Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moving right along

Boy oh boy, where do I start?

How about a photo of how my foot looks this morning!!  I'm not a "feet person" at all, so if you get offended by pictures of feet, I understand and apologize. 

Hard to believe, during recovery from surgery, that I've been so busy.

I went back to work yesterday.  I was very excited about that.  I worked a four hour shift, which was just enough.  I will continue to work shifts no longer than 4.5 hours for the next couple of weeks.  It was great to see some co-workers and help customers out.  I'm glad I talked the doctor out of staying out for SIX weeks. 

I've been going to Pilates twice a week since my second week of recovery.  Yesterday I was finally able to do 100% of the class.  I've also been working my upper body and abs a couple times a week, in the evening.  I would like to go to yoga but I think that would be difficult considering I can't bend my big toe yet.

Early last week I took Boomer to our new dog park a few days.  The 25 or 30 minute walks around the neighborhood were okay for a little bit but what the boy really needed was some off leash time.  He's doesn't really play with other dogs that much so we mainly walked laps around the park.  What he really likes is to play kickball with tennis balls.  He lays (or crouches) next to it, I kick it, and he runs as fast as he can to where it stops.  I walk over and do it all over again.  He can do that all day, and all the sprinting wears him out.

Friday I met Leanne and her two doggies at the Alameda Creek Trail for a walk.  That was the first day I could wear a regular shoe.  We walked for about an hour and got rained on toward the end.  I know we didn't get very far because I had to walk so slow but I was SO happy to be outside, walking freely, chatting with a friend and watching the dogs run around with each other. 

Saturday I drove to San Francisco to volunteer at this PCTR event.  I have worked it the past two years.  I always help with check-in and work the aid station for a few hours.  Every year, I find it less and less crazy that these people run circles around Crissy Field for 12 or 24 hours.  It almost seems normal to me now.  This year it was cold, rainy and windy for most of the event.  The winner of the 24-hour event completed 104 laps (each lap is 1.04 mi.).

Shirtless runners get a spot on my blog

So do adorable little girls, dressed appropriately 

This Marine carried this flag the entire time.  Her goal was 80 laps in 24 hours.

I took Boomer to the Alameda Creek Trail again on Monday for a 60-minute walk.  We got further this time, probably between 1.5 and 1.75 mi.  I'm not wearing running shoes, they're still too snug on my foot, so I'm wearing open toe sandals.  The only other dog we saw on the trail happened to step on my right foot!  Yes, it hurt!  A lot.  I put this picture only because I think Boomer looks hilarious. 

Yesterday after Pilates I went swimming.  I dug out my suit, cap, goggles, ear plugs and went over to the pool.  I have not been in the water since my triathlon, which was September, 2009.  Isn't that horrible?  Last summer I was swimming quite a bit and I liked it.  I sprained my ankle in July so was unable to run.  I would go to the pool and swim a mile a few days a week.  Then the triathlon came and I hated the swim portion, in open water.  I was so discouraged at my performance that I never wanted to swim after that.  Since I am not able to do any type of cardio right now, other than swimming, I took the plunge.  Ha ha!  I stayed in for 35 minutes or so, completing half a mile.  It was nice to get my heart rate up a bit but I found it extremely boring.  I have four more pre-paid passes so I will probably go once a week until I can start cycling and/or running. 

Tonight Sara and Sterling will be coming over for dinner, to carve pumpkins, and roast pumpkin seeds.  It's a tradition we do every year and I'm happy Sara looks forward to it as much as I do.  The guys?  Probably not so much.  At least tonight we get to watch the Giants in the World Series while we cook and carve. 

Do you have any Halloween traditions?


Until later.............

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making progress

Day by day, my foot gets better.  Little improvements are noticeable every day.  I am trying to stay optimistic about my recovery but it seems like time is just dragging.  I feel pretty good about what I am able to do today and then I think how long I have to wait to run and I get frustrated.  I don't see how I can wait another six to eight weeks.  Seriously, I don't see that happening. 

