I am struggling to wrap my head around this whole thing. The real chance of significant permanent disability, the stark reality that my right leg will not ever be as good again, and the actual fact that I cannot ride a bike and do not know if I ever will.
What is making this all so hard for me is how fast it has all happened and how fast I have had to adjust to some pretty major findings. I had almost 9 years of injury and battles through the health system in which to adjust to the fact that I needed a knee replacement. In fact, probably longer, because a surgeon who saw me back in my 30’s predicted that I would need a knee replacement later in life.
Although this leg has been giving me some pretty significant issues for a year or so now, the vascular blockage that is causing the problem was only discovered 2 weeks ago, meaning the surgery was a week later, and here we are. That does not give me and my autistic brain much time to adjust to some pretty significant stuff.
I was scrolling through Instagram earlier today and this came up. Right after I had tried (and failed) to walk to the mailbox unaided.
Unfinished business – another comeback?
The Oxman was going to be my comeback race into multisport – after the knee replacement. Due to the (at the time still undiagnosed) foot / leg problem, I was unable to finish the race, meaning this became my first DNF instead of my first successful race after a total knee replacement.
I saw this pop up and thought – I can’t even enter again with a view to actually finishing it this time, because instead, I am now even more disabled that I was then, and even more uncertain about my future in multisport racing than I was coming out of the knee replacement operation.
I never in a million years thought I could possibly be in a worse position regards rehab than I was after a total knee replacement. But, that is where I now find myself.
You can do it, you have before?
I don’t even have any say in this round of rehab and any possible results.
Either, the blood flow that has been restored will be enough and the muscle will not be as painful when in use, or it won’t. I actually have no say in it. I cannot do anything to change it. My left lower leg has only half of the blood flow compared to my other foot, but that is 1/2 more than it had last Wednesday. Yes, the day before my surgery the pulse in my foot was measured as ZERO.
I have all sorts of determination, trust me. But that has absolutely nothing to do with it this time. The vessels are damaged. significantly damaged. Will it be enough to be able to functionally use that leg? I just do not know. At the moment I cannot even walk further than the end of the driveway, never mind even entertain riding a bike. That feels like a million miles away – if not further.
Muscle atrophy versus venous deficiency
I walked to the mailbox today. It’s only across the road, but I simply couldn’t walk that far prior to the surgery. So it is a good measure for me for progress (or lack thereof).
I took the crutches, but set off not actually using them at first. I could make it to the mailbox.. just. But that was my limit. I simply wasn’t able to walk back again without assistance from the crutches. Ok, so this might be a smidgen further than I could before, but It still is not far and I have no idea how much this may or may not improve.
What I just do not know at this stage, is whether the pain was atrophy or venous. And, to be honest, I am not actually sure of how to tell the difference either because they both feel quite similar.
What is very frustrating (for me at least) is that I will have to wait, see what happens when I move and measure the symptoms and time frames. I’m not sure what else I can do. 🙁