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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:33 PM   #1
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My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

I think I may see light at the end of the tunnel!

For anyone who already knows my story - skip this part.

In December 2000, I broke my ankle while walking across an icy parking lot. It was a pilon fracture through both bones in my lower leg and my heel bone. I had surgery to repair it - 14 pins and 2 screws.

About a year after my surgery I was diagnosed with post traumatic arthritis which required a couple of scopes and a brace. I tried to put off an ankle fusion, but in 2006 I decided I had lived in pain long enough and it was time for a fusion.

This is when the toughest challenges began. I had an external fixator for 8 weeks. During this time, I acquired osteomyelitis - a staph infection in my bone. I was in excruciating pain for a week and made 3 trips to the ER before the docs diagnosed me. It was honestly the lowest point of my life. I have never known pain like that! The infection required two more surgeries to remove it and a few months of iv antibiotics. Furthermore, it was during this process that my big toe went crooked.

Sure enough, after trying conservative methods, my foot dr decided I should have surgery to correct my toe problem. So, in Nov 2008 I had a bunionectomy which really should have been a simple procedure with a short recovery. However, as luck would have it - I contracted another bone infection - this time in my foot. The good thing was no extra surgery was required, but I did have to go for iv antibiotics for 8 weeks again. And of course, there was another extended leave of absence from work again as well.

You would think that would be the end of the saga, but it wasn't. My ankle still hurt. And I was soooo frustrated because every time I would tell my foot dr my ankle hurt he would tell me it wasn't possible. The joint was fused, so it could no longer cause me pain. After months of me insisting it still hurt and him insisting it couldn't I decided to try a different method.

It was like magic - the dr looked at all of the x's I drew in the spots where my foot hurt and said - hey - that's not your ankle - that's your subtalar joint. We can fix that! So, we tried a cortisone injection - which actually made it hurt worse. Next, we had a CT scan to check for arthritis in the ST joint. Sure enough it was arthritic. The dr said it was not mild and not severe, so we decided it was moderate. He suggested at some point in my future I have that joint fused as well.

Well, I was anxious to end this ordeal, so I scheduled the subtalar fusion for December of last year. Luckily - no infection - although it was a very painful procedure and the recovery was not easy. As you can guess, I am nearing the end of the recovery period from the surgery, but there is just one last thing I have to do. Walking with the screws in my foot has been very painful, so we are going to remove them.

July 27th I am scheduled for my 10th, and hopefully final, surgery. It is a very short procedure - only an hour. The recovery requires 2 - 3 days on the couch and in the boot and then I can be released to go back to work.

I am so excited! I can't even tell you how happy I am to think this will probably all be over! Of course, there is a side of me that is waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I am an optimist. I am hopeful that this will really be it!

I am writing this to give those of you who feel hopeless the hope you may need to get you through another day. You can click on my screen name and read all of my frustrated posts when I was sure I was a hopeless and lost case. Today, my attitude is much different - so much better. I am grateful for this board and all of you who got me through the toughest and most painful times. Thank you thank you thank you!

If anyone has any questions related to any of my experience, please feel free to ask!

Step

 
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

Wow, what a story! It is a very uplifting story. I am happy for your progress and your forthcoming full recovery. Your story certainly gives us hope, courage, and patience. I am almost 4 months post-op. Comparing with your recovery, I should not complain but patiently go through each stage of my recovery. Thank you for your inspiration.

 
Old 07-26-2009, 11:28 AM   #3
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

Hello:
I too am recovering from surgery of the ankle. Original injury happened april 2000 have had 3 subtalor joint fusions last one was feb 2-2009. Am in a real shoe now and doing fine still have a little stiffness but overall most of the pain is gone. The last fusion was done with a bone graft. I believe that if it had been done that way in the first surgery I wouldn't have had to go through 3 surgeries but have learned alot from all this. Have had 3 surgeons through all this each one has a diiferent way of doing things but all in all pretty much the same. Have an appt on July 31st hopefully will be 100% released so I can return to work. I too am posting to let others know it does get better. Just have to have alot of patience and faith. Good luck to all of you going through this.
Pam
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

Hi Pam,

I have followed your story for a little while now, so I am somewhat familiar with your experiences. You certainly have been through a lot! I am glad to hear you are doing better. Doesn't it feel great to realize you may be on the other side of it all or nearing the end of the saga?

I had my screws removed today, and I just want to say I am happy and relieved to have this behind me, but I was totally unprepared for the amount of pain. My dr is really cool and always says there is really no such thing as minor surgery - some are just more complicated than others. However, surgery is never minor = surgery is never easy. And, we have been together so long now (it feels like we are in a relationship sometimes) that he is familiar with my low tolerance for pain and my high tolerance for meds. So, he knows I am always anxious about what kind of pain I will be in and how it will be treated once I am home. I live quite a little ways from the hospital and my past experience includes some time where I was in excruciating pain at home and the meds did nothing to help.

I asked my nurse in the recovery room for more pain meds after the first two doses didn't touch it, and she made the comment that this really was a minor procedure and she had given me all she could. I persisted, so she said she would send the dr over once he was out of his next surgery. Sure enough, once he came over he listened to me and gave me something more in line with what I have been on for the past few months.

Once he was gone, she was asking me how long I had been on those meds and why my pain was so bad. I really felt as though she was judging me.

I just wish more of the personnel at this facility would follow the dr's lead and act more according to his philosophy which is "there is no need for you to have to suffer through a lot of pain."

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out. Has anyone else experienced something like this? How did you handle it?

Thanks!

 
Old 07-28-2009, 07:05 AM   #5
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

Hello Step:
I understand how you feel about the judging thing. Seems to me these people that feel the need to judge have never had the type of pain associated with the ankle surgeries if they had they would not judge. on the other side of it I feel I have a low tolerence or maybe just a phobia about pain meds I have a hard time taking them sometimes I let the pain get real bad before I will take anything and then regret it later it takes longer for them to work which is not so good. ( kinda dumb I know)hahaha. I haven't had much pain for the last few months so not taking anything right now. It does feel good to beable to walk again have been walking one mile a day for the last few weeks helps alot with the stiffness seems to be subsiding more each day, there have been a couple times when I haven't even realized the foot is working haven't had that happen in a very long time great feeeling it tells me it is better. Take care have a great day.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #6
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

I have this pain on the outside of my foot - feels like it is in the joint below the subtalar on the outside - I can't think of the name of it. I know whenever you fuse a joint you put an extra load on the joints below it, so I am a little nervous. Im wondering if there is anyone out there who has had to have more fusions after a TT and a subtalar? My subtalar joint went so quick after my ankle fusion - I am paranoid I will have to go through all of this again.

Pam,

Thank you for your reply and for giving me hope! I'm so happy to hear you are walking a mile every day. I am longing for the day I can do that. Keep up the good work!

Step

 
Old 08-04-2009, 06:55 AM   #7
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Re: My Long, Painful Ordeal May Be Nearing the End

Hello:
Just an update. Went to the doctor on July 31 was released 100% to go back to work will start work tonite. He says I have healed well and things look really good says whatever I have been doing is working and over time it will get even better. I am not completely painless but about 90% still have some bad days when I've done to much but try not to do that. just keep looking on the brighter side of things I CAN WALK AGAIN
WOOHOO. It is a much better place to be I pray every day that I will never have to go through this again. hope all is going to work for you too. will keep you updated.
Thanks for alll those people out there that understand and can relate good health to all of you...............
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