6 Weeks Post Op

Hey friends! I am so so so sorry for the really long delay in updating about my last surgery, or any entry for that matter. I’ve been going through extreme fatigue, waking up around 2 every day and can’t seem to get up earlier and no idea why and I think a have become a bit depressed due to the complications and trouble doing MORE things on my own with my hand like this! This might explain the lack of desire to wake up, do my blog and aside from my much worse back problems (which will be a separate entry soon I hope) getting off my couch or going anywhere and always being tired. I only leave the house when I have a Dr. appointment, granted I have one at LEAST once a week but usually 4-6! This has become my life and it’s a little depressing because I used to be fun! I used to hate sitting around the house and I HAD to always be doing something. Now with my hand and back issues, along with my left ankle which has gotten so bad I can’t walk more than ten minutes (again, another entry with all of the worsening joints creeping up fast!) I sit on the couch and watch re-runs of Dr. Phil and Ellen. LOL LOVE THEM! I would also do more entries if it wasn’t for the trouble typing. I am so grateful to the person who gave me the dragon program however it’s an older version and very slow so typing, even with me useless hand, is actually faster, even with all the mistakes. But it does hurt and is quite hard to do. I think I might need the newest dragon software unfortunately.  This entry will be an update on my last surgery, plate removal due to the screws coming loose (kind of like me!! Haha), a new plate put in and the tendon transfer to get my hand to open and fingers to work again.

Welllllll…. I went In for surgery as planned and at my 8 day post op appointment the xray surgery 6 tendon transfer july 14physical therapist made me a splint that limited elbow mobility to avoid the plate moving and kept my fingers from moving as well. Nothing really special about the post op appointment. Everything looked fine.  I just had to wear this ridiculous looking splint for two weeks.   I went back two weeks later for x-rays and a wound check just to make sure my incisions were healing rather than opening up like one did with the first surgery. I haven’t made it to my next post op because I was sick and had to reschedule so nothing on that yet.  At that point, the 3 week post op appointment, I was told the PT/OT office will call to make an appointment so I can start working on my fingers about twice a week for a month to start and see what progress I’ve made and decide how much more therapy I’d need.  She also told me no weight bearing yet (pretty much don’t pick anything up or use it at all) because I’ve had so many problems with this wrist since surgery.

A couple of days later I get a call from the PT office and schedule my first appointment for that Friday. About 30 minutes later they call me back and inform me that my secondary insurance, which pays all of my copays and deductible, will not pay the $40 copay each visit because it’s considered long term care.  I had to cancel and can’t go to physical therapy so naturally, my hand still won’t open and fingers won’t move. My right hand is now useless all because of a complication in a wrist fusion surgery back in January. Straight wrist, messed up hand.  My Primary care dr had her PT give me a list of exercises to do from home which I do but no change.  PT pushes you harder than you can push yourself so my hand is still stuck. I just can’t afford $80 a week for an unknown amount of time, or even just one week.

I think this is a big reason for the depression.  My hand is worse than before now, looks worse and is useless. I know that it will take a few months to a year to get it working again (if the surgery even worked) because I have so much scar tissue from all the surgeries  I’ve had this year, and so close together. But it’s been 6 weeks since this surgery and no progress at all. My thumb wasn’t touched during surgery so that still won’t move out from under my fingers at all. First she said it’s a tendon that needs to be released so I’m wondering why she didn’t do that at the same time but at post op she said it needs to be fused. Are you kidding me?? Despite the lack of pain in my wrist joint since the fusion, I’m seriously regretting this surgery. It has caused more problems than it’s worth!

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. If my next appointment (once I reschedule it) has anything interesting to write about, I will be sure to let you all know sooner. Otherwise, I will write about some of the other things going on. Thanks for your patience.

As a side note, my domain name will be changing to bionicmom.com soon. Not sure when yet but I will let you all know when it gets closer to the switch. Thanks! And as always, thanks for reading my story!

Before the wrist replacement in January

Before the wrist fusion in January.

Before wrist fusion. Hand opened, fingers and thumb moved.

Before wrist fusion. Hand opened, fingers and thumb moved.

After all 6 surgeries. Straight wrist, useless and claw for a hand!

