Thursday, October 13, 2011

What A Pain This Foot Has Become

One week has passed since surgery and I am finding things to be a little more difficult than I thought.

All went according to plan and then some.  When I was wheeled into the operating room, all I saw were tables filled with nuts, bolts, pins, rods and frames.  Not your typical surgical supplies.

The nurses and I joked because I had requested a black color frame.  It goes with everything, they all agreed.  The surgeon told me afterwards that he was going to give me a pink frame, thinking who in their right mind wanted black.  At least the nurses knew what I wanted since I was under sedation and couldn't speak for myself.

Surgery lasted 3-1/2 hours.  The surgeon had to go into one joint and do major scraping since the arthritis was so bad, so now I also have a huge cut on my foot along with stitches.  

During my stay at the Hospital For Special Surgery, I was so pleased by the professionalism and attentiveness the nurses and aides exhibited.  I had great care and knew it even though I had to be on a good amount of pain meds, which I took willingly.

It was two days before they removed the wrap on my foot for me to see my new companion for the next 12 weeks.

Sunday was my discharge day.  So happy to be going home, or so I thought.  You don't realize how much you are taken care of while in the hospital.  Your meals and meds are brought to  you.  The aides help bathe you.  Your vitals are taken all the time and most importantly, I was able to get coffee anytime I wanted!

Trying to make a cup of coffee at home and then carrying the cup while using crutches just doesn't work.  I came to the realization that I could barely do anything by myself.

So here I am, learning that I can't be the independent person I have always been for at least the next 11 weeks. 

The most wonderful thing about all this is seeing how terrific my friends and family are and how caring and helpful they have been. All way beyond anything I could have imagined!

For Surgery: 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello Surgery, Goodbye Arthritis!

The day is finally coming.  I go in for surgery on Wednesday.  Thanks to Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch and his staff at the Institute for Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction at The Hospital For Special Surgery, I will emerge from surgery looking as if I am part robot.

My saga began when I broke my ankle in 1990.  I was fine, although as the years passed I was having trouble running on the tennis court.  After many MRIs,  I found that arthritis was the culprit for all my pain.  There is no cartilage left between my joints in my ankle and foot. 

Getting steroid injections helped temporarily but at the risk of destroying any good bone I had, it was necessary to limit these to when I was absolutely desperate.

Limping became a way of walking for me.  The pain was increasing. I was limited to a few shoes which did not make my foot feel worse.  Some days I could barely put my foot into a shoe.

Time passed.  Out of desperation I contacted many orthopedists.  After each visit, I was told the same thing:  I needed a foot fusion.  I even had a well known orthopedist in LA look at my MRI and had the same conclusion.  Then there was the orthopedist who had taken care of some famous ballerinas.  He said the same thing.

I was lost, out of options.  Then one day I was at the physical therapist at Access Physical Therapy and Wellness in Armonk, NY discussing my pain.  He mentioned Dr. Rozbruch and suggested that I had nothing to lose by calling him.  I emailed the doctor and in five minutes he responded and told me to come see him.

Months later and I am about to enter into a fairly new surgical procedure where I wear a frame with pins, rods and screws for 12 weeks waiting for magic to happen. This is how the surgery is described: A right ankle distraction arthroplasty; application of an SBI RAD frame, Right illac crest bone marrow aspirate and distraction of the hindfoot. 

The joints are opened, holes drilled in the bone to bleed and form scar tissue, then my stem cells are injected into the joints and we hope that cartilage will grow.  Apparently when the joint is forced open that action may prompt the body to start growing cartilage.  I am hoping that all goes according to plan but nothing is guaranteed.

The frame then gets removed after the 12 weeks and then I spend the next 3-6 months doing physical therapy.

And I can't drive those first 12 weeks.  I will be at the mercy of those who call to offer an escape plan.

I will be writing updates for anyone else considering this surgery.

Wish me luck!

Where to see more info:

Where to go for Physical Therapy: