Sunday, October 9, 2016

Colon cancer to ankle replacement: the saga of an aging cowgirl

I have a new story to tell, and it's not about colon cancer. When you continue to age because you've survived colon cancer (and I'm very glad I did!), other ailments creep in. In this blog, I've mentioned my crappy ankles before.

When I was, oh 14 or 15, I played basketball for junior high. That was back in the day when you played half court. Lucky for me, too, because I couldn't shoot or dribble. But I could rebound the heck out of a ball. The coach said, "The minute you get the ball, pass it to someone else fast." Which I did, so I guess I could add "passing" to my basketball talents.

Problem with being a good rebounder AND wearing Chuck Taylor high tops is that ankle support was minimal. So I sprained my ankle about once a month.

Turns out spraining your ankle when you're a kid becomes ankle arthritis when you're an aging adult. 

And it's quite painful. There are times when I'm walking that I cry. But not all the time. If I take enough Voltaren, I can hobble along at a decent pace. Those of you with arthritis anywhere understand, I'm sure.

I've had both ankles operated on twice. One for a ligament tightening (because loose ligaments caused me to turn my ankle when I was just walking down the street) and one to clean out the arthritis.

So now it's time to do the big one. The special Facebook group I'm on calls it: TAR. That means total ankle replacement.

It's not common like knee replacement and hip replacement. It's new. And I'm scared. Like in knee replacement, in ankle replacement surgeons basically cut off your bones and insert a metal joint. But unlike knee replacement, the ankle bones that hold the metal joint are more slim. Not thick like the femur and the upper tibia.

And the foot is a complicated body part. For a glimpse of what the surgery is like, look at this video. I might warn you not to eat first.

When my new doc looked at my ankles, he used a phrase befitting of a gal with a blog named Cowgirl Attitude. "That horse is out of the barn," he said. Meaning, I guess, no more repair work on those ankles, honey, it's time for TAR.

So my surgery is scheduled Dec. 9. I'll keep you up on the details in case a surgery of this sort is in your future.

Photo credit: Rachel Patterson | CC BY-NC-ND

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