After all 6 surgeries. Straight wrist, useless and claw for a hand!

surgery 6-tendon transfer July 14 (1)E

Where’s my thumb?? I can’t move it now.

 

And as always, much love from… well, you know… The Bionic Mom!

“You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

The Never Ending Story- Wrist Fusion Complications!

Hi friends! Well after 5 fun-filled surgeries to get this wrist fusion done, I  went to my second post op appointment a few weeks ago and my wrist was moving up and down as if the broken arm wasn’t healed yet. Turns out, after wearing a splint for almost 2 months, the plate and screws are coming out. Imagine that! No cast to hold it together after surgery so, shocker! The hardware is coming out of the bone. My Dr. said it could be salvaged by putting a cast on it. So two months after surgery, when everything should be healed, im wearing a splint.

She decided to have me come back every week for an x-ray to make sure it was working. So for about three weeks I went back and did an x-ray with the cast on. She said everything looked good and that it was working and showed me the x-ray where bone was growing. Finally, at my last visit on Tuesday, we took the cast off for the x-ray and so my Dr. could see what it looked like and despite the bone growth, my wrist was still moving. I’m re-casted and you’ll never guess! Scheduled for surgery tomorrow! This is surgery number six to fix my wrist fusion. Yay! Are you catching on to my sarcasm? =)

So, 9:30 tomorrow morning I will be going to the outpatient surgery center where the nurse on the phone said I was a “frequent flyer”. She ain’t kiddin’! Is my wrist, or hand for that matter ever gonna work again! This time the current hardware will be removed, again and pins and screws will be put in. She is also doing the tendon transfer so hopefully I can open my hand again! That was another complication from the original surgery. My hand wouldn’t open after and still won’t. I’m a little scared to get my left wrist replaced and my finger joint replacements!

Well, I will be letting you know how this one goes. Cross your finger that it’s the last one for this wrist! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Be back soon!

Love, from the Bionic Mom

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” –Joshua J. Marine

5 Weeks Later

So I was going to do a post about something different because I thought my wrist was fine and I have nothing to say until my next surgery so I figured I can finally get this blog post in. No such luck. It would have also explained why It’s been so long between entries so i’ll try to get that done soon. About a week before my next post visit for my second broken arm surgery I noticed my wrist was falling down and it was supposed to be straight so I was able to move it up and down slightly. I figured I had another surgery in my near future because my wrist was fused. So it shouldn’t move at all, and I was not happy.

I went to my Post op visit which was five weeks after surgery and did an x-ray. The pins that are holding the plate on my bone were starting to come out. Luckily, my doctor said we can save it and put a cast on so that it fuses and stops coming loose. That was about two weeks ago and I’ve been back twice, just to have an x-ray done to make sure it’s working. So far so good. But I have to go back next week to check it again but this time she is removing the cast so she can see it herself and then putting another one on for three more weeks.

Before this surgery. My boyfriend asked her if she was going to put a cast on it after surgery to make sure it heals right this time and she said “yes, that’s a good idea”. Instead, I was put in a splint again where my wrist was able to move around. The splint does not hold it completely in place no matter what you do. if I lift my arm off of a pillow, It moves. If I stand up, it moves. There was no way to keep it from moving so I should have been put in a cast right after surgery and it would’ve been healed and done with by now. So now I’m still healing from a surgery that was done about two months ago.

I still can’t drive or shower by myself or do pretty much anything myself because I usually need to hands for almost everything I do, since both hands are really bad. I’m getting a little frustrated with how long this is taking considering this was originally just a wrist fusion. By now I should have had 2 surgeries and one more next month and by November, I would’ve had my fourth and been done. Now, my hand surgeries will probably not be done until the middle to end of next year, which means the rest of my surgeries won’t start for a while and my shoulders and elbows are getting bad as well as my ankles. But I’m being patient and just have to deal with it as it comes.

I go back on Thursday so if there is anything new to tell. I will let you know but otherwise I will do the other post that I’ve been trying to do since last year and haven’t been able to because of all of this. I hope everyone is doing well and I will be back soon! :-)

As always, love from the bionic mom.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time fall.”– Confucius

Broken Wrist = Two Surgeries!

