Six Weeks Already?

Tomorrow I’ll visit my doctor for my 6-week check up and hopefully be cleared to begin transitioning out of the boot. I can’t believe it’s already been six weeks since my lapiplasty surgery!

So how’s it been going? I think the best way to describe it is…slow. While the six weeks have seemed to fly by, the days have sometimes been long and difficult. Little by little, however, my incision has turned into a pretty good looking scar and the bruising on my toes has faded. All good signs, right?

In the past few weeks I’ve focused on going to physical therapy twice a week and doing my exercises faithfully. We’ve been working on range of motion and strengthening of my foot while being careful not to interfere with the healing process. Some days I have quite a bit of pain on the top of my foot near the incision, but hopefully that’s normal nerve pain that will eventually disappear. There’s still some numbness here and there but it seems to be lessening with time. All of these sensations and daily variations have been fascinating and encourage me to follow the doctor’s orders to remain non-weight bearing and focus on PT, elevation, and ice. And, I’m trying to pace myself and not run around too much, which is a real challenge! Oh, and I got a pedicure (which makes everything better 🙂 )

We also took in a new family member during this “down time.” My sister Mickie had been keeping my father’s two dogs since Dad passed away last year. Sadly, last month she had to put down Bebe which left her with Bobby. We had lost our Nica last year and were looking to add to our little family. Gratefully Mickie allowed us to take Bobby into our home. We are happy to once again be a family of four. Bobby seems to be settling in and is a real hit around our dog-centric neighborhood. Even Mia is getting used to him!

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We also celebrated my birthday with a family dinner. Having Mickie and Jay over was a real treat and the red velvet cake, decorated lovingly by my sister, was a nice touch.

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With lots of time on the couch while healing we’ve had time to dream about our next adventures. And, if you know us, you know we don’t dream too much without action. During this time of isolation and recuperation we began to assess our needs for a bigger RV for our future explorations. After a number of stops to “just look” at our local RV dealer we’ve settled on a new home on wheels! Here’s a sneak peak.

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If the doctor approves my transition out of the boot and the stars align with the delivery of the new unit, we should be back on the road by next week. We are searching for remote areas, which will allow us to enjoy the great outdoors while social distancing. Our larger rig will also allow us to be even more fully self-contained, meaning we won’t need to use public restrooms or restaurants along the way.  Stay tuned for the big reveal and a complete look at the new RV in the coming days!

Nine Days Post Op

Note: This post includes photos that some might find a little gory.  You’ve been warned.

I’ve had a number of people check in to see how yesterday’s doctor appointment went so I guess that means a new blog post is in order.  Let’s step back just a bit…

Nine days ago I underwent Lapiplasty surgery on my left foot to correct the alignment of my toes. It’s basically the newest approach to fixing bunions, which in my case, were causing pain in the ball of my foot and in my toes.  I described the process in this post.

Yesterday we drove to Scottsdale to see Dr. McAlister for the first follow up appointment. I was so relieved when Yenzie, the medical assistant, immediately took me back and proceeded to cut off the splint I’d been in for the past week.  Underneath the exterior wrap, my entire lower leg was wrapped in gauze. That’s when I first saw the blood stains. Immediately I asked her if that was normal, and she assured me that it was. Okay, keep breathing…

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Once she got the splint off and removed the bandages I could see the incision and sutures.  While it’s a bit repulsive for me to look at, I snapped a few shots and was immediately amazed that it wasn’t more bruised and swollen. It looks pretty awful, but I guess I was expecting much worse.

Dr. McAlister seemed pleased with the progress and said I need one more week before the stitches can come out.  The x-rays showed that the toes are now in alignment and my new, shiny hardware is in place.  It will be 6-8 weeks before the bones are fully fused if everything goes as planned. Until then I will be in a boot.

Over the next week I’ve got to be careful not to put much weight on it, wear my boot when up on my feet, and continue to use my pretty pink scooter.  My primary job right now is to continue to elevate and ice my foot. The great news is that it’s easier to sleep with my newly wrapped foot and I’m off the pain meds. Even though it’s a challenge to get around, it feels like great progress.IMG_7960

Steve continues to be an excellent nurse. He brings me ice, food, water, and treats. He’s been shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, and all the other things that I can’t get up to do. I’m certainly lucky to have him as my wing man. And soon we’ll be ready to hit the road again in the RV.  Until then, it’s all about the boot and the pink scooter.

 

Lapiplasty and the road to recovery

As I mentioned in the last post, our wings have been clipped in more ways than one. The COVID-19 pandemic took us and our rig off the road literally. And since we were going to be home indefinitely it seemed like a good time to address a long-standing problem I’ve been having with my feet. Let’s go back…

After nearly 30 years of leading management workshops while wearing (beautiful) high heeled shoes and then running over a dozen half-marathons (not to mention high arches, thanks Mom!) my feet were trashed. I was hiking fewer and fewer miles before the pain hit and running has been out of the question for awhile. Since retiring four years ago I’ve sought relief from numerous doctors, received shots in four different places in my feet, tried massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture treatments. Nothing seemed to provide relief.

Earlier this year I found Dr. Jeff McAlister at the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute. After multiple diagnostics he determined that a bunion was creating the pain in the balls of my feet. However, rather than treating the issue with a traditional bunionectomy where they shave off part of the big toe joint, he recommended a Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction. This procedure realigns the toes at the base and thus straightens and stabilizes the entire joint. Of course it’s more technical than that, but you get the idea. This picture isn’t my x-ray, but you can see the hardware I now have.

Having elective surgery in the age of COVID-19 created a few challenges. First, the surgery was delayed for about a month until the Governor lifted restrictions. Then I could not have the procedure without a negative COVID test two days prior to the surgery. Luckily the hospital mobilized quickly to make sure the tests were available and processed in a timely manner. P.S. the nasal swab is NOT fun.

On the day of the surgery we went to the outpatient facility and got right in. In fact there were only a few other patients that day and it felt like I had the place to myself, along with plenty of nurses , technicians, and doctors. I was in and out of surgery in about an hour and home before 4:00 with a wonderful thing called a nerve block. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my leg for 24 hours and I was tricked into thinking this was going to be easy!

Now that the nerve block has worn off and the post surgical pain has set in I’m managing with ice, elevation, and pain medication. My hope is that the pain begins to subside in the next few days. However, so far it’s not been easy or fun. Poodles, neighbors, and a wonderful nurse named Steve are getting me through. I’ll go back to see Dr. McAlister in one week to hopefully have stitches removed and to receive a walking boot. Until then I’m non-weight bearing and learning to get around on my cute pink scooter.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post an update when something noteworthy transpires. In the meantime you can find me either in bed or on the couch, but wishing we were on the road again!