My Invisalign Tips

It’s been over 2 years since I started wearing Invisalign, and now that I’m in the retainer phase (which I will be at from here on out), I figured I should share my top tips. Some are pretty obvious, but others I learned the hard way.

  1. Seriously, wear your aligners. Like, whenever you’re not consuming things other than water, wear them. They recommend 22 hours per day, so try to stick as close to that as possible. You’re already paying a ton for this treatment, so why not get the best and quickest results instead of farting around and complaining about having this amazing opportunity to improve your smile? Snarky? Sure. Truthful? You’re darn tootin’.Duh Napolean Dynamite
  2. Brush and floss your teeth [and brush your aligners!] at least twice per day. I mean, this is just what the American Dental Association recommends, but many people still don’t follow these suggestions. I never flossed (except the day of dental appointments) until I had Invisalign. And even then, I honestly couldn’t floss with the ribbon floss; my fingers just don’t work that way and I can’t unhinge my jaw like a snake in order to reach my molars. So I tried floss picks and my life has been changed. Seriously, try them out.
    • Note: Now, I may have been a bit excessive in brushing and flossing literally after every meal before putting my aligners back in. But you know what? I came out of this experience with only one teeny tiny cavity that was caused by my tooth having a little crevice in it. It wasn’t between my teeth because I let food and gunk build up while my aligners encapsulated said gunk and bacteria harvested and rotted my teeth. If brushing your teeth is not a plausible option in a certain setting or situation, eat an apple or chew some sugar free gum before putting your aligners in. Don’t just not put them back in because you can’t brush and/or floss [see tip #1].happy tooth smile
  3. Following step #2, bring a small baggie with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and your aligner case with you everywhere. This way you’re ready post-meal to at least try to keep your mouth healthy and clean. I kept a kit in my bag during grad school, then in my drawer at work so I was always prepared.toothbrush kit
  4. Only drink water with your aligners in. For real. And, whatever you do, DO NOT try to chew or even just have gum in your mouth with your aligners in. Seriously, this will not be good when (not if, when) the gum gets adhered to your aligners and gets stuck everywhere. Trust me. Not worth it.No drink, food, gum
  5. When inserting your aligners, make sure to really push them on your teeth. It’s not enough to just get them on, make sure they are on as snuggly as possible. I think this is part of the reason my aligners became so ill-fitting [see picture below] as my wedding approached; I was putting them on, but never really pushed them as securely as I should’ve. Luckily, they just rescanned my teeth after my wedding and got me a new set of aligners, but this is not a quick process and will set your treatment time back.Ill fitting aligners
  6. Just hang in there for the first day or so of new aligners. They used to give me headaches because of the pressure they put on my teeth. And yes, it may feel like you’re about to rip your teeth out when you take a fairly new set out before eating and whatnot. Your teeth aren’t going anywhere. Trust me, it’ll hurt for a bit, but the benefits will be greater than the pain. So just pop a Tylenol and focus on something else. Maybe have a dance party to take your mind off of the discomfort.You can do it waterboy gif
  7. Glass attachments (for your aligners to grip) and metal buttons (for rubber bands) pop off. You will probably swallow them. It’s okay. They initially put on more glass attachments than necessary because the chance of them falling off is high. It’s an easy process for them to put on a new metal button. It won’t ruin your treatment, just call your orthodontist, let them know this happened, and they’ll schedule you to come in within a day or so to pop a new one on. Which brings me to tip #7…Invisalign metal button glass attachment Toronto Braces
  8. Choose an orthodontist that you like and trust, but also one that is nearby. You don’t want to have to travel so far just for a small metal button to be put on in under 3 minutes. Trust me. When I moved from the Upper West Side to Long Island to Brooklyn, my orthodontist’s office remained in Midtown. Luckily, when I was in LI, I still worked in Brooklyn, so I would schedule appointments right after work or over long breaks because 2 hours is just not worth the trip.

Alright, I think those are my top tips when wearing Invisalign. If I think of any more, I’ll definitely chuck them in here. And if you have any, please leave a comment to share!

We’re Moving!!!

After 2 years of living in Brooklyn, we’re moving to Manhattan!

Brace yourselfNo, it’s not that far, but we’re moving all the same.

I’m so excited and it all happened so fast. I came home from work one night two weeks ago and Tom was in the home office. Out of the blue, he started showing me some apartments he found in on Craigslist. In Manhattan. I didn’t recall him mentioning moving before this, so I was surprised and quite curious. He said that he wanted to be closer to the WordPress/developer scene as well as his job’s office and clients, which all take place in Manhattan.

