Uncertainty

It’s been almost two years since my flap surgery and about six months since my ankle fusion. The fusion itself was technically a success. The bones fused, and my foot is now in a better position. The pain, however, is as present as ever. I’m able to walk a mile, sometimes close to two on a good day, but I pay for it with pain afterwards. Pain is my constant companion and influences every decision involving more than a few steps. Ankle pain has radiated outward into knee pain and back pain from a broken gait. I don’t much like where that leads.

The pain isn’t unbearable, but it’s enough to sap the joy out of most activities. I’d rather not lean on pain killers, so short walks, when my foot can handle it, or riding a stationary bike, is about all I can do. It’s too early to give up hope entirely, but it’s far enough along that amputation is increasingly a regular and realistic topic of discussion. When every step is painful, amputation sounds like an almost thrilling alternative.

The pain sucks, but the real struggle is uncertainty. Will it improve enough? How long do we wait? How will we know? Not being able to go run and play with the girls hurts almost as much as the pain that prevents it. They grow up so fast, and I truly fear missing out on far too many moments.

I’m comfortable with amputation, but after putting it off this long and giving a fusion a shot, jumping the gun seems a bit rash. There’s naturally a bit of selection bias, but I have yet to hear a story of elective amputation where the individual didn’t wish they had done it sooner.

My thinking lately is that it’s time to at least start talking to surgeons and prosthetists again. Since there’s no rush, and the holidays are coming up, that should mean a couple of months of appointments, research, and careful decision making. More than enough time for this foot to give us an idea of what it has planned. But who really knows. We’ll see.