Multiple Hip Surgeries Didn’t Hold Me Back

I don’t remember it of course, but the photo on the left was taken after my first surgery for hip dysplasia. I was diagnosed at 11 months and by 13 months underwent my first surgery. You see, I was born without a socket joint, causing my hip ball to become deformed. This surgery was life changing. Because of the staff at Cincinnati Children’s, I was able to lead a “normal” childhood: running around and playing with my friends. With frequent hospital visits and regular check-ups, the doctors at Cincinnati Children’s noticed my right hip was not developing as planned, while my left hip grew with my body.

When I was 13 years old, I underwent another surgery that prevented me from attending school and participating in contact activities for over two months. Luckily, a teacher volunteered to tutor me at my house, so that I would not fall behind in school. Not letting my disease hold me back, I returned to school two months later and completed eighth grade with all As and one B.  Five months later I was able to cheer with the Ripley Junior High cheerleading team.

Despite undergoing multiple challenging surgeries, I was able to maintain a relatively active life as teenager. Over the next four years I continued to cheer with Ripley varsity cheerleading squad and worked as a part-time waitress at a local restaurant. In 2013 I graduated high school and now am in my first year at Wright State University.

I want to share my experience with others because the staff at Cincinnati Children’s changed my life. I want people to know how the staff all work together to make the experiences better for patients like me.

Whenever I go to Cincinnati Children’s, the staff is welcoming and willing to help me however they can. The hospital is filled with doctors, nurses, receptionists, and other important staff members who show they care about their patients. The surgeries I underwent as a child provided their own set of challenges but the staff made the process easier to handle. My doctor even called me at home to make sure I was okay.

Having spent a lot of time at Cincinnati Children’s over the years, I am very grateful for each and every one of the staff members that have taken part in my care. Their kindness and thoughtfulness have inspired me. Over the last couple of years of high school, I did a lot of thinking about what I want to do when I get older. I really like the field of communications, but ultimately, I want to work at Cincinnati Children’s. I am learning that there is so much more to a career than the job itself. I’d like to be able to help children along the way. Perhaps one day I could find a communications job at Cincinnati Children’s (hint, hint!).  That’s my ultimate dream.

McKenna Koewler

About the Author: McKenna Koewler

McKenna Koewler is a Cincinnati Children's patient who is studying communications at Wright State University.

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  1. Tessa Ellis September 26, 02:25
    You're an inspiration to youth in our small town, always a smile on your face. As your Cheer Coach I watched you work harder than a lot of the other girls, even when you were in pain you never let that stop you. What should be posted is a picture of your wonderful toe touch or herkie so everyone can understand that even having surgeries on your hips that you conquered a difficult sport without anyone even knowing that you've battled any issues. Its been a pleasure watching you turn into an amazing young woman. Cant wait to see where life takes you !
  2. Kayla Anderson July 20, 17:14
    I have went through multiple surgeries on my hip, and the physical therapist is helping me for surgery later on when I am 20 years old. My life could not be better with out the doctors helping me out. My left hip is out of the socket and they try the best they can to get my hip back and place. I also like that they provide exercises at home for me to do so I appreciate that.
  3. Debbie Griffith November 02, 17:04
    You are an inspiration to everyone how you never let anything get in your way of what you want in life.I have known you all my life and really have always thought you are special.Good Luck in your future and what ever you decide to do.
  4. Winter Dryden November 02, 20:02
    Beautiful testimony McKenna! God bless you! (From Tre's mom)
  5. Shirley Brierly November 02, 22:45
    Children's Hospital is a wonderful place. When my grandson was seven he had lawn dart penetrate his brain.He was taken to Children's. They operated and put in a metal plate.He is 26 now he has an occasional headache other wise has had no problems.Thanks to the wonderful Dr's And caring Nurse's at Cincinnati Children's hospital. Shirley Brierly
  6. Lanessa September 25, 02:06
    I am proud of McKenna and how she did not let her hip dysplasia affect her spirit. I was very fortunate to live a normal childhood. My hip dysplasia did surface until the age of 34, but unfortunately the orthopedic surgeons did not diagnose it until I turned 38. It was excruciating, but I was able to overcome the pain. After my having a total hip replacement and total socket resurfacing, I am now facing a total knee replacement and back problems as well. Parents please be aware of how you are carrying and swaddling your babies. This has effected my whole life, but it has not stopped me from living. Im more conscious now.