Monday, August 18, 2014

Some Days

Helping hands © John Evans via

Written on August 5th

It's been almost three weeks post-op. I need to write. In some ways, I feel stronger. Since my one-week visit, Dr. Brosky said it was okay for me to put some weight on my right foot. I did that with his and my mom's help in the office, but at home, it wasn't so easy. I got up and put all of my weight on my left foot and then transferred it to my right as Dr. Brosky instructed. I had pivoted with ease with my walker many, many times so I thought it would be a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong.

My right foot was moving, but my left foot would not move. I mean, it was as if it was glued to the floor. I was so frustrated. After a few seconds, I said to my mom, "I CAN'T do this!" I didn't like to admit that, but I didn't want to hurt my right foot. She moved the wheelchair back and I sat down in a heap, sobbing uncontrollably. I just wanted my independence back to be able to get out of the bed and go to my bedside commode when I wanted to. 

Later that night, I told my mom, I felt like a complete failure. I thought my body would just go back to doing what it had done. I mean, my left foot has healed, and it could move. It just didn't.

I was heartbroken. Then, I remembered Dr. Brosky's words, "Take it easy. You are doing great!" I didn't feel like I was doing great, but it had been just a week. I am not a super hero. So, I had to go back to transferring using my arms and the wheelchair, putting some weight on my right foot. 

I have been sore, but I am able to get up by myself now. I am just not using the walker again right now. I know it will come eventually. I admit that I am too hard on myself. Some days, I am frustrated at myself for not working on my book. The cast on my leg is a reminder that I just had surgery. Hello,  Madison! It is okay to not work on anything right now. My days consist of sleeping when I can, sometimes for several hours in the day. Sometimes I watch TV. Other days, it gives me a headache. 

Some days, I post on Facebook. Some days I don't. My days are spent doing whatever I am comfortable doing.

Even if I wanted to work on my book, I know now isn't a good time because sometimes I don't remember what I have said to my mom, thoughts aren't complete, and words are misspelled. 

The days seem long, but I know I am blessed to be able to see the rain fall outside of my window, to hear my nephews laugh, to have a lift chair to sit in. Not everyone has those things. Not everyone has a supportive family. I do. Every day is a day of getting stronger, even if I can't feel it or see it. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Miracles Come in More Ways than One

Dr. Brosky, foot and ankle surgeon, Oakwood, GA

I am catching up with details about my surgery, and don't want to forget this one. On July 24th, I went back to Dr. Brosky for my first follow-up since my surgery on July 18th. 

My doctor said, "Everything looks great." He went on to explain that as soon as he snapped the post tibial tendon, my foot straightened up. No one but God, my mom, myself, and my doctor knew just how bad the contracture in my foot was. It was getting worse with every visit, and I was in so much pain that I couldn't do much except stay in the bed because my knees would swell after a short car ride. My foot turned inwards so much that walking was impossible.

My doctor asked for prayers the night before the surgery, and I said, "We always do." What I didn't know was just how bad my foot was. Today, he told us, "If the tendon had not released when I snapped it, you would have been looking at bone surgery. That means the bone wouldn't move, and your foot would be like a peg."

He continued, saying, "But someone was looking out for us up there." Yes, yes He was! I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am at today's news! Although I have a ways to go before I fully recover, this was just what I needed to hear. I expected a good report, but this was a GREAT report. Only God could have done this. Humans can only do so much. Humans only know so much. Then, God shows up and shows out! 

Dr. Brosky also said, "I know you are going to walk, and I look forward to the day when you send me a video of you walking." Through tears, I said, "Me too." If you are going through a rough time full of uncertainties, hang in there! I have been through so many setbacks and struggles that only God has kept me. Only God has given me the strength and determination to keep pressing forward. Trust me when I say I have bad days and cry out of frustration and pain. I get frustrated that things aren't moving as fast as I'd like them to. Only God knows.

Before I end this note, I want to say something to Dr. Brosky. I know doctors are trained to leave their emotions at the door, but I just have to say this. After my most favorite doctor in the world retired in his 80s, after seeing me since I was eleven years old, and giving me the honor of being his last operation, I was heartbroken. I even told Mama, "I don't think I will ever find another doctor like Dr. Griffin." She said, "Don't worry. There are others like him."  

