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lainsworth 01-16-2004 08:27 PM

I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I am in a delimna. I am 27 years old. my doctor says that i have bunions on both feet that will eventually require surgery to correct. one foot is worse than the other. My doctor says that the surgery is not needed right away and can possibly wait several years before anything HAS to be done. He will do the surgery now if I want. My delimma is that my husband DOES NOT want me to have the surgery right now because he feels that is is not a good time and that I don't need it now.
What i keep telling him is that 1) my insurance pays the surgery at 100%...and 2) that there is not going to be a good time to have it done. no matter when it is, it isn't going to be convenient. i am not in pain with my feet....i am just ready to get them taken care of....the inevitable. what should i do?

Also, what is the earliest that i could return back to work? i work full-time and will return with my foot elevated...but how soon could i realistically return?

How bad is the pain after surgery? i have been told that this is the worst surgery that someone could have because of the pain......is this true?

PLEASE HELP ME...i am in such a delimna. All of the concerns above have compounded together and will greatly impact my decision.
Can You Help???????????????
please email me at:[COLOR=Red] [removed][/COLOR]

PMCW58 01-16-2004 09:13 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
Funny story==When I was 30(I'm 45 now), I went to my orthopaedist (foot specialist) to talk about my horrible bunions....he told me that, even though they looked horrible, unless they caused me lots of pain, he'd leave them along. Well, fast forward 15 years, I've since married, had 2 children and FINALLY decided I was ready. I couldn't wear hardly any shoes and my feet were SO deformed looking. So I had it done (left foot last year, right foot 10 days ago).

Do they cause you alot of pain? Most doctors will tell you not to do it unless they cause you pain. Run if your doctor really tries to push it on you.

My children are a bit older now (6 & 8) so it's easier for me. I can't imagine doing it with very young children unless you have parents/inlaws that can come in and take over. I don't have that.

I don't work outside the home, but if I did, I might be able to work a desk job with my foot elevated but it would be a big hard (I'm 10 days post=op). Two weeks would be better and I'd have to have the kind of job that 's easy to get to and get in (no commuting, in other words).

So, you can think on it now. If they cause you alot of pain and it's a good time in your life, you may want to go for it. Or, if you're a chicken like me, you could postpone it! I don't regret doing that but the recovery is slow.
Good luck!
PMCW (Paula)

mediamom 01-17-2004 05:56 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I also waited a long time to finally have my feet done. I've had bunions since I'm a teenager but now at 38, felt I was in a situation that would make the surgery and recovery possible. The most important thing to determine is if you have the support that will help you get through recovery. Yes, there is pain but the best defense against it (in my opinion) is staying in bed with your feet elevated. I'm now 4 days post-op (had both feet done) and only get up to go to the bathroom. I arranged for my in-laws to be here so I don't have to take care of any household things. If your husband is not going to be 100% supportive during recover, don't have the surgery yet. I believe you really will need him and anyone else you can find :) to help you out. I don't mean to scare you but timing is everything for this surgery. I planned for my surgery to occur during a slow time at work and I also felt that since my current company pays 100% for short-term disability, I could afford to have the operation now. Also, as I said, my in-laws kindly agreed to come from Holland to take care of me and the kids. I am very lucky but believe that if you're not in dire pain, wait until you can arrange for support. If you want to heal quickly and with the least amount of pain, you will be stuck in bed or on a sofa and if your husband is not 100% behind your decision, you'll feel guilty and upset that you're not up and helping out.

My orthopod said that he advises people to have the surgery once they feel they can't deal with their bunions any more (shoes don't fit, lots of pain, etc). I think that's good advice. When my son was just 2 years onle, I looked into the surgery and the doc pretty much talked me out of it. Mainly because of the age of my son. He also told me about recovery time and it was then that I realized I wouldn't be able to be off my feet for so long. As for recovery time, I'm still figuring that out. Most people say 4-6 weeks until you're in a soft shoe of some sort. Since I had both feet done, I suspect it'll take me longer to get up on crutches (don't have a good foot to lean on). Not sure, but am prepared to stick it out in my bed until doc tells me I can start doing more.

Sorry for the long post and I wish you luck with your decision. Just remember, it's a big step and be sure to have the full support of your family before moving forward.

JeffH 01-17-2004 06:22 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I also agree that you should wait until the bunions actually cause you pain. About ten years ago I started to notice bone spurs on my foot, on the big toe. At that time my regular doctor told me not to mess with it until it became necessary. I did wait ten years, most of the time with little or no pain. I just now had the spur removed.

