Saturday, February 18, 2006

Opinions from Specialists

I love the wacky, unplanned way life works sometimes ... unplanned to me, but not unplanned to God, I assume.
Right before Christmas I was shopping and ran into Martha. Martha is a women that I causally knew over the past decade or so. She is a friend of a friend and she used to shop at our garden center. Then in late 2004, when I was doing physical therapy, Martha was also doing therapy for a hip issue she was dealing with. We didn't connect a lot during therapy because it took most of my energy to concentrate on what I needed to do, but we had the connection of health issues.
As we stopped and talked in December, I was happy to hear that a surgery had taken care of the pain she had been dealing with for some time. She encouraged me to check out Georgetown University at Washington DC where she had the surgery done that gave her relief.

Last week, Jerry and I took the trek to DC for opinions on what, if anything can be done for my left leg. There are three issues I want addressed ... the pain in my thigh from the damaged nerves, the limited range of motion in my ankle and my scared/deformed calf.

I had an appointment with Dr. Ducic - a reconstructive plastic surgeon that also specializes in chronic post-traumatic pain. I also wanted to see Dr. Attinger, the head of the reconstructive plastic surgery department. He was on call in the ER that day, but his nurse said she would have him called up if he was not tied up at the time I was there.

To make a long story short ... by four in the afternoon, I had seen not one, not two, but three specialists. Someone other than me was planning the day! The third doctor I saw was Dr. Sauer, an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in feet and ankles. After having him recommended by Dr. Ducic and Dr. Attinger as the orthopedic surgeon that could help bring more movement to my ankle, I walked into his office just as his nurse hung up the phone from a late afternoon cancellation :)

Dr. Sauer can do a surgery to stretch my Achilles tendons and loosen up my ankle joint that would give me more range of motion and make walking easier. The recovery from this surgery is a process that involves a cast for 6 weeks and no weight on my foot for that time ... so back on crutches :( and after that back to physical therapy.
Dr. Ducic feels as if most of my thigh pain is from one 'nerve branch'. He can perform a surgery that will deaden the nerve and that should take care of the pain, though I will have some numb areas on my thigh. Numbness beats pain anyday :)
Dr. Ducic and Dr. Attinger feel as if the risks are too high to do surgery to improve the look of my left calf. The leg and foot is very compromised from the lose of so much soft tissue (picture of leg ) that a surgery would put me in danger of infections and/or blood clots that could lead to the lose of the foot. After all I have been through, I don't want to risk that either, I can learn to live with the way it looks.

Both procedures, nerve and ankle, can be done at the same time during one visit to the operating room and would require a few nights spent in the hospital. Pray for me as I process/think/plan for all this.

The one thing God did for me through-out the day was remind me of the miracles that happened for me to be where I am today. All the doctors (and their assistants) were amazed due to the size of the injury that my foot did not have to be amputated at the time of the accident and how well it functions now. Their amazement brought me humbly and gratefully to God in thankfulness. He is a good God ... I need to focus on what I have, not on what I lost!

So I praise this wacky, unplanned life ...
-Martha going shopping that night in December
-Finding a doctor that specializes in lower leg injuries
-Seeing three doctors in one day
-Hope for freedom from pain


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Coming Home from Florida

I have a friend Bev, in Morgantown, that has a house in Florida near Orlando. They use the house mostly for her husband's workers that work in Florida during the winter. She goes down a few times a year and she coordinated her trip with mine this year. So along with spending time with my parents, I spent the weekend at her house ... it was a fun, relaxing time. Then she and her son Bennet, traveled home with us on Wednesday.
The flight home was interesting ... we were quite the entourage in the airport. My sister, Rosene has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, Jonathan (age 12), Bev, Bennet (almost 2) and myself with my leg issues.
Even though we had more carry-on bags than we needed (how much is really needed for a 2 1/2 hour flight?) I still had to add a coffee from Starbucks to the mix. When leaving Philly, I only had to show my photo ID one time. The security officials at Tampa Airport are either more suspicious or more cautious because I had to show my ID to a million different officials at different checkpoints and each time I put it back into my wallet and then into my backpack purse and then put the purse back on my back, because I thought it would be the last time. So, yes each time they needed to see it I had to do the process all over again. While going through security we were taken in all different directions. Because you can't trust anyone, my poor sister Rosene in a wheelchair always gets a total 'pat-down' by an officer (female). Bev and Bennet were taken to another area because of his stroller. Meanwhile Jon and I put everything, except 'one layer of clothes on our backs' in the generic gray tubs and then on the other side of the metal detectors we reassembled everything ... put our sweatshirts back on, Jon takes his game boy and CD player, each in their own carrying case, I put my backpack purse on (for the zillionth time) Jon gets his backpack, I take the camera case, Jon takes the tote bag, I get Rosene's tote bag and of course, my cup of coffee. During the last time I had to show my ID, I set the coffee down and there was a connection between a toy and my cup, and that wonderful, slightly sweetened, with a shake or two of cinnamon, just-right cup of Starbucks coffee is now decorating the carpet at the Tampa airport :(

Announcement ... the plane is delayed ...
Thankfully for only 15 minutes.

Bev gets nauseated while flying and I was having pain, slightly more than normal, but after each of us had fueled up on our medications of choice, we have a fairly peaceful and uneventful flight home after the circus at the airport. I even successfully complete a few Sudoku puzzles ... don't ask me why, but that is a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Thankfully when we arrive in Philly, there is an electrical cart in the corridor and the driver cheerfully takes us and our 'stuff' almost to baggage and after a short walk, we are there and see Jerry already collecting our bags. Thank you God!

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I am enjoying some warmer weather right now. My parents go to Florida for a few months each winter. Last Saturday my sister, my son Jonathan and I flew down for twelve days. We have spent a few great days on the beach ... weather was sunny and near 80's. Now the last few days have been rainy and in the high 60's. Hopefully we will have a few more nice days before Wednesday when we fly home.
I just finished watching the movie 'The End of the Spear'. If you have a chance, to see it!! Great movie ... sad, but good.