The Right Perspective

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An Update

Well, it's now been nearly 2 months (or 8 week on Thursday, to be exact) since my fusion surgery.  As far as I can tell, all the screws and rods are still where they should be and my incisions have healed very nicely.  So other than looking like Wolverine got to me (with my three nearly identical racing stripes), the carnage isn't too bad. 

I have been in physical therapy twice a week for about a month now and have seen some improvement in the strength in my left leg.  I am still walking with a cane for the foreseeable future and I have a temporary disability (read: handicapped) parking tag until April.  Thankfully, that should cut down the walking I have to do in all this treacherous snow and ice with which we have been blessed in mid-November!  I can now walk up the stairs one foot/leg at a time, as opposed to having to have both feet on each step before moving steps, but progress.  I've been practicing balancing on my left leg for 30 second at a time without holding on to anything.  I'm getting there.  I've been riding a stationary bike and have improved from riding 1.3 miles the first time to 2 miles by the third time (in the same 10 minute pathetic is that?  People RUN faster than that!!)  However, the people who run don't have to have their left foot strapped down to the bike pedal as firmly as it will go so that it will stay on the pedal and not fall off.  Because that's my reality right now. 

As much progress as my left leg is making, my left foot is not.  I still cannot bend my toes down on that side, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but I cannot wiggle my toes into a pair of flip-flops to get them on, for example.  I can't raise up onto my toes at all on that foot.  When the therapist asks me to stand on my tip toes, the right side cooperates just fine, but it looks like I'm not even trying when I attempt to stand on my tip toes on the left...which is an interesting be trying your hardest to make a body part do something it's always been able to do....and watch it completely not respond.  If someone presses down on my big toe and tells me not to let them press just flops down.  That foot is almost useless, but not quite, thankfully.

I have cut WAY down on meds and done some switching, since my left foot that won't cooperate does still have some major nerve pain.  I was taking the highest dose of Gabapentin (3600mg/day, from the 300mg/day that I started with) but now I have switched (after a fight with insurance) to Lyrica.   For a while, I was taking both as I weaned off of one and built up the other, and that was causing interesting memory issues.  But after some tweaking, I feel like the Lyrica is working better for my nerve pain.  I don't really have the horrid sunburned feeling and I no longer have to cringe and shield my foot if anyone or anything comes within 3 feet of it.  I still have some breakthrough pain that the Lyrica just doesn't help and the occasional sensation of an ice pick stabbing various parts of my foot and toes, but thankfully, that's more rare.  Still, even without the pain, there is a constant feeling that my foot isn't right and it sort of numb, but not quite....sort of swollen, but not really.  Fun stuff.

I officially hate my cane, which we've affectionately dubbed "Maude".  "Maude" falls down or gets knocked over at least 20 times a day, which is oh-so-helpful when I'm not supposed to bend.  The kids refer to "Maude" all the time and bless his heart, Ethan prays each and every day for "mom not to have to have any more surgeries and for her leg not to hurt and for her not to need the cane anymore to walk".  It's sweet and breaks my heart all at the same time, because I just don't know what the future holds regarding the use of my left foot.  It is possible that this will be a long, but temporary thing....or it's possible that the nerve was damaged too much and as it affects that foot, will ultimately be permanent.  No one knows and only (a long) time will tell.  Nerves are apparently the slowest part of the body to heal.

I saw the neurosurgeon again today and he commented once again on the fact that I have some decent amount of scoliosis (something we never knew until after this last surgery) which will likely make more surgery necessary in the future (hopefully at least 10-20 years down the line).  Not really what I wanted to hear, but ultimately completely out of my control.  I just hope that by then, surgical techniques and advances can be made to make things simpler next time.

In other news, Ethan is now 5 and loving his preschool class and teachers...making lots of friends, playing hard and basically coming out of his little shell in full force.  He's also showing some signs of ADHD (not so much hyperactivity, but lack of focus...just like his big sister).  His teachers love him and have been a great help to me while I have been somewhat incapacitated both physically and mentally because of all the medicine I was taking at first. 

Emily turned 10 in September and has been staying busy in 4th grade (how did this happen?)  She is currently working on an insect project that required researching 10 bugs and making a big poster and report.  I didn't think I'd survive the research/report part.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to survive her teen years.  She's also preparing to play the part of Mary in her school Christmas play.  Drama is her thing and so this is right up her alley.

Andrew got promoted at work a few weeks ago and is now Vice President of the Trust Department and Trust Counsel.  He has lots of titles and letters after his name....I can no longer keep up!  We are all proud of him!

So that's us in a nutshell.  We're definitely all nuts, but hopefully headed in the right direction!