Sara and I went to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Saturday.  We left here at 7:00 a.m. to beat the traffic going over Hwy 92.  We were able to get there and find a parking lot just two blocks away.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee and some pumpkin bread while we waited for the booths to open up.  We walked around for a couple of hours before driving to a pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins.

Yesterday I went for two 25-minute walks with Boomer.  I had to take a tiny break half way through each walk.  It might get easier once I can wear a different shoe.  This surgical one SUCKS!  It is hard and flat, not flexible at all.  When I walk I can't go heal to toe very easily.  I get to put on a sandal or running shoe Friday.  That will be interesting.  I also started driving yesterday.  I drove to the grocery store (two blocks away) to do a little necessary shopping.  I caught up on laundry and made dinner too. 

This morning I went to Pilates.  Then tonight, I went back to the gym and used the machines for an upper body and ab workout while Keith and the girls did a class.  It is nice that I can still do some things for my body. 

I am constantly trying to bend my toe, as I sit.  Sometimes I think I'm really bending it a lot and I look down and see I'm not moving it at all.  :(  It's a very strange sensation.  The incision feels tight and dry.  I called and left a message for my doctor yesterday, asking him when I could put lotion on it and he said in a week.  For some reason, I believe it will heal better if it stays soft.  I could be wrong.  I can remove the little piece of tape tomorrow.

I got some good news from my doctor:  I can swim in 5 days!!!  I'm going crazy without getting my heart rate up and breaking a sweat.  I thought a rowing machine would be a good idea but evidently that even uses the foot too much.  I believe a punching bag would do the trick but I don't know anybody that has one.  So, swimming will have to do for now.

I went to REI Sunday to do a little shopping and received warm hugs from everyone.  I am back on the schedule starting Tuesday.  I am looking forward to being back at work and seeing everyone on a regular basis again.  We are like a little family there and I miss them. 

So, maybe it's not a lot of progress.  Or maybe it is and I don't realize it.  But I do know it's the best I can do for now.

Until later.............


Friday, October 15, 2010

Bunion be gone!

I finally had my post-surgery office appointment this morning.  To my amazement, the doctor was running on time.  As soon as I sat down in the waiting room, I was called into the examination room.  The nurse shut the door and was immediately ready to remove my dressing.  Yikes! 

Let me back up by saying I slept absolutely horrible last night, anticipating my appointment this morning.  I had no idea what my foot was going to look like - where the incision was, if I had stitches or glue, etc.  I was also a little concerned that I may be over doing it and he would be able to tell by how my foot looked.  This morning I had two cups of coffee before showering to get ready for my appointment.  I inadvertently forgot to eat breakfast.

Well, the nurse took off my dressing and expressed how good my foot looked - no swelling, no bruising.  She said I appear to be the perfect patient, I must have kept it elevated and iced like I was supposed to do.  In reality, I did.  For the first week I was in so much pain, that's all I did.  Day and night, it was elevated with an ice pack on it.  Yes, I'm the "perfect" patient!

The doctor came in and took a look at my foot.  He too, was very happy with how the foot looked.  He took the strip of tape off of the incision and was ready to remove my stitches.  I wasn't quite ready but knew it had to be done.  I held my breath and he looked me in the eyes while he slowly pulled the stitch out.  It didn't feel bad, but it didn't feel good either.  Suddenly, I felt very light-headed.  I said so, and he immediately put my chair into a reclining position.  That only lasted a minute or so and I was so happy when I looked at my foot and saw my bunion was GONE! 

This was before:

My foot looks so different.  Look at that space between my big toe and my second toe now.  And my big toe is straight, instead of turned toward my second toe.  I'm very excited about the final outcome.  My pain has increased a little but I'm sure that won't last long.  In one week, I can wear a sandal.  Until then, I still have to wear the stupid, ugly, old-person-looking velcro surgical shoe.

