I am not going lie. It has been a tough week.
All week I have been generally overtired and sore with most days this week littered with silent tears from the burning, stinging pain being experienced as my ligaments, tissues and tendons stretch to the point that my lower leg is so tight it looks like it may split.
The ankle pain is crazy with shadow bruising appearing like a quiet testament to my experience across my left heel and stretching up my achilles. I have increased medication (within the allowed limits this time) as and when necessary to get myself through these final weeks of extension! Unfortunately I’ve not found the relief I had hoped for…
In addition to the tibia related growing pain, the movement of the Ilizarov frame is not going to plan. It is pushing into my hamstring directly above the back of my knee. The risk being a pressure sore, but the reality is its just bloody uncomfortable all of the time and has affected my knees scope of movement.
In my heart I know that I cannot complete the extension program or commence consolidation until the issue with the frame is addressed.
The long, long, LONG evenings and the pain compounded on Wednesday and Thursday and resulted in me being a blithering emotional mess at various times throughout the days and nights as I hit my pain threshold. It was further exacerbated when I read my X-ray letter on Thursday (I know I know I shouldn’t).
The letter spoke of the tibia and that it had grown 0.9cm this past week. It is now 4.4cm longer than it was when I began! So in total my leg is now 9.5cm longer. (NB: this WAS NOT the sad bit.. this was VERY exciting!)
It was the bit that went into detail explaining that I had severe degeneration of the ankle joint that did it.. I just felt like after going through this entire difficult, life stopping, painful, shithouse procedure I’d end up with the leg length but won’t be able to walk because my ankle is stuffed!!
I will be honest. I felt defeated. So I cried.
Actually I sobbed. I sobbed for every single thing I haven’t been able to do, I sobbed because I felt sorry for myself, I sobbed because I felt sorry for everyone looking after me. I sobbed because all of a sudden I had doubt.
It felt good to have a big cry, to get it all out… It came to an end when I soon realised Dr Google was wasting my time with the ankle analysis I was trying to undertake and mum was looking at me with those tear filled eyes that you have when someone you love is hurting and you can’t take any of it away. Anyway I was seeing Ivan Friday he’d had the answers.
So at midday on Friday I crutched back into Ivan’s office and ran into this beautiful chick!
Straight up Ivan looked at my X-ray and assessed the frame. “There’s no way to avoid it Rosie, we need to go back into surgery”.
My heart sunk but I had known this would be the only way forward. “Yes I figured”.
“We need to adjust the frame as a priority. There are a number of options for me to do this but I will decide once you are under, worst case it may involve moving one or even two of the pin sites (rods inserted into the tibia)” Ivan explained.
“I hope you don’t have to do that” I whispered as he continued to work through the procedure required. “You will also need your Achilles released. I released it a little when you had surgery initially, this time I will release it a lot, it’s too tight and holding back the extension and causing too much pain’, Ivan explained.
“Ok, so what about my ankle Ivan. The report said it is ‘severely degenerated’?! What’s the point of all of doing this.. if I won’t be able to walk on it”, I said as tears started to drip down my face. “I just feel a bit defeated…” I said wiping away the tears.
“Rosie do not read the reports. PLEASE. Yes your ankle is probably severely degenerated. But long story short, it will work again with physio, OK?” He said with raised eyebrows looking at me. “Are you sure” I said through everyone chiming ‘told you not to read it you just get yourself upset’….
“Yes. Now I wanted to talk to you about your Mental Health. Are you ok? You have a good GP, have you spoken to her about perhaps something to ‘prop’ you up? This is a really difficult process.” Ivan said looking at me with genuine care in his eyes.
I looked at Ivan with my “WTF” face. I couldnt help but giggle “I do not need medication (not that there’s anything wrong with that) I am positive 90% of the time, I always looking on the bright side of life BUT I cry if and when I need to…. I consider it healthy! I practice mindfulness exercises and try to centre my energy on right here and now, remaining positive and keeping perspective amongst this craziness that is growing bone. To be honest I am amazed by my patience with this process I have remained focussed on the prize at the end. It is not easy, it is damn painful and I’m an emotional chick so tears have to be a part of this journey”.
Ivan nodded, but he was not sold. I’m not sure he has a lot of 41 year old women patients..well not like me 😜
This is a long windy rocky road that doesn’t finish when the extension is done, it will just get bumpier as I begin physiotherapy. I have no doubt that I will laugh, scream, stomp and cry along the way – but I think that’s ok.
So this blog is a long winded way of saying I am going back into surgery on Monday. I am ok, I feel a bit sad about it (I am not depressed – not that there anything wrong with that). Once the surgery is done and recovery complete I will finish the extension of my tibia.
I am hoping for at least another 1cm, taking me to almost 11cms gained across both bones. Ivan is worried my knee will dislocate, so we need to take it slowly.
No idea when I’ll be done now. Fingers crossed my leg can keep itself together even if I cannot.
** Please note all conversations in this blog are a summary of my recall of discussions and are not word for word accurate.