Remember, surgery IS surgery. Altho rare, bad things can happen. Don't have surgery until it's needed.

Also if you are able to wait several years, who knows they may come up with advances in surgical techniques that make the surgery easier and the recovery time lesser. As long as you are not in pain, waiting is the proper way to go.

HappyMama 01-17-2004 07:25 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I feel as though I'm in a similar situation as you. I'm 29 years old and I didnt' have to get my bunions fixed now. Both were "moderate" but my right one was worse than my left one.

I chose to go ahead and have the surgery done now for a few reasons.

1. I figured that the worse off my bunions got, the harder the recovery time would be and the more it would hurt. I can tell you that my right foot (the worse one) does hurt more in recovery than my left foot. Also, I think that the younger you are, the easier time you have healing.

2. I do have a small child (almost 11 months) and we want four kids. I figured that it would be much easier to get it done now then when I had lots of kiddos around. (hubby is home with me to take care of her...we both work from home)

3. I didn't think the surgery would be as big as deal as it was....my fault...I asked the doc when I would be able to play tennis again and his response to me was that in six weeks I would be structurally healed. Believe me, structurally healed and being able to do anything and everything are different!

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I made the right decision to get the surgery done. If all goes well and I can walk and be "normal" in a few months, I'm sure I'll be glad I got it done. But, right now, I'm only 10 days post op and the only way I can cook, clean, etc. is by using a wheelchair with feet rests.

It's not too, too bad b/c my husband is home with me and has been taking wonderful care of me and my daughter. If he wasn't as supportive, this would be really, really difficult though. I feel guilty enough as it is not being able to do anything, and he isn't making me feel guilty. If he wasn't 100% behind me, it would be really bad!

I do have to say though that I went into surgery just assuming all would go well. Since then, i have discovered this board and realize that things do go wrong. Just yesterday, I read that a famous author died from anasthesia going in for plastic surgery! I think maybe if I had known all this, I might have put up with the bunions until they gave me more pain. My right bunion hurt me with certain shoes and occassionally hurt me even without shoes but it wasn't too bad.

I'm rambling....I wish I had a clear cut answer for you. I would make sure that you had total support from hubby, b/c if you don't, it's going to be really tough. Also, someone made an interesting point that if you do wait a while, superior surgical techniques may become available.

As far as going back to work, if you have a desk job you *may* be able to go back to work in a few weeks having a wheelchair with a foot rest or if you can prop your feet up on a chair or something. If you have to stand up though....forget about it! It'll be a while. I'm 10 days post op now, and have not been very aggressive as far as trying to walk. I go in on Monday to get the bandages out and I'll talk to my doc then about walking around more...but I can't imagine that I'll be walking too much. I'll have to see though...

Oh, and regarding the pain....have you ever gone through labor and delivery? If you've ever experienced contractions then I guarantee you that you will find this pain, although it hurts, it's definitely do-able!!! ;) To me, it hurts the most when you put your feet down after elevating it for a while b/c the blood rushes to your feet and it causes a throb. Not fun, but it's not absolutely horrible either.

carriejean 01-18-2004 01:19 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I've had both feet done, and then the left one again just a month ago because it didn't heal properly. You need a caregiver, believe me. Your husband will have to wait on you for at least a week or more, you will only be able to go to the bathroom. I used a walker. The pain can be controlled and remain bearable if you take your pain medication. My husband wrote down the times I took it, and also the ibuprofen times because I could not keep track. I took a pain pill in the car as we left the hospital. You must keep on top of the pain, and you can. Don't be reluctant about the painkillers if you decide to have surgery done. You will need someone with you, especially when you get up to use the bathroom. The first night is the worst. I'm not trying to scare you, but just let you know what it's like. I'm a coward, but got through it. I decided to have the surgery because the bumps on my feet were killing me rubbing on shoes. The left big toe healed in a deformed way, so just had surgery to correct it. It is much easier if you have one good foot. I hope I haven't made you more afraid. Just want to let you know that it's not a surgery you get over with in a few days. It will be weeks before you can walk very far, and then in a special shoe. Just think about having your feet made straight and comfortable for the rest of your life, it's worth it.

mom2chet 01-18-2004 02:40 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
I want to get my two cents in for waiting. I'm one of the "bunionectomy gone bad" stories. I had four surgeries within 12 months on the same bunion. First the screw didn't stay in place. After the second surgery 7 weeks later the bones didn't grow back together and I was in an aircast and bone growth stimulator for 3 month.

