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A letter from "One Who Would Be Better Off Dead":

Hi Linda,
I just found your website yesterday. I have been browsing around in between crying times. Your site is beautiful and your heart must be made of pure "Gold". There is so much inconsideration and hard hearts in this world that I kinda get out of control when I find true human beings.
I have not had any surgery yet, I just got the results from my MRI about two weeks ago and I guess I don't have to tell you that I am scared to death. All I can think about is being disabled and in severe pain for the rest of my life and I really would rather be dead right now.
The real horror about this whole thing is that it has been coming on now for 4 years. It has just been coming and then going away for a while. Each time that it has flared up, the doctor sends you here and there running all kinds of tests, even MRI's, but it seems like nothing ever shows up until it is too late. I guess I call that LIFE.
Since just before the MRI, I have been getting worse every day. The pain is breath taking and the length of time that it takes just to get to the bathroom is unbelievable. I take pain pills but the pain is more severe every day.
I have been spending my time trying to pick a doctor to go to and trying to comprehend all of the possibilities of the many changes in my life. The hardest one to deal with right now is the fact that I just can not get up and go. I am or was a very active person, on the go constantly, and working in my yard and gardens every day. I think that I am going into a state of shock.
The pain has taken over my life and even being able to tolerate the pain does not help because my right leg from the hip to the knee seems to be dead and the way of walking is very slow and painful. 
This whole situation is like being thrown into a pitch dark room with no windows and just sitting in a corner and praying for light or at least for someone to come along and touch your shoulder and whisper soft encouraging words.
At least I do have my husband, Leroy. We have been together since 1964 and married since 1965. Besides being in love we have been best friends and the other half that supports and becomes the right hand for the half that isn't doing too good. My half has been the sickly one and his half must have a whole lot of patience. Without him there would be no sparks of light at all. In the many years that we have been together, we have been though many dark tunnels together but we have always managed to get to the other end and see the bright light again. Leroy has always been the strongest half but this time he seems to be a little scared himself.
Anyway, Linda, the results of my MRI show "AVASCULAR NECROSIS OF THE RIGHT FEMORAL HEAD". My family doctor showed me a little about it by using a skeleton chart. It didn't sound good but he said not to come to any conclusions before seeing an Orthopedic Surgeon. But that there would be surgery.
I have searched though the AMA and done a lot of research on each one listed with my insurance. I am going to call and get an appointment today. Hope I don't have to wait to long to get to him.
I have come to the understanding that this is not going to be like a lot of other surgeries or recoveries. This surgery, even if successful, is going to change my way of life quite a bit. I am in such pain that I just really can't believe that there will ever be any relief. I even hurt like hell just sitting here and typing.
Once again I want to give my best to you, Linda, and I would be very honored to meet someone like you. As you can tell, I ain't seen or felt nothin' yet so I hope I will be able in the future to visit your website and maybe someday even contribute to it.
I am going to e-mail it to my family and friends because it is really a very good way to let them know what is going on and being that I have not notified anyone yet, I guess I will just do it by sending this letter to all. I do not have the strength to sit here and write each one individually so I hope that they understand.
I thank you for contributing your valuable time to send support to so many people, me being one of them. 
Have a great day and I hope to compute with you and the others alot. If you want to attach this to one of the message boards on your website, please fill free to do so. Maybe there is someone else out there who, like myself, is just now entering the mystifying and terrifying world of hip surgery. 
And, by the way the opening page of your website is "HILARIOUS". God bless you and all the ones who have already been there.
Best wishes, Pat.
PS; I am using this is a message to all my family and friends. Please forgive me for not sitting down and calling or writing each one of you on a one to one basis but my time at any one chore is very limited. I am in a great deal of pain and, right now, a whole lot of fear and self pity. The roads ahead look very rocky and scary.
To my sisters, I don't have to tell you that I would give anything just to be able to have my MOM for a little while. Just to hear her voice telling me to shut up and get dressed would be a great dose of LOVE.
Anyone reading this letter needs to go to this wonderful and very informative website called there are no words to describe it.
Dear Linda,
I really can't take back all of the words that I wrote in that letter. It was the day that my family doctor gave me the news that I would need hip surgery but to what extent would be up to the surgeon. This was back in the first week in Sept. I came home, flopped down in my desk chair and started crying and wishing that I was dead.

Then I dried up and realized that I needed to research the doctor and find out more about this hip deal so I went surfing from one website to another. When I went to the AMA (American Medical Assoc.) to find info on the surgeon I saw an invitation to go to a website called "Totally Hip". The name sounded kind of neat so off I went to see what was there. I was amazed as I saw the little man inviting me in but then when I went in and saw Linda's picture and read the letter , the tears flowed but I felt a warmth, or a comfort, I just took a deep breath and went on reading. Well, it just seemed like I had found a place to go for comfort and a place where I could just start typing and get it all out and so I did and afterwards I really felt better and I knew that someone was around to give me comfort, etc.. 

The next day when I checked the website and checked my e-mail I was overwhelmed at the wonderful people who had taken a moment from their lives to help me in my time of fear. God Bless each and everyone of you. As the tears come right now I want you all to know that I am so glad to have had the privilege of communicating with you. You have lifted my spirits so much and given me so much info about what I will be needing and what I will be going though during and after this surgery and that has put a bright light where there used to be a dark path of fear. Thanks to all of you and I am proud to be a Hippie.

I am going to have a THR on December 12, 2000. The surgeon is excellent and very well known here in Jacksonville, FL. That is why the waiting list is so long. Thanks to your letters I am going to give 2 pints of my own blood so that the healing process will be better and I have already got my crutches and my grabber and all that stuff and I feel like a PRO. I am a little scared but I guess that's normal. All of the people at my doctor's office are so sweet and I can call anytime with any question and they are right there for me. 

Thanks again and I will stay in touch. I hope that I will be able to comfort someone soon. 
Bless you all,
UPDATE FROM PAT:  July 9, 2003
Pat , THR , right side on Dec. 31 , 2000 .  
Linda ,
I see that my letters are  still posted on your website and when I read them I sure can relate back to it but now I am doing great.
I can walk as many miles as I want and I can ride a bike, get in and out of my Van, go shopping, just GO and GO and GO.
I Thank God every day for a brand new life and the finding of your website. I can walk just as good as I did before any pain. It is a miracle and I am blessed to have had such a good surgeon and God on my side.
Anyone out there who is postponing hip surgery needs to think about it again. Right now you are in so much pain that it is totally indescribable so make the decision today to get rid of it. The surgery works and you will be very grateful that you decided to do it. Stay online with Totally Hip and you will make it all the way.
Believe me, I know. I made my decision after finding such a wonderful website, Totally Hip, and writing to and receiving so many loving letters. Letters from people in the same boat as me and willing to share their stories with me and write me every day just to see how I was doing. The members of Totally Hip gave me encouragement and helped me before surgery, after surgery, and all thru my recovery while they were in their own pain. I was even given the opportunity to help a lot of other members while I was in my own recovery.
I could go on and on but I'm sure you all can figure out how much I love Totally Hip and I will remain a member forever. I always know that any time I need a little boost or whatever that I can go to my e-mail and click on one subject and after writing to others in despair, I forget mine.
I still would love to have the opportunity to meet you, Linda. I have come to the conclusion that you are in that club of Angels from Heaven. You have been an inspiration to many lonely people in need of friendship and care. 

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