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I haven’t blogged in awhile because I’m still trying to figure out how this blog fits in with everything else I’m tracking online but I thought it would be good to give a quick update on my post surgery status.

It’s been an up and down journey so far but I finally seem to be on the better side of healing. I’m out of the walking boot and doing quite well walking around in two shoes. It’s taken me a lot of physical therapy, including biking, to get to this point. I had a few minor set backs when transitioning out of the boot including some tendinitis and a possible ankle sprain. Those problems seem to be cleared  now though and I hope it stays that way.

I don’t see the doctor again until November 1st and I still need to go in for physical therapy some but I’m not going in at all this week which is a nice break.  I know that post strayer procedure my calf muscle isn’t the same on the left as on the right and it is a little weird. There seems to be a large build up of muscle tissue around the actual cut and the upper part of the muscle is taking its sweet time in strengthening back up. I’m having occasional massage done on the calf muscle to see if that can help smooth it out but it might be something I just learn to live with.

I wanted to make sure and post an update in case someone planning to have this surgery wanders in here looking for others in the same situation. At this point I can say that getting the surgery done was worth all the rehab because it finally seems like the original heel pain is gone now. It’s just down to finishing up the strengthening and I can handle that pretty easily.

By recent standards, I had a pretty busy day today complete with my first ventures out of the house. By the afternoon and now this evening, I’m pretty worn out and learned that crutches can quite the little workout.

Last night I was resting in bed with an ice pack on my leg and realized it was feeling a little wet and when I looked at the ice pack, it had leaked water out and some what pooled under my bandages. After some debate we finally decided to call the doctor’s office and check with the on call doctor on what we should do. The instructions said if the bandage got wet or dirty, to call for assistance. The on call doctor said it would be best to come by the office in the morning and have the bandages changed and cleaned.

So this morning I called and made a 10:00 appointment with one of the casting people. I went in and he removed the old splint and I got my first look at the wounds and they were impressive. There’s going to be some pretty nice scars when this is healed up. There’s a 3-4 inch incision down the side of my leg that’s currently being held together with staples and a long cut that basically runs from the side of my ankle, around the heel and to the bottom of my foot with at least a half dozen stitches. He removed everything, cleaned it all up and reapplied a new splint. My old splint was done with plaster but he made the new one using fiberglass so it’s a bit lighter now. He also wrapped my leg with a nice stocking first so the new splint really is a lot more comfortable.

After that errand we stopped by my house so I could pick up a few more things that I needed. I had originally planned on being home by now but it looks like it’ll be better for me to stay where I am for at least a few more days. After having my foot moved around a little by the new splint and after accidentally putting too much weight on it, I’m back up on the pain level. The accident was sad really, I was just turning on the crutches and felt like I was tipping backwards which cause my toes to just touch down long enough to shoot pain through my whole foot. It wasn’t fun at all.

For those that don’t know, this is the what the surgeon did:

  • Released 3/4 of the plantar fascia ligament from the heel of my foot
  • Removed a bit of bone spuring from my heel
  • Released (cut away) some of the tissue surrounding some nerves in my heel to relieve pressure
  • Cut and lengthened my calcaneal (achilles) tendon, I believe doing a Strayer procedure

My next follow up is July 12th and 7:30 am and should involve removing the splint and moving me into a walking boot with some additional supports, etc.

I knew that surgery wouldn’t be an enjoyable vacation but this has been rougher than I prepared for mentally. Mostly I just work on keeping the pain under control and sleeping.

I also have to make sure I get up and move around to prevent blood clots so it’s harder to get steady sleep. My follow up is on the 12th in the morning and until then I pretty much have to rest.

This surgery was a lot more invasive than the knee too. My biggest accomplishment so far has been washing my hair. I am thankful I have my parents to stay with, they have helped out a lot.

On the grander scale, this one was pretty minor, but I felt like blogging about it anyway. So I was working on making my lunch for tomorrow and thought “wow, this is the last time I’m going to do this for awhile,” and at first I was happy about that. Frankly, sometimes packing a lunch every night gets a little time consuming and I do enjoy the break from it. Then I started thinking about why I wouldn’t being packing my lunch.

That’s when I had “the freak out” about the surgery. I knew it was coming, I know myself well enough to expect it, I just didn’t know when. I basically was ready to call the whole thing off. Pretty much felt like I no longer wanted to do the surgery, just wanted things to stay as they are and not deal with it.

I know this won’t help, I’ve run out of options and surgery should do me some good. It helped that right after my little freak out that my leg/foot started hurting. The surgery is coming, on the 29th, and I just have to do what I can between now and then to get ready. I just need to do it, get it over with, and start the recovery process.

Plus, I still have Trail Trek to look forward to on Sunday!

I went in to see Dr. Swanson today at Nebraska Orthopeadic and Sports Medicine to get another opinion on my foot problem – well really I saw his awesome PA, Austin Young first. We went over everything and talked about the different things I had tried, what stretches I was doing, was I wearing inserts, etc etc. He went over the MRI and the X-rays and finally brought Dr. Swanson in to try and develop a treatment plan. He, the PA, hadn’t dealt with anyone that had the issues I appear to have after a cortisone injection. Dr. Swanson examined me and we talked some too and it sounds like surgery is the next option on the table since everything else failed. Right now I am scheduled to go in on June 29th to have a few things done.

The list is as follows (all on the left side):

  • Strayer procedure – this is basically a gastrocnemius slide, or even more basic, they make the calf muscle longer
  • Partial plantar fascia release – cutting away part of the ligament on the bottom of the foot
  • Excision of calcaneal spur – shaving off some of the heel spur
  • Release baxters nerve – release one of the nerves that might be entrapped by the swelling

The procedure is outpatient and I’ll be in a non-weight bearing splint for 2 weeks before moving to a walking boot/cast for another month. He has down no PT at this time so I’m not sure what the long term recovery plan really is.

The good thing though, is that I will still be able to do Trail Trek on the 27th, which I’m really excited for – 25 mile bike ride!

This morning I went to PT and at the same time I picked up my medical records from my current foot doctor in order to shop around for a second opinion. I went and saw the same doctor that did surgery on my knee to see what he might suggest and while it’s not an area he does surgery in he did say given everything that’s gone on that foot surgery may be the only route left to try. I am going to be seeing another foot doctor on the 24th and then I suppose I have to make a decision. I’m more worried about this surgery than I was about the knee but it’s really not getting better.

The doctor today said that normally they tell people with plantar fasciitis to “stretch, stretch, stretch” and the problem generally lies in not stretching enough. I have heard this one before so I do stretch a lot – I stretch in the morning, before bed and a few times during the day at work or before/after I go for a ride.  He said that my flexibility was really good so I may have reach the limit of the benefits of stretching. He also commented that my heel spur was pretty impressive and that they don’t normal see one of that size in someone my age. He said that people come in talking about having this “big” heel spurs and normally they aren’t much but in my case it really is a huge spur. I believe he also said it was “angry” and really swollen.

I did get new shoes today, Brooks Ariels, to replace my old pair of Ariels. So far they have been pretty nice but I’m not sure they’ll be a miracle cure to my problems. One of them already has a scuff/oil mark from the bike though so that’s a little sad.

Some good news though, he went ahead and “released” me as far as my knee is concerned and I don’t need to go back. The knee is doing really well and I’m quite happy I went ahead with the surgery. Now I have to decide if the foot surgery is going to be worth it.

Vital Stats

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

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