The screw from the second surgery had to be removed which in my case meant a surgical center and extra $$$.

As soon as I began walking on the foot I had pain under the second metatarsal. Two doctors later I had an external fixation device put on the bone and we had to turn a know twice daily for 12 days to lengthen my first metatarsal by 12 mm.

My first surgery was the week after Thanksgiving in 2002. I'm still in a boot with the device in my foot and on a bone growth stimulator 10 hours a day.

If your foot is hurting like crazy, don't have surgery just because they don't look good. I wish I could have my bunion back.

caligirl1 01-18-2004 04:09 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
[QUOTE=JeffH]I also agree that you should wait until the bunions actually cause you pain. About ten years ago I started to notice bone spurs on my foot, on the big toe. At that time my regular doctor told me not to mess with it until it became necessary. I did wait ten years, most of the time with little or no pain. I just now had the spur removed.

Remember, surgery IS surgery. Altho rare, bad things can happen. Don't have surgery until it's needed.

Also if you are able to wait several years, who knows they may come up with advances in surgical techniques that make the surgery easier and the recovery time lesser. As long as you are not in pain, waiting is the proper way to go.[/QUOTE]

Hi!
I saw your post about Bunion Surgery and wanted to respond. I am 23 years old and just had my left foot done on Friday. I too have Bunions on both my feet, and DID NOT need this done right now, but I wanted to get it over with. My insurance paid for it 100% as well. I will tell you, it is NOT as bad as I thought, and I am glad I have gotten one foot out of the way. I wanted it done now because I am young and can heal faster. I will have my right foot done probably next January.
The first few days it does hurt, but not where I scream and cry and cannot bear to move. I even took a bath this morning (foot out of tub) and I just had this done Friday morning. I am walking around the apartment on crutches, sitting at the computer and my foot isn't even propped up. I feel great. And I should also give the credit to having a wonderful podiatrist here/foot surgeon. He is wonderful. If you need anything else please let me know! Also...I have only taken 10 days off of work, since that is all they will pay me for. Plus all I do is sit at my desk allday.

ashley.e. 01-18-2004 05:01 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
hey there...i am 23 years old and have a bunion removed on my left foot. mine was pretty extensive...i now have a plate, screws & pins. i have a desk job ane returned to work after 2 weeks with no problems. i don't have any children, and my heart goes out to the people that have this done with small kids : ). my doctor said NO weight on the foot for 4 weeks. the worst part of the surgery for me was the crutches. just very inconvenient. other than that, it wasn't even close to being as horrible as i heard it would be. as for the pain, i stayed on pain medication round the clock for the first 2 days so i wouldn't feel any pain, and i didnt. after that, just one at night for about 3 more days was enough. hope this helps, good luck.

ashley

KellyAnn 01-20-2004 09:11 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
[/FONT][SIZE=7][COLOR=Sienna][QUOTE=mom2chet]I want to get my two cents in for waiting. I'm one of the "bunionectomy gone bad" stories. I had four surgeries within 12 months on the same bunion. First the screw didn't stay in place. After the second surgery 7 weeks later the bones didn't grow back together and I was in an aircast and bone growth stimulator for 3 month.

The screw from the second surgery had to be removed which in my case meant a surgical center and extra $$$.

As soon as I began walking on the foot I had pain under the second metatarsal. Two doctors later I had an external fixation device put on the bone and we had to turn a know twice daily for 12 days to lengthen my first metatarsal by 12 mm.

My first surgery was the week after Thanksgiving in 2002. I'm still in a boot with the device in my foot and on a bone growth stimulator 10 hours a day.

If your foot is hurting like crazy, don't have surgery just because they don't look good. I wish I could have my bunion back.[/QUOTE]
[FONT=Arial]

carolcrone 01-21-2004 11:54 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
If you don't have an absolute guarantee of caretaker support, I'd say it will be very difficult to have a good outcome from a double bunionectomy. I just read on a website written by a podiatrist that double bunionectomies have a 30% bad complication rate, much higher than single ones.

sailmaven36 01-22-2004 05:43 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
Do Not Have Them Done!!!!

The only reason to do surgery is if the pain of the bunion causes you enough discomfort, that you do not do something you would want to do. Then it is appropriate. With any surgery, no matter how good the surgeon is, there is always a chance of things not turning out well. The human body is not a car so you can't depend on it to do everything it should after it is fixed. With any medical procedure you have to balance the risks against the benefits. In your case, since they do not hurt, the risks of surgery far outweigh the benefits.

