Tuesday, 15 March 2016


Life is pretty much resumed as normal.  But a little different.  I've been 'speaking' to a few people on the forum in the Patient.com website and I think it would be helpful if I tried to explain how life is after having bunions on both feet treated.  I am exactly 3 weeks post op today.  In one respect it feels like a really quick 3 weeks but on the other hand it feels like forever since I had my operation.

Having both feet in plaster means that you have to think about how you do things you normally take for granted.  Like walking upstairs for instance. Wearing the fabulous Brooks shoes, these,
means that your foot is bigger than normal.  So not only do these shoes make you walk on your heels, which is necessary for the healing process, but your foot is wider and longer than you are used to.  So walking upstairs/downstairs needs to be done one step at a time with only one feet being able to fit on each step.  This means it takes a while to navigate stairs.  To begin with I tried using the crutches to help me on the stairs but quickly found that using the bannister was much easier, less fiddily.

I obviously haven't tried walking with only one shoe on but I have read others say it is difficult due to the difference in height.  These shoes do give you an extra inch/inch and a half (this is pretty much the tallest I've been!) so I can imagine that only wearing one would alter the way you walk and put extra pressure on your hips.  So I'd say wearing 2 is better, at least you are even.  I apparently waddle like a penguin in these shoes but hey, at least it's amusing the kids!!

I quickly gave up using the crutches I was given around the house after the first few days.  I spent the first 5 days after my op staying upstairs (we only have the one bathroom in our house) and I found it quicker to walk the short distance between my bedroom and bathroom holding onto doors, walls, etc.  That being said, I timed myself one day from getting out of bed, putting my shoes on, going to the loo and back again.  Now the distance between my bed and the bathroom is not far, maybe 15 steps, but it took 6 minutes.  6 minutes!!!  These shoes take so long to put on and take off, I am getting quicker (after 3 weeks I'd hope so) but even walking in them is slow.  Because you are walking on your heels, it means you have to think about how you place your feet, especially in the first few days.  When I initially put the shoes on in the hospital it was very, very strange.  The nurse suggested I try walking without crutches at first but I was very wobbly so crutches were decided as the best option to keep my from falling over!

But yeah, normally things take longer than you are used to.

Showering is something else that is a new experience.  Now one of the things you are warned when getting a cast on, as most people will know, is that you cannot get your cast wet.  It weakens the plaster, which then doesn't support your broken bone as well as it should.  So how exactly do you shower without getting both feet wet!  Or in fact, standing up, as you can't put any weight on your feet.  Now you could wear the lovely shoes in the shower but I accidentally got one shoe wet the first time I attempted a shower and it took most of the day to dry out.

As you only have the one pair of shoes, that idea was out.  Then I did some exploring online and came across these interesting things.
They are from a company called Limbo and essentially are large waterproof bags with a neoprene cuff that you put over your foot.  The cuff prevents any water getting near your foot.  So with the aid of these and a stool I have been able to have a reasonable shower and wash my own hair.  That was a big thing for me prior to having my feet done, I just could not figure out how to wash my hair myself.  A friend offered to come and help me do it but, as generous an offer as it was, I needed to figure out a way to do it myself.  My little way of keeping control over some part of this new way of life.  So these sock things are fantastic.  Not particularly cheap, at £12 per sock, but definitely a worthwhile buy.

Among the little things I've noticed about being slightly incapacited is that bending down is harder than you think it should be.  Although you bend from the knees, or you should if want to protect your back, when you stand back up you use your feet to push.  I can't do that at the moment, or more to the point when I try I can really feel it in my feet.  So bending down is sort of off the agenda at the moment.  Not easy when you have 2 kids who, no matter who many times they're told, still leave toys across the livingroom floor.

But so far the pros definitely outweigh the cons, in fact, dare I say it, it's been relatively easy these last 3 weeks.  Boredem has kicked in a couple of times but nothing that a spot of Netflix and a good book hasn't been able to fix.

