The Hippy Sisters held their 5th Annual HipCheck & ChickFest at the end of August, 2010. They all received good news from their beloved Dr. Berry and spent the rest of the time celebrating their friendship and pain-free lives. They made sure they went out dancing, because now they can!
Some patient support groups are developed formally, with a mission statement, mailing list, annual goals and hundreds of members. Others develop more organically. Five Mayo patients, who call themselves the Hippy Sisters, started their small support group without even realizing it.
Kay Anderson, Beth Denton, Barbara Nunke, Rachel Petersen and Cathy Weber met through online chats on the Totally Hip Support Group website.
They were drawn to each other's posts because they were all quite a bit younger than the average recipient of a hip replacement. They weren't all Mayo Clinic patients to begin with, but after talking with each other and other patients online and conferring with their own doctors, they all became patients of orthopedic surgeon Daniel J. Berry, M.D., at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
The women have supported each other through surgery and recovery and cheer each other on every day via the Web and e-mail. They also hold an annual reunion by arranging to have their appointments with Dr. Berry at the same time. At their last reunion in November 2008, they went dancing for hours to celebrate their fabulous hips - something they could not have done prior to their surgeries.
Five women from four different states bonded in ways they could never have imagined because of their shared medical issues and because of the care they received at Mayo Clinic. If you would like to connect with the Hippy Sisters to talk about hip replacement, please leave a comment here. They would be happy to respond.
Where do you find support? Send in your comments below to let us know if you have formed a Mayo patient or caregiver support group. Or if you are part of a more formal support network. What has connecting with other patients or caregivers meant to you?