Today as we drove to Brisbane for my weekly rendezvous (aka appointment) with Ivan (Dr Astori) I was reflecting on how far I have come with my Ilizarov frame.
I remember waking from surgery on Tuesday 24 May and just looking at my left leg under the sheets. It felt so foreign. I was still numb so it wasn’t about the pain (yet), it was the frame. It was so large and awkward looking. Initially the frame was bound in bandages and could not be seen, it took about 3 days before Ivan requested the bandages be removed. I thought there was a medical reason behind it remaining but I soon learnt it could have been removed after day 1.. it was primarily about me adjusting to it, looking at my leg suspended between these two rings by 4 pins and 2 wires. 😳
I didn’t like to look at it. I honestly wondered how I was ever going to be able to touch the frame, let alone manage the clicks Ivan had explained prior to the surgery. Towards the end of my hospital stay I was just managing to gently touch it when Ivan came in to check on the wounds. As he spoke to me he repeatedly tapped his pen gently on the frame…
‘Um.. Can you please stop that!’ I exclaimed.
‘Stop what?’, he look at me puzzled.
‘Tapping the brace for gods sake!!!’ I squeaked through gritted teeth. The sensation was pushing me over the edge the surreal vibration running into my bone.. it was terrible.
‘No. I won’t stop it’, he replied. I looked at him opened mouthed as he continued to tap the frame. ‘You need to get used to this Rosie. This is your life for the next 6 months. Touching the frame is imperative when you start turning the dials’.
Fast forward 10weeks... little did I know that I could consider myself a master mechanic of the Ilizarov frame (kinda 😜)!! I crack out my spanner as necessary, doing all of my own twists and turns (sometimes twice when I am not concentrating and twist them in the wrong direction! Doh!). So yes, I really have got used to it, in fact more than that I have accepted the frame. I am not afraid of it anymore, it is not so foreign or frightening and I certainly don’t mind that people stop and stare or ask (a lot of) questions. To be honest that public curiosity has been the case all of my life, I am never offended whether it is about a short leg or a big aluminium frame I don’t mind..
However regardless of my acceptance I can tell you that the day I am told that the frame can be removed I will be ecstatic! Why? Well outside of the obvious reasons the frame feeds my seemingly endless sleepless nights, removes my ability to sleep on my side or tummy and also means I cannot wear shorts, jeans or slacks! So effectively my entire wardrobe (excluding approx 10 maxi dresses and 8 nighties) is useless!
I don’t go out enough for clothing to be a real issue at the moment… however last weekend it was such beautiful hot weather and we were going to watch the local Rugby Union team play a game which involved sitting out in the sunshine.
Everyone was ready except me.
‘So Mum are you ready?’, Lilli asked tentatively knowing full well I wasn’t.. As I was still sitting in my nanna knickers and bra with a sad look on my face ‘I’ve nothing that I can wear.. ‘.
‘Ookkaayyy’ Lilli said knowing she was treading on thin ice with her fragile mum… ‘What about some shorts?’ I rolled my eyes but she was already in my cupboard pulling out a pair from the bottom of the pile. ‘Here these’! She suggested as she handed me a pair of white shorts. I insisted they would not go over my frame but miracle of miracles I got them up easily.. all good bar a couple of issues with my underwear!! Love my little stylist…
I have had a few reasons to feel great this week.. One of them (by no means the least) My gorgeous cousin Tash came out of ‘retirement’ and spent a morning with me waxing my eyebrows and colouring my hair. It was such a generous gesture and I felt beyond grateful to no longer feel like the street urchin I was looking like..
So to the most important news. Today I returned from the specialist without the Precice Nail magnet! Yep you’ve got it.. No more whirs of the magnet 3 times a day! My femur is now 5.1cm longer than it was 10 weeks ago! Incredible.
So now it is all over to the Tibia! Pressure is on.. I have gained 3.5cm in length and we are aiming for another 2cm over the next 3 weeks!
I have a total of 8.6cm in growth in my left leg now.
I may be finished around 18 August – but I have decided that I am not getting attached to anymore dates!
I suppose I will get there when I arrive.