(Last?) Foot/Leg Update

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I went back to the doctor this morning for my boot follow-up. NO MORE BOOT!!! The one I got before I left broke while we were in Brazil so Mr. Lyndsy had to go out and find one for me. The one he picked up is much less cumbersome than the one we got here, but holy crap, they’re all annoying. And man, they develop one hell of an odor.

In an interesting twist, the doctor doesn’t want me to do physical therapy. He’s concerned that they’ll pull my foot down too far and ruin all the work he did. I’m not really supposed to do any sports either. Not really an issue. I do want to go back to the gym, but I don’t see how this will be an issue for that.

His big point is that what I wanted is to be able to pick up my foot and I can. I’m curious to see how my foot will feel walking in a normal shoe rather than the boot. I know I need to get some shoes that have more arch support in them. Neither of the boots had any and I could feel a lot of pain in the arch.

My ankle gets a little sore when I walk for a distance so I try to break up any walking I do. I’m working on being able to bend my toes without picking up my foot. Not sure how thats’ going to go.

This journey isn’t at a complete end yet, but the worst of it should be over!

My leg is FREEEEE! (Video too!)

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I don’t think it’s possible for me to convey how excited I am to be out of the casts. I now have the freedom to wash my leg, scratch an itch. However, my excitement is a bit derailed by where my leg is right now.

For starters, I think they put the last cast on a bit too tight. As soon as the cast came off, Mr. Lyndsy commented that the bottom of my foot looked bruised.

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Not sure if that’s because of the cast or the surgery, but it feels pretty not great. When the doc was cutting off the cast, the vibrations from the buzz caused loads of pain near my big toe, where I don’t have much feeling in the first place.

My leg is super atrophied. The doctor said within 2 weeks it’ll look like normal again. Just a matter of getting back to using it. But ugh.

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And then I tried to walk on it. HOLY SHITBALLS PEOPLE. THAT FUCKING HURT. They want me to go straight from being non-weightbearing for SIX WEEKS to walking like normal. Not fucking happening. I took two steps and the pain just raged in my foot. I plan on using crutches for a bit until my leg gets used to being a support again. They’re crazy.

I am still trapped in a boot almost 24 hours/day. I only get to take it out to practice picking up my foot. But at least I can get my leg the attention it needs now!

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But the important question is whether it was all worth it – all the pain, time in the cast, etc. I’ll let you be the judge.

That’s me, picking my foot up! I still have a long way to go before everything is really okay, but things are moving in the right direction.

Thanks for the support and encouragement as I’ve gone through this the last almost 18 months. It’s been a long, pain in the ass road.

REALLY over this cast

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I’m fucking done. It was one thing when the incisions hurt – that I could understand. Now when I move and the cast hits any part of my foot, there’s pain. I have no idea what the hell is going on, but it’s annoying.

The real problem is at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m a side sleeper. I have a really hard time falling asleep on my back. The problem with sleeping on my side is that the cast is always hitting my foot that way. I finally gave up last night and took a pain killer. Not surprisingly, not long after that I was able to fall asleep.

I am very curious if it’s as bruised as it feels and if this is really just part of the healing process. I’m very much hoping that’s what it is and not something going wrong.

I’m also tired of not being able to put my foot down. Getting up to go to the bathroom is more of a production than I like it to be. It requires me to be more awake than I usually am if I have to pee in the middle of the night. I make a lot more noise than I normally would hopping all over the place and it disturbs Mr. Lyndsy. I’m sure he doesn’t really notice much, but I feel bad as he turns over at the disturbance.

I appreciate the need for keeping the cast on. I definitely want this to heal appropriately. Six weeks is just an annoyingly long time to have a leg out of commission.

Of course, even after this cast comes off, I’m stuck in a boot the vast majority of the day and I believe I’m supposed to wear a splint at night to avoid any excessive plantar flexion. At least I should be able to walk on my foot then and not have to hop in and out of the bathroom. For a person as clumsy as I am, it’s exhausting.

Almost halfway, sort of

I went back to the doctor today for a follow-up. I’ve only ever had one cast before this one and if I remember correctly, I sawed it off myself. I know intellectually that the saw isn’t going to cut me, but in reality, getting a cast taken off is fucking horrifying.

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It really freaked me out when they went over the place where I have stitches on the inside of my foot. I still get weird tingles and vibrations there and it’s sensitive when things touch it.

I didn’t get any pictures of the wounds this time, but the doctor said they’re healing well. They don’t need to take out the stitches by hand because they are apparently the kind that dissolve. The doctor said they don’t want to do anything that might mess up the tendon transfer. Seems smart to me.

The new cast is less colorful (which makes it better for drawing) but it’s also shorter and tighter. Both of these things make me happy.

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 I have another 3 weeks in a cast. The doctor wants to make sure that I get 6 full weeks without ANY plantar flexion to make sure the tendon has a chance to attach. After this, I move into this monster boot.

