Saturday, March 14, 2015

And... Almost Back to Normal

It has been 3 1/2 months since my surgery. I am not back to normal, but slowly returning. I am back in shoes... up to 2 inch heels. I have been wearing cowboy boots - Texas style :-) I found that these offer the right amount of width around my incisions and do not cause my feet to swell as much as other shoes I have worn.

I have returned to work, both full-time and part-time, and experience swelling only at night... after a long day of wearing shoes and being on my feet.

I was reminded today of the importance of elevating my feet, and will do so daily. I continue to ice at least once a day for 10 min, sometimes twice if I have gone to the gym for a Zumba class.

I will continue to post pictures as changes in my feet occur, and, overall, I am incredibly happy with the results.

In a very short time, I have a new pair of feet. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Harder than I Thought

Return to Normal Life

As previously mentioned, I decided that I was well enough to return to work on January 12, 2015, in spite of a return date on my Short Term Disability paperwork of January 20, 2015. I work from home, from 6A-5:30P Monday - Thursday on a military contract. 

I have had this conversation with MANY people, MANY times about working from home. Working from home is more demanding and more stringent than any office job I have ever had. I must remain in front of my computer for 10 hours a day, with one 30 minute lunch break, and two 15 minute breaks. There are no co-workers to chat with, no one to distract me, it is FOCUSED work. But, nonetheless, it is at home. So... my brain figured... return to work? sure! Let's do it. 

Well... actually... this week has been extremely difficult. My feet were very forgiving when I could sleep in, take naps, and when my brain was relaxed. My feet have not yet forgiven me for early mornings, sitting in an office chair for 10 hours, and not being able to do the extensive stretching and walking I was doing before. My sleep cycle has been severely disrupted and, my feet have really been aching. On top of that, my podiatrist has me sleeping in my compression sleeves and toe stretchers (which look like slingshots). Aching, stretched toes, swollen feet, slingshots, and compression-- oh my! 

My doctor was gracious enough to grant me a Short Term Modified Schedule. This way, I can get the rest that I need. I cannot tell you how important sleep is during the recovery process. But this sums it up:
 Sleep lots. Sleep is restorative for our bodies, and during this time much of the physical healing around the bone and other tissues will take place. Don’t underestimate sleep’s importance.

After relaxation techniques and sticking to my already sound sleep hygiene, I had to ask if I could just have enough time to ensure proper sleep. Waking up at 0530 was causing lethargy, irritability, and poor work performance. 

Oh... below is a picture of the compression sleeves, which aid in circulation,  and sling shot, which is keeping my left big toe flexible because it is not progressing as well as my right big toe. Also, of note, is the flexibility activity that my doctor suggested. I am to throw about 15-20 marbles on the floor and pick them up with my feet, more specifically, but using the crease between my big and second toe. It causes swelling and is quite difficult. Here goes :

Compression Sleeves
Toe Sling

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Holidays

The Holidays!!!

The holidays were a blur of activity. Not that I was running around; my family was here and I was CELEBRATING :)

Regarding issues with my feet, I had one scary moment. The scab on my right foot broke open and green stuff leaked out. I was terrified, it looked like an infection. I took a picture, sent it to my physician via email, and THIRTY MINUTES LATER, at 12:15AM, he responded stating that a bit of breakage is normal, nothing to worry about. 

My next appt is tomorrow; and, I believe I will return to work on Monday. I have been sleeping much better, with the assistance of daily naps, and I can get around very well. I am in a tennis shoes for about an hour a day. This is much easier now that my scabs are gone. If I am out of the house, I wear my boots, to help protect my feet. Scab free for 24 hours... my first shower without my plastic shower boot was last night, HOORAY!!!

Here are some new pics, 35 days into my new feet:

 Left Foot

Right Foot

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Second Appointment

Day 18 
4:15PM @ Alamo Family Foot and Ankle Care

The second appointment went something like this:

X-rays, unveiling of the feet, sani-strips removed, compression ankle things tugged on, exercise bands received, toes wiggled and moved (eyes closed - yikes!), feet no longer wrapped, appointment scheduled for 3 weeks from today. 

I discussed my pain and insomnia and received prescription for Tylenol 3 and a topical compounded medication. Dr. Perez said that the ibuprofen may be causing the insomnia & instructed me to discontinue the use of the Tylenol PM, which may also be causing the insomnia due to a specific ingredient. 

Dr. Perez seemed pleased with my progress.  

Regarding work, Dr. Perez agreed that I need to feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically ready for it. Because of the persistent insomnia, work must be placed on hold. Additionally, the insomnia may be impeding the healing process. 

Sleep is of the utmost importance in the healing process. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Relax and Recover

For the last few days, I have been relaxing. SERIOUSLY relaxing. I have found comfort and solace in my recliner. I'm exhausted every day and have just decided to give in to the recuperation part of recovery.

