Diagnosed with leukemia in 2003 at the age of seventeen, Blanca knew she had a long road ahead of her. Following months of chemotherapy and medication, Blanca’s cancer was contained, but she soon faced a new challenge. The prednisone commonly used in conjunction with chemotherapy treatment in leukemia patients had restricted blood supply to her major joints. As a result, Blanca began suffering severe pain in her hips.
Acting on the referral of her caretakers at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, Blanca came to OrthoVirginia for help. Her physician immediately ordered X-rays and diagnosed her problem as Avascular Necrosis—a serious bone disorder in which the affected bones or joints actually die. Hoping that major surgery could be avoided on his young patient, Blanca’s OrthoVirginia physician encouraged her to wait five months to see if her condition would improve. Disappointingly, though, her pain worsened.
Blanca recalls, “I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t do anything with my legs. I couldn’t even cross my legs without lifting one on top of the other. It was at that point that we decided to do surgery.”
Blanca’s left hip was replaced in December of 2004, and her right hip was replaced in April of 2005. Following only a few weeks of in-home rehabilitation after each procedure, Blanca made a remarkable recovery.
She explains, “I’m doing fine now. I can do anything. Before, when the pain was so severe, I couldn’t dance, but now I can dance again. I love to dance!”
Today, Blanca is fully enjoying her new set of hips and preparing to graduate from school this year. Meanwhile, she continues to trust her OrthoVirginia physician for the treatment of a similar bone problem affecting her shoulders.
As Blanca fights to permanently defeat both the leukemia and her related orthopaedic disorders, this brave young lady inspires everyone she meets with her courage and stamina in the face of some very big challenges.