Friday, July 29

Surgery or Not?

This time it's me considering surgery and not TB. When I was very heavy, the ligaments in my ankles or lower legs stretched out and my feet went flat. The problem is more pronounced in my left ankle. When I walk barefoot, it looks like my ankle could almost touch the floor. I've been wearing a brace on that foot for five years, at least. I have an insert for my right shoe.

Sometimes it hurts a lot. I definitely become uncomfortable standing or walking for any length of time. When I was heavy, the surgeon was reluctant to try surgery because, of course, the weight could just cause the ligament to fail again. I didn't like that answer but it made sense.

So now I've lost about 150 lbs with the switch. I thought, hmmm, maybe I can get my foot fixed now. If I worked as a teacher's aide or substitute teacher I'd be standing a lot. From the week I spent in the classroom in the spring, I know it would be hard as is. My orthopedic doctor sent me for an MRI of my foot and then referred me to a colleague who specializes in ankles and feet.

We saw him yesterday and he told me I had a "stage 2" posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. Whatever you call it, it's caused this flat foot and weakness. He had some weight bearing X-rays taken and it turns out I've got arthritis growing in too.

Then he talked about the ways we could treat it. Yes, he can do surgery. He'd have to take a tendon from a toe and put it in place of the stretched out tendon. I felt a little squeamish but that's not the end of it. He would also have to cut through bone to move my heel over! Full recovery and physical therapy would take a year! Yikes!

If that procedure didn't work, he would have to do more surgery involving opening my foot and messing with bones.

Another choice is to fuse my foot but then I wouldn't have movement in my ankle.

The third choice is to just keep going as is.

I had a plantar's wart on the bottom of my foot right where the doctor would have to make his incision. He wouldn't do anything anyway until that heals. Right now I've been seeing a dermatologist to try and freeze it off. The wart has been especially troublesome because the brace puts a lot of pressure on it. It hurts a lot to walk.

I have a lot of time to think this through. I'm not in excrutiating pain but then I don't do a lot of standing or walking either. I have a feeling I'd need the surgery if I wanted to get a job in a school. The idea of having my foot fused is totally unappealing right now. I'd want to do that only if I had a huge arthritis problem and was in agony.

I could always just let things alone and use a brace. Maybe I could work this way. I'm just not sure if I can and it would suck to get a job and then say oh, now I need to take a year off because I need this surgery.

I can take as long as I need to figure out what I want to do.

1 comment:

The Chair Speaks said...

Oh dear, it really is a tough decision. All the best to you. Hugs!

Grace In Small Things

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