So since the last video that I posted I have had two surgeries to fix my broken arm. Just to get you up to speed I broke my arm three days after the plate removal surgery. I didn’t do a video after the first rod placement-surgery 4surgery because frankly it wasn’t that interesting. :-) I had a rod inserted through my middle knuckle and through the bone to hold it in place so that It would heal. My post op appointment actually came out fine and there were no problems at the time.

About a month after the rod placement surgery my middle knuckle and finger started to hurt really bad and the middle of my forearm suddenly had a pretty large protrusion, for lack of a better description. My forearm basically curved up in a very awkward way. Soooo I called my surgeon’s office again because I knew something was wrong and the rod was most likely moving around. They had me come in the next day, even though my surgeon was not in the office that day, because they wanted an x-ray as soon as possible to see what was going. Lo and behold I was right and the rod was pushing against my middle knuckle and curving up my forearm. Since my surgeon was still on vacation until Monday, by the way it was Friday when I went in, the nurses just wrapped my arm in plaster to keep the rod from coming out and scheduled me an appointment to see my surgeon the next day that she was back which was not until Tuesday because she’s in surgery on Mondays.

I went in on Tuesday and she had another x-ray done and the rod moved more. The bone was starting to heal so that’s a good sign but due to the rod moving it would not heal properly and frankly I didn’t want a rod coming through my knuckle anyway! I was planning on telling my surgeon to put a permanent pin in my bone since it’s clearly prone to breaking now. But she must have had the same thing in mind because she said she was going to put a small plate on the bottom of my wrist bone which will stay there permanently and obviously take out the rod through my knuckle and I asked her again to fix my ulna bone so that it’s not sticking up anymore. Just for a refresher, my ulna was shaved down and the top of it was used in the fusion surgery for a bone graft so my doctor placed the rest of my ulna under my wrist bone but about a week and a half after surgery I twisted my wrist and the bone popped out from under my wrist so since it was shaved down it’s not only in the wrong place but it was sticking up and visible and it hurt so she planned on putting it back during another surgery. She said if she can get to it without messing up my skin graft then she will fix it with a tendon that I don’t need. She scheduled surgery for the next day.

small plate, rod removal, ulna fix-surgery 5(1)I went in for surgery Wednesday, April 30th. Again, not much to tell. It went fine just like every other surgery. I do have trouble being intubated due to the lack of mobility in my neck, which I don’t recall ever mentioning before. Every anesthesiologist has their own way of handling it but for these outpatient surgeries they are able to use a small tube that doesn’t go down my throat and with the anesthesia through the IV with no problem. With bigger surgeries, it is a bit of a problem because it is either a tube down my throat or a spinal and again they all have their own preference but we have discovered that a smaller tube seems to work. Anyway, the surgery itself went as good as can be expected. A small plate was put under my bone permanently rather than the big plate that was used in the fusion surgery so that my bone can heal but also won’t break every time I might hit it into something. The rod was taken out through my middle knuckle and since there was a plate put under my bone she obviously could not stick my ulna under there so she took a tendon that I didn’t need any more and tied it next to my bone so that it wouldn’t stick up anymore. I had a nerve block which started to wear off later that night but was completely worn off by early morning. The next day it hurt so bad that no one could even breathe in my direction. I was in so much pain and could not figure out why it hurt so bad. Then we decided to loosen the plaster because there was some on top and bottom of my arm and we figured with the swelling the plaster might be on too tight. I took another sleeping pill and slept most of the day since I was in so much pain but when I woke up the pain was 10 times better. Of course the incisions were sore and the place that the ulna was fixed hurt the worst however the horrific pain from earlier that morning went away so turned out the plaster was too tight and with the nerve block I couldn’t feel it until it wore off. After that the pain from the surgery was not nearly that bad.

Before and after the ulna was shortened.

Before and after the ulna was shortened.

