MRI posted 11 December, 2023

I was unable to walk before 50, now surgery has given me a new life

  • Home
  • News
  • Trust News
  • I was unable to walk before 50, now surgery has given me a new life

A 53 year old mother from Manchester has shared her story following a double hip operation that she credits with saving her life.

Lisa Clarke was only 45 when she started to have problems with her hips. What started off as a limp and feelings of mild pain whilst walking quickly worsened to the point where she couldn’t leave her bed and had to be carried into the bath by family members.

“I was happy in my life. I had a clerical job I enjoyed, I’d cycle for hours across South Manchester most days, I didn’t see it coming that all of this would come to a stop in my mid-40s.

“I found out I had osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis which caused the bones in my hips to turn to dust.

“It got really bad over the space of a couple of years, my hips completely crumbled and when I walked I was hunched over and almost crabbing with my walking stance – if I caught my reflection whilst walking I’d look away. It eventually got to the point where I was unable to walk at all or even dress myself and the pain was excruciating.

“The pain was worse than childbirth, like being electrocuted every time my bones grinded against each other. There are no words to describe bone pain, it was that constant and severe I’d just be screaming in pain, so much so I’d get irritated by the sound of my own pain.

“I was completely housebound, there was a period of five weeks I had to stay laid down on the bed as the pain was excruciating when I tried to move. My family would carry me to the bath and help me shower, I couldn’t dress myself and just getting to the toilet was a huge struggle.

“Losing my mobility wasn’t only damaging to my physical health, my mental health also suffered massively. I couldn’t socialise or do anything, if we went anywhere I’d always be worrying about whether or not I can get to the toilet, if there would be a small step I couldn’t get over, will I be screaming with pain just sat down trying to have a meal – my life felt like it was over.

“Aside from the obvious emotions you would expect with being housebound and unable to live your life, I was also really scared at the prospect of permanently being in a wheelchair if my hips couldn’t be fixed or if any operation went wrong.”

It was decided that Lisa was going to need a double hip replacement, an uncommon procedure for someone her age, and she was going to need it quickly. She was referred to Trafford Hospital’s ‘Elective Hub’ a special health hub designed to get people the elective operations they need as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Separate from the main hospital to remain as focused as possible, the hub has delivered 7500 operations for local people in the last year alone.

“The levels of anxiety I was feeling carried on into surgery too, I’d never had surgery before and I was frightened to death about the idea, terrified.

“Because both my hips were so bad, I always had it in the back of my mind that any complications might mean I’d never walk again. I’d put it off for years and I banned any family or friends from coming to the hospital with me when I did eventually commit to doing it.

“But I had nothing to worry about, the team at Trafford were brilliant. The speed at which they saw me really surprised me, I thought one hip might take over a year but they did both inside four months. It wasn’t as though it was rushed, it’s just that no time was wasted and everything there was set up to get this process right.

“From my point of view the system was perfect, every stage was a smooth transition and there was no hanging about. It meant there were no extended periods of time where I’d be left to obsess or worry over the details which gave me confidence.

“The staff were amazing, from start to finish everybody was lovely and showed so much time for me. The front desk staff, the anaesthetists, the nurses, everybody was fantastic. I felt safe and in the know about everything.

“My second operation was in October so I’m just starting to walk again and taking each day as it comes. My bucket list of things I want to do now I’m fixed is mostly just normal life stuff you take for granted. I’ll make a good go of getting back into cycling, I want to swim again, go on holiday, and just enjoy spending proper time with the people I love.

“I’ve got hope again and I feel blessed to have had both my hips done. I went in a stranger and have come out with friends – I have a new lease of life.”