Spring is finally upon us and it is beautiful outside! I have been busy in the last month and am excited to share my progress with you. Grab a cup of coffee and relax as we catch up.
I had a great follow up appointment in Boston with my plastic surgeon and the foot continues to heal. It is a slow process as I don’t heal as quickly as the average person due to the damage to my leg from radiation. Each time I have these appointments where there is progress, I leave feeling as though it is a huge victory. For so long, my appointments were filled with unsettling news of needing another surgery or hospital stay so I celebrate these victories!
I had the opportunity to meet with a surgeon in Pittsburgh for a second opinion on the upcoming hip/joint replacement and mega prosthesis surgery. Because this is such a big surgery, I decided to get a second opinion. My orthopedic surgeon is amazing and I am confident in her skills, but for me, I believe in second opinions. There are many things to consider and evaluate. I have done so over these last two years, and I appreciate the valuable advice from experts in this field. I never want to look back on this journey and wonder if I could have done something else or met with another surgeon to determine if my treatment plan was the best treatment plan for my situation.
The surgeon in Pittsburgh agrees with the treatment plan and we discussed the many concerns that we all have. Given the damage to my leg from radiation, will this surgery be a success? Will the hardware fail again? Will I get another infection? Can the leg support the hardware? Will I walk again? Can we save the leg? All excellent questions! At this point I plan on moving forward with the big surgery and will maintain a positive attitude that it will be a success and I will be walking again. Sure, I may need crutches or a cane for the rest of my life, but I am ok with that. As this surgeon said, I don’t have a lot of options so I need to move forward. Amputation at the hip will lead to a completely different lifestyle and that needs to be a last resort.
Someone asked me if I always get a second opinion, so let’s talk about that. I don’t always get one. However, I have a team of surgeons who work together in my treatment plans so I feel very comfortable with most decisions. Between my orthopedic, vascular, and plastic surgeons, they discuss what seems to be best and we are all in agreement. It’s one thing to agree on hyperbaric oxygen therapy and another to agree on such a big surgery as the mega prosthesis.
You have to trust your gut and do what you think is best for YOU. Never feel as though you don’t have enough time for a second opinion or feel as though your doctor will be offended. If you have the right surgeon, as I do, they will encourage you to get a second opinion and feel confident in the treatment plan.
As I mentioned in my first post, I met with a surgeon in my area early on who was just awful. No bedside manner, spoke to me as if I was an idiot, and told me that I didn’t have time for a second opinion. Even though I was worried about the situation, I wanted and got a second opinion. And I certainly did not let that person operate on me. I thank goodness that I got a second opinion and met my fabulous vascular surgeon in Boston. He took a different approach. First, angioplasties. Clearing the blockage was important, and I now have two stents.
I am a big believer in trusting your instincts. When you feel that tugging inside telling you something is amiss, trust it! You may need or want something to be fixed or done right away but those warning signs are there for a reason. Over the last two years, my instincts have proven beneficial to me. I have had that feeling of something being wrong and each time I headed to my doctor or emergency department and as a result, it turned out that I had an infection that required a hospital stay or I needed emergency surgery.
Next up for me is a quick overnight stay for a vascular procedure to ensure that the stents are working properly and that I have optimal blood flow. If things continue to improve and the foot completely heals, the big surgery could just happen this summer. While I am excited that I may be walking again, I am also terrified about such a big surgery.
As I said, we must move forward. If we aren’t moving forward, we are idle and where is the progress in that?!
Tell me, what keeps you moving forward during difficult situations?
Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.
Picture – my own.