control”
Alice, I am so glad you responded; I wish more people would. So many folks have asked me about my situation because they feel some of the same pains I felt. I appreciate all you’ve been through – you and I both have testimonies to share. Thanks again for sharing – love you for doing so. 🙂
Well since my first response never got posted! I will try it again!
When reading your blog I started to cry! This is truly a testimony! I pray for you daily that God would take all your away and heal your hips! Girl your one strong lady! Continue to do what you are doing that’s why you are do blessed! Love you my Nathan!
That’s my girl and you know it’s your phone…. lol, but thank you for your continued prayers and genuine friendship! I love you too 🙂
WOW…..such an inspiring life event. There’s not much to be said, you said it all. Love the fact that you touch on marriage & the roles that each one plays. However, everyone should have an Advanced Directive prepared, but of course we seem to procrastinate on this issue until too late.. As for me, I am going to put this on top of my to do list for my son is certainly to young to make these kinds of decisions on my behalf. Thanks so much for sharing and waking up a sleeping mind.. I pray strength for you & your husband toward your journey to recovery. God Bless!
Thanks for those words of wisdom, my friend. I’m happy you found it interesting enough to respond. And I’m always appreciative when I can wake a sleeping mind! 🙂
Hi tillie, I’ve known you a loooong time, since you were 18yrs of age.
Never heard you complain about much.
When you first told me about what you were diagnosed with and what had to be done to correct it, quite frankly…. I was galvanized! Not sure of what to say. However, my first thought was, don’t that happen to older ppl or those who are/were avid joggers, athletes or ( like you mentioned, over weight ) live a sedentary life style? As you know i deal with athletes everyday.
Anyhow, I’m feliz! = happy that you have a great support system to aide you in your ” new normal.” You are aware of my Struggle with severe back pain for the past 14 plus years, with multiple surgeries. So, I know how important it is to have a great wife and a fantastic daughter who are there for me. So, keep fighting the good fight. When you can’t….(check that), i don’t care for using ” can’t.” When you don’t have the energy, leave it in God’s hands. Remember:” There is no strife without a struggle.” ” If you need to talk I will listen. If you need to listen I will talk.” May God continue to bless you. Btw, never retire, its over rated. Work less hours, or move on to something else. But stay active.
Good advice, Smokin’. I didn’t realize you had multiple surgeries – it’s amazing what the body can endure! We have in common how much we appreciate our support system. Thanks for responding – and you didn’t have to put out there how long we’ve known each other (lol) …. 🙂
whew!!! That says alot. Yes you made some great points on marriage and having someone in your life, to share in your life and life decisions. I am so proud of u as a sister, a sista, a black sista, and as a married woman who knows how to take care of business. You have gone through a big deal. Yes be careful of the choices we make through life because they will effect u somehow and somewhere down the line. I am so proud to call you my SISTER. This was great and I know this blog will bring things to light for all who read this.
Aw, sis, that was very special of you! You see first hand what we’re up against and you know how much more I could have added. It is always my hope to enlighten folks with my posts. Thanks for your response – you know I loves you! 🙂
A wonderful job. Super helpful information.
Thanks, Tillie, for sharing your plight, your process, and your partnership. I’m grateful to God for blessing you with,healing, power, peace and the right partner ! Love you, sweetie!
Thank you, Bea. I can hear those words coming from your mouth in that sweet, motherly way of yours. I love you too! 🙂
Hey girlfriend was talking to you by text.I.never knew you was in so much pain.
YOU are a real trooper. GOD BLESS YOU
After 44 years of marriage you are making me think again.
Exactly what are you rethinking, Margie?! I know you have a testimony of your own, girl! Thanks and God bless you too, my friend! 🙂
tillie i feel tears of joy. i was shocked when i read you were down. But, i am truly happy you have pulled through with the help of God. and, i love a good marriage, that’s the hardest job of all and i am so full of happiness that the two of you have found the way. peace and blessings always.
