Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I might be falling apart

I went back to the orthopedic place on Tuesday to see my podiatrist. The last time I was there was one year ago. At that time I received a cortisone injection in my left foot.  It lasted about six weeks before the pain came roaring back.  For the past year, I've just been managing the pain and doing my best to wear flat, boring shoes.  I know I need surgery but wanted to put it off for a while.

So, what is wrong with my foot? I have something called Hallux Rigidus, which (and I think you'll agree) sounds super sexy. My big toe joint is all jacked up (the joint where it connects to my foot). There is a bone spur and some other stuff going on in there. All of this is apparently a result of me falling up the stairs years ago and stubbing my toe while I was at it. My toe no longer bends properly and it hurts all the freaking time.

I was motivated to go back to my doctor because I need to wear heels at my sister's wedding and wanted another cortisone injection. I promised Dr. D that I will not wear the fancy shoes all night.  He fired up his needle and drove it into my foot. Owie owie owie.  So, I should be in good shape for a few weeks. I'm going to go ahead and schedule the surgery for the early part of 2014. It's going to cost a fortune, even with insurance, but I need to have it done.

I just don't think I'm ready for this aging business. I don't like saying, "this part of me is going to hurt until my death."  I explained to the doctor that I'm limited in certain yoga poses because of my left foot. At the gym I have to stick mostly with exercises where I can remain relatively flat-footed, such as the elliptical trainer.  The doctor said, "If it hurts, don't do it."  (That's why he gets paid the big bucks, no doubt.)  I don't want to give up stuff that I love, though. And I won't.

The surgery I'm having is called a Cheilectomy. Basically, the surgeon will cut open my foot, saw off the bone spur and a corresponding "lip" within the joint, and sew me back up.  He also said that if the cartilage is damaged, he'll poke holes through it to help it regenerate or something. I might have misunderstood that part. If you're not squeamish, here is a photo of what the surgery looks like.  Again, it's all very sexy.  The recovery sounds pretty sucky. The doctor says it will be at least two weeks before I can get a normal shoe on my foot. From patient reports I've read, it sounds like the pain is otherworldly.  Most pain medications make me queasy, but we'll see.  I don't want to be a pussy about this but I'm not looking forward to it.

Anyway, if you see me hobbling around, sometime in the early spring, with a stylish orthopedic boot on my left foot, you'll know why.  I'll probably also be waving a cane and screaming at young children to stay off my lawn.

Old lady out! 

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