Another reconstructive foot surgery ...

Surgery finally confirmed and it is set for next Wednesday. In speaking to my orthopedic surgeon during the pre-op, this may be the riskiest operation I've ever had due to the skin graft/free flap on top of the foot. Recall that there's a living muscle (taken from my upper leg) below the skin graft. In order to access the bones at midfoot, both the muscle and skin graft need to be carefully "lifted" off the foot. This procedure will be performed by my plastic surgeon. After my ortho surgeon has completed fusing the bones, my plastic surgeon will reinstall the skin graft & muscle. Thankfully this will be a 2-4 hour operation which is much less than the 10-hour types I've had in the past. I have to spend at least 2 days in the hospital after that.

Here's the entire procedure:
  • fuse the navicular bone to the cuneiforms at midfoot in an attempt to eliminate the bone pain
  • shift part of the heel distally (outward from foot) in order to straighten the foot as well as hopefully walk better. For an unknown reason, my right foot healed crooked after the 2013 operation
  • perform 2 osteotomies (removal of bone) from areas on the bottom of the foot in order to reduce pressure points when walking
I'm set on this being the last one for my right foot. If it works then awesome, if not, I'll just live with it. In the event it is successful, then I'll consider the same bone fusion for the left foot. There's the same pain at midfoot but it's not as severe as the right. We'll see.

I also have something else going on next week which I will briefly explain. Last year in October, I was indirectly involved in a criminal matter. After stating several times that I did not want involvement in court hearings, last week, I found out that I've been subpoenaed to testify in court. The trial date, believe it or not, begins this Monday.

I've told the prosecuting attorney's secretary that I have surgery on Wednesday that I will not miss. Her response is although the trial will last the entire week, I may be called in any day but likely Monday or Tuesday. Nevertheless, I am required to appear in court on Monday. At that time, I will provide documents of my pending operation to prove that I'm not trying to get out of testifying. That's all I will say here. If anyone is interested in a further elaboration, send a pm. Obviously when I found out about this subpoena, it caused a great deal of stress. So if anyone can keep this situation in their prayers as well, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you,
Ed
 
Some good news finally. Out of curiosity, I called the courthouse to check if there were any new messages this morning. The trial has been postponed. I'm unsure if it was due to me but I kept stating I have surgery Wednesday and was prepared to provide proof of that Monday morning. This certainly removes some stress as I am running out of time with things I need to do prior to Wednesday's operation.

Thank you for the prayers,
Ed
 
Ed is in a lot of pain and can use more prayers.
This. Thanks Cheryl.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the prayers. It's been about 10 days since the foot operation last Wednesday 4/27. The operation so far was a success. My doctor performed the procedures I described in an earlier post in order to fix what went wrong during 2013's operation.

I stayed in the hospital for 2 days. It was a difficult time. While there I was taking 4 oxycodone pills every 3 hours plus a minor shot of morphine to help deal with the pain. My body, unfortunately, reacted negatively to the high amount of narcotics. I developed complications. Upon my discharge, I decided to minimize the oxycodone use to 2 pills per day total. This certainly isn't enough to cover all the post-surgery pain I have but it minimizes the complications.

As a result, I am in a lot of pain & have difficulty sleeping. Plus I have this huge plaster cast that not only covers the foot but up to the knee. The added weight doesn't help especially when I lower the foot below my heart. About noon is when I take the oxycodone & it only lasts a couple hours.

I have xrays but they're not on disk; only scans from a printer & not high-quality. There's new hardware in my heel (1 plate & 4 screws). For the bones at midfoot, the original plate installed in 2013 was removed and replaced with new hardware. I can't tell by the xrays but it looks like there's 2 small plates followed by several longer screws that join several bones together including the navicular bone. Next Friday the cast comes off (yay) and I should be able to get new xrays on disc then. I'll post them then.

After dealing with the complications & all the pain, I've decided that this is the final operation for both feet. I don't think my body can handle another one. I'll just accept the outcome for the right foot and the left foot's bone pain will remain.

