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I am still alive, which is good, but I haven’t been feeling much up to writing in the blog. There’s something about recovery that I didn’t expect and that was set backs. When I had my knee surgery everything recovered quickly and I don’t remember having major setbacks. With this foot and ankle surgery I haven’t been having as great a time. I get filled with doubts as to whether I should have even done the surgery. The foot still hurts and I still don’t have the muscle strength back like I’d like.

Last week I was actually back in two shoes and walking around, with crutches mostly, but still it felt like progress. We were doing a lot more at PT and I could actually get back into some amount of an exercise routine. Then it all fell apart last Friday when my foot decided it couldn’t handle it any more. The pain was high and it became clear that I was going to need to wear the boot again for awhile. I made that decision with some advice from PT and now we are “re-grouping” and going to start again.

To add to the fun my calf muscles, which have a history of problems, decided it was time to act up again. So part of my time spent at PT was getting the muscles massaged out and that has helped. Now I have to focus on keeping them stretched and started using my heating pad at night to keep the muscle warm.

With all this my mood has defiantly been down and I haven’t been able to sleep very well. I wake up about every hour and I’m guessing I’m also batting either a virus or allergies. I haven’t worked much this week because I just don’t have the energy and I’m having issues keeping up with pain management. I know I need to pull myself out of the funk but it’s really hard to keep doing it because each time it’s a bit harder than the last.

I’m going back to PT on Friday afternoon and hope we will have a new plan in place. While I know the doctor said this could drag out to 6 months I just couldn’t understand how that would be possible. It’s been 9 weeks since my surgery and I really thought I’d be much further along. I guess there’s nothing I can do but keep up with my rehab and do things to improve my mood.

It has been close to 7 weeks since I had my surgery and I haven’t been doing to well about keeping this blog updated. Here’s what’s changed since I last posted.

6 Week Follow Up with Dr. Swanson

Last Monday morning I went in and saw the doctor for my 6 week follow up without any idea what my next steps would be treatment wise. I was still pretty reliant on the crutches and pain medications. The appointment started with a standing x-ray which required me to climb a few stairs, without my boot. That was probably to worst part because that hurt quite a bit. It didn’t help that their little stairs were wobbly too so I could hop up them like I’m used to doing with stairs. Everything was fine on the x-ray, thankfully.

Dr. Swanson came in and talked with me briefly, poked my foot a few times and that was about it. He said everything was looking really good and that it was time for me to start physical therapy. He said to keep using the crutches and boot and work with PT to get off the crutches and back into shoes. He said the best case scenario would be me coming back to see him in 6 weeks wearing both shoes.

Physical Therapy

After my appointment with Dr. Swanson, I called my physical therapy office (Proformance) and asked about setting up an appointment. It happened to work out that he (Matt) was able to see me that afternoon so I got started right away. He did a lot of measuring of my flexibility and strength and said the flexibility was pretty good considering everything. I can only do some pretty basic strengthening exercises because everything is still really weak and needs to be rebuilt. He has me doing a set of exercises at home a couple times a day and I’m doing my best to do them. I know that if I do them I will progress through quicker and hopefully get back on my exercise routine. Here’s a sampling of what I get to do:

  • Towel Scrunches – lay a towel on the floor and use my toes to pull it towards me in sets of ten, then I pull the towel side to side for additional sets of 10. This one isn’t too bad but it can get a little sore near the end
  • Ankle Alphabets – use my foot to spell out the alphabet, I do this one because it’s good for my ankle but I find it pretty boring
  • Ankle Pumps – he gave me a nice yellow theraband that I can use when I pull my ankle up and down to build some strength
  • Leg Lifts/Hip Abductions – laying on my side, lifting leg in the air. This is another one that I’m not a big fan of but I still do it.

The doctor wanted me going in 2-3 times a week so we decided on twice a week at this point, depending on how things go. I had my second session on Friday and even though we didn’t do a whole lot I was pretty sore Friday night. I also made the mistake of trying to get off my pain medication in part because it’s keeping me from being able to drive but also because the doped up feeling is getting a little old.

My goals at this point is to get off the crutches at least. I get tired of dragging them around but I know that that help and keep the pain down. I just miss being able to do things without even noticing, like shopping and such. I still can’t shop by myself so all my grocery and etc needs have to be coordinated. I went to a couple stores today and by the end I was pretty tired and my foot was getting sore, it made me a little sad.

I have been doing my crunches though and some wall push ups when my hands aren’t feeling too bad. One side effect of the crutches is bruising on my palms so the push ups aren’t easy to do but I’ve been trying out some workarounds like other people have suggested.

The other day I had a dream that I was riding my bike – it was the best dream ever.

I haven’t been posting lately because there just hasn’t been much to post. I’m pretty much stuck in this rut of trying to heal from surgery and not go insane. My eating has gone off the charts as far as poor choices and I know I need to bring that back, it’s just hard when routine is impossible to establish. I haven’t even returned to a routine work schedule yet.

On the plus side I have been making some positive progress – I can make trips around the house and some at work without crutches. The foot itself is feeling better but my ankle is not very supportive and sometimes when I walk around I feel like unbalanced.

