Monday, November 13, 2017

Surgery, misery, boredom and recovery.

So, WOW - it's been a very long time since I've blogged.  Or really since I've had anything to blog about, really.

Just wanted to chronicle my recent bunion surgery. (I wish they could come up with a more glamorous name for it, but alas, it sounds disgusting.)

I had put this procedure off for many, many years.  It is considered elective surgery and I wasn't going to die without it so, I put it off to the point where I couldn't ignore it anymore. One HUGE reason was I hated the thought of 6 weeks out of the gym. 

What is a bunion?  Well, a bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. Bunions can develop as a result of an inherited structural defect, stress on your foot or a medical condition, such as arthritis. Mine was the result of 35 years of wearing gorgeous stilettos.  I love my high heels!

So, the result of this comes out making everything shift around push other bones out of place in my foot, and was painful especially after long hikes or runs.  Here is one of the initial x-rays showing what a mess it was in there!  Next to it, the outward appearance of my foot.



So the recommended procedure was a Lapidus Bunionectomy.  Basically what that involved was removing a portion of the first metatarsal, realigning it, and then fusing the first metatarsal and medial cuneiform bones.

Here is the "after" x-ray taken 5 days post-op, which shows the plates and screws used for the fusion. 














I had read everything I could about the recovery, pain, success rates, etc., but nothing prepares you for the real thing.  Some of it was worse, some of it was better. 

The pain afterward was minimal.  Honestly I was surprised.  I took the pain meds for 20 hours and stopped.  They are awful and I seriously for the life of me cannot understand how people get hooked on that shit.  Anyway, Tylenol was my go-to.  I also had 800mg Ibuprofen for inflammation, which also helps with pain, in my opinion.

Starting on night two I had some really awful nerve pain which felt like hot razor blades and needles poking into my foot all over.  Yeah.  But I still just took Tylenol.  They offered a pill to help with that but it is an anti-depressant which I wanted nothing to do with.  So, I just suffered through it and learned to cope.  That nerve pain seemed to hit only at night (you know, when your body is in repair mode) and lasted about a week and a half.

The procedure was on Friday, October 6.  By Monday morning I was bored and filled with regret - "what have I done?" kept going through my mind.  I wanted to work out. I kept having visions of laying on the couch getting fat and lazy.

So, four days post-op (Tuesday) I decided  to get up and actually work out.  Now, this wasn't CrossFit by any means.  Lots of stretching, knee push ups, sit-ups, leg raises, hip exercises, seated dumbbell presses, etc.

Week two I made it upstairs (which was hilarious - lots of crawling and scooting) so I could use the rower.  All in all I've managed to only miss about 4 days of working out  to date.  Week three I got to go back to the gym, and started going every other day.  The off days I still did my home workouts.

I've lost weight.  I've also lost muscle, so, win/lose there.  But I'm okay with it.

I had a few pity party days, where I just felt like this was never going to end.  I just want to DRIVE my car.  I want to be able to go somewhere when I get the urge.  I do not like being dependent on someone to bring me water, food, etc.  But thank God I have Allan who did all that and more.

Recovery:
My first visit post-op was 5 days.  At that visit I got permission to start putting slight pressure on my foot, in the boot, with crutches.  About 1/4 of my body weight.   Same advice at the second follow up - 11 days in.  At the next visit which was 3.5 weeks post-op, he instructed me to start putting more weight on my foot, working up to full weight walking without crutches.  All still in the boot.

As of yesterday I'm there!  It's a bit achy sometimes but no big deal.  Part of the process.  My six week post-op is in two days and I'm hoping to be released to take off this boot and put on a shoe and walk, and drive, etc.  The surgeon has told me no running, jumping, hiking or heavy weight lifting for at least 12 weeks, and expect "full recovery" to take 9 to 12 months.  That seems like forever.

Anyway, if you're grossed out by feet or scabs or bruises, you can tap out now.  Here are some progress pictures taken over the weeks:

day 6 post op
bruising was horrible (day 13)

day 16 - soaking in hot water bath


day 20, incision progress is slow

 
1-month post op

 
38 days post-op, incision healing more


So, that's it for now.  Hoping for a good post-op visit this week and moving on with my life!  I'll be modifying every CFJ workout for a while, but I'll just be glad to BE THERE!