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I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!


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Old 01-06-2006, 02:55 PM   #1
jeepgrrlz
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Unhappy I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hello. My name is Peggy. I am 26 years old and I have a scheduled bunionectomy for my right foot on Jan 26th. My lovely little pain lumps come from my Momma and I have them on both feet. I cannot get a double surgery done because I have stairs at home and at work and do not have the time available to take off for that amount of recovery.

First off, the only kind of major surgery I have ever had were my wisdom teeth about 2 years ago. Most people say that was no big deal, but when those meds wore off, I cried from the pain. Other than that I have never had surgery or ever broken a bone in my life.

The bunions are getting bigger and the pain is getting worse every year. My shoes get wider and flatter, but it doesn't help prevent the pain. I'm afraid if I don't get the surgery over with now, I'll regret it later and end up not being able to do basic errands.

But I read these message boards and it makes me want to cancel my appointment. First off, I am a huge baby when it comes to pain. And now I plan on letting someone filet my foot and get an mechanical saw in there? Jeez. Also, Some people say they still cannot get down stairs and still have swelling after 3 months! That does not sound like the journey for me. I work full time, go to school and care for my grandmother. I can't afford to be out of commission for 3 months.

Can someone please tell me if I am making the right decision? I've already dropped my classes for the first half of the semester and requested 2 weeks off from work. Should I really go through with this? And what about the other foot? Will I still have the courage to go back and get that one done later? Any advice/encouragement is appreciated!

 
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:31 PM   #2
wtwct
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

I can say that I never had a bunion surgery, I have had several foot surgeries but not a bunion. If you do not take care of this now, you will have more problems later in life. You are young and you will heal fast. I think that you will have some pain with the surgery, that is why they give you pain medications.

I do understand how you feel about taking care of your grandmother. I take care of my mother. She has COPD and heart failure. She is in and out of the hospital all the time, she is on oxygen and a heart monitor. You must find some time to rest!!

I there anyone that can help you with your grandma? And, what do you do for work?

 
Old 01-06-2006, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hi Peggy
I think it all depends on how bad your bunions are and what are they going to do.
I had bad bunion which caused my big toe to turn in and the joint of that big toe had no cartlidge (spelling)left in the middle. So I had bone taken from my big and bone taken out of that joint and bone shaved from the bunion. Had a pin sticking out of my big toe and stitches.
It is over 3 weeks for me and they just took the pin out and the stitches. I am just now starting to walk without crutches and or a walker. I needed someone to care for me. I don't think that I could resume a normal schedule at this point. But you may have alot less of a procedure done than what I did. Talk to your doctor.
I think that you need to be able to follow your doctors advice about the post op period. If you don't have the time now to do that, I would pospone to a time when I could. I think if you want a great outcome, you have to follow post op instructions which include alot of elevated leg (higher than heart) and icing.

 
Old 01-06-2006, 05:18 PM   #4
Midwest-JD
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Do you know what type of bunion surgery your dr. is planning? There are literally dozens of different surgeries for bunions, and each one has it's own time-table for recuperation - depending on how extensive of a surgery is planned. For a "simple bunionectomy" (where all the dr. does is shave off the bony prominance), I've heard the recovery time is relatively quick, and pain comparatively mild. BUT, there can be a high rate of return bunions with that surgery, if the underlying causes aren't treated (usually a splayed 1st metatarsal).

When I was 19 and 20 and I had bunionectomies with chevron osteotomy (both feet, but 1 year apart), and those surgeries were really not too terribly bad (especially compared to what I had done recently! ) You are pretty young, and like W said, you will probably bounce back pretty quick. You'll definitely want to be able to have that time off work, and keep your foot elevated as much as possible, which will help minimize post-op swelling, and thus reduce pain. Definitely talk to your dr. about pain-management afterwards - make sure he is willing to Rx adequate pain meds - and if he's not, then see your family doc ASAP and let him know that you will need him to help with pain-management. (Most foot surgeons KNOW that you will NEED some pain meds for a while after surgery)

If you can find out more info about exactly what type of bunion surgery your doc is planning, we can probably give you more specific/helpful/applicable advice. No matter what type you have though, elevating the foot and keeping ice on it for the first few days will probably help as much as pain meds - maybe even more. I get some nice gel-type ice packs - reusable - at Wal-Mart for about $2-$3 each, and keep 3-4 of them in the freezer at all times. You can kind of "tie" one of those (loosely) onto your foot, over the dressings, using a scarf or dish-cloth (something like that), and it will help a lot.