I got to see my before and after x-rays, which was cool.  He zoomed in on the two titanium screws and the fracture in my toe.  Not so cool!

We talked a little bit about the amount of pain I had experienced right after the surgery (having to go to ER that night) and at first he was acting surprised.  Then, out of nowhere, he says, "Oh, I know why you were in so much pain.  I broke your toe and inserted screws into it!"  Ha ha ha ha ha.  I guess he just has a "strange" sense of humor, huh?

I go back in four weeks for my final appointment.  He mumbled something about not running until TEN weeks post-op.  Before, he said EIGHT.  I forgot to ask about being able to swim in four weeks so I will have to make a phone call in the next week or so.  I am supposed to do very small range of motion exercises three times a day.  Just moving the big toe up and down, stopping before any kind of discomfort.  I'm not sure how I feel about that. 

Yesterday I went to Pilates in the morning and then went back to the gym in the evening and used a bunch of the machines for upper body work while Keith did a "24SET" class.  The doctor said I can continue to do upper body work but no Elliptical.  Yes, I asked.  Well, I figured since I can do that while keeping my foot flat.  Yeah, he gave me that same look. 

Until later.............

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's the saying?

Give me an inch, I will take a mile!

I am actually having to record my activities on a calendar again.  I can hardly believe it.  Today is 12 days since my surgery.  Naturally, my "MED2010" is not perfect but I am definitely doing the very best I am able to do.  I've been using the Home Gym almost every day.  One night I did planks and used my Pilates bands for some upper body work.  Once I started moving, I am having trouble stopping.  Am I over-doing it?  I don't think so.  Sometimes my toe will hurt and when it does, I chill out.

Monday I took Boomer around the block by myself.  He was so sweet.  Usually he and I walk at a very fast pace.  Monday he was walking at my pace, nice and slow.  He is not one to "heal" when we walk but he was actually walking right next to my left leg a lot of the time.  When he would get to the end of his leash, he would stop and wait for me to catch up, without pulling.  I stepped on a rock and kind of lost my balance at one point.  My reaction was, "ouch".  He immediately turned and looked at me and then walked right back to my side.  He amazes me, how in tune he is with me and my feelings. 

After my walk, I was able to vacuum my house, make the bed, clean the bathroom, dust.  I was so happy to be able to get some stuff done around here.  I did an upper body work-out on the Home Gym.  Then my step-daughter came over and gave me a haircut.  It was really an awesome day!

Yesterday, my step-daughter picked me up and took me to the gym so I could go to a Pilates class.  I was SO excited.  The instructor was shocked to see me.  I told her I would be out for about three weeks.  Instead, I only missed one week.  I was able to do 95% of the class.  I was a little hesitant being on hands and knees because I didn't want to stub my toe on the ground.  Other than that, I was good.  Loren said she will take me back on Thursday.  Yay!

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary.  18 years ago today, Keith and I were married in Jamaica!

Since this was a second wedding for both of us, we were more concerned about the honeymoon than a fancy wedding.  We found Sandals in Jamaica, an all-inclusive, couples-only resort.  We decided that was where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.  After doing some more research, we saw they did weddings for a very reasonable cost and it included absolutely everything (even the best man and maid of honor!)  How could we go wrong. 

We arrived on Monday morning and they require you be on the island a minimum of 24 hours before you get married.  We set up our wedding for 5:00 Tuesday evening, right before sunset.

The morning of our wedding, I was learning how to scuba dive.  They let you do it for free but you have to be "certified".  Keith has a certification from the States so he didn't have to go through the training.  I did the textbook class and the swim test before putting a tank on my back and heading down to the ocean for that portion of the class.  We (students) sat on the beach and the instructor would pull us out, under the water with our masks on and we were learning how to breathe.  I didn't like this part so I kept kicking backwards out of the water.  The third time I did this, I felt something sharp on my butt.  I figured I just sat on some sea grass.  I threw my tank off, stood up and wiped the sand off my behind.  I felt no sea grass and it was still stinging.  I couldn't believe it - I sat on a jelly fish!!!  It's 1:00 and I'm getting married at 5:00.  Gah!