I had the temporary cast off eight days after surgery and the x-rays looked good but she decided to keep the stitches in a little longer which wound up being about two weeks after surgery that stitches were removed. This was for two reasons: I am allergic to the glue on the steri strips and we did not want the incision opening up like it did with the first surgery which caused the infection. I had three incisions from surgery: one on my knuckle with just three stitches, one where she fixed the ulna and one very long incision on the bottom of my wrist. The stitches were taken out yesterday. The incisions were all healed very well except my ulna still seems to be showing! I swear, I can’t win with this bone! She even shaved it down a lot which you can see in the x-ray and I can still see it! My wrist bone still had an upward curve as well which she said would even out so since my appointment last week I have been tightening the middle strap on my splint so that it pushes the bone down and when I got my stitches off today my bone seems to be a lot more even so it seems to be working. My surgeon also gave me a tension wrap which was cut kind of like the wrist “sock” which is what I call it because I have no idea what it’s called. But it’s what I wear on my hand and wrist while I have splint on to cover up the stitches or anything my doctor does not want exposed. The tension wrap is kind of the same thing only it’s a lot tighter so she said it might help with flattening my bone. I am still tightening the middle strap though. I see my surgeon for my next post op appointment in one month.

That’s it for now (I hope!!). My hand will still not open up so she is making me wait until this surgery and the skin graft are completely healed before she fixes my hand. That surgery is scheduled the first week in August which would make it about three months of healing time. She said that when I had my wrist fusion the tendons tightened up which is causing my fingers to not be able to open. That surgery will probably consist of her removing a tendon that is not needed anymore because it is there to move your wrist which I don’t need to do now. Not sure what else she will have to do and we are not even sure if it will work or not which is freaking me out so I am going to try not to worry about that for now. However, I have not had much use of my right hand since January which makes it four months now plus this next three months until surgery and it’s getting very frustrating not being able to do a lot of things on my own or  dropping things!

So cross your fingers that the surgery will work! So that’s what has been going on since the last video I posted, as far as surgeries and my wrist fusion I mean. There have been some major spine issues but I will be doing a whole new entry about that soon! Until then I hope everyone is doing great!

Until next time, love from bionic mom

“My body is always working toward optimum health. My body wants to be whole and healthy. I cooperate and become healthy, whole, and complete.”  – –  Louise Hay from her power thought cards.

Plate removal, Skin Graft Surgery and Now More??

I Don’t have a lot of time… Or useful hands to write a lot but the video and pics explain everything. I am leaving the pics in color, which I never do, so you can see the color of the incision. I will put the pics in order of how the infection and wound breakdown occurred up till what the skin graft looks like now, 11 days after I had it done. Plus, I will be telling you about whats to come… today! Just more to add to this fusion nightmare!

http://youtu.be/fsxowQDItuA  — This will get you up to date from surgery, after surgery, post op and…. NOW! Literally cause I have to go!

You can see where the screws were! The bone to the right is the ulna that came out from under my bone.

You can see where the screws were! The bone to the right is the ulna that came out from under my bone.

wound breakdown 3

Tried steri strips to keep it closed.

 

Yuck! This goo wouldn’t go away. Started to see hardware and got staph.

 

wound breakdownLet it dry out and finally scabbed but only on top. The goo was still underneath and damage was done which brings me to the wound breakdown surgery and then this one.

 

Love from the Bionic Mom!

Patience truly is a virtue, and it is one attribute that we all have to perfect in one form or  another. Instead of getting impatient, try doing a short meditation– breathe deeply and think pleasant thoughts. — Sylvia Browne

 

Under the Knife Again!

Third surgery in 2 months! This is the last thing we’re doing to fix my wound breakdown (hopefully!!). At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now!  The next step is carpal tunnel surgery. Who gets carpal tunnel from a fusion surgery?? This girl apparently! Anyone else get carpal tunnel from a fusion surgery? Please tell me so I don’t feel like any unusual thing that could happen, will happen to me! :-P This is the first time I’ve had any complications and there are three! The ulna will be fixed later. But 8 correction surgeries and joint replacements (not counting these 2 that are to fix the wound) and a fusion causes three complications!? The Carpal tunnel is the worst because I can’t open my hand at all now so my right hand is 95% useless… and I’m right handed! Blah! Well, like I said in my last blog entry; This too shall pass…. It will just set me back on my other joint replacements almost a year! BOOOOOO! :-P

Well, hope you enjoy! If I didn’t answer any questions you have due to the much shorter length of the video, please feel free to ask or comment! Thanks everyone!

