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.


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