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I am celebrating today!  
 
Ever since I had lisfranc surgery  my mantra has been, 
“I am just a middle class housewife who wants to be able to walk down her driveway and get her mail.”
 
This dream doesn’t sound unattainable until you realize our driveway is not a short driveway with a mailbox at the end.  Nope.   Our mailbox is located exactly 1/10 of a mile from our garage door and our house is perched on top of an immensely steep hill, which makes it perfect for sledding in the winter. 
 
walking a hill after lisfranc surgery
 
 
My physical therapist and I discussed the possibility that I may be ready to take on “the driveway challenge” and he ultimately gave me permission to try walking up our driveway and see how that goes, before trying the harder challenge of walking down the driveway.
Walking up a hill during lisfranc recovery
 
 
So, after coming home from church today, I had my husband drop me off at our mailbox so that I could make my first attempt at my driveway dream.  I knew that if I ran into trouble, my husband would come down and pick me up.  My taxi ride may be on his John Deere instead of in a car, but at least I knew I had a ride if need be.
 
 
 
Pain free while climbing a hill 22 weeks after lisfranc surgery
 
 
I was apprehensive, wondering if my foot was physically able to make the climb, and I was also curious if scaling the hill would cause pain.
 
22 weeks post lisfranc surgery and walking up a hill

 

After managing the steepest part of the journey, I knew I was going to make it all the way to the top AND I made it 
PAIN FREE!!!

Next challenge—walking down my driveway!

 Remember the last time your foot “fell asleep” and you tried to stand on it?  As it wakes up you feel tingling and eventually it feels like needles being poked into your flesh.  As the nerves in my foot regenerate, I have had that feeling multiple times on the top of my foot and especially in my big toe.But lately, the feeling has become more intense. For the last couple of days, my big toe feels like it is being stung  numerous times by small bees, not just on the top of my big toe, but underneath as well.  It is a different kind of pain than the feeling of needles in my foot.  It is a sharper intense “ZING” sort of pain which makes me suck in my breath.  It only happens when I am at rest and not when walking on my foot.

I talked to my physical therapist about this today and he said this was great news! To be able to feel sharp intense pain in a toe that has been numb for 17 weeks means my feeling is starting to come back in full force.

In addition, regaining feeling in my big toe is integral to being able to put weight properly through my entire foot.  When I can’t feel if I am transferring weight through my big toe, I cannot make the proper follow through for walking.

My therapy session today included .13 miles on the treadmill (1.5 miles per hour for 5 minutes) and 1 mile on the stationary bike.  I also did leg lifts, calf strengthening and lots of balance work on the bosu ball.  My new therapist is gentle and kind but makes me work up to my potential.  I am so glad my insurance cleared me for 8 more therapy sessions, which means my total for lisfranc surgery recovery will take 28 sessions.  (I have also had 36 HydroWorx sessions as well.)

As far as pain free walking goes, I tried walking through Macy’s today without my cane and in my sneakers.  I had to walk slowly and very carefully, but I was able to do it with a minimum amount of pain!  I was stiff,  but it felt more like when you first wake up in the morning kind of stiff and not the “I have to sit down right now” kind of stiff.

After Macy’s I went to Kohls and also left my cane in the car for that errand.  There again, I walked at a snail’s pace, but I did it!!!  I cannot tell you the amount of pleasure I got from walking through 2 stores without any assistance and almost pain free.

I am spending the rest of the day resting in my chair, (with ice) but I am satisfied, happy and have a sense of accomplishment that I haven’t felt since before my lisfranc injury.  There is light at the end of this lisfranc recovery after all!!!!

Looking back on my 17 weeks of lisfranc surgery recovery has been like watching an infant grow.  You don’t really take note of all the day to day minuscule changes, but after 4 months, you realize HUGE changes have occurred!This is what happened to me this week when I arrived at 17 post lisfranc surgery.  My physical therapist gave me permission to walk on the treadmill!!!!!!!

treadmill at 17 weeks post lisfranc surgery

Okay, so I don’t get to walk more than 1.5 miles per hour with no incline and have been instructed to walk no more than 5 minutes a couple of times a week, but still…..I am back on my treadmill!!!

By the way walking 5 minutes at 1.5 miles an hour means I can now walk .13 of a mile without stopping and limited discomfort….not completely pain free, but no more than a 1-2 pain level!!!!!!!!!!

Dusting off my treadmill at 17 weeks post lisfranc surgery

I have been instructed to still “listen to my foot” and quit if it becomes painful and I start to limp.  5 minutes is just the right amount of time to practice correct “heel, toe, follow through” at a slow pace.  Now that I have learned to walk again, the treadmill is letting me practice all of the correct walking motions that I have been taught!

17 weeks post lisfranc surgery image
17 weeks post lisfranc surgery scar
Left side view 17 weeks post lisfranc surgery image

By the way, my foot envy broadened today with the official start of the NFL season.  I spent most of game time today watching the Vikings player’s feet with complete fascination and awe!!!!!!

