The following is something I posted to the Hipwomen Yahoo group in response to T*****, who was questioning having such major surgery with so little pain. I wanted to re-post it here for my friends and family, some of whom have asked me the same question. Terri
My PAO is scheduled for July and I ponder the same thing on days when I don't have hip pain, which are frequent. But then I realize how much I am limiting myself in order to be pain-free. I was out today on a beautiful spring day, driving with my husband, and saw people hiking. I realized that I hadn't gone for a hike or even a pleasant walk around the neighborhood since diagnosis last August. I have mostly avoided walking except for what is necessary to get around.
I think of how active I used to be just a year ago, and even though I don't have severe pain yet, I realize that in order to be that active again I have to do this. I backed off on things so gradually that I hardly realized that I wasn't doing much walking until I saw others hiking. I live in the middle of a forest with trails everywhere, and so I see a lot of hikers now that the weather is nice!
Before diagnosis I managed my condition by ignoring it. I had a little pain, some limitation of flexibility and lots of stiffness after exercise. I chalked this up to being "out of shape," which I wasn't. I thought it was what happened to people over 40 who liked to be active, until I realized that nobody else my age or older was walking bent over or having trouble standing up after exercise.
My surgeon said that if I didn't have the surgery, I would only be able to "manage" the condition by sitting on the couch and doing nothing, and eventually sitting would be painful too. That was not acceptable to me. He said eventually I wouldn't be able to walk at all because the pain would be so great.
Although I'm in the age range where a THR makes sense (I'm 46), I have almost no arthritis and he was pretty clear that PAO was the better option since it will preserve my own joint. If I did nothing my arthritis would get bad and I would no longer have the PAO option - only a THR/Resurf would be available if I waited. I didn't like that very much - I'd rather keep my own hip as long as possible. Since you are much younger than I, you probably have a much better chance of success with a PAO if your doctor recommends it. But you can't wait too long or you'll lose that opportunity.
I know that was sort of long-winded. I want you to know that many of us question this surgery on our good days. I just have to look at all of the things I've given up to keep my pain level manageable to know that I need to do this. Everyone has to make the decision that is right for them.