Health Update – Progress on my back!

I went in to see the foot surgeon yesterday and spent five hours (yes, FIVE) at the clinic yesterday between waiting to be seen and waiting for a referral form and prescription. Good thing is that I think it may have been worth it.

The point of the appointment was to look at the MRI I had done at the end of February to make sure there wasn’t any nerve impingement that was causing the pain in my leg. I didn’t think there would be, but it’s good to make sure. I also wanted to see if we could figure out what’s causing my continued low back pain.

I was shocked to see that I still have trace bulges at the L4-S1. I figured once they did the fusion that wouldn’t be an issue anymore. The surgeon didn’t seem concerned since a lot of people live with trace bulges.

That may be true for most people, but for someone like me, with a congenitally narrow spinal canal, it’s not great to have anything that pushes in. Especially since across from where the discs are, I have some inflammation. Overall, this contributes to a pushing in on the nerve roots.

Because I do have continued pain, the orthopedic surgeon referred me to another doctor who specializes in the spine. That appointment is set for mid-April. Hopefully he and I can come up with a pain plan. He may want me to go back to physical therapy, which would be great. It did help before. I’ve also had epidural steroid injections (those didn’t help though and I ended up feeling weird the next day).

In order to deal with the nerve pain in my leg (since we know it’s not radicular pain from my back, the foot doctor gave me a 30-day prescription for Lyrica. I don’t know if I was just wiped out yesterday or if it was the Lyrica, but I had one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a while. I’ve read some great things about Lyrica, so I hope I feel the effects too!

April should be a good month for health progress – I start shockwave treatments and the spine doc should be able to help. I also head back to the endocrinologist. Maybe he’ll finally address my fatigue.

 

Shockwave Treatment: Commencing April 5

I finally got into the doctor to see about getting rid of the pain in my achilles tendon. (I made this appointment in early January.) Since I’ve been weight-bearing  after the surgery, I’ve had pain in my achilles. I thought I tweaked it (and I may have) but the surgeon said that the lengthening he did could cause pain and inflammation. So he referred me to another doctor for treatment. The real issue is that it affects my gait, which probably causing hip pain from time to time. I’ve got a vacation coming up that will involve a lot of walking, so I need to get as healthy as possible!

I totally love the doctor. Because my tendon transfer was so unusual and because of my tattoos (lots of doctors apparently watched the surgery), I’m pretty memorable there. There were two doctors there and they were both really nice. The one I was referred to discovered that I actually have a lot of pain in the ball of my foot and created a foam support to help with that until I get firmer shoes.

He was very cautious in promising results from the treatment, but said that it does help a lot of people. I may not get a 100% reduction in pain. I told him I would take anything at this point.

From what I gather this will be a multiple-session event. The only downside is the traffic getting to the office. I just hope I can get some relief and start walking more normally. As a bonus, I get to go shoe shopping!

30-Day Project: February Wrap-Up/March Project

30-day Project

Hahahah. Oh holy hell was February a complete failure. I think I stitched maybe 7 days total. Which is terrible. I had projects I wanted to finish if I was going to start selling them on Etsy. It’s not a the world’s biggest deal obviously, but crap. I did finally frame things I had finished. I feel like I should get some credit for that.

My goal for March is to journal every day to sort of track how my body feels from day to day – back pain, leg/foot pain, stomach issues, etc. – and see how my activity, eating, and sleeping affect how I feel. A friend does it and while hers is a lot more detailed than mine will be, it’s a good start.

It’s not exciting and don’t worry, I won’t post the day to day in here. That would be terrible of me to do.

While I’m here, I may as well give a quick update on my leg/foot. I still have a bit of pain and my gait is totally screwed up. I walk with my foot turned out and I don’t step all the way through because of pain that happens in my foot and achilles. At the January 6 appointment with the surgeon, he acknowledged that due to the Achilles lengthening, there could be some inflammation and scarring in there that are causing pain and making it difficult to walk. He referred me to a doctor to get an extracorporeal shockwave thing to help break it down and hopefully help me walk. Unfortunately, the first appointment that doctor had available was in mid-March. So, in a couple weeks I’ll see him and get this sorted out. Maybe.

