I'm having my 20th surgery this week. I am going to go on record and clarify that this is not my 20th CMT-related surgery.....it's probably my 15th. Still though, that's a lot. That's my share, and a handful of other people's shares, in my opinion. It's also my 3rd surgery in the past 9 months. Excessive, right? Let me back up a bit.
Last April, I elected to have surgery to straighten my big toe on my left foot. It was constantly rubbing on any shoe I owned, and I finally just couldn't take the pain. The surgery wasn't too big of a deal, and I was walking in a surgical boot in a couple days. Recovery went pretty smoothly, and I was certain that my problem had been fixed and I would be pain-free. Not the case. Apparently, straightening my toe had changed the position of my foot so much that the callous on the edge of my foot was starting to ulcerate. My doctor, Dr. M., discussed with me how this callous would likely continue to ulcerate with all the pressure on it constantly, and suggested another surgery as an option.
This surgery he was suggesting had actually been brought up before by a completely different doctor. It would essentially mean going in and moving bones and tendons around, in an attempt to straighten out my entire foot and make it more flat. Sounds quite amazing, right? Well, the surgery would also mean 8-12 weeks off of my foot completely -- not something that is easy when you have 4 children. In any case, I brought up the option with my husband, and since we had already met our out-of-pocket max for the year (meaning the surgery would essentially be free), we decided to go with it.
I think that if I had known ahead of time exactly what having this second surgery would entail.....I seriously may not have done it. Finding out the day before surgery that my name wasn't even on the schedule at the surgical center was likely a bad omen. No idea how that happened, but I got on the schedule for 1 pm. Then it got pushed......to 1:30, then 2, then finally 3. That made for a very long day of fasting. So long, that I cheated and ate a snow cone so I didn't feel like dying. I didn't end up going back until 3:30, and then it took nearly 5 hours instead of planned 3. We didn't get home until almost 1 am.
The next few days were hell. Pure hell. (Note: never, ever, ever take Dilaudid. Ever. You'll thank me for this advice, I promise.) Having the 85 staples pulled out of my foot was torture. The 12.5 weeks following that were frustrating and never-ending. Then the 6 weeks following that were intensely painful as I started walking in a surgical boot again. It's been a ridiculously long process, to say the least. Once I was able to start putting weight on my foot, I began the process of getting some new afo's (that's a whole separate post). The finished products came in a couple weeks ago, and I was feeling anxious, but also was feeling like this was the final step. I'd have them adjusted, take some time breaking them in, and then everything I'd gone through since April would be worth it.
I should know by now to not assume that things will go the way I plan them to.
The right afo fit just great, and actually feels quite miraculous. The left one, however, was problematic. Well, I should clarify that the afo was great, but my foot was not. My big toe (the one that was fixed....twice) kind of curves up at the tip, and my 2nd metatarsal kind of pokes out on the bottom of my foot. All of my x-rays have looked fine, but those 2 things are making it impossible to wear an afo and shoe without immense pain.
I went back to my doctor a couple days later, expecting the worst. Despite my emotional preparation, I was holding back tears when he said that I'd need surgery again. I ended up feeling really bad, because I could tell that he really hated having to tell me that! (For the record, my doctor is THE COOLEST. Period.)
So, surgery #20 is on the books for tomorrow. Dr. M. is going to shave off the part of my metatarsal bone that is poking out, and take a bone wedge out of the bottom of my toe and move my toe down. All in all, a pretty minor surgery. I will be off of my foot for 2-3 weeks until the incision heals, and then everything should (hopefully) be back on track.
I'm attempting to be calm, cool, and collected about this whole thing, but honestly, I'm not. I've done this routine so many times that I could list it as a hobby. I've had more than one anxious freak out about this. Ugh. It's not a bad sign, right? Oh well....not much I can do about it now. Here's to #20!