I would say, that if you can possibly do it now, sooner is better, as it will just get worse, requiring more invasive surgery later if not fixed now.

Good luck! Please let us know if you find out more details.
JD

 
Old 01-06-2006, 09:53 PM   #5
joll43
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hi Peggy!

You've come to the right place. We all know how you're feeling. I spent a good deal of '05 recovering from my bunion surgeries (left foot done in January, right one in May), then I planned my wedding, got married and went on my honeymoon.

I was also terrified, and was constantly having second thoughts about my surgeries before I had them. I have flat feet, and my mom's bunions are out of control! I wish we could post pictures here, because it would be great to be able to post our 'befores' and 'afters'. I'd never had any kind of surgery before either.

As long as you're prepared, you'll be fine. I had someone to take care of me - since I was non-weightbearing for a full 8 weeks, I needed it. Is there anyone who can help you, not to mention help your grandmother? You mentioned you take care of her full-time; is she sick/infirmed? If you're a primary caretaker, then you will definitely need help.

I had a rolling office chair that I used to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, and remote-controls for all the lamps in our apartment. I cooked a few meals beforehand and froze them, and we stocked up on water/juice bottles (things with caps that I wouldn't spill while carrying them). I practiced on my crutches, and also getting up from the toilet and the shower using one leg (not easy!)

The sooner you get it done (if you're in pain right now and you know they're getting worse), the faster and easier you'll heal, but it really is up to you.

I have to tell you that I'm SO GLAD I did it. I have two brand new feet - it took a while; months of physical therapy (highly recommended!), but I fit into my old sizes, and I have no pain!

Good luck, and feel free to ask as many questions as you want!

-Lisa

 
Old 01-07-2006, 04:50 AM   #6
Jennifer
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

I could have written your letter myself. I'm scheduled for surgery next Thursday, Jan. 12th. I had a shot of cortizone last month which helped a lot, but it's starting to get worse every day. The one good thing is that while the recovery may be a drag, 99% of the people I've talked to are glad they had it done. Since mine is before yours, I'll let you know what to expect. Good luck.
Jennifer

 
Old 01-07-2006, 07:33 AM   #7
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hi Peggy,

I'm a lot older than you are and had some of the same questions. It has been 3 months since my surgery. I have discovered that doctors are VERY different in what they require insofar as recuperation is concerned. Mine is one of the most conservative. I was in a cast for 8 weeks and not allowed to put any weight on my foot. Then I was in a special boot for 3 weeks. I recently retired, and my wonderful husband and friends helped a lot! I also found that having a wheel chair on the first floor of our house made me a lot more mobile. I used crutches upstairs.

I've also discovered from all these message boards that everybody's experience is different! There is a lot of good advice; however, I suggest that you take it all with a grain of salt until you find out what fits your situation and what your doctor says.

I had heard terrible stories of PAIN! I had very little. The surgery was easy. The second day was worst pain-wise, though not terrible, but after that, Advil or Tylenol easily did the job. This week I finally got clearance to wear any shoes that I was comfortable wearing HA! That is two pairs right now, due to swelling--yes, I still have some swelling. But you know what? It's the other foot that still has the bunion that hurts! I'm not ready to go through all that recuperation for a while yet to get that one done too soon; maybe next year.

When your feet really hurt, it's time to act. Postpone for a while if your personal situation requires it, but don't wait too long. This is a true quality of life issue! Get your friends to help you. Invite them for dinner--and they bring the meal. Ask for rides. Ask for help cleaning. People do enjoy being useful and helpful, if you tell them what kind of help you can use.
Good luck!
Quiltie

 
Old 01-07-2006, 09:35 AM   #8
jeepgrrlz
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Thanks everyone. This was great reading. Everytime I look at my feet I frown with disgust. I'm pretty sure I'll go through with it, I just need to get some things straight with my doctor. keep me posted Jennifer!

 
Old 01-07-2006, 11:58 PM   #9
mimi661
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

I had bunion surgery 12 years ago on my right foot. I don't know what it was called but the Podiatrist did cut out bone and put in a screw. It was a long recovery 6 weeks on crutches and then using a special shoe and finally I could wear tennis shoes but only tennis shoes for more than a year. My problems after the surgery that i still have today include no range of motion in my big toe and the big toe and second toe are on each other now. What i mean is that when I walk my second toe comes over my big toe and causes much pain including an ingrown toenail on my big toe. So my experience has caused me to think that my other foot with the bunion will wait till they have better procedures to deal with what can occur after surgery. Please ask your Doctor lots of questions beforehand and have him explain to you any negatives that could happen.