Right side view 17 weeks post lisfranc surgery
I am now 13 weeks post lisfranc surgery and looking back, I have made huge progress!
  
I need to ice only 1 – 2 times per day now. 
 
I am navigating fairly well around our house with sneakers on and am only dependent upon my cane for longer distances within our home. 
 
I walk up our stairs effortlessly
 
I am starting to learn to walk down our stairs normally, although this is much more difficult for me and I can only do this with partial weight bearing. (Leaning on my cane and the banister.)
 
When outside of our house, I still used my boot and a cane. 
 
My pain level is zero when walking in my boot and 2-3 when walking in a sneaker. 
 
I rarely have to elevate when at a restaurant or church
 
My nighttime cramping in my leg and foot have stopped.
 
I sleep all night pain free.  In fact, I cannot remember the last time I took extra strength tylenol!!
 
 
 
13 weeks following lisranc surgery  my recovering foot is very similar to my “normal” foot now!
13 weeks following lisfranc surgery.  Not much swelling anymore

13 weeks following lisfranc surgery, right side view.  My ankle is almost normal
13 weeks following lisfranc sugary, left side view. At this angle, my scar is not very noticeable 

There is hope for pain free walking at the end of this journey!

 
 

I have reached the 12 week post lisfranc surgery milestone….Three long months of recovery are now behind me.  My scar continues to fade and my swelling is minimal when I am not moving around trying to walk.

 

12 weeks post lisfranc surgery 

 I can even start to see the tendons in my toes once again!

12 Weeks post lisfranc surgery left side view

                             Even the swelling in my ankles is minimal

12 weeks post lisfranc surgery right side view

 My recovering foot still turns purple when not elevated.  My surgeon told me that when my foot stops turning colors, I will know it is completely healed.  I am waiting for that day!!!

12 weeks post lisfranc surgery comparison to my “normal” foot

 

 

 
Last evening was a tough night for me psychologically.  I had such high hopes that my lisfranc surgery recovery was almost over. After being so limited, mobility – wise, for such a long time,  I was really looking forward to resuming my normal routines.   

 
Mentally I had already started planning for what is left of summer with maybe a pool party or hosting a large family Labor Day party.  I  wanted to throw myself fully into fall life starting out with a fall vacation followed by long walks around our lakes looking at the fall colors.  I couldn’t wait to be “out there” among the living once again.
 
After meeting with my surgeon and finding out that realistically I will not be walking comfortably for another 3 months,  my dreams crumbled.  I tried really hard to talk myself into the whole glass is half full thing which sounded very much like blah blah blah.  But no matter how many “it could be worse” scenarios I could envision,  I had to come to grips that I was overwhelmed by disappointment.

When my husband walked through the door, I burst into tears which had been building all day.  I asked him not to “fix” my pain, but to just hold me and let me share my disappointment with him.  I think the amount of tears stunned him into doing the guy thing complete with a pep talk and telling me I was going to prove my surgeon wrong etc.  He was trying to help, but it made me feel worse.  I felt very alone in my grief.

This morning I woke up and knew that in order to survive the next 12 weeks, I was going to have to  re-enter my Zen mode of survival which I used during my 6 weeks of complete non weight bearing recovery period.  During that time, I can remember pulling into myself and learning to listen to my thoughts and emotions.  I was in my own little world since I had no power to enter the world of moving, active people.  My personal thoughts and emotions became more real to me than the outside world that I watched from my windows.  I was completely dependent on others for all of my needs, even my basic needs.

To try to achieve a partial Zen like sate I started out my day with a 90 minute massage and a good conversation with my massage therapist.  Turns out that she is also a psychologist and understood exactly what I was trying to accomplish with my massage.

I have now re-entered my Zen mode, slowing my life down once again.  It won’t be as intense as it was during my complete non weight bearing period, but this peaceful state of mind will prove to be just as useful.

I am slowly letting go of my fall plans and tonight I was even able to deal with the fact that I will be missing quite a few of the Vikings home games.  Our season tickets are 8 rows off the field and there is no way I can handle the steps or the amount of walking it would take to attend.  I have already started planning on who to give the tickets to, and have even enjoyed thinking about how the different people might find joy in attending a Vikings game.

After receiving the news from my surgeon that at 12 weeks post lisfranc surgery I was only 1/2 way through with my recovery, I was really bummed.  Before leaving my surgeon’s office, I asked his office manager about an extension for my disabled persons parking pass.  My current parking pass expires at the end of August.

 

 

 

 

Since my next appointment isn’t for 12 more weeks (October 29th) she was able to extend my parking permit into 2014!  I am happy for this small silver lining in what was otherwise a very dark day.  While I would rather have the gift of pain free walking, at least my new car will continue to be protected from door nicks!

