August 2017

Posted: August 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

I just came home from the gym which is also the office of my physical therapists.  The best of both worlds where my former physical therapists watch out for me.  Nichols & Associates of Panama City Beach, FL if you’re looking for the best in town.

Today I did my 30 minutes on the recumbent elliptical machine as the standing elliptical is just too hard on my ankle.  After that, I did about 20 minutes of weight training for my legs – tomorrow, I’ll do my upper body.  I feel that after Donna and Tracy got me walking again, I have an obligation to keep moving so it wasn’t a waste.

No problems related to the ankle surgeries since I last posted.  I don’t even think of it anymore.  Once in awhile, when it is really rainy, it aches a little but I don’t have any localized pain from my surgeries.  I have osteoarthritis so I’m never sure of the cause of any aches and pains.

As fate would have it, my friend is having his ankle replaced today.  I wasn’t a candidate because of the initial fusion.  I can’t wait to see how well he does on his new ankle.  His goal is to be able to get back to his kitesurfing so I hope it goes well.  I’ll keep you posted.

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It’s the 14th of December and I have been completely mobile for almost a year following 14 months of no weight bearing on my right ankle.  If you’ve read this saga, you know that I had three ankle fusions and ended up with a cadaver hip bone and a lot of hardware – it’s all available for you to see if you scroll through this blog.

Yesterday it was 70 degrees – yes, I’m below the blizzard belt – but today it is raining.  Sometimes, when it rains and is chilly, I pop a Tylenol but, generally, I just about forget about my ankle.  I don’t glide smoothly and I will never ice skate again – or, according to my docs wear heels again :(, but I’m doing very, very well.  I’ve been back to work for months, traveled a lot for work, both by car and plane.  I did have a few problems in Baltimore, dragging a computer, work notebooks and wearing girl shoes, and walking from the parking garages to buildings far and wide.  The uneven sidewalks annoyed my ankle as did the constant shuffling for position in the stream of people walking.  BUT. In my normal day, I don’t even think about it anymore.  The whole thing was a pain in the #@! but it’s done now.

Years ago when I was waiting to meet some friends coming in from somewhere, I spent a few days alone in Bangkok.  I spent an afternoon with a fortune teller who looked at my hand and said that I would have a long period of my life when I would have to suffer with some medical issue.  I’m hoping that this was it and that “medical issue” is over!

I will continue to post from time to time and enjoy hearing from readers.  I can’t believe that this simple little story of my ankle has been read over 10,000 people – all over the world.  It’s amazing how many people have things in common that we search out in the dark of night when we have unanswered questions.

Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.

So, here I am at the end of June 2013 and I am mobile; walking and driving.

With a “rocker” shoe, recommended by my physical therapist, my gait is very close to normal.  In normal shoes, just a little off.  I have a few, minor, balance issues which I address by doing balance activities on my wii.  There are many times when I find myself in the shower, washing my hair, and think “Look at me!  No holding on.”  That’s a big accomplishment from a year ago.

My knee walkers are retired to the garage but I just haven’t had the confidence yet to sell them.  And, although I haven’t used them for six months, I still carry my crutches in the car – just in case.

The biggest struggle has been to find shoes.  I guess that that’s minor compared to not walking at all but, hey, I’m a woman and I like shoes!  I still do my best in my New Balance motion control cross-trainers.  I have bought a couple of pair of good sandals but just can’t make them work for long periods and don’t have the support that I still need.

Most of the swelling is gone and the scars are matching those that I have on the other foot from a different issue so I’m good with that.

I’ll continue to add to this blog from time to time but, as of today, I’m walking and driving and today, painting the hallway in my house.  Life is good.

 

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Here I am, 423 days since my first ankle fusion surgery in October 2011, 242 days since my second ankle fusion surgery in April 2011 and 142 days since my third ankle fusion surgery in
July 2012.

Eleven pink casts, one purple, three boots, two of which are pneumatic, two bone growth stimulators (I’m still using the Exogen) and one pair of compression socks later, I am stumbling about with my newest boot in an action that I am referring to as “walking.”

At my last appointment in Tampa, Dr. S told me to get off the table and walk.  Yikes!  What?  I just stood there, not exactly knowing what to do.  I was thinking about which foot to use first.  Finally, I pushed off and had my arm on the PA who was cheering me on.  It hurt, but I made the three or four steps.  I remembered how to walk!  I was directed to get a boot, go home and start walking.

