(Day 103) // 14th week – the 3 month mark! Run run run // 21st February 2021

It’s now officially been 3 months, 9 days and 12 hours since my feet surgery. Omfg what a journey!

After my last appointment I had to wait another three weeks to attempt running for the first time. So as soon as those three weeks were over, I went for a run. That was this Friday. I might have gone for 4 runs since then and it’s now only Sunday. What can I say… I really can’t keep my shit together.

Not going to lie, my feet are in bits and I’ve got blisters everywhere but I feel fucking great. It’s like I’m alive again and able to move.

But anyway…. it being the 3 month mark I thought it would be a good idea to do a bit of a review of the past 3 months for anyone who’s thinking about doing the surgery.

Before deciding to do the surgery I asked for advice from people who knew other people who’d done it, I went to a hospital in Portugal, I asked my doctor in the UK and the general thoughts were… don’t do it. The doctor in Portugal actually said I shouldn’t consider it at this point yet and the doctor in the UK said he was only sending me to the specialist because of the amount of pain I was describing but that other treatments are always preferable (insoles, different shoes, painkillers etc.)

Well…. at this point (and this can all change in a month’s time of course), 3 months after the surgery… I can not be more grateful for having followed my gut feeling and doing the surgery.

The recovery has been long and painful, but the thought of having to go through this at an older age actually makes me sick. But it was one of the best things I’ve done for myself recently.

Now…. a summary:

  • Surgery is fairly short (40min per foot)
  • The first 12 hours I didn’t feel much at all and I was veeeeryyyy high. And giggly!
  • After the first 12 hours… the next 3 days are a fucking nightmare. Like…. stuff you wouldn’t wish on anyone. The pain is horrific, you can’t sleep, your stomach hurts from the strong painkillers, you’re completely out of it and you can’t focus on anything because the medicine is too strong, but you also can’t get off the medicine because the level is pain in too high.
  • The first appointment 5 days after the surgery will be scary and if you go alone (which I had to) make sure you prepare yourself ahead of time and ask for a wheelchair to move around the hospital. I was sweating by the time I walked from the front door of the hospital to the reception area (5metres distance) because I was putting all my weight on my arms/crutches. The doctor was very kind though and changing the dressings didn’t hurt at all
  • For the first 2 weeks taking a shower will be an unpleasant adventure. Buy baby wipes for the days when you simply can’t move. Buy a small stool for the bathroom so you can climb to the toilet and the bath. Buy a stool for the inside of the bath.
  • Buy a wheely stool. (Thank you again Jessica!). That saved me. Literally.
  • You’ll be moving around on your bum, knees and hands a lot. Get some knee pads.
  • Get a yoga mat and start stretching and exercising as soon as you can. Your body will be in bits from all the laying down and sitting down. Please do trust me on this one.
  • You will then start being able to walk 2 – 8 steps a day on your heels but balance will be shit and the pain will be pretty bad as well.
  • The appointment to remove the stitches is a bit painful but it’s bearable… plus… after that you can start showering sitting down but with your legs inside the bathtub. So the pain is worth it!
  • You should still sleep with your legs raised and sit down with your legs raised. This should be done for as long as possible and no less than a month.
  • After the 3 week mark you will notice big improvements with the walking but I was still not able to cope with the weight of the bed covers on my feet, so the feet were out all night.
  • After the first month you should be able to walk normally for short distances but you will still be in quite a bit of pain. The swelling will still be fairly bad as well.
  • The second month is difficult in the sense that you feel ready to do stuff but mobility and the swelling are not great.
  • The scars will have closed by now but they hurt like a m********, mainly when you massage them…. which you should!! Everyday! With bio oil.
  • During the second month I started to sit down at my desk normally to work but I still need to put my feet up to reduce swelling.
  • I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes in a lot of pain if I’ve been leaning on one of the scars for a long period of time

There’s a few more things that I’ll probably keep adding to this list as I remember the process until now, but all the previous posts should help with some tips as well 🙂

(Day 80) // 11th week – Not so great news // 29th January 2021

There she went, all happy and confident, to her last podiatry appointment. Kind of thought it was actually a shame that this would be the last time I’d be able to see Dr. McCutie, but hey…. it’s a good sign because feet are definitely good (still some pain of course…. but it’s ok).

Well …. let me tell you something about managing one’s expectations….

I go in (Dr. McCutie looking particularly cutie and in high spirits), we have a chat and then I show off my feet. I’m like… super positive and excited because although there’s pain and mobility could be better… it’s been a lot worse! I even asked if I could start ruining!

He says the scars look really good but he’s gonna send me to get some X-rays done.

After looking through the X-rays he hits me with the truth…. “there’s still quite a visible gap where we cut the bone and that should be looking a bit better”. Ok. Ok. No reason to panic. But can I go for runs? No.

“Also…. mobility wise it should be a bit better as well. At this point it should be at around 70% and you’re at about 45%” . Fuck.

