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Annie : 9 Months, My OS Visit, and Hardware Removal
Diary entry posted Thu 12:52pm 27 October 2005

October 27

I have reached the 9 month time period, in fact, I am a little beyond. I thought since it has been awhile, I needed to update. I have been waiting until my visit with my OS this last Monday. For those of you following my diary, I have been pondering removal of my hardware for months. In fact, the hardware issue has probably been the most confusing of this whole recovery process. I feel like at this stage in the recovery, I have improved just about as far as I can, with the hardware still in my ankle.

On Monday, I finally dragged myself back into the OS office to have a frank discussion about my hardware. It is not that it is really painful, but that I am always aware of it. When I really rotate my foot, I can feel right along the plate on the outside of my foot. If I rotate the other way, I can feel where the two big screws are on my tibia. Every once in awhile, if I rotate just right, those two will send a bit of pain as if I have caught soft tissue on the heads. It's really nothing major, just irritating. Since summer, with an increase in my activity level, I have had the sneaking feeling that I did not seem to be improving as far as I could with the hardware in my foot. So, with a LOT of foot-dragging (no pun intended), I finally made the appointment and went in for the discussion. The first thing my OS did was x-ray my foot to make sure none of the HW had moved or was backing off. The x-ray showed it was all quite intact. I asked about the length of time (about 1 hour) for the surgery, how my scars would heal (probably the same as before), the recovery (3-5 days on crutches with the air cast, PWB, then 6-8 weeks total in the air cast for the holes to fill in), and the pros and cons. Really, there did not seem to be any cons other than the fact that this is my fourth surgery in 1 1/2 years (which I do NOT take lightly). The pros centered on the belief that I would see even further progress in my recovery. So, with a fair amount of reluctance but a belief that I was moving in a positive direction, I told my OS I wanted the HW out. It will take place some time in mid-December hopefully. I am nervous about another surgery, but optimistic about my recovery.

At the 9 month period, I can do pretty much what I want. I can run (have done a good 2 miler on a mountain trail downhill), although pretty much about once a week. My foot needs time to recover. I can hike as much as I want to and the bumps and rocks don't bother my foot. Ironically, the thing that bothers my foot the most is still mowing the lawn with all its irregularities! I really have no swelling any more to speak of, so I pretty much know what shape of foot I am left with after the break. Unless you know what you are looking for, you can't tell I broke my ankle from the outside. My scar is almost invisible, and there is virtually no bony overgrowth. On my tibia, you can see the enlargement of my ankle knob if you look for it. One thing I found out is that the shape of my foot has changed, and as a consequence, I had to donate about 15 pairs of shoes since they no longer fit my new foot. I guess that means I need to take a shopping trip. All in all, I am able to pretty much resume my pre-break activities. I still find when I get out of the car, I rotate around to land on my non-broken left foot, and when I have sat for a long period, I still have stiffness in the foot which takes a couple of steps to shake off. I am hoping that will improve with the HW removal. I am convinced these breaks are just a long, slow process of recovery, and you have to put in the work to get the best recovery. If you do nothing and expect to return to your pre-break days, you will never have as good a recovery. Patience is the operative word throughout this whole process.

In closing this update, for those of you aware of my family's home improvement plans (the kitchen addition), we still are awaiting our permit (can you believe that!!!), and should have it next week. Nothing like building in the mountains with winter looming! We have begun tearing apart out deck (all 900 sq feet of it) in preparation for the construction so we can start building immediately. This should be an interesting project.

To all of my MBL friends, keep improving and recovering. All the best to you and stay positive. Life does return, it just takes patience.

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 Thu 12:52pm 27 October 2005
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