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Bride of Frankenfoot

bride of frankenstein

After two long years, I’ve finally completed Bride of Frankenfoot [BOF]! Two years ago I had the bunion in my left foot shaved off, my foot broken and realigned, and some messed up cartridge removed. The new and improved foot was dubbed “Frankenfoot” by my best friend. An election, a few hikes, and two years of teaching (during which I rarely sat) later, it was finally time to get my right foot fixed. BOF was completed yesterday morning by one of the best orthopedic surgeons I’ve worked with. While I wish I was able to hold off until after the midterm elections, so I could continue volunteering. I needed to get this done before losing my secondary insurance when I turn 26. Foot modifications are not cheap, my first foot was $13,000 before insurance and I neede to be sure that I wouldn’t g bankrupt over limb surgery. Luckily my two-week fall break starts next week so I’ve only had to take five days off. My husband, dog, and guinea pig have been keeping me company and I’m hoping for a rather speedy recovery. I’m so very lucky to have my husband by my side during this process, I would be so much worse for the wear without him. Additionally, I’m in much better shape as we are no longer living in a narrow townhome with our bedroom being upstairs. I’ll keep y’all updated as my foot heals up.

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Bed Rest: Week 2

8flkNgqThis week I got my splint removed and got to see my foot! The incisions are significantly larger than I anticipated but are healing nicely. They removed half my stitches yesterday and will remove the remaining ones in 2 weeks. The doctor was impressed with my lack of pain meds [I’ve been off them for a week now] along with my limited range of motion. Apparently my toe wiggle is pretty impressive, it would appear they thought that wouldn’t happen for another week or so. Despite being a fall risk they went ahead and put me in a boot rather than a cast so I could shower more easily. I’m trying to adjust to having a giant boot on my leg while sleeping, not to mention how freaking heavy it is. My fantastic husband wins all the awards for putting up with me and taking care of me.

Muscle atrophy, what is it? This past week we have learned that my calf has turned into a gelatinous blob. I expected some atrophy in my leg but not so severe or quickly. I am less than halfway through my recovery so building the muscle back up is going to be an interesting adventure. I won’t be walking for 3 more weeks so I suspect this will get much worse before it gets better.

The storm systems that came through kicked my untreated RA/RD into high gear and caused a system failure resulting in a random couch nap on christmas. I am so very excited to start my IV in 2 weeks.

I am officially becoming stir crazy and feel like a shut in. I did get some excellent coloring books, a dinosaur building kit, and some books to help distract me.

Bed Rest: Week 1

lazy kangaroo

My foot operation on Monday went very well, they only had to break one bone instead of two! MY oh-so-clever doctor opted to give me some steroids prior to surgery as I have been on them for a while and he wants me to not only heal correctly but to help keep my RA/RD in check. They said they were able to align my foot to where it will be significantly better. I was really sick from the anesthesia for the first few days but finally got t where solid food was doable. As of right now I’m taking Oxycontin twice a day and have halved my Percocet doses already [from4 a day to 2]. What is both very neat yet strange is that I can feel the arch of my foot being… new. That’s the best way I can describe it, it just feels new. I get my splint off on Dec. 29th and will then have boot though I am still not allowed to bear weight until January. My excellent husband has been taking care of me around the clock despite some family health issues that have arisen with his parents. Our excellent friends have stopped by to give my husband breaks and brought us delicious food. I will continue to update as time goes on.

THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED:

  • Oxycontin makes me think everyone hates me.
  • Oxycontin makes me dizzy.
  • Percocet makes me nauseous.
  • Pain medication is like eating cork, I’m calling the doctor for the big guns on Monday.
  • I am the master of adult coloring books.
  • I need more colored pencils in my life [and more colors]
  • Benefiber does nothing.
  • I’m WAY too bossy to let other people do anything [need to work on that].

Bed Rest Prep

12249679_1195716180579577_864640948855096318_nAnyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with me will tell you I absolutely HATE staying still. Luckily I am headed toward 4-6 weeks of bed rest in 6 days! While I am excited to FINALLY have my foot dealt with I worry about bed rest, logically I know all I can do is prepare to the best of my ability. Here’s what I’ve managed so far:

  • Loose fitting clothes that will fit around a surgical shoe [limited selection, but at least there’s some]
  • Some meal planning of things my husband can cook
  • Stockpiling crafts
  • Stockpiling books
  • Arranging for visits from friends and family
  • Planning my couch nest
  • Working ahead on holiday gifts. Almost everything is bought and wrapped already.

