These two biographical fragments were published together
in Noesis, the journal of the Mega Society, #178, September 2005.


My Hip Malfunction and What I Know About It

  May 1986
 Kevin Langdon  

I was born in 1943, with a condition later diagnosed as bilateral hip dysplasia. The condition was not discovered until I was a year old . During my early childhood, I had a series of operations intended to correct this condition, including implantation of a pair of steel pins which are still in my hip joints, but they did not produce fully satisfactory results.

I walked with a limp throughout my childhood and early adulthood. On my thirty-third birthday, I had a fall out of a tree which caused enough trauma to my hips that I had to appeal to passing hikers to carry me home (which , fortunately, was nearby). I recovered from this incident , but I believe it weakened my hips significantly.

A year or two later , I was living in a walk-up apartment and I reached the point one day of being unable to walk. My orthopedic physician, Dr. Sanford H. Lazar, who practices in San Francisco, prescribed complete bed rest for two weeks with supervised therapeutic exercises for the hip joints, in a hot pool, every week day. At the conclusion of the two weeks, I was back to the point at which I 'd been before this incident . I moved out of the walk-up.

By this time, it had become clear that there was a slow but steady deterioration of function in my hips. A few years later, in approximately 1982, I began walking with a cane. By February or March 1986, my condition had deteriorated to the point where I experienced a lot of pain and stiffness in my knees as well as in my hips and I started using a walker.

My condition has been diagnosed as osteoarthritis; recent Xrays show that nearly all of the cartilage is gone in my hips, but my knees do not show any abnormality. Dr. Lazar has recommended replacement of both hip joints.

I do not want to undergo such a radical and expensive procedure until I have exhausted all other avenues of relief from this condition. I am currently taking indocin and a variety of nutritional supplements, trying to keep the stress on my hips and knees to a minimum, and arranging to be able to exercise in water every day. I am also investigating several other approaches, though more cautiously , including Chinese and Tibetan medicine, homeopathy, etc. I am sceptical, but I don't rule out any possibility. If I knew of a good faith healer, I 'd try that .

I would appreciate any further information about this  condition and other possible approaches to a solution.

The Rest of the Story (So Far) (2005)

Kevin Langdon


In May of 1986, my hip joints failed completely, within an hour of one another. There are two “cutouts” in the bottom of the pelvis where the femora join it , known as the acetabula. Additionally, there are smaller “cutouts” above the asatabula, known as the “ false acetabula.” In each case my femur had ridden up into the false acetabulum. I couldn’t straighten up further than about 135 degrees and I was unable to walk until my mother, with whom I was living at the time, arranged to get me a walker.

 In addition to the loss of function, I was in excruciating pain most of the time. When it was worst I took some pain medication but I avoided it most of the time because I didn’t want todull my awareness .

  Severe pain is debilitating and it consumed a great deal of my energy .I needed relief but because the state of the art of hip-replacement surgery was changing rapidly and the old, cemented type, which was what was available then, tended to fail within ten years and I was in my early forties it didn’t make sense to rush into it .

  It turned out that I had to wait four years for my hip replacements but fortunately relief from my chronic pain came much sooner.

 The year before, I had heard an interesting lecture on Tibetan medicine by the late Dr. Trogawa, one of the most senior Tibetan physicians. I was very impressed by the presence of this man and it was clear to me that he was drawing on a wealth of practical knowledge . Through friends at a local Tibetan Buddhist center I learned that Dr. Trogawa was to be in San Francisco just a few months after my hips failed. I made an appointment to see him. I was instructed to bring a urine sample .

 When I saw Dr. Trogawa he was dressed in a traditional Tibetan monk’s robes, with a shaved head. He definitely looked like the serious Tibetan Buddhist practitioner he was. He greeted me and asked me about my condition. He asked many questions and extracted from me a history of my physical ailments over my entire lifetime.

 He examined my eyes, my ears and my mouth, stirred my urine sample with a stick and looked intently at the swirling liquid, and took my pulse for about two to three minutes for each wrist (Tibetan doctors are trained to be sensitive to certain subtle rhythms in the pulse)..

 He said that I had too much lung (wind), one of the three principal humors of Tibetan medicine. He prescribed three different kinds of little round Tibetan herbal pills, certain dietary changes, and herbal baths. I was in a lot of pain so I followed his advice religiously—and within two weeks the pain completely went away.

 This was a miracle, for which I was extremely grateful , but I was still left with nonfunctional hip joints and I still had to drag myself around with a walker, which was inconvenient and often embarrassing and severely limited my mobility and drained my energy .

 Any particular type of Tibetan herbal pill is typically composed of between ten and twenty different herbs, most of them found only on the Tibetan plateau. Some are pleasant-tasting, others are bitter, still others are just weird. They ’re generally taken with “lukewarm boiled water.” In addition to helping with the condition that had caused me to seek out Dr. Trogawa they also seem to act as a tonic, promoting general health, good energy, and an overall sense of wellbeing. I was glad to have this support while I was unable to walk normally .

 In 1990, Dr. Lazar told me that the new type of hip replacement was available and I decided to go ahead with it . We’d originally planned to have the operations three months apart but when Dr. Lazar saw how well I was doing after the first surgery the second one was moved forward two months. This turned out to be a very good thing, because it made it much easier for me to learn to use my new hips. ( I also had some good physical therapy assistance, which I made good use of because I was a very quick study.)

 The hip replacement involves removing the head to the femur and inserting a titanium-alloy replacement with a ball at one end and a long prong at the other which is inserted into the top of the femur. This alloy is so porous that bone cells actually grow through it and it becomes very strong over time ( I had to be very careful for the first six months to a year after the operations). An artificial socket, made of a ceramic material (to avoid the spontaneous bonding of very-closely-fitted identical materials) is installed in the pelvis. The two together provide a surprisingly flexible and functional joint.

  They had me standing on my new artificial joint the day after each surgery. It felt very strange at first but it only took a few days to get so used to it it was as if they were my naturally-grown hips.

  I expected that it would take some time for my hip joints to get stronger and the associated muscles to get used to my new capabilities and deatrophy, but I didn’t expect that my hip function would continue to improve for over a decade.

  I’ve continued to see Tibetan doctors periodically (but only once every few years). My hips continue to be pain- free.

 For information on Tibetan medicine see the links near the bottom of my page:


Kevin Langdon Biographical Data

Polymath Systems Home Page