Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘Being immobile for two years has been really hard on me physically and emotionally.’

St. James

“I’ve had 11 surgeries on my left hip and I’m 47 years old. Initially, it started with a hip replacement gone bad on the left side. I first had a hip replacement on the right side in 2018 due to early onset osteoarthritis. I then went for the hip replacement on the left side because I was having the same issues, but it got infected four times, so they took out the replacement in a Girdlestone procedure. The fifth time, when it came out, the doctor refused to put it back in again. He said he couldn’t put it back in because my weight was pushing it out.

I’m living with my mom, my brother and his family are close by, and my aunts and uncle and cousins and friends have helped me get through this difficult time.

“One time, the surgical incision wouldn’t close, and I was sent to a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, where I was inside for two hours, five days a week, for eight weeks. This all happened in Florida, where I lived for 25 years. I was born and raised in St. James, and I recently came back here because I feel that I can get better orthopedic care up here. Currently, I have no hip bone on the left side or replacement for the last two years. I’m going through a divorce, so it was good timing. I can get around surprisingly well with a walker and a wheelchair for longer distances. I have New York health insurance now and will be having a hip replacement, the third one on my left leg, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in seven months, which will give me time to lose weight to increase my chances of success.

“I’ve had physical therapy, and I just got a shoe lift because my left leg is an inch and a half shorter than the right leg. I have an outstanding support system. I’m living with my mom, my brother and his family are close by, and my aunts and uncle and cousins and friends have helped me get through this difficult time. I also have a psychiatric service dog because I have issues with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

“I have an 18-year-old son back in Florida, and I wasn’t able to drive for his last two years of high school, but I did manage to see him graduate. Being immobile for two years has been really hard on me physically and emotionally. Everyone’s praying for me to get a new successful hip. I’m optimistic; you have to be.”