Brachynomore – saying goodbye to Brachymetatarsia

My Brachymetatarsia Correction Story

New Brachymetatarsia Video

Hi All!

I just so happened to watch The Doctors tv show today, and they did another story on Brachymetatarsia.  This is the show that did the story about the doctor in California who came up with a newer way to do implants for one stage brachy surgery.  Today’s story showed a young woman who has brachy on both of her feet, fourth toes, and she did the ex-fix surgery.  It is really exciting that this is coming out in the open more and more, because just like our blogs are doing, making this information available can be invaluable to someone suffering with it.

This doctor did surgery on both of her feet at the same time, and it had been just a week after her surgery, so she didn’t have any information to give regarding the pain or difficulties of the process, although her doctor did mention that she would have to be very dedicated and involved in the “2 month process”.  As we all know, the whole process takes much more than two months, and I believe he meant that the two months was just the distraction and waiting period, but the show did not go into great detail as this was just one small part of the entire episode.  They didn’t even mention how she would get around for the two months with two external fixators in her feet.  However, I won’t complain about this.  I know that anyone who has this who may have caught the show got a lot of info that they need to start their research, and that is what is important.  I find this very exciting and encouraging.  One other thing that her doctor mentioned was something that I have believed for some time now, that brachy is not that uncommon, but it is not seen very often because people hide it!  We all could probably have guessed that, right?

You can watch if you like, I’ll add the link under Brachy videos on the side bar menu.   Look for Bone Stretching Surgery and Bone Stretching Fix for Deformed Feet on the website.  The episode was from today, October 17, 2012.

Take care, and thanks for following!!

 

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Six Months + and Doing Fine!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick update.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.

I did have a bit of a setback recently.  I think I just overdid things, because I had been feeling really good, and most of the discomfort and swelling was very much diminished.  Then one day while walking down the driveway I felt a sudden pain in my foot, and from then on things just got worse.  My foot was very swollen and painful for several days, to the point I was worried I had possibly fractured it.  However, it slowly improved, and is now feeling good again.  Thank goodness!  I don’t think I could handle a major setback after all I’ve been through all these months.

I still find it kind of hard to believe that it’s over and my foot looks normal.  It is such a good feeling.  I am always barefoot around the house now, and I love how that feels! No more hiding or anxiety about showing my foot to anyone, and it is amazing!  Everyone considering this surgery who has suffered emotionally or physically should take the plunge and do it.  It has been so worth it for me!

I stopped by Dr. T’s office recently (before I hurt my foot), and picked up a copy of my x-rays.  Of course everyone wanted to see my foot, and I was proud to show it off!  I could tell that Dr. T wasn’t terribly pleased with my scar, but I have been using the scar treatment religiously.  I guess I just don’t “do” scars all that well.  I think back to the woman I saw in his office who had four long scars on her foot, and it had been just a few months after her surgery, and her scars were white and thin and looked perfect!  Lucky woman!  I am not so lucky, but it is definitely improving.  It may just take longer to fade.

One thing I wanted to mention that I found to be helpful for swelling is this:  a frozen golf ball!  Put one in your freezer and pull it out when you need some pain relief.  Place it under your foot and roll your foot over it back and forth.  It helps stimulate your muscles and it helps with swelling too.  Unfortunately it doesn’t stay cold for too long, but it has helped me.

So, that’s about it.  Hope everyone is well!  It seems that most of us who did this surgery around the same time are now finishing up and moving on.  I wish you all the best!

Take care!

 

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Five Months +

Hi All!

I can’t believe so much time has passed since my last post!  Things are almost back to normal for me, and because of that I don’t find myself obsessing over “all things brachy” anymore- which means I tend to forget about updating!

