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Dominique Hamblin, Hip Patient and Equestrian: Galloping with Hope

If you fall off a horse, you get back up. I am not a quitter.

Olivia Wilde

And so she did. Dominique Hamblin is a hippie equestrian from the U.K. and, “Wow!” She has literally fallen down and gotten back up. Many. Times. Too many!

Her hip woes began in 1997 when she was about 19. At that time, the medical field was mostly dealing with full fledged arthritis. Her hip pain was not arthritis and she was told it was either “growing pains, a torn ligament or her double jointedness”. Dominique had to accept the fact that she had a “gammy hip”.

She tried to work through the pain and threw herself into her love of horseback riding. Her freedom was on the back of a horse. Until the pain was too much. In 2007, her general practitioner ordered an x-ray, sent her to physiotherapy where she was told, “your joint is screwed! You need to see an orthopedist.”

Off she went for scans and an arthrogram which looked fairly okay. They decided that her pain was so great that it was reasonable to do an arthroscopy and found the culprit! She was found to have very little cartilage left and, as a way to, try to salvage her joint, they did a femoral osteoplasty and extensive microfracture. It did not work! Dominique continued in pain when they went in for another scope and it was decided that the damage was so extensive – it was beyond repair. The doctor opted in 2009, to give her a new hip and chose the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. Now, remember, this was in 2009. She improved for about 6 months and then rapidly declined. Dominique’s hip health was terrible, and she was losing confidence and hope. Again, another scope was in her cards. They debrided as much as they could and sent her on her way. This additional path consisted of pain meds and crutches. Pain. Discouragement. Despair.

However, hope was still around the corner for Dominque. In 2014, she was given the opportunity to have her hip replaced and this time with a “ceramic on cross linked polymer total hip replacement”. During the surgery they found a lot of tissue damage and pseudo-tumors caused by the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. This particular hip option is now not a choice for women due to the high failure rates in women. Dominique's surgery with this last revision was fraught with complications. She had lots of bone damage and a low-grade infection, but after the recovery, she did well.

And, Dominique, did get back up on that horse, both literally and figuratively. But then, a slight detour when her other hip (yes, we have two of them) began hurting. With that hip, she had a chondroplasty, femoral osteoplasty & microfracture. But, the incredible thing was that she was literally back in the saddle within 6 weeks, galloping and riding fit horses with the help of her physiotherapist from The Injured Jockeys Fund's Oaksey House.

During the struggles on her path to hip hope, she found it incredibly difficult to “carry on working throughout those years and [she] looks back now and wonders how on earth [she] managed it, especially on hefty doses of painkillers!” But the future she dreamed about – filled with pain free hips is here! She is also paying it forward by participating in a charity race. She says about the race, “This charity race that I'm riding in is a massive challenge and if you'd told me 6 years ago I'd be in this position now I'd have laughed very loudly!”

Her mantra to keep moving forward both on and off her horse was to “keep kicking, and always get back on that horse.” She knows that her “background in racing taught [her] that, but it’s a great aim. Don’t give up, keep kicking!” Dominique hopes “to inspire other people going through issues with mobility, [she hopes] that they don't give up.” She hopes that her “case can give some hope.” Please go out there and get back up on that horse of hip hope! Don’t give up. You will ride into the future with hope and healing!

To donate to her cause, check her story out.

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