Elvis Has Left the Building

I saw my podiatrist on Saturday and have been in a really deep blue funk ever since.

We are making plans to go forward with the second surgery to clear out the scar tissue in my foot that was surgically rebuilt almost two years ago, leaving me in chronic pain. This surgery shouldn't be nearly the ordeal the first one was.

But y'all?

It was not a good day. (This despite the fact that Coop and I took our daughters to see Mary Poppins on Broadway and it was AMAZING.)

Just to recap: I had my foot surgically rebuilt in 2007 after discovering that I was born with all of these deformed bones in it. Years of running and dance did a tremendous amount of damage and the only option was to fuse the bones in the middle part of my foot. Trying to come back from that has been a long, depressing saga. In addition to never running again, I can barely WALK. We've discovered that I produce scar tissue at an alarming rate and the next step is another surgery to clean out the scar tissue in my sinus tarsi cavity and cauterize it in hopes that it won't grow back and also, in hopes that it is the source of my pain.

Because I haven't taken a step without pain in almost two years and the effect on my life has been somewhat catastrophic. I'm looking into alternative treatment since the doctor said that the best he could tell me was that the latest proposed surgery wouldn't leave me any WORSE than I am today but there are no real options to alleviate the pain if it doesn't work. He thinks I will have to have my entire ankle fused at some point down the road.

I think what hit me on Saturday is the idea that this isn't going to go away, you know? That we can maybe manage the pain aspect (which is no small thing) but that I'm not going to be whole again.

This may be as good as it gets.


And this, my friends, sucks.

I'm very sad and frankly, not a little bit angry. I loved my body when I was strong and active and I hate this one that makes me think about every single step I take. I feel trapped inside this 80-year-old person. I don't WANT a handicapped parking sticker. I don't WANT to never ski again. I miss running so much that you know how some people have flying dreams? I have RUNNING dreams--dreams where I'm running flat out with my heart pounding as if it will burst forth from my chest.

I need to find some hope that I can develop a way to get strong and fit and active again WITHOUT my foot. I mean, the world is full of stories of athletes who train for amazing physical feats while missing limbs or dealing with illness. Right now, I am in so much pain and so despondent, I am having a very hard time thinking of anything positive at all, though. Family and friends have offered many platitudes and much advice but honestly? I'm not ready to hear them. I just am not there yet.

(I'm more in that, "Take your Pollyanna, happy-assed self over to the counter and drop the toaster oven on your foot thirty times a day for two years and THEN talk to me" kind of place.)

(Not that I am bitter.)

My husband showed me this scooter thing that a woman he worked with used. I took a good look at it and took a deep breath. "I would rather die," I said.

I need an overhaul on my attitude, I guess.

The funny thing is that while we were waiting to see the doctor, I read this Newsweek article about how people sort of make their own luck. I really buy into that idea. Almost every bad thing that's ever happened to me has resulted in something good --something I wouldn't have had or done if the bad thing hadn't happened.

Right now, I can't see the way out of this situation. I know it's there, though, because that's just the way things in my life have always worked. Maybe I'll write a book about it and get to be on Oprah. Maybe I'll become a spokesperson for people with FULFs everywhere. Maybe I'll develop some new sort of exercise that will sweep the nation.

Right now, though, I would settle for getting off of this couch and having a life again.

Comments

MadMad said…
Ay. It sucks the big time. I'll think you're more than entitled to wallow and whine (Not that you are. Really.) for as long as you need. Maybe you feel better at some point, maybe you do discover new ways of coping. And maybe you don't. But I hate this idea that you're not entitled to your feelings, and should try to "feel OK with it." It's bad, and you shouldn't feel bad for feeling bad. It IS bad. And I'm truly sorry.
Becca said…
oy, I'm sorry. no platitudes here, just a cyber hug. And maybe ask the dr for more anti-d's to help you deal with the down until you find your way out?
Best of luck on the surgery and kudos for planning to give it another try. What gets me through the day is the ad nauseum refrain, "It could be worse," but I don't know what I'd do if I were so preoccupied with pain I couldn't even think. It's not fair, that's for sure.
Sue said…
I'm so sorry Barb. It DOES suck. My husband had a really bad back injury at work last summer, when he was in the best shape of his life, running five miles a day. And his back will never be the same. Even with surgery, even with physical therapy, he will never be able to run more than a block. And it sucks. There's a grieving process.
hokgardner said…
Oh Barb,that sucks big time. I won't offer any platitudes other than to say I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

