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This Six Week Journey
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On December 5, 2022, I had major surgery on my right foot and calf. The surgery lasted for three hours, and Dr. Zikowski said it was successful! I am an avid walker who treks through the trails in the woods every day until suddenly, I encountered terrible foot pain beginning at the insides of my ankles into the arches of my feet. I didn’t know it at the time, but my arches completely broke down last year which caused major havoc to my feet. I could still walk, but shorter distances, and for a while there, hardly at all because of the pain. My regular doctor thought maybe it was tendonitis and instructed me to stay off my foot and ice it. So I did. And it was horrible because I missed the woods so much.

After a period of time, I felt good and went out to walk again. I was able to go on three hikes when suddenly the pain in my feet struck again. My doctor referred me to a foot specialist/orthopedic surgeon. I had to wait for my appointment. That’s where I found out I had severe posterior tibial tendonitis in both feet as well as gastrocnemius equinus. Apparently, my calves tighten up so I’ve never been able to walk properly. Why didn’t I know this before I was 65 years old? My gosh! She said I had the flattest feet she’d ever seen which is weird because I knew I didn’t have flat feet. At least I thought I didn’t? She said I’d need surgery in both of my feet to fix the problem, but for now, I should get insoles for flat feet. She told me which kind to get, and I immediately purchased them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted surgery right away. I thought maybe I could get physical therapy to help me.

But after months of dealing with pain in my feet, I finally decided to go for it. I was terrified because I haven’t had surgery in over 30 years, and never foot surgery. But in the 1980s, I had carpal tunnel surgery in both hands when it was still new and invasive. I had a bad case from the computer terminals that weren’t set up ergonomically. Ironically, I worked for Workers Compensation Division when I was diagnosed with horrible pain and tingling in both hands shooting up to my shoulders. I was a single mom with three young kids then. Everyone warned me not to get the surgery. It was too risky. But nothing else was working. I wore those wrist braces, but they didn’t help at all. Finally, I said to heck with it. I’m getting the surgery. I received three months of workers’ comp thank heavens, and in three months I had surgery in both hands, not at the same time. I went through some pain and a healing process. But the carpal tunnel went away and never returned even after all these years.

That’s what made me decide to go for the surgery. I did not realize, however, how difficult the six weeks of no weight on my foot would be. I was basically stuck in one room because there were stairs from one room to the other, and those were impossible for me, especially at first. I stared out the same window every day with my cat at the foot of the bed. I used a knee scooter to get to the restroom or I used my office chair with wheels. After two weeks, I received the rigid cast that would not allow my foot to move. I had to sit down and slide down the stairs and my boyfriend used different level chairs to help me up. Oh yeah, when I came home from the hospital, one of my boyfriend’s friends got me up the stairs piggyback style! Then it was back to the one room once again. I did have Christmas lights up and a small Christmas tree on top of my dresser. I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit my family, my kids and grandkids, in California. Only my one older son came over to visit with his girlfriend. My boyfriend of course hung out with me when he could. He also had to help his mom as well.

It was the hardest thing I ever went through. I’m happy to say I’m on the other side but working hard to gain strength in my right foot so that in a few months I can go through all this again for my left foot. I must be a glutton for punishment!

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