Speaking of the outcome for the right foot, I won't know if it helped until 2-3 months from now when I begin physical therapy.

Again, thank you for the prayers.
-Ed

As for the trial, it's now set to begin on June 13.
 

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
Been praying for you will keep doing so. Glad you finally got your op. Let us know if it gets better when you begin physical therapy. Did you ever get anywhere on the hearing and bone loss issues?
 
Been praying for you will keep doing so. Glad you finally got your op. Let us know if it gets better when you begin physical therapy. Did you ever get anywhere on the hearing and bone loss issues?
For the hearing issues I'm not sure if it's a miracle, but as of right now, I have no symptoms of the ear/hearing issues I once had. My left ear is no longer plugged or feels weird. And my hearing is perfect again. I do believe in the power of prayer and I believe prayer and faith played a major part in healing my ear. The hearing specialist said to only return if I lose hearing again. Thank you for the prayers.

Update for my left foot:

It's now a little over 3 weeks since the operation. Last Friday the cast and stitches were removed. I finally got a good look at my foot. And since I've been through this before, I wasn't shocked at how it looked. There are 4 incisions where my doctor worked on. The 2 major are at midfoot and at the heel. It's very swollen but expected.

In my last update I said that I was only taking 2 pain killers per day. I had to increase it to 4 due to pain and an inability to sleep. I closely monitored my body for complications. So far they've been minor. The other day I did try to return to 2 per day and the pain was too much :/ And now I can't sleep well again.

There are several areas on the foot that are numb due to the operation. The 5th toe is numb and it also hurts when touched. I've never experienced that before. It's slightly paler than the other toes. But when squeezed, the color does return so that's a good sign. My doctor said to not worry about it yet. I've also lost more movement in the toes. I could barely move them prior to the operation and now it's even more limited.

Surprisingly the bone pain at midfoot still exists. In the past, it would throb for only a second. Now it's prolonged and can throb from 2 to 5 seconds. Unfortunately this is excruciatingly painful. But I do hope and pray this is part of the healing process.

I did get the xrays taken on the day of surgery on a CD. When I viewed them at home, I noticed the xrays were from a fluoroscopy xray machine. This takes xrays in real time and can also record videos of bones moving. I noticed these xrays were taken from the actual operation itself as it shows a progression of the procedures performed. I've contemplated whether to shows these here but remembered of the use of the spoiler feature. There are links to 2 collages. The first consists of 4 xrays. The first 3 are images of my right foot taken on April 15, the day of the preop. The bottom right image actually begins the operation. This is where part of the heel is about to be sliced off and shifted as per the procedure.

The next collage consists of 9 xray images and displays the rest of the heel shift procedure and also the removal of old hardware and the installation of new in order to fuse the cuneiforms to the navicular bone.


Next up is a return to my doctor on June 10. I should receive a referral to begin physical therapy. It'll need to get approved which will may take 2-3 weeks. So maybe at the end of June, I should begin PT and placing weight on the foot.


Thank you for the support and prayers,
Ed
 
Hi everyone,

It's been nearly 2 months now since the April 27 operation to my right foot. As expected I begin physical therapy at a sports clinic tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. On June 10, I began some weightbearing with 45 lbs of my body weight in walking boot and crutches.

There's a schedule my doctor wants me to follow concerning weightbearing. Every 10 days, I add an extra 25% of my weight such that in 1 month (July 10), I'm able to take a step in a walking boot without the use of crutches. From past experience however, it usually takes 4-6 months to do this.

Since June 10, I've performed some PT on my own at home, which includes stretching the ankle and toes. Using the boot and crutches, I walk around the house for about 10 minutes or check the mail. That's enough as the pain increases rather quickly. As evening approaches the pain gets worse and continues on through the next day. As a result, I only walk every other day as I seriously need a day of rest. I have a recumbent bike at home. I tried riding it a week ago and could only muster riding for 1 minute due to pain and weakness. It's amazing how much muscle atrophy I lose within 2 months.

