Carol Holland

Carol Holland's Story

At the age of 55 osteo-arthritis had curtailed the more active side of my life so I was highly delighted with my new hip when it was fitted in March 2007; I was even playing badminton again by Christmas. It always made some odd noises especially when getting up from low chairs but from December 2009 I noticed that it started to click a lot and my femur started to ache. In August 2010, I went for a week's holiday at Sidmouth Folk Festival which involved a lot of walking up and down hills and foot tapping. I just knew something wasn't right as my bone ached most of the time and my joint would click along in time to the music.

In September 2010 I went to see my GP and got an appointment to see my surgeon. Unfortunately, when I went to see my surgeon I felt as though my concerns were not being taken that seriously. I was told that the ache in my femur was actually "referred pain from arthritis developing in my spine" but as I was there, they said that they might as well do a blood test! Even after I got the official letter telling me I had an ASR hip, I wasn't that bothered because, apart from a bit of aching, I wasn't in any actual pain. However, the blood tests came back with relatively high levels of cobalt and chromium and it was suggested that I should go for an MRI scan.

In February 2011 I happened to notice a small advert in a very local paper inviting people with ASR hips to come to a meeting in York. If it wasn't for the fact that my husband was away on business and my son encouraged me, I might never have gone. As it turned out, it was one of the most valuable mornings I have ever spent; it was certainly an eye-opener. Before I went I had no idea how much was involved, how many people were affected and what the consequences could be of having one of these metal on metal hips that fail.

The second meeting in April was even more enlightening as there was a presentation by Mr Nargol, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who was based in Hartlepool. He showed us actual photos of affected hips taken during revision surgery which graphically illustrated the pools of potentially "toxic" liquid eating into your bones and flesh. Worst of all, I found out that this might be going on without you even being aware of it because you didn't need to be in pain for this to be going on inside you.

A subsequent ultrasound scan showed I had an abundance of this fluid around my joint but it still wasn't causing me any pain at all. These potential difficulties meant that revision surgery would be difficult and I decided there and then that I wanted to go to Mr Nargol so I wrote and cancelled the rest of my NHS appointments.

My revision surgery took place on June 6th 2011. I thought I had acted fairly quickly and caught the problems in time, but despite my operation being considered as a success I haven't come out of it unscathed. I suffered a small amount of permanent bone damage and now I find "hurrying" painful and running impossible, so no more sport for me. Even though I am now only just 60 I feel I have been propelled into old age but, compared to a lot of people, I'm absolutely fine and am very grateful to Mr Nargol.

If it hadn't been for the Support Group, I don't think I would have realised the seriousness of my situation and I can't imagine how much more unseen damage would have occurred. If you have an ASR, I cannot impress upon you enough to find out what your blood metal levels are and if they are high, take action to investigate further without delay!


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