So that wasn’t super great to hear to be honest. Has taken me the past 2 days to come to terms with it.

He showed me some extra exercises I can do that involve balancing on the balls of my feet and “squatting” and he showed me how to make sure I’m not over-protecting my feet by leaning towards the outside of each foot. (Dr. McCutie and I “squatting” in the office together must have been a sight to behold).

So… more physio exercises, no running for another two weeks at least, and another appointment in 6 weeks.

Now that I’ve had time to process it I’m ok with all of it, I just need to be patient.

Plus… Always a pleasure to see Dr. McCutie who always remembers my baby avocado hehe. There’s been the suggestion that maybe I should just… bring him a gift for my last appointment and invite him out (knowing he won’t be my Dr. anymore). I’m actually considering this Lolol

Oh, what a beautifully stereotypical romance this could be!

To be continued…. 😅

*p.s: I’m fairly sure I won’t have the courage to do it and he’s probably 10 years younger than me

(Day 63) // 9th week – meh // 14th January 2021

I’ll start this post by saying that I’ve got no regrets whatsoever about doing the surgery and if you are in two minds about doing it… deffo go for it…

… but man…..

The recovery is long!!

I still can’t run or do high impact exercise. Can’t go on tiptoes. My feet still don’t bend the way they used and they still hurt a fair bit. 😦

I’m very thankful for the stuff I CAN do though, especially considering that two months ago it was nothing.

I can sit at my desk all day for work with my feet down and they don’t swell up that much anymore. I can indeed go for walks, I can do adapted yoga and I can wear trainers without any issues now.

The scars are still very visible and they hurt a fair bit when I massage them. There is a lot of scar tissue underneath and I have massaged them every single day since I was able to after surgery, so definitely don’t forget to do it as it’s taking ages for the scar tissue to break down.

Also… I got lazy for a couple of days and didn’t do my physio exercises at home and it was super noticeable on my mobility range, so be very aware of that.

Pictures below were taken this morning after a shower and a short massage.

(Day 52) // 7th week – all the walks and adapted yoga // 3rd January 2021

So here we are… the year is 2021 and yes, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

Now that’s out of the way, my feet are feeling great! It’s incredible how much improvement I can notice every day.

Since coming back to London I’ve been for walks almost every day. I started with shorter walks but for the past two days I’ve walked between 40min-1hr and my feet (although a bit swollen) feel good.

The worse time of the day is definitely after I shower. This is when they get fairly purple and more swollen.

I’ve also started to do a bit of yoga, and that’s a bit more complicated. My feet are not nearly as flexible as they used to be (yet!!!), so I’ve had to adapt a lot of exercises, but we’re getting there.

I can’t wait to be able to start doing a bit of running!! (And here’s something I never thought I’d say).

I sometimes find myself thinking if the surgery was worth it since my feet still look like they have bunions and then I remind myself of the pain I used to be in constantly and I realise that aesthetics mean nothing! It really is about how they feel.

However… I did look at the two pictures I took before the surgery and two today…. and you can definitely see the difference!!

(Day 44) // 6th week – walks and soreness // 26th December 2020

Christmas has come and gone. It’s been a great time and an adventure for my feet.

After my last appointment on the 18th, I grabbed my backpack and went down to the Isle of Wight to spend Christmas with my cousins (and it was a good thing I did, as London went into tier 4 one day after).

That day was pure abuse on the feet. Nasty abuse. From going to the Doctor which required some walking, then going to the tube (walking to the station and then between stations), getting on a train in a busy Waterloo station in central London, then getting on a boat…. and finally home. Let’s just say my feet were the size of big balloons by the end of the day.

The past week has been a bit of a balancing act between doing some short walks (that provide me with some much needed “exercise” that helps my back pain), the need to rest and elevate my feet (to help with pain and reduce swelling) and the physio exercises to improve mobility.

I’m not sure I’m very good at this balancing act though. (Oopsie)

There’s definitely been some learnings recently:

  • “bio-oil” the hell out of those scars. Buying bio-oil and massaging every morning and evening has been a life saver.
  • Never skip your mobility exercises. Your Doctor is right. They hurt but they’re a required evil.
  • Elevate elevate elevate
  • Compression socks… wear them. Forget about being sexy for a while

It will take time and I’ve come to accept that harsh reality. It is getting better but it’s definitely a long process.

The next mission will be to find new shoes that go with some of my latest requirements, but that’s a totally different blog post.

(Day 36) // 5th week appointment // 18th December 2020

So… another bitter sweet appointment today after I thought things were better than they actually are.

Since my last appointment 10 days ago I’ve been really careful, elevating, massaging, mobilising and only went for 2 very short walks.

The scars kept getting better and better and I think using bio-oil and massaging the scars with it every day at least twice a day had something to do with it. I also stopped using my “ special anime shoes” and got some boots similar to “UGG boots”. I did try to wear my trainers as Dr. McCutie said I should but my feet simply didn’t fit in them.

Well, guess what? That was a stupid mistake.

