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To June T.

Posted by Missy B on 9/02/02 at 21:55 (094311)

Hi June,
Many of the regulars here have passed on great information to you. I had TT/PF surgery last January and so far my surgery has been successful - at 7 1/2 months I have 90%+ improvement over my presurgery pain.

One thing that bothers me is that your doctor seems to be too busy to fully explain TT surgery and its possible outcomes. If you really like this doctor then you should make sure that he has the time to explain the whole procedure, the expected recovery period and what to expect as you heal, and of course, any complications that can arise. If he cannot or will not do this for you, go find another doctor, or get several more opinions from podiatrists or orthopedists. And take your nerve conduction test results with you. Any doctor who is going to cut on you owes you the time for explanations and questions. You should also discuss your fear of IV needles with him - there are several meds that may be used to calm short-term anxiety, and they may also be able to numb your skin where the IV will be or wait until almost the last minute to start it. Or ask them to put a cloth over your eyes so you won't have to see it and take a Walk-Man with you so you can listen to music to keep your mind occupied until they take you into surgery. Once you start getting drowsy, you won't even be aware it is there. Don't ever be ashamed of your fear - no matter how dumb you may think it sounds to others, it is very real to you, and anyone who has ever been afraid of anything understands that.

I had a very good Pod who was also very conservative. He tried all of the non-invasive treatments, which failed to provide me with much relief, before he ever mentioned surgery. My nerve conduction test was a glaring positive for tarsal tunnel, although I had no mass pressing on the nerve. He gave me basically 3 choices - change my job and my lifestyle, learn to manage the pain, or have the surgery. I am 54, in good health, and have worked 33 years as a medical technologist in a hospital laboratory - so most of my day was on my feet. I enjoy horseback riding, travelling, hiking, etc. and I wasn't ready to give up my active lifestyle or my job seniority. Surgery in always an individual and personal choice - and it was the choice for me. He had a good record with this type of surgery, and I was able to find several people who had had this surgery, not necessarily by him, and they gave me some great tips for my recovery.

My surgery was an in/out surgery - I was back home in about 6 hours. My Pod did prescibe Toradol and Oxycontin for inflammation and pain - but all I ever took was the Toradol - I never needed the Oxycontin. Compared with the pain I was suffering from before surgery, I had very little pain afterwards - more soreness than what I call outright pain. For the first 2 1/2 weeks I spent most of my time lying around with my foot elevated and iced my ankle frequently. When I had to get up, I slipped my foot into my cam walker and used a regular walker to lean into or a wheelchair to get around my apartment. I was non-weight bearing during this time, so I only got up when I had to. After the stitches came out at 2 1/2 weeks, I began gradually putting weight on my foot, still wearing the cam walker, and using the regular walker. I also began rubbing my incision with cocoa butter to keep the skin soft and help prevent scar tissue from forming. At five weeks, I was able to get my foot into a shoe ( I actually bought a man's size athletic shoe because the foot was still a little swollen) and I began taking short trips to the market. At 8 weeks I began 4 weeks of physical therapy to strengthen my leg and ankle and at nine weeks I went back to work. I have seen posts from others who returned to work much sooner than I did, but because my job requires me to be on my feet almost the entire shift, my doctor made me wait longer.

If you decide to have this surgery, my best advice to you is to REST, REST, and more REST afterwards. DO NOT rush your recovery - LISTEN to your foot - it is the best indicator of how you are doing. If your doctor wants you to do more and it hurts, then back off and TELL him - only you know your discomfort level, so be honest with him. I have greatly curtailed my activities this year; he told me it could take up to one year for total healing. I am very selective about how I spend my time on my feet away from work, and still try to rest my foot for 2 uninterrupted hours most days. I am back exercising 3 days a week, but no aerobics. I ride my horses several days a week. But most importantly to me, I can get thru my whole day at work without limping - most days I have little or no discomfort. I wear my custom orthotics in a good athletic shoe for work; around the house I wear my Birkenstock sandals or clogs. I also use a pain relieving gel called BIOFREEZE which I rub on my foot and incision area 2 or 3 times a day - I find it very soothing. Perhaps I have been more conservative than I needed to be, but I am very happy with the way my surgery has turned out and I don't plan on doing anything to cause a setback before January '03.

I am sorry for making this so long, but I was trying to address several of your questions in one post. And I also wanted to let you know that, while there are many who post here that have had unsuccessful results, there are some success stories here also - you just have to take the time to sift thru the posts and find them. As one of our posters said, those who have had successful surgery often return to a normal life and rarely come back here to post anymore.

Whether you decide to take more time and see if you can gain relief from the TT pain thru non-invasive treatment, or decide on the surgery, I wish you the best of luck. Please keep posting and keep us informed as to how you are doing. And if I can be of any help to you, do not be afraid to ask. I can only relate to you my personal experiences, but I am more than willing to do so if you think something I might have gone thru would answer a question you have.

Missy B.