I have one more week to go before I see the doctor again and I’m getting frustrated with waiting and not being able to exercise. I’ve tried to do some upper body work but my arms are so tired from the crutches and general laying around that it doesn’t seem like a good idea. It will come with time, I know, but right now it seems far off and unknown.

I did want to show you the perfect shirt that I picked up at Target on Sunday – I can’t wait to actually wear it:

Proud to be Awesome T-shirt

Things went pretty well today and I made almost a whole day at work. I’m slowly transitioning around on the crutches but I’m just not sure how to know what things should feel like. I can vary from totally non-weight bearing to a few steps around without crutches so it’s confusing. My heel feels really weird still and it starts to hurt if I walk on it too much – similar to before surgery, so that scares me a little.

Yesterday did not go very well and I think it was due to the medication. I even called the nurse and she’s having me cut back to taking half a pill at a time. I basically slept all day and didn’t feel like I could even get out of bed. I didn’t even have lunch and it was the first time I had feelings like maybe I couldn’t take care of myself. Things were better by evening once the medication had moved out of my system.

So it still hurts to walk but I can tell my calf muscles and such are healing up because now at least I have support and can actually put some weight on it without it buckling. This is progress so I’m taking it. I just have to wait out the pain I suppose at this point. I’m going to do whatever I can to heal but sometimes I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing. I’m so ready to get to August 9th so I can move into the next stage of healing.

About the only thing I really post about these days is post surgery because not much else is going on. The biggest issue I’m having now is eating healthy. I know how to eat healthy and for the most part I’m doing fine but I snack a lot more than normal. I think it’s coming from boredom with sitting around and not doing anything else. I’m not getting the high I was getting from exercise so my mind is trying to recreate that with food, possibly. Recognizing the issue is great because it means I can work on it and I have all the time in my life to do it.

I also haven’t weighed in for weeks for obvious reasons. I’m a bit worried about how much weight I’ve gained but whatever it ends up being, I’ll have to live with it.

I’ve been trying really hard to keep my own spirits up – I know it’s important to stay positive and that in the long run, large scale of things, it’s not so bad. That aside, I’m getting frustrated and worried. The healing as pretty much slowed to the point that I’m not seeing daily progress like I’d hoped for. My biggest fear is that the surgery won’t have fixed the problem, or made things worse. The pain is still there and now I don’t have strength enough to walk even with the walking boot. I’m still very dependent on the crutches and I had expected to be further now.

I’m going to try and get back to my normal life – back to work, etc, but I still worry that I’m going to overdue things and it won’t ever heal correctly. I’m feeling pretty direction less with my recovery plan and that further frustrates me. All I’ve been really told is to just play it by ear, do things “as tolerated” and use the crutches as long as I need them. I thought I was going to get off the pain medication today but by the end of today I was back on them. The pain really is bad and it’s partly my fault for going to Target – I guess.

I’m using the blog right now to vent so take that as it is. I know that I need to “hang in there” and “not get discouraged” and “things will happen with time” and etc. But right now – I’m feeling down and I’m going to own up to that emotion. It’s not the end of the world.

It’s weird to think that just two weeks ago I was coming home from the hospital post surgery and now I’m finally back in my own home and mostly taking care of myself. I even went into work for part of the afternoon. I mostly went in to touch base with everyone and to see how I felt. Unfortunately it felt like it was too soon so I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’d really like to be less dependent on the crutches and I missed my afternoon nap.

I did spend most of today walking with a small amount of weight on my left foot and that was great progress. This evening I even took a couple of steps using only one crutch! That isn’t something I can do well yet but I’ll get there. Just need to keep taking small steps and soon I’ll be healed up and back at it.

With that in mind, it’s time to focus on my long term goals again. I want to get back into caring about my health, I’ve really let the eating choices slide the last couple weeks so it’s time to get that back on track. I need to get back to planning out my meals and sticking to that plan.

For exercise, I’ve found some videos on Youtube that show various exercises that can be done from a chair or bed. These aren’t high end workouts but any movements are better than sitting around doing nothing.

I still hope to start running before the end of the year but I have to also work with the fact that it may not happen as I have planned. So if I can’t do the running then I’ll have to fall in love with something else – like biking. I do like biking a lot so I suppose if that has to be my thing, then I’ll live. The important part of life is to be happy, healthy and just take what comes my way.

This morning, at 7:30 AM, I had my two week follow-up from my surgery. We arrived on time and didn’t have to wait very long before going to the back. The nurse took a little information and sent the cast technician in to remove the splint. This took a little bit of time but nothing major and it was nice to get some freedom even though I could barely move my foot. After the splint was off they rolled me down to get an xray done which was pretty uneventful.

After getting back from the xray there was a bit more waiting for the doctor. He was already in with another patient so we just waited and my foot was starting to hurt. I still had my stitches and staples in at that point. The doctor came in, looked it over, tested that I had feeling and said everything looked good for two weeks. He then said the staples and stitches were coming out and I was going to move into a walking boot, compression sock and new arch supports. It sounds like, post surgery, I will have to always have the arch supports. I can’t see that being a major problem, just something I have to remember.

