I went to the doctor yesterday, MRI in hand, and finally got a diagnosis as to what's wrong with my hip. I have osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Meaning that the part of my femur that butts up against my pelvis to form my hip is dying due to lack of blood. This is caused by either my long-term steroid use, my lupus, or both. It's frustrating to have another major medical issue to deal with, but at the same time having a diagnosis makes me happy. That may seem odd for those of you who've never had a major illness that wasn't immediately identified, but I'm sure you can understand how frustrating it is to just not know what's going on with your own body.
The treatment options aren't great. It's not like I can take a pill or do some physical therapy and this will go away. It's probably going to require a total hip replacement, which causes a problem for someone as young as me because the lifespan on prosthetic hips is only about 20 to 30 years and I'm planning on making it well past 58. They can do a revision on the surgery and extend it's life by a few more years, but they're not always successful. There are also new kinds of hip replacements including ceramic and metal-on-metal that purport to last longer, but they have not been around long enough to have really been tested and both have problems of their own. There may even be options for me that don't actually require replacement of the hip, but rather an implant of some other kind, or even injecting my own stem cells into the necrotic parts to try to regrow the bone.
I'll know more about what my options really are after I see an orthopaedist at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson Hospital on the 1st of February. I'm also getting a second opinion at Abington Hospital three weeks later, just to be sure about where I want it done and who I want to do it.
Rothman and Abington both have great programs, with rapid recovery that has you up out of bed and walking in the first couple of days. That sounds painful, but also exciting and less like I'll be an invalid for some length of time afterward.
Alright, that's all I wanted to say about that for now. No news on the student teaching front, but I'll let you know when I know and I'll let you know more about the hip surgery once I know more.