Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Weeks 10-Present: A Long Overdue Update

Well, it's been about 19 weeks since my surgery, and I'll just say that today I went running. Yeah, that's right. But I am getting a little ahead of myself . . .

My last post left off at about week 10, which is when I started going back to work for half shifts. I work at a coffee shop, and I usually work an 8 hour shift, 5 days a week. So for weeks 10 and 11, I did about 4-5 4 hour shifts a week. And that was pretty much a piece of cake. My feet were a little tired, but not swollen or anything by the end of the day.

Then I started full time 12 weeks after my surgery. Whoo man, my feet were so tired after each shift, and also a little swollen. It was mostly my arches that hurt, so after work for about 2 weeks, I would get home and put my feet up and take it easy for the rest of the night.

I had ordered some compression tights online before going back to work full time, and they arrived at about week 14, and they seemed to help a lot. Compression tights are supposed to help your blood circulate back up to your heart which reduces swelling in the feet and ankles, and helps prevent varicose veins. These things are tight. It took me about 10 minutes to get them on the first time, then I got the hang of it after that.

After week 14, my feet started getting better and better every day. I could work and they would only be a little tired, and they started feeling more and more normal every day.

A few days ago, I got my custom orthotics, that I had been molded for my feet a few weeks before, and they feel pretty good. My feet are still getting used to them, so my arches feel a little sore. I've been cleared to do anything that I want. 

I've never made New Year's resolutions, but since the start of the new year happens to coincide with my feet being back in action, this year it is my goal to get into top physical shape. I want to be able to outrun psychopaths, outbike the hipsters, take a hard hit in the stomach, and put my legs behind my head. Mostly though, I want to join a roller derby team. I am going to start the San Diego Derby Dolls boot camp in April, which gives me about 3 months to toughen up for it. I am pretty small, and some of those derby girls could probably break my neck with their thighs, so I gotta be ready.

As far as shoes go, I am wearing my PF Flyers, my most favorite shoes, all the time. They started to hurt my knobs pretty badly before surgery, so I am glad that they are comfortable again. I slipped on a pair of my heels the other day (just to see), and they are not comfortable at all. They make my big toes feel like they are going to snap off. I think from now on I am going to be more conservative with my footwear and probably buy a pair of Remix wedges to wear with my dresses.

I'll take these scars over knobs any day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Days 63-67: Bootless

Day 63:

I had an appointment, and right away we took some x-rays. When we finished with the x-rays, I started to put my boots on so I could walk back to the other room, but my doc said "You can walk barefoot if you want." So I hopped off the table and pirouetted down the hall and into the other room. Actually I almost lost my balance the moment I stood on my bare feet, and hobbled down the hall to the other room.

The x-rays were obviously good enough for me to walk without the boots, but the bones are still healing, so really all I can do is walk right now, and he said that I could ride my bike. Just no running or any impact. He said I could walk barefoot but it isn't going to be comfortable to do so for a while. And boy was he right. It hurts my soles to walk barefoot. I keep shoes on most of the time, or I wear a pair of slippers which feel ok as long as I don't walk in them for long.

Anyway, when I got home I promptly put on a pair of shoes and did some walking around. My legs were weak, especially my ankles, I couldn't stand on my tip toes or my legs would start to shake, and I was moving quite slow.

I went to work for a few hours. I work at a coffee shop, but my boss said I could help here with some office work while my feet are on the mend. Then after work Mikey and I went searching for some pumpkins for carving. We went to a pumpkin patch and found a few that we liked, but decided to check a bunch of grocery stores before we ended up back at that same pumpkin patch where we bought two very nice pumpkins for carving.

Then that evening I started making some black bean burger batter (is batter the right word for that?) for a Halloween party the next day (I've found it is best to let it sit in the fridge over night), so I was standing on my feet for a while. By the end of the day, my feet were tired, a little sore, but weren't swollen at all.

Day 64:

I got up, took Freddy for a walk, and then started cooking some more stuff for the party. Once again I was on my feet a lot because of the cooking. I formed that batter into patties and fried them, and I also made some pumpkin pie brownies. Yum.

At around 5pm, Mikey and I headed over to our friends' place for the party, where I did some more walking and standing, a bunch of eating, and carved my pumpkin.

This one's mine


And the rest of them

After the party, my feet felt like they did the night before. Not too bad.

Day 65:

Woke up and took some photos of my feet.

