Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Year Anniversary!

Well... here it is, my one year anniversary. Had my follow-up a couple of days ago and my surgeon says everything looks great. The implant has fused well to my bone and the bone appears to have gotten stronger. The scar is healing well and although it is still visible, it is lighter. My range of motion is good.


My left foot is still somewhat numb and tingly on the bottom but the sensation is definitely less than it was before. I still wear sneakers for extra cushion; heels are no longer an option. My left ankle and calf muscles are still weaker than my right and standing for long periods of time are uncomfortable, but overall I am not experiencing any limitations. There are times my ankle does feel sore, but the discomfort seems to be muscular and not the implant itself. Now it's just a matter of strengthening.


Life has been very good. I have been so active, going places and doing things I would never have been able to do before this surgery. This past summer we went on a vacation that required lots of walking. I've done some light hiking. I'm able to clean my entire house in one afternoon, rather than breaking it up into two afternoons. I can carry things up and down the stairs with ease. I'm able to be on my feet for two and a half hours at the animal shelter in the morning, and then run errands later that same day. I've joined a gym, swim laps in the pool and ride my bike (on pavement, of course) for exercise.


To anyone who is considering having this surgery done, I say go for it! Your ankle will never be the same again... but when you fractured it you knew that, didn't you? You may have some limitations. There may be things you will no longer be able or permitted to do. I was a passionate mountain biker and I have had to give that up. But in return there are many, many other things I can do now that I couldn't do before. There is no more pain or discomfort. There are no more excuses.


When considering this surgery, another important factor to remember is having emotional and physical support. This is a major surgery and the recovery period will be different for everyone, but it is crucial to have a good team behind you. Someone to visit you in the hospital. Someone to bring you home. Someone to help you shower. Someone to help you up and down the stairs. Someone to bring you things you may not be able to grab yourself. Someone to hold your hand when the pain comes and remind you that you made the right decision.


If you are also considering ways to stay fit and strengthen your ankle again after the surgery and after your physical therapy, remember to check with your surgeon and/or physical therapist about any limitations you may have. No matter what family or friends or coworkers may tell you, remember that you want this implant to last a long time. There are plenty of activities you can do without putting any additional stress or weight on your ankle, and that don't involve impact to your ankle. Be smart and trust your instincts.


Thank you to my family, who were there for me when I needed them most. Thank you to my friends, who were there to cheer me on. Thank you all for reading this blog; I hope I have been of some help to you. Most of all, thank you to Dr. Ayal Segal and Pro Sports Physical Therapy for giving me my life back. :)

15 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! This brought happy tears to my eyes, I couldn't be more thrilled for you and your new and improved life, how exciting!! Thank you SO MUCH for this terrific blog, this will surely give many lots of hope! Take care, and all the best to you!

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  2. Thank you Suzanne... I will be keeping an eye on your blog as well! I'm glad I was able to help you and hopefully both of us can help others with our stories. :-)

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  3. Christine,

    Just read your entire blog! I just had my ankle replacement on October 28, 2011. I also have the Salto Talaris. I can't tell you how reading through your weeks of recovery will benefit me. This Friday will be my second week and so far, things are going great. The pain, at times, is rough. My nights are uncomfortable with waking moments of pain or just not finding a comfortable position. Depression set in during my first week as I was not able to do anything. I am very lucky to have a great family support. Without them, I would not have even been able to choose ankle replacement. I turned 40 this year, and like you, was struggling with everyday activities. I was in pain everyday and normal family outing were difficult. I can only hope I have a great recovery like you did. Your blog was very inspirational to me.

    I will say that; I was hoping that I would be able to wear small heels after this :)

    Thank you for this wonderful blog and Best of Luck to you!!

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  4. Congratulations - I read your blog from beginning to end while I was recovering from my second ankle fusion this past Spring and Summer.

    I know that this is more than likely the next step for me, and reading your progress is very exciting!

    Congrats on getting your life back!

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  5. Hi Millie... good luck with your recovery. Stay strong and no matter how tough things seem to be, remember that you made the right decision!

    Talk to your doctor about the small heels. I have always been a tomboy so giving up heels was not very hard for me. Of course, it's nice to wear them once in a while but I personally don't want to take a chance twisting my ankle. And then there is the comfort aspect; sneakers are the best thing for me because of the cushiony soles. :-)

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  6. Good luck with your recovery, Tuesday, and good luck with ankle replacement, if that is your next step. I was under the impression that once the ankle was fused replacement was no longer an option, but if it is for you that's great! I wish you the best. :-)

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  7. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for the weekly updates on your recovery. Glad every thing worked out well for you. I am having my TAR (salto talaris) April 25th. Dr O'Malley @ Hospital for Special Surgery will be doing it. I had an Ankle Distraction in 2009, but that didn't work, so this is a last option. I hope I get the great outcome you had...can't wait to get my life back. Best of luck to you and stay well!!

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  8. Hi Denise,

    Good luck with your surgery! I'm sure you will have a wonderful outcome and will be out there enjoying life again soon. :-)

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  9. Hi! I just had a STAR ankle replacement on march 15. Spent one night in the hospital and then came home to keep it elevated for 2 weeks. Getting the cast and stitches off this Wednesday.
    Thanks for posting your information. It's nice to see what others have experienced I'm 44 years old and after 10 days the pain during the day is subsiding but sleeping is difficult. My foot moves around a bit in the cast and I must move it and flex it in my sleep because the sharp throbbing pain wakes me up! After reading the blogs and comments I realize that the swelling must be going down because there is more wiggle room in the cast
    Getting nervous about starting to walk on it soon
    Thanks again for sharing your experience

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    1. Hi Ellie I am sorry I didn't reply sooner... unfortunately I have not been on this site in a long time! I hope your recovery has gone well and that you are back on your feet and living life again. :-)

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  11. Dear Christine

    I just had to write! Six weeks ago I had a total ankle joint replacement in the UK using a Zenith replacement joint. I'm 71 years young and have always been very healthy, and active and am a real light weight (145lbs)

    In a couple of days time I'm due to have my plaster cast off and hopefully will be sent away with an Aircast type of boot, and then expect to be starting my excercises. Mind you I've been walking about 1.5 miles a day light weight bearing on the bad ankle and using both crutches. Been off all pain killers for a week and all going well.

    Hope this helps someone. BTW I've just re-read all of your blog. Quite inspirational. So many thanks.
    Richard

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    1. Hello Richard, I am sorry I haven't replied sooner but I have not been on this blog for a while! (I should set my updates so I receive email notifications.) Sounds like your recovery was going very well and I hope you have had continued success!

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  12. Dear Christine

    Thanks for your reply. I'm just over one year post TAR and generally am very pleased with my progress though I do still have some tenderness of both shins of the effected ankle. Also when walking up a steep slope i have discomfort from the front of my leg right at the bottom. Your blog was a great inspiration for me and I'm sure very many other people.

    Best wishes

    Richard

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