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The Expectation of Normal?

In a few weeks, my thirteen-year-old daughter will undergo hip reconstruction surgery. 

This is a major blip on the radar for this year. We didn’t expect it to be on our calendar this year.

Isn’t that the theme of 2020? 

The year of the unexpected. The year when “normal” was kicked out of the room. The year that taught us to let go of the expectation of “normal”. 

When I look back on 2020, years from now, it will be remembered for so much loss. I do not need to recount all the loss for you because you have lived it as well.  

But it will mostly be remembered by me as the year that my daughter had her hip reconstructed, again. And for hope. 

A reconstructed hope.  

The first time her hip was reconstructed she was 20 months old. She was born with hip dysplasia in her left hip but it wasn’t noticeable until she was 18 months old. 

My husband got his degree in physical therapy and he notices how people walk. I guess everyone has a peculiarity about them, things they notice. 

I notice when a grocery cart isn’t put away in its proper place in the parking lot or when the dishwasher isn’t loaded correctly or the towels are folded wrong in the linen closet. He notices gait patterns. 

He started to notice that Eden had a tap-thunk when she was walking instead of tap-tap. (Those aren’t medical/technical terms, but you get the idea.) Her gait pattern wasn’t normal. After a few visits to the doctor, it was determined that her hip socket wasn’t formed correctly, that it was in fact, dislocated, despite the fact that she was able to walk and run without any pain, and that she would need surgery to fix it. 

On October 7, 2008, she had her first surgery. We understood the risks, but understood the risk of not doing the surgery was far greater than the risk of being broken.

Fast forward 12 years. 

Eden is now thirteen. Her athletic abilities outweigh that of her older brothers when they were her age. Her energy and joy for life are contagious. But she has been in pain.

We knew this surgery would be inevitable. In 2008, her surgeon told us that she would most likely need another surgery when her body changed in her teenage years. 

And here we are, 2020. The year of letting go of the expectation of normal. 

The year of reconstructed hope. 

We have hope that this surgery will fix her hip and after a few months of pain and therapy, she will be able to run and play her favorite sports again. 

We have hope that her joy for life will not be crushed despite the pain. 

Our family will not let the pain and reconstruction that we have endured in 2020 to steal our joy. 

Going through a reconstruction cannot be accomplished without pain, but it can be endured with hope. 

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  1. Seana Turner

    Wow, that is a major surgery. I agree that big procedures become milestones that we remember life by. My oldest daughter had to undergo a tonsillectomy at 24. People don’t realize what a bit deal this is for adults, and it was a couple of months of all of our lives to get through it. BUT, it was WELL WORTH IT! She has been so much healthier since this surgery, we couldn’t even imagine. You are giving your girl a GIFT, though it may not feel like that for awhile. I pray it all goes exactly as planned, and that she live pain free for the remainder of her beautiful life!

    • Caroline TeSelle

      I’m so glad that your daughter is doing better now!

  2. Jo

    We have hope that her joy for life will not be crushed despite the pain.

    Our family will not let the pain and reconstruction that we have endured in 2020 to steal our joy.

    Going through a reconstruction cannot be accomplished without pain, but it can be endured with hope.

    I read your words out loud in hopes that they would stick to my soul. Thank you for these words. They were needed.
    Praying God won’t let the pain go to waste in your daughter’s life or your family’s.

    • Caroline TeSelle

      Thank you, Jo.

  3. Katie

    Such poignant words as we too deal with a child’s health crisis in 2020. Thank you.

    • Alison Barna

      Oh Caroline I’m sorry you guys are going through this …. I know the feeling . Kelli (my youngest who is 16) was fitted for a scoliosis brace in attempt to prevent need for back surgery. I will be praying for you guys 🙏🙏

  4. Katie

    My husband is training to be an orthopedic surgeon right now and has a special spot in his heart for the pediatric patients! We talk/think frequently about the need to go through physical pain to accomplish a medical solution but, as I read your post, I am realizing that I think too little about how to apply that concept to the rest of life. Best of luck to your daughter with the surgery and recovery, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this experience with all of us. <3

    • Caroline TeSelle

      Katie, we have so much respect for pediatric orthopedic doctors! Thank you for your kind thoughts!

  5. Debi Morton

    I was born with two dislocated hip sockets in 1950, only the second such case my doctor, the best Orthopaedic Surgeon in Oklahoma, had ever seen. Mine was discovered by my grandmother, a Lebanese immigrant who couldn’t read or write English but had raised nine children and already had several grandchildren. One of her favorite games with infants was to play with their legs and feet, but she noticed that my legs just felt wrong and my feet collapsed flat instead of popping up when she dropped them. She insisted my parents take me to OKC when my doctor in our little town said I was fine. In those days surgery wasn’t available, so my hips were set properly and I was put in a body cast for many months. My parents had to move from their small town to Okla. City in order to be near the doctor for the many checkups and cast changes. When they asked the doctor if I would walk his response was, “If she walks we’ll know she can walk.” However, at 70 years old, my hips are completely fine except for a little arthritis. I became pregnant with my first son when I was 22, and it wasn’t until after he was safely delivered that my mom told me they weren’t sure if I’d be able to bear the weight of a pregnancy, but since my husband I got became pregnant earlier than we’d planned they saw no reason to frighten me with that news. So many unknowns they had to worry about!

    • Aimee

      Your story made me say WOW out loud! I am so thankful your grandmother stood firm when she knew something wasn’t quite right. And the sacrifices by your parents – wow! I love that they didn’t frighten you with the news and all was well. <3

    • Caroline TeSelle

      Wow, Debi! Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. Eira Gwyn Clapton

    Sincere good wishes for all of you. May this time be the LAST time -and everything go well after that.

  7. Jenni

    I know how dreadful this year 2020 is turning out to be for every living being on earth. I just hope this year pass quickly.

  8. CBD Capsules

    You know, perhaps the most frightening thing here is that if your husband wasn’t a physiotherapist and didn’t notice the problem right away. And so, unfortunately, it happens very often, we do not notice something, we start the disease and only when it becomes very bad we start treatment. But it’s too late, so you’re really lucky. You applied on time, so everything will be fine. The main thing is to believe in the best. I wish you health for your daughter and also for you.
    And 2020 has really turned the idea of ​ my life completely. For example, I realized that not everything depends only on me, so I finally start living today. I no longer want to plan something for a year or two ahead, but just rejoice now.

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