This is all I have been able to think of doing so far, if anyone has experience with bed rest I’d love to hear your thoughts. The longest I’ve ever been off my feet was 2-3 weeks after my double knee surgery.

SIDE NOTE ABOUT PAIN MEDICATION:

As most of you know I went through treatment to get off of Vicodin and Tramadol as it was not controlling my chronic pain and causing issues. Due to the fact that I’m at risk for dependency I have created a dose schedule which tapers my dose and have requested to be put on a less potent pain medication. Mayo Clinic PRC protocol states that use of pain medication in acute situations is permitted. More on this to come.

The Foot Chronicles [Part 3]

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avocuddle

So today I went back to my fabulous orthopedist to review my MRI results and talk about my options. Upon arrival I met another one of his residents [he has a LOT] who poked around my foot a bit then called my doctor in. It would appear that I will have the distinct pleasure of major bunion surgery. Now there’s several different ways to operate on a bunion but given my RA and its severity I will be having the more extensive version. This means they will loosen the joint capsule, shave the bone protrusion down, and break the base on my big toe and reset it straight. My orthopedist did say that were I a 60+ patient he would have fused the joint but didn’t want to do something so extreme on me at my age [thank god]. The recovery time is 6+ weeks so we are waiting until after the wedding and have it done in December. I’m not thrilled about this but we have tried all of the alternatives with little success, additionally the skin near the bunion is paper thin due to steroids and bone pushing against it. I asked my  orthopedist why I had such a severe bunion at my age and he said he felt the RA fed the bunion and vice versa causing it to just keep getting worse. To put icing on the cake my Orencia IV will have to be pushed off post-op. I’ll have surgery 2 weeks after my IV then can’t have it for 6 weeks after the surgery for fear of the foot not healing. I’m going to be talking with my rheumatologist about this as I’ve never gone that long without treatment before and see what she says. In the meantime I was prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory to get me through to December and given a standing appointment should my foot get too bad between now and my pre-op consult in November. I will update as this progresses.

Life As We Know It

945139_3182536500269_984301105_nRight after I got home I went to my rheumatologist for a check-up following my trip across the globe. After doing the normal check up she ran a few tests and FINALLY confirmed what the Mayo Clinic had determined in May, I am really in Remission! I am very excited to finally go into winter without active RA as I LOVE the cold but it always caused my RA to flare up. To be absolutely honest, I was and still am so grateful to be in remission but at the same time I am having a hard time adapting. I hadn’t realized how much of my time and energy was spent on being sick. To someone without a chronic condition that may seem like an odd statement but in my own personal experience I spent so much time looking up new treatments, scheduling appointments of all kinds, physical therapy, trying to save energy [spoons] anywhere I could, not going out with friends, or just downright feeling crummy. I would like to remind everyone that 3 years of my life were spent that way and while I do still have very active Fibromyalgia, it is GREATLY helped by the Lyrica. This massive change in my life actually sent me into a depressive state, luckily someone close to me realized something was off and got me to talk to them about what was going on and came to realize I was struggling with the fact that my state of being was changed. I am still working on accepting what my life is like now that I am doing better, which has been hard because this had hit me when I was 17-20 which is when many individuals truly find their identity, apparently my identity was a little tied up in being the sick girl who pushed herself too hard. Since realizing this I have actually gotten much better and am now able to really appreciate being better. To any CI patients out there who are in a similar place right now I want you to know that you are not the only one who feels this way and you do adjust. Because I am doing better now my life feels much more balanced, I am going to school, working a real job, and am able to have more healthy relationships with the people around me.

On another note my right shoulder has been painful for the last few years and it had been attributed to the RA. Since I am in remission my rheumatologist said it was a ‘mechanical issue’, she thinks it is hypermobile in a bad way or that the tendon is messed up. Either way I need to see a orthopedist about it, I have already done PT for it twice though so the referring doctor actually sent me to a surgeon. I DO NOT want shoulder surgery, the recovery time alone is enough to make me hesitant. I plan on asking if he has any suggestions other than PT, if not I guess I have to grow-up and get it taken care of as it does seem to be getting worse. I see the doctor for the consult on the 11th and really hope it goes well, the same day I see the AMAZING doctor who has been giving me botox injections for my horrible migraines [caused by occipital neuralgia, caused by fibromyalgia] for my 6 week check up. The shots have been helping me more than any other treatment tried on me in the past.

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