Friday, February 6, 2015

Time to take a breath ..FINALLY !! Pt.1

Wow..it's been a while since I've actually sat down at wrote anything for my blog.  I think I've been mad. Okay, mad may be one of the emotions that I've been  feeling, but it almost goes deeper than that .. I think I've been mad and bitter. As I look at my life, it's been full of wonderful memories, blessings in abundance, and a lot of hard work & determination! And, although I've done my best to keep a smile on my face and an upbeat positive attitude, I'm afraid that all that is human and fallible within me does creep out at times.  So why was I so mad and bitter ??  I think most of it is from frustration .. frustration of not being able to exercise like I want .. to do Zumba, run, jump, move, turn, twist, squat .. NO, I have to be extra cautious of how I move on my feet - so that I don't cause fractures, breaks, etc.  I think I'm frustrated that I can not burn calories - and I'm gaining weight, and I'm frustrated that my once size 8.5 medium width feet are now a 8.5 XXXX+ size.  Yeah, try finding a shoe that fits those feet !!  LOL
But through it all (the diabetes, the Charcot, the auto-immune), I think that I am finally coming to a place where I can sit back and take a breath !!!

Let me explain... Since July of 2013 I have had a diabetic ulcer on my right foot that has gotten larger and deeper in size. My podiatrist had tried every thing in her 'doctors bag of tricks' to try and manage/heal this ulcer, but it would not go away.  She tried steri-strips, she trip debridement, she tried antibiotic creams, etc., but nothing would work.  Yes, I had a hole the size of a golf ball on the bottom of my foot, and yes, it hurt like nothing you would ever want to feel...but, it was my 'hole', it was my 'ulcer', and I felt like if the ulcer was there on my foot - then I was assured that my foot was still attached to the leg... see where I'm going with this ??  I took ownership of this ulcer!
Then in September 2014 - my podiatrist started to talk to me about a surgical procedure known as 'Charcot Planeing'  (much like an Ostectomy).  I looked up every possible and imaginable piece of information that I could on the internet (which, by the way, is NOT always the best way to research a surgical procedure!..yes, I know, I know...).  Charcot Planeing .. eh ?   Took me some time to really think about it, as I had mentioned before, I was assured that as long as the ulcer/hole was on the bottom of my foot - that my foot was still attached to the leg, and my biggest fear was losing a limb.  I had read somewhere in the realms of 'cyber space' that most people have Charcot an average of 4 years when they have to have limbs amputated, etc... UGH.

So, in taking in consideration this surgery, I spoke with several women in the office to get their feedback on the doctor.  I mean, if any one knows the doctor and her follow up care - it would be the women that work most closely with her, right ?!  Well, it was definitely unanimous - they all said they would have no hesitations to go to her (and they were NOT just saying that) or to send family members to her.  Okay - round one of questioning done!
Round two - was to talk to my doctor to see when she felt I should have this done, and her answer was as soon as possible.  It was only October - and I knew that my greatest window of opportunity would be to have this done before Christmas, as my company is shut down between Christmas and New Years, and I could really get some great rest & recouperation time in.   I had casually tossed the date of December 19th (a Friday) to my doctor, and she whole heartedly agreed ... well, I guess that's that, then.. December 19th !

As the day of surgery approached, there were issues at work that I had to deal with  - nothing 'job' related, but the thought of having to ask my supervisor/associate director / HR department for almost 8 weeks of time off .. UGH.. this was more daunting to think about than the actual surgery itself.
Once the surgery date was settled upon, I did go right to the HR department at my job, and they told me that I would have to use up any un-used 'sick' and 'vacation' days that I had left. Okay, no problem there.  Then they told me that to go on FMLA - I would be without one week of pay, and that after that I would only get 60% of my actual pay.  I let them know that I would be able to work from home, I just wasn't able to put any weight/pressure on my foot  (in hopes that they would 'read between the lines' of what I was asking), and HR looked at me and said they had NO problems with me working from home, as long as my supervisor/manager was okay with it !!!!!   YES!  One thing off my list & off my mind.

Step two - tell my supervisor and associate director  that I will be having surgery on December 19th, and that I will need 6-8 weeks of 'off my feet' time.  I called them both into a small conference room, and I explained to each of them what was going on and how it was currently effecting my health, my work, etc.  I let them know that I will be fully able to work and to do things from home ..but that I am not able to walk, stand, move around until I am fully healed.  They looked at me, and they were so compassionate and sympathetic .. they said NO PROBLEM !  Keep them posted as to the dates I will need off for surgery, recovery, and then I could work from home until I was able to return to the office.  Thank you, Lord !  Item #2 off my 'worry' list !

Now ... I was breathing ... not in the usual way of inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale .. but I was finally really BREATHING !  I was not worried about the actual surgery at that point, I wasn't worried about losing health insurance, I wasn't worried about losing money due to FMLA, I wasn't worried - and for the first time in a very, very long time .. I took a breath !