 
Old 01-08-2006, 12:23 PM   #10
Amink
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

I am almost one year post left foot bunion surgery...

this was the single best thing I could have ever done for myself.

I have no pain! none! I stand 8 hours a day and while my feet get tired, I have none of the horrendous pain I used to.

My feet are still very wide, and I have to buy 4e shoes, but I am finally happy!
__________________
bunionectomy 1/19/05
TTC 5 years due to PCOS

 
Old 01-10-2006, 12:06 PM   #11
Saturngrl
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

I agree with everyone who's posted here. I ignored my bunions for almost 25 years and am now 7 weeks post-surgery. The first 24 hours were the worst. After that, it's all been downhill. Check out all the practical advice posted here about elevation, ice packs, keeping the dressing dry (you don't want bone infection) and following your physician's orders.

I'm in sneakers and just got the "OK" to hit the mall this weekend. I have a dancing date in Vegas in late February and can report this surgery was one of the best things I've ever done for myself!

 
Old 01-14-2006, 11:19 AM   #12
NYCGal00
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Peggy, don't worry! I was in the same position as you! You are doing the right thing about doing your research and calming your fears. Everyone is different but it sounds like we have a lot in common.

I am also 26 and have inherited bunions on both feet. They are both on the moderate level and have to be shaved, cut, shifted, and held in place by a screw. As you read the posts, you will notice that most ppl who do this are quite a bit older and so we do have age on our side. We heal faster and we are doing it before it can get worst and worst. I already had the right one done in mid December (I'm 4 weeks post op) and I have my left foot scheduled for mid February. I am so glad to get this over with. The surgery was simple and straightforward.. the only complication I had was a bad reaction to a painkiller.

Perhaps if I tell you what I went through it might relieve some anxiety you have...

Yes, the operation sounds scary (saws, being grounded to the floor in case of electric shock?) but its not that bad... As soon as you hit that op table you are in la-la land. I woke up thinking I was Xmas shopping at Macy's. An hour after waking up, I felt I could go back to work. Hardly any pain at all... YAY! And then it kicks in the next day. Yes, day 2 and 3 is when the pain starts to really kick butt but if you take your meds you should be ok. Just make sure to eat while you are doing so! I had to stop taking mine cause of my stomache couldn't handle it. I had to go pain killer free after day 3 and the pain in my stomache was by far worst then my foot.

Week 1 - Longest of my life... I was so bored sitting there stuck in bed. The pain was ok and not really much when I had it iced. The goal of this week was to keep the swelling down but at the same time rotating and "stretching".
Week 2 - I wore a boot and was allowed to go to work (I have a desk job so I was able to keep my foot propped up all the time). I got around on crutches... the most annoying thing ever especially in NYC!
Week 3 - I had a peek at my foot then and it looked really good! A bit of swelling but healing beautifully.. and NO BUNION! I was so elated! I started walking a bit at this time.
Week 4 - Walking with the boot just fine. Quick as whip with a limp. I have an appt in 2 days to get into sneakers! YAY! Oh, I had absorbale stiches so no need for taking anything out.

The key things to recover: rest, elevation of the foot, and ice! If you do things as you are told, you won't have to worry about infection so your #1 enemy is swelling.

Here's some advice... since I am like you and never had surgery or had crutches before... prepare your home for being "1 footed and handless". Hop around the house with you hands at your side and that should help you get an idea of all the things you need to be put into a convenient place.

Better to do it sooner then later! You're be fine! Good luck!

 
Old 01-27-2006, 04:38 AM   #13
Jennifer
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Jeepgrriz,
How are you doing? I think you were scheduled for surgery yesterday. Drop us a line when you are up to it. Don't forget...take all the drugs you were prescribed and ice and elevate every hour.
Jennifer

 
Old 01-29-2006, 02:29 PM   #14
jeepgrrlz
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hi everyone,
Third day today. Feeling much better. The worst part was the headache from the anestesia. My foot does not hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. I certainly cannot bear any weight on it though. I'm surprised my doctor thought I could. Look like I'll be hopping for awhile. I'm super bored on the sofa, but my husband has been taking great care of me. He even washed my hair in the tub this morning

Jennifer, did you have your dressings changed yet? What is that like?