P.S. I apologize for the horrible quality of these videos. I need a real video camera ASAP! When I win the lottery! =)

Love, As always, the Bionic Mom!! =)

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face.

 – Eleanor Roosevelt

Playing Catch Up!

Hey peeps! So much has happened since my wound surgery that it’s too much to type with one hand and it would’ve been really long! Instead, I made a video that’s way too long to tell you and show you what’s going on. Sorry for the long video, sound quality, etc. I figured a long video is better than a novel of a blog entry. Now I’m not sure! I promise one day I’ll have a fun video! =) The camera shut itself off in the middle so you’ll see that when I say something like “every 8 hours”  it stops and starts again. I need a real video camera!

incision                                                                This, surprisingly, is before the infection. Had it looked at and it was bad but not infected. About a week later the scabs came off of both openings and was deep enough to see the hardware from the fusion. Whatever the gross gooey stuff was that was in the wounds at that point would not harden, go away or grow tissue. As soon as my surgeon saw that she said, “you’re having surgery Monday”. This was on Thursday.

 

right wrist wound breakdown 2-24-14 (2)BW

 

I was not happy about what was going on and at the point I didn’t know about the 6 weeks with the PICC line or that I’d have to keep the wound VAC on for a month!

 
 

Love from the Bionic Mom!

As my mom always says, “This too shall pass.” — No one knows the original origin of this quote!

Post Op 1 and 2– Holy Complications!

I haven’t posted about my first post op visit because typing is very hard with one hand so now that it’s been so long I decided to just do my first and second visit all in one. I have been dreading typing this out and now a lot has happened since surgery so I only made this harder on myself. Figures! :-P I’ll try not to make this too long with everything I have to put on here… and I don’t want to be up all night typing with one hand!

My first post op visit was 8 days after surgery. I had my stitches taken out and steri strips put on the incision. X-rays looked good aside from the wicked big blister the cast caused on the side of my wrist! not a huge problem. It popped and healed. It was HUGE though! wow! Then had to go down stairs to get fitted for a removable brace. I was aloud to take it off once a day to clean it with a baby wipe. I was also aloud to choose the color. Out of the 4 or 5 choices, I chose pink camo! Might as well have fun with it like my boyfriend and I were doing in the pic!

after (2)bwAs you can see in the photo, or better yet CAN’T see, my thumb lost most mobility because of how the tendons were stretched and moved around and how my wrist was yanked. I can’t pull it out. Just move it a little under my fingers. As my friend Allison calls hers, it’s my dodgy thumb! It will be fixed by moving a tendon when I get to my finger joint surgery. I was also still very swollen at the time. BUT my wrist is straight!

about a week after this appointment, I somehow twisted my wrist and it hurt so bad I immediately grabbed it and realized I had a bump that wasn’t there before so I thought a pin came loose! I went back to my surgeon and got x-rays. Turns out the ulna that she saved down to use as bone graph, popped out from under my wrist bone. If it didn’t hurt we’d leave it alone. Of course it hurts like…. well like a bone popped out of place! I can see it move up and down when I exercise my fingers with my other hand since I can’t move my fingers on my own but I’ll get to that!  So, since it’s causing a crap ton of pain, it needs to be put back. We’re going to wait until my incision heals. That’s my first issue I had…

Soon after that the steri strips came off and a couple weren’t ready so a friend happens to have some and put a couple back on. I was getting blisters between the steri strips the whole time but didn’t think much of it. They popped and came back every time. I’m now allergic to the glue on them. Never was before! Took the strips off when I found that out and the part of the incision that’s right on my wrist kept getting wider and opening more and more. The other few inches healed perfect. It was bad and looked infected. soooo back to the Dr just to be safe.

Luckily It wasn’t infected despite the goo in them! That was the part of the incision that she had to cut at an angle because that was where my wrist was turning to the right, hence the fusion. After cutting the incision she yanked my wrist straight and messed with the tendons so she said there was a possibility of the incision having a hard time in that area. She said she did bad things in there to get it right so that’s also why I was still numb in the fingers with no movement. Haha it was a joke but she did say it was really bad when she was in there. So she said to use topical triple antibiotic and non stick gauze pads so the scab wouldn’t get pulled up.

