Re: Foot
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on February 5, 2010

I really don't remember how much I shared previously about this whole foot thing, and I don't really feel like reading over it and trying to tie it into more recent happenings. Thus, I am just going to start at the top and paint the full picture from start to present.

Sometime when I was somewhere around 16 years old, I joined a basketball team for the local group of home schoolers. I was never very athletic, but since I was tall for my age, I held the defense pretty well.

On night during a game, I had the opportunity to jump and catch a missed shot. After I caught it and began my descent to the floor, I landed wrong and rolled my ankle. I was able to pass the ball to one of my teammates, but I was hurting for the rest of the game. After a couple days of taking it easy, the sprain seemed to heal up pretty well... or so I thought.

A couple of years passed and I noticed a very distinct popping in my ankle. It never really hurt at first, but as time progressed it got painful. It was bad enough that it was affecting my sleep, and thereby impacting my day-to-day life. One day, I let it get the best of me and had a bit of an emotional breakdown. My mom saw this and decided that I needed to get my foot x-rayed, so she took me to the doctor.

The doctor there said that it looked like I had an infarction of some sort down towards my toes, but that there was no sign of anything causing the popping. He told me to just take some over-the-counter painkillers and use ice, and that seemed to take care of the pain. However, the popping never went away.

I saw other doctors for it and got a good dose of radiation from the X-rays, MRI, and bone scan. None of them came to any conclusion other than I had bone spurs up by my toes, and one said that I just had tendonitis and that it would go away after a few days (he apparently didn't understand me when I said it had been going on for a couple of years). I did receive cortisone treatments for the bone spurs, but they didn't really do any good; they actually caused me more pain for quite a while.

When the doctors said that the only thing left to do was exploratory surgery, I thanked them for their time and moved on with life.

The popping has continued since then and has had chronic pain spells along with it, but I've been able to deal. That was, until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to go for a bike ride.

This bike ride was by no means my first, not even over an extended period of time, but it did seem to be the one to drive me to seek further treatment. After a little less than 6 miles, I noticed my foot was aching, so I called it quits. For the rest of that evening I was pretty sore still and decided to hit up the ibuprofen and ice packs.

By the next day, I was unable to walk worth anything. Putting weight on that foot was pretty painful (I'd rank it an 8 or 9 on the 1-10 scale that doctors use), and the pain radiated all the way up to my knee. I continued the ice and ibuprofen, and decided that if I was still hurting on Monday I would go see a doctor.

Monday came around and I was still hurting, so I got an appointment for that afternoon with my primary care doctor. Unfortunately, I got the last appointment for the day, and by the time I got to see the doctor, she really didn't seem to care at all. Any time I would try to talk, she would interrupt me, and her attitude was less than professional. All my previous visits though were very pleasant, so I just attributed it to the end of a long Monday. She did tell me to continue with the ice and ibuprofen and just to stay off my foot for a couple of weeks as much as possible. She said that if after a week or so I was still in pain, I should go see an orthopedic specialist (for whom she gave me a referral).

A week passed and I was still hurting, so I called the specialist. I was able to get in the next day to see him, which was a bit of a relief to me.

After examining my foot, bending and twisting it every which way, he was finally able to find the motion that made it pop, and the popping was quite painful. He said that he was pretty certain it was a bone spur, scar tissue, or a torn ligament, and that to correct any of these issues would be pretty straightforward and require simple outpatient surgery. However, before committing to such, he ordered a CT scan.

The CT scan was this morning at 7:20AM (which meant I had to be awake at 5:00AM and out the door at 5:30 to be to the hospital no later than 6:30). After fumbling around with finding the right parking garage (it looks much different in the dark than it does in the daylight), I made my way up to the 10th floor of the hospital to the radiology department. After checking in, receiving my armband, and waiting for another 20 minutes to be called back by a technician, I was on the table with my feet in the middle of a tubular-looking machine, not dissimilar to that of an MRI. Another 10 or 15 minutes elapsed while the table moved me about in the machine and the images were taken, and I was on my way to the office.

Now I'm waiting until Tuesday to meet with the specialist again to go over the results of the CT scan (and get copies of the images, which I plan on sharing). While I am eagerly awaiting a diagnosis and treatment plan, I am not looking forward to surgery of any sort. I have never had any surgical procedures since my infancy, so I really don't know how to feel about them, other than scared. The other thing that freaks me out is the whole bit that the specialist said about "chiseling" the bone spur off my foot. [insert shudder here] It just sounds painful, especially given the fact that I have broken bone spurs off my fingers before, and even though I've broken bones including vertebrae, I have yet to experience a pain like breaking that bone spur off.

Luckily though, my lovely girlfriend, Emily, has said she would be able to take care of me the day of any surgery, and I know several others who would be able to help in some form, so there is some comfort in the midst of the turmoil.

I appreciate all the prayers and support that I have received to date. I'll try my best to keep everyone up to date on the situation as it progresses.

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