30 August 2016

Final Surgery Update | 1 Year Post-Op


I can't believe I am finally writing what will (hopefully) be my final surgery update! Yes! Saturday the 20th of August marked one whole year since I went under the knife to repair the damage that Freiberg's Disease had done to my right foot.

As always, why don't we start with major changes and accomplishments since my last update back in February! I love sharing these with you guys because they help me to appreciate and remember the control that I have back in my life because of this surgery.

CYCLING THE GREAT WESTERN GREENWAY

With my surgeons blessing that cycling would do my continually recovering foot the world of good, my husband and I took a trip back in March to Westport, County Mayo with the intention of cycling the 42km trek from Achill Island to Westport. I actually wrote a blog post about our experience which you can read more about by clicking here.



A GRAND ADVENTURE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN

Quite pleased with my progress cycling The Greenway the month previous, I was feeling stronger and more confident than ever by April. Mentally I felt prepared to start sorting  my life out again. I had finally adjusted to my return to work, my limp was much less noticeable and my endurance when it came to walking or standing for long periods of time was getting stronger as each week passed. Gone were those niggling pains and aches and finally I was feeling a sense of relief and purpose. 

Mid April, I decided that it was time to start taking care of myself better and one way of doing this was by visiting my GP for a routine health check up. During the check up we talked about a variety of things both mental as well as physical and I left her office that day feeling a new found sense of encouragement and determination. 

My husband and I have wanted to start a family for years, and no matter when we felt the time was right, something would crop up to delay it further. Naturally all of the issues I had gone through with my foot didn't help, and for a further two of those years really threw us and delayed so many plans we had made. 

So you can imagine my surprise when the evening of my checkup, my GP called me to tell me that the routine pregnancy test she had performed had turned from negative to positive over the course of the day!!


I cannot even tell you the emotions I felt at learning that we were finally going to be parents! Our little baby is doing so well and growing so fast! As I write this I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and growing more and more excited as each day passes for my delivery date to be here! Little Baby Brady is due December 25th and I have plans to update the blog with a few pregnancy related posts so watch this space if that is something you think you may be interested in. 


PHYSIOTHERAPY, EXCERCISE & WEIGHT LOSS

With my return to work and pregnancy, I was naturally feeling pretty exhausted on a more regular basis. My early morning work shifts didn't help and I would often fall into bed for hours when I came home. 

Although I feel blessed to have not endured awful morning sickness during my first trimester, I was incredibly nauseous, and despite forcing myself to eat as healthily as possible I actually lost quite a significant amount of weight. 

My post surgery, return to work weight was coming in at 102kg (16 stone) - officially the heaviest I had ever been, but hardly surprising given two years of limited mobility.  At the time I fell pregnant I was squeezing myself into a UK Size 18 and even sometimes a UK Size 20. Although I probably should have felt worse about my weight, I really didn't because I knew what my body had gone through had contributed to my drastic weight gain, and by getting my life back on track - I knew this was something I could deal with in time. 

I've always eaten well (I love food) and always been careful not to over-indulge. I carry most of my weight on my stomach and people would always seem surprised when I would tell them how much I weighed or what size clothes I wore. I exercised regularly by walking before my immobility and after my surgery, but despite a good diet and regular exercising my weight would often fluctuate. One thing I will admit I was terrible for, and one thing I feel has contributed (apart from the nausea) to my weight loss these past few months is drinking more water! Before, I would drink on average maybe one glass of water a day, if even, favouring tea / coffee / juices instead. Since I fell pregnant I drink on average, 4- 5 500ml bottles a day and I continue to do so out of sheer routine now.

Left: At my heaviest (101kg) January 2016
Right: 23 Weeks Pregnant (91kg) August 2016
Another aspect I feel has greatly influenced the weight loss is a lack of stress in my life. Since finding out I was pregnant, I have felt so calm and unaffected by the little things that would have generally bothered me before. I definitely am a firm believer that mindfulness and positivity can affect our weight. When I was at the lowest points in my life, I would always gain. At the highest points, I would lose weight.

By 12 weeks pregnant I had lost 10kg bringing my weight down to 91kg (14 1/2 stone). Initially I was worried about this, but my midwife assured me that this is totally normal given my weight before and factoring in the nausea etc. The most important thing was that I had a healthy gain rate during my second trimester, which so far I have been. I know I still have at least another 15kg to lose before I am considered a safe weight on the BMI index, but that is something that I am not worrying about right now. No doubt, having a little baby to worry about will help get rid of that extra weight in no time! 

WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY

Thankfully, I have had no need to return to my doctor since my last appointment with my surgeon.

If I have a particularily bad day, I know how to manage it now. Ice for the swelling and plenty of rest. I also remind myself not to push myself too far, and be aware of my limits. 

The scar one year post op

HOW I AM FEELING NOW

Relieved! Relieved that finally after years of pain and no solution, that for all intents and purposes the surgery seems to have been incredibly successful. I may not be able to wear high heels or be involved in high impact sports, but these are minor things in the grand scale of things. I can sleep, walk comfortably and finally live my life again. 

I think the most rewarding thing to come out of all of this, is the realisation that I can actually function normally once our son arrives. I have so much to look forward to with him, and I feel confident that the issues I have had with my foot will never limit me again now that I know the warning signs, and how to maintain the pain when it is bad. 



I am grateful for finding an incredible surgical team, for my incredible friends and family who supported and cared for me though every stage and of course to all of you for reading and sharing your stories with me.  

In my last surgery update, my surgeon told me to "start living", finally I feel like I can say that I have. 
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