That just made the scab shrink and go away. Underneath where the scab was, well it was nasty! It got so bad it was about an inch wide and very deep with no skin on one of the openings. The other is smaller but just as deep. The inside was too gross to even mention. Some people couldn’t look. All gooey! I was able to see a hint of, what I could only guess was, the metal plate. So, very deep wound! It wouldn’t scab at all when I covered it so I started leaving it open everyday and eventually it scabbed on top but there was something leaking out all the time. Underneath never hardened or healed or whatever it was supposed to do. Soooo that finally brings me to todays 5 week post op visit.

First of all the incision. A small part of the scab came off last night so my Dr. was able to see inside. Its still liquid underneath. She took a swab with peroxide and cleaned it out all the way to the bottom and low and behold, we could see my metal plate. I said, “now I really am the bionic mom!”  However, now that the plate was exposed, it was contaminated. Not to mention I lost so much skin, she can’t close it and stitch it. Not my fault or hers. Just luck of the draw and it’s me! So, of course that would happen! haha All joking aside, she immediately said I need surgery to fix this…right away. Monday i’m having another surgery now! It’s now Thursday. It would be tomorrow but after surgery, if she can’t just close the wound and stitch it which she most likely can’t, I’ll need a machine on the wound that I have to carry around. She wants to make sure she gets the machine on time so i’m not in the hospital all weekend waiting for it when it’s an outpatient procedure. The part of the machine on the wound after surgery will suck up any leakage like i’m having now! It’s a wound dehiscence or wound breakdown for an easier way to say it. Not sure what exactly will be done or what that totally means accept that its so deep the metal plate it contaminated. If that wasn’t there, we’d see bone. That’s how deep it is. Awesome!

THEN, I told her I still can’t move my fingers and a good part of each finger is still numb. After the surgery on Monday is healed, She has to do another surgery because it could be my carpel. She has to mess with my carpel and at the same time she’ll fix the ulna by tying a tendon around it and putting it back under the bone. So before I can move on to my next surgery, wrist replacement on the left (that’ll heal better!) and the 6 or more surgeries after that, I have to get these two surgeries to fix the complications from this one. I love my surgeon luckily. She’s the best hand surgeon around. She’s funny and talks to me like a person! And she was amazed that I am able to do my makeup, especially eyeliner, with one hand and not my dominate hand. My mom is as well. haha

Well, I think I’m caught up now! Surgery Monday then another as soon as that heals. BLAH! Of course this would happen. I had a plan as to when each surgery would be and that’s out the window! Oh well! My hands better be perfect after this! ;-)

After Fusion

 

Here’s a before and after photo. I’ll fill you in after Mondays surgery of course! Sorry this is so long! A lot has happened in the last 4 weeks!

 

Until Then, Love from the Bionic Mom!

beautiful

 

 

Right Hand Wrist Fusion Surgery

Here is a link to my video blog of my wrist fusion surgery that took place on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014. I apologize for my appearance, my rambling in part of the video and the quality and sound! haha My boyfriend fixed the sound and video quality as best as he could so it’s definitely a lot better than before! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBe0ubT7MA

I was very excited about this surgery because I have been waiting to get my hands fixed since I was very young however I was also very nervous about this surgery and the other hand surgeries to follow.  Having use of only one hand made me very anxious because of all of the help I will need.  Luckily I have two awesome people, my mom and my boyfriend, helping me out a lot and making it less stressful than it would have been without them.

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“Just Hug Me If I Need A Good Cry” – Great Article!

This is an article written by another great blogger as a way of helping friends of parents with a sick child. This advice Is amazingly great and can be related to Arthritis to a tee! I was going to write a blog about being there for someone you know, whether they are a relative or friend with Arthritis and how to deal with it in a positive and helpful way. Honestly, I couldn’t have said it better myself so this amazing women, Kim, said I am more than welcome to share her article. The more readers the better! The 15 do’s and don’ts in the article are a great way to show people who don’t have a chronic illness how to deal with it.

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