I wanted to write a thorough "review" of my surgery to hopefully help those who are as scared as I was for my buinonectomy.
Let me start off by saying I was TERRIFIED. I had panic attacks for weeks leading up to it.
I've had very bad bunions for as long as I can remember, as well as hammer toes on both second toes. My big toe was bent probably towards 2pm on my right foot! It was very very bad, and for my age (30) my surgeon said it was one of the worst she had seen (and that was BEFORE she opened me up!)
Anyway, fast forward to surgery day. Shaking and crying as I register at the surgery center. I get taken back to get prepped and the nurse took my vitals and asked me what I was having done etc etc. Probably the worst part was sitting alone on that bed waiting for someone, anyone to come and be with me. It was in those moments that I came very close to cancelling. The nurse had already upset me because when asked why I was crying, and I told her it was because I was scared of being put to sleep she replied "this is an elective surgery you know". Well yes if by elective means you choose to not be able to walk with excruciating pain! Silly woman. Yes elective, but hopefully with the benefit of a pain free foot, the ability to walk up and down stairs without pain, the opportunity to walk miles and miles without having to step every few minutes, the chance to wear "normal" shoes rather than despairing because the shoes are too tight or too small or too ugly. Yes, my nurse definitely didn't understand!
As I lay there shaking and crying, my anaesthesiologist (Dr Choban) came in, such a nice man. He went over everything with me and made me feel a little at ease. The nurse came back, started my iv. They allowed my family to come in. Then my surgeon came in and marked the foot she would be operating on. The rest is a little blurry (meds I assume!) but my surgery time was moved up from 10am to around 9.15. I remember saying goodbye to my dad and husband and I was wheeled away. I remember going into the OR and transferring from my bed to the table. As they started to strap me down, Dr Choban asked me to hold out my left arm. I did and then.... I woke up in recovery....
All over. I survived! The surgery itself had always been secondary to the anaesthesia so when I woke up I remember thinking "I'm alive" my second thought was "I feel sick". My nurse saw that I was starting to wake up and asked about my pain / nausea. They gave me something for nausea and I was so mad because then I felt even MORE sick!! But that passed. I have no idea how long I was in recovery, only that I wanted to go home!
My foot was so heavily bandaged it looked like a football. No pain, just a dull ache.
Skipping ahead to getting me home. Well those first few days are a blur. I slept a LOT. This is good, it helps with healing. I took my pain meds, my antibiotics, my nausea meds and my anti-inflammatory's, all had a different dosage schedule so be sure to figure it out and have someone help you. I was still pretty drugged up and had to keep a written log of my meds so I didnt overdose or skip meds. I kept it constantly elevated and iced (20 on, 20 off) except for bathroom breaks.
As for the pain, those first few days were a breeze. I lay there wondering what all the fuss was about. Sure it throbbed, sure I got shooting pains now and again but I had expected EXCRUCIATING pain, and there was none (I am a HUGE baby with a very low pain threshold). I had my surgery Thursday, and Monday I went for a dressing change. I couldnt bring myself to look but my surgeon was pleased. She changed the dressing to a lighter one, still pretty bandaged but not as compressed as it had been.
Tuesday came around, OMG. I have never felt anything like it. I woke up in the morning, grabbed my crutches and went to stand to go to the bathroom and obviously my leg is "hanging" there. Wow, it felt like it was going to explode. There was all this pressure. I could only relieve it by elevating it, and even that didnt help straight away. It was horrible. I literally could not move for fear my foot would burst! This lasted 4-5 days. Apparently it is normal. They gave me some "tricks" to alleviate it but nothing really worked other than not moving and certainly not standing upright!!
Now I'm 3 weeks on and back to wondering what the fuss was. While my foot aches pretty much constantly, and I get a sharp pain now and again, for the most part, for me, it is more of a "nuisance" than anything painful. I've had a couple of times where it hurt badly but nothing major. I'm back to work and keep it elevated most of the day. There is still swelling, and minimal bruising now (my foot was black and blue all over). My toe is actually what hurts the most.
I forgot to say, what should have been an 1.5 hr surgery took 3 hours. When she got in there she found my bunion to be "as bad as an 80yr old's" I also had a lot of arthritis in my big toe. The second toe ligament (the one she straightened and put artificial joint in) was heavily contracted and she had to cut and stretch and re-attach and do all kinds of things that make me shudder. My point is in her opinion my bunion was pretty bad. I say that so you know that depsite having all these problems, I still don't think the surgery / recovery was anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Granted I'm only 3 weeks out, but I imagine each day / week I will be getting better...
Originally I was 6 weeks NWB, but at my appointment Friday she said I was healing so well I am to start walking (with my boot) to get my ankle moving again so that I can avoid therapy. In 2 weeks I go back and she will take x-rays to check and providing everything looks good I will be given the go ahead to start walking and driving again.
I know there will be so much that I missed out, but right now I wanted to let you know that if you are having doubts or are scared, it really isn't that bad. Of course mine so far is a "good" story, and I know there are plenty "bad" out there also. One important thing I did learn is better sooner rather than later. Ideally I should have had surgery in my teens, I didnt and now thanks to the arthritis I could be looking at a big toe joint replacement in 10 years
I hope this helps those of you who have surgery coming up. I will continue to post as my recovery progresses - the next big "step" lol will be starting walking properly again....