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Monday, February 18, 2013

Toe-rrific Update

I haven't updated you guys on my toe/foot issues since November. Sadly, YES, there are still issues. Here's everything that's been going on since my last post about it (which you can read HERE).

Last I left you guys on the situation I was wearing the walking boot all day, everyday and waiting to get the MRI. My dr wanted me to get the MRI done in ADEL. Which is a tiny, tiny town with a tiny, tiny hospital and they only do MRI's on the weekends. I scheduled the MRI for the Saturday we left to head to North Carolina. It worked out great...we dropped the kids off at Mrs. Charlotte's, got the MRI, then got on the road!

When we went to leave Mrs. Charlotte's I realized I had forgotten to bring a jacket with me for the trip. Oops. Zach was sweet enough to drive back to the house to get my jacket and I headed to the hospital solo. They didn't allow phone use in the waiting room and the ONLY magazine available to read was "The Progressive Farmer." No, I'm not kidding. Right when they called me back Zach got there. I felt SO BAD because they didn't allow him to go back with me so he was stuck in the waiting room for my entire MRI...which was 45 min long. 

Thankfully it was NOT a full body situation. The lower half of my body had to go into the machine. I cannot IMAGINE what I will do if I ever do have to do the full body thing. Omg. That tube is TINY. The process wasn't too bad. It was loud but I managed to dose in and out while it was going. I could only move when the loud gun-shot sound stopped. You wouldn't believe how many times I had an itch while waiting!!!!
Afterwards we headed up to North Carolina for our trip and I continued wearing the boot at all times. We got back and I had an appointment at the foot dr to go over my MRI results. I took the kids with me and they did GREAT but having two kids and trying to talk to a doctor is a bit much. Def haven't done that again ;)

He told me that all the MRI showed was inflammation. No break. No major, obvious injury other than the inflammation around my big toe. He said my injury was not severe enough for it to be turf toe as he'd originally expected. 

I knew what was next. I had done enough research to know that big toe issues pretty much either mean an injury/break, gout (which I'd already tested negative for) or rheumatoid arthritis. Sure enough, he wanted to have labs done to rule out rheumatoid. 

If it's been ANY other illness I don't think we would have been as worried. But we see rheumatoid on a daily basis. Both Mrs. Charlotte and Courtney have rheumatoid. We know how hard it is to live with. We see how it progresses. Zach and I were both scared. Casey was so sweet to come sit with the kids the next morning so I could go to the hospital to have the labs done RIGHT away. 

I have terrible veins and a fear of needles. So I CHUGGED the water ALL morning. Did you know that drinking a TON of water helps your veins be more "shot ready"??? Seriously...if I don't chug a ton before getting lab work done then they can't even FIND a vein to use! Anyways...I went solo and it was a rather quick process. Again, I'm thankful that we'd met our out of pocket maximum for the year as I was told those labs were EXPENSIVE!

When I checked in at the hospital the lady saw my labs that I was getting and said that she, too, had been through the same process. She had been diagnosed with rheumatoid and her life hasn't changed much since. She is on a daily medicine and it is working and it's not a big deal for her. That made me feel better about it. Plus if I HAVE to have something...having rheumatoid would be a "good" thing to have since our family is so knowledgeable with it and we have so many resources to utilize.
I had rushed to get the labs drawn and was SO FRUSTRATED by how long it took to hear anything about them. I called constantly and ended up having to wait THROUGH the holidays. I had the labs done on Dec 21st and didn't get the results until Jan 3rd. Ugh. It was HORRIBLE having to play the waiting game like that. Just horrible. I tried hard not to let it affect me...but how could it not?  It did put a damper on the holidays as I was distracted and worried and not sleeping well which meant I was a lot more emotional and easily agitated. Poor Zach ;)

Thankfully they called me the night of Jan 3rd. We were all together celebrating Mrs. Charlotte's birthday when I got the call that ALL the labs came back 100% CLEAR!!! Praise the Lord! It made my heart so happy to hear the news, but especially to see the reaction of all of the Parker clan. I knew they loved me...but seeing THEM so overjoyed really showed me just how much ;)

When the dr prescribed the MRI he also wanted me to go to physical therapy. We kinda put it off because I was still nursing Britt and the dr didn't think I could do the treatments while nursing. Once I started the drying up process I called and got an appointment scheduled for the therapy. I started going before we knew about the lab results, but like I told Zach...either way the therapy could help. 

