Thursday, August 30, 2007


Over the last month, I have made significant progress in the world of physical therapy and am able to do more and more things and I get stronger all the time. I am quite proud of the progress that I am making although I am getting tired of how much time the whole thing takes. Not only am I getting stronger, but I am getting more and more sensation back to my heel and ankle, still no sensation over the graft itself, but the rest of the foot is starting to find its voice. I am generally gald to hear from Lefty when it sends memos my way, it is comforting to know that Lefty has opinions again. However, many of the sensations are decidedly unpleasant and my surgeons seem to fear that I am developing a hypersensitivity so I am now under orders to desensitize my poor little heel/ankle. Desensitize a not so small word that really denotes another form of torture as you purposely induce discomfort with all kinds of different textures so that you can get used to the feelings. ICK... Still, intellectually I know that these feelings are one more big step in the healing process. So, step by step I go.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gypsy Kings
Or where Lefty fights back

Saturday night a friend got passes to see the Gypsy Kings at the Greek and invited me to go along. Now, I love the Gypsy Kings, their music reminds me of times long ago and it is the kind of music that you cannot help but dance to. Really, I challenge you to listen to Bombolea and NOT want to dance, really. So, I accepted right away; however, there was a catch these passes were not for seats they were to stand along the wall that separates the seats at the Greek from the fancy boxes. A great spot to watch the show and plenty of space for dancing, but I feared standing for so long. However, there was no way that I was going to refuse such a great opportunity so me and Lefty rested up all day, I donned my strongest pair of compression stocks and got dressed to dance. The concert was great, the night perfect, cool enough but not so cold you needed a jacket (as opposed to when I saw them last year at the Greek and it was so hot that removing your skin seemed like a viable option, but I digress), the moon was bright, we didn't have to fight the crazy parking scenario etc. A perfect, SoCal concert experience at a fantastic venue... But that standing thing. I am impressed that I did it, but I was in the moment and it was fun. However, when I got home Lefty was MAD and no amount of ice or massage would quiet her down, so I gave up and went to bed. Bad choice, in the morning she was stiff and sore and still cranky. I did my usual stretching etc., to some avail, but still this morning her voice is being heard. Oh well, I had fun and after all I am supposed to be pushing my self out of my comfort zone per doctor's orders and really what better way to push yourself out of your comfort zone then by dancing to the sounds of the Gypsy Kings on a lovely So Cal night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

memory is a funny thing

7 months ago, as I watched my poor little skin graft slowly heal I would never have believed that I could ever forget what it looked like back then. In the ensuing months I have taken lots of pictures of my ankle and graft largely because my surgeon is across the country, and she wanted pictures in lieu of being able to see me. Therefore, I have pretty much every stage of my healing documented for posterity. A while ago, she asked if she could use these pictures for teaching and patient education. I happily agreed as I am a strong advocate of medical education and as a patient, I think I would have dealt better with the radiation side effects if I was better prepared for the dissolution of the skin on my ankle. Anyway, I don't often look at these pictures because a)they are not pretty, b) I certainly don't show them to others, and c) I barely want to remember it myself. However, my PT has asked me for copies of them to use for PT student education etc. Therefore, the other day I sorted this lovely photodocumentary of my ankle and let me tell you I had forgotten. If time is supposed to be healing, maybe part of how it works is by removing disturbing images from your memory bank. Maybe. Certainly memory is funny, as I never could have guessed that I would forget; however, I also never could have imagined that now 7+ months later, my skin wouldn't be completely healed, so maybe not fully knowing what you are getting into is a good thing. Still I celebrate my forward progress and watch for that final scab to come off.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shoes Again

Back in March, I bought my first pair of post surgery shoe, they had to meet exacting standards of what was allowed and it was no easy feat. I was so proud of those shoes. I was so happy to not have to wear that big hideous boot on my foot after nearly 5 months of wearing that thing or not even being able to put anything on poor Lefty. While I loved those shoes when I bought them and I still do like them, I even bought a second pair of the same dansko sandals in black. Really, I have only worn those shoes for the past 5 months. I walk into my closet every day and mentally challenge myself to ignore, my rack of beautifully colored fun shoes. I have tried to not think about it as I prefer to focus on what I can do not what I can't, but sometimes I will pull a pair of shoes off of the rack and think what if... I sometimes even try them on. The first time that I did that (back in April) I couldn't even stand in a pair of two inch kitten heeled slides. There was no way, my weak little ankle could have even taken a step. I put them away and didn't venture to try that again until June when I could stand in the same shoes and take a few cautious steps. So much about shoes I know, but I miss my shoes.

So, where's the punch line, well on Tuesday I saw my foot and ankle surgeon (different than my tumor surgeon- so many doctores, so many appointments). Anyway, I talked to him about this shoe thing, and he declared that I should try it. Having been down this road before where my PT then vetoes things like this as he sees me twice a week and has a little more knowledge about my current state of strength. I waited to talk to him; and lo and behold he concurred. Hello- So, last night when I met friends for dinner I wore my cute brown sandals and even painted my toes for the occassion and you know what it went OK. It may seem stupid to many, this shoe obsession of mine, but to me it is one more sign that I am getting better and back to the old me.

Oh, said foot and ankle guy also directly told my PT to start to be more aggressive with my exercises and push me out of my comfort zone. And boy howdy did he yesterday. I have quite a few sore spots today, but it is all good.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My garden misses me

So, now almost ten months after I entered the world of the physically challenged, I am feeling confident enough and strong enough to start to really work in my garden. So, for the past two days, I have spent 2-3 hours each day trimming my plants, reworking my sprinkler system and fertilizing everything. Let me tell you there was so much to be done and still is a lot more to do, but I love the concreteness of a gardening project. I love shaping my plants the way I want and seeing them flourish with a little help. If it weren't for my compression stocking that kept getting wet and muddy, and the need to ice my ankle; I wouldn't have even thought about it all day. Oh yeah and the fact that I am exhausted. Still I think that this counts as a major milestone. Progress, yes, progress.

So, garden don't worry I won't neglect you any more.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Night blooming cereus

I have a plant sitting on my front porch that looks like some kind of succulent reject from the cheap plant store. Seriously though, I love plants and I fancy myself somewhat of a gardener, but this plant is not attractive. So why does it sit on my front porch in its unattractive glory- because of the flowers. One night out of the year, this thing has flowers and let me tell you these flowers are worth it. They are big beautiful white flowers that have the most amazing scent. It is not strong persay, but clear, sweat and fresh and penetrates everything. You can smell it best 10-20 feet away. A little bit heaven. I am surprised that those people who make scents have never tried to bottle the smell, but actually I am not sure if they could, and maybe they shouldn't because it is what makes this plant special.

So last night was the one day out of the year that this plant bloomed and after putting up with the ugly duckling of plants all year round you have to take note of its flowers. Of course, the flower didn't open until after 10:30 and then I sat out on my porch and drank in the wonderful aroma. Also the scent wafted in through the open windows so you could still smell a little of it when I got up this morning. Spectacular

The flower last night