Days 4-14 Post-op:
Before surgery I had planned to throw a surprise party for Chris. His birthday was one week after my surgery. I had four of his friends from out of state coming to stay for the weekend and about 20 of our friends from in town coming on Friday night for the surprise. So 5 days after surgery I was on my feet all day at the grocery store getting supplies and at home trying to hide the supplies from Chris so the surprise didn’t get ruined. 6 days after surgery I was up baking and cleaning the house, with a ton of help from a friend. Without help I could have never pulled off the surprise, but I was still overdoing it and would pay dearly for all of this later. 7 days after surgery I was on my feet virtually all day prepping for the party and then socializing during the party. Day 8 and 9 were somewhat better but we had out of town guests staying with us so I wasn’t resting as much as I should have been.
10 days after surgery I went back to work. One of my feet was very swollen and at this point no amount of icing or elevating was reducing the swelling. I could only get my feet into two pairs of shoes, which were flat dress shoes that basically had nothing to them.
As far as pain goes in the two weeks following surgery, it was tolerable. I was no longer taking medication. I was not using crutches or anything to assist with getting around. Stairs were difficult, standing for any extended period of time was difficult. Pain was mostly isolated to sharp pain when standing after sitting down and nerve pain.
I saw one of the doctors briefly a week after surgery as one of my incisions looked questionable. Everything turned out to be fine. Other than that brief visit, I had no follow up until 2 weeks after surgery. At my two week post-op appointment, as I mentioned before, I was lectured about being too active. Aside from that, things looked pretty good. He was visibly concerned about the size of my left foot and ankle. The swelling had been pretty consistent for almost a week, and he was concerned about it. I also mentioned the nerve pain I was having, oh the nerve pain.
He prescribed compression socks, which we refer to as my ‘sexy socks’ or ‘super socks’, and those have eliminated the swelling, miraculously. He prescribed Neurontin for the nerve pain I am having, but I have decided I will not be taking that. And he told me I could start physical therapy the last week of December.
The nerve pain is something I had not expected with this surgery and is something that will be an issue for many months to come. There is a nerve which has to be avoided, in some cases moved, during this procedure. I knew this going in. My surgeon did not have any problems with this, however, there is nerve damage from the procedure that will take time to heal. Because of this, I have numbness and for lack of a better way to describe it, irritated nerve ends which make touching my skin in certain places very irritating. In addition to this, I sometimes get shooting pain that I notice mostly when I am sitting still or laying in bed.
I chose not to take the medication he prescribed for this because it does not work to help the nerves heal or regenerate, rather, it dulls the nerve pain. I’m more concerned about helping the nerves recover than the pain that I am feeling. I’ve done some research on this and I believe a combination of B12 and B7 will help with nerve recovery, so I plan to begin taking those soon. Other than that, the nerves will need time, probably months, to fully recover and feel normal again. It is a really irritating problem, but it is tolerable and hopefully temporary.
Day 14 and on:
I have been cleared to do what I feel I am capable of doing. Meaning, stairs, lifting, etc. I still cannot drive for another week. I have been released to exercise, but only recumbent biking and upper body weight lifting. I can’t swim, bike, run, or do any lower body exercising yet. I am told swimming could come soon, when the incisions have healed. Running will be no sooner than 12 weeks after surgery. So, it is my hope that at the beginning of March I can start running again.
I am not able to get down on my knees, or get down on the floor and get back up without some real difficulty (learned this trying to wrap Christmas presents). And I often have the habit of sitting with my legs beneath me when I am on the couch or getting into bed, I can’t do that, it is very painful. I am not allowed to go without some sort of compression wrap. Right now I wear compression socks all day and at night I wrap my legs with elastic bandages. I really look forward to the day when I can let me legs breathe and I don’t need to wrap them.
I see my surgeon again in 3 weeks. For now I have to try not to overdo it like I did in the first week and just let my body heal.