There is little information about adult hip dysplasia and the hip preservation surgery, Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO), especially from a patient’s perspective. In fact, when searching online for “hip dysplasia,” there is more information about canine hip dysplasia vs. human hip dysplasia!
While blogs and support groups exist online, Jen Lesea-Ames was inspired through her own experience of being diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia at the age of 39 and undergoing PAO surgery in April 2014 and December 2014 to start The PAO Project™. This project offers an opportunity for those who have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and have had PAO surgery can submit their heartfelt, soul journey stories for consideration to be published in the anthology, Onward: Navigating through Hip Dysplasia, Periacetabular Osteotomy Surgery and Beyond, Volume 1.
Additionally, it is Jen’s vision to see The PAO Project™ grow as a central source for information from a patient’s perspective, as well as to provide resources for those diagnosed with hip dysplasia and about to embark on PAO surgery and recovery.
A Bay Area native, I moved to Boulder, CO, in 1996 to pursue a graduate degree in Kinesiology (now named “Integrative Physiology”). I was a certified personal trainer, running and triathlon coach for more than 17 years, and have competed in many triathlons and running races. Little did I know that I had hip dysplasia, a congenital disease that I was not diagnosed with until March 2013.
In mid-March, while visiting my sister in the south Bay Area, I decided to partake in an easy run, as part of my base training for a Half-Ironman. While crossing a very busy street, I took that step that forever changed my life: a sharp, searing pain shot through my hip, my leg froze; I couldn’t walk. Once I returned home, x-rays diagnosed me with bilateral hip dysplasia, and an MRI further diagnosed me with labrum ligament damage in both hips. No running, no extensive road cycling (my last greatest feat was Ride the Rockies in 2010), no hiking, no “pretty-much-anything-active-I enjoy.”
I saw a rapid decline in my health, and I suffered with severe chronic pain for over a year. My only hope was to consider PAO surgery. After meeting with six orthopedic surgeons across two states, I had my PAO (periacetabular osteotomy) surgery on my left hip April 8, 2014, and my right hip on December 16, 2014, with Dr. Bellino, who is an amazing and talented surgeon at Stanford Hospital, Stanford, CA.
I started a blog to journal my experiences and discoveries through surgery preparation and recovery. My story is one of many; hence, The PAO Project™ was born. I was also inspired to create jewelry that can be gifted to PAO warriors who need a reminder of how strong and awesome they are: Click here to see my MeBe Jewelry charms line on Etsy.