Today is day one. My healing begins today. Up to now, I have been waiting and resting. But today it starts.
On October 28, I was engaged in the highly risky activity of walking down the hall and tripped over my own foot. Catching myself to keep from falling, I came down on my left foot so hard that it created the Snap Heard Round The Office. I knew right away that it was Very Bad. It turned out to be a Lisfranc injury, which in my case meant that my foot went “splat” and my Lisfranc ligament pulled on my bone so hard that it fractured it in two places.
Two hours before I broke my foot, I had decided to train for a half-marathon.
Two months before, I had completed my first triathlon.
Eight months before that, I was so heavy and out of shape that I got winded climbing stairs. I considered myself a strong swimmer, but I had never run anywhere other than .. well, ok – I had never run at all. I didn’t even own a bike. But I was sick of feeling bad about myself and decided to do something.
I trained hard. I got strong in ways I had never been. I lost weight. I became a new person who wasn’t afraid to claim what was mine.
Then it all came to a screeching halt. My doctor said that a Lisfranc injury is rare, but when it happens, it can end an athlete’s career. The only treatment was surgery to have a screw put in my foot, which would prevent arthritis from developing later. After a lot of physical therapy, I might be able to run again one day, but never for long distances.
I was frankly in too much excruciating pain to be devastated. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she doesn’t know me and she certainly doesn’t know what I am capable of. She is the expert on putting screws in feet. My PT and I would work on the rest.
Surgery was on November 17. Six weeks later – today – I got my cast off. I have ahead of me one to two months of wearing a boot, followed by 6 months to a year of wearing an orthotic. I can expect pain and swelling for all of those 6-12 months. I can expect my scars to take all of those 6-12 months to “mature.” I can’t expect anything to be easy.
But – it starts today.
First order of business: while using crutches, apply weight to the foot as tolerable. I attempted a walk to the bathroom at my office. Touched my foot to the floor, slowly and with only the slightest whisper of pressure. My foot complained, but not loudly. I kept on. Slowly. But I did it. More than one person commented on how good it was to see me getting around. It nearly brought me to tears to think that this was a major accomplishment. But it was. And I was proud and happy.
Mostly I was happy to be rid of that awful cast. Fun fact: no-one can prepare you for how it feels to wear a cast. Imagine a molting snake. My foot swelled so much that I outgrew my skin, but with the exception of my toes, it had nowhere to go so it stayed put, getting tighter and more leathery every day. “Uncomfortable” doesn’t begin to describe it.
At home this evening, I wanted desperately to take a bath, but knew that I didn’t want to soak in everything that was going to come off of my foot. When I took off my sock, it looked like it had snowed on our bed. So first I tried a combination of wiping with a damp cloth, rubbing and peeling. Fun fact: You have a lot more skin than you realize.
When I got everything that was loose, I still didn’t want to soak in what was left so I opted for a shower. I still have to use the shower chair for now, but it felt so good to sit and let the water roll down my leg and not worry about keeping it dry. I sat and worked on peeling off dead skin until there was no hot water left (we have a high-efficiency ultra low-flow shower head so please be Very Impressed by this).
More rubbing and peeling followed and then I settled in for my night’s work.
Commence prescribed exercises:
1. Curl toes. Think about curling toes. Watch second toe twitch uncontrollably. Repeat several times. OK, that was fun.
2. Attempt to write alphabet with toes. A – mostly a twitch. B – better. C – D – E – oh God I am mostly doing this with my knee. My foot isn’t moving at all. F – cry. G – Deep breath. Steel myself for the work that is to come. H – Cat is on me. He heard me cry. I – maybe with him sitting on my face and keeping me from seeing how very tiny my letters are, I will feel better. J – K – Just going to pretend that I am doing this with my ankle and not my knee. L – M – N …
Next, aloe for the scars and sitting for a while to just enjoy the feeling of air on my skin; to appreciate the freedom from the constant rubbing of the hard cast; to bask in the knowledge that I could move my foot right now if I wanted to – I just don’t want to.
Then, compression stockings and back in the boot.
Today is Day One. How many will follow? I don’t know. But I hope you will keep me company on the ride.