 
Old 01-29-2006, 10:36 PM   #15
cind68
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Re: I'm terrified of my upcoming bunion surgery!

Hang in there Peggy!!

It really does get better. I promise!! After I had the first one done it was around 4-5 days and I was able to hop along pretty well. Big mistake in doing so though! Those first few days were soooooo boring though I just wanted to get up! I actually overdid it (ok, a couple times even...stupid I know!) after starting to feel better and ended up back in the bed for a few days each time. I really regret doing that and wish I'd had someone stop me at all costs!...Just a little advice on that one I definitely learned to do the icing like I should and all else afterwards. I'm 37 and that was my experience with the one foot and you're even younger so should do really well. I had put off having the surgery for several years but finally just had to. I was tired of busting through the sides of my tennis shoes all the time and sheez the pain!!!!!YIKES!! I really did well after the first surgery and it wasn't until only 3 weeks later having the second surgery on another very severe bunion that caused the problems I wrote about. I'm thankful it's over now of course and am slowly doing better but know I'll definitely be very glad I had it done before I know it. Everyone does heal differently and it sounds as if you've not had other medical problems and I think that does make a difference. Just do as you're told and read the great advice given on this board! Had I not done that I definitely wouldn't be where I am now. I started the physical therapy much later than I should've because the doc didn't want me to do it????....but after starting it only a week ago it's made a HUGE difference already!
I'm not sure if it's the same for everyone but as far as the rebandanging? I went back a week after each surgery and they just cleaned it off and rewrapped it. At the 2 week postop mark they took out the stitches. It honestly wasn't a big deal as far as that was concerned....not at all...Don't even worry about it!
One thing I remember saying after the first surgery was that I was going to have my mother tie me to the bed if needed for about 2 weeks after the second surgery so I would just rest and ice and not pull stupids like with the first. I did myself NO favors by wanting to get around and feeling in my head like I could do it and then just doing it but certainly not doing my feet(or foot rather at the time) any favors. Of course you need to do the dangling thing every hour to get circulation to it but for a couple weeks postop don't even think of trying to get around too much. Actually go with whatever time your doc says. Of course after the second one was done I didn't have to even worry about me trying to get around so it wasn't a problem!
Just remember babysteps and right now keep up the elevating and icepacks and try to keep your mind busy so you don't go stircrazy
...oh yeah....I'm not sure I could've done this or not at the stage you are because I couldn't stand the thought of anything touching my foot period and certainly not any weight on the top of it but now when I go to pt at the end they hook up little electrode things to get the nerves going in my feet(that's not the part I'm talking about though) and then get these really long icepacks that will wrap all the way around my feet and have a velcro type strip that keeps them strapped on. I'm still having a problem with swelling after I do anything or just stand for long even so they gave me the name and number of the place to order them from so I could get them directly and there be no extra charge. You may not want them now but if you(or anyone else) wants the info let me know. It's so much easier than having to use several icepacks and it not fit right on your feet or stay in place. I don't remember just how much but definitely not expensive or I'd not have gotten them. I even got 4 of them so I would have 2 ready for my feet when needed. Also when you're icing be sure to put a pack right under your heel. That will hit(and freeze..) the nerve that goes to that part of your foot. Really made a difference for me at the point you're at.
I hope you're doing well and don't feel alone! I had NO idea what I was getting into but that's really a blessing because I needed it done so badly and might have just put it off again. And really my problems were caused I think due to mostly a greedy doc who scheduled the surgeries WAY too close together and it was too much for my body to handle ...especially when it has enough to deal with already.. And then I was given alot of just crazy info by him too so don't let the posts about my ordeal worry you! I've not spoken with a single person who's not very glad they had it done! I have a ways to go but can see progress each week....This will be over before you know it and you'll be very glad you had it done early in life and got it over with! Won't it be great to have painfree feet!!!!! Good luck and feel free to ask away. This board has been so wonderful in helping me I can't even tell you!! Take care...or rather let everyone take care of YOU right now!! A good friend of mine who passed away in her 90s but was very active until her last day had a saying she used alot that really fits us right now...."I'm just not ABLE to worry about it"......You take care of yourself right now and let others know you're not able to do what you were doing and to fill in! It will all work out....somehow things have a way of doing that?
cindy(who can't wait til I can do this!!!----- .....!!!!!)

 
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