I wear the spacers at night, and only with my grandma shoes that are extra wide and really soft canvas so they are pretty comfortable. Unfortunately, they are a half size too big so my arch support slide around in them. I can wear my PF Flyers (as in my previous post) but I can feel the eyelets just sitting on my scars which are still tender. Not a very good feeling.

Sans spacers:

And you can't tell by these photos, but my calves are so sore. Probably the most sore they have ever been in my life. I took it easy on this day. I still did some walking, and since Friday had gotten a lot better (and a little faster) at it.

Day 66:

I had a physical therapy appointment where my outside scars really got worked on. The skin is still a little sore because of it.  The walking will help break up the scar tissue and make the toes bend even more, so I'll be fully healed in no time.

After physical therapy, I went to work. I did mostly office work, but I also ran breaks, so I was working on my feet for about 2 hours. I felt fine, other than my sore calves.

Day 67:

My calves are no longer sore, and I'm almost walking normal. My toes still aren't bending all the way so I am not following my stride all the way through before I put my weight on the next foot. I can stand on my tip toes without my legs shaking like crazy. And I worked a 4 hour standing/walking shift and felt fine. No swelling or pain after work.

My feet seem to be changing pretty rapidly, so I'll try to keep up with the posting.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 53: Damn Foreigners

Nothing remarkable has happened in the days since my last post, but I thought should update.

I am walking around my house without the crutches. Walking with the crutches feels exactly the same as walking without them, so I only use the them outside the house, for speediness, and to send people a warning that something is wrong with my feet, if they don't see the two big boots I am wearing.

My feet aren't swollen at all, and they don't get swollen even after standing/walking for a while. Nor are they painful. The outside of the big toes still feel a little numb to the touch, but way less than they did a few weeks ago. The scars are looking the same as the previous post. And with physical therapy sessions twice a week, these toes are starting to bend.

This left toe is stiffer than my right.

Using all of my brain and muscle power to bend these:

The only thing that is bothering me right now, is that my feet feel foreign. Not all the time, but only when I put a little weight on them outside of the boots. I am not standing in this photo; I am sitting with my feet lightly pressed to the floor:

In this position, the skin feels a bit tight, and I feel like I have pebbles imbedded in the balls of my feet just south of the big toes. And the left foot feels like it has a bigger pebble than the right. I am guessing these are my sesamoids that I am feeling. I think that these new feet will need some breaking in before I get used to them. Which I can't do yet, as I am still bound to these boots. I'll reserve further judgment on these feet until I can actually walk normally.

Honestly, I will be happy if I can fit into some PF Flyers comfortably without busting out the sides.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 42: Lazy Bones

I've started several posts in the last few days, but I didn't really have much to say. I figured that I would wait until my 6 week post-op appointment. I had that today, so I finally feel like I have a post worth posting.
My feet are looking pretty good on the outside. The scars are healing nicely.

But it's the bones that are more important at this stage, though. And well they are doing just ok. The big toe fractures are healing on schedule, but the little toe fractures are a bit behind, so I am stuck in these boots for another 3 weeks, with my weight mostly on my heels. I am a little bummed, because I was expecting to be full weight bearing by now.

I've looked back at the past couple weeks and wondered what could have caused this slow down (if anything). And after thinking about it for some time, I've concluded that it's my diet. I wasn't eating terribly unhealthy, but I was waking up a lot later, eating less, and eating less good stuff for a while. Then, of course, there was the trip I took last week to Kansas. It is impossible to go to the Midwest as a vegetarian and expect to eat a balanced diet, especially when the vegetable options are potatoes or corn, and the only lettuce they have is iceberg with dressing options like Ranch and Dorothy Lynch (both of witch I hate).  Let's just say my little sister (also a vegetarian) and I got some weird looks when we asked for no meat, or lemon wedges in place of dressing because balsamic vinegar and olive oil wasn't really an option either. It is amazing that I survived there for 10 years during my childhood, because I didn't really eat meat then either.

On top of all that, I drank more soda that I usually do, and I had coffee for the first time in months while on vacation (only two cups in five days, so it probably isn't a big deal, but still . . .) I couldn't go to the grocery store by myself, and my boyfriend who doesn't like to grocery shop had to go for me. I never knew what I wanted because Mikey was too busy working on his art installation to cook, so we ended up eating burritos a lot. Man, it was a lot easier for me to eat healthy when I was working because I got a free, healthy meal, and I had a nice routine that good food just fit into.

