Three weeks ago I had surgery to remove the hardware from my left ankle. I broke my ankle back in late October of 2005 and had to have the hardware installed. If you want you can read about it here: more drama and here: my new hardware. The photo of the hardware installed is pretty awesome, and I am so thankful that I wrote all this down and have it documented. I need to make sure that everything is backed up and secure somewhere so that I don't loose ten years worth of memories and stories, but back to the surgery. I know I already wrote about it here: scooter loving so I won't go into all the details, but it's hard to believe that after ten years they are out, and that's part of the miracle. Surgery went as expected. This was my 20th surgery, although it might be the 22, I'm a little fuzzy on how many times my knees have been operated on. I always warn the doctors that the anesthesia makes me sick, and I have problems keeping my blood pressure stabilized during surgery, along with a few other allergies and issues that don't need to be recorded here. As far as I know they were able to regulate my blood pressure without any complications, but nausea and vomiting were unavoidable, even after they gave me medicine before, during, and three doses (and different medication) after to help. Thankfully I was so groggy from all the medication that it doesn't seem all that bad now.
John was with me and reported that my doctor was able to remove the plate and screws without damaging my ankle bone. He wasn't sure how much bone he would have to remove to take the hardware out or how the screws would behave. In fact in the operating room, as I was waiting to be administered the anesthesia, he was reviewing the table of instruments, which had at least 40, he asked the nurse where the tools were for broken screw removal. She replied that all the screws looked to be intact, and he agreed, but comment that he wanted to be prepared because he wasn't sure what would happen.
My doctor said that everything had gone so amazingly smoothly. My body had naturally wiggled the plate and screws from the surrounding bone, and the screws came out cleanly. He said he had never seen my bones look this healthy. He was so pleased with the outcome and told unconscious me, thankfully John was there to stay completely off my ankle for the next week for the holes where the screws had been needed to heal, not to mention the incision.
Brick came by as I was taking the photo of my foot and the hardware. He picked them up and asked why I had them. Upon realizing that these were in my ankle a few hours before he made this silly expression. He was quite disgusted and had lots of questions about the why and how.
The children were wonderful about showing me extra love and my extended family kept everyone beautifully fed and cared for.
Mom and dad called nearly every day. It was fun to visit with them and hear about their adventures and experiences. I know it's hard to them not being around to help, but the blessings we receive because of their service is priceless.
The children continued to take the scooter for "joy rides" and it was fun to watch everyone zip around the house. The first five days of convalescence consisted of binge watching Netflix and appliqué, between the medicine that made me sleepy. I had sore muscles and joints from immobility, but it made me realize once again how much the hard, consistent exercise improved my arthritis. Faster healing than I am anticipated. Sweet little people were rushing to my aid. Reminding Loaf to bring me back my scooter so I can go the bathroom.
I found that I was faster healing than I am anticipated or than anyone expected. It was still a nuisance to have the scooter, but sweet little people were rushing to my aid, and I only had to remind Loaf occasionally to bring me back my scooter so I can go the bathroom.
At my one week appointment (sorry for the gross photo).
The doctor gave me two options: 1. I could take the stitches out and be on the scooter for another week or 2. I could leave them in and have limited/light walking and mobility. I, of course, chose the second option. It was strange to hobble out of the 1st post op appointment, in fact, I was so excited to leave the I forgot that one of the nurses was going to replace my steri strips.
He was so pleased with my progress and the surgery. He said my bone and surround muscles, etc. had never looked this good and he has operated on my ankle (both sides) three times now. He said my arthritis is still quite severe but with continued weight loss and a lifetime of exercise would dramatically help. It was strange to have such positive things said after a major surgery, that is not the typical for me. The report has always come back with complications and setbacks, so this was most unexpected.
Although I was able to get up and move, it was surprising to me how tired I was and how quickly my ankle would swell causing me to sit down. I think much of week two was spent resting and recuperating. The children came in and watched as many Olympic matches as I would let them and I would push myself a little more every day.
Week three. Still swollen, slight bruising and scar healing amazingly. After my two-week post-op appointment, I was released from my doctor's care. Again, this has never happened. He was so pleased with my healing and progress that I was free. He also warned me of overworking and being wise but was confident in my ability to listen to my body that I would do splendidly.
A view of the scar from the other side. It's more noticeable, not in this photo as much, and people assume this is the side that was operated on. This scar was hard and angry for a very long time, so friends are shocked at how the other side is healing.
I am not four weeks post op and feeling great. I worked out three times last week and progressively increased my intensity and mobility. Yesterday I completed my first double workout day where I workout in the morning with the girls and then again in the afternoon with the boys. I pushed 325-pound sled around the HIIT room floor and walked away feeling week, but no swelling or negative results. I don't feel any pain like before, and there is only slight tenderness from where the muscles, ligaments, and tendons had to be manipulated to access the bone and the hardware.
I know that all the exercise and conditioning before had an enormous impact on my quick healing, but I also cannot fail to acknowledge the hand of God. My recovery was a small miracle, not only for me but more importantly for my children. Their lives have been filled with one surgery after another; that is all they have known, and I know it's been hard on them. Words will never adequately express how much I love God and praise His name for this tender mercy in our lives.
God is real, and He is a God of miracles.