Ros’s Story.

During 2007 I began to notice pain in my right hip and gradually found it limiting gardening and cycling. I also had to change my shopping habits, eventually not going into York. It became too far to walk to and from car parks so instead I frequented out-of-town complexes where I could park close to the shops. The pain also intruded in my work which involved standing and walking long corridors. I eventually decided to go privately for a hip re-surfacing operation.  All went well. I did the physio exercises conscientiously and soon life was back to normal with the expectation that my hip would be good for 15-20 years.

Just three years later when all was going well, I received my recall letter and laughed it off as being similar to a car with a minor faulty part! However I went for the blood test. It was very unsatisfactory with the waiting room heaving with people all enduring very lengthy waiting times and then being rushed in and out. I received a letter saying my blood levels were “slightly raised” but when I returned to talk to the surgeon about it I was only given a few minutes to ask questions and was told to come back in three months for another test. I was a bit mystified but just carried on with my busy life.

By the time I went for the next blood test, I was beginning to feel some discomfort in my hip and this test revealed “raised levels” but again there was little time to gain real information and advice. Then articles began to appear in the press but I still did not think too much about it as there was so much going on in my life – maybe I was in denial too.

When I had the blood test I was still not actually “in pain” but a piece of paper was waved at me with the results on it. The surgeon rather grudgingly said that due to the increased levels I had better have revision surgery. When I asked the hospital for a copy of all my blood test figures, my file “got lost”.  I contacted a solicitor because by then I had read and heard more from other sources. I was amazed by his knowledge and understanding of the whole metal on metal situation. I learnt a lot and was told of several other surgeons from whom I could get a second opinion.

I learnt that one of these surgeons in particular, had fully embraced the reality of what was happening to so many patients, that he had an enormous amount of experience in carrying out revisions as well as being instrumental in the starting of research.  My husband and I were immediately impressed by the time and attention he gave us and by the friendliness and caring nature of all the staff at that hospital.

A scan showed a great deal of fluid and I was then worried that I might have left it too long. The operation revealed a “ pseudo tumour”  the size of an orange containing a mass of affected tissue with extremely high metal levels but very fortunately it had only just begun to damage muscles. I am still amazed that I had not been in real pain, just stiff and achy. I was advised that recovery takes longer after revision and am frustrated not to be able to return to swimming with breast stroke leg action or to bend down as repeatedly as gardening demands but it’s amazing how creative it makes you become! It’s good to know that my blood levels have practically returned to normal within four months. It’s a big decision to agree to revision surgery and go through the whole operation and recovery again but I would recommend that others do not delay as I did, as the damage could have been so much worse.

None of us knows how the metal may have affected our bodies for the future so I am determined to live every day as fully as I can. Thank you to those of you who have started the Support Group – it certainly underlines the large number of us involved in all of this and it’s good to meet and talk as well as to hear the speakers’ most informative and helpful presentations.

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People have joined us from all over the UK and we try to keep in touch with everyone, mainly through the internet, to let members know about topics of interest - such as media coverage and research.

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