My Experience With Avascular Necrosis
Last updated: April 2023
Since I got diagnosed with avascular necrosis, I've been asked many times what that means. People want to know what avascular necrosis is. In fact, some people living with sickle cell do not know what avascular necrosis is.
What is avascular necrosis?
Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply. It usually affects the joints especially the hip joints.
Usually, avascular necrosis does not give any prior warning. There are no early symptoms. I just woke up one fateful morning and it was difficult to get up from bed. My left hip was stiff and painful. Although the pain was brief, so I managed to sit.
I thought it was one of those pains that came and lasted just hours but I was wrong. Each time I tried walking or sitting, the pain in my hip got worse. I endured it for days but it kept getting worse so I decided to visit the hospital.
Trying different solutions
While I was busy with the hospital visits, my mom took me to a traditional orthopedic and I also used different traditional medicines yet nothing changed. After several visits and x-rays, I was finally diagnosed with avascular necrosis and that was how my journey with avascular necrosis started.
My orthopedic doctor recommended a walking stick to reduce weight on the hip. I didn't like the idea of that but I agreed to use it anyways. As a student, it was stressful using the walking stick, my palms would ache before I got to class or wherever I was going.
There were times when I had to rest my leg and back before going on with my journey.
Impacting my confidence
The bigger problem however was that even though I was using the walking stick, it didn't change much, the pain was still there and it was even affecting my confidence.
My confidence was drowning big time and every aspect of my social life was poor. After I realized this, I stopped using the walking stick. My decision to stop using the walking stick was not something my doctor fully supported, but I did it anyway.
Relying on hip strengthening exercises
When I stopped using the walking stick, things didn't change much. My hips still stiffed and hurt so I decided to do some research. I visited a physiologist that recommended some exercises for my hip. I also searched on YouTube for some exercises that can ease osteoarthritis pain and I found some very helpful ones.
Every morning, I do these exercises and it really helped my hip mobility.
Living with avascular necrosis
If you have avascular necrosis, you can look for exercises because they could help joint mobility. Although, doing this does not heal your avascular necrosis. It can help your hip move better and avoid the early morning stiffness.
Accepting the reality
The progression of avascular necrosis is very fast and when it gets to level IV, the only cure for now is hip replacement surgery. While I am waiting and getting ready for the surgery, I am making myself better. I am learning to live well with sickle cell and avascular necrosis.
I am gaining back my confidence and my mental health is getting better.
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