It’s ‘that time’ again – review time.
After being on a healthy hips journey for my two girls, for just over three years now, you’d think I’d be used to it, but I’m not. This time the stakes are higher, with both Eve and Maya being checked in the next couple of weeks.
As I’ve previously written, our journey has not been as challenging as some, but not as fast as others; it is our journey and no two are the same. For those of you who’ve only recently come to know about hip dysplasia and Healthy Hips Australia (HHA), I am HHA’s founder and this excerpt is from my story that I’ve share already.
Eve was breech, and when she was three weeks old, we were told a short stint in a Pavlik harness would correct her shallow hip sockets and we could put it all behind us. Eve got the green light to stop nighttime bracing just before her second birthday. Eve wore a harness then brace 23/7 for 10 of her first 12 months of life. Her next check-up in November will be one year after treatment finished. We are confident she has avoided surgery, but have learnt to keep an open mind.
Maya kept her head down during pregnancy and we thought she would therefore avoid any trouble with hip dysplasia. Her 6- and 10-week ultrasounds were promising, but by six months she needed to go into a brace. Maya only needed four months of 23/7 bracing and, for the past eight months since then, has been using a brace during nights and naps.
So why are reviews so daunting?
You just never know what to expect. I’ve heard good news, bad news and news that nothing has changed; you almost feel cheated that nothing has changed. The rate of growth of the hip joint can be a bit like watching grass grow; you do everything you can to help things move in the right direction but at the end of the day there are factors beyond our control that influence the outcome.
It is not easy for the treating specialists too, who must feel like they are trying to look into a crystal ball when faced with the question, “how much longer will we need treatment for?” Getting a vague answer is often a source of frustration for us as parents, but perhaps knowing that you aren’t the only one getting no definite answer will help. If someone invents a reliable crystal ball I’m sure it’d be put to good use.
How to cope better at review time
- Recognise that you might feel increasingly anxious in the lead up to the appointment; most of us do.
- Plan some distractions in the time around the review. It helps to have other things to focus on and look forward to.
- Let your family and friends know its review time. They might not understand what the day-to-day impact of managing hip dysplasia is like, but sharing your worries can halve your load. Someone might even offer to come with you to the review; I’ve found this extremely helpful (especially with two children to wrangle).
- Write down your questions for the specialist. Have questions prepared for both good news and bad news. If you forget a questions remember you can call and ask for it to be clarified.
- Remember that no two journeys are the same.
The countdown clock has started earlier than normal for me this time; it's almost a month until the reviews but we'll be off for X-rays in the next week as we won't have an opportunity to get them done closer to the review date. I'll keep you all updated and please remember to keep HHA updated with your journeys. We love hear good news and are always willing to be an ear to vent to for the bad news.