12 weeks post lisfranc surgery repair X-ray

 

 

 

Yesterday I met with  my surgeon for my three month post lisfranc surgery appointment.  It was depressing to learn that I have 3 more months of recovery until I can walk comfortably again.

 

The good news is that the current X-rays show that I don’t have any stress fractures.

 

 

 

 

 

12 weeks post lisfranc surgery X-ray outside left side view

 

 

The X-rays also show that my joints are starting to fuse the way they are supposed to at this point in recovery.  My surgeon showed me my current X-rays and compared them to the ones taken 6 weeks ago:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Weeks post lisfranc repair X-Ray.  You can clearly see the joints around the prosthetic starting to fuse.

 

6 weeks post lisfranc surgery repair X-ray.  Joints have not started to fuse.

 

 

 
I was really looking forward to seeing my surgeon yesterday for my 12 week post lisfranc surgery follow up.  Armed with my list of questions and notes from my HydroWorx therapist, I was well prepared for my appointment.  I even went as far as to have a fresh pedicure with hot pink toe nail polish to match my sneakers.  

I was fully expecting my surgeon to be extremely pleased with my progress and tell me I was way ahead of schedule.  After all, I have been attending either HydroWorx therapy or physical land therapy 6 days a week, plus performing my at home exercises given to me by my physical therapist.  I knew I had worked hard these last 6 weeks and was well on my way to pain free walking again. I expected my surgeons  full endorsement and recognition of my progress.

After I arrived, I was escorted into my patient room where I removed my boot and headed to the X-ray room in my stocking feet.  I was in more pain than other days, so I did have to use my cane, but I kept up with the X-ray technicians gait which made me smile proudly to myself.

I was able to step up easily on the X-ray pad without difficulty and even mentioned to the technician how much easier it was for me this time as compared to 6 weeks ago.

Shortly after returning to my room, my surgeon walked in.  He sat in his chair and said, “you are still limping quite a bit.”  I was surprised he knew.  After all, I fully intended to demonstrate walking without a limp so that my surgeon could see my gait during the times I am not experiencing pain.  BUSTED!!!
 Apparently, he had observed me walking to his X-ray room.  (I guess that is the best time to asses a patient is when he or she does not know he/she is being watched. )

I then admitted I was experiencing pain when walking and asked him realistically when I could expect to be able to walk down our driveway, which is a steep hill, and pick up my mail pain free.  Not running or jumping or anything fancy, just pain free walking doing everyday activities.

My surgeon said realistically it will be 3 more months until I can walk comfortably.  I was stunned and I started to feel my world shatter once again. I had to try hard not to burst into tears, which most certainly would have embarrassed us both. 

I sat quietly with this information for a few moments, not wanting to meet his gaze.  When I collected myself I looked up at him and repeated quietly   “three more months???”  He nodded slowly maintaing eye contact.  (My surgeon is quite, gentle and a man of few words.)

Desperate for my surgeon to revise the remaining three months of recovery to something shorter, I asked him if he had a chance to read my physical therapist report and the report from the HydroWorx therapist.  I thought certainly he must not have had time to read the glowing endorsements from both modes of therapy.  

(Hint to my surgeon,  this the part where you are  supposed to “pat me on the head” and tell me what a good girl I’ve been!!! )  My surgeon didn’t get the hint.  Instead he nodded quickly and asked me why I was in such a hurry?   I said, I was determined to walk like a normal person again and that I was tired of the lisfranc recovery.  

We briefly discussed stress fractures and I found out it would not be uncommon for that to happen during this period, especially if I am pushing myself too hard.  My surgeon said I needed to cut down on the amount of therapy and just relax and give my body a chance to heal.  “Healing takes time and cannot be rushed,” he said.   He looked at me long enough to make sure I understood and then he smiled and said, “look at it this way, you are half way there.”

I slowly nodded still trying to comprehend that I am not almost at the finish line but am only halfway through this journey. 

 
 

 

 

 Wow!  Has this ever been a long journey!  But it some ways, it has also gone by quickly.  I cannot believe that today marks 11 weeks since my lisfranc surgery fracture repair!  

  

11 Weeks post lisfranc surgery
 
My physical therapist told me today that my foot is well on the way to healing and that I might possibly be able to give up my boot next week when I reach 12 weeks post surgery.  I am still walking with my cane and sneakers around my house and using a cane with my boot when I am away from home.  My foot doesn’t ache all the time anymore, and I am finding that walking is almost pain free at times. 
 
11 weeks post lisfranc surgery left side view
 
 
I paid my surgery bill today and actually told the administrative assistant that I thought my surgeon didn’t charge enough!  After all, my surgeon is the reason I can walk!  She laughed and said she had never heard that comment about a bill before!
 
11 weeks post lisfranc surgery right side view

Here is a close up of my lisfranc surgery scar at 11 weeks.  I am starting to think I really will have a life after my lisfranc injury and surgery!

 
 
lisfranc surgery scar at 11 weeks post op

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