Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swelling beyond belief



This is my foot! Even with elevation and ice... I can't get it much better than this. It seriously limits my shoe options! I've also started gaining weight at a pretty rapid rate. I'm not sure why... my theories are 1- building muscle again, 2- usual Holiday gain, 3- being stuck in bed... not burning many calories these days.
I'm nervous about Christmas! I'm not sure how I will be able to handle the drive to St. George. That's 4 hours in the car. I'm also worried that once we get down there, things will be difficult. I'm still unable to do stairs, I have to keep my leg up most of the day, and I have to use the ice machine at night. It's enough of a pain here at home in my own house and bed... I can't imagine being in a hotel/vacation home.

Mike keeps saying we should just cancel Christmas. He makes some very good points. Besides the pain and swelling... things with my family have never been this bad. Since the accident, I have family members who have completely stopped associating with me. One in particular who went from ignoring me, to hating me. Things have gotten so awkward it's almost painful to be in the same room as her. I've tried to figure out what I did to deserve her awful treatment... and I literally can't come up with anything. Besides getting in a car accident. Believe me, if that were something I could change I would! I never wanted to be in such a position, and certainly never wanted to upset anyone!
It shocks me... it hurts me... it has caused indescribable feelings over the past year... and I'd be lying to say that it hasn't forever changed me. Forgiveness is something I have had to work on, and I will have to continue to work on it.

So there are some good reasons not to subject myself to our Christmas plans this year. I'm trying to be hopeful... but it's not easy when I look down and see this foot!!!




Monday, December 17, 2012

Post Op follow up

I'm now 2 weeks post op. My follow up appointment was with Dr. Larsen, but I saw Stephen Cruze instead. He did xrays, and it was so strange to see the images. There are a crazy amount of holes in my tibia! It makes me wonder how on earth I can stand on that bone without it collapsing!
He went to look up the images from surgery, and sure enough... no pictures! I reminded him that the camera was unplugged, so there were no images. I wish I could have talked to Dr. Larsen about things, but there wasn't a ton of info. I told him about the blood clot, and how things were going with PT.
I told him that the surgery has seemed to help with the pain. It's still hard to tell with the swelling, but it seems better!
Besides circulation and swelling, it looked pretty good. Although the scar was ugly! Which surprised me, because I felt like it looked so good after the first surgery. I had spent so much time rubbing vitamin E on it, and making sure it healed as pretty as possible. Stephen then informed me that he has sustained a hand injury the Saturday before my surgery... so he wasn't the one who sewed me up! All of a sudden it made sense... Dr. Larsen had stitched me up himself. He is a fantastic Orthopedic Surgeon... but I sure wish Stephen had been there to close me up. Oh well! We joked about it, but at this point I'm just happy that the mechanics are working well... it's the inside that really counts!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back in the hood

Going back to Physical Therapy was both good, and also hard. It's a place in which I associate so many memories! I remember the first time I extended my leg all the way, and when I would push through immense amounts of pain to bend my knee farther and farther each week. I think of the milestones, the moments I celebrated such small victories... but those small victories were all I had! The people who work there have seen me at my absolute worst. It forms a bond that I can't describe... a bond that I'm happy not to share with many, but an unforgettable bond of strength and hope.
I've often referred to Physical Therapy as The Island of Misfit Toys. We are a bunch of broken people, most broken by accident or no fault of our own, but still broken none-the-less.
I felt like I had graduated from this place. It was hard to be back, only because I had worked so long and hard to never have to go back.
It was good to see familiar faces. I was one week from surgery and ready to make some magic! I couldn't do the heat or massage because of my DVT. But I got the electric stimulation and did the same quad strengthening exercises I had done before. I'm not ready for the bike yet, so hopefully I can start next week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Blood Cots... round 2

Friday I woke up with a familiar ache. Granted, I was cutting back quite quickly on the pain meds, but I could feel pressure and pain in the same spot. The swelling is pretty out-of-control, and that makes things difficult. But this picture is the inside of my leg, the other side has all the insicions.
The spot was super warm to the touch, it felt like it was burning from the inside. I knew too well what it felt like... I'd felt it all before. I took a Coumadin and called the Dr.




Dr. Christensen asked about the surgery. I told him that I had been on blood thinners since surgery! I informed everyone at the hospital about the clots before, and my allergy to Xarelto.
Sure enough... I had a DVT again!

