Just as planned I had the first in a series of three surgeries on June 13, 2011 which was the beginning of phase one: Deconstruction and Clean up! All of the diseased, damaged, and infected bone was removed. Next Dr. M used several gallons of an antibiotic/antiseptic solution with was is essentially a very large wire brush (like one uses for bottles) to literally scrub the inside of my bones, up the femur to the hip, down the tibia to the ankle. Surrounding soft tissue was also cleansed. A lightweight metal rod was inserted as a place keeper to keep the soft tissue from collapsing without bone connecting the thigh region to the calf.
Numerous antibiotic beads were also put throughout the entire area. What NO ONE ever tells you is that antibiotic beads as well as cutting bone BURN horrifically. If you are familiar with the 1-10 pain scale, this type of excruciating pain ranks about a 15. The pain was so incredible that I was sent home on a PCA (patient controlled analgesic) pump. I was still in horrific pain even WITH the continuous IV pain medication. I spent the summer of 2011 completely non-weight bearing on my left leg as there was NO knee joint or bone in that region in a straight leg brace, wheelchair bound, and essentially bed bound.
It was during this time that the seed of an idea of starting a blog was planted. I desperately needed something to do, to look forward to doing. And there was a lot to learn about blogging from html coding, to deciding whether to use wordpress or blogspot, whether to be self hosted, what I wanted the site to look like, and what to name it.
Fast forward to May 2014, I had completed a FULL year, TWO semesters of (community) college. I had not been physically able to successfully complete a college term in 9 years! I had been out of PT (physical therapy) for a year and was able to pretty much do whatever I wanted. And what I wanted most was to travel. I had been dreaming of traveling for so many years. I could not believe that it was actually happening. Last summer I spent 6 weeks traveling throughout the east coast. (I’ll write more about this later one). The only problem was when I was out walking on Memorial Day my leg buckled. I did not actually fall and my leg had buckled many times before, but this time was different. I started having pain. The pain persisted. I tried to get an appointment with my surgeon but couldn’t until July when I was supposed to be back east. I went to urgent care as I was quite concerned especially with my trip just a couple weeks away. They did not think there was anything seriously wrong, but at least agreed to getting xrays. I was surprised when the films came back fine. But continued to prepare for my trip.
Unfortunately, the pain in my leg did not get better. It ended up getting worse while I was away. While I did have some amazing experiences during my trip, the continuing and later increasing pain definitely put a damper on everything which caused me to not be able to do many things I had wanted to.
August brought the start of school and still had not been able to see Dr. M as my appointments kept getting canceled. Once again my pain doctor, Dr. G. tried to figure out what was wrong by ordering further studies which just did not reveal the problem. It was October by the time we figured out the problem and it was not one of the two possibilities Dr. M had said he thought it was. And the ONLY solution to this problem was surgery.
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