He told me a little more about the surgery he did and in the end he thought the base of the problem was nerve entrapment but since the symptoms are hard to diagnose on its own, it was best to just do all the procedures as planned. He said that the tissue surrounding my baxtars nerves was really tight so that was probably the main source of my pain. I’m actually happy to hear this because I had been suspecting a nerve problem all along.

I asked him a few questions about pain medication and such and he said it was perfectly normal to still be on pain medications at this point after surgery and gave me a refill prescription. I hope I can get off the pain medication soon but I also know they are important to the healing process and the medication he has me on is a fairly low dose and I’m not taking the higher end pain killers any more, so that’s good. He said that foot surgery is really painful (it is) and most people stay on the pain medication for awhile. The downside to this is that as long as I am on this medication, I can’t drive.

Speaking of driving, I applied for a state handicap parking permit today that will be helpful once I am back into driving. I also went down to the parking services at work and got a special parking permit that will allow me to park really close to the building. I don’t know at this point when I’ll be able to drive again but I have at least another 4 weeks of limited mobility, maybe longer.

So I now have the walking boot and he said I can begin to put some weight on it as long as it feels ok but to keep using the crutches as long as I needed. So far nothing magical happened and I’m still pretty much stuck with the crutches. I can balance a little on my left foot but walking really isn’t much of an option at this point. I’ll just have to keep working on this for the next couple weeks and I really hope to be without the crutches by the time I go back in for my next follow up on August 9th. This is when the evaluations happen and we figure out what happens next as far as rehabing. Right now he said I’m still in the healing stage so there’s not much I can do but wait.

Here’s a picture of my awesome new boot (the red part is the arch support):

Walking Cast Boot

If you would like to see pictures of my surgery wounds, they are here (click at your own risk).

I am happy that I can take the boot off to sleep and shower, so that makes life a lot easier, even though I can’t walk still. I’m not sure why I thought I would be off the crutches after moving into the boot but I sort of thought I would. I guess this is going to take longer but that’s ok – I can wait it out. It will be worth it once it’s healed up and I’m finally able to do the things I haven’t been able to for a long time.

Oh and as a side note, getting the staples and stitches removed wasn’t a pleasant experience. It seems that the stitches may have become a little, embedded, so she ended up cutting some skin while removing them and that hurt. The staples weren’t horrible but it did sting and I was happy when the final one was removed.

So now I focus on healing and getting back into my normal routine. It looks like I’ll be returning to work on Wednesday for a short day and then going from there. I’m getting a little too used to not working so it’ll be an adjustment but it should be fine. There’s a lot of work to get done so it will be nice to get back.

The process has been slow and my routine has been messed up but I think I’m getting there. My foot has started feeling odd the last couple days and I think it’s due to the ligament healing.

I see the doctor Monday morning and hopefully move into the walking boot which I’ll have for another 4 weeks. I’m really hoping the staples and stitches can come out too.

I want to continue documenting my recovery, especially as I move into my rehab stage. I still don’t know for sure if the surgery fixed the problem but I am hopeful.

The last couple days I was actually able to leave the house but I’m pretty sure I overdid it yesterday. We went to Hy-Vee to get groceries and I ended up having to leave before we were finished and go sit/lay down in the car. I know it’s only been a week since surgery and I think my expectations on how quickly I’d be back to normal activity were set too high.

Today we went out and got ice cream and drove around a local park around sunset. This wasn’t so bad because I never had to get out of the car. It was nice to go see some of the animals at the park and otherwise not be in the house. Today was also my first day since surgery that I was on my own for part of the day. I had to make my own breakfast which ended up being a lot of work. It’s really hard to transport things when on crutches but I managed by using various counters to leap frog things to the table.

The leg/foot itself is probably healing but it’s hard to tell. There is still some amount of pain and I’m still taking the pain meds the doctor gave me. My discharge orders are to keep taking them until he tells me otherwise so I’m going to do that. What I can do is lengthen the amount of time between doses so I’m working out a plan. It seems the pain was better for a day or two but has now changed and seems to get worse. The leg is pretty stiff and sore from lack of use already and I can really feel it if I go from laying down for awhile to standing up.

I’m not sure what the long term plan is other than going to the doctor on the 12th and seeing if I can move into the walking boot. Once I’m in the walking boot, I’m not sure how long it will be before I can be full weight bearing. Even partial weight bearing would be helpful at this point, just to take a little pressure of my right leg.

I’m hitting the point now where I’m frustrated with being cooped up and unable to do the things I enjoy. The splint itself has been bothering me more lately just because I can’t take it off. It’s like always wearing a big wool boot all the time and it can get a bit warm. Plus, I can’t check to see how the sutures are healing so it’s all a big mystery. I’m supposed to be watching for signs of infection but that’s not really something I can do since I can’t see them. I suppose if I get a bad fever or something, that would be a sign. And one last note – itching – I knew it was going to happen but man, it’s worse than the pain!

Vital Stats

Name: Angela
Height: 5’8″
SW (2019): 475 Lbs
CW: 410 Lbs

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