I went to sick bay and they took care of me.  I went on to get a manicure/pedicure (sitting on the edge of the chair the entire time) and by the time my wedding came along, I was fine.  It still makes us laugh when we think about the whole ordeal.  But really, how many people can say they sat on a jelly fish four hours before they got married?!

It was a pretty quick "ceremony" with my maid of honor and Keith's best man dressed in typical Jamaican party attire.  We joke because we were the only white people in our wedding.  We had a little reception with rum wedding cake and they provided us with a private dinner where they served us steak and lobster. 

We probably wouldn't have picked Tuesday, the 13th to get married but I will tell you, 13 has been our lucky number ever since.  It is surprising how often that number comes up for us.  Even 1013 (October 13) does.  As a matter of fact, I was born at 10:13 p.m.  And, most recently, my papers from my bunion surgery have a discharge time of 10:13 a.m.  I know, it's strange.

Keith surprised me with a new camera this morning.  While he is off at work, I am baking a heart-shaped cake which I will decorate with red sprinkles and red hot candies.  Tonight we are going to a nice seafood restaurant in San Jose. 

We have beat the odds, this we know.  We've lived together for almost 20 years.  We raised two girls from our previous marriages, who have grown up to still be great friends and live together today.  These girls still like to hang out with us too.  We've had a successful business for almost 19 years.  I was able to stay at home from the time the girls were in 3rd grade until after they graduated high school.  We've both quit old habits and started new ones.  We've learned to step up when the other can't quite do it.  We give each other space, and provide love and affection not because we have to but because we want to.  Has it always been easy?  Heck no!  Is it worth it?  Oh yes! 

Until later.............

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One week post-op

Thursday night I was watching television and noticing how people just "stood up and walked".  UGH!  I got so mad that I can't do that.  I just wanted to stand up, move away from the chair and WALK.  I saw no walking in my future.  Ever!  I was in such a funk.

I knew Friday was the day I was cleared for weight bearing on my foot.  But I just couldn't imagine I would be able to put weight on it the next day.

Friday came and I kept trying to put my foot down on the floor.  Nope.  I'd try again and again.  Each time, pulling it up as soon as it touched the floor because of the pain.  By late afternoon, I was trying SO hard to just take one little step.  Finally, holding both crutches, I took a step.  It hurt, I'm not going to lie.  I called it good for the day.

Yesterday morning I started trying again.  After having a couple cups of coffee, I just started hobbling on my crutches, from one end of the house to the other and kind of placed my foot down with each step.  Pretty soon, I was putting more weight on it.  After a few trips back and forth, before I knew it, I was walking on it.  I took a little break then got up and tried again.  I was a bit stiff at first but just kept going back and forth.  Finally, I felt comfortable enough to drop a crutch.  Ta-da!  One crutch down!

I did take two crutches when I left the house though, because I was going to be moving around a lot and wasn't sure how long I would hold up. 

Sara picked me up at 3:00 and drove me up to Lake Chabot.  I strongly suggested to Stacey, the last time I saw her, that she would probably LOVE running the Golden Hills Marathon.  I have run this marathon twice, and I volunteered last year.  Since I couldn't run it with her this year, I wanted to be at the finish to see her come in.
The course starts at Tilden Park in Berkeley and takes you through the gorgeous parks I love to run in Oakland and ends at Lake Chabot.  There is always a wonderful crowd hanging out and TONS of food, drinks and desserts.  There is a 50-mile race going on at the same time and ends at the same place.  This year, there were 450 runners registered, between the two distances.  Stacey did absolutely awesome, finishing the 26.2 grueling trail miles in a little over seven hours.  She said she thought the course was beautiful and I did not mislead her in any way. 