Re: To Missy from June : frusterated

June on 9/03/02 at 15:43 (094372)

Missy,
You certianly are right, I have gotten some good information here, from the others, and I truley appreciate it all.You said it bothers you that the dr doesn't have time to explain the TTS surgery to me. Well, again, I want to stress he is doing 'wonderful' things, yet is very busy, but......trying to see him, or even talk to him is more like trying to break into Fort Knox. I don't need anymore problems, and I fear I am about to start with anxiety attacks . His nurse just called me, and said he makes appts for a week after testing, but he's going out of town, and can not see me, til next week. I am really stressing to the point, I feel. like bricks are of my chest, and I am suffocationg. My goodness, I am so sick of this game, and I don't want to play anymore!! I have been BEGGING the neuro for months to 'do' something, and it took forever for him to hear me, now that the appointments have been made, and I have followed through, it is 'hurry up and wait' I told the nurse I havent worked for weeks, and she said, 'can't you just go there, and sit?????' I had the urge to ask her if she could go to HER job, and just SIT. I feel like most of the world is going insane, then again maybe it's just me, and I am already there! Has ANYONE ever gotten so upset,and frusterated??????? It's like facing a brick wall, or 'many' brick walls. When I called the secretary this am to see if the tests were in,.. they were.. now all of a sudden, they are not!? The dr said he would prescribe Darvocet...that would work well, after I have already tried Duragesic patch, Morphine, that did absolutely nothing, and Oxycontin,Hydrocodone etc. Finally he said tomorrow I could pick up a script for Percoset.I find it strange that none of them suggested ice, heat, peas?,elevation, or even a cane? I'm sorry to create a scene here about my problem, I am just do desperate to have answers, and feel well again My business is just as important to me, as anyone elses profession, and it is killing me to sit on this chair while it goes down the toilet. Sorry Missy, I didn't even answer your post, I will have to do that later. It was wonderful explanation of how things went for you.You have all been so enlightening with your experiences. Thank you, June

Re: Frustration - I understand

Missy B on 9/03/02 at 20:39 (094395)

June,
Any of us who have suffered with foot pain for any length of time has gone thru many periods of frustration and even depression. We all understand where you are coming from. The last 6 months of 2001 were about the worst 6 months of my life - I had so much pain, that some days I would come home from work in tears and dragging my leg. My family and friends just could not understand how foot pain could be so debilitating and why I just couldn't join in the activities that I had always enjoyed.
Believe me - I know where you are coming from.

If you really like this doctor and trust him to operate on you, if he does not have the time to spend with you, take the time to go back thru as many of the posts as you can on this board to get an idea of the different recovery periods that patients have experienced and the different outcomes. My story is just one of many and I wanted to give you an idea of what you may expect following surgery and some tips that might help you. The common thread that I can find among those of us with successful recoveries - this includes patients in my own area with whom I was able to speak - is that we did not rush our recovery. I realize that there may be others out there that were back to work in a few weeks and have done fine, but I have come to think this is the exception and not the rule. And of course, many of us have undergone PF surgery along with the TT release, which may contribute to a longer recovery period.

If you have the surgery, be sure to keep in touch with us during your recovery and ask as many questions as you want. Most of us speak from our own personal experiences and there are some very knowledgeable people who post here. We are all here to offer you support and help if we can.

Missy B.

Re: To Missy from June : frusterated

June on 9/03/02 at 15:43 (094372)

Missy,
You certianly are right, I have gotten some good information here, from the others, and I truley appreciate it all.You said it bothers you that the dr doesn't have time to explain the TTS surgery to me. Well, again, I want to stress he is doing 'wonderful' things, yet is very busy, but......trying to see him, or even talk to him is more like trying to break into Fort Knox. I don't need anymore problems, and I fear I am about to start with anxiety attacks . His nurse just called me, and said he makes appts for a week after testing, but he's going out of town, and can not see me, til next week. I am really stressing to the point, I feel. like bricks are of my chest, and I am suffocationg. My goodness, I am so sick of this game, and I don't want to play anymore!! I have been BEGGING the neuro for months to 'do' something, and it took forever for him to hear me, now that the appointments have been made, and I have followed through, it is 'hurry up and wait' I told the nurse I havent worked for weeks, and she said, 'can't you just go there, and sit?????' I had the urge to ask her if she could go to HER job, and just SIT. I feel like most of the world is going insane, then again maybe it's just me, and I am already there! Has ANYONE ever gotten so upset,and frusterated??????? It's like facing a brick wall, or 'many' brick walls. When I called the secretary this am to see if the tests were in,.. they were.. now all of a sudden, they are not!? The dr said he would prescribe Darvocet...that would work well, after I have already tried Duragesic patch, Morphine, that did absolutely nothing, and Oxycontin,Hydrocodone etc. Finally he said tomorrow I could pick up a script for Percoset.I find it strange that none of them suggested ice, heat, peas?,elevation, or even a cane? I'm sorry to create a scene here about my problem, I am just do desperate to have answers, and feel well again My business is just as important to me, as anyone elses profession, and it is killing me to sit on this chair while it goes down the toilet. Sorry Missy, I didn't even answer your post, I will have to do that later. It was wonderful explanation of how things went for you.You have all been so enlightening with your experiences. Thank you, June

Re: Frustration - I understand

Missy B on 9/03/02 at 20:39 (094395)

June,
Any of us who have suffered with foot pain for any length of time has gone thru many periods of frustration and even depression. We all understand where you are coming from. The last 6 months of 2001 were about the worst 6 months of my life - I had so much pain, that some days I would come home from work in tears and dragging my leg. My family and friends just could not understand how foot pain could be so debilitating and why I just couldn't join in the activities that I had always enjoyed.
Believe me - I know where you are coming from.

If you really like this doctor and trust him to operate on you, if he does not have the time to spend with you, take the time to go back thru as many of the posts as you can on this board to get an idea of the different recovery periods that patients have experienced and the different outcomes. My story is just one of many and I wanted to give you an idea of what you may expect following surgery and some tips that might help you. The common thread that I can find among those of us with successful recoveries - this includes patients in my own area with whom I was able to speak - is that we did not rush our recovery. I realize that there may be others out there that were back to work in a few weeks and have done fine, but I have come to think this is the exception and not the rule. And of course, many of us have undergone PF surgery along with the TT release, which may contribute to a longer recovery period.

If you have the surgery, be sure to keep in touch with us during your recovery and ask as many questions as you want. Most of us speak from our own personal experiences and there are some very knowledgeable people who post here. We are all here to offer you support and help if we can.

Missy B.