Also remember that just because you have bunions does not mean you will necessarily require surgery. Many people have bunions into their 70s and 80s and still do not have pain.

sawbuck44 01-23-2004 11:31 AM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
My history, right foot - had bunion removed and also a nerve tumor that the doctor found - surgery done 5/03. Left foot - endoscopic plantar fascitis - surgery done 1/12/04.

The bunion in my right foot is the reason I ended up with a heel spur in my left (plantar fascitis) because I overcompensated with my left foot to relieve the right.

My pain from the bunion was such that it kept me up at night. Constantly had to massage it, crack the knuckle (so to speak - actually the doctor told me that by me doing this - pulling my big toe to the left where it did crack - might have bought me more time before I had to have surgery). Then pain started to travel up my leg.

Heel spur - before surgery I tried a cortisone shot, anti-inflamatories, physical therapy with ultrasound. Could not take the constant pain anymore.

I am over 40 and have had a bunion for about 10 years. Thought about surgery for a few years before I had it. Didn't want to take that much time off work and at the time didn't think I really needed it.

When I decided to go to a foot doctor, I scheduled the surgery at that appointment. I really thought I could handle the heel spur - but I was wrong - after a few more months after bunion surgery - I had surgery.

Anyway, getting back to whether you should have surgery. Bunions will not get better and could get much worse and cause pain and problems in the same foot or other foot. Because you do not have pain right now you do have the opportunity to wait a few years probably. But you should get supportive shoes and inserts to keep the situation calm. Most doctors will not do bunion surgery unless you are experiencing pain.

If you decide to get surgery, here are some things to expect and to make sure you have:

Someone that will bring food to you and prepare a lunch in a cooler to leave for you at lunchtime. They will also have to bring you ice packs and put the ice pack back when the time is up. Bring you water to take your pills, help you get to doctor visits, and patience is a great help.

Try to be honest about how long you will be out. I told my work that I'd be out three weeks for bunion surgery and I was out for about six. But, remember I had complications of the nerve tumor.

I slept in a recliner for the duration of recovery. It helped keep my foot elevated whereas in bed my foot would fall off the pillow. Also didn't disrupt my husband's sleep because it is so difficult to get up to use the bathroom - noisy with crutches.

Make sure you get a temporary handicap parking ticket.

You will not be able to walk without crutches or a cane for approximately 3 weeks. Everyone is individual in their pain tolerance and surgery.

Sometimes you may even 'crawl' to get to the bathroom. I did this when I had waited too long to go because I found that the pressure under my arms from the crutches actually made it harder to hold - if you get where I'm going with this.

If you don't keep your foot elevated as the doctor tells you, you will get swelling and more pain and it will take longer to heal.

Make up a basket with essentials, nail clippers/file, books, makeup (for when you get visitors!), biore face wipes (takes off makeup really well so you don't have to worry about washing your face), etc.

Get your house in order - clean and floors cleared of rugs, etc., that could get in your way. Nothing worse than sitting there thinking of the dust accumulating! Get rid of it first and relax.

I'll let you know if I think of something else or just ask! Good luck!

mary1123 01-25-2004 05:36 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
My advise would be to get a good doctor, do it now, but do one at a time. I just had one done about 2 months ago and I now wish I would have done it earlier. I worked from home for one week and was back at a desk job with my foot elevated after that. No pain, no crutches, drove at three weeks and started riding an exercise bike and an elliptical at six weeks. I'm now 2 months post-op - it is still a bit swollen and a little stiff, but for the most part is recovered.

cinderella777 01-26-2004 01:22 PM

Re: I really need some advice...PLEASE HELP!
 
If insurance pays for it and you really really want it done then I would do it. I think the majority of people do it for some because of pain but mostly cuz of looks.

You definately need al ot of help at home. And if you have small children it's too hard.

Pain it's pretty painful afterwards but it's like 1-2 days typically of really really bad pain. It's more the inconvience. Be prepared of 3 months till you are back in shoes.

I have really bad scars right now but they are kind getting better. I am about 4 months post op. I have been back in normal shoes since Christmas.

It was hard to be in crutches and rely on other people.

I tried to go back to work after 1 1/2 weeks but I needed 2 1/2 weeks total. # weeks would be perfect. And it's so hard to go to work on crutches.


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