I really don’t have much pain at all these days, but still some discomfort due to continuing swelling.  My right foot measured 1/4 ” bigger in diameter compared to my non-brachy foot this morning.  Enough to make a lot of shoes still uncomfortable, but better than the 1/2″ difference I have had until today’s measurement!  I went grocery shopping today feeling really good in a pair of my cute new heeled sandals, and halfway through my shopping I was in a heck of a lot of pain cursing my choice in shoes!  Live and learn :)

I’m still not jogging or doing any high impact cardio, but working out with weights and a water rower, so I’m feeling better now that I’m getting regular workouts in.  Sitting around for three months makes me appreciate regular exercise all that much more.  I found that at the beginning of my brachy correction period it was so hard to not exercise, but then as time dragged on, I got more and more tired from not exercising, which made me not care about it, so when the time came and I could start doing some kind of exercise, it was so hard to get up my energy to actually start.  It’s a vicious cycle that I am so thankful is behind me.  I’m not a fitness fanatic or elite athlete by any means, but regular exercise helps me feel good!

I’m still using the bone stimulator and using the gel pad for my scar, although I sometimes forget to use the  gel pad every night.  I found its easier to wear it at night, it was getting dirty if I wore it with sandals while I was out and about during the day.  The bone stimulator is one of the first things I do in the morning after I take the dogs out and grab my iPad  and cup of coffee – it only takes 30 minutes.  I’ll use it till it dies.

I have noticed that my foot is less sensitive now than it had been.  Even while the fixator was in I found that if I stepped on the tiniest piece of dirt- or the worst, kitty litter- it really hurt!  And if I ran my finger down my foot along my scar I got a really intense almost shivery kind of feeling, really hard to describe, but now that has weakened considerably.  It still feels a little funny, but it feels stronger in a lot of ways too.   I still can’t completely bend my toes – going down steps, trying to do lunges with my foot behind me, things like that can be really difficult and quite uncomfortable.  In some ways I’m surprised that recovery is taking so long, but I guess I shouldn’t be, after two surgeries and months of no weight-bearing at all.  Hopefully things will be normal in the next few months.

Here are some recent pics.

bending my toes, full effort!

trying to bend toes backwards, and separate toes. Notice third and fourth toes are still sort of “stuck” together!

Thanks for reading, and take care! :)

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Day 125 – Feeling Good

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick update.  I am feeling really good, and my scar is looking really good as well!  I worked out today for the first time in all these months, and although it wasn’t very “impressive” in terms of what I did, I feel so much better for doing it!  I am feeling like I am really getting back to normal, and I think that before too long I will be back to my usual workouts, although I feel so out of shape right now I think that it will be more like starting all over again in terms of what I can do.  Oh well, not much I can do in that sense except get back to business.  I’ll  include a pic of my foot so you can see my scar.  I think the gel pad is really helping.  The top part of the scar is looking light and is fading, but the bottom part, which was always worse, is taking longer.  It’s looking better, just not as nice as the top part.  I also think that the skin on our feet naturally heals better than the skin on other parts of our body.  I think it’s because the skin on our feet is pretty thin, which makes for a good final result, so that is good news for us all.  Although my foot doesn’t feel too swollen, it is still bigger than my other foot.  When I measured around the middle of my foot the other day, my right foot was still about 1/2 inch bigger than my left.  It will be interesting to see how long it really takes for this to go down.  I also noticed in most of my pictures that it looks like a have a bunion on my brachy foot, and I don’t.  This must be due to the swelling.

I am excited to see that there are so many brachy blogs that have started since I started my own.  I have most of them listed on the sidebar, and there are a couple of new ones that I’ve added today.  This is so great, because I know this is helping and will continue to help all of the other brachy sufferers out there decide whether or not they want to do their own correction.  Although our stories are all pretty similar, they are all unique, and the more information that others have, the easier it will be to make the decision on whether or not someone wants to go through with brachy correction surgery.  It took most of us a very long time to make this decision.  If I had had this many blogs to read, I don’t think I would have hesitated at all to go through with it.  Either way, the stories are all great, and they help us feel a connection to one another, and make us feel like we are not alone, there are so many of us out there! This is truly the best part of all.