He put me on a higher dose of Coumadin and ordered daily blood testing until my INR was where it should be. So good bye anti-inflammatories... farewell Aleve... I will miss you, dearly!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Here we go again

My surgery was at 8am on Monday, December 3rd at Timpanogos Regional Hospital.

I had mixed feelings about this day. Everyone has their opinions and advise... I've heard everything, ranging from positive theories and well-wishing... to people asking stupid questions like "But aren't you afraid to go through that again?" Of course I am!
I called my Physical Therapist last week to get his advise. First, I wanted to know his opinion, from the patients he's seen, what type of and length of recovery would I be facing? He said I had to break up the recovery into 3 parts... because of the 3 procedures I was going to have. Each one had their own list of complications, side effects, recovery plan, and strengthening exercises. I then asked him... and told him to be totally honest with me... if he thought this was a good idea right now?
I appreciated his honesty! I have gained a lot of respect for Todd, and I trust him. He said that he thinks I will find a great deal of relief with these procedures. He explained exactly what Dr. Larsen said about the Lateral Release, and the possibility of it not doing what we all hope. The scope is always helpful, and has the easiest recovery! He also felt that removing the hardware will help... his only concern was how vulnerable the bone might be, and following the removal it will be vulnerable for quite some time! Which means taking it easy for 6 months... yes, 6 months! This is hard to swallow because I feel like I've only had a couple months of feeling normal. Doing yoga and exercising has been really great!
After thinking, researching, asking questions, praying, and weighing all my options... I decided that it was worth the risk of going back under the knife.

So I found myself awaiting surgery. Feeling both nervous and hopeful.
I spoke with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery about my reaction to narcotics. We talked about Dilaudid instead of Lortab or Percocet. I needed loads of Phengran, because Zolfran won't do much good. He also did a total nerve block on my leg prior to surgery. The needle wasn't fun, but once my leg went numb I was assured that it was a good idea.
The last thing I remember was asking Dr. Larsen if I could keep my hardware! He said yes... and I certainly felt like I had earned the damn things!
I don't remember much about coming out of surgery. Mike informed me that at the end of my surgery they discovered that the camera had been unplugged, therefore no images were saved. Dr. Larsen said that opening my knee back up he would bend it and see the kneecap maltracking. When my knee was still, it looked to be in position... but when it would move and bend, everything was off. Which is why the xrays didn't show issues, but walking and moving gave me so much pain. He also said that a lot of junk was under my knee cap, and the bone had fissures where it had been put back together. He was able to clean and smooth things out. He told Mike that he bent and moved my leg after performing the lateral release to ensure things were moving correctly, and he made sure of it before he closed me back up.
After being in recovery for a while the nurse asked me if I needed more meds. I wasn't in tons of pain, but there was enough discomfort that I knew if I didn't stay on top of it things could get really bad! He gave me another dose to get me through checking out and getting home. The dose was enough to keep me from being able to maintain my oxygen levels. I was put on oxygen and told I would have to stay overnight. Then I was told I could go home if I stayed on the oxygen at home.
The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a lecture about  requesting too much medication... which I didn't request, the nurse actually suggested it. He said that I "can't expect to be pain-free". To which I wanted to respond... Buddy, I haven't been pain-free for 9 months!!!
We finally came home about 10pm. Mike was supposed to fly out to San Diego at 7pm that day, and obviously that didn't happen. He had to reschedule until the next morning.

It was crazy how natural the process felt, meds every 4 hours... ice... being stuck back in that bed! It was as if there was never a break. Jess came to take care of the girls and the house for the next few days. The girls had basketball practice, games, activity days, YW, etc. I cancelled or rescheduled everything I could, but there was still so much going on. Mike left that afternoon. It was horrible timing because everyone got sick. Lexi threw up all night, from 1am to 8am.

Wednesday, day three, Jess woke up super sick. All I needed was some ice and medication. I tried to help take care of Jess. I had wonderful friends bring me dinner! I had only told a handful of people that I was having surgery again, so it was such a blessing that those closest to me were willing to help. Thankfully, Mike came home later that night.

Thursday morning I called Dr. Larsen to stop oxygen. It was much easier to sleep without that stupid cannula in my nose! Friday was the first time that I dared to start weight bearing. I put just the slightest pressure on my leg, and my knee felt good. It's a scary thought to think about all the holes in my bone. Coupled with the lack of cartilage, I didn't know what to expect. But it felt solid. It's so swollen right now, it's almost unbelievable! So it's hard to know with all the swelling, but mechanically it feels better.