My schedule, which I have implemented this week, looks something like this:

8:30 - 9:30              Yoga, Weights, and Meditation
9:30 - 10:30            Read Financial Peace and other financial planning books
10:30 - 11:30          Knit
11:30-12:30            Rest - although I cannot sleep...sigh
12:30-2:30              Watch a movie
2:30-4:30                Fiction reading

After 4:30P, my mom, dad, brother, niece, nephew, boyfriend, & friends etc. keep me company. 

My feet still ache - especially when it's raining and overcast - and insomnia is my constant companion. I continue to sleep only 5-6 hours per night and cannot sleep during the day. I can't wait to chat with my doctor about it. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Days Later...

An Update

12 days in to my new feet!!! 12 days post-surgery!!! 12 days til Christmas!!! 

Here are some things that I have found to be imperative during the recovery period:

1. Ask for Help
By nature, I am a control freak. It is important that I am independent, strong-willed, and can do things on my own. I'm telling you... for the last 12 days, I have relied on my family & friends for moral support, love, assistance, conversation, etc. My boyfriend has been my partner-in-crime. He has carried me through this ordeal, literally. Without such incredible support, I would be a mess. 

2. At least 3 weeks of vacation/sick leave, FMLA, PLOA, short term disability, supplemental income... etc.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE have your finances in order and at least some way to supplement your income during the time you are out for surgery. I work from home, and am unable to work. I'm physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically exhausted... I cannot do it. I'm not sleeping well and the mornings are difficult to get through. 

3. A Shower Seat
It has been 12 days since I have taken a shower. GET A SHOWER SEAT and A BUCKET. 

4. A Hobby, Good Books, and Netflix. 
I have learned to knit in 2 weeks and have completed 2 children's hats. I haven't read as much as I would have liked but, by next week, I plan to have 2 books read. Netflix is a lifesaver. I'm not much of a TV watcher, therefore having movies at my fingertips has been amazing.

5. A Recliner
Folks, I'm telling you, your recliner will suddenly become your best friend. Add a couple of extra pillows and - WALLAH - comfort. 

6. A Wheelchair
No matter how you feel about it, GET A WHEELCHAIR and A HANDICAP STICKER. You can find super cheap ones at your local thrift store. It has become a lifesaver. The handicap sticker speaks for itself. If you're out and about, use the motorized chairs at the grocery store and big box retailer. AHHHHH...

Out and About :)

7. Snacks 
You will need to keep crackers or something near your recovery chair/area. The medications will likely make your stomach upset. 

8. A Podiatrist with a Good Bedside Manner and Goodies
My podiatrist, Dr. Perez, has everything I need to make my life a bit easier. The therapeutic boots, the shower covers, a smile, and a listening ear. I have his direct cell phone number if there is an emergency and his office representative has called several times to ensure I am okay. I submitted my FMLA paperwork, it was faxed to my employer the next day. I'm telling you, Alamo Family Foot and Ankle Care is incredible. 

Let the showers begin!!! 
a MUST HAVE item

I will continue to add to the list as I think of things. 

Here's to a good recovery! Cheers!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

The weekend was a blur of activity. 

I went to a breakfast with my boyfriend, a small town Christmas fair, and dinner with my parents. I felt really good - and all, in my wheelchair. I was carried up and down the stairs, put my feet up in the car, hobbled into my wheelchair, and was wheeled around everywhere. A few naps were weaved meticulously into those activities and l-o-n-g night rests, but it left me feeling pretty good and keeping up with my 1 hour of walking. 

I was most anxious, though, about what was to happen on Monday. 

Below are the pictures that were taken during the great unveiling of my new feet. 

Before and After X-rays, On the right, my foot before surgery. On the right, my new, narrow, corrected foot.

Right Foot.

 Left Foot.

New Wraps!

Brand New Footwear :)

I must admit, I am quite satisfied with the result. Therefore, I must tell you, Dr. Perez is a miracle worker. 

The Bad

Post-foot reveal has been difficult. In a way, I believe the bandages kept everything in place.

First, the boots are heavy. Robocop heavy. 
Second, the feet are more exposed AND the spacers fall out when I sleep, when I sit, when the wind blows. 
Third, I'm having a very hard time sleeping. Insomnia hard. I have been taking the Tylenol PM, as instructed, but even with those - I'm not sleeping.

The Ugly

Because I am entirely hard-headed, I decided to try to get back on my work schedule. I even called my supervisor and tried to log-in. I ended up in tears. My feet hurt, I was exhausted, and getting out of bed was so entirely difficult, I nearly passed out. 

So... short term disability it is -- 60%. 

The Lesson

My mother keeps asking me what the lesson is in all of this. Reality is, I have had surgery every 2 years since I was 26 on something. I often tell people that I am the black, female version of Benjamin Button. Complete with old people problems - shingles, for example. 
I'm not really certain, but I have decided to seek some understanding. So, here goes. This will be both a time of recovery and healing. Love you, Mom. Time for a nap.