And thanks for the cool stitch markers. I'm behind on real thank you notes.
knittergran said…
Hi-I can ind of understand how you feel. After foot and knee surgeries, and in an attempt to avoid hand surgery, I can't play tennis and I DREAM about playing tennis.
So very sorry....
Susan said…
I hear you, Barb. A combination of health problems (diabetes, TMJ, fibromyalgia, asthma, etc, etc.) has resulted in me being on medical leave from my teaching job. There are some days I'm so sore everywhere or dealing with migraines and I realize that this not only keeps me from working but also keeps me from doing things that were my passion: training and showing my dogs, cooking and baking, and gardening. I will never get the energy back and I will never be totally free from pain. I can't travel without paying for it with exhaustion and pain. I am disabled although not visibly so. I've been struggling with depression the last few weeks too. I think winter contributes to it. Thank goodness for spinning and knitting! I can still get excited about those things! And I have the dogs and internet to keep me sane while being at home most of the time.
Ei said…
Smooches hon. It's all I've got but it's yours.
Susan said…
Oh, Barb. I have been complaining about missing my estrogen and not wanting to feel like I do now for the rest of my life - but pain is so much worse. I am so sorry that this is happening to you. I thoink it is okay to wallow awhile...
Hannah said…
I know I've never met you, although I"ve read you for quite a while, and just wanted to say ... (((hugs)))
I'd feel pretty lousy about it, too. Your attitude might change a bit if you can get the pain under control, but it is still a blow.
Kathy said…
O.K. Elvis. As you know, you are one of my favourite people in the world. I'm not gonna push but when you are ready for some tough love - go have a look at this place
http://www.varietyontario.ca/children/stories.htm

This is where I work out now.

Obviously I can't feel how much pain you're in but I it must be overwhelming, but dude, you can't imagine how inspiring it is to watch these people. I have been whimpering and crying about my "jammed" ankle and my plantar fasciitis and limping everywhere for months now and on the weekend, I was slowing making my way around the track and feeling sorry for myself when these kids with NO LEGS went flying by on their wheelchairs. I stopped and looked around and realized there were heroic stories all around me and I just felt like such a loser.

Anyways, I totally get how you're feeling and why you're feeling it and I hate to sound like one of "those people" and I'm not making light of your pain but like Sherry said, it really could be worse.

Love you.
kim said…
It's a stinko situation for sure. You have to think that new technology will certainly find a solution for what you're dealing with. In the meantime, you are entitled to be sad or pissed or whatever. I'm so sorry that you're dealing with all of this. Hugs. xx
It sucks and I'm thinking of you.
Mokihana said…
Oh Barb.... I'm glad you were open about your feelings. It is the PITS to first be in constant pain and then to find out it may never get better.

I think you deserve to cry about it.

You can't compare yourself with others in "worse" condition because your pain is your pain, and it's awful.

When I was having such a hard time in December I thought to myself, "Well, at least I wasn't 9 months pregnant riding on a donkey to Bethlehem".... and that helped a bit. But my pain was still my pain, just as yours is yours. Grief is grief, and sometimes you just have to get by with a little help from your friends and family. And Edward. Would it help to hug him?

You're in the middle of a really junk situation...options aren't looking wonderful either way.

However, God is bigger than all of it, and I will be praying that the surgery will provide you with much-needed relief.

Hugs and aloha....
wendy said…
That does totally suck --I have heard people mention that recovering from foot surgeries is very painful...and yours sound over the top on that one. I really don't know what I would do if it were me. Can you still kick ---go kick the #)(*%&@^ out of something.
otter said…
I can honestly say I understand. I am struggling to accept that I may never again be able to walk without pain. I hope you find something that brings you comfort or peace with the issue, if so.. let me know what it is!
Good luck.
I've heard that old saying that goes something like this, "When a door closes God opens another one," or maybe it's two other ones...or seven.

What it really is: When one door closes God opens seven windows but you have to climb through the darn things and some of them are on the second floor and some of them are too small and some of them are...." You get the idea.

I hope you find a really nifty window and a really nifty ladder...maybe a self propelled one, and we'll see you on Oprah.
Suna said…
Yeah, it sucks, and I am so sorry this has happened to you. I will never take walking for granted again.
Ann in NJ said…
I agree with Mokihana. Your pain is your pain, and since you have to live with it, you have every right to feel however you want to about it.

But I hope you can find a silver lining somewhere. And find some relief from the pain.

Thinking of you.
drawer queen said…
I too am so sorry you are going through this. Give yourself some time to feel mad and sad and then try to find something that makes you feel a little more in control of your body. Try to find a private yoga teacher that can help you work on poses that can be done without the use of that foot needing to be strong. There are poses that might help bring a little more mobility back to your foot and many that can be done without the foot needing to work great. Another option is pilates, which can be mostly on the mat, but yoga will offer you some peace in your mind and heart as well as keeping the body feeling better. Just find something that will let you feel a little more in control of your body in the ways that you can.
I'll be thinking of you!!
drawer queen said…
I too am so sorry you are going through this. Give yourself some time to feel mad and sad and then try to find something that makes you feel a little more in control of your body. Try to find a private yoga teacher that can help you work on poses that can be done without the use of that foot needing to be strong. There are poses that might help bring a little more mobility back to your foot and many that can be done without the foot needing to work great. Another option is pilates, which can be mostly on the mat, but yoga will offer you some peace in your mind and heart as well as keeping the body feeling better. Just find something that will let you feel a little more in control of your body in the ways that you can.
I'll be thinking of you!!
Gretchen said…
I know it stinks to have your body limit what you can do. I don't have anything that drastic but I am 47 and learning about limitations! Can you find a place to swim for exercise? It's never been my first choice for exercise but you can get a darn good workout even if you just paddle back and forth with a kickboard, and no pressure on that foot. Good luck.