After many bad ones, a period of no insurance, and doctors who weren't capable of handling all of my issues, I was referred to Dr. Thomas Brosky. I just didn't know what a blessing that would be.  

Dr. Brosky, thank you for never backing down from a challenge. Thank you for your unwavering support. Thank you for seeing me as more than a chart number or paycheck. Thank you for your compassion. I thought that was long gone from the medical community, but you are one of the good ones. Thank you for believing in me and seeing me whole again. Instead of dreading appointments, a smile creeps across my face every time I have to come see you, even though you are an hour away. 

Also, thank you to all of my faithful friends and family members near and far who pray for me. I am proof that prayer changes things!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Making my Hometown More Accessible

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook have already seen this. The blogging community is so vast, it made perfect sense to post it here. This article appeared in my hometown newspaper, The Hartwell Sun, on July 10th. It is a result of a letter to the editor I wrote about accessibility issues concerning our post office and other downtown areas. I am so proud to be raising awareness for something that is often not even thought about. This has been in the works for quite awhile, and it is a little overwhelming to see it in print! Even if you don't have mobility issues, you will be aware of areas that are not easy to get to when you get older. 

I have done more research, but I am a bit limited since I am still recovering. Right now, I just have a list of improvements that need to be made with some other relevant information.

If you would like to read it, just click on the photo and then zoom in. I am posting this because I have readers from all over the world, which will help me in coming up with more ideas for helping my community. Please leave a comment with your ideas or email me. Your input is invaluable. My readers are so awesome, so I have no doubt that you will have some ideas. Aside from the things I already mentioned in the article, what would YOU do to make a town better for people in wheelchairs, parents with babies in strollers, or the elderly? 

Ready, set, write!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Achilles and Post Tibial Tendon Lengthening Surgery

My nephews and I
Just have to share this: My sister-in-law, Brittany, told my mom that my three-year-old nephew, Mason, asked the people at Bible school to "pray for Aun-ie". He knows I have had surgery, but I haven't said anything to him about praying for me.

The next night, he asked to pray for my mom, who we call Gram.

I had surgery on my right foot to lengthen the right Achilles tendon and post tibial tendon on July 18th. I just haven't felt like writing, mostly sleeping. No one but my mom knows how hard these past few days have been.  My right foot had gotten so bad that it turned all the way over anytime I tried to get up, including getting in the car. During the last month, both knees would swell up after a short car ride If you are new here, you can read about the surgery and recovery of my left foot here, herehere, and here.

This surgery didn't fuse any bones, so this recovery hasn't been as intense as far as post-surgical pain goes. But, the transferring has been much, much harder. After my last surgery, I could rely on my right foot to bear weight while I transferred. With this one, I can't bear any weight on the right side because it has to heal. I could bear weight on my left side, but that is pretty much impossible because it is not as strong as it needs to be. So, I am using my arms and upper body A LOT. Talk about sore. I feel like a monkey in a jungle. The first few nights of constantly having to get up to go the bathroom were brutal for my mom and I. I also told her I felt like the tin man with no oil because my shoulders, fingers, and back were popping.

Some other funny things that have happened:
On Saturday night, I had to go to the bathroom. The conversation went like this:

Mason: I got her arm. I'm gonna help her up.
Gram: Okay, c'mon
Me: I think you need to help Gram hold my leg up.
Mason: I got du arm. Pulls and says, "C'mon, girl! Ugh!" Pulls really hard
Me: (laughing) Go help Gram hold my leg.
Gram: Yeah, Auntie has to have her arm to get up
Mason comes to hold my leg up
Mason: Okay, one, two, three! He's heard Gram say this to me.

I had a little trouble getting up.
So, Mason encouraged me saying, C'mon, girl!

Then, I got in the wheelchair, ready to go to my bedside commode,
Mason to Gram: Hold my choc choc(this is what he calls chocolate milk)
Mason to me: I will push you
Me: Okay!
Mason: Dere (There) du (you) doe!
Me: Thank you, darlin'!

Hope all of you are doing well. This Georgia heat is something else!