Before Christmas, I mentioned that I had fallen (again) and fractured my fibula. Of course many friends asked how, or why I fell. Like many of my fellow osteoarthritis sufferers, my balance can be precarious at times, so I just chalked it up to my OA and its increasing involvement in my life.
I sometimes feel that my osteoarthritis is like the "plague that ate Chicago." It can be so invasive and there's little or nothing we can do to stop it!!! After being shuffled from doctor to doctor in a clinic (you've ALL been there, unfortunately), I finally was referred (GRATEFULLY) back to the large orthopedic group that I've been going to. It was like "old home week" for me and I received hugs and waves from much of the staff. I wasn't happy to be limping and on crutches again, but knew that I was very much in a safe place where I could actually get the medical help I needed.
After the doctor waded through my extensive files, she looked at the current Xrays. Much to my amazement, she said I fell BECAUSE my leg was broken. I didn't fall and break my leg. I just happened to have a few questions about that one: what a crazy theory (but of course I haven't quite finished my MD degree, so decided I'd better listen)!! My ankle joint has deteriorated rapidly which makes my leg and foot positions into an unnatural one, causing stress on the lower leg and ultimately producing a fracture! I was shown on the X-rays how they could determine what had happened. All of this was incredibly interesting, but ultimately, I wondered "What next?"
Well, I'm in an air-cast and still on crutches, an extra challenge since I live in snow country. It was also decided that, once this fracture is healed, I'll have 2 surgeries. I have to have my foot operated on first, and when that's healed, THEN, the ankle. I thought I was getting a "bunion" on my left foot; however, with the X-rays close-by, we discovered my foot looks that way because the big toe joint is destroyed and the toe has no support, so I will have to have a joint replacement (thank you very much osteoarthritis)! Actually, I had this surgery on the other foot several years ago, so I think of this as hopefully a way to help my balance. And it will be such a fashion statement -- my big toes will finally match again!!
Some people really don't understand why I'm in such a good mood about all of this. My reality is that we're finally living in a solution and NOT the problem. No, I don't like or want joint replacement surgeries, but I WILL go through whatever is necessary to help fix my problems. These surgeries will actually put me up to 8 orthopedic surgeries in the last 9 years. I'm incredibly grateful that the medical advances, as well as the skills of my awesome orthopedic surgeons make all of this possible. I'm also very realistic, knowing that if this was going on in me maybe 20 years ago, I would have been stuck in a wheelchair. A friend recently asked me, "With all of these new surgeries, what about returning to Africa?
My reply was, "Gee, at this stage, I don't know if I can make it out of my driveway!"
Another friend commented that it was great, if this had to happen, that it did so in America where I can get the medical help I need, rather than when I was living in Africa where, unfortunately, modern medicine is definitely NOT alive and well. Yes, things happen when they happen for a reason.
I had wondered what I'd be doing until the "Spring thaw." Obviously, I now have a lot going on. Because my walking is very limited for the next few months, I am FINALLY going to be working on my book. Friends have "nagged" me about this for years, so I now have the unique opportunity to actually write. I also have found that, as a professional nature photographer, there's a major advantage in having to have my prospective customers come to my house: the person who'd planned on purchasing one framed picture, now has the opportunity for more shopping!!!
So, yes, I'm incredibly grateful. We're dealing in solutions not living in the problem. I live in an area where wonderful orthopedic help is readily available. Yes, I'll be "gimpy" AGAIN for a few months, but it's snow and ice time in our area so I'll stay home and write. I have wonderful supportive friends that I know will help with almost anything I need IF I WILL ASK (I'm not too good about asking for help). I WILL NOT LET OSTEOARTHRITIS CONTROL MY LIFE. It's onward and upward in my "quest" to become truly, a healthy and bionic Gramma!!!
Published On: January 12, 2009