I was not, however, prepared for what the days after surgery held...
...crazy discomfort and pain.
...uncertainty and anxiety.
...a strange gnawing that something was just not right.
I knew this was a tough surgery and recovery. I had been through it just two years prior with the other foot. But, I didn't remember it being quite as bad, quite as painful, quite as strange.
After the one week mark, I got a permanent cast in place of my giant cast/wrap thingamabob. Although I was grateful for the stability, I could hardly stomach the claustrophobic feeling of constantly having something on my foot.
But, I had no choice. The pain was starting to subside some (or was that the extra dosage of meds the doc prescribed?). I knew I'd just have to press through. However, after about a week of having the permanent cast, I again began to feel that something wasn't quite right. My foot felt....well, different. Tingling. Burning. Strange. I would almost describe it as if someone was binding my foot in duct tape. It was that...off. I tried to shake it off as best I could. I had to start the school year after all. I attributed it to being swollen in a tight cast, nothing more.
I started the year... on a scooter. I counted down the days until I could get that wretched thing off of my foot. I couldn't wait for my foot to feel normal again.
Little did I know...
...this is why my foot felt so strange. About two weeks after my surgery, I developed CRPS. You can read all about that discovery here.
If you'd like to read about my subsequent CRPS
It was definitely not expected. I was supposed to have a rough recovery, but then I was supposed to be ok. I was supposed to be able to walk normally again, be active, do all the things I hadn't done since high school. I wasn't supposed to question whether or not I'd walk again. This wasn't the plan.... but it was God's plan.
Over this last year, God has proven Himself over and over. He has stretched me, challenged me, grown me, and changed me. I've developed a greater reliance on and a trust in Him. And, I hope and pray that somehow I've helped someone else grow a little closer to Him as well. If that's the case, then I'd say it was (is) all worth it.
So where am I now? A year later?
Well, I'm walking! Praise the Lord! I'm on my third pain management doctor (the dudes in Bakersfield were awful). Fortunately, I found a wonderful doctor down at USC that I completely trust. I'm still on Lyrica and that seems to help adequately calm my nervous system. I've taken a round of steroids and that shocked my system into better behavior for a time. I'm currently back in physical therapy to help with some stiffness and loss of motion, but I'm confident that Jess (my physical therapist) will whip me back into shape.
My feet aren't "better," but they are certainly better than they were (yes, I'm saying "they"--the other one developed some CRPS along the way)! I still experience CRPS symptoms, but I can (usually) do much more before my feet react, and my symptoms are not as severe as they once were. My USC doc thinks he'll be able to get me into remission (or back to "normal") within a couple of years. It may always be a struggle. I may have flare ups for the rest of my life. But, I may also go into remission and not relapse.
Only God knows. He carried me through this last year, and I trust that He'll continue to carry me through for many more to come (well, for as long as He sees fit, I suppose). :)
As far as I can tell, things are lookin' up!