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Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. It’s basically as tall as the current cast is. The cool thing about this is that you can set it so you only get so much flexion. The doctor also said that for another 6 weeks, he doesn’t want any extreme plantar flexion. He’s nervous about this transfer because I don’t really have any tendons left to transfer if something happens to the ones he just did. I would then be looking at craptastic bracing forever or an ankle fusion. NO THANK YOU. So I will be careful and do what he says. He wants a little movement once I’m in the boot but nothing crazy.

I have another follow-up in 2 weeks to the see doctor who performed the surgery before he goes on leave. The next week I see another doctor to get the cast off, get it looked at, and get myself into the boot.

I do not think I will be able to describe in words how happy I will be when I am able to put my damn foot on the ground again. It’s hard to stomp your feet and pitch a fit when you can’t let your foot bear any weight.

A Good Month

I talked briefly about this yesterday, but this has been a really good month for me. I’ve been on a different sleeping schedule to go with my new job – I don’t get up until the afternoon and I’m up until 3am or 4am. I’ve always been more of a night owl, so this feels more natural to me than waking up in the morning.

I think the other thing that’s really helped is writing every day. Forced creativity apparently agrees with me. It was an easy way to give everyone a status update on my health after the surgery, which was a total bonus.

It’s been my thought for a while that if I wasn’t blogging it meant that something was wrong. It never occurred to me that I could sort of force myself out of a funk by making myself write. I’m not entirely sure if that’s what really happened this month, but I feel like that could be right.

The other thing that may have contributed is that I finally feel like I’m on a path to really doing something about the foot drop. I’ve had less pain this month, even after the surgery, because I haven’t been able to walk on it. Pain with walking is really frustrating and energy-zapping. I hope that the pain stays away when I’m back to walking on both feet.

I’m not sure what’s made the difference this month – whether it was the writing or the health or the sleeping or all three, but it’s been really excellent. Thanks to everyone who has commented or liked the blog posts. It helps keep me going!

Getting Used to It

While it’s still incredibly inconvenient and annoying to wear, I’m getting more used to this giant ass cast. I’ve learned how to move it when I want to go to sleep that I can sleep on my side. The cast follows the shape of my leg and heel. This means that certain parts of it feel like ledges on the inside that my leg runs into when I move. I’ve mostly figured out how not to do that.

I didn’t really think it would be that important to keep my leg up the first two weeks of the surgery, particularly after how swollen it didn’t look when they took off the cast. But man, on the occasions when I do get up to go to the living room, my leg is pretty unhappy with me for a while. I’ve learned that if I work to bend my leg as I walk, it’s not quite as bad as if I let it hang more, but that takes a lot of work.

I still have more than a month in a cast. I was hoping that they’d make it a little lower down when they put on the new one, but the doctor is trying to cover everything down from the common peroneal nerve. I assume we’re tying to avoid all movement that might affect the tendon he just put in. Which I totally appreciate.  I want it work and not get broken ever.

I’m starting to have some weird feelings in my foot and leg. I don’t really know where they’re coming from since they don’t all seem to be associated with movement. Yesterday it was strange sensations along the bottom of my foot. The other day it was like muscle contractions down my leg.

I guess I really just need to stay in bed.

Following Up: So far, so good

I went back to the doctor today for a follow-up. The doctor wanted to check the incisions and see how the tendons were doing. My foot was a bit tender as they cut the old cast away. It seems like the blood kept the material stuck to my foot. It was deep kind of pain as they tugged it away.

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The doctor took a look at the incisions and gave my leg a small test to see if the foot would stay up without him holding it – basically checking to see if the surgery did what he wanted it to do. He didn’t want to leave it to free fall since the tendons have only been attached a short time and he didn’t want them pulled out.

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The incisions looked good. There are three – one on the inside of my foot near the arch. He took the tendon that works with the big toe. The one on the top of my foot is where he brought them together to work to pick up my foot. It’s hard to see, but on the outside of my leg, above the ankle, is where he took the second tendon from.

The other very good news is that my foot stayed up when he let it go! He said that after six weeks it would firmly attached and I can be moved into a boot out of the cast. And speaking of the cast…

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It is BIGGER AND BRIGHTER! It eats my toes a bit more, is a lot wider around my foot, and goes higher up on my leg. None of these are positive things in my mind, except that it seems less likely that I’ll injure it this way. It makes it a lot more cumbersome and challenging to lug around.

The doctor also had to lengthen the Achilles a little to make sure I’m getting maximum benefit from the surgery.

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This was a good visit. I’m very pleased with my status right now. Getting to and from the doctor today was exhausting so I have no plans to leave my apartment for the next week or so. The incision on the outside of my leg seems to feel the worst, but they all pulse and throb from time to time. I really do need to just rest for a while and let my body do what it needs to do.

I go back in a couple weeks for the doctor to check the dressing again and make sure everything is still going well. He also cleared me to travel once the boot is on though he didn’t look thrilled about it. I’m sure Mr. Lyndsy will follow up on that at my next appointment.

Hooray!