After a long conversation with a consulting nurse, and some internet investigation, it seems a strong possibility that my enthusiasm for movement post hardware removal surgery has resulted in stress fracture(s) in the long mid-foot bones of my toes. This supposition will be confirmed, or another diagnosis offered, when I see my doctor this coming week.
I have been icing, elevating, resting and using a cane when I walk. Pain is reduced by all of above. I had learned how to direct well with a cane when I had a full length leg brace, and now can apply that learning again: don’t lean on the cane, but think of it as an extension from my hand to the ground, so that the cane becomes a source of gravity. Then, I can spring upward from the ground from that contact. Allow a whole self rhythm so that the cane swings forward as my injured foot swings forward, naturally and without interference. Look up and out rather than only downward. Enjoy the view, relish the slow pace, mourn lost mobility, but know the loss is temporary.
To say I am weary of recovery project is to wildly understate the case. But, what can I do? Life has happened, and all I can do is learn.
“The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy”
Since hardware removal surgery a month ago, I have been blissfully enjoying pain-free mobility and thus daily walking for both transport and fun, as well as overall relief from having my attention narrowed by discomfort.
Pain in my left foot inexplicably began a few days ago and has become intensely limiting in the activity of walking. Suddenly, and without any obvious trauma (the broken toe is healed), walking is a near impossibility. Thankfully, I can teach without pain, which is curious to me. No amount of inhibition and direction improves discomfort in walking.
I suspect a reorganization in supportive systems is taking place, at a great cost in comfort. After months with my leg in full extension, followed by many more months with systematically invasive hardware, my nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments may be rebelling and stopping me from further use.
This is hugely discouraging and depressing. I had come so far, and now I am partially immobilized again! My endurance for pain in movement is diminished to a thread, and my stamina for directing and inhibiting in walking is all gone.
I will have to not walk until some assistance from my PT or other professionals is available to help me sort out the organization of myself beyond my skills.
Yesterday, I skipped around my office just because I could and for the joy of being able to skip. Then, once I was home, I put on music and danced like a crazy person. I can skip and dance without pain! Running will hopefully follow sometime soon, with the proviso that I can use myself well and not challenge the knee beyond current strength.
Hurray!! After 16 months of pain and mobility limitation, hope of full function informs me with great gratitude and happiness!
For a year and 4 months, I have been living with varying levels of continuous discomfort due to patella fracture. The hardware that was surgically installed post-injury was initially necessary to stabilize the patella for healing. Once I established (recently) that the hardware was no longer needed for bone healing, I had it surgically removed.
The results of hardware removal seem nearly miraculous to me. I can now sleep, walk swiftly, ascend and descend stairs, sit for more than 10 minutes, and pursue all daily activities without pain or fear of pain. Although I still habitually guard or limp in some circumstances, I can quickly recognize my response as unnecessary and relinquish the compensation.
Today, I returned to Gyrotonic exercise with a happy curiosity as to what I could do with ease or effort. I was overjoyed and ecstatically thrilled to find that I could do my routine without any knee pain at all! Former restrictions due to pain no longer applied. Now, I can pursue both overall movement exploration and specific injury related strengthening without the limitation of pain and inflammation due to hardware interference.
Many lessons are apparent from this recent experience. We can use ourselves as well as possible with any condition of self, but structural interference (surgically inserted hardware, for instance) limits use and function in huge ways. Pain as a continuing signal restricts an overall elastic strengthening, as well as disrupting a whole person response. Pain becomes primary, and choice in response becomes dictated by pain. Alexander thinking can assist, to a point, in responding with the whole self in a manner of use, but can’t diminish pain, only a choice in response to pain. Removing structural interference that causes pain allows a vastly new world of response.
I did pretty well with living and teaching while in medium to high levels of pain in the past 16 months. I was able to keep a big picture, find ways to use myself as well as possible, and even explore strengthening with good use. It was a deep and large challenge, on far more levels than the physical. My entire sense of self has been questioned in this experience. I am not any longer who I was previous to injury, nor do I expect to be ever again. Now, however, with pain as a past measure, I can actively un-prepare, not fix, allow new coordination, and begin to explore life without the pain that has informed me for so very long.
My newly revised knee sans hardware continues to thrill me with little discomfort other than mild incision healing itchiness. I had, previous to hardware removal, begun to accept that recovery would be forever limited by pain that I now realize was associated with the hardware to an extensive degree. Since the metal is no longer needed for bone stability, I am so happy that I pursued surgical removal!
I had also believed that the hardware consisted of delicate little wires and pins, despite x-rays that indicated otherwise. As depicted in this image, the metal in my knee was actually rather large and clunky. No wonder this caused me so much pain and inflammation!
Now, I can hope to proceed with strengthening toward full activity (morning runs!!!) with an improved condition of self!