A small divet of grey, a minor crescent on a radiograph, would seal her fate.
Although there had been no warning signs, she told she was stage III, and therefore was past the point of all known remedy.
Her inevitable end was a hip implant. She could try conservative measures, some which made little scientific sense, but they were usually unsuccessful in even earlier stages, and at her stage as little as 30%.
None of the doctors she visited had answers about what caused the disease, and her hard questions were met with avoidance or admonition. Some walked out of the room, claiming researching it further was hopeless, shrugging their shoulders. Some said they wished there was more proof for a regenerative alternative, but couldn’t take a risk. Some said, fight back, but it will take a serious fight.
If she gave up the fight, she would have to give up dance and the relationship to the body she knew. She would have to accept the marketing hype that hip implants were perfect, when she had seen them fail or ruin the abilities of people she had known. Was that the inevitable outcome? Was that a good solution, even if it meant many surgeries and continuing limitations to motion and health risks over time?
She knew there had to be another way.
She engaged in dialogue with researchers in the field, many whose work was more obscure or was under the radar, and brainstormed with thought leaders or scientific elites in the field, pulling together teams of experts to advise her as she began to design novel surgical protocols.
Her goal: to turn her own battle for bone into something that could prevent the suffering of others, building new protocols and collaborations and to create a scientific launchpad with a targeted focus on turning promising research into actual cures.