Monday, February 27, 2012
Walking In Sand
I have had two ankle fusion surgeries in less than 7 years that have essentially put my ankle in a permanent 90 degree angle - it kind of looks like a hockey stick or a boomerang or as it is fondly called in one of my circles, a kickstand. My ankle does not move, at all. I can wiggle my toes a little bit, but other than that, nothing.
This is very hard to explain to people or it's very hard for people to understand, I'm not really sure what statement is more correct. I feel like I explain it well, but then I see that far away, blank look in the person's eye and the babbling really starts. I've even been to an internal medicine physician a time or two who after being told that I have an ankle fusion ask me to move my foot. Sure, okay, yeah, let me break that solid bond of fused bone with my super power strength just so you can see me move my ankle.
To say I get frustrated sometimes is an understatement. I hate coming across as angry regarding my explanation all of the time, but it does grow old trying to articulate that my ankle.does.not.move. Then I hit the spiral down into the rabbit hole of being depressed over my disability, and it gets more out of control from there. Hey! Maybe I can start a Twitter trend of #F (for FUSION) and wear a scarlet #F on my foot. I mean, Angelina Jolie's leg has her own hash tag for her leg, why wouldn't it work for my foot? I've never been one to get into fashion trends too much, but it's never too late to start, right?
Currently I am almost 10 months post-op from my second ankle fusion surgery. In my first surgery I had the large ankle joint (the one that allows you to move your foot up and down) fused. This is called a tibia talar fusion. My second ankle fusion was a on the smaller joint below the larger one that allows your ankle to have side-to-side movement. This is called a sub-talar ankle fusion. Many people who have a tibia talar ankle fusion do end up going on to get a sub-talar ankle fusion because that small joint just can't hold up to the pressure. For me there really wasn't a question of having to have the second ankle fusion surgery, but when will I need it? Sometimes I think it came too soon, and other times I am glad to have it out of the way.
Last week I spent 7 glorious days in Englewood, Florida along with every Canadian Snow Bird in the entire world, except for the 5 who spend the winter in my county. I saw more license plates from Canada last week than I did when I practically lived on the Canadian border as a child. But, the beach and the water were wonderful, and I spent time walking in the sand collecting shark's teeth and seashells to add to my growing collection.
For the first time in I can't remember when, my ankle did not hurt when I walked through the sand. I didn't have that constant pain and worry about getting from the top of the beach to the surf. It wasn't perfectly easy, but it was so much better than it used to be before both ankle fusion surgeries. I walked farther and longer this past week in flip flop and bare feet than I have in over a year in sensible shoes. It was a pretty awesome feeling.
I have some some ideas of what my ankle future holds, but I will pull a Scarlett O'Hara and think about that tomorrow. Today I want to remember my week of walking in sand.