So, here I am, 18 days into this walking adventure.  There are some rules.  I have to have my boot on.  Ok – there is one rule.  I started out by walking with my crutches which I never mastered to do without using both feet.  It got me into the habit of using my right foot.  Next, I started standing; at the sink, at the stove, brushing my teeth, washing my face.  In the past, I had always kneeled on my knee walker so standing is a big deal to me.

I have an appointment in early January and hope to be able to walk into his office and get the OK to drive as I would like to finally go back to work in late January.

This is horribly exciting to me and I didn’t want to write about it until I was sure that it was real. In fact, after about 10 days, I called to see if it was normal for every step to hurt as I pretty much know that this is my last chance.  Yes, I was told….these bones and muscles haven’t been used for a very long time and it IS normal.  Now, it hurts less every day.

I’ll keep you posted…..

Here are the latest x-rays.  In addition to my hardware and new hip joint in my ankle, you can see my bunion which, believe me, is absolutely not on my worry agenda.


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November 1, 2012.  I had my most recent appointment two days ago and, again, was told that my ankle is healing!  I am, however, back in yet another pink cast with ports for my Exogen Ultra-Sound.  I have been really worried for the last few weeks because I could feel something going on inside that cast.  As I had no precedent to rely on for information and certainly couldn’t look anything up online, I worried about every little pinch and twinge.  I guess that that’s the downfall on a surgical process that is new.

The good news…..if nothing changes, I will get a boot and be able to begin to walk in a month!  After a year, a month should zip by quickly.  Then will come the challenges of remembering how to walk and doing so with a foot that doesn’t bend.

For the first time I heard my doctor use some amazing words.  After looking at my recent x-rays, he looked up and said, “It’s healing.”  In all the appointments and after all of the x-rays I’ve had in the last 11 months after three surgeries, that’s the first time I didn’t get bad news.  Yay!!

After having my cast removed for the first time since surgery, I was naively surprised that I had so little motion.  Duh!  Look at the bolts and plates in my ankle.  I don’t know how I could have expected to have full motion.  The front of my foot, however, is ready to go!  I asked if I was going to have any problems driving and was told that I shouldn’t so that was good news.

So…I got a new pink cast and this time, have two ports for my Exogen ultra-sound bone growth stimulator.  My new doctor has switched to this machine.  I put the cream on it and put it against my skin for 20 minutes.  I have a port on each side of my ankle and spend the 40 minutes reading or watching the news in the morning as I can’t walk around with this one.  I felt nothing with the Orthofix and feel nothing with the Exogen but assume that  it is working.

I don’t have another appointment until the end of October so have seven weeks of what I refer to as Groundhog days.  They all see to be the same the same the same……..

I stopped posting because I didn’t want to discourage anyone going into an ankle fusion.  Well, here I am, 10 months, 15 days and three surgeries later, still on one foot on my trusty knee walker and doing my best to be cheerful and optimistic.

The second surgery in April resulted in yet another non-union.  Nobody’s fault – my talus bone just wouldn’t hold it all together.  Dr. D referred me to an ankle specialist whom I refer to as “The Wizard” who looked at my CT scans for some time and looked up and said, “I can fix this!” Woo hoo!  Those were the words I wanted to hear.  As he specializes in non-union ankle fusions and basic ankle trauma, I was confident that the eight-hour drive (each way) was worth it.  I had surgery five weeks ago and have seen him one time, two weeks after the surgery.  My next appointment is the 11th of  September.  When I saw him last, he casually mentioned that I would be approximately four weeks in a cast, followed by six weeks in a boot, and then, six more weight bearing weeks in a boot and then, “You will be healed.”  “What?” I said, “Healed?” See why I call him the wizard?

The pictures below show the removal of my talus bone, the precision insertion of a cadaver bone (thank you, whoever you were) a new, solid IM rod held by a set screw half way up my calf, some screws to hold it together and, finally, a plate to stabilize it all.

Now that I’ve taken the step and begun to post again, I’ll keep it up.  Thanks to all of the well-wishers from whom I’ve had messages.  I’ll be back on after the 11th.