All that is going to change for the next three weeks though. It is now a lot easier for me to get around, so I can go to the grocery store with Mikey, and I can stand up for long periods of time so I can cook for myself. I just need to shop for the right foods and not eat the rest of the tasty chocolate pecan pralines that are still in the cupboard. Things that I need to consume to help with bone healing: calcium, vitamin C, protein, vitamin K, and I need to take my multivitamin every day (oops). Things to avoid: caffeine, chocolate, sugar, and salt, plus things I don't consume anyway such as red meat and alcohol. The hardest thing for me will be chocolate, but I think I'll be fine without it for a few weeks.

I obviously don't have a control group to prove any of this, and I don't know what would have to happen in three weeks to make this experiment seem successful, but I like the idea of having some control over my body just by what I put into it. Plus, I will be eating healthier than before, and that is always good.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 28: These boots were made for walking

 This was me about a week ago:

Whenever I hang out with Freddy on the front porch in my wheelchair and pajamas, I feel like I am terminally ill, and just enjoying the beautiful weather one last time before I kick the bucket. Freddy does look a little worried in this photo as well.

And this is me today:

Check out my haircut! It looks so much better, but since this blog is about my feet, I guess the big news here is that I am standing on crutches! It is a little weird walking in these boots, but after a couple days of practice, I've gotten the hang of it. I can put all of my weight on my heels, but can only put 50% of my weight on the rest of the feet. In two more weeks I should be able to put all my weight on these things, and two weeks after that I should be in regular shoes.

My feet are also looking better. This first photo was taken about a week ago, when I had that infection. My doc looked at it, and said that sometimes subcutaneous sutures, instead of being absorbed by the body, are rejected, so that little "infection" was most likely some some of those bastard stitches coming out.

This next one is the same side a week later. You can see that the previous mushy whiteness has healed up, and now I have this new white speck a little higher. I am assuming that is also a piece of skin thread making it's way out.

And the rest of them:

Yep, looking pretty, pretty, pretty good. Some of that pesky skin glue is still holding on, but other than that they are fine. No pain, no swelling, no itching.

Next week I will be doing a bit of air travel, so we'll see how well I can get around an airport with big boots and crutches.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 21: Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is like Uma Thurman in the back seat of the Pussy Wagon saying, "Wiggle your big toe."

Actually there is more to it than that, but just getting your mind to transfer to your toes "wiggle" is a little harder than you think. These toes haven't moved in about 3 weeks, so I actually felt that brain message travel down my legs and to my toes to get them to move. That is one part of physical therapy, getting these toes to move when you tell them too. Another part is manually moving them so that the joint loosens. Also that scar running over the joint ain't helping, so it also about massaging the scar to get that loosened up as well.

By the end of it, my toes got a thorough thrashing. First she started out by having me wiggle my toes. Then she bent them herself. Up and down, up and down. Then she massaged the skin around the scar. Then I had to bend my toes against her pushing. This routine when on several times. We also worked my ankles, bending up and down, in and out, against her pushing. She did all this on my right foot first, and before she started on my left foot she had me move both of them around and bend my toes on my own to feel the difference between the two. And there was quite a difference. The one she hadn't worked on was so stiff compared to the one she had. And this was all in about 15 minutes.

The pain was quite bearable (at first). It is a good pain, like feeling a burn when you stretch a muscle, or massaging a stiff neck.  Toward the very end though, the toe joints had had enough, and they actually hurt when she bent them, and I told her so, so she stopped. She said that is should feel good, not bad.

After all that bending, I got some ultrasound therapy. That was like a "Happy Ending" to a massage. (Even more like it, they have to lube up your whole foot to do the ultrasound.) Just like with the bone stimulator, I couldn't feel the ultrasound, but it felt good to have this device rubbed all over the foot, on the top, around the ankles, on the soles. When she first put the gel on my feet it was cold, which felt good, and then my feet warmed up with the ultrasound, and that felt even better. I think it was about 10 minutes per foot. Whew, what a treat.

Physical therapy wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, so I am actually looking forward to my next appointment on Monday. I am still not weight-bearing so we can't do any walking exercises. That will hopefully come soon though. . .

Unfortunately, I have a tiny quarter inch infection on my left most incision. I hadn't noticed it yesterday when my feet were out, so it must be quite recent. She told me not worry too much because it is so small, just keep it clean and it should be fine in no time. We'll see. I'll keep it monitored. My boyfriend has the camera, so I'll take a photo as soon as I get it back.