When I tell people I have a new hip, they typically respond, “You are too young to have a hip replacement. What happened?”
“I don’t know,” was a useful answer when my dad asked me why there was a shopping cart on his front lawn and a ladder leaning against my bedroom window the morning after my nineteenth birthday, but I should have a better response for questions about why I had surgery. Unfortunately, I don’t.
Technically, I know why I had a hip resurfacing – I had osteoarthritis, or OA, and the cartilage in my left hip was gone. But, I don’t know what caused the OA. Dr. Vail speculates that my hips never completely developed. They developed enough so that, growing up, I didn’t have any physical limitations, but, in my case, the imperfect position of my femur in my hip socket accelerated normal wear and tear. More than one doctor said, “It may be genetic.” If so, my OA is my parents’ fault.
I am now 37, so I am past the age of pinning my woes on my mom and dad. As Mordecai Richler wrote in Joshua Then And Now, “We can’t blame everything on our parents. We are responsible for what we become.”
A popular topic in health and fitness circles is “gene expression,” which is the process by which information in a gene is used to create proteins that, in turn, help many biological activities, including immune responses. Although our DNA cannot be changed, lifestyle choices can positively or negatively influence gene expression. Most people agree that smoking causes cancer. In this article, Mark Sisson explains how our bodies can become insulin resistant from a diet that is high in sugar. Insulin resistance leads to Type 2 diabetes. More research is being done to better understand the links between gene expression and disease, but it’s possible that my OA is the result of poor choices I made in the past. I’m not one to self-flagellate, but maybe I didn’t drink enough milk as a child, or maybe, I drank too much beer at university. I don’t know.
I don’t know how long my new hip will last, and I don’t know if my right hip will eventually need to be replaced. But, I know that I no longer need a dual-handled sock assist, and I know the 3-in-1 commode needs a new home. I know I am happy that I had a hip resurfacing.
I don’t know what happened, and I no longer care. I am focused on my recovery, and I am taking my health seriously. After all, I am responsible for what I become, and until my kids are old enough to stop blaming me, I’m responsible for them too.