Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Delayed Honeymoon

Quarup and I had planned to go on our volunteer honeymoon this fall but life throw us a curve ball. An ankle injury of mine has been taking much longer to resolve than we had originally anticipated. We decided to postponing our honeymoon until next year and instead focus this fall on getting my ankle back to normal.

As many of you already know, I have been tolerating a sore ankle for a quite some time now. Within the past three years, I had injured my left ankle twice but have each time been able to bounce back. In December of 2009 a dancing injury left me with a constant dull pain in my left ankle that wouldn't go away. After evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon in the summer of '10, it was determined that I had ankle cartilage damage that would best be resoled with surgery.

I didn't want to rush into the OR. First of all the surgery would have taken place just before our wedding (wedding gown, crutches, snow and ice didn't sound like a good mix in my book) and second, we wanted to try a passive approach to healing with a different doctor before opting for surgery. So this past spring, I found a new doctor who had immobilize my ankle with a cam walking boot, assigned me to physical therapy and gave my body body several months to naturally heal the damaged cartilage. It was a long shot that didn't pan out. After thoughtful consideration of the situation, surgery was scheduled for Friday, September 30th.

The cartilage repair will be preformed through arthoscopic surgery (aka, keyhole surgery with aid of a small camera) to remove damaged and excess cartilage and then a microfracture will be performed. To my understanding, microfracture is a procedure in which small holes will be drilled into my talus (ankle bone) in order to get the bone to bleed. This blood should clot and develop into fibrocartilage. The majority of what will determine my surgery's success takes place in the weeks following surgery while the blood clot becomes fibrocartilage. We will not know if the procedure was a success until three months after the operation.

Here's a video of a microfracture procedure on a knee - I wouldn't eat while watching this clip.

Each doctor I've seen stresses that the recovery process is long. After surgery, my ankle will be immobilized in a cast and will remain non-weight baring for at least one month. During the second and third month, I'll be placed back into a cam walking boot and start attending physical therapy. Assuming that surgery was a success, I will attend another three more months of physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and associated balancing muscles.

We did contemplate not going through with the surgery but considering my active lifestyle and age, surgery seems a better option for me over pain management treatment. The best chance for the growth of fibrocartilage is to undergo the procedure while I'm young. The doctor also informed us that my cartilage condition will worsen over time and I will eventually need this procedure or an even more invasive procedure involving a cartilage graft - basically braking the ankle open and implanting cadaver cartilage.

This will be my first time heading into an operating room and I'm pretty nervous about the whole thing. I'm not a fan of hospitals and thankful that more than likely I'll be able to head home shortly after the procedure. We'll be keeping everyone up to date as we get closer to the surgery.

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