Thanks for those inspirational words, Tuck! I’m glad you responded. I hope all is well with you too! 🙂
“One will chase a thousand; two will put ten thousand to flight.” It is the way He designed it. Congratulations on a successful surgery.
Hey Doxology! Indeed, indeed. Thank you and I hope all is well with you. 🙂
Hey girlfriend I have openly thanked Wayne for being there for you not that I had to but because I know that man loves you with all his heart. And this is the way he shows it by being at your side when you needed him the most. He said himself it would not have been any other way but by your side. I love both of you and am so very happy to have been in your life through the years and you cannot get rid of me. Your post was awesome and I wish some of my family members could read what marriage is through the THICK and THIN if you’re living according to the vows you promised in the presence of GOD.
Aww, thanks, Sel, and I know we cannot get rid of you – don’t want to! I appreciate those kind words and you have been with us from the very beginning – we love you too! My goal is to be honest in what I post. marriage hasn’t always been easy – it’s not supposed to be, but this is what it comes down to. 🙂
Well, I don’t know if I can beat what you have written already, let me tell you sweetie, if you had written from the beginning of the appointments we had, you would have had a lot of pagers. Let me just say it was a hell of an ordeal, and still is. It definitely put a different light on our marriage. Nothing bad, I love my wife before the surgery and after the surgery even more. The day of the surgery I could not stop crying. All I could do was just pray that she would come out in good shape. The Lord answered my prayers. I have a biotic woman now. The real deal. This whole situation was a lot more than I can write about. The healing process definitely takes a lot of time, and being the woman that my wife is, you just can’t rush it.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a response from you, husband, but you’re right, if I had written about the entire ordeal, it would’ve been a lot more pages. Everyone gets the gist of it though. We in this together (ebonically speaking)! 🙂
I just read your story and had tears in my eyes. You are one brave woman. I know that when the surgery pain subsides you will be on the road to an active life once again. Congrats Tille! Not everyone could make a decision to do both hips at the same time. Your husband is such a great guy.
Thanks, Marlene. I appreciate your kind/encouraging words, but I wanted to share what it’s really like to go through this. And yeah, Wayne’s okay! lol 🙂
This article is Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and every other magazine worthy!
Thanks, Deb! I appreciate it and will see what I can do about that. 🙂
Such a good story. I had no idea you were in so much pain! I’m glad you went through the procedure and you can look forward to your retirement being able to do whatever you want. How lucky you are to have such a grwat support system in your family and husband. I hope someday someone loves me enough to wash my feet and tell me everything will be okay….
Claire, I just love your last sentence! And you will. Thanks for responding. 🙂
Great post, you make me proud. ☺
Love you, cousin. 🙂
Girlfriend thanks for posting. Although I know the story it’s refreshing to read you putting the situation in such a positive light. I also appreciate your realness about your marriage and how important the institution of marriage is for medical situations. So happy that this has brought you and Wayne closer. Love you guys.
Thanks Vanessa! It’s the truth and folks need to realize that marriage is important on several levels. Thanks for responding and we love you back! 🙂
Great post Tilda! I had no idea you were enduring such pain. So glad that you and your husband are going through your recovery together. God bless you on your healing journey! How’s your “stalker” doing? Is she a big help to mom? I broke my ankle in January and have been in a healing journey as well. Your post was a blessing!
Thanks, Yvonne. It’s so good to hear from you. The “stalker” is doing what she can when she’s not in school or rowing. Sorry to hear about your ankle – hope it heals well. May God continue to bless you – I still miss you. 🙂
Hey Shugga! What an awesome, jaw-dropping post! I can not believe the words you let come out of your mouth… “I love you.” What the whaaaat???!!!! I am shocked, pleasantly surprised, and so proud of you all at the same time. And I’m so glad you decided to change the course of your health and mobility. You are an inspiration! I see you growing!! 😀
*Chuckles* I see me growing, too, in a HUGE way! Glad you enjoyed the post – you know I like to keep it real even when it’s difficult for me to do so! I miss you, Shugga! 🙂