Chelsea’s story

Chelsea Butler is a patient at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH). She has hip dysplasia and was diagnosed at ROH after experiencing pain since childhood.

Here she tells us a little bit about her story and why she chose to raise money for The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Charity by organising an NHS Big Tea event.

“Hip pain and problems were common for me having experienced them since an infant. For over 20 years, I was repeatedly seen by doctors and it was deemed to be hypermobility, growing pains or fibromyalgia. When I got to 16, I was completing my GCSEs and then A-Levels, trying to stay active at clubs such as sailing and rowing when my hip pain intensified. At age 24, my rheumatologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital referred me to be seen by a hip surgeon at ROH, Mr Politis. I met Mr Politis for the first time in 2017, not sure what to expect. I was promptly scanned and provided with pain relief. From there, scans showed acetabular retroversion and femoral retroversion. As shocking as the news was, I felt a huge weight lifted off me from being listened, trusted and respected and my pain and symptoms taken seriously.

“In 2018, I had my right Birmingham Interlocking Pelvic Osteotomy, also known as a TPO. I was amazed to discover that the type of surgery I was having was created at this very hospital (ROH). Having part of your pelvis cut in three places and realigned is painful and the recovery is challenging but I have no regrets. 

“In February 2019, I had the metalwork removed followed by having left TPO surgery later that year. All of this was fitted around completing my Master’s Degree at University of Warwick.

“2020 saw an abrupt halting of regular services for patients like myself due to COVID-19, however my surgeon reassured me and I still felt involved in my care and planning during this time. I was able to have my right hip scanned again in June and from there, we discovered a possible labral tear. In September 2020, I had the metalwork removed from my left hip and I felt completely at ease with how thorough ROH were with planning elective surgeries during a global pandemic. On the ward, I met another ‘young hippie’; we remain in contact and will be meeting up soon. In November 2020, I was able to sign for a right arthroscopy of my right hip; however, surgeries had once again been postponed due to the pandemic.

“Heading into 2021, my surgeon once again kept me involved in my care, arranging a left hip scan (which sadly also showed a possible labral tear), staying in contact and providing care and support for me during a time that my hips were being particularly problematic, even coming to see me on a Sunday during an admission. I was also saddened to hear that pressures were so great that staff were being redeployed to ITU wards and other hospitals to help ease pressure.

“In March, my surgery was able to go ahead and I had my right arthroscopy for a labral repair and cam debridement. I found the recovery for this surgery tough and there have been some very challenging times. On the other hand, the support I have had from the Physiotherapy Team (Alison from Hydrotherapy has the highest level of patience) and regular contact with Mr Politis is getting me through.

“It can be difficult to have hip dysplasia diagnosed and delays are very frustrating but I felt completely listened to and respected at ROH. The care I have received from the Young Adult Hip Department has been outstanding and I believe they deserve recognition for the amazing work they do. Misconceptions are that young people can’t have hip problems or hip replacements but this is not true. There was one occasion when I attended an outpatient appointment to see Mr Politis and discussed research available regarding hip surgeries and treatments. He took the time to consider these with me so that I could come to a decision and I never felt rushed despite it being a busy clinic. During all of my outpatient appointments, I have never felt time-pressured, nor have I felt there to be an ‘expert vs patient’ imbalance. My views are always considered and I have been given the confidence to challenge and explore alternative options so that I feel assured of the treatment I was going ahead with.

“Because of the outstanding care I have received from the Young Adult Hip Department alongside physiotherapy, and what with the extremely challenging fifteen months so far, I wanted to give something back to a hospital that has given me so much. I also feel passionate about raising awareness about young adult hip problems because early detection is key. Being a young adult going through hip surgeries and treatment has had its lows of pain, recoveries, judgements and worries but it’s also had its highs of making new friends, discovering hip communities and support networks I never knew existed. This is why I held an NHS Big Tea event, with money raised going to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Charity. Lots of businesses came forward with offers to help and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of donations.

I hope that with the money raised will help staff such as my surgeon with their wellbeing, to show we really do appreciate their care and time and to help patients like me.”

Chelsea and her team of helpers raised over £648 from her fundraising event. These funds will go towards our general fund who actively support all departments in the hospital, including the Young Adult Hip service.

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ROC | Royal Orthopaedic Charity

Bristol Road South
B31 2AP

Registered Charity Number: 1078046

Call: 0121 6854379

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