Thursday, June 25, 2009

Foot Surgery Update

I know that this blog is technically for tracking my progress with breast cancer, but since many of you are kindly interested in the on-going surgery saga, I thought I would post a little note regarding my latest surgery this week. Most of you are aware that I was scheduled for a major foot and ankle surgery for September 16th, 2008...a day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say, I put off the ankle to concentrate on the cancer, and now that treatment is complete, it was time to come back to the foot.

I had surgery two days ago with the hope of being able to "glue" my broken talus (anklebone) together with bone grafts from my knee. I knew that I would look to my knee first after recovery to see if the surgery was would all depend on the state of my ankle bone and whether or not it was healthy enough to work with. I woke up and had no bandage. My sweet mother was left to deliver the bad news, along with one of my doctors on a phone call that there is a real mess inside my joint. When they pressed on the bone, "it was soft--akin to the top of a pie crust coming out of the oven" was the dr's quote.

So what now? I had a follow-up visit with my dr. today, and he said that he cleaned out a bunch of damaged cartilage and trimmed things up as best he could, and now there are three possible outcomes:
1- Some people (about 20%) have a kind of miraculous healing...scar tissue can take the place of cartilage and fit in between the bones, and life is pretty happy and painless. I will know in 2-3 months if such healing is taking place.
2- A cadaver part could be sought, with the risk of it carrying some disease that they currently don't test for (e.g. 20 years ago they didn't test for AIDS) and there is a possibility of infection, etc. This could take a while too, as a good match would have to be found, and my joint may still not be in good enough condition to take the new bone.
3- Fuse the talus to the fibula at a 90 degree angle which would severely limit my up and down motion of my foot. Most likely I could learn to walk without a limp but it would be unlikely that I would ever run again. Ankle fusion is considered the last resort in "fixing" ankles, but it would most likely get rid of the pain. While they do ankle joint replacements, it is a once in a lifetime option, and they typically fail in 10-15 years, which makes it impossible for me, as I am "too young and active" for a joint replacement.

As you can imagine, I think option 1 sounds the best. I also think this is a perfect opportunity to petition the heavens for a miracle. After all, as Mormon says, "Have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay: neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men...they are subject unto him, to minister according to the words of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness." While I find my dissapointment to be high and my endurance to be low at the moment, I cannot and will not let these slings and arrows overcome me.

And so, dear friends and family, I would invite anyone who wishes to join with me in a special day of fasting and prayer for a healing of my ankle/foot to do so on Sunday, July 5th. I will also be asking for a blessing of healing from the priesthood holders amongst my family and friends. I figure I may just as well be part of that "miraculous 20%" as anyone else, and if God would like me to ask and work for it, then I will...and enlist the faith of you dear ones, as well.

In the meantime, I am healing well from my "mere flesh-wounds" surgery (scope entries and removal of old hardware) this week, and expect to be back at work on Monday. I am staying in the guest recovery suite on Sandalwood with my ever-attentive mother and Alan seeing to every need. Thanks to so many of you who have sent lovely bouquets, well wishes, and cheery always, you lift me up. gf


Jen said...

We will be fasting for you. If anyone deserves miraculous healing, it is you! Hope you thoroughly enjoyed your trip to Maui!!!

Jill Brown said...

We will be fasting at our house as well -- we at least Darin will. I am still feeding Emma so I will add sincere prayers. You definitely deserve a miraculous healing

b said...

We are praying for you! You have an incredible attitude and many will benefit from your testimony of the miracle that will happen! We will be fasting for you also. Keep your smiled big just like always!

Eric said...

Gretchen, Kym Jensen gave me your site. I helped with VT her yesterday.

I really don't know what to say.

A word like "amazing" falls so short.

Except that I sit here with tears in my eyes as I read your posts, look at your wonderful pictures, and see your courage, faith, and good cheer.


Keep it up. Know that you are in my prayers. I'll be thinking of you in the Temple on Saturday night, and will be fasting for you this Sunday.