They were all SUPER nice at therapy and it ended up that I totally could have gone while nursing because there were no shots involved...just a topical cream steroid that went directly onto the area of concern. The dr wanted me to go 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Once our insurance rolled over for the new year we simply can't afford for me to do that. We talked to the physical therapist and agreed that I'd go for 10 total visits. Since that's the amount of visits that Aflac will pay a benefit on ;)

We have our own tinge unit at home that we bought when Zach went through all of his back stuff so they showed me how to use it and I started doing it at home every evening and throughout the day when I remembered. I also started doing some exercises where I'd bend my big toe as far back as I could, hold, then release it. I was still wearing the boot at all times. And I was taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen 3 times a day to help with the drying up process so they told me to continue doing that to help my foot as well.

The therapists opinion of what is wrong with my toe/foot is that I have too high of a threshold of pain (turns out a high pain tolerance is a bad thing). She thinks I injured my foot AWHILE ago but didn't notice b/c I don't feel pain the way other people might. So it took a LONG time and a lot of damage to the area for the pain to hit me. Makes sense to me! I'm too tough for my own good ;)

I had an appointment to revisit the foot dr on Thursday Jan 17th. I went in VERY frustrated. I felt stuck. I was OVER the walking boot (hello...I'd been wearing it for TWO MONTHS. There is only so much in my closet to match BLACK!). I was OVER the therapy. Don't get me wrong, I think it's beneficial and a needed field. It just wasn't HELPING me! I was spending $50 each visit to get some cream on my toe and maybe a little toe massage and I'd leave never feeling any better. In the two months I'd been wearing the boot...nothing had changed in my symptoms!

My foot felt FINE while I wore the boot. As long as I wore it from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed I'd be fine. No issues. If I took it off at all then I had pain. Not intense crazy pain, but a throbbing pain I'd mostly feel at night when I'd go to bed. I felt discouraged. I felt like I was doomed to have chronic pain forever with no end in sight. I was just DONE.

I feel bad because I wasn't super friendly with the dr that day. My agitation showed. He was so sweet and patient with me about it and said it was time for a change. He told me to pack the boot in the closet for three weeks. Quit the physical therapy. He brought out the "big guns." The cortisone shot. Y'all KNOW I hate needles. Like, I have had 2 babies 100% naturally just to avoid them...well I WELCOMED this one. Anything to help me get back to having two good feet!!! Zach had told me that cortisone shots are super painful (thanks babe) so I had some anxiety about it but they brought in someone to distract me (I've learned to request that anytime needles are involved...it helps!!!) and numbed the crap out of the area. 

I literally got home and changed clothes right then into something BROWN. I was SO PUMPED!!!! Goodbye stupid walking boot!!!!
 I was super pumped and literally wore nothing but brown for like 5 days straight. But. I wasn't pain free. My foot went RIGHT back to hurting just as bad as it did before. The shot didn't help. I quickly learned more about my pain and what triggers it. If I go barefoot (even around the house) or if I wear any type of shoe with an incline then I WILL have pain. To avoid the pain I put on Ugg type boots the minute I wake up and wear them around the house at all times and continue to wear some type of shoe the ENTIRE day until I go to sleep. Flip-flops and slippers do not stop the pain. Only legit shoes that have a hard bottom and are flat work.

Don't get me wrong...I appreciated being out of the boot. I was thankful to be done with the therapy. But I'm only 28 years old. I want to wear HEELS. I want to wear FLIP-FLOPS. Heck, I want to run and chase my KIDS! I'm too young to be stuck with this stupid injury like this! And I am also too young to have to pop ibuprofen all the time due to pain (hello...not good for your liver!)