So far I've watched nearly 3 series of The Good Wife, a couple of kids films, lots of Paw Patrol and I'm working my way through the second series of Once Upon a Time.  I'm also on my 4th book.  I've also done a little cross-stitch of Pluto and I'm back to working on my cat cross-stitch I started far too long ago.  Not bad for 3 weeks!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Phase 2

It is now fully 2 weeks since my operation and things are going well.  Yesterday was my return visit to the hospital to have the stitches removed and new casts put on.  Apart from having to wait a ridiculous amount to time to be seen (1hr 10 minutes after my appointment time) it was a good appointment.  I got to see my 'new' feet for the first time and they looked odd.  Not like my feet, admittedly they were/are swollen, but it was a bit like looking at someone else's feet.  Not a pair of feet I recognised.  It was also the first time I got to see exactly where the stitches were.  I've reached the grand age of 41 with the only medical attention, requiring attendance to hospital, being pregnancy related.  So to have had a couple of bones broken and stitches, it is a novel experience.  It was also the first time I've had stitches removed.  It didn't hurt.  I could feel a little tugging sensation, I decided not to watch, but no pain.

I did watch when the nurse put on my new casts.  It was all very fascinating, even seeing the stitches for the first.  A bit Frankenstein-ish to be honest, but fascinating all the same.  So my feet now look like this
 Definitely much better wrapped up than the last effort.  Lighter weight cast and nicely wrapped in crepe bandages.  Quite cosy in fact!

So that's me for the next 4 weeks, Phase 2 - still doing the same - rest, elevate and occasionally walking in my gorjuss shoes.

It's been 2 weeks since my op but it's almost 3 weeks since I finished up work and the first weekend, before my op, was slightly manic.  Over 4 days we had a little person turning 3, a birthday day out, a small family birthday gathering, a Beavers Scout outing, lots of housework, a get-together with friends, trip to hairdressers and final prep for going into hospital.  Oh and I finished a quilt top!

But things have been much calmer over the last 2 weeks.  I've read 3 books (well nearly, I've only 50 pages left on 3rd one), watched 3.5 series of The Good Wife, numerous episodes of Paw Patrol (kiddie programme), done quite a few 'extreme' dot to dots, done this little guy
Which reminded me I still haven't finished this guy, which I started ..... erm ... about .... well let's just say it was over 10 years ago.  So he deserves to be finished.  No excuses now do I?
I'm also being entertained by these two
And the littlest one, who loved the first week at nursery, but cried her eyes out every morning of week 2 and almost had a wobble today has been bringing me home her artwork everyday to cheer me up and to ask if my feet are feeling better! 

Friday, 4 March 2016

A Long Wait (part 2)

I had intended to complete the previous post but things got busy round here with little people.

So basically the last thing I was going on about was how easily it was agreed that my bunions needed attention.  Fast foward to the night before my operation and I'm running about the house like a dafty trying to get on top of housework, kid's stuff and general 'stuff' - partly to be as organised as possible heading into my operation and also as a total distraction about going into an operation.

The morning of the op went smoothly - up early, got organised, had a cup of herbal tea before 6.30 then waited for my lift.  Arrived at the hospital on time and barely had time to sit down before I was called through.  So a quick chat with the doctor to confirm what operation I was about to have and then I was taken through to the ward to sit and wait.  And so began the stream of people who approach you and ask you to confirm your date of birth.  Every 5 minutes.  Every person you talk to in hospital ask you your date of birth.  Sometimes it's even the same person, just 10 minutes later, asking you your date of birth!

Anyway I was apparently due to be second on the list that day but due to a late arrival I was bumped up to first place and was wheeled into the operation theatre ante room just before 9am.  Next then I was aware of was waking up in the recovery ward, both my feet bandaged. 
(including the lovely marker pen instructions!)