I was down with the idea (since we don’t really like our neighborhood in BK anyway), just as long as we didn’t move somewhere that made my commute farther. Even then, I can’t even complain because my commute is currently about 30 minutes, which is about a third of the average time workers in NYC commute daily.

So for two weeks we’ve been scouring Craigslist, Zillow, RentHop, and realty companies’ websites, looking for decent apartments that wouldn’t [totally] break the bank, would keep us in a good location for transportation, and weren’t cardboard boxes.
"Cozy" room

Let me just start by telling you that the cheapest most “too good to be true” apartments are fake. The apartments Tom showed me that first night were immaculate and only a couple hundred dollars more than what we currently pay in Brooklyn. When I started noticing that all of those “BEST DEAL IN TOWN” postings were by people with three names (example: Lydia Jasmine Nancy), I knew they were scams.

We quickly realized that what we needed/wanted would cost us a lot more than we were hoping; isn’t that always the case?

This past weekend, we contacted a couple realty agents about posts we saw on Zillow and RentHop. We had one set up for over the weekend, but they canceled on Friday night – it probably got rented before we even got a chance to see it. Such is the story when trying to rent in NYC: there one minute, gone the next.

The search continued and we contacted a few more agents. We were interested in one apartment whose agent got back to us on Sunday. We set up a viewing for the next day and started getting as much paperwork as we thought we’d need.

On the train ride to the first apartment, we were discussing this apartment and weighing pros and cons of what we knew about the area so far and the apartment before seeing it in person. I told Tom that if it didn’t fit what we wanted, that we would keep looking at the other apartments she had set for us. He seemed pretty set on this apartment before seeing it, though.

Our current apartment was something we both agreed on before we even walked in. We were both so nervous that we were going to miss out on it, but we lucked out so hard. There was actually a girl scheduled to view it before us but she had a family emergency, so we got to see it first; as soon as we walked in and checked the place out, we looked at each other, smiled, and agreed that we wanted it. The poor girl called just as we signed the final piece of paper saying she was on the way and could she still check it out; the realty agent had to break the news, and although I felt bad, I was ecstatic. We had all of the necessary paperwork with us and got the keys a couple days later.

This time around, however, has required a lot more paperwork and patience. More on that in a bit.

When we got to the first apartment in Manhattan, I had a feeling it was going to be underwhelming just standing outside. It was in a nice area, but the outside didn’t seem all that great and I remember the pictures showing pretty small rooms with not much storage space (closets or kitchen storage). The website post for it wasn’t amazing, it was just better than others that we had seen. When we walked in, it looked even smaller than in the photos and didn’t seem like it would fit our wants or needs…other than having a roof over our head and running water. We decided to try our luck at a couple of the other apartments she had within the same price range and the same area.

NYC Expectations vs Reality

The second place was a few blocks away and up three flights of stairs. The hallways were narrow, but we were greeted by a fully renovated, fresh paint-smelling, beautiful, but oh-so-teeny-tiny apartment. The kitchen was part of the living room, which isn’t unheard of in the city. However, I’ve seen friends’ apartments that have this layout, but there’s enough room to serve as the living room that it doesn’t really impede on the kitchen (and vice versa). This apartment, though, left no room for any proper seating area while still allowing cupboard doors to open. Plus, we have to consider space for Tom’s computer setup.

I think it would make a great bachelor/bachelorette pad, but it would be tight for two people plus guests. The bathroom was immaculate – like, you’ll never find a more beautiful bathroom in the city for this price. But, we don’t plan on spending copious amounts of time or entertaining all of our guests in the bathroom, so we had to pass.

The third place was a couple more blocks away, and noticed a police station nearby, so that made us feel pretty safe. The apartment was on the first floor which was such a pro compared to the last apartment. When we walked in, I thought she was showing us a studio apartment because the main living area/kitchen was huge. But to my surprise, there was a whole other room for a bedroom to the left with a really good-sized closet. The kitchen, although open to the living space, had a much better layout to allow us to have a table and chairs without creeping into the living area. The bathroom was..a bathroom – nothing fancy, especially compared to bathroom #2 (ha), but it would get the job done.

We looked at each other, just as we had when we got our current apartment, and told the agent that we wanted to go ahead with it. We went back to the office, signed some papers, realized that we didn’t have nearly enough documents that they required, and agreed to have them in ASAP. We have been emailing back and forth about 100 times with our agent, sending more paperwork, getting clarification, re-sending clearer pictures and scans of documents, etc.