Take care and have a great week!

scar update

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Photo Timeline 2 – photos documenting changes since last timeline

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Day 118: Photo Timeline 2 Coming

 

Hi Everyone!

Everything is great here.  My foot is feeling better and better everyday, with a little less swelling each day too.  I am back to doing everything as normal except I still can not work out yet- or at least not any heavy-duty working out with lots of pressure on my foot.  My husband and I spent a couple of days recently working outside, planting lots of flowers and doing general cleanup outside (since I couldn’t do any of this before I was very behind in planting my usual flower pots all over)- anyway, it wasn’t that hard, I just had to be careful if I was carrying anything too heavy and walking on uneven ground.  By the end of each day I was certainly tired, and my foot and toes were a little swollen, but nothing at all like the swelling I had before.  My scar is looking pretty good as well.  I am wearing the gel pad every day and using the drops that came with it at night.  Scars take such a long time to heal, so I don’t think that I can expect any miracles with the treatment, it’s just going to take time for it to fade.

I’m posting an updated time line, showing how my foot has looked since the last timeline that I posted, up until a couple of days ago. If any of you are worrying about how your toes are looking while still “in the process” , this might make you feel better.  Although I did have the additional problem of the short toe bone that required an implant to give me a teeny bit of extra length, I think that anyone who is going through this can take comfort in the fact that what your toe might look like even the day before your final surgery (if having one), is not necessarily what your toe will look like when it’s all over with.  That final adjustment that some doctors do at the end can make a big difference in your final result.  I also think that my toe has been changing little by little since that last surgery.  As it is adjusting to its final “place” it is looking a little better all the time.  It may still be a tiny bit short, but I am very pleased that I went through with this and with my new “cute” toe!  Have a great week!

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Day 111: All Done!

Well, I had my last doctor’s appointment this morning with Dr. T!  I was so excited, but actually a little sad too!  I’ve gotten so used to seeing them all there after all these weeks and months that I feel like I’m going to miss them a little bit.  I took them some homemade cupcakes with a thank you note, and they gave me my foot model with my old fixator attached!  I’ll include a picture :)

We took some x-rays to check for consolidation, and Dr. T says that my bone is about 99% healed, which was great news – although he said it didn’t look very “pretty”.  I asked him what he meant and he said that it looks a little wavy and a little strange right now, but that in time it will completely heal and look normal.  He checked out my scar and I got some scar treatment to use to help with the healing.  I’ll include this in the picture too.  It is a reusable pad with some gel that I am to use continually until it wears out and the gel is gone.  I had a little bit of build up of scar tissue around the area where the pin holes were that had the infection, so he gave me a shot of a steroid that should help break that up a little bit.  He said that I needed to really moisturize the scar well too.  This will help it soften up and heal better.

So that was pretty much it.  Everyone was very happy for me, and I had to intentionally keep it light, otherwise I was afraid I would get all blubbery and teary, and I didn’t want that to happen.  Dr. T is amazing, as is his staff, and I can’t ever thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.  All of you with this condition understand what I mean.  We live our whole lives hiding part of ourselves, and to think that doesn’t have to happen any more, ever, is a little overwhelming, and a little surreal too.  I find it hard to believe that it’s over and my foot now looks like a normal foot.  It’s amazing!

I can get back to lower impact exercise anytime, just nothing heavy on my foot for another 4 weeks or so.  I still can’t completely bend my toes, so I couldn’t do anything like jogging or high impact cardio anyway, so I’m ok with waiting a little longer.

As I was leaving and saying final goodbyes, Tana played some “graduation” music!  They do that for all of their patients who have completed a long process of treatment and recovery- so funny!

