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Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…
Recent posts

Irma: A (Mostly) Photo Essay

For nearly three weeks I've struggled to find the right words to write about Hurricane Irma, which destroyed islands in the Caribbean, then hit South Florida, eventually coming up the center of the state. The Tampa Bay region got really lucky in the end, as it avoided a direct hit and the storm had diminished to a category 2 by the time it arrived. And now Puerto Rico is experiencing a humanitarian crisis after being pummeled by Hurricane Maria. My heart goes out to those people.

My plan when severe weather is forecast to for Tampa is always to go to my sister's house, as the area I live in is highly flood prone and she is on higher ground. This time was no exception; however, her plan was different. She wanted to leave, head north, get out of the state, and she wanted me to go with her and the rest of the family. But I was not in a place to pack up and leave. I had real concerns about my foot recovery; I was about eight weeks post-surgery and very newly out of the boot and in…

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using …

Surgery Chronicles: Over the Hump

Two days ago I had my second foot surgery, and I'm happy to report that all went well—just as good as the first. I'm super relieved to have it done, even though I have many weeks of recovery ahead of me. The hardest part is behind me, and I'm feeling especially grateful that I only have two feet!
As a person who thrives on routine and enjoys tradition, I wanted to repeat some of the same elements of my last surgery, since it was successful (some might call that superstition, but I prefer tradition). So the night before surgery I enjoyed a dinner at the same restaurant and in the same company as last time (and even with the same bafflingly forgetful server, which I could have done without). And on surgery day, I wore the same outfit (also because how many chances do you get to wear pajamas in public?).
But there were some differences going into surgery this time, as I had a good idea of what to expect from my first one. That knowledge was beneficial in that it allowed me to p…

Surgery Chronicles: First Steps

This past week I took my first steps in a real shoe with my new foot. As with any first steps, I felt it worthy of recording:


I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but my surprise, it felt perfectly fine—no pain. There were a few tears, though. I got rather emotional after so many weeks of anticipation, of protecting and worrying about my foot and wondering if I'd be able to use it again, even though I knew rationally that I would. It's very different to experience the act than to imagine it. Now it was real. Of course, I'd been walking in a boot for a few weeks, but it's just not the same. The boot intentionally keeps your foot from flexing and bending, so it's being cradled and coddled, which means you get used to walking without really using your foot. So in my first attempts at walking, I still wasn't really using my foot because that's what I'd gotten used to.

Once I started walking around more, I realized I also wasn't stepping evenly with m…

Surgery Chronicles: Home Stretch

I'm now into my sixth week since surgery. I'm on track, making good progress, but I'm so close to time frame for recovery—six to eight weeks. My five-week follow-up last week went well, but I left feeling overwhelmed. The doctor said he didn't need to see me for another four weeks, which is just in time for my pre-op appointment for my second foot (!).
To-Do List Since the appointment, I've no longer been using crutches (yay!), and I've been working to help my incision heal completely (I'll spare details), at which point I'll need to start treating it with a special scar gel to keep the tissue from hardening. Also during this interim, I'll need to be a bit more aggressive with my toe exercises to increase flexibility (i.e., make it hurt). And, when I feel comfortable enough, I can try gradually transitioning from the boot to an athletic shoe. Once I feel good in athletic shoes, I can resume driving. That feels like a lot of stuff to manage on my own…