Surviving a Triple Arthodesis ~ my biggest challenge yet.

Throughout our lives we encounter many trials and struggles. Sometimes we don’t understand and have moments of “Why has this happened to me”.

When these moments arise and situations change, each person/family has a different way of coping. Grief, stress, hardship and suffering are all dealt with in our own way.

As for myself when hardship arises, I try to look for the positive aspect ~ someone is always worst off than myself.

Here is my story:

At birth I was born with Talipes (left foot turned inwards). Corrective surgery was done when I was about 2.5 years old. Throughout my youth I had always had foot problems, aches and pains since my operation (although no one would ever had known I had a wonky looking foot) but was still able to play sports, walk and do everything a ‘normal’ person could do (I just put up with the strain pains as I knew no different).

After many doctor visits, scans, xrays, physiotherapy and finally seeing a podiatrist who fit me with a set of orthotics (this also including changing my footwear  choices).  It was the podiatrist that reccomended that I see a surgeon.  

In 2000, after my second child, I had a minor fall on my left ankle. From there things escalated, as I needed the aid of crutches, a walking stick and finally a full reconstruction operation.   




In 2002, I underwent a Triple Arthrodesis – I have four screws and a staple in my left ankle. (The reason I had to wait two years for this procedure was due to a 3rd pregnancy ~ my second and third daughter are 15 months apart).  You can read about  the operation at the above link. However I was basically in plaster for 14 weeks, immobile with 3 little kids (4yrs, 23 & 8 month old). At the time, my husband had to take a month off work to nurse me and run the household.  (Not forgetting to mention the help from my parents, family and friends). 

The first 5 years after my foot operation were fine (even with the weight of other pregnancies). However over the last 4 years, I have had problems on and off again.  Stabbing pains and spasms (almost like someone has shot a nail gun into my ankle).  Hence I had more scans, x rays and visited an Orthopaedic Surgeon (in September 2006). I was informed that the internal hardware had to be removed. I was not told this when I underwent the initial surgery in 2002 though. My husband and I went away undecided and took our time pondering the idea. During the next few years, I had a July 2006 and a 2008 baby (number 6 & 7); I had my good and bad days and got use to the pain (after all I have had 7 kids ~ labour pain IS FAR WORSE right) 😛

I also had to take into consideration that my husband was not home often. His job required him to be away from the home, so I was unable to even contemplate having MORE surgery. The initial 14 weeks of recovery was still clear in the mind. This year however, I had planned to do many things.

My foot seemed to be going well again; only slight twinges, nothing to worry about.  So with one child at home, I was able to do things for myself & others. I planned on helping my friends with other large families – housework, meals (cooking for my friend with twins) and be adventurous (perhaps even join the gym I have been so wanting to do over the last few years). 

Yet, as I said above “we encounter many trials and struggles. Sometimes we don’t understand and have moments of “Why has this happened to me”; and low and behold, my ankle has come back with a vengeance.

The last two weeks has been hectic. Those that know me would agree that I am a ‘busy mum’, I keep moving, working to keep on top of things. To have an impediment is pure agony. So, I have had to take it easy to say the least.  

My foot has been having constant spasms (all day) which has resulted in too many follow up Doctor appointments, more x-rays, an ultra sound and MRI on my left knee as well (all connected).  My next step is to see another Orthopaedic Surgeon and this is booked in for Friday 16th March.

I have no idea what is next, and I HATE IT.  This is the real struggle, not knowing, not being able to organise my week, month etc.  The pain I can handle….it’s the not knowing.

So, most of you reading may be thinking ~ how does one see a positive aspect in all the above? Well, I believe things happen for a reason and work out for the best; good news comes from bad etc.  (My children have been fantastic and helping a great deal. The little ones didn’t quite understand what was wrong with me until I showed them my x-rays with the screws inside the foot).

Therefore, my husband will return home this Sunday afternoon after a long haul of working overseas, he plans to take some time off AND after Easter he begins a new job.  One that will keep him home and he will be home EVERY night of the week. So, if this isn’t something positive, then I don’t know what is. 

So, my next step is to keep positive, “breathe” through the pains and humble myself in getting a walking stick or pair of crutches (anyone want to lend me some)?  I am not going to stress though, as there IS someone worse off out there than me.

PART 2 can be read here


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  1. John John
    25, January 2014    

    ****I had my triple arthrodesis done October 31 2013 I had gone 14 years needing this surgery, and had no insurance Preexisting conditions by the time I got peci I did so through Highmark blue cross blue shield, and this is where my problems began insurance was 280.00 a month 80 – 20 policy and 6,000.00 deductible I have to say, I have had other problems back surgery, arthritis in both knees and left ankle it took 6 month to have all the testing was done which included 3.5 hour mri starting lower back both knees and ankle, so you could call me a basket case, well compared notes between three different surgeons and the decision was made do left foot first get going again then have left knee and right then the back, best made plans. Well just as I reached my 6,000.00 deductible and date was set for the triple arthrodesis I got a letter from Highmark that they were no longer going to provide insurance coverage to me. I was turned over to PCIP a government insurance, so again I had the monthly payment plus a second deductible so start over again rescheduled surgery and had it done, while he was in there he had to fuse my metatarsal too, I was to spend I day in hospital,that turned into 5 because they could not get the pain controlled blood pressure kept shooting up, when I left the hospital I went home on 30 mg morphine+ Percocet 10 mg and deluded 5mg great news I met my second deductible for the year. during the forth week my calf became very painful swollen, and foot turned purple and dark red foot surgeon said that was often seen keep it elevated. I went to my family doc for a sinus problem he asked to see the foot and sent me right to the hospital. They did an ultrasound found blood clots in the surgery leg, calf and behind the knee. The hospital knew something I did not, they taught me how to do injections in stomach with lovanox morning and night along with 10 mg warfarin. Total cost 5,000.00 dollars we got the scripts went home got the mail, now I know what the hospital new before I did. I was dropped by the government PCIP policy so it is now January was given the go ahead to walk on the foot with the boot in place, I thought great I can get moving again second week I felt a loud snap in the foot it was accompanied with tremendous swelling and pain went back to the surgeon only to find out the noise I felt and heard was that, two tendons tearing in that foot. I had signed up for Obama care as soon as I found out I was being canceled by PCIP as I was told to do four weeks have gone by I have no insurance the doc wants me to have therapy, but no one will do it because I have no healthcare. Now the foot is so swelled there is no movement in the foot at all, I sit here with ice, and keep it elevated I am back on the pain pills. the doc didn’t want to say it, but I could tell by his expressions he fused the foot on a bad angle when I walk the only part that makes contact is the left outside rear and back heal of foot my toes and right side of foot don’t touch the ground I say this much the pain I had prior to surgery is gone it was replaced by new pain., and I have no idea where I am going to go from here, the time I spent recovering my left leg is free of all strength there is literally nothing holding that knee together so here I am lost again with no health care needing help and I am left to adlib my own therapy trying to ride a stationary bike at the gym,when I can get up moral of my story I wish I would never have got the healthcare in the first place.

    • 25, January 2014    

      John, that sounds like the most terrible ordeal. With all the money you spent, you could have flown over to Australia and had it done here. 😉

      When I had mine done, I also did not have private health insurance and yes the costs were high at the time. Insurance back in 2002 was not worth it and I figured I would have already spent around the same amount for the surgery and hospital cover if I had paid for cover during those previous years.

      Today I have health cover and am benefiting from the rebates etc. These cover many future scans I need, orthotics and footwear along with my various follow up appointments.

      I hope you get some relief and have everything sorted as soon as possible.

      God Bless

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