IF you’re a longtime reader, you may remember that I have a long standing problem ankle. You may even remember it if you’re new, since I mentioned it briefly in my last entry. The TL;DR is that I fucked my ankle up really badly when I was 21 and then kept reinjuring it until I could shift my foot an inch over from my foot as a fun trick at parties. My handsome and very kind orthopedic surgeon in Colorado took that from me but, not intentionally, left the arthritis and ongoing pain.
My only options are to wait until the pain is so bad that I opt for one of my very subpar surgical choices, or pay out of pocket for a supposedly life changing orthotic brace.
Over the last couple of months, the pain in my ankle and foot has increased. The poor gait caused by overcompensating and avoiding pain has resulted in tarsal tunnel (kind of like carpel tunnel, but in the foot), plantar fasciatis, and ongoing tendonitis in various places. Then, at the end of September, I had to step over the dog to get into the bathroom and in the process, I managed to do . . .something . . .and ended up with excrutiating pain, probably due to a strain or sprain or even rupture in my posterior tibial tendon.
Things got so bad and were so unresponsive to my usual routine that I ended up going to my generally ineffectual ortho and ended up in a hard cast while vacationing in Hawaii (post coming soon!)
So I made the decision to just DO this other thing. I don’t feel like I actually have a choice. My parents said they’d help me pay for some, and I applied for and got care credit to help me spread the cost out. I’m going to bite the bullet and pay for medical expenses the American way and set up a GoFundMe to help offset the cost as well.
The day after we got back from vacation, I drove to Gig Harbor and got casted for my ExoSym brace. A week later, I put on the clunky fiberglass test device and took my first pain free steps in years. The test device supposedly functions at 30% capacity of the actual thing, and honestly, I would have walked out of there with the test if they’d let me. A week from today I get the real thing.
The Exosym is a orthotic/prosthetic hybrid. Obviously, you keep your limb, so its not actually a prosthetic. But it functions in a similar way, offloading the force of stepping up into the top part of the device so that the device effectively becomes the ankle, taking on the strain of walking/running. It doesn’t require any surgery, no recovery time (though there is PT/training to learn how to use it to it’s full potential) and it’s not permanent – unlike surgery.
I am so excited about getting this that I have been legit dreaming (like at night) of what life will be like. I haven’t been this excited about something in a long, long time. Not vacation or holidays or a new car. I genuinely believe this is going to change my life and honestly, even if it’s half as good as I am imagining it could be, I’ll be happy.
If you feel like you want to my GoFundMe, I would be deeply grateful and I’m working with everyone’s favorite ginger queer infertility blogger, Molly, to develop some cool thank you’s, in case you need an incentive. And, if you don’t have $$ but you want to cheer me on, I’ll absolutely love that as well.
Thanks, team! Onward to bionic life!