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. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Less Pain, Less Medication

I feel very good today. I woke up around 4:15AM, ate some oatmeal, went to sleep, and woke up again at 8:15AM. I decided to discontinue my prescription pain meds because they don't seem to be helping. My feet ache, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I managed to vacuum my living room this morning, take a splash bath, and fuss over dinner preparations. 

My father cleaned up my wheelchair this morning, and I am ready to use it. I'm a bit stir crazy. 

Regarding the use of a wheelchair, my doctor seems that think it OK to get around on crutches. I decided to go against this recommendation and purchase a chair. Thankfully, my father found one for $25.00 at the local thrift store. It will be my new best friend. 

I cannot overemphasize the importance of company during this time. It is quite important to take everyone up on their offer to visit with you. The confinement can drive you crazy.

I Can Feel my Feet

Finally, I can feel my feet... and they HURT!!! OUCH!!! 
Written 12/3/14

The first 24 hours post surgery were awesome. I walked on my heels with no problem at all. My parents arrived, I greeted them at the door. lovely :-)

And then... slowly... my toes started tingling and itching - the first sign of pain. At approximately 2:00pm, my dad touched my toes, all 10, and I felt them. The pain has been constant since then, and walking has become more difficult. The medication does effectively manage the pain, it makes me sleep through it. As described in so many blogs, my feet are pounding against my bandages. It's as though they would like to break free. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Although I tried my very hardest, I could not plan for what happened at 5:00AM on December 1st. 

The night before, I enjoyed margaritas with my neighbor, picked up my boyfriend from the airport - sigh - and ended up alone. I confirmed my 5:30AM pick up with my neighbor, my 3 day stay at her home, and went to bed. 

5:00AM. My neighbor's boyfriend was rushed to the hospital. 
5:15AM. A call to my boyfriend, sobbing, asking for his help. 
5:30AM. My boyfriend arrived, saved the day, but could not stay during the surgery. He had 2 exams that could not be postponed. 
6:00AM. I call my sister, my mentor, my mom, etc. trying to find someone to come and stay with me. Tears were flowing like the Guadalupe River. No one was able to come. 
6:10AM. My boyfriend said he would just stay; I was more important than his exams. 

Now let me pause and say that this seems like common sense to most of you; but honestly, I wasn't sure whether I was more important than his exams. We're in that relationship phase where the newness has worn off and it begins to storm - with periods of lightening. Therefore, I was not really certain that I was more important than his exams, you know. He doesn't love me... yet...

I was wheeled back into the pre-operative room, signed a lot of papers, got weighed (109lbs, yay!), and got the IV poke. 

Drip, drip, drip... all went dark. 

I woke up 3 hours later to bandaged feet and a smiling operative team. It was over.

After about 20 minutes, I was wheeled out of the surgical center with prescriptions and ice packs... and ... I COULD WALK. With no pain, I could stand on my heels and walk. I was instructed to do so only one hour, collectively, each day. 

For the last 6 hours, I have been sitting in my recliner with my feet up. I have probably exceeded the 1 hour limit... so we will see what tomorrow brings. 

My anesthesia has not worn off yet, but I started taking my pain pills. I read, and heard from those that have had foot surgery, that it is of the utmost importance take the medication every 4 hours for the first 4 days. 

We shall see what tomorrow brings. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tomorrow... Tomorrow...

Today is a whirlwind of activity. I found several things that, I believe, will make me more comfortable: 

1. A few ice packs 
2. Several good books
3. Lots of aspirin 
4. Sensitive skins baby wipes
5. Soup... and lots of it

I had a really good breakfast - waffles <3 - and I cleaned my apartment top to bottom.

Tonight... margaritas, a really delicious dinner, and very little sleep. 

D-day. 12/1/2014 @ 5:30AM. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Almost Time!!!!


