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!

Foot surgery in 1 week!

My foot surgery is is one week! I’m so excited to finally get this taken care of, but I’m nervous about the recovery. I signed up to coach volleyball at school this fall, so I really hope my feet don’t negatively impact my ability to do all that coaching entails. I also just enjoy walking and running and frolicking and working out, so I really don’t want to be off my feet for too long.

Here are a couple before pictures:

Bunions

So yeah, gross. They look even worse when I’m not standing and putting pressure on my feet because the angle of my bunions is even more dramatic. You can see how large the inner bunions are. They make all shoes, even sneakers and casual shoes like [knock-off] Toms, tight and uncomfortable. And heels? Forget it.

You can also see how crooked my baby toes are with mini-bunions of their own. So like I said in the post about my podiatrist consultation, the podiatrist will be removing both the inner and outer bunions, fixing my crooked hammertoes (the baby ones), and cutting the tendon that has caused the bunions.

My feet have been really painful lately, whether I’m running or just walking, wearing shoes or going barefoot. They just ache.

So I’m ready for them to go!

My First Podiatrist Consultation

Today I went to a podiatrist to look into getting my feet cut off. Well, just pieces of them. They’re called bunions. And they suck.

I’ve had bunions since my early teens and they have become increasingly painful and ugly now that I’m 25. I’ve always had trouble finding comfortable shoes that my wide feet will fit into. And forget about finding cute shoes that won’t accentuate or make my bunions look and feel worse.

Now that I have an adult job with good insurance (yay adulthood!) I decided to finally take steps to get surgery for my bunions. A hairdresser at a local salon in Long Island had her bunions “done” by this guy last year and had nothing but good things to say about her experience. She said he did the procedure right in the office and it is minimally invasive, so she was able to walk out of the office the same day. There were no long incisions (and, therefore, no crazy scars), and no surgical boots for the following six months as her cuts and bones healed like traditional bunion surgery.

So of course I got the name of her podiatrist and called to make a consultation appointment! Although she recommended one name, it is actually a team of two doctors – one is more of the surgeon while the other takes care of pre- and post-op stuff. Dr. Kirell and Dr. Weisenthal work at Footech Podiatry in Plainview, New York (Long Island) and I am really happy that I went with them!

The fact that they were willing to see me the day after Thanksgiving was amazing. They only planned on seeing people for follow-ups but they made the exception for me since I teach in Brooklyn and they are usually closed on days that I have off for holidays.

The office space is small with only the waiting room and two other rooms – one is the room where consultations and follow-ups happen and the other is where the magic happens (surgery). My mother-in-law drove me and came in the office with me, and right off the bat we were greeted by Dr. Kirell and Dr. Weisenthal. They were playing receptionist today because they were the only two in the office – they let all the other employees stay home!

I filled out the paperwork and was led right into the consultation room with Dr. Weisenthal who told me to take my shoes and socks off. My nightmare. I’ve worn sandals in the past but never without embarrassment over my ugly, deformed feet. In the summer, I’m rarely without socks and have gotten into the habit of just wearing sneakers not only to conceal my hideous feet but also because they are more comfortable for me. But then again, messed up feet are their job and these guys have seen much worse, so whatever.

He immediately said that bunions are usually hereditary, but are also caused by friction and rubbing of the shoes on the toes. He started pushing and pulling gently on my feet, working my toes, and just seeing the movement and feeling the bones.

Bunion image

Verdict: I have major bunions on both of my big toes, I also have small bunions on the outsides of both feet because of the larger bunions, and my baby toes have become hammertoes. All of this because of the shifting and rubbing from years and years of the bunions becoming worse. It’s like the domino effect – once one thing falls or shifts, it causes other things to shift, etc. and so on.

He explained the entire procedure for both feet, informing me that there would be a total of 5 tiny (5 mm each) holes where they would stick their tools in to fix my feet. Two would be near my big toe – one is to fracture my big toe to shift it over, then the other would be on the bunion itself so that they could essentially liquify the excess bone. He explained that the tool is meant to make the bone into a toothpaste consistency and then they squeeze the liquid out of the foot through the hole. Yummy. Now go brush your teeth with that visual.

The third hole will be at the base of my middle toe so they can create small cuts in the tendon to release the tension that causes the toes to be pulled back all the time. The last two holes will be for my small toe – the one for the small bunion and the other to shave down the bone for the hammertoe.

Whew. My feet are even more screwed up than I thought! But I’m so excited that I’m taking care of it now because the pain and ugliness are just very frustrating, and it will only get worse as time goes on.

I have to call the office next week to try to make an appointment for the surgery over the summer. Dr. Weisenthal said that they recommend summer for teachers because then we’re not on our feet for hours every day. Although we’re able to walk and be on our feet starting the day of surgery, it just isn’t comfortable because of the amount of swelling. “The healing process for this procedure is all about the swelling – your feet will be swollen for the first two months, but it will get much better after those 2 months.” So I’ll have to have really loose and open shoes for the first 2 months (all summer), but he said I can go swimming with my bandages. How convenient?!

Oh, he also complimented my small toes and called them cute. He said that most times, he has patients with bunions who waited until they were older, so their smaller toes end up as hammertoes and become deformed as well. He said that I will end up with really cute feet after the surgery. Less/no pain AND cute feet?! Sweet!

I just can’t wait until the surgery because I have dealt with these things for over 13 years, so it’ll be amazing to finally be rid of them! Dr. Weisenthal told me they’re booked solid until October, but they usually save room for teachers over the summer; how thoughtful?! I’ll definitely update when I get the appointment, start preparing, and actually go through with the surgery. And of course I’ll include pictures!