Mitsugirly's Foot Journey a journal of my struggles
January 4, 2023: It's time
It's a new year and time has finally come....this is my make or break year and I use that term loosely. Please, no more breaks. I've had my fair share.
JANUARY 4: It's finally surgery day. I'm so nervous and scared but yet hopeful. I mean, what choice do I really have right?
I was told to be at the surgical center at 5:30am this morning to check in. I was informed I was the second surgery of the day for my surgeon. Well let's hope that means he's coming in with a fresh mind and well rested. I know from being in the healthcare field, as the day goes on fatigue sets in...just saying...I'm glad I was one of the first.
Of course I didn't get much sleep the night before. I know it's been 3 years but I promise you, I can still remember how that pain felt, the crying in the middle of the night because I couldn't get comfortable or was in so much pain. I remember those nights well and the thought of having to go through this again was getting the best of my thoughts.
We arrived at the surgical center and checked in and waited in the waiting room for my name to be called. They took me back to my room to prepare me. I changed into a gown, the nurse put an IV in, they confirmed what was being done today. Then they allowed my hubby to come back and join me until it was time for surgery. The anesthesiologist came in to let me know what he would be doing and before long my surgeon came in to talk to me before surgery.
Then it was time to administer my leg nerve block. The anesthesiologist lifted my leg and put it on some type of semicircle foam piece and the nurse said I was about to feel something cold in my IV and that's the last thing I remember. Then I woke up like nothing had even happened.
Then it was time for me to go to surgery. I kissed my hubby goodbye and he confirmed that I was going to be ok.
Once in the surgical room, the positioned me ask me where would I like to be right now and think about going there. My reply..."Aruba" LOL of course. The nurse said she had never been there before but would love to go. I remember telling her I've been multiple times and she said well your about to go there now and do you feel the coldness in your IV? I said yes and that was the last I remember.
I woke back up in my room and they said everything went well. My hubby came in and said that he had talked to the surgeon and everything was out and they did not need to lengthen my Achilles tendon. That was good news for me since I knew that if they had to do that, it would be a much longer or more painful recovery. My surgeon told me that after removing the hardware, he was able to get my foot to extend my foot both dorsiflexion and plantar flexion so he believed the hardware was holding me back. That was GREAT NEWS!
I was giving some pretzels and juice (both are a big no-no on our keto diet) after waking up and my hubby scored me for taking it but I was hungry and had been fasting since around 7pm the night before.
Not much longer and they were discharging me home for recovery.
I had brought my crutches with me and used them to get into the house and up the stairs to my bedroom where I would be hibernating during this first week of recovery. I had strict orders to lay in bed for 7 days with my foot elevated "toes above the nose" and only getting up once per hour for a total of 10 minutes for a potty break.
My PCP decided to put me on xarelto for 2 weeks post surgery just to be on the safe side. So, I would be starting this tonight.
The rest of the day and into the night was good...I mean after all, I was still numb....until I wasn't....
January 5, 2023: The fun stops here
Around 12:30am I suddenly woke up and I immediately knew...my nerve block had worn off and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I remembered this pain and feeling. It was what I never wanted to experience again and here we were. I never adhere to instructions telling me to always take my pain meds prior to the block wearing off and the pain starts. I just don't like taking pain meds and always think "I can get through it" and I'm always wrong. The pain was excruciating, it burned as if I was on fire, it felt like someone was there in the room cutting me open, it was not pleasant at all. I spent most of the rest of the night awake trying to fight back the tears. What had I gotten myself into? Did I make the right decision? Was I in store for months and months, dragging into years of pain again? I really hoped not.
I had a very uncomfortable, painful day and rested in bed trying to sleep as much as I could to pass the day away.
January 7-8, 2023: What now?
So the pain is a little less over the weekend. I have my moments but I have to admit, the pain and burning has been a lot better and I'm very hopeful.
My pcp was proactive and did put me on the blood thinners for 14 days after surgery so this is making me very tired really easily. I can't stand for very long before I get worn out and need to sit.
However, I did notice that the top of my leg, above the dressing was starting to ache and have some pain. I wasn't really sure what it could possibly be since it wasn't around the incision sites. I would notice in the next few days, this particular site would continue to increase in pain, there was a small bump and it was now red. It really has me concerned and I cannot wait to address this at my 1 week appointment on Wednesday and maybe get some answers. For now, I'm toughing it out and hoping for the best.
January 9, 2023: I just gotta know...
I have been just dying to know what my wounds look like and it got the best of me tonight. I cautiously unwrapped my dressing and took a peak.
I have to say, it does look pretty good and there was very little bleeding on the gauze so I was real happy about that . He had went in using the scar from my previous surgery as well (which I assumed he would).
January 10, 2023: First Follow-Up Appointment
Today was my first follow up appointment. They removed the dressing and said it looked great. They said I could start trying to walk in my walking boot now and they would be removing my stitches next week. They plan to have me starting PT in 3 weeks. I'm so excited. She did tell me to finish my last week of blood thinners and then start the aspirin 2x daily until it is gone (should be another 3 weeks).
The PA did provide me with a printed copy of the xray after removal the day of surgery. It's a crappy picture and looks like the ink was running out...but at least it shows no metal.