After we left Lake Chabot, Sara and I went to see a movie where I laughed a lot and ate popcorn and Junior Mints.  I got home about 8:30 and was exhausted.  I iced my foot and elevated it because it felt a tad swollen from letting it hang down at the movie.  It was a great day though and felt wonderful to get outside.

I was feeling sorry for Boomer last week because the poor guy is not getting the kind of exercise he is used to.  I called a friend of mine that we do dog-sitting back and forth with and told her about my surgery and limitations.  She walks her dog around Lake Elizabeth twice a day.  She came that afternoon (Wednesday) and both Thursday and Friday morning to take Boomer out with her and Hannah, the Portuguese Water Dog.  When she dropped Boomer off Friday morning, she said she would call me after the weekend, which makes me believe she is going to keep doing this for a little while.  That was a big load off of my shoulders. 

Pain medication is not needed during the day anymore.  I am taking one at night time and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and need one.  Sleeping is a challenge.  I have been sleeping on top of the covers with a blanket over me and a pillow under my foot.  Last night I tried to sleep under the covers but I was just too worried about my foot getting moved the wrong way.  This caused me to have trouble falling asleep.  I got back on top of the covers and ended up being woken up two or three times during the night from pain.  I have faith that it will only get better. 

This morning when I woke up, it looked so beautiful outside.  I put on some shorts and stepped out onto the porch.  I decided I wanted to go for a walk.  Since Keith had to work, I sent Sara a text and told her I wanted to go around the block.  She asked if I had a wheelchair.  I told her I didn't, I wanted to walk!  She said she'd be right over.  She took Boomer on his leash and we all walked (VERY SLOWLY) around the block - without crutches!!!  It took forever, but I did it.  I was very excited. 

So, all in all - a pretty good last couple of days.  Wouldn't you say?  I think it's only going to get better from here on out.

Until later.............

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post-op appointment

I wrapped my foot in a plastic garbage bag yesterday and secured it with duct tape so I could shower.  I used our small walk-in shower instead of mine which is in a bathtub.  I had to use the three walls to balance myself because I can put no weight on my right foot yet.  It is cooling off here so I slipped on some yoga pants and a tank top but by the time I got dressed I was over heated so changed back into shorts.  I was going to blow dry my hair but the shower and getting dressed wore me out so I just pulled my hair into a ponytail.  I did all this so I could get to my 5:00 p.m. post-op appointment.  Keith dropped me off as close as he could and then he went and parked.  I hobbled along on my crutches to the doctor's office and plopped down on a chair in the waiting room.  Phew, we made it.  Keith went up to the receptionist to check in for me.  He told her I had a 5:00 appointment.  "Oh, she has a 5:00 phone appointment.  Dr. is going to call her."  When I was leaving the surgery center, we (Keith, Sara and I) heard I had a post-op appointment and none of us heard "phone". 

I get a call from a nurse a few minutes later telling me Dr. had to go to the hospital so he was unable to do his phone appointments last night, he would call me in the morning.  He called this morning at 8:45.

Doctor:  Are you doing okay?
Me:  Depends on what you mean by "okay". 
Doctor:  Are you in any pain?
Me:  Yes, actually!  I've been in quite a bit of pain.  I'm not what you would call a wimp either, I have a pretty strong pain threshold.
Doctor:  Well, we may have to reclassify you then.  Out of all the patients I have talked to, you're the only one complaining of pain.  Many of the other surgeries were more extensive than yours. 

Thanks Doc!  I feel a whole lot better now.  He already told me in my pre-op appointment that I wouldn't even need pain killers after the first night.  I wonder if he's every had this particular surgery.
Doctor:  Have you been elevating, icing?
Me:  I have been doing everything I am supposed to do.  I have been elevating with three pillows, day and night.  Icing under my knee, right?
Doctor:  Try icing your foot too, that may help.  If it's not 50% better by this time tomorrow, call and make an appointment for me to see you Thursday or Friday.