Pain remains an issue. It certainly makes it difficult to concentrate. I love to read but it's limited right now. With the operation I had in 2013, the pain from the surgery itself lasted almost 5 months. Though this operation wasn't as extensive, I'm still in the early stages of getting a handle on the pain.

I do have a specific prayer request for my foot. In the previous update, I wrote about how the 5th toe (smallest) is numb, pale, and would throb with pain. The symptoms remain. My doctor can only conclude the nerves are being blocked due to all the swelling. His only suggestion is to begin PT and put weight on the foot. If it continues to remain numb, the slightest bruise, cut, or ding, could result in healing complications. Yes I know, after all I've been through, all the operations, all the pain, and even having a toe amputated on my left foot, this numb toe is of great concern. Though some areas of my feet are slightly numb from the injury itself, I've never experienced a completely numb toe before and the way it became numb doesn't make sense. This toe was not part of the operation.

I finally have official xrays of the operation. I compiled 3 collages from different angles which consist of a before, before, and after of the right foot. The "bent rod" hardware installed that appear in the 3rd column of each of the collages serve as a spring to keep the bones compressed. Previously there were 3 plates and 19 screws. Now there's 4 plates and 22 screws. I also dug up some xrays from the 90s which display the foot in various stages of surgical operations. Those are in a 4th collage. I still have several xrays to scan for my left foot from the 90s. I'll provide links to those later.


Despite the toe issue, I continue to trust the Lord. He has sent little reminders throughout this current recovery that keeps my hope in Him. Thank you for the continued prayers,
Ed

As for testifying in court, the trial was postponed yet again. It's now set to occur next month.
 

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
Praying for you.

Random thought: With your engineering skills I wonder if you could jury rig the exercise bike to attach to your upper ankles rather than your feet. Sure your feet wouldn't get exercise but it may make getting the exercise the rest of your body needs easier.

Another Random thought: Does having all that metal in you give you problems going through metal detectors? Googles say yes they can but it seems to vary some.
 
Hi everyone. Well it's been a little over 2 months since my last update.

Unfortunately I don't have much good news to share. My right foot has not shown signs of improvement for about a month now. It's still swollen and hurts a lot. I can stand & walk unassisted in a walking boot for only a couple minutes at a time before the pain gets too much. After that, I need to sit or return to crutches. Sometimes I'll use a cane. At home, I'm still using a knee scooter. My doctor has refused to prescribe more pain killers. It seems like every doctor thinks a patient eventually abuses them. I've always been responsible with them.

Three-quarters of the bottom of the foot remains dull to touch. This is also the area that is swollen & is a source for significant pain. The fifth toe and part of the fourth toe remains pale, completely numb, and painful when standing. In seeing my doctor back in July, he said that a nerve may have been "stretched" when the heel was operated on, which consequently affected the bottom of the foot & toes. There's also this bruise by the ankle on the opposite side that has never gone away. He said it's just "wait and see" if feeling ever returns.

My foot remains crooked which makes walking even more difficult than before. The bone pain has been eliminated in the area that was a problem. However now there's bone pain in an unfused area of the navicular bone. I suspected this could happen and it did. If I step wrong or if the foot gets twisted in any way, my foot will spike with pain. I think I've discussed in the past that with each step I took, the entire foot would shift inward. Now it's much worse than before.

I think I can say that this last operation made my foot worse with possibly permanent drawbacks. My doctor will be in for a treat when I see him in October when I'll still be in crutches and a walking boot. I have a prescription for custom orthotics and shoes but I don't see the point with the foot still swollen.

I'll have more news soon about another operation I may need for my elbow. It hasn't improved either & currently waiting to get an MRI.

Faith remains strong. Satan is looking in the wrong place if he thinks I'll ever question the Lord.
 
Praying for you.

Random thought: With your engineering skills I wonder if you could jury rig the exercise bike to attach to your upper ankles rather than your feet. Sure your feet wouldn't get exercise but it may make getting the exercise the rest of your body needs easier.