A little while later, after a sleep to get the rest of the anesthetic out of my system, I was given a lovely cup of tea and slice of toast.  I mean the bread wasn't the greatest, it is the NHS after all they're not going to spend loads of money on premium thick cut bread, but given I hadn't eaten in roughly 16 hours it was lovely, lovely toast!
I then sat about for a while longer, reading (thankfully I remembered to take my kindle) and watching the nurses rush about dealing with half a dozen different things all at the same time.  I had to wait sufficiently long enough to be allowed to 'walk' on my new feet.  I was given my lovely new shoes and asked to get up and walk.  I was very wary.  Very, very wary.  But I did it.  I was fairly wobbly as these shoes force you to walk on your heels and not put any pressure on the front of your foot.  It was an odd sensation.  Sort of like reverse high heels.  But after the provision of some crutches, I was much more stable and that was it.  About an hour later my lift arrived and I left the hospital.  Feet done.  All I'd been concerned about taken care of.  Well nearly, I still needed to get into the house and upstairs to bed.  But again that was easier than I expected.  It was slow, and everything I do at the moment is slow, but I walked upstairs using only the bannister for support. 

So it's all over and done with.  Now I'm a week and a half into the recovery process and it's going good.  I go back to the hospital in 3 days to have my plastercast changed and stitches removed, and I'm looking forward to seeing my feet, almost excited even!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A Long Wait (part 1)

I'm now 6 days post op and I thought it would be good to detail the process I've gone through to get to where we are today.

I've had bunions for as long as I can remember.  I cannot remember not having sore feet if I've needed to walk any distance, and I've walked a marathon! (I did the MoonWalk in 2007) They are a delightful genetic inheritance from my Granny Nancy, those and my 'freaky' arms.  I'm double jointed, or as I now know it's referred to as 'hypermobility' of the joints. 

Anyway, I've had bunions for years and their accompanying side effects - sore feet, hard skin, callouses - not to mention the slow change in footwear over the years!  High heels are basically a dim and distant memory (and may still be) and a shift to more 'sensible' shoes has developed over the years.  There's nothing wrong with that but I do miss the ability to just pick up a pair of shoes and buy them without wondering if I'll be able to squeeze my bunion into them.  The last new shoes I bought, a pair of sensible chunky brogues, ended up squeezing my big toes so much I ended up with bruised toe nails which eventually fell off.  Nice eh!

For years I've had various comments about my feet, you can imagine the general tone of the comments.  I've always shrugged them off, I didn't think my feet were that bad and, anyway, if I were to approach the doctor about getting something done about my bunions. surely I was too young?  Then I had a particularly comment at work about 18 months stuck with me for some reason.  It wasn't a nasty comment really, more the tone, 'Oh My God!!! What IS wrong with your feet?'. I thought I'd cut my foot or something but no, it was just the sight of my feet in a pair of ballerina style shoes, bunions bulging out of the sides!

So that got me thinking maybe I should see if something could be done.  I sat on that idea for about a year before going to my GP.  The GP took one look at my feet and announced she would make a referral to the consultant.  I didn't even get a chance to say my bit, I had rehearsed a whole speech but didn't need too.

The same happened when I saw the consultant, Dr De Leeuw, basically one look at my feet and he decided what needed to be done.  A quick x-ray to confirm his thoughts and that was it.  Decision made and name placed on the waiting list.  All I needed to do was wait for the operation date.  I think I was in a state of shock right up to the night before the operation.  It had all been too easy.  No-one had said 'no', no-one had said 'come back in a few years'. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Things I Don't Need ......

Normal shoes, socks, leggings/trousers with a small foot hole, car keys.  Well I will need them again, but not for a few weeks.  The only thing I'm really missing at the moment are my socks!  Having large plastercasts on my feet isn't making them cold but I do miss the cosiness of a pair of socks.

For the next 6 weeks my life involves these lovely, lovely shoes.  While in all seriousness, they are essential at the moment as they allow me to walk without putting any pressure on the front of my foot, but they REALLY are the fugliest shoes (if you can even call them shoes!) I've ever seen.  Good on a practical level.  But they ain't winning any prizes in fashion stakes!

And this little bundle of goodies are also now part of my daily life..

a (borrowed) wheelchair, yet to be used other than to ferry the kids around the livingroom, a shaped foam cushion, a bed cradle and a laptop table.