I have been icing my FOOT since then and the pain is substantially better.  Instead of two Vicodin every four hours, I am taking one Vicodin every six hours.  This means of course, that I'm awake more which means I am already bored out of my mind.  BORED, I tell ya. 

I did ask Keith to get the Total Home Gym set up for me to use tonight.  I guess I could read up on how to use it. 

My next appointment is on October 15th.  I did clarify - it is an office visit.

Until later.............

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day Two Post-op

I got to the hospital at 8:00 Friday morning and went through the admitting process.  They called me in a little afterwards to change into my surgery outfit.  I was put into a bed and a nurse started asking me a bunch of questions, many of which I had already answered on paper twice and in person to two or three people.  The worst question of all was "are you still having periods?"  Seriously?  Am I *that* old now?  She replied, "I guess so.  I also need to know if you have dentures or wear a hearing aid."  Nice!

At 9:10 they wheeled me into the operating room where my doctor and the anesthesiologist were waiting for me.  I scooted onto a tiny operating bed and before I knew it the doctor was putting a tourniquet on my ankle and a gas mask was on my mouth.  The anesthesiologist asked me to take a couple of deep breaths.  She asked me if I felt anything.  I said I felt nothing yet.  She asked me if I was nervous or excited.  About that time I said I was sleepy.  My next sentence was supposed to be "I'm very sleepy" but I'm not sure the entire sentence came out.

The next thing I knew, some lady was trying to wake me from a very restful sleep.  I was in the recovery room and it was 10:15.  I was home before noon and feeling pretty good.  My ankle block had my foot completely numb but the doctor said to take a Vicodin anyway, every four hours so I took one as soon as I got home.  By 5:00 the block had worn off and the pain was coming on.  I took a pain pill at 4:00 but could tell it wasn't doing anything so I took another one.  At about 6:30 the pain was still getting stronger and stronger.  I took two more Vicodin.  I waited as long as I could but finally took more at 9:30.  I was expecting this to be painful, no doubt about it.  I was also expecting my pain would be managed by the prescription I had been given.  It was getting progressively worse and I was nowhere near being able to fall asleep.  I had taken my maximum dosage of Vicodin already and still had over 12 hours to go.  I was taking 800 mg of Ibuprofin too.  My pain level was a 14 on a scale of 1-10.  I was grinding my jaw and white knuckling the couch!  I knew I wasn't going to make it through the night.  Keith called the advice nurse twice and she recommended I go to the emergency room to get the pain under control.  We decided this was probably the best thing to do.

When we got to the ER I was taken directly to a room.  The nurse came in and evaluated me and then the doctor came in and said hi.  After a short time, I had an IV in me and the nurse injected a very strong pain reliever which took affect quickly.  Thank God.  Half an hour later, he injected more since the first one wore off.  I was feeling no pain and fell asleep quickly.  Right about then they want me to go home.  I was conscious but super drugged up.  Sara got me into the wheelchair and the front seat of the car.  I was on crutches from my garage to my room with Sara in front of me and Keith behind me.  They sent Percoset (sp.) home with me and I took two and fell right to sleep, until 6:30 yesterday morning. 

All day yesterday I took two Percoset every four hours and my pain level has been very manageable (a 3 or 4 vs 14!).  I am getting sharp pains, twitches and uncontrollable spasms but they only last a few seconds.  I have been keeping the foot elevated and ice under my knee (that's what they said) around the clock since I first got home.

I will continue to manage the pain with medication today.  I have my follow-up appointment tomorrow at 5:00 with the doctor.  I'm anxious to hear how the surgery went, if it was worse or better than he thought it would be.

Thank you everyone for your well wishes, prayers, and nice comments.

Until later.............