Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Keeping Life Exciting

I'm sure I posted a few times last year about my ankle sprain in a dance class; it ties with my work injuries (contusion on my toe and temporary loss of its nail, and laceration of my arm requiring stitches I was too afraid to get) for "the-most-severe-medical-issues-I've-had".

It's seriously been a year... And it's still giving me problems. So I finally went to a podiatrist, which I really should have done right when I got hurt. Found out that it was a high ankle lateral 3rd degree sprain, got a few x-rays, and got a prescription for an MRI later in the week. The doctor said that my ankle clearly hadn't healed, or hadn't healed correctly, and it should have by now. So last week I had my first MRI and went back to the doctor today.

Today we learned that it was not my anterior talo-fibular ligament that was in trouble, it was the posterior talo-fibular ligament that had torn (or maybe the calcaneo-fibular ligament, I've already forgotten which). More problematic than the ligaments though was the bone. Apparently I broke off a piece of the bone and it reattached in the wrong place, and is now threatening to give me arthritis by grinding the joint in places it shouldn't (the tarsal sinus). So in a couple weeks I'm going in for surgery to clear out the bone and scar tissue. My ankle doesn't hurt too much or very often, but it'll clearly give me worse problems down the road if we don't fix it now. The doctor said his goal is to prevent me from needing the joint fused 10-15 years down the road.

[Now I feel a little silly, because after seeing the athletic trainer on campus, my impression was that the muscles around my ankle needed strengthening, so I've been trying to shift my weight onto the ankle more frequently to exercise it. Turns out that the pressure of using my ankle is pushing the misplaced bone into my tissue, which is causing the pain and emergent arthritis. Oops... I wonder if I accidentally exacerbated it over the last 12 months]

So I'm not really in much pain right now, but I'm having the most dramatic health issues (aside from menstruating, because that tends to get dramatic once in a while) I've had so far. It'll be a same-day surgery, so I'll be in the hospital for about half a day. I've managed to get an IV once (I have a thing about needles) so hopefully I'll handle that ok. The doctor said I'll probably be in a cast for 2-3 weeks, which will be a new experience for me too. My dance teacher said I can take the final early, I'll have to let work know, and my fiance and I have begun thinking about how to navigate the 5 flights of stairs to my apartment if I'm on crutches.

How do I feel about all this? I feel somewhat repentant, because I didn't see a doctor right away like I should have; I feel like my little ankle pain/discomfort has become a bigger deal than I thought; I'm a little nervous about the surgery because I don't know what to expect, and I don't like doctors' needles; and I'm not sure how much recuperation I'll need afterward, since I clearly didn't give myself long enough when I was first injured, or what the consequences of that disability period will be. So I've got a couple weeks before surgery to get stuff done, and I'll have to hope for the best! Any advice is more than welcome, since I sure don't know what I'm getting into! One plus side to all this is that I get to broaden my life experience so I can better understand people's situations who are going through the same thing.

Haha: in my most challenging academic semester yet, I'm planning my wedding and undergoing surgery. No excuses for being bored!

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