Ashley Caldwell was just 29 years old when she learned that she needed a hip replacement. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be her first surgery, nor was she surprised.
Ashley suffers from multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED), a genetic bone disorder. She had already had eight leg surgeries: two on each knee and two on each hip, beginning when she was 10, and knew the next step was likely a replacement. By November 2019, when the pain in her hip made it difficult to sit, stand or walk, she suspected that time had come.
“I would have to grab hold of a wall to get out of the position I was in or to get into a sitting position because my hip would lock up on me and I would fall down,” Ashley remembers. “I was in a lot of pain.”
She called her primary care doctor, who immediately ordered X-rays. Within an hour of getting the imaging done, Dr. Jedediah (Jed) May, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Luke’s Clinic – Orthopedics, Spine, and Plastic Surgery: Twin Falls, called her.
Ashley recalls him telling her, “We need to get you in as soon as possible,” and thinking, “I know.”
Dr. May, along with his father Dr. William May, also an orthopedic surgeon at the same clinic, hadn’t previously worked on someone with Ashley’s specific bone disease, but they teamed up to give her the best care possible.
“[Dr. May] and his dad are phenomenal providers. They are very knowledgeable, they do a lot of research, and . . . they are very compassionate,” Ashley says. “I don’t think my experience would have been the same without them.”
She underwent the procedure in February 2020 and had “a wonderful outcome.” From her time in the hospital recovering, through a few months of physical therapy, to her experience reaching out and getting responses whenever she needed anything, “I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Ashley says. “I followed the rules. I did everything that I was supposed to do and I listened to my body. I listened to the doctor. And I think those things really helped for a successful rehab time.”
Though there is a good chance she will eventually have to have her other hip replaced, and maybe even her knees, due to the deterioration that MED causes, she is back to living the life she wants.
“I’m always going to have some sort of challenges . . . [but] my life is totally different,” Ashley says. After enduring months of severe pain prior to the surgery, she is again active and feeling good. “I can kayak and I can golf and I can walk . . . and walking is important,” she jokes. “I think of all the things, walking without pain is probably the best. I can sit, I can stand, I can walk and before, those things were very difficult for me.”
Ashley’s journey with MED continues, but she knows she will be in good hands with Dr. May if she ever needs him again.