Saturday, August 28, 2010

Changes and Surprises

You might notice a couple of changes on my blog. I decided I needed a better description. I want people to be able to find me if they are searching for ankle blogs. The other big change is that I had to edit my surgery on August 12th. I went for my first post-op appointment this week and found that I had a much bigger surgery than I originally thought! When Dr. McGorgeous went in, he found that my lateral talocalcaneal ligament was lax and I had an osteochondral fracture on the underside of my talus. Ok, picture it like this. You have two blocks. One on top of the other. The bottom block is your heel, your calcaneus. The top block is your ankle, your talus. Normally, a ligament holds them every so slightly apart. My ligament was torn, so nothing was holding them apart, and with every step my ankle bone was grinding into my heel bone. The ligament has been torn since the beginning, January 13th of 2009. I'm not sure if the fracture happened at that time also, or if it formed over time from the constant grinding. Regardless, they are now repaired. My feelings on this range from sheer gloating (Ha! I TOLD you it felt unstable!) to joy (maybe this was the last surgery!) to anger (why the hell didn't we find this sooner?!) to panic (how the hell am I going to find time to rehab this??) to fear (maybe this wasn't the last surgery). I'm all over the place. At any given moment I am any combination of these feelings. Physically, I'm still really tired. I'm trying to take is easy, but in reality, I'm not. Between work and school I'm putting in 12 hour days. Not anything to write home about when you're healthy, but when you're 10 days out from major surgery, it's not ideal. What else? Oh, I'm in my boot. And it's hot. And heavy. In August. Whine. I'm still in pain, but I'm trying very hard not to panic about it. After all, I still have my stitches in. If it's not even healed enough to take out threads, it's probably not healed enough to stop hurting, right? RIGHT!?!??!??! So, what's next for me? Well, today involves an afternoon of elevating my ankle. Possibly a pain pill. Next week is getting the sutures out. Week after that, physical therapy starts again. Here we go!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clean and Sober

Today was my first day without drugs and my first shower since the surgery. I no longer feel like I was hit by a bus, but I am starting to get antsy and stir crazy! Even more impressive, I was able to start walking already, although I don't know how much PT, if any, I'll need. This surgery is not like the original ligament repair. That one took me 5 weeks to walk on, but this surgery only took a couple days. Dr. McGorgeous swore I would be able to walk the DAY OF surgery, but I woke up and took one look at it in all its swollen, misshapen glory, and knew I would never squeeze it into the boot. So, the boot stayed off and I used the crutches. And it's a good thing I'm so damn smart, because when I did try walking, I had some definite issues with swelling. I ended up loosening my bandages twice to relieve some of the pain, which I didn't have to do in the 5 previous surgeries.
So, I posted the surgery game plan in a previous blog entry, and I'll just update you on what they found. Apparently, my talus had started turning in on itself and as soon as the bone abnormalities were removed, it corrected its positioning. I'll probably have to wear an insert in that shoe for awhile just to be on the safe side. Also, I may or may not have had a dissolving suture put in that subtalar ligament. A couple things got lost in translation between Dr. McGorgeous and MaryGoMom. I will clear everything up at my first post-op appointment. Also, I can't unwrap my ankle yet, so I have no idea what the new incision looks like! Waiting another 8 days to see it is like, the worst Christmas present ever!!!! I am going to tryyyyyyyy to be patient, but I might need just a little sneak peek!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The latest

Results are in. The CT scan showed what I expected.

Don't get me wrong. I don't consider myself a pessimist. I don't THINK bad things are going to happen to me. But I do think that I know how my body feels. And I think I know when it's bad enough that it requires surgical intervention.

Now is one of those times. So I have officially reached the point where my ankle is un-google-able. WebMD doesn't have a clue. That's intense. I think I should buy a lottery ticket.

Dr. McGorgeous came in today and hadn't read the CT scan yet. He said he didn't want to cheat. So we looked at it together. It was fascinating to watch his game plan change with each picture that appeared. I wish I knew what he knew. The first few pictures showed a several bone spurs of varying intensity. To the point of looking pre-arthritic. Uhhhh, I never thought I'd be discussing arthritis at 26. Turns out, that would be the high point of the appointment. From there we saw more and more bony abnormalities. The plan turned to an arthroscopic surgery. Then we saw The Big One. The mother of all bony abnormalities. It turns out, the abnormalities are causing my joint not to move together correctly, which is why it feels so unstable. The Big One is so big that we decided the best course of action would be to forgo the arthroscopy and open up the joint completely. I'm actually really happy with this. I think the doctor will have a better idea of what's going on by opening it all the way up. I also think back to the meltdown I had after the diagnostic ultrasound. The one that showed there was nothing wrong with me. When there is nothing wrong with you, there is nothing to fix. This CT scan didn't show great things, but it gives us a game plan, and something to work on. I know I'm supposed to be upset that I need to have surgery, but honestly, I was more upset at being in pain for "no reason". So I am now scheduled for my 6th surgery in 15 months. I feel good about this. Each surgery has given me a little bit of my old life back. I can accept now that I'm never going to be that person again, physically or emotionally, but I know that I have the capability of getting to a really good, maybe even better place than I used to be. I can't express my gratitude for having a surgeon who didn't give up on me and send me to Pain Management when I truly had fixable problems. It's not lost on me that for every person like me who gets the intervention they need, there are many more who end up lost in the pain management shuffle. I could very easily be a person who spends the rest of their life on painkillers, and continues to give up all the parts of life I've given up for the last 19 months. I don't know why I wasn't put in that group, but I think the part of me that changed mentally knows that I have an obligation, forever, to make the most of that.