Ankle Fusion Journey

SneakySnakeLady

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Hi guys!

Alligatorblings wife here for anyone who doesn't know me.

I wanted to share this wild journey I've been on the past 5 months and see if anyone here has ever had this same experience. Grab a snack, it's a long read...

I was born with mild Cerebral Palsy and had a drop foot from it on my left foot - my Achilles tendon was so tight that I've never really been able to move that foot. I learned how to walk and run and ride horses and all that good stuff but I always had to compensate, as that foot pretty much just dragged along and gave me a terrible limp. Years ago I sprained that same ankle on that foot very badly and despite seeing a few doctors it didn't heal properly and gave me tons of issues even with wearing custom made braces and devices. Over the years My mobility slowly declined and I saw myself being able to do less, gaining weight and just overall feeling pretty crappy. Even riding my horses was a chore in dealing with this bum leg.

Around last October it got even worse, I started developing hip issues and my left hip was literally popping out of the socket and then back in every time I walked, and my ankle pain was excruciating. I am a registered nurse and walking the halls for 36 hours a week was becoming near impossible much less riding my horses or even doing chores around the house. I was seeing a few orthopedic doctors and had done several tests but not really getting any answers and the pain had become so unbearable that my mind was going into a dark place and I was contemplating suicide a lot, rather than having to live day by day with this growing unbearable pain that I wasn't seeing any end for and that people weren't taking seriously.

Finally around the end of November I was referred to the best ankle specialist in our area and we realized that my ankle had become a deteriorated arthritis eaten mess and it was so bad that the pain was causing me to change my gait which was literally popping my hips out of socket and my entire spine alignment was starting to suffer. The minute he saw my x-rays he said my only option would be an ankle fusion.

I had to stick out the pain until the end of February when I had the operation. It took about 3.5 hours and was a success. Post op pain was very minimal compared to what I had been dealing with on a daily basis. I had what they call a TTC fusion, the ankle and subtalar joints - I have a rod running up my leg with tons of screws holding it in place and a screw through the back of my heel as well. He also lengthened my Achilles so now I have some movement in my foot that I actually have never had my entire life. I was in a post op cast for 2 weeks, then a hard cast for 8 weeks, then an air cast boot for 6 weeks.

In the middle of June I was 100% fused! Everything went the best it possibly could have and I was given the ok to ditch the air cast boot and walk with regular shoes and a walker. Now it's July and I graduated from walker to cane and now walk unassisted though I am slow and at some times it's still painful. The muscles are healing and I am getting better every day. Learning how to walk the way a normal person does with almost normal foot movement that I have never had before is an exciting and frustrating challenge and I have small victories every day that we all take for granted when nothing is wrong.

I am doing intense physical therapy a few times a week until my next follow up in August when I am hoping for him to discharge me and give me the OK to go back to work and hopefully the OK to start riding horses again.

This has been a LONG journey but I am gaining the rest of my life from it - no more pain, more movement than before, and once my muscles are all healed and the pain is gone I believe for the first time in my life I won't even have a limp.

I am already walking circles around the supposed fitness guru in our house :lol:
 

Howard2k

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Awesome. Glad to hear it. An ex of mine had to deal with (and still does) chronic pain and mobility issues. It's not easy.
 

SneakySnakeLady

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You guys are right, chronic pain does suck - it's not something I had dealt with before all of this and now when I go back to work I have so much more empathy for the patients I have that DO still suffer from chronic pain issues. I know exactly what it's like to have people blow you off and not understand how miserable it really is and how hard it is to get answers sometimes.
 

Harmony

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I remember years ago you mentioned how you had difficulties with your foot/ankle. When I read on FB that you were finally having surgery, I was happy for you. Even happier now that you are recovering well and to finally get to this point after a long journey.

Hope you will be pain free very soon and able to ride again as soon the doc gives the ok.

All the best to you Becky :)
 

Digger

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Great story and a gutsy effort! I'm glad the rewards are flowing back to you now.
 

parts

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Just a great thing to read..so happy for you,,

Go get 'em girl !
 
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Pop1655

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Chronic pain in your line of work is tough duty! Hope they did you some good.
 

James R

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"This has been a LONG journey but I am gaining the rest of my life from it"

F*CK YEAH!!
Quote of the week right there. ^

Congratulations on a successful fusion.
I can't claim to know much about such situations, but your ordeal sounds scary and painful.
You two kids have fun with all the new found freedom of movement (and from pain) that you've been rewarded.

This was a great Saturday morning read.
 

tjbitt

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Good for you. Keep up the PT and positive attitude:thumb:
 

Byron999

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I'm so happy for you.
Its always so heartbreaking when one suffers chronic pain while in their prime.

Pain should be for old people, like me.......J/k
 

Bobby Mahogany

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Glad you're doing good!

That saddle needs to be "reliced", dirty and polished!

:thumb:
 




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