Living with Avascular Necrosis at 21
All my life I have struggled to do the simplest things. As I aged, my mobility began to decrease and the pain began to take over. It wasn’t until the end of my teenage years — at the age of 19 — that I found out about my condition, Avascular Necrosis (AVN).
I remember traveling to various doctors in and out of the province. No one could wrap their head around what was going on. A combination of AVN and serious developmental issues left my legs “in the state of a 60-year old” as my orthopaedic surgeon described.
What is “AVN” you may ask? Avascular Necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply. It can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the bone’s eventual collapse. My hips, knees and tibias are all victims of this condition.
How did I get it? The doctors believe it could be a combination of the trauma I’ve experienced from past sports injuries (rugby, basketball, and boxing) as well as the way my bones developed as I grew. My parents are both immigrants to Canada and didn’t exactly get the right medical attention for my two brothers and me as we grew up. This is another reason why the condition has affected me so significantly. It’s had plenty of time to takes it course. This condition has left me with chronic pain on a daily basis. I have had to completely change the way I live, the food I eat, the people I surround myself with so that I can beat this. I cannot use the pain medication recommended due to the fact I also have lost a kidney at the age of 18 due to a birth defect. I have resorted to meditation and natural methods of pain relief.
To date, I have had 4 major surgeries with many more ahead of me. Each surgery consists of my bones being broken and rebuilt, ligaments being removed and replaced, and my favourite, core decompression surgery. My grandmother has always told me “God gives these difficulties to those who can handle them and can turn them into something positive.” These words have instilled in me and are a reason that I keep going forward with such positivity. I know many who have in fact killed themselves due to the pain and suffering AVN causes.
After leaving my Computer Science degree due to the rapid decline of my health, I looked to entrepreneurship as an outlet. I started my first company and failed. Started a second and began to see the light.
This blog’s purpose is to educate the world about Avascular Necrosis and to provide some support to those founders living with a disability. I am walking in your shoes and I will be there every step of the way. Always remember… Tomorrow is a brighter day.