I was told I would have to wait until I was 55 before I could get a total hip replacement (THR). So I was sent packing with a daily dose of the gut rotting anti-inflammatory Diclafenac. Over the next six years as my hips deteriorated, my activity levels steadily reduced down to where I could not walk nine holes of golf or even get my socks on without sitting on stairs.
The final straw came when I did a six-mile easy bike ride with my daughter and could not walk for three days due to the groin strain afterwards.
I heard through my brother in Bermuda about the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) and the success his friend had following an operation by Derek McMinn. I started my research and using my engineering analysis realised that even if the operation had an early failure I could still have two THRs and the potential advantages far out weighed any risks.
Using my company’s private health care policy I had my first consultation with a local BHR-trained surgeon. However, after telling me the virtues of the BHR and how due to my age of 36 I’d be an ideal candidate, he looked at my x-rays and told me my right hip was too far gone (I was down to bone on bone and had started to remove the enamel on the ball joint).
He advised that he would have to wait until during the surgery before deciding on either a BHR or a THR.
I left disappointed and considered my options. I decided to watch Mr McMinn’s video again and concluded that he was successfully operating on hips in a far worse condition than my own.
I asked if I could get a second opinion with my health care provider and contacted Mr McMinn. He asked for my x-rays and his team called a few days later saying he could do a bi-lateral procedure the following week! He also pointed out he could tell that I was taking anti-inflammatory tablets and to stop immediately.
So on the 9th May 2002 I had the five-hour operation that was the beginning of a new life.
Over the next year I recovered well from swimming at six weeks to cycling at 8 weeks and jogging and playing golf by the end of the year. My recovery process was enlightening after the slow decline into inactivity, it made me realise how depressed I had become coping with arthritis.
I literally felt like a new man.
Over the 11 years post op my activity is only restricted by the free time available. I have completed the Great North Run three times with a best time of one hour 55, which got me in the top 20% of the 50,000 runners. I also managed to get my golf handicap down from 15 to eight.
I have climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and last year completed the 145-mile coast to coast bike ride over two days. I know none of these are Olympian achievements but from where I was before the operation they feel kind of special to me.
I can only thank Mr McMinn and his staff for the pioneering work which has transformed the lives of thousands of people like me. There was also the reassuring news that unless I had problems they did not want to see me for a 10-year check up and just to carry on enjoying them.
I really feel they are going to last me for the rest of my life.