When a good apartment is on the line and you have to wait a whole business day for your landlady to provide a letter stating that you are a good tenant who pays on time, it feels like a lifetime because anyone can jump on the apartment at any time and it’s first come (meaning first applicant with 100% of the necessary documents) first served. Just because we put a deposit down didn’t mean it was ours yet.

It feels like this has taken a week because the waiting and scrambling to get everything together feels like it’s been going on forever.

But it’s only been 3 days.

At 2pm yesterday afternoon, we finally submitted everything we needed. Our agent was super quick with her responses and was supportive the entire time. She was unsure if the new landlord would accept one of our documents, so she left us with an email that said she would get back to us once she got word back about the status, and that this might take a day.

So I sat back, relieved that it was out of our hands, and figuring we wouldn’t hear from her for at least an hour, maybe not until the following day.

Five. Minutes. Later. She sends us an email congratulating us because we had been accepted!!!!!!!!!!

I can haz new howse?

We signed the lease today and it feels surreal since we can’t move in right away; I’m getting a colonoscopy Saturday (fun!) to make sure my Crohn’s is okay, and then we’re going to a concert on Sunday. We’ll move slowly since we have our current apartment for another 30 days or so, which is great because neither of us has huge chunks of free time to pack, move, and unpack. I’M JUST SO PUMPED!!!

2014-15 Reflections, 2016 Ambitions

I realized, with only a few days of 2015 left, that I did not make an “official” list of “resolutions” for this past year. I did, however, make one two years ago and I’m actually really happy with how much I’ve accomplished from that list (which are in red below)! Along with my achievements, I’ll follow the same format by including my regrets from the past two years and ambitions for the coming year.

2014-15 Achievements:

√  Survived 2 months of a 4-hour round-trip commute to and from work. It wasn’t easy by any means.

√  Moved into an apartment with Tom in Brooklyn, cutting commute time to less than an hour round-trip. We pay too much money for too little space, but for now it works.

√  Graduated from Teachers College, CU with my Masters in Mathematics Education.

Columbia grad

√  Made it through the remainder of my aide job and booked my first real teaching job at the school I was already working at.

√  Got married and it was the most perfect day. Everything was as we wanted, except for my mom not being there.

Wedding collage

√  Had an amazingly wonderful honeymoon in Montauk.

√  Had our second reception to include my mom and upstate family and friends in our celebration.

Reception #2 Family shot

√  Kept up with student loans and actually paid the higher interest one off! We also refinanced the rest so the payments and interest rate is lower.

√  Survived my first year of teaching and re-booked a job at the same school as a full-time Math teacher.

√  Started working out regularly after school and even got one of my coworkers to join me – we still work out 2-3 times per week together!

√  Endured foot surgery to finally remove my bunions.

√  Celebrated our one-year anniversary by going to Montauk; we stayed in the same B&B as our honeymoon. It was tough with my feet all wrapped and swollen, but we had a good time regardless.

√  Became close friends with my coworkers because I work with so many amazing people.

I have amazing coworkers

√  Became more confident in myself and my abilities AND feel a little more confident when it comes to debating. I’m by no means perfect or a know-it-all so I’m still working on this; it’s a daily struggle.

√  Finished my Invisalign!

2014-15 Regrets:

  • Not getting any pets. This is a regret that couldn’t be helped since our landlady is anti-anything-that-might-cause-bugs-of-any-kind-to-invade. I have a small Christmas-tree-esque plant…shhh, don’t tell her!
  • Not becoming friends with people sooner; this has been happening with me for years, and I hate that I miss out on so much potential time with awesome people because I doubt myself or feel too overwhelmed with life/work/what they think of me/etc. to make the effort.
  • Not reading enough due to lack of time and energy.
  • Not actively finding a church to attend regularly.
  • Not visiting friends and family more.
  • Not traveling more, in general. This includes exploring NYC.
  • Not working out more and having more self-control when it comes to delicious treats and all other foods that I like.

2016 Goals:

  • Continue to grow my self-confidence, especially when it comes to how well I do my job.
  • Read more of everything, especially current events and other important historical stuff.
  • Write more – on this blog, in my journal, letters to people, etc.
  • Find a church to attend consistently and become an active member in; this has been a work in progress for quite awhile now and has become one of my biggest struggles.
  • Get a frame for my Masters degree; it’s the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own, so why not  try to keep it safe?
  • Travel more – we already have one trip set for spring break, but I’d love to go anywhere and everywhere.
  • Become more disciplined when working out and choosing to eat healthier. I’m starting by trying to replace one meal with a homemade juice/smoothie/protein drink 3 days per week. If this works, I’ll do my best to increase the frequency.