Another Random thought: Does having all that metal in you give you problems going through metal detectors? Googles say yes they can but it seems to vary some.
Sorry for the late reply Gerbil. I can ride a recumbent bike now using Teva sandals. I can ride for about 30 minutes in a low resistance setting. It's the only part of physical therapy where I've shown improvement.

In the few times I've flown, the metal implants sometimes shows up on scanners. It's 50/50. I have this laminated TSA disability card that I give to the screeners prior to entering.
 
Hi everyone,

Well it’s been a little over two months since my last update. I have a lot of news to share today. First thing is, my foot started showing signs of improvement again in September. The reason my foot didn’t show signs of improvement in August was due to the heat and humidity. As the temperatures began cooling in September, the swelling in my foot began to reduce and the pain from the operation did diminish a little as well.

Last month in October, I visited with my doctor for a follow-up. At first I thought it would be routine but certainly not the case. I first said how the bone pain has only shifted to a part of the navicular bone that wasn’t fused. Next, I discussed the ongoing numbness in the foot. (There’s been no improvement.) His reply was the same as last time in which he stated the nerves may grow back in due time. He also said that no operation can repair nerve damage. What he said next was shocking. He said that my bones have healed and that there’s not much else he could do. So he discharged me.

My doctor did suggest to stop using the walking boot and return to my old shoes and orthotics while I wait for the new ones. Since the bottom of my foot changed, the old orthotic just doesn’t fit right. Right now I walk with a bad limp and cannot walk far. I’m hoping this improves in time and with new shoes and orthotics.

It’s only been six months and admittedly I was stunned because I’m still having problems and the foot doesn’t feel right with the numbness. When I got home I made some phone calls which were reassuring. Even though I’ve been discharged medical coverage does not end. I can continue with physical therapy. I remain off work for now. In January, I’ll return to my doctor to discuss several forms that need to be completed. This has to do with work, a disability rating, and documentation for a disability retirement. In addition, I’ll ask if he can recommend another surgeon for a second opinion. I also seek to see a nerve specialist due to the numbness which I will talk more about.

In the past couple weeks, what I can only guess is nerve pain, has appeared in the numb areas of the foot. I’ve never experienced this type of pain before. It starts with the numb toe then spreads to the dull areas of the foot. It's at its worse in the morning and evening. Add this to the pain from the surgery, bone pain, and the overall chronic pain in both feet, it makes for difficult days.

During my last prayer update, I briefly discussed my elbow. When I was finally able get off crutches in September, I returned to my doctor to have my elbow looked at. As to review, in January of this year tendinitis appeared in my right elbow. I’ve been dealing with tendinitis off and on since 2003. In February I got a cortisone shot and it didn’t help. In April I have the foot surgery. I guess with the added stress of using crutches, it put a lot of pressure on my elbow. In May I went to pick up something fairly light and something in my elbow popped. I had a feeling it was a ligament but healing from the foot surgery came first. In late September I got an MRI of the elbow. It showed obvious tendinitis with a build-up of heavy inflammation and a partial tear of the outer ligament (known as RCL). This is the reason my elbow never improved and became worse over time. Right now I am limited in using my right hand. While I minimize computer use, I use the mouse with my left hand. I recently bought dictation software and I’m trying it out for the first time writing this prayer update :)

On November 16, I’m having my elbow operated on to remove the inflammation caused by tendinitis and to reattach the ligament to the bone. Recovery time is three months and I’m hoping it is a speedy recovery.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and pray so I’m not completely overwhelmed as I was when I first got the news I was discharged. Prayers are appreciated for the continued healing of my foot. This is also in line with the numbness. It would be nice if complete feeling returns. Then add the nerve damage and the overall pain. Next for a smooth and uncomplicated elbow operation.

Thank you,
-Ed

My favorite devotional is Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest. I recently read this in it:

Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him – a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15).
 
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