I wore boots or flats every day!
This past Thursday was the three week marker from when I got the cortisone shot. I wasn't expecting much out of the appointment. I feared he'd want me back in the boot or back at therapy. In the days leading up to the appointment I wore heals one day and I went barefoot another just so I could make sure to tell him exactly what causes the pain.

He looked at my feet and had me stand up flat to compare them. He then had me sit down and pressed his thumb on this spot under my foot. Ohmygoodness. I about screamed in the pain! It was intense pain that I haven't felt before at all! It shocked me!!!

He said he reviewed my xrays and MRI and that what is wrong is a TINY bone between my big toe pad and the next toe is damaged. It's inflamed and I must have injured it at some point and it just isn't healing. I don't feel the intense pain all the time because of it's location. He said that in his 7 years of practicing he has only seen 5 cases like mine. Typical. I would be the person with something RANDOM wrong haha! He said he was actually doing surgery on someone the very next day with the same issue. This lady had spent a YEAR trying to get the spot to heal and they were finally doing surgery to get things right. He did agree with the therapist that I probably injured it awhile ago and just didn't know it due to my pain tolerance and that I've been causing further issues to it sense. 

Surgery would involve simply removing the bone. Much like Zach's back surgery. They'd remove the thing causing the problem and I'd probably feel instant relief. He said heal time would be about a week of me being completely off of my feet. Not too bad really...He said the only real negative side effect of the surgery is that it can cause bunions. I don't really know what a bunion is? I felt too embarrassed to ask b/c I know they are a common knowledge type thing... But he said the way bunions form wouldn't actually affect my foot at all because my natural toe placement is actually too far the other way so, if anything, a bunion would just correct that. 

Removing a bone sounds super strange, right? I mean God gave me that bone...don't I need it? He said I'd be fine without it. He's super conservative regarding the surgery but said that he doesn't want me living like this forever either. I agree. Sure, when I'm a little old lady I may wish I had that bone for some reason? But it's a quality of life issue and surgery may be my best bet at getting back to being 100% ME. Foot issue FREE :)

He wanted to try another cortisone shot but this time in the DIRECT location of the issue (so that super tender spot where I felt all the pain). I said, bring it on. I know...so crazy of me haha! Again, they numbed it like CRAZY but I could still feel the pain. I didn't care. I want to feel better and if this helps, so be it. 

It's been 5 days since the shot and I still have a bruise where it went in. It's still even a little sore from it. He said for the next three weeks to just do what I know will help it not hurt. Wear the shoes all day. Avoid heals. Etc. He said in the couple days leading up to the appointment, try going barefoot and wearing heals again so we can compare and see where we are at.

Shot #2!
Basically our plan is to go to the next appointment and see if anything is any better from the last appointment. See if the shot did the trick! He said if I don't see much difference and we get to be spring time that we will then discuss going through with the surgery. 

I've never had surgery. I've never been put under anesthesia. We are still paying off Kye's surgery...I'd rather not add MORE debt to our lives. Obviously, I'd rather not have surgery.

I know all of this may not sound like "toe-rrific" news, but it is. I'm a PLANNER. I love to have a PLAN. Sure, surgery may not be ideal...but it's a PLAN. I know what's wrong with my foot. I know it's not a permanent issue. I know there are steps we can take to fix it. I have a timeline to go from to know that there IS an end game in this situation :)

Hopefully this shot works. Hopefully I heal on my own. I'm proud of myself for, overall, remaining patient in this process. I've been battling this pain since early October so we're going on 5 months now of this! I've had a few breakdowns due to my frustration, but overall I've tried to just not think about it and keep on keeping on! 

I'm thankful to be walking boot free and am so blessed that THIS is the most major injury I've ever faced. It makes me appreciate my healthy body so much more! 

1 comment:

  1. Girl, I feel you with foot issues! I have had 3, yes 3 platars warts on the bottom of my foot in the past year and all have had to been surgically removed! They have given me so many deep numbing shots almost in the exact same spot as yours! I was told though that if someone EVER tries to give you shots through the bottom of your foot stop them because it's 10x worse! Guess we are lucky! Have a good day!

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