I’d be interested to hear your greatest (or smallest) achievements in the past year as well as what you hope to accomplish in 2016 and beyond. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve as well as an amazing 2016!

Foot Surgery: 6 weeks Post-op + Before & After comparison

It’s been a tough 6 weeks (tomorrow), but I’m happy to report that I’ve made so much progress since surgery!

After 2 weeks of basically rotating between laying in bed, sitting on the couch, and only getting up to use the bathroom, it was time to start moving more. It was painful and slow-going, but I used a cane during week 3 while Tom and I were in Montauk and then when I made The Great Return to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is great because everything is within walking distance. Until, that is, walking is such a chore. Mind you, we are less than a block away from Walgreens, and 2 blocks from our grocery store and laundromat. However, what would normally take a couple minutes to walk to the grocery store now took 10 minutes with the assistance of my old-lady-cart. That may not seem like a lot, but I would be totally exhausted and usually in pain by the time I got to the store, still needing to actually shop and then make the trek home.

I also started back-to-school-teacher-meetings and coaching volleyball that week. I didn’t need to use my cane around the school, but when going longer distances (home to subway, subway to school, and vice versa) and carrying a backpack, I definitely needed it to make sure I didn’t lose my balance. And I felt more comfortable knowing I could potentially use it as a weapon if someone decided to test the hobbling young lady.

Volleyball was hard at first and I’m still pretty limited, but I am walking faster and am able to help with everything more. No jumping or sliding for me, but it’s an improvement. Luckily I have a co-coach who can do the things I can’t, and our girls are very independent, allowing me to take a seat in the rolling chair and put my feet up.

I stopped using my cane during week 4 which was fantastic – I felt more confident and was even being told by Tom and co-workers that my walking was getting better, even just since the week before. I even started wearing my sneakers with the huge slits in them that week; they felt way more comfortable and supportive compared to the old lady sandals, so my feet weren’t crying by the time I got home in the evenings. They’re still a bit swollen by the end of the day, but nothing like they were in the first month.

I went to my doctor last week and he said he was very happy with my progress. I only mentioned that my big toes still felt a little floppy…to which he then proceeded to flick (but not super hard) my big toes, to which I had a minor freak out, and to which he commented that they were actually very sturdy. Okay, gross(!!!), but thanks. I am happy to report that, a week later, they don’t feel floppy anymore when I change my bandages!

bandages

Speaking of, he gave me different bandages that are less constricting! The original ones (lighter two bandages and the white zinc oxide bandage in bag) that created the soft cast were meant to allow my incisions to heal. Since my incisions are pretty much healed, he said I could start using these new bandages. I put them on on Tuesday evening and they feel so comfortable while still providing a little bit of stability and support. I will say, though, that the new ones smell [weirdly] like hot dogs.

I’ll make the following picture small so that if you don’t want to see the incisions you can just keep reading. If you want to see how they’ve healed, click the image to enlarge it.

feet incisions

I’ve been walking more with school starting and have noticed a huge difference in the way that I’m walking. As the weeks have progressed, I am better able to *kind of* roll my feet to my toes as I take steps instead of just planting my feet straight down and then picking them straight up. I’ve regained a ton of feeling in my big toes which is great; I hate the feeling of numbness with pins-and-needles when you touch the skin.

I can’t wait until I can actually do physical activity like running and jumping. You don’t realize just how much you put weight on your toes until you can’t; so much of life activities require this! I used the stability bike at school last week and did a couple miles on it – I’m so out of shape since my surgery, it’s not even funny. Like, seriously, it’s disheartening and frustrating. But at least I have a good reason, I guess.

So let’s get a comparison of my feet pre-surgery and 6 weeks post-op!

feet compare

Woot! My doctor also said that he doesn’t need to see me in the near future. I’m not 100% sure how long that means I should wait to make another appointment, but he gave me enough bandages to hold me over until I won’t need them anymore. Maybe in a month or two I’ll check in!

Overall, I’m really happy so far – I still have a ways to go until I’m healed completely, but I’m glad I did this when I did instead of putting it off and letting it get worse.

One Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!!! It feels like forever ago that I was dealing with the stresses of planning a wedding and all that it entails (showers, rehearsal dinner, dress, etc). And man oh man I do not miss that stress! But marriage comes with it’s own stresses, obviously. I know this is still considered the honeymoon stage and it only gets harder (and, therefore, more wonderful?) from here, but I accepted that challenge August 16 of last year. Heck, I accepted that when he proposed!

I’ve learned a lot about Tom over the last year, and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about me too. Heck, I’ve learned a lot about me! I guess that happens when you share your life with someone else. I mean, I lived with my friend Becky in college, but we were so much alike that there were rarely issues about cleanliness, organization, sleep schedules, etc. I did learn that we are very weird people and sometimes the dumbest things entertain us. I miss you Becky!

I won’t get into gory details of what I’ve learned, because I’m sure they’re typical things that two people who come from different backgrounds encounter. And also this would quickly become the longest blog post ever. No thank you!

Anyways, as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re going to celebrate by going out to Montauk next weekend. We’re staying in the same B&B we had for our honeymoon because we really enjoyed our stay there. I can’t wait to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being so far away from the city before school starts and all the hecticness it brings. As it is, I’m coaching volleyball this fall and I have to be there the day after we come back. I also have a doctor’s appointment that morning. Okay, stress is returning.

Also as previously mentioned, I’m hoping my feet can handle some walking and some sand. Good news: I changed my own dressings! My mother-in-law offered to do it again after I showered and got them all wet on Saturday, but I decided to do it myself with her nearby in case I needed back-up. It wasn’t bad at all! I hit my right big toe (of course!) and it was weird but I was fine. See? It’s all in my head, and I know that! But I’m glad I was able to do it by myself because I know I’ll need to a lot more in the future until I no longer need bandages. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m hoping the doctor takes x-rays to see if any bones have started to fuse together.

But for today, Tom is traveling out to Long Island from Brooklyn to spend our actual anniversary together, which is sweet of him. It’s a long train ride and I know he’s had a lot on his plate at work, so it’s nice to be put above that for the day. I’m not 100% sure what the plan is, but I’m thinking Schafer’s in Port Jefferson (where we ate dinner before he proposed) and then maybe watch the sunset at West Meadow Beach (where he proposed…after watching the sunset). Maybe we’ll reenact the proposal, just for fun!

We have some engagement “photo shoot” pictures; if you’re looking for a good laugh, you can look through the outtakes – there were more of these than “good” pictures that day. Although we took these almost 2 years ago, they still make me crack up. Here’s a preview:

love

That’s true love right there! We also have our wedding photos if you’re interested to see those.

So yeah, we’ll see what the day brings and hopefully my feet can withstand a little fun!

One week post-foot surgery!

I’ve made it over the week mark and only had one emotional meltdown! I broke down the other night because of my restlessness from being immobile. Plus, I’m alone all day (with the exception of Finster) while everyone is at work and Tom’s been back in Brooklyn and traveling out of town, so it’s been difficult being away from him so much. Our one year anniversary is this Sunday, though, so I think we’ll get to spend some time together this weekend! And then next weekend we’re going to Montauk for some real anniversary time together. I’m really hoping I’m able to enjoy the beach and endure some walking to the center of town by then!

So yeah all of the emotions spilled out after I kind of banged my left big toe on the step going upstairs. Fearing that I may have screwed up my toe or something, I got freaked and the floodgates opened. It didn’t hurt a lot or make any unnatural noises, so I figured it was okay since the bandages keep my toes secure, but still. Everything had just kind of built up and then it all came out.

I called my mom to talk to her, and I felt a lot better; I know she understands more than anyone how I’m feeling. Being cooped up, spending most of your time alone, and being unable to do the things you want to is very frustrating. She ended up telling me a story about my great-aunt (by marriage), Tilly, who had bunions and was an, um, unpleasant person. Turns out that this was a unanimous opinion among my mom, her siblings, and her mother! And none of them had ever discussed that until they were all grown! Isn’t that funny?

