She has had arthritis in both hips for a long time, but she estimates she had the pain about 13 years - the kind of pain that made her catch her breath and clutch at her sides, that kept her from bending down or walking fast, that had her walking with a limp.
Thirteen years ago, Anneli Green was only 45. But over time, the pain became unbearable, and her lifestyle increasingly diminished. There was a time when she could stroll the beach and really enjoy life. But by last fall, she could no longer walk. Not really. Not more than a few steps before she had to give in to the pain. "Not only can you not do the things you did before the disease, but simple tasks like walking, shopping, and getting in and out of the car were very painful," Green says.
After conducting her own research on the internet, she found Dr. Christopher Meckel, an orthopedic surgeon at Community Hospital who had done plenty of hip replacements, though never a bilateral surgery (both hips at the same time).
"I didn't want to go through surgery twice, to get through the healing and physical therapy just to start over again on a second hip," says Green. "I asked Dr. Meckel if he could do
both at once, and he said he had to think about it, had to work it out. And he did.
"He's an innovative guy. He used an anterior approach, which means the incision was to the front of the hip joint, as opposed to a lateral (side) approach to the hip or a posterior (back) approach."
The day after the surgery, Green got out of her hospital bed and, with assistance, made the trek from bed to bath. Five days later, she went home. Two weeks later, she got rid of her walker; and two weeks after that, she drove herself to her doctor's appointment and walked into the
office without help. "I felt great," she says. "After 13 years of pain, I was able to walk without a limp and could stand tall and straight." Two months later, she danced a polka up and down the hallway with her granddaughter.
"At first," she says, "I worried that my hips would feel artificial and not part of my own body. But they feel like my own. Unless I'm looking at an X-ray, I don't think about it. Today, I walk without pain and without a limp. I can walk on the beach - and even run - without any trouble. I can bend and stretch and jump and dance. I am the bionic woman."