I had an MRI yesterday to make sure there isn’t any nerve entrapment that’s still causing pain down my leg and into my foot. I doubt there is since they did an MRI right after the spinal fusion that caused the foot drop and there wasn’t any then.

I do attribute some of the foot/leg nerve pain issues to the work done by the physical therapist after the surgery. He can pretty much suck. A lot of the other nerve issues had resolved, but NOT in my lower leg. I do wonder very seriously if the foot drop would have resolved if I had never seen him.

At any rate, that’s where I’m at. I’ve had some days where I wasn’t having a ton of pain and it was amazing. I think it was over a week! Still had some pain, but nothing like it had been. Then yesterday I was reduced to a sobbing mess because my back, hips, leg/foot, AND arm hurt (thanks cellulitis!). Today is better. I chalk that up to getting a fuck ton of good sleep. Yay for melatonin!

Anyway, I hope you all are well or if you’re not, that you get there soon!

 

(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!

Booted Up

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It’s been a while and I know you’re all dying to know how me and my jacked up foot are doing. So I’ll indulge you.

Traveling while on crutches and not really able to bear weight is awful. We left Friday morning for Dubai. I hadn’t had a lot of time on the crutches and found it pretty exhausting to get around the airport. The woman who checked us in got me a wheelchair and that was probably the smartest thing we did that day. There’s a lot of waiting time once you check in for an international flight and in most of the airport in Doha, you don’t really get to sit while you do it. I don’t know if they’re trying to make you walk around and shop, but you don’t get to sit. When you’re being assisted though, they have a “lounge” for you to hang out in, filled with mostly empty chairs.

Navigating the aisles of plane on crutches should be an Olympic sport. I didn’t get put on first, so I had to deal with people being around me and probably irritated that I was going slowly. I also booked us into the back of the plane which was not a brilliant idea in retrospect. I obviously believed I’d be a lot more mobile than I actually was.

As I was getting off the plane in Dubai, I moved aside to let someone get past me, and I tweaked my Achilles. It was a nice sharp pain and it immediately brought tears to my eyes. It did not help that I hadn’t really slept the night before and was completely exhausted. They brought a wheelchair down the jetway for me and got me through passport control fairly quickly. Then we were on the way to the hotel.

Getting out of the taxi and up the curb was pretty funny. I hadn’t yet mastered stairs and required a lot of assistance to get up. Once inside the hotel I sat while we checked in. We got booked fairly close to the elevator so I didn’t have to hop around too much. My foot was pretty damn swollen and in pain by this point. But, I had to work, so there was no sleeping. This did not bode well for the next leg of our trip.

I was hella tired when I got up the next day to fly to Brazil. I hadn’t gotten even three hours of sleep and was super cranky. Insert a “Poor Mr. Lyndsy” here.

I barely made it to the counter at the airport. They brought me a wheelchair pretty quickly though and wheeled us through a bunch of different places and elevators to get us to the “lounge” for assisted passengers.

What got interesting was that the plane wasn’t on a jetway. They asked if I could take stairs and Rodrigo quickly told them now. This meant I had to be loaded into a cargo container and driven to the plane instead of taking a bus with everyone else. They raised the container up and I got onto the airplane on the opposite side that everyone else entered. It was hilarious. I’ve never been that close to an engine before.

I made the mistake of booking myself into a middle seat for the 14-hour flight. I hate a middle seat anyway, but when you’re trapped in a boot, it’s pretty much like torture. Mr. Lyndsy and I are both tall and pretty wide (not in a fat way really – at least him) so we were all up on each other during the flight. I hate being in bodily contact with someone for so long. The guy in front of me kept his seat reclined THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. His traveling partner was a complete bitch about my crutches waiting near her seat to be taken to the back and where my bag was.

Landing in Brazil has probably been the happiest I’ve been in a long time. As soon as the guy next to me got off the plane I lunged for his seat to give me and Mr. Lyndsy some space. I moved to the middle row of seats once most of the plane cleared out so Mr. Lyndsy could get our bags. They pretty much had a wheelchair waiting for us once we were ready to get off. We got pushed through the shortest line at passport control and were finally free of airports for a while!