I started working on this cat latch-hook tapestry thing on Wednesday and I plan on finishing it today. My mother-in-law bought it along with a paint-by-numbers for me to do while I’m recovering. It’s funny because it looks like Finster, so maybe I’ll hang it in his room when it’s finished. It’ll be like he’s looking in a mirror or something. I don’t want to do the PBN on the couch, so I figured the tapestry would be easy to do. And it is! It’s a pretty mindless task, but it does keep my mind busy and I do have to pay attention to the colors.

cat tapestry

I want to start the paint-by-numbers but I can’t sit up at a table for long before my feet start to swell and become super uncomfortable. I did a PBN a few years ago and it took so long (I think, like 6 months from start to finish) and it turned out so awesome! It’s hanging in our apartment because I’m so proud of it and it’s a nice picture.

original paint by number

I took a real shower yesterday and was surprised when I wasn’t in a ton of pain or completely exhausted afterwards. My feet/bandages got soaked because the shower caps were absolutely useless, so I just took them off and went commando. My mother-in-law helped change my bandages which was good because I did start to get a little woozy when she started on my right foot. We had a cold paper towel on standby which I used as a cooling agent and a blindfold.

When we got the bandages off of my right foot (she was much gentler than the doctor, which was good) I looked at my foot and felt fine; it wasn’t bloody or super bruised or anything. Anytime I move without bandages, however, I can sort of feel that my big toe is not 100% intact. It’s the way it feels jiggly that makes me feel like passing out. I think my mind makes up the image of my big toe flopping sideways or something. Once we got the right foot rebandaged, the left foot was a breeze. I felt fine with the left foot, even the big toe. It’s just that right big toe that gets to me. Weird.

I’ve been sitting outside the past couple days, trying to enjoy the beautiful summer weather as much as possible. Finster likes to join me outside, so it’s nice to have some company. Within an hour, though, I need to go inside and lay down because my feet swell. I put my feet up while sitting outside but it’s just not high enough.

sitting outside with Fin

This morning, I woke up and was pleasantly surprised to see spaces between my toes! They weren’t swollen and my feet felt great! But as soon as I stood up and started doing something, they instantly started to swell and hurt. I’ve got a lot more bruising on around the main part of my feet and have unfortunately run out of Arnica, so I’m keeping ice close by.

Walking continues to get easier, but there are times throughout the day where it gets hard again. It’s all because of the swelling, honestly. Once my feet start to swell, they hurt. When my feet hurt, walking hurts. When walking hurts, I suck at it. I’ve noticed that I’m able to put my feet flatter on the floor than I could a week ago. All progress is good progress!

Post-foot surgery days 3-5: just a lot of healing

Great news: the doctor said I’m healing beautifully! Woot! More on that later…

Sleeping has been a lot better the past few nights and I’ve been feeling some more itchiness under the bandages, indicating that my incisions are healing! I’ve been taking half-pills of Vicodin every 4-6 hours to take the edge off since I’m done with Prednisone and the swelling is usually what is making me hurt the most. Oh, my doctor called a couple days ago about the missing antibiotics and said I would be okay with the amount I was given.

I have obviously been doing a whole lot of sitting and laying around with my feet up, and therefore have watched my fair share of television. On Saturday, I watched a Love It or List It marathon on HGTV for hours; I swear, I can probably flip a whole house myself with all of these shows I watch! That night, my mother-in-law and I watched the Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. I definitely recommend it because it was so good! It wasn’t a stuffy, slow moving intellectual film either! It had humor and moved a really good pace, just fast enough to keep you on your toes but not so fast that you felt dumb watching it.

Sunday morning, I watched CNN news with the family because I’m trying to be more knowledgeable and aware of current affairs and politics. What I know (and have known for years) is that Trump is a big jerk and should not be President because he argues like a child, throwing names and rude remarks before intellectual responses. Go figure.

My mother- and sister-in-law were going to Modell’s, so I threw on my super cute sandals and they helped me to the car. I got pushed around in a wheelchair as transport which made me feel helpless and like a spectacle, but who cares? It felt great to get out, but by the time we got back home my feet felt like they had blown up and it was really uncomfortable. I sat in the backseat with my feet up across the seats, but it just wasn’t high enough to ease the swelling. I watched Pitch Perfect for the first time , too – it was good, except for the 1,420,852 commercials. Thanks, ABCFamily.

free at last

Tom came back out to Long Island that night so that he could take me to two doctor’s appointments today; I don’t think I would trust myself to drive still. One of them was a post-op for my feet to redress the bandages and make sure everything was going okay. I had to hang on to Tom for some balance walking across the parking lot; you don’t realize how slow you’re going until you are in a parking lot and it feels like it takes forever to get to your destination. It wasn’t even that far of a walk, but in my current state it felt like a mile.