I spent the last 8 hours reading blogs... so far, I have found:

From Extreme Bunions @ : 

Pre-Surgery Shopping List

You never know what you'll need.
And it's true - whatever plans you make, they will change.  Whatever preparations you make, you'll find later that you were somehow unprepared.
Still, here are some fairly universal ideas that should be helpful for anyone who's about to go through pretty much any type of bunion surgery.
#1 Freezer Pack.  This will be your best friend during those crucial times between meds or as you shift away from meds.
#2 Rolling chair or wheelchair - or better yet, an ottoman with wheels on it so you can kind of drag yourself around the house with just your heels and get some core exercise at the same time.
#3 LapDesk - for those endless hours in bed with the laptop, trying to get your work done.
#4 Pepsid AC - to counteract the evil side effects of the meds you'll be taking.
#5 Press-N-Seal - to create fabulous custom bandage or cast coverings for showering.
#6 Handicap-Accessible Room at the Marriott Residence Inn - complete with kitchenette and the sit-down shower!  (HOWEVER - Accessible Designers please take note - most of the kitchen cabinets and some of the appliances were not REACHABLE from the wheelchair, nor were the curtain pulls.)
#7 Pilates Matt DVD's - the only exercise that seems effective without using your feet.
#8 Hand Sanitizer.
#9 Lotions & Potions - especially anything with vitamin E oil, or cocoa butter lotion, to start taking care of those scars as early as possible.  Later on, after 8 weeks of healing, I switched to alpha hydroxy products to deal with all of the excess skin that needed sloughing off.
#10 Housekeeping.
#11  VARIETY of socks, shapes, fit, weights (big fluffy may not be the best answer as you thought.  I was not able to wear ANY but the THINNEST socks inside my sneakers during the 3rd/4th week).
#12  Swimming - soon after, a membership to a swimming pool is a nice bonus.
From Bunions Be Gone @
Recovery Tips
I wanted to have a post that gives advice to those who have already booked the surgery or just got the surgery so they can learn from my mistakes and successes during their recovery. There are several things that I wish I had done, that I did and am happy I did, and that I did which I regret. I will be updating this post whenever helpful tidbits come to me. For those that actually follow this post, I will add the newest ones on top to make it easier.
  • Stay active!! At 4 months the scar tissue breaks up more when I run around!
  • Use a wheelchair in the first two weeks if possible...or have a strong husband around to carry you. In my case I had both :)
  • Massage/Rub your feet daily. Even at almost 4 months it feels good on the incision scars to rub them. 
  • Sleeping tips for the first few weeks:
    • Sleep with your feet propped up
    • Keep a cooler by your bed. Ice for 20 minutes before you go to sleep so that it was reduce the pain throughout the night. There were a few nights where I woke up in the middle of the night in pain. It was nice having ice on the bedside to reduce the swelling and pain.
    • Buy a bottle of Ibuprofen PM** So helpful especially when I started to ween off the pain medicine. I still needed help sleeping through the night at that point. 
  • Driving: When you start driving again (after about 4 weeks), drive like you would in driving school. Leave yourself extra time to accelerate and brake so that your feet don't have to react quickly to anything. That will cause pain for sure. 
  • Stay ahead of your pain. Take a dose of your pain pills about 30 minutes before the first dose is supposed to wear off.
  • I had cabin fever after a week and started walked waaayy too early. Realize your bones are broken! Give them some time to heal and don't bear much weight on them until 3 or 4 weeks.
  • Take the advice of the doctor and don't wear real shoes until 6 weeks or so. I wore tennis shoes a little early and walked far distances (when I golfed). I think that was one of the main reasons why so much scar tissue built up where my buinons used to be).
  • Soak your feet in epsom salts in the first several weeks after the surgery.
  • Apply Neosporin once the dressings are removed. Once the incisions close up, then start applying Mederma each day and don't look back. My scars are completely flat and look great. 
  • ICE, ICE, ICE constantly during the first month or so.
  • Don't wear tight/fitted socks until 12 weeks or so. Socks tighten at the toe area. I don't think this made a huge difference on my big toes angling, but I could feel different amount of pressure on my toes depending on the socks I wore. 
  • After the 6 weeks when you can start to wear normal shoes, try not to walk barefoot. Your feet need as much support as they can get when they bare weight. My doctor said that the bones do not fully heal until week 12. If nothing else, wear slippers!
  • When you start wearing real shoes again, treat yourself to a few new pairs in the beginning. My old shoes that I started to wear again were already formed to my old feet. I could feel the shoes pushing my toes back to the way they used to be when I wore certain shoes. 
  • After a lot of strenuous activity (after 8-12 weeks of course), ICE. If my feet are a little tender after a big run or something, I will ice to help reduce the swelling.
  • Wear your toe spacers if your doctor suggests it!

