Cast off…cast away?

I expected that this would be a really upbeat and happy post. If you’re looking for that, I suggest you go elsewhere. There probably won’t be any photos or fun stuff today.  I sound like Lemony Snicket—warning you to stop reading about my unfortunate events. It is the truth though, and they say the truth shall set you free.

What should have been a momentous occasion has turned into something that takes me further down the spiral. It’s been a very difficult week for reasons that I will not go into here. I got my cast off yesterday. I had mixed feelings about it. I know it is a step (step, yeah, I wish!!) forward and it means progress in my healing. I also knew that it meant that there was much work to do.

I asked my surgeon a lot of questions like when can I do physical therapy? –Not until you can put weight on your foot. I knew I must take my healing into my own hands so I asked if I could begin doing mobility exercises. He said that is fine, as long as I do not put any weight on my foot. He told me that ligaments take at least three months to heal so no weight bearing for the next six weeks. My ligament is screwed into place and it isn’t going anywhere as long as I don’t put any weight on it.

I sprained my ankle about two years ago and knew some rehabilitative exercises from that so I asked if I could do those to gain strength and mobility. This involves pointing your foot, flexing your foot and writing out the ABC’s. He said, yes, of course. He asked me to do some simple movements of my foot and it was incredibly difficult. He said that was to be expected since it’s been immobilized for 7 weeks. It’s been about 11 weeks since the accident and I’ve tried any movement. I was scared at the lack of mobility and went home to try more movement and examine my foot and leg more.

Do you know how heartbreaking it is when you realize you cannot even bend your toes? I cannot bend my toes. I cannot point my foot. My calf muscle seems to have disappeared. I cannot rotate my ankle—either way. I can wiggle my toes a little. I cannot spread my toes. My baby toe seems paralyzed. I can flex my foot up about an inch. This terrifies me and makes me heave with sobs.

I do not cry. Not easily anyway. Emotion is better buttoned up I learned from a very young age. Crying is weakness. And for the love of all that is strong, I am weak. This week has shown me that I am so incredibly weak in so many ways. It horrifies me. I hate this weakness. Hate it. I try to put on a good façade for everyone. I think it works most of the time. The problem is, this terror seeps out at inopportune times and inappropriate ways. I end up saying and doing things that are counterproductive to my existence. It is never good to live in a place of fear. It nurtures poor choices.

It makes me want to stop, lay down and never get back up. It makes me want to stop. Everything. I struggle to find a way not to stop. I struggle to find a reason not to quit. The only reason I have not to quit is me. There is no one else, nothing else. I wonder if I am enough? Really though, that is all anyone has. I suppose there is the illusion of others. I have a somewhat solipsistic view of the world. Perhaps that is because I am alone. I’ve always been alone and am used to it. It is nothing new or scary. The fact that I am more helpless than I have been in a very long time is. I’ve been through much worse so I know I can weather this. I just had this notion that maybe I had already met my suffering quota for this life. Silly me, there is always more suffering to be had.

I haven’t even touched on the nightmare that is my skin from under the cast. Vanilla pudding seemed to ooze off the bottom of my foot when I got it wet in the tub. There is so much more skin to come off and I cannot shave my leg for three days due to the skin being so sensitive. I had the second session of debridement and it was a little less disgusting than the first. There is so much skin that needs to come off– seven weeks of build up. It has to be a long process- just like everything else. You can’t just scrub it all off because the skin underneath is tender and raw. Yes, that pretty much describes me at this moment.

I’ve read about others feeling down and helpless during this recovery process. I have felt down during this recovery. I’ve always found the silver lining. Right now, despair is clouding any lining and darkening any hope that I have fostered throughout this very long healing. I feel as though I am losing everything. I know logically that I am healing. The emotions are crippling me. I don’t think I can write much more. I only know that a large black veil is covering my existence right now. I’m all too familiar with it and in some perverse sense welcome it. At least it is familiar. Not being able to move my body in the way I am accustomed to is not. It is one of my worst nightmares. The helplessness is getting to me. I am turning into one of Seligman’s dogs just as I predicted. It is awful. I know I am the only one that can break this cycle. It just seems to have no end. I have to get back up. Right now, I think I only have the energy to lay here. I will indulge my emotions for a while. Feel this horror and invite it to dinner. We’ll have a glass of wine and a good meal and discuss what it would like from me. It’s part of the process. I know this. Running away from it only delays the inevitable. Or worse. So, here I am, supine on the floor—knocked down. I will get up again. When I have the gumption. It’s official, this is my theme song for this year:

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9 thoughts on “Cast off…cast away?

  1. Hi…Believe it or not, your experience seems pretty much like mine…Except that my doctor kept me in the boot for three months. He had told me that after that I would be able to walk on it…HOGWASH! I put weight on it in the doctor’s office and almost went through the roof! He put me on PT for two weeks with no weight bearing, two weeks ‘toe touch” and then full weight bearing. And like you, my ankle wouldn’t flex and toes wouldn’t bend, and the top of my foot was so sensitive I didn’t want it touched. I felt like I had a rubber band around my toes..very uncomfortable!
    The good news is that a few years later the foot is pretty much totally normal. I can run, jump,do aikido rolls, hike, etc. You seem a bit ahead of the game because you’ve been told it’s ok to do the non-weight-bearing exercises at this point, which is earlier than I did them.
    I don’t want to sound like Pollyanna, but that stuff does come back, It takes a lot of work, but from what you have posted, it seems like you would be capable of doing it!
    So hang in there.

    Chris

    • Thanks for the encouragement and letting me know that it does get better, Chris. Logically, I know this. It’s very disconcerting when you don’t have control over your own body. I am so glad that you have made a full recovery. I plan to do everything in my power to work hard to be 100% again. The waiting and uncertainty is very difficult.

  2. You are incredibly strong and you will get through this and be healed correctly this time. I admire that you are willing and able to share your feelings so eloquently. You are not alone!

  3. I am in week 15 of post lisfranc surgery recovery and have had all the same frustrations you have shared. It is terrifying when you can’t move a part of your body and you start to wonder “will I ever walk again?? EVER???” I have had similar emotional experiences during my lisfranc recovery and have had more than a few complete meltdowns filled with despair. What you are experiencing psychologically is the toughest part of recovery, at least it has been for me. From reading your blog, like me, the actual physical work doesn’t scare you. It is the psychological impact that is scary. Let me reassure you that what you are feeling is normal and more importantly please know you will get movement back. I am only half way through my lisfranc recovery, but I know for a fact your foot and ankle will move again. But it will be slow and not without pain. Because the healing process is slow you have to trust that your body will heal. Waiting is tough, but you can’t speed up healing. (I have had my surgeon, and PT people say that to me over and over again.) When you are ready, you will pick yourself up and dust yourself off…..

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Pinkeyp. I’ve been reading your blog and see many similarities in the recovery process. It is interesting how each Lisfranc injury has its own unique trajectory. I’ve gained some perspective and let go of the need to heal faster. It’s nice to see your progression and I hope to follow in your footsteps–because making footsteps will be SO FANTASTIC, especially in the sand. I have seen many successful stories and that does give me hope. Keep up all your hard work!

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