The receptionist was surprised at how well I was walking into the office, telling me it was a great sign! Dr. Weisenthal took care of me during this visit. When he finally took off the bandages, it was gross but felt really good but also uncomfortable. It felt nice airing my feet out, and I could see that they were visibly straighter and narrower, but this refreshing feeling was quickly gone as he got to cleaning them up. This part hurt. Not the spray part because that was nice and cool. The rubbing and scrubbing and scraping part was what got to me.

I didn’t expect him to be super gentle as it’s easier to just do it and get it over with; it’s like ripping off a band-aid. And obviously I’ve been babying my feet, avoiding any slightly rough touch. And by rough, I mean barely-there. I figure it’s better that the doctor does it because he knows what to do if anything goes wrong slash he knows what not to do so that nothing will go wrong.

The big toe on my right foot felt like Jello, and every movement made it wiggle unnaturally. He said that’s normal as my toe was broken during surgery, but that didn’t help the weird feeling. I almost passed out though from the pain, the jiggly big toe, and the sight of my bruised feet, so he had to lower the back of the chair and give me a cool paper towel for my forehead. I was fine shortly after that, thank goodness.

Once the tootsies were cleaned up, he said they looked great. Minimal bruising has occurred around my toes, and my ankles aren’t swollen, so he dressed my feet without wrapping the bandages up and around my ankles. He walked me through the dressing process so that I can do it myself if I want/need to between now and my next appointment (next Monday).

redressed feet

I did mention to him that the middle toes on my right foot are a lot more raised than they should be; that’s why the tendons were cut because they were being pulled pretty high back. He said it was normal since I’ve been walking more on the outsides of my feet to overcompensate for any pain and that they’ll fix it as we go. Probably through stretching or something once they are a bit more healed. He gave me two little foam pads that attach to my middle toes with a little hole in the middle so that they are supported and I can walk a little flatter when I wear shoes.

My feet feel much lighter and actually much better since he redressed them with fewer bandages. They still swell up when I don’t keep them elevated, so walking and standing really hurts after awhile. Last night, I even ate dinner at the table like a normal human being! Although I bet more human beings eat on the couch nowadays, but I digress. My feet were screaming at me by the time I hobbled back to the living room couch, but it was worth having a more social dinner. I’m glad that I’m getting better and that I’m progressively doing more and more normal stuff, but it’s still nowhere near where I want to be. Obviously.

What I’ve realized with this surgery versus others I have had is that going under local versus general anesthesia was nice because I didn’t spend the next few days constantly feeling drowsy. However, since my feet are what I had done, even though my brain and every other part of my body is up and ready to party, my feet are the dictators of if and when and how I do things. It’s a real buzzkill. But I can’t complain because I chose to do this and it will be worth it in the end!

Also, I have to give a huge shout-out to my in-laws who have been nothing but hospitable to me through this surgery (and practically all summer!), letting me recover on their couch. I could not imagine trying to recover back in Brooklyn, having nowhere to go within hobbling distance!

Post-foot surgery day 2: swelling, pain, and blood?!

Sleeping was hard. I’m a very active person in my sleep; I get really restless, and thus I am a notorious tosser and turner during the night. So being restricted to sleeping on my back with my feet elevated on pillows got super uncomfortable within the first 5 minutes. Needless to say, I woke up multiple times during the night to adjust myself, which really only entailed scooting an inch to the left or right, maybe bending my legs to get some stretching action and circulation going.

I had the air conditioner on for my feet, figuring it would act kind of like applying an ice pack to help with the swelling. I took a Tylenol before bed last night because of all the walking I did to get upstairs and ready for bed.

I have to walk up the stairs sideways to keep my feet flat, making it difficult to stay balanced, especially while carrying stuff. Tom helped bring any extra stuff upstairs for me, like pillows from the couch to keep my feet elevated, my purse, and meds. He has been so awesome to me this summer with surgeries and such, so I’m giving him a huge shoutout for being an amazing husband and caregiver. I love you, Tom!!!!!!!

I’ve been walking mostly on my heels because it’s uncomfortable trying to place any of the front part of my feet on the ground. I’ve also had some itchiness under the bandages near an incision, so I look like a woman patting her weave when she has an itch.

The office gave me a little bag of some necessities yesterday that I didn’t mention in my post for day 1. It contained a pair of black no-show socks to sleep in, shower caps, and a pair of surgical scissors. The doctors said that bleeding is totally normal since I don’t have any stitches, so when I’m sleeping I can wear the socks to keep any possible blood from ruining the blankets. I have 5 tiny incisions on each foot that will clot and close-up on their own, but obviously they can still open a bit and bleed.

