Saturday, November 1, 2014

Clearing the Air: Why I got Bunion Surgery

Bunion surgery is not an easy decision.  For most cases, it is 100% elective.  I've been putting it off for over 10 years. When I finally booked the surgery,  I almost instantly regretted my decision.   The thought of going from very active, to not being able to walk without crutches was mind boggling.  I couldn't picture myself alone, on the couch all day, watching TV and petting my cats.  I seriously considered cancelling it.

A great part of my profession involves discussing with people about elective laser refractive eye surgery. I've been doing this for almost 8 years; pros and cons, risks versus benefits.   There are people that I counsel that are great candidates and some not as much and I let them know this.  Laser refractive surgery has done great things for many people.  I couldn't work in this field if it wasn't a success. I think bunion surgery is similar.  I've shopped around, done my research and found my surgeon.  I've weighed out the risks versus benefits and today, the benefits outweigh the risks.  That's when you know you're a good candidate.

What if I lost feeling in my big toe?  What if I couldn't workout with as much intensity? What if I was in my more pain after than I was before?  Bottom line: any and every surgery has risks but so does giving birth or walking across the street or driving a car. You could get hurt or die at any time.  

I've been listening and watching other peoples stories for years.  This was not for cosmetic reasons.  I never thought my feet looked ugly.  I didn't even realize my bunions were unusual. In fact, I thought other peoples feet looked weird because their big toe was straight. I was never embarrassed and never hid my feet.

For my prom, I wore wedges with a half inch rise.  I was ok with that. They were silver and had sparkles.  Who cares?

I could never walk into a shoe store like Aldo, Spring or Payless.  They were out of the question.  I was lucky to find something at Naturalizer even with the wider width.  "We can stretch your shoe overnight," they would offer.  "Sure," I said with hopefulness. It never worked, the shoe never fit.

I bought my own shoe stretcher from the USA.  It's heavy and hardcore but didn't work for me.  "Your shoe should fit when you buy it," said my podiatrist, " you should never have to stretch it."

My shoe collection consists of many shoes that are barely worn. Most of them too big for me. They felt great at the store but in reality, way over compensated for my bunion.  The rest, too tight and not tolerable for more than five minutes.

I would prefer shopping for bathing suits or anything else for that matter. I hate shoe shopping!!!!!

I have a lot of running shoes.  But even they cause me trouble.  Two years ago, I discovered the Nike Pegasus.  This is a fabulous shoe.  Nice and soft, fits my orthotics and a beautiful mesh-like top that expands with my bunion.  Thank you Nike!

My last running shoe purchase was completely unsuccessful.  I returned two pairs and then another two pairs before giving up, four weeks before my surgery.  The Pegasus was not working for me; my feet didn't agree with it anymore.  I tried D width in another brand and my feet swam around in them. I don't have wide feet, I have bunions.

I'm always thinking about my future.  I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD).  I'm saving like crazy for my retirement because I know I won't be able to work until the ripe age of CPP.  My feet are part of this future.  I can't push this off any longer.  I want to be able to walk, run, cycle and stay fit for as long as physically possible.  This is the most important thing in the world to me.  Dr. Brunet wants to operate on me before I develop arthritis and while I can have an ideal recovery.  Now is the time, no more excuses. This is an investment in my future.

Pumpkin carving by Heather and Chris Buckley

No comments:

Post a Comment