I developed what was diagnosed as Trochanteric Bursitis over my left hip in 2002. I was treated over many years with cortisone injections but with no lasting benefit. In 2008 I had surgery to release tissue over the bursa. This was performed as a last resort since the pain was so debilitating I was considering stopping work.
This surgery was not successful and so in 2014 I had a further operation. The surgeon said he had stitched the tendon back. I was not allowed to put my foot to the ground for six weeks before walking a very short distance for another six weeks. I was told that there was nothing else that could be done. However, despite having had two knee replacements, I was still an active dog walker and in full-time work. The result of the second operation was a bitter disappointment. The following year I had a further ultrasound-guided cortisone injection which lasted for a few weeks.
I asked my GP to refer me to another surgeon in the North East where I am now living. The surgeon was very sympathetic but said it was unlikely that he could help. He arranged more MRI and ultrasound scans. He referred me to a colleague to be discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting. They concluded that the first repair had failed and that there was nothing further that could be done.
By this time I was depressed, becoming overweight and was in considerable pain. I was still trying to work as a prison chaplain. It was impossible as I was so slow and could not even get across the huge premises. Walking with a stick was becoming very difficult so I was given a buggy. I continued to work until I could no longer manage the pain. Sadly I left the prison service and returned to help in a parish church as an assistant priest. Whilst I loved my work, I was becoming more and more immobile. I had to admit that I would have to give up unless something could be done.
I heard of St Luke’s Charity which assists clergy to see consultants. I was referred to Mr Marston, who does pro bono work at the hospital for St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy. Life looked up! He did not dismiss me. He suggested this incredible operation using a donor graft. He explained that, to reconstruct the damaged tendon, we would use an Achilles tendon and bone donor graft. I said yes at once and managed to raise the funds to have the surgery. I feel it is desperately sad that this is not on offer on the NHS as so many people who get trapped in this wretched cycle of bursitis and tendonitis would benefit.
After a short stay in hospital I was home, walking with crutches for the first two months. At about nine months, I was pain-free and able to gently run on the beach with my dog. I then suffered a setback due to a disc prolapse. That was sorted out at my local hospital but I am now back walking the dog, pushing a supermarket trolley and continuing work at church.
I still use a stick when I walk outside but hope that I may abandon this before too long. However that is unimportant, the main thing being I am pain-free. I am so grateful for this bone and tendon graft surgery. It has allowed me to move again without pain. I have even moved from a bungalow back to a house with stairs since I can now manage the stairs without a problem. Things are so good.