Some days are better than others in terms of whether I can put more weight on my leg or not. I went for a walk today without the crutches and will now be using crutches for the rest of the day. My foot is screaming at me. The damn thing is pretty swollen too. Long flights do that to my right foot apparently. We’ve been icing it on and off to try to help the swelling, but the effect has been moderate at best. Some swelling doesn’t seem like it wants to go down…

Here’s the Frankenfoot:

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Back to the Doctor… Awesome Update

Went back to the doctor today for the final check with my doctor before he goes on leave for Eid. I was hoping to be able to convince him that he just wanted to put me in the boot this week, but that didn’t work. So, I go into the boot next week as planned. I’ll be in  the boot for 6 weeks. The only time I can take it off is when I’m exercising (and I’m going to take at least a few normal showers, probably with assistance, so I can shave my damn leg).

I’m back in the pink cast! So much better than the white one.

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I also discovered a few things today while I was waiting for the doctor to come in and take a look:

1. My leg is hairy as all get out. It is also really dried out.

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I put the BEAST in sexy beast.

2. The calf muscle has really atrophied.

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Hopefully once I get walking again this will get better.

3. I have more incisions than I thought by 2.

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I missed the one top middle and the one on the right outside of my foot.

4. My foot is a lot less swollen than I thought it was. It is also hella bruised, which I have definitely felt.

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I still have Frankenfoot…

But, the best part is… (DRUMROLL PLEASE)

We got confirmation that the tendon transfer worked. I CAN PICK UP MY FOOT.

It took some work to do it which means doing it while walking is going to be a challenge for a while.

But WHO GIVES A FUCK?? I CAN PICK UP MY FOOT AGAIN.

Awww yea.

Ugh…my leg

It’s been a while since I gave an update about my leg. I have a doc appointment on Tuesday but I definitely wish it were before then. 

I’ve started having muscle spasm type things in the tibialis anterior. The pain seems t go pretty far down, which is interesting since the lower part is where I’ve had a lot of numbness since the fusion. 

I had some pain travel down into my big toe too. Same situation as the lower leg – haven’t really had any feeling there since the fusion. 

The top of the peroneal nerve has had some problems as well, by not as frequently as anything else. I get a pins and needles feeling in the bottom, outside, and heel. 

The stitches on the outside and top of my are itchy and occasionally painful. I really hope those come out at this next appointment. 

There are days when I I’m almost used to the cast and days that I want to saw it off my leg with a kitchen knife. Mr. Lyndsy won’t buy me my own saw. 

Things could definitely be worse and I’m of the belief that everything is just healing and that’s why it feels weird. Let’s hope I’m right!

I’m debating smuggling a razor into my next doctor appointment. The leg hair is strong with this one. 

  

Best. Babysitter. Ever,

Mr. Lyndsy got back yesterday from his travels, which meant that my babysitter was also on her way home. I apparently did a terrible job booking her ticket and it’s like 26 hours of traveling. Oops. So sorry about that.

Babysitter is a long-time friend of mine, but I hadn’t seen her in at least 12 years. I internet stalked her for most of that time and we chatted online here and there. That isn’t the same thing as spending time with someone though.

You see the memes about how true friendship means you can go years and then just sort of pick up where you left off. It wasn’t like that exactly, but we were able to just sort of fill in the gaps and go along without much effort at all.

I have a lot of trouble being cooped up in my bed. I hate to ask for help and I didn’t want to disturb or inconvenience her. The initial days were me trying to get my own food and then realizing that wasn’t going to work. She eventually figured out that the easiest thing to do was just to make some food and bring it to me since I had trouble asking for it. We found our rhythm.

We got to have loads of smart chats about stuff too. With so much going on in the US we had plenty to talk about. I really feel like I got to work some stuff out in my head that I may one day be able to translate into something actionable to make the world a better place. Pretty bad ass if you ask me.

I need to extend thanks to her family for letting me steal her for over a week. She’s married with kids and extended family at her place. Taking mom out of that is tough.

I really needed the help this week and I can’t imagine it going better than it did!!

Babysitter Thank You

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.