The cushion is amazing, I've to keep my feet elevated and this helps with not only raising my feet but supports my knees and legs.  I've tried just raising my feet and it eventually puts pressure on the back of your knees and your lower back so the support cushion is ideal for avoiding pain elsewhere.

I'd read about other people who have had the same operation as me and a few people had mentioned a bed cradle was a useful thing to have.  Essentially it is a small frame which help lift bedclothes/covers off a limb (leg/arm) after an operation.  I wasn't sure if I'd need it and to be honest, even though I've used it for a couple of nights I didn't think it was making a difference.  Until someone threw an item on clothing onto the bed yesterday and it landed on my feet!!!  It was only a small t-shirt belonging to a 3 year old but the unexpected weight on my feet was a surprise and a bit of shock to the system.  So the cradle thingie is useful it seems.

Rightio the family are back from their adventures so I'm off to find out what they've been up to.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

They're Done!

Well my operation has taken place. It's all done and I'm currently lying in bed binge watching The Good Wife on Netflix, (I have no complaints). I had planned to do a couple posts in between my last post and actually having my op but the last week has been particularly hectic. More of which I'll write about shortly.

As for now I'll leave you with a photo of my 'after ' op feet. They look sore but they really aren't - a bit achy and slightly uncomfortable at times but not sore. I'm keeping on top of my meds and it's all good. So here they are, my interesting new feet!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Countdown to Change

Life as I know it is due to change in 9 days time. Sounds very melodramatic doesn't it! It's not meant to. But things which I deal with on a daily basis - pain, calluses, blisters, etc - are soon to be coming to an end (fingers crossed).

On 24 February I'm heading off to place my feet into the hands of a lovely NHS consultant to deal with my hideous bunions. A double bunionectomy if you will! This is as best a photo as I'm willing to show at present (with a little hand just for scale!)
Nobody really wants to see how awful my hideous trotters are, suffice to say they remind me of old granny feet. Even after they've been slathered in moisturising cream!

I've not thought too much about what will actually be done them, I'm not the surgeon, as long as he knows what to do I'm happy. However it has stuck me today just how potentially immobile I will be in the early days. I've been told I've to be non weight bearing for the first two weeks. Then I'll have lovely shoes which enable me to 'heel' walk for the next 4 weeks. Now this is for both feet. So that's non weight bearing on both feet for 2 weeks.

So I've happily been thinking to myself, non weight bearing for 2 weeks - no problem I'll just stay upstairs (we only have the one bathroom) for 2 weeks and it'll all be good. Had a couple of offers of help with the children which are going to be taken with much gratitude. However today I had the thought, how do I actually GET UPSTAIRS! Today I tried shuffling upstairs, backwards, on my bum and it was difficult not to use my feet. Much harder than I expected. So that's made me nervous. It was a joint effort with me and Pedro in the end, I did make it to the top of the staircase but to be honest getting from there to actually getting into bed isn't going to be as straightforward as I'm hoping I don't think.

I'm also going to have crutches. Which will be great for getting about but I've got rubbish upper body strength. And I discovered today, while trying to lift myself up one stair at a time, that my fall last summer (when i thought I'd fractured my elbow but hadn't) has weakened my elbow and I need to be careful as it was threatening to pop out. Got to love my rubbish joints!

I'm still positive about the whole thing. There are a few hurdles which I'll need to deal with, I just need not to worry about these hurdles until, or even if, I face them.

I'm going to blog the process as there really isn't a great deal of first-hand experience/knowledge out there, especially about having both feet done at the same time. Most people just have one done at a time. What I have found is limited to 'this is what my feet look like now, not had much pain,' and that's pretty much it. Also, of the few blogs I have found, the ladies bunions have been what I would call minor, particularly compared to mine. One American woman, I could barely tell the difference between her before and after photos. No wonder she was back to work (& the gym!) barely 2 weeks after her op. Maybe I will post an unsocked foot photo, not sure though. I really do hate my feet.