Friday, January 15, 2016

Ankle Replacement and Subtalar Fusion Updates

As some of you may know, last January I had subtalar fusion in my right foot...this is after having a total ankle replacement in the same foot a year prior (Dec 2013). I also had total ankle replacement in my other foot prior to that (June 2013). To read about my ankle replacement journeys, please click here. Below are my updates...

A short summary of the Ankle Replacements...

Going into my ankle replacements, I was very hopeful. My surgeon told me that the replacement surgeries would take all the pain I was experiencing in my feet away. Did it? Well, not really. The best thing to come of the surgery is that my “bounce back time” has greatly improved. Meaning that if I overdue it today, I usually get a restart tomorrow. Before the surgery it would be days. And a couple times I overdid it so badly that it actually took several weeks...meaning that I either could barely walk on it, or, on better days, I was using a cane to get around. So that's the major pro of having the total ankle replacements.

The negative effect of the ankle replacement surgeries is that I can only stand or walk around for about 10-15 minutes before I'm completely done for the day. This is extremely frustrating and severely limits me.

Subtalar Fusion time...

Because I was so limited, I went ahead with the subtalar fusion in my right foot in January 2015. My surgeon said that I still have a lot of arthritis in the rest of the foot (really, both feet) and this may give me some relief. I wasn't as hopeful going into this surgery, but I was trying to remain optimistic. I knew it would be a much longer recovery time, but I also knew I could soldier through if it meant making a difference in my pain while walking/standing. The plan was that if this worked, I would get the left foot done after the right was was completely healed.

When I saw my surgeon last, in September, he told me that I needed to give the fusion a full year to heal before passing judgment. Well, in another week it will be a full year. This is my judgment...I've wasted the last year trying to rehab from the subtalar fusion and it is no better than before the surgery. If anything, it's more painful when I walk.

I've been putting this blog post off for a while now. I guess I was hoping that things would turn around and my ankle would suddenly start feeling better. I hate sounding so negative, but I need to be honest in hopes that it may help someone else.

Not every surgery is going to be a success for every person, and I know that with my SED it makes everything way more complicated than the average person. Up until this point, I've been very lucky with my surgeries. But the past three surgeries (both my ankle replacements and now the subtalar fusion) have been a let down for me, especially the last one. To think that I've wasted the past year is a hard pill to swallow and it depresses me whenever I think about it.

But, things could be worse. At least I have my feet. At least I can walk. I have a supportive family and a husband that is a superman for me. And my kids are 90% of the time, pretty awesome (they're teenagers, so that accounts for the other 10%!)  And I have this squooshy face to cheer me up... 

What does the future hold? I'm not sure. I know I won't be having subtalar fusion in my other foot, unless all of a sudden that foot starts to hurt worse than the other. I may have to look into a scooter sometime in my future (God help my local public!). 

Mostly, I'm hoping for a miracle breakthrough in medicine...where they can grow bone back and instead of giving you metal and plastic replacements, you'll get a new and improved bone instead. How cool would that be?