Saw my actual surgeon today and she said that the bones are healing well, the mobility is fantastic but the swelling is worrying :/ Apparently my feet are a lot more swollen than they should be by now, which isn’t great. She did say I need compression socks and to stop wearing those boots (which basically allow my feet to keep swelling) and start wearing my trainers. It will hurt a bit but it will get better.

The good news are that I can now officially go for walks and can get back to the gym to use the stationary bike and upper body weights.

I’ve managed to come down to the Isle of Wight for Christmas but as soon as I’m back in London on the 27th December, I shall be going back to the gym! Whoop whoop!

(Day 26) 4 week appointment // 8th December 2020

Today was bitter sweet.

On one hand I got to do new X-rays and check how every is going but on the other hand the news were not the ones I was hoping for.

I’ve been super happy because I’ve been able to walk around in the flat and I went to the park twice for a very short walk. This meant I thought Dr. McCutie would tell me I can slowly continue to go for walks and maybe even go to the gym to use the bikes etc.

But Nop. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Although mobility is ok (which is a relieve as I had no way of comparing with anyone what it should be like at this point), the bones are still at a stage where I need to take it easy. This means… no walks, no gym, nothing. I can wear trainers if I want to but I mean… no point really if I can’t really go out.

I’m happy I got to talk about the range of motion of my big toes and get some reassurance that they’re moving fine, so that’s some positive news.

The other positive news is that Dr. McCutie and I have decided we might need a ceremony to name my baby Avocado (tattoo on my foot), as baby avocado might not be the best name anymore.

On a more serious note though, I’m very very thankful to Dr.Walker (Dr. McCutie) for the patience, for listening to all my concerns, and for reassuring me everything is going ok. Also for the good banter and the laughs, it really does change my mood.

(Days 23 & 24) A weekend of firsts// 5th & 6th December 2020

I went out! Not like… “out out”, but I left the flat do to something that was not going to the hospital or take the bins out!

Just to explain… it’s been just over 3 weeks since my surgery and I’ve been out of the house 3 times. Twice to go to the hospital and once to take the bins out. And it’s not that I mind interacting with my Uber drivers or Dr. McCutie but a bit of variety and fresh air is always appreciated.

So on Saturday I went to see my colleague and friend Hannah for coffee and then went for a very short walk in the park.

I honestly can’t explain how happy I felt. I did cry a little bit in the park Lolol that’s how emotional I was.

I was very scared of the walk and of getting too tired using my crutches but it was more than ok. I was still using them for support but since I was walking very slowly and wearing my special “anime shoes“, I was almost walking normally. Yes… it did hurt a bit, but that is to be expected

I actually think my feet appreciated the movement, the weight and the cold. (It was absolutely freezing!). I got back to the flat and it felt like both feet had been in the freezer for hours, so they were not even that swollen.

On Sunday I just went to the supermarket and back. Again, it was absolute fine.

Worth saying that the scabs are now falling off and the feet are looking better and better by the day.

Tuesday is my 4 week appointment with Dr. McCutie and I’ll be asking about mobility on my toes and if it is normal to be this stiff. I also want to ask if I can exercise a bit even if it’s just on a stationary bike.

(Day 20) Visible improvement // 2nd December 2020

In the last 5 days there’s been a visible improvement in my ability to walk and my confidence in actually standing up and moving around.

The scars are healing up nicely and I’ve finally been allowed to start applying some moisturiser on them yesterday (as per Dr. McCutie instructions).

I’ve also been doing the mobility/rehabilitation exercises he told me to do and although it breaks my heart to see my little feet with such limited range of motion, I do think it is improving. Bear in mind I did a dance degree and I’m used to having fairly flexible feet, so this is always going to feel/look alien to me.

All in all, it’s been 3 weeks since my surgery and I’ve just taken the bins out. Small steps everyone (literally!)

Taking the bins out was such an accomplishment!

(Days 13, 14 & 15) Baby steps // 25th, 26th & 27th November 2020

On Wednesday, 25th November, I took my first steps without crutches. It was scary but it went ok. The weight was all on the outside of my feet and heels, and there was no pain.

Since then I’ve slowly been increasing the amount of time I stand and walk, and by this I mean… on Wednesday I walked to/from the bathroom 4 times in total (each trip is like… 8 steps), on Thursday I walked to/from the bathroom 8 times, on Friday I walked to/from the bathroom 8 times, to the kitchen twice (4 steps) and downstairs once.

The downstairs one wasn’t a good idea.

I’m getting a bit more confident in what I’m able to do and my feet seem to be coping ok. Still elevating them and icing as well.

Also… those toe mobility exercises hurt a fair bit but I’m also scared that they’re not working. I’ll see how my toes are moving in the next few days and if it doesn’t improve I might have to call Dr. McCutie on Tuesday.

Anywho, here’s several ugly pictures of my feet.

Also… my back is killing me as well. Turns out being in bed and sitting in chairs all day is simply not my jam.