Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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You Put Your Right Foot In

It started the summer I stepped on a piece of wood with rusty nails. It looks like there are six nails in my foot, but only one actually pierced my skin. Still, my poor right foot. Topped off a few days later with one of those infection red lines up the back of my leg. Nice.

Next was the surgery for Plantar Fasciitis. In spite of an extremely successful surgery on my left foot, when it came to my right foot, it was a no go. Sixteen months later, I was still in pain and unable to walk much. I got used to motorized shopping carts and that wasn’t safe for anyone.

Topaz surgery came next. This was in hopes of helping it to start healing. Four months later, I had to admit I was much better. I have pain when I am on my feet too long, but so does everyone else. I credit my Physical Therapy Whisperer for this. She worked with my foot in a way no one else did. So much more effort and it paid off. I reluctantly got discharged from therapy. I was scared to stop going.

Two weeks after that, I am walking in a store. I hit my foot on the corner of two pieces of wood. Can you guess which foot? Yes, the right one. It felt like when you stub your toe, only it was the middle of the top of my foot, right where my sandals didn’t cover me. By the time I got home, it looked like this.

Completely swollen. A giant bump, right above, that’s right. The five small scars from my surgery. Like the word right because it’s my right foot.

Two days later, it looked like this.

This bizarre dark purple outline of my toes and another lovely shade of purple covering the rest of it. (Good thing purple is my favorite color.) It actually didn’t hurt except the third night when it hurt like hell. After that, not really. Freakin’ weird. My therapist told me to get an x-ray. The x-ray says no broken bones, just swollen soft tissue. I’ve had at least two medical people tell me the radiologist is nuts.

My poor right foot. I get embarrassed when someone asks what I did to it. I should make up some ginormous story. People would believe me because it looks hideous.

It is a tradition every summer that I end up in the emergency room or something similar at least once. I have it done already and it’s only the beginning the July so I’ve got that going for me.

Which is kinda nice.


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Decisions

I’ve had trouble with plantar fasciitis over the years, but last September it got worse than its ever been. I did everything my podiatrist told me to do. I bought expensive hiking sneakers for walking in the woods with Taffy. I bought croc flip-flops to wear all the time so I can’t be the barefoot girl anymore. I went to physical therapy three times a week. I bought the night splint to wear during sleep. I have a frozen water bottle I use when needed, and I bought the heel inserts he recommended.

That worked for a few months, but I had another flare up about two months ago. It gets pretty bad- like I can’t walk at all bad. Like the pain takes my breath away bad. I went back to the doc and asked if I am going to have to live with this the rest of my life. He said no, I could have a minor surgery where they snip the tendon. It’s 90% effective and people love it. Okay.

Enter Summer. Summer is one of those people who is almost always right. She knows stuff about stuff, no matter what the stuff is that you are talking about. There have been many, many times that I have sought to prove her wrong, only to have to come back and sheepishly tell her that she was right again. Sometimes I make it my mission to be able to come back and tell her Ha! I got ya! But it never works.

Anyhow, Summer tells me that she knows dozens of people with this condition and no one has ever had surgery. If it’s that effective, why wouldn’t more people have had it? She suggested (and with Summer that means STRONGLY suggested) that I get a second opinion. She knows my doc Grace and loves her as much as I do.

This started a big pain in the butt journey. I adore Grace and trust her with my life- literally. She only refers me to the best of the best. Always. She had recommended my doc years ago, but gave me the name of a highly respected orthopedic surgeon to get a second opinion from. Just what I wanted. Another appointment.

She is great. But after a two and a half hour appointment, she explains to me that orthopedics and podiatrists are sometimes at odds, and this particular condition is one they polarize on. Great. She NEVER recommends the surgery. She gets the people who end up with permanent nerve damage in their feet for the rest of their lives. Never get the surgery. Instead, there is a treatment with shock waves that is highly recommended. And let’s get an MRI just to make sure there is nothing else going on with your foot.

Now I am stumped. Two excellent doctors. Both adamant in their positions. What the heck am I supposed to do?

I do my own research on-line and end up in the same predicament. Both protocols are highly successful. The problem with the shock treatment, is there is only one option in all of Buffalo. And my insurance won’t cover it. It’s $500 and three weeks of treatment and I can’t get in for another three weeks. That’s the brilliance of our current insurance mentality. They won’t pay $500 for a treatment, but will pay $7,000 for a surgery. Only in America.

MRI comes back without any surprises so yesterday I meet with Grace. I tell her I plan to wring her neck. She tells me she loves me because she knows I’m going to come in completely armed with information. I’ve done all my research, done all the tests, but am completely stumped with what to do. In the mean time, I have been going out of my mind with the foot pain.

Grace tells me there are two docs in our area that have hit nerves and caused damages, just like doc #2 said. However, my doc is NOT one of them. In fact, he has NEVER botched up the surgery. Ever. She reminds me that she would never send me to anyone that wasn’t top-notch, and says I can whole heartedly proceed with the surgery. She just wanted me to have all the facts.

I was actually relieved. I’m not a huge surgery fan, but I am sick of the pain, and don’t have a spare $500 bucks lying around. So tomorrow morning, I am going in for the surgery.

Grace and I laughed. We decided if I’m the one in a million exception and my doc wrecks my foot for life, that GRACE will be the one to answer to Summer. No way in hell I’m going to tell her. LOL! We agreed Summer is a force to be reckoned with and I’m lucky to have her in my corner.

Say some prayers tomorrow morning, and if you aren’t doing anything Friday afternoon or evening, come keep me company. I’m not laid up for long, but you know I don’t well with sitting still. It makes me even battier than I already am.