I have so many people to thank now that this journey is about over, and they include:  Dr. T!  The number one podiatrist, ever!  Tana, Byron, Brooke, and Amanda of Dr. T’s staff – they made this whole process so much easier on me than it might have been without their support and compassion.  My husband Joe!  I know it was a little bit tiring driving me everywhere for all of my doctor’s appointments and shopping trips, in addition to playing nurse, chef, and housekeeper at times.  I love you!  My family, especially my Mom!  She had to listen to just about nothing but “toe talk” for all these months!  And she gave me lots of support and encouragement whenever I needed it.  Thanks Mom!  My sisters, especially Sheila and Julie, who also had to hear lots of the same talk, and also lent lots of support!  Lanelle and Bill- thank you for the adorable sandals and your card, it was so very thoughtful of you! Finally, my fellow brachy supporters!  Brachyfemme, Byebyebrachy, Brachywoman, and “newcomers” Brachygoneforever, and Littlebrachytoe.  You are all amazing, strong women who helped me so much in this journey.  Your support and encouragement was so incredibly helpful.  I’ll never forget any of you, and wish you all the very best in your future – with those beautiful new toes of yours! ;)

So, here are some pics from today.  I plan on doing an updated time-line in the next day or two.  Other than that my posts may be limited, I’m not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye yet, but I probably won’t have a whole lot to post in the near future.  I will do an occasional update on my healing though, and let you know how my exercising and scar healing goes.  Take care all – and thank you, thank you, thank you for following!

scar treatment pad and gel, and foot bone model with my fixator!

after last dr. visit, still a little swollen, and have a little bandage covering the spot where I got a shot today

one more from today

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Day 100 – Getting There

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated!  I am feeling good, and my foot is a little less swollen every day.  It is so fantastic to be able to walk around without crutches or a walker, and I have even found a couple of pairs of sandals that I can squeeze my foot into.  And to be able to drive!  This felt a little funny at first, because I can’t drive with the boot on- so I wear it out to the car, take it off, drive in my sock, and then put the boot back on to go inside wherever it is that I’m going.  Kind of a pain, and I found that I was mostly pressing on the pedals to drive with my big toe, but it’s great because it feels so good to be getting back to normal.

Since my last surgery, I have not really been able to bend my toes much, so that means that I can’t walk normally as of yet.  I still walk a bit flat and stiff on my right side, but I know that this is just going to take a little more time, and I am feeling ok about this for now.  It seems that the toes that have been impacted the most from the last surgery are (of course) my fourth toe, and my third toe.  The others feel good, although they are still a bit swollen.  My third toe has been very swollen and sensitive, and my fourth toe is nearly impossible to bend.  I am able to wiggle both slightly, but it isn’t easy to do.  I can bend my toes easily when I push on either one with my fingers, I just can’t bend them on their own very well.  I have also had occasional pain in both toes, but it is minor, nothing like the pain I had in the past.  I think the pain in the third is from the work Dr. T did on the tendon, and the fourth is due to that and the implant as well.  It probably doesn’t help that it has been so hot here – in the 100’s for the last week.  My feet swell in the heat anyway, surgery or not, so this just makes things worse.  All in all though, I’m feeling fine- although the other night I rammed my foot into the side of the bathtub – don’t ask me how I managed to do this- and it HURT!  I mean, it really, really hurt.  Luckily it was my big toe that hit the side of the tub, and the pain was all in that toe and right below it.  I think it hurt extra bad just because my foot was swollen anyway, and still obviously is not over the “trauma” of the last surgery.  Once I could move, I grabbed the ice pack and hobbled to the couch where I elevated my foot and iced it for a good while.  I also took one of the pills I got after my first surgery that were for swelling, and it felt better the next day.  I was worried that I had done some damage, since my metatarsal and my fourth toe are still healing, but all seems ok, thank goodness!

I don’t go back to the doctor for another 11 days, so hopefully by that time things will be even better!  My scar is looking ok.  It is at the point now where it is a little bit reddened and a little dark, but it isn’t too thick or raised.  I have some clear gel that I got from my other doctor that is supposed to work well for scars.  It’s called Kelo-Cote.  It was pretty expensive, $30 for a tiny tube, but if it helps with the scar it will be worth it.