My hubby did ask the PA exactly what all was done during surgery and we got a reply of "the metal was taken out what do you mean?" He told her that when the doctor came out to talk to him, he mentioned something else but was unsure what it was. I ask if they cleaned it out...as in the arthritis, because that's what the other surgeon had said he would be doing and I had brought that up to my surgeon at our appointment in November. The PA was a smart ass and made some comment, that sounded actually a little degrading, like "Hmmm, I'm trying to think about what would have been said that someone like you could think of it as and not understand" or something to that effect. She never did answer other than "all I can tell you is that he removed the metal so I don't know". Which this was weird because she was IN THERE with him! I feel like I have nothing but problems with this uncaring PA in the past with her not addressing my infection concerns in 2019...which resulted in another surgery that probably could have been prevented had she took me seriously and gave me antibiotics at that time.
I got home and immediately wanted to try out my boot. Oh em gee! I could not walk. It was painful. I still had to use the crutches. But, at least I had more stability with being able to put my foot down while using the crutches. It's going to be a task to try to do this and after a few passes back and forth in the room, but foot was in a lot of pain...like a lot. Still trying to feel hopeful. The weird thing is, the left side hurts worse than the right side. The right side is the side that always gave me so many problems with healing, infection and looked the worse. So, this is weird.
January 19, 2023: Second Follow-Up Appointment
It's been 2 weeks since my surgery and it's time for my 2 week follow-up appointment and....TIME TO GET THESE STITCHES OUT!
The redness I was experiencing on the right side is gone and feeling a little better. I feel like the problem was every time I wear my boot, it rubs and irritates it. The dressing makes it a little bulky and I think that's the problem. I did discuss with the PA this issue and she said for me to do whatever made me feel comfortable...wear the boot or don't.
The assistance came in to take the stitches out and I do have to admit, IT HURT! I wasn't expecting that. She was pulling and tugging and ouchy!
It's been 2 weeks since my surgery and it's time for my 2 week follow-up appointment and....TIME TO GET THESE STITCHES OUT!
The redness I was experiencing on the right side is gone and feeling a little better. I feel like the problem was every time I wear my boot, it rubs and irritates it. The dressing makes it a little bulky and I think that's the problem. I did discuss with the MA this issue and she said for me to do whatever made me feel comfortable...wear the boot or don't.
The MA came in to take the stitches out and I do have to admit, IT HURT! I wasn't expecting that. She was pulling and tugging and ouchy!
The PA came in and looked it over and said that it looked great. She said that I was able to SHOWER now...finally! No soaking it in a tub or swimming or anything but I could shower and that was music to my ears. I could not wait to get in a shower and wash my dirty foot...especially the initials the doctor and I put on it before heading into surgery. I was also looking forward to shaving this nasty 2 weeks growth on the lower half of my leg too. Thank goodness my hair doesn't grow much in the winter time. LOL
So I was officially off my Xarelto as of yesterday. Now I was to continue on my aspirin 2x daily. No blood clots this time around thank goodness.
I scheduled my appointment for my next follow up and it was time to head home and take a shower!
February 6, 2023: Healing
My healing progress has continued and this week I have noticed a BIG improvement. I have been walking without my boot and doing pretty good. I have also noticed that the pain is less and I am picking up my speed. My husband says he hasn't seen me walking this fast since before the accident. I'm very hopeful this time around that I will get back as close to normal as I can. My only complaint at this time is after I have sat for any period of time, when I get up, my foot is so stiff that it's hard to walk....until I get going. But this has been a MAJOR improvement and my scars are looking so much better.
February 15, 2023: Physical Therapy
Today was my first appointment with P/T. We went over my history...gosh where to begin when telling this story...and I had a new therapist this time around (my old therapist was still there) and I really like her. She had me work with some bands, different movements, did some measurements, and gave me a printed list of things she wanted me to work on at home. They were basically the same thing I did the last time I had therapy in 2019. Ok, I got this! I did learn the meaning of the color of bands and found out that BLACK is the strongest band and I should work my way up to that. Well, I'm in this to get as much mobility back as I can and well...I'm impatient so I decided I'm only working with the black bands. She also said I could use something strong, like a dog leash, to help pull my foot upwards. Yep, I'll be doing that too!...and I did.
February 19, 2023: New job
It's time to take control and get my life back. I decided I wanted a new job and today was my first day. I haven't worked a job that consisted of 12 hour days in...well forever. Well, now I am back to a regular job and that would consist of a LOT of walking. I'm going to walk my way back to normalcy one way or the other. I'm hoping this works out because this is something I've wanted for quite some time. We will see...
March 1, 2023: How did I do?
Time to head back to my P/T for my 2 week check-up on improvement. She measured my flexibility and....I have an improvement of "6" in flexibility! Wow! I put in a lot of hard work. She gave me different skills to do this time around. One's that I could work on at home and also had me do the stationary bike (which I've never had a problem doing, even back in 2019) and also on the leg weights. I'll continue to work on what I can at home and she asked me if I felt I needed to come back? Hmmm, she said I could come back in a month or a few weeks or...not at all if I felt like I could continue to work on things at home and improve. I did make an appointment for 2 weeks later (which I ended up cancelling because of a conflict with another appointment) and I haven't rescheduled again. I'm not sure if I will at this point. I really only wanted to know if there was any improvement by the measurements.
Turning my foot inward is almost normal now
Outward is getting there as well
Healing is good but I do still have a very small hard chunk of skin/scab that is not giving up on the inside wound
Flexing my foot down (think pointing your toes) is pretty decent
Flexing my foot up is and always has been the problem and continues to be the problem but it's improving
I'm still pretty swollen and look like this every day. I'm not sure if it will ever go back down to "normal" as the doctor said he expected removing the hardware would give some relief with pain and swelling but without an ankle replacement, it would probably never be normal again.
Just a video of me trying to flex in all motions.