While conducting research, I found some nifty things... (I am not a paid advertiser and have not used these products; however, I was extremely excited when I found them and had to share...)

These covers will protect the boot/cast when in the shower! 


Honestly, I don't want to invest in a wheelchair, but the more I read about the surgery aftermath, the more I believe it might be necessary. And, at $50.00 per week to rent it, I might as well buy one. I will post pics of the chosen instrument. 

I'm becoming increasingly anxious as time races toward Monday. 
I'm eating everything in sight in an attempt to calm my nerves and cope it out... 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fixing my Feet (Bilateral Bunionectomy)

The content of this blog is mostly opinion, it is a subjective report of my pre- and post- surgery journey. I hope, in some way, it assists others during their time of preparation. Feel free to comment, but negative, hurtful comments are not welcomed. 

Blogs are vulnerable places for bloggers. 

Background and Exposition

Now, I am quite aware that I have no room to complain about my feet when others don't have them, some that have them are not able to use them to walk, some are not able to afford surgery to fix their feet, etc. So, let me begin by saying...


In addition, it is true that we are all overly critical of ourselves, see: 
Dove Real Beauty Sketches - YouTube @ 

I am my own best and worst critic. So... here goes.

My Reality

My feet have never been beautiful. I would like to think that The Fates would have granted me, a post-Boomerang black female, more attractive feet - sigh - but, no. In fact, I was born with special feet, passed down from my mother and father. My feet are a result of a childhood chock full of foot braces, orthopedic shoes, and orthodics. At 14, I dove out of my podiatrist-recommended shoes and plunged head first into my first pair of heels. At 34, my closet is full of wedges, 5" heels, crazy awesome boots, authentic cowboy boots, and Adidas dance sneakers with 3" heels. At last count, minus my gym sneakers, I have  157 pairs of shoes, and not a single pair of flats.

As you can imagine, my shoes have manhandled my feet. 

In August, I decided that it was time to revisit my foot problems to get an accurate description of the impact my shoes have had on my feet. Plus, I was in a great deal of pain.

September 12, 2014

After seeing the x-rays my podiatrist at Alamo Family Foot and Ankle Care, Dr. Richard Perez,, stated very clearly,

"Your feet are in bad shape. You need surgery on, at least the right one. Preferably both. If you don't, you will surely regret it."

Me: Um... does this mean I won't be able to wear heels??? I don't have anything else.
Dr. Perez: (smiling) Seems like you need to find a better reason to put off your surgery. Your footwear should be the last thing on your mind, especially since it is likely that your shoes negatively impact these feet of yours.
Me: When do I need to have surgery?
Dr. Perez: Yesterday or Monday

We decided to start on the right foot on December 1st.

November 14, 2014

Dr. Perez: (smiling) Let's just do both feet. I can rearrange my surgery schedule to make sure I take good care of them.
Me: Sigh... Okay.

I am in a state of pre-op preparation:

  • My boyfriend bought me a streaming Blu-ray player so I can watch TV & movies on demand. I must decide whether Netflix or Hulu is best...
  • Half Price Books contributed several new books to my library.
  • I have moved my furniture around so I can move about more easily. I like my open floor plan!
  • My doctor has provided my disabled parking placard application - handicapped parking during the holiday season? Sweet!
  • I have arranged to stay at a friend's 1st floor apartment for 3 days post-op; I live on the second floor. 
  • My parents are coming to care for me for about a month. They will stay at a cozy little cottage at my apartment complex. Hallelujah! :)
Needless to say, I am a mess; I feel unprepared for what is about to happen. The surgery doesn't scare me at all... I have survived 3 surgeries. The thought of being unable to walk - even for a short time - is terrifying.

The Serenity Prayer is my new mantra:

PathGod grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world [my deranged feet]
as it is [as they are], not as I would have it [because I would have chosen Rihanna's 5-star rated feet on Wikifeet];
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr
December 1 is fast approaching...