It isn’t very often that I write what is considered a more personal blog post. I try to keep a lot of my personal life separate from my writing life, but there are some things that have an effect on both sides of my life. I’ve written about my Frankenankle before, though it’s been awhile, admittedly. This is an update of sorts. First, a quick timeline of events.


October 19, 2014 -- Initial Injury (Click for Details)

Initial “injury” occurred Sunday, October 19th, 2014. I stood up and it literally felt like someone had wrapped a rubber band around my ankle, then stretched it out as far as it could go along the inside of the ankle, and then released it, letting it snap back against my ankle/foot. I couldn’t put ANY weight on it. Saw the orthopedic doc that Tuesday, he thought I had ruptured the Posterior Tibial Tendon (PTT). MRI wasn’t fully conclusive, but it did appear that the tendon was torn, though he couldn’t tell to what extent. We decided to try physical therapy, just to see if it would help. After four weeks of PT, it was worse. Surgery was schedule.

December 26, 2014 -- First Surgery (Click for Details)

Surgery was performed Friday, December 26, 2014 (the day after Christmas). I have flat feet, and a torn tendon is relatively common. He wanted to fix the flat-footedness (is that a word? If not, it is now.), so he also performed a calcaneal osteotomy (cut the heel bone and shifted the heel under my leg properly). When he got in there, however, he found that my PTT was not, in fact, ruptured. It was just laying there, limp. It had lost all elasticity. Doc performed an Flexor Digitalus Longus (FDL) Transfer—basically, he took one tendon and grafted it on to my PTT to reinforce it. It was a MUCH more extensive and intensive surgery than I had been expecting. I was in a cast for 9 weeks. Then in a boot for several months. The swelling was AWFUL and never went away, though mobility and range of motion increased with months of PT.

August 2014 -- New—but related—Injury (Click for Details)

In August of 2015, while in PT in the pool, I felt something snap in the outside of my ankle, the opposite side from where the tendon transfer had occurred. It was bad and I could barely put weight on it. Had another MRI which showed a relatively significant sprain (mild tearing of the tendon tissue). Back into the boot I went. We re-evaluated with another MRI in October—it wasn’t better. Swelling was off the charts. Doc and I both believed I was having an allergic reaction to the metal in my foot, and we thought it would be a good idea to go in and remove the hardware, and let him take a look around, too, to truly evaluate the extend of the tendon damage. It was to be a quick in and out procedure.

December 4, 2015 -- Second Surgery (Click for Details)

Friday, December 4, 2015 was the date of my second surgery. He went in to remove the hardware and found that bone had grown completely over the hardware and had extremely jagged edges that were rubbing up against the nerve that runs there and the tendon, giving the tendon that slightly torn look on the MRI. The rubbing of that alone might have caused some of the swelling, but doc agreed it wouldn’t account for all of the swelling, so he chiseled the bone off, removed the hardware, sanded down the bone, and cauterized the bone to prevent further bone growth. Once he did all of that, he also noticed extensive scar tissue, so he cleaned up a lot of that, including along the affected nerve.

December 11, 2015 -- Swelling Miraculously Down (Click for Details)

One week after surgery, we took the dressing and splint off my foot to find that the swelling was almost completely gone already. Here, I’ll show you a side-by-side comparison of before surgery and after surgery. Crazy, isn’t it? We were sure it at that point that it was the hardware. Only 0.5% of the population is allergic to surgical titanium—it appears I’m among that 0.5%. I’m a special snowflake! /sarcasmIMG_1515

Jan - Mar of 2016 -- PT Going Well (Click for Details)

I was cleared to return to Physical Therapy about a month or so after surgery. Things were going well. Mobility was getting better quickly, range of motion was fantastic, and by the end of February, I was able to do single-leg balance for a full minute. Go me! And now… let us commence with the current update.

Current Update

As you can see from the above, my foot/ankle was doing really well after the last surgery—swelling was down, range of motion was great, mobility was getting better—and then things started going backwards again.
At first, I thought it was just because I was pushing it a bit more, gearing up for our WDW trip in May. But then it started getting worse and worse, to the point that the swelling is back to being nearly uncontrollable—AGAIN. In fact, the original tendon that was repaired/replaced in the first surgery appears to be giving out already. I’ve lost over 60 pounds, so we know that it’s not a weight issue. Sure, I’m still overweight, and I still have weight to lose, but it’s not even remotely as bad as it was even just a year ago.
It’s been 18 months since the initial injury. Eighteen months. In that time, I’ve had two surgeries, and about 14 months worth of physical therapy. All to end up right back where I bloody started.
I had my appointment with my ortho this morning. He’s very concerned (again) and has ordered yet another MRI. It’s a darned good thing magnets don’t cause radiation sickness. *sigh* He’s been hedging around the word “ankle fusion” since the initial injury, but has tried to avoid it due to my “young age.” When am I supposed to undergo a THIRD surgery?
I’m incredibly down right now. Honestly, I’m bordering on outright depressed. Not only is this piece of crap body part of mine continuing to give me grief, but it’s threatening to potentially ruin this amazing vacation we have planned. I really, really, REALLY do not want to use one of those stupid scooters at WDW. I hate the looks people give. Especially when the person riding said cart is overweight, as I am still, despite the weight loss. I know I shouldn’t care—and on some level, I really don’t—but I don’t want my kids to witness that.
I have so much going on in the next few months—WDW, Denver Comic Con, Utopia, various concerts, etc.—when am I supposed to have yet another surgery? Let alone deal with the recovery?
Today, I feel broken, beaten down, and lost. I’ll jump back up from this—I always do. But in the meantime, I hate this.
And yes, before anyone asks, I’m scheduling a second opinion… though, at this point, I doubt anyone else is going to disagree with my surgeon. He’s one of the best in the state.