Here’s a picture of my socks as I watched Leah Remini’s show on TLC On Demand this morning. I am so in love with this show it’s ridiculous. It actually makes me laugh out loud because the entire family is so genuinely funny together and separate! I’m sure some things are scripted, but their humor it definitely real.

socks and Leah Remini

I feel like I’m one of those people (usually girls, but guys do it too) who takes pictures of their feet to publicize and rub in the fact that they are lounging at some exotic beach. I’m not in an exotic place and my lower extremities are not meant for a calendar (yet!), but this is my viewpoint for awhile now. My feet feel so great when they’re elevated on 3 or 4 pillows; it’s such a relief after walking even the shortest distances to throw my feet up because it eases the pressure so much.

The shower caps are for my feet when I shower or bathe (duh). I am allowed to get the bandages and wraps wet as I am not in a hard cast, so they are made to get wet. If they do get wet, I can either dry them using paper towels (instead of just letting them air dry), and if they’re really soaked, I can use a hair dryer to dry them quicker.

I took a shallow bath this afternoon to freshen up and it was quite the awkward experience. I had my shower caps on my feet, but they didn’t fit perfectly since they are meant for a round head, not for an oblong foot. I kept my feet on the sides of the tub to elevate them (like stirrups at the female doctor…), so that was super awkward and uncomfortable. I also tried to keep them as dry as possible, but water still got into the caps when I stepped into the tub. Once I was finished, there was quite a bit of bleeding from my right foot at the same spot as the pictured below, so I used a paper towel to soak up excess and applied some pressure to help it clot. Once it was cleaned up a bit, I wrapped a clean PT around the area and put my socks on to keep said PT intact.

I feel soooooo much better now that I’m clean and smell better, but that took a whole lot of energy, concentration, and planning. To do the least amount of walking, I had to make sure that I knew the game plan and had everything I needed with me to save myself from needing to walk from room to room unnecessarily. I’m moving at a snail’s pace, hobbling around on my heels; my ankle and shin muscles should be jacked after this.

You can see some blood on the right foot (picture taken pre-bath) near the base of my toes in this picture. I didn’t think it was too bad to include, so I hope it doesn’t make anyone sick. You can also see how fat my toes are. Lovely.

swelling day 2

The surgical bandage scissors are to cut my bandages (no-brainer, huh?) if necessary. Dr. Kirell told me that if the bandages get unbearably tight, I can cut along a line he drew on them to relieve the pressure. My feet are really swollen and fat today, but the bandages don’t feel too tight yet.

He also said that I will have quite a bit of bruising around my ankles; I asked why my ankles instead of where the incisions are and he said, “Gravity. When you elevate your feet, all of the blood will drain down near your heels and ankles.” Makes sense. Tom ran to Vitamin Shoppe last night to grab me some Arnica tablets to help keep the bruising down and speed that whole process along. Again, love him!

The doctors also informed me that I can apply for a handicap permit for a 6 month period! Not that we drive all that much unless we’re in Long Island, but it’s a nice perk that we can use whenever we do drive.

I forgot to get a picture of the before and after x-rays yesterday so I’ll have to get them when I go back on Monday for a re-dressing of my bandages!

Oh, I also forgot to show off my sexy sandals I received yesterday. How cute are they with the nylon stockings?! I had my mom cracking up as I described it to her as “huge bandages covered with nylon stockings and slipped into old lady sandals with ties up the front.” She told me that I should have Tom get some old man sandals and wear checkered shorts and tube socks. We’d be a match made in heaven as I hobbled around and he just looked goofy. Also, that paper is a packet of FAQs about the procedure I had; it’s called Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Foot Surgery. So if you have any questions that I haven’t answered, I have some knowledge on paper!

stockings and sandals

As the day has worn on, my feet have started regaining some feeling in terms of the swelling. I’ve kept them elevated but just like my sleeping self, my awake self also gets restless very easily. Sure I could sit and watch a marathon on HGTV or Netflix before surgery, but I had the freedom to get up whenever I needed to move, go to the bathroom, refill my cup of water, and anything else. I still haven’t taken any pain medication other than Tylenol, but that may change as the night goes on.

Lastly, I realized that I was only given half of the antibiotic pills I was supposed to receive, so I only have enough to last me through tomorrow morning. I called the office but the emergency doctor just took my name and number and said that I would be called back at some point. If nothing has been done by tomorrow afternoon, I’m calling them back. I don’t want an infection!