About Me

A Bay Area native, I moved to Boulder CO in 1996 to pursue a Graduate Degree in Kinesiology (now named “Integrative Physiology”). I have been a certified personal trainer, running and triathlon coach for over 17 years, and have competed in many triathlons and running races.  Little did I know that I had hip dysplasia, a congential disease that I was not diagnosed with until March 2013.  In mid-March, while visiting my sister in the south Bay Area, I decided to partake in an “easy” run, while beginning base training for a Half-Ironman. While crossing a very busy street, I took that step that forever changed my life: a sharp, searing pain shot through my hip, my leg froze; I couldn’t walk.  Once I returned home, x-rays diagnosed me with bilateral hip dysplasia, an MRI further diagnosed me with labrum ligament damage in both hips. No running, no extensive road cycling (my last greatest feat was Ride the Rockies in 2010), no hiking, no “pretty-much-anything-active-I enjoy”…
After meeting with six orthopedic surgeons across two states, I had my PAO (periacetabular osteotomy) surgery on my left hip April 8, 2014 and my right hip on December 16, 2014 with Dr. Bellino, who is an amazing and talented surgeon (Stanford, CA).  This blog is to journal my discoveries though my struggles in this journey, and I am writing this blog so that other people with hip dysplasia or who are considering PAO surgery don’t feel so alone in the process.

I also have created The PAO Project as an additional resource for those diagnosed with hip dysplasia and considering Periacetabular Osteotomy surgery.

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19 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Can’t wait to start reading this…3 weeks pre op today…yikes!!! Thanks for letting me know about your blog!

  2. Hi Jen, I have had issues with my hips since my college softball days. I have had 2 labral tears one in each hip both of which resulted in scopes to cut out the tears. I just found out what PAO surgery is when I was referred to my current doctor here in Memphis. I’ve gotten 3 opinions. One from the the doc that did my last scope and he recommended that I just get another scope to “fix the tear”. Your line about the step you took and the pain you felt almost brings tears to my eyes because I had that pain for almost a year prior to my first surgery….to the point I was on crutches when I should have been training for my Senior years of my college softball career. Sorry to vent but ive never heard of anyone with this same issue and now I’m finding that this is more common and there is something that can help me.

    I’ve only read your into and 4 week post op and I’m excited to continue reading. Many thanks for sharing your story, it means the world! – Kelly

    1. Hi Kelly, Thanks for writing me. I would recommend joining the Facebook Periacetabular Osteotomy group (not public but you can ask to join) – its a wonderful resource and support. Also, check out my other website, http://www.thepaoproject.com
      Wishing you the best along this crazy journey!!! Jen

  3. Hi Jen,

    I’v just finished reading your blog and firstly would like to thank you for such an honest account of your recovery. I am going in to hospital next week for a PAO on my left hip and reading your blog has been great.

    I just have one worry that I hope you can help me with – Getting home from the hospital. I’ve had two arthroscopy with debridement of my hip and found the car journey home incredibly painful. The PAO is obviously much more invasive. As far as I know, the hospital are expecting me to travel home by taxi. I just wondered what your experience of the journey home was? I’m considering hiring a private ambulance for the journey to allow me to lie down and hopefully reduce the pain.

    Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Melanie,
      I am so glad my blog helped you, sometimes I wonder if its helpful at all for others or if its just therapy for me to write 🙂 If you can I would go the private ambulance route. Sitting in a car is incredibly uncomfortable, and I had a 30 min drive from the hospital to my sister’s house, and not in a taxi who may be driving reckless. So, invest in that service, you’ll be glad you did! Feel free to ask me any other questions.
      Best of luck! Jen

  4. Hi, Jen
    My name is Aidan and I live in Colorado Springs (originally from Boulder). I recently came across your blog as I am preparing for my first PAO on my Rt hip in a couple of months and afterwards we will reevaluate my left hip. Thank you for creating this blog. I am too a runner, climber, skier, compete in aquabikes as I can no longer run (dreams of an Ironman once I can run again), avid cyclist, etc.. Major complications from a previous surgery that was misdiagnosed led me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for the diagnosis that just floored me. Running all of these years and experiencing the worsening of “tight hips” I had no idea about dyspepsia and what it meant and was doing to my body, as I am now 33. I am having the surgery done by Dr. Omer Mei-Dan in Denver.
    Thank you for your experience, it has helped the process of getting prepared a lot less daunting.
    Best of luck with you – once i’m recovered too, it would be great to train with someone who has gone through this as well..

    1. Hi. I, too, share in this saga. I’m currently considering Dr. Mei-Dan for a left hip PAO surgery and was curious about your experience. Hope the healing process is treating you well!~

  5. Hi Jen,

    I live here in Denver and was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia and labrum tears about three weeks ago. Today I was told to do the surgery sooner than later in at least one hip. I am wondering if you are still in the Boulder area? I would love to reach out to some people, especially women, who have been through this. I am, well, used to be, a very active person and have been held back from all that I enjoy in the last few years of chronic pain. I’m pretty nervous about all this, and have been through a range of emotions already, but all I really want is to be able to have my active lifestyle back to normal. If you have any suggestions that would be great, and if you would ever be available for contact that would be awesome! My email address is below:) Thanks so much for sharing your journey, it means so much to me! Rebecca

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for reaching out, I still live in Boulder County. There are group of us women in the area that have had PAO surgery, our Colorado PAO Facebook Support group is great place and you are welcome to join. I will email you more details.
      Best, Jen

  6. Hi Jen, I work in Boulder and just came across your blog. I am a 27 year old athlete just diagnosed with hip dysplasia and have been recommend to see a PAO doctor. I would absolutely love to meet up with you at some point soon!

  7. My doc is recommending a cortisone shot. Do you have any experience with it? I feel like it is just a temporary solution and would prefer to just have the surgery.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Because hip dysplasia is an anatomical deformity of the hip joint, a cortisone shot is a “band aid” approach and may give some temporary relief in pain (its a strong anti-inflammatory). I recommend you consult with a surgeon who specializes in hip dysplasia/hip preservation. If you reply as to where you live, I can recommend a doctor for you.
      Good luck! Jen

  8. I am grateful to read your blog. I am a 48 year old female that had PAO surgery with Dr. Mei-Dan out of Boulder, CO. He works out of University of Colorado hospital. Even though I was older, I had tests done, and he could save my hip without hip replacement. I had right hip orthrascopy on 6/16/17, and a week later had the PAO done at the University of Colorado Hospital. I am fortunate to have my parents taking care of me during this time. However, it is driving me nuts that I can’t drive and have to sleep and sit all day, I am keeping busy with reading, internet, watching TV, coloring, and playing cards with my parents. I was encouraged that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wail until I can walk, hike, ride my bike, and swim. Unfortunately, I have to eventually get the left hip done as well.

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