Here are a couple of pics of my foot.  Two of them show the sandals that I can currently wear.  One of these are Dr. Scholl’s sandals.  I’m probably showing my age, but I always wanted to wear these growing up, but couldn’t because I would never show my brachy toe.  So I am very excited to be able to wear them!  The others are a pair that I’ve always had, but didn’t wear much because they were a little too wide, which is exactly why I can now wear them.  I think they actually help keep the swelling down in my foot.  The fabric is tight around my foot, but not too uncomfortable, so it helps with the swelling.  I’ve really only worn the boot when I go out to run errands, or sometimes if I’m doing a lot of cleaning around the house or vacuuming, it helps to wear this then.

Anyway, thanks for following!

the bandages are just for comfort here, the strap was rubbing my scar too much

the fabric across my foot is tight and acts like a compression bandage for swelling

showing my scar 2 1/2 weeks after the last surgery

I’ll update after my next, and probably last, doctor’s visit!  Whoo-hoo!

10 Comments »

Day 90 – Looking Good!

Hi Everyone-

I had my appointment with Dr. T today, and I got my stitches removed.  My scar looks amazing so far, I am so impressed.  I also got a boot to wear to protect my foot for the next few weeks.  I don’t have to wear it 24/7, but if I go out I need it, and it actually feels better when I try to walk on my foot with it on, since it gives so much support to my foot.  I can’t actually give up the crutches or walker yet.  By the end of this week though I can!  At that time I can walk with just the boot.  My foot will continue to swell for some time, and this will most likely get worse as I walk on it more and more, but in time as I can move my foot more normally then this swelling will gradually decrease little by little.  In addition, my bone will continue to fill in and strengthen and take approximately a year for full healing and strengthening, although I can resume all my activities in just a few more weeks, providing I don’t have any real pain.  I go back to the doctor in three weeks, and then that should be it, as long as nothing bothers me after that point.  So- stick a toothpick in me – I will be considered “done”! :)

Here are pics from today:

piror to removing stitches

stitches out

my boot

one more of foot this afternoon

Thanks for following, and let me know if you have any questions!

 

8 Comments »

Day 83 – Post Op Visit & the Reveal!

Hi All!

Just got back from Dr. T’s office a little while ago.  He just wanted to do a quick visual check, take some x-rays and change my dressing on my foot. All looks really good, and I am still feeling really good too.  I have to say I am totally (and pleasantly) surprised that there has been no pain after this surgery.  I know that Dr. T told me that the implant would not add any pain or recovery time to the whole process, but I found it hard to believe.  But of course, he’s been spot on about the whole process, so I guess I should have taken his word for it.  I just have no discomfort, and only minor swelling.  I will include some pics below.

One thing he mentioned was that although he had hoped to do internal hidden stitches on my scar, for some reason my foot did not want to cooperate and the tissue didn’t allow it.  So he said that he had to do regular stitches, but he will take these out early, in one week, and that should help improve the final outcome.  The Y-shaped scar at the top, right under my brachy (I guess I should say former brachy!) toe is where he went in and placed the implant.  :)

I also forgot to mention that on a recent visit I had asked him if it was possible that the bone stimulator helped to improve my scar (remember I had wondered about this in a recent post), and he said that it could absolutely help with that healing.  I guess since tissue and bone are both self healing that the bone stimulator can help improve the healing for both.

I have to remain non weight-bearing until I go back and get the stitches taken out, and I’ll get a boot to wear for 2-3 weeks longer.  During that time I will transition from non weight-bearing to partial and then full weight-bearing.  All in all, as you can see, this is a very long process, but I just keep telling myself to take it one step at a time.  After all, the hard part is over, it’s just a matter of being a little more patient.

I’ll let you know if anything else comes up, otherwise I’ll update after my next visit.  Take care and thanks for following.

Here are some pics from today:

the reveal!

reveal!

Notice the swelling compared to my other foot! Still not nearly as bad as before though.

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