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The never ending ASR story! Another painful year goes by!

If I still had my Johnson and Johnson De Puy ASR XL hip replacement system, it would have officially turned 5 today! Fortunately it is sitting in a storage facility, (along with all the other ‘explanted’ Australian ASR’s), called Biocair in Melbourne Australia, where it has been housed since it was removed in November 2010.

Funnily enough it hasn’t ever been tested as that wasn’t seen as a priority by the genius inventors of this wonderful product, even though it may have given them, not to mention the thousands of other ASR patients worldwide and myself, a true insight into what this deadly little chunk of metal really has exposed those of us who received it, to, during the time it was present in our bodies! Nice one J&J/DePuy! At least you saved some money that you can put towards those pesky legal bills.

The true indictment of the insanity of this situation is that while this has been going on, we the former ‘owners’ of these devices, continue to get sicker, endure more surgeries and generally watch our over-all health decline!

Unlike my ASR I was far from lonely today, firstly I met with the surgeon who recently carried out my THIRD revision since November 2010. He told my wife and I that not only do I have a major issue around my Osteotomy fracture not healing (since October 2011), he is, and I quote, “shit-scared” by the possibility that if he “opens me up”, he will not only find more serious damage than the current bone scan indicates (as the ‘hot-spot’ over the fracture zone is so significant for that part of the bone that should have healed), but also that it is more than likely caused by Cobalt driven Metallosis!!

I have finally found a surgeon who not only do I trust implicitly and has been honest with my wife and I since day 1, but has also NEVER used a MOM (Metal-On-Metal) implant on any of his patients, and now he is terrified of ‘opening me up’ because of what he is genuinely concerned he might find!

Before you might think that the Doctor is over-reacting, he is a Professor of Orthopaedics who has 3 Fellows and another 4 PHD students under his tutelage that are specifically looking at not just the ASR but all MOM implants as part of their studies, Cobalt/Chrommium toxicity in these patients and the prevalence of increased Cancer diagnoses in patients who have received a MOM implant. Sadly, this has made the news even harder for me to swallow!!

Upon hearing his initial reaction, we all agreed that it would be a good idea to have another ‘set of eyes’ look over my scans and x-rays from the past 10 months. We were joined by his ‘senior’ fellow who has been extensively involved in revision surgeries of MOM hips both here in Australia and also the UK. Whilst the party got bigger, the news and mood didn’t improve! For just under an hour the conversation discussed what few options I had to try to relieve the constant pain and lack of true stability I have in my femur.

In the end to have 2 prominent surgeons both agreeing that they believed I needed surgery, but it was a massive risk not only for the obvious infection potential and yet another decent general anaesthetic, however they also were very concerned that something needed to be done.

It was decided to contact a specialist Orthopaedic Prosthesist to discuss the possibility of an external brace as a short term solution to attempt to provide both pain relief and more stability to the bone. We were given the option to try the brace before we dive into surgery. So the birthday party moved!

Our next ‘get together’ was with two very helpful gentlemen for the casting for the brace. This turned out to be a very interesting affair and I just wish the ASR was there to enjoy it too! After a run-in with a lot of plaster, the mould was achieved and we left with confidence that they would do their best to provide me with a product that should at least give me some hope and relief. The fun will now continue with a return to crutches and as little weight bearing as possible, a brace from knee to groin for 6-10 weeks, 24 hours a day and yet again stuck in the recliner chair that I have out on my deck!

So all in all it was a pretty good birthday for my ASR, apart from being stuck in a storage facility it was still able to make sure that I will NEVER, EVER FORGET THE WAY IT HAS RUINED MY LIFE!!

So to Johnson and Johnson/DePuy, thank you for the gift that you shared with me and thousands of others!

My next birthday will be my 43rd, like many of you out there I have had the prime of my life taken from me by a little piece of incredibly deadly metal! As each of us get the wonderful opportunity to ‘celebrate’ our anniversaries with or without our ASR or other MOM implant, I am sure that Johnson and Johnson/DePuy, and the other manufacturers of these little metal bundles of joy (yes Smith and Nephew, don’t think we have forgotten you and the others!), will continue to pay their lawyers to cover their arses, but remember our celebration day will come and it will be your turn to suffer!!

Dedicated to the Johnson and Johnson ‘Our Credo’ which states: “we will pay for our mistakes!” and the thousands of you out there who today and for the foreseeable future will wake up every day with a very painful reminder of their MOM experience!