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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 now. As soon as my incision was healed, around the same time I got out of the boot, I was anxious to get in the pool, though unsure of how easy or difficult it would be to swim with a still tender foot. But once I was in, the moment I (gently) pushed away from the wall and streamed forward before coming up for my first stroke, I felt free. I kicked lightly, stroked hard, and barely let my feet touch the wall before turning back around for another lap. Not a particularly speedy way to swim, but a cautious way. And it didn't matter. It felt so good to move with ease and to have back a little part of my pre-surgery self.

I'm also able to use the fitness center, strategically. I've taken inventory of every single activity I can do without bearing weight on my feet. I can use the stationary bike for up to 20 minutes before it's too uncomfortable to continue. I can use most of the seated weight machines. I can use the mats and exercise balls and even dumbbells in some ways. Ab roller. Assisted pull-up machine. Dip and leg raise machine. None of these are my favorite activities, and it's still hard to build my leg and glute muscles back up with any of them, but they give me some new options and diversion from four months of the same careful core exercises on my living room floor. Soon I'll be able to get back on my road bike and actually pedal outside, and I'll feel even closer to "whole."

And while I'm able to do more normal things, I still have limitations, and I get frustrated by them. Not just things like running, which will take several more months at least, but walking around barefoot, standing in the shower (I still prefer to sit), wearing whatever shoes I want, standing on my toes to reach things. I forget sometimes that I can't do these things until I try them and I hurt.

But I've come such a long way, and I notice progress every week. The strange nerve sensations I was having in my right foot prior to this journey are virtually gone. But that didn't happen immediately after the surgery, and I wasn't certain it would even be resolved by the surgery. It has just gradually dissipated, and now I forget that it was a pretty significant issue for some time. Also, I experienced some loss of sensation in a small place around my left big toe after the surgery, and while my doctor said the feeling should come back over time, especially once the swelling decreased, I was worried it might never feel right. But I've increasingly felt more sensation in the past couple of weeks, so much so that I've forgotten to worry about it. And that's wonderful.

I may not write much more on this experience, and I'm contemplating discontinuing this blog. I started it to log my running experiences, and I had many good, and some bad, years of doing that. The challenges I've faced in more recent years have caused me to grow and find value in myself outside of running, which has been very uncomfortable. I wanted to cling to it, still sometimes do, but I know I can't make one thing my everything. So while I still plan to run and I still plan to blog, I simply won't be blogging about running.

Thanks to all who have read my posts, however infrequently or sparsely. I'm always touched, if not a bit mortified, when someone tells me they read my blog.

I guess I can finally say a big, fat goodbye to these:

Oh, and I almost forgot a before-and-after photo, but it's just one foot (I forgot to do both feet together pre-surgery):

I want to reiterate that I did not do this for aesthetic purposes, although some may make that choice. This has been a long and difficult journey, which still isn't over, but I'm glad I decided on surgery and that I got lots of information and carefully selected my doctor. I had an amazing support system that helped get me through it all.


Annabella said…
I’m so proud of you and happy for you that the worst is over. And you better keep writing something! ;)
Lee Davidson said…
Aw, thanks! And as you know, I'm holding onto at least five Blogger names because I can't decide on a new one!

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