It was not my choice to write this article. Truly, I wanted to just quietly slide right in and through this surgery without much ta-dah! However, I got a request, as most of you would guess, from Keith Jones, and so I started to write. At the time I just thought I would be sharing helpful information for someone else – little did I know that the exercise of writing this article would greatly help to move me into a space where I feel confident and powerful and at peace. I am sure this was Keith’s intention all along. And with that, here is my article…
I will be having major foot/ankle surgery next week. While I could easily let my “negative chatter” get the best of me, I know that the anxiety that would come from it will not help to serve me in preparing for this event, physically or emotionally. The hard work is done – recognizing my pain, my limitations, and my prospect for activities in the future; and starting the process to do something about it. While it was a process, I have done my homework and left no stone unturned. I am at peace with my decision. Contributing in a big way towards that peace is the support from my ToBeRe… community who will not allow me to play victim. They have been my source for everything that I need to create a positive mindset. For anyone else that may need to have a similar surgery, I would like to share my experience….. so far.
- Talk to your doctor, get referrals and as many opinions as you feel comfortable with. My doctor said, “You need to see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in feet!” She referred me to two doctors. I saw them both and one more. I also consulted with my podiatrist. Of course, they all want to do their own X-rays, just so you know. One MRI was sufficient.
- Research and then research some more! Just as I would Google any and everything to do with nutrition, I became literate on all kinds of medical terminology. It took me a few visits to actually put the 3 words, “Lateral Column Lengthening” together in order to respond intelligently in a conversation. I now know that the word osteotomy means cutting of bone. I’ll be having a couple of those. Posterior tibial tendon, spring ligament, allografts, and the list goes on! My orthopedic surgeon of choice was impressed that I gained this education and it added to my own level of confidence with the decision.
- My doctor encouraged second opinions and even invited me to come back to discuss those opinions. I did, and I brought with me a list of questions and a friend for support. I was already comfortable with the decision to schedule surgery.
- Meanwhile, I have stuck with my fitness routine and healthy nutrition. There is a small percentage of risk with the bone not healing, but, in my case, that percentage might as well be zero. I’ve never been a smoker and my good health and nutrition will give me every advantage. This, I am in control of. I have already “significantly increased” my bone density over the last several years through consistent healthy eating and strength training.
- Now, I prepare. Fortunately, I have been non-weight bearing before, so I am experienced with walking on crutches, but I also know that I have not had anything as invasive as this procedure will be, so I will be ready for anything that comes my way.
- Get organized. Get rid of the clutter in the house.
- Buy or borrow medical equipment that you may need – crutches, shower/tub chair, waterproof protectors, etc.
- Surround yourself with those who feed you the most positive energy and don’t let the negative stories affect your mindset.
- Listen to uplifting and inspirational podcasts.
- Keep a gratitude journal. While it may be easy and understandable to focus on the things that you can’t do, it will not do anything to help. Instead, be grateful for all the things that you can do! I will celebrate all gifts no matter how small or big – the opportunity to read, work on my class, learn something new on the computer, watch those movies (that everyone is shocked I haven’t seen), work on the ToBeRe website, meditate, stretch…. this list is growing!
- Delegate! And, put someone else in charge of delegating! This one will be a good practice for me. While I pride myself on being independent and very strong willed, this will be a time when I can benefit from others’ loving contributions.
Be patient and enjoy the journey! Six years ago I had to be non-weight bearing for a stress fracture. I credit a strong comeback to Keith Jones and ToBeRe… Even though I wasn’t exercising at the same level as everyone else, I showed up every time! Keith gave me a modified workout. If nothing else, I always walked away with an abundance of positive energy! I will put my confidence into ToBeRe’s philosophy again – basically, to trust the process and stay committed. This is easy when all you have to do is show up. Staying connected did everything for my mindset, and studies prove again and again that a positive attitude will take you far and fast on the road to recovery. We all have muscle memory and with the same level of commitment and dedication that I learned when I took my first ToBeRe workshop, I know I will bounce back and be stronger than ever! I will demonstrate again the power of good nutrition and its role in healing. Future foot surgery patients will be googling what kinds of exercise they can do in a cast, and you know what… my videos just may come up!