In 1992, I was in a devastating car accident and I spent over a decade learning how to walk again. I eventually got into good enough shape to run a 10K! Unfortunately in 2009, I severely sprained my ankle while walking through a rocky parking lot. My family doctor confirmed that there was nothing broken, but it was just a bad sprain.
Eventually I was able to get back into training and in the 2010 I not only ran in the Great River Ragnar Relay race, I also mountain bike raced a whole season with the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series, in a tutu! Through out my training I dealt with ankle pain and even though I ran the Great River Ragnar Relay for the second year in a row, I knew there was something really wrong.
I ended up seeing an orthopedic doctor and he said that my “bad sprain” turned into severe arthritis.
What do you do about arthritis in your ankle? Not much. You manage the pain and reduce your activity. You can try steroid injections and anti-inflammatory meds, but sooner or later all the cartilage in your ankle is gone. There’s nothing left to do at that point but have your ankle fused.
The good thing about getting my ankle fused is that even though I’d end up with less mobility than “normal” and I’d probably never run again, I’d have zero pain.
The bad thing about ankle fusion is the recovery. It’s a very long recovery process where I can’t put ANY weight on that foot for 8-12 weeks. Basically I can get up, go to the bathroom, and then lay back down with my foot elevated – not the most enjoyable way to spend 2-3 months.
Also, I didn’t have health insurance and with my pre-existing condition, the arthritic ankle, I didn’t even qualify for health insurance. After a lot of research, I found out that Minnesota actually had a program for people like me who were uninsurable. I filled out the paper work and waited to see if I was approved.
As I was waiting to find out if I was approved, I calculated my cost for the surgery – with insurance (premium + deductible + co-insurance) and without insurance. Turns out it would cost me about the same whether I had insurance or not.
I consulted my doctor’s financial office and they agreed to a discounted fee and a payment plan. Instead of paying a monthly premium AND paying my deductible/co-insurance for the surgery we decided to go ahead with the surgery without buying the state available insurance plan. Less than 6 months after I applied for that coverage, that program was cancelled because of the ACA and I would have been where I am right now even if I had bought the insurance. (This is NOT a political post. It just is what it is.)
After surgery, with the help of my family and friends, I did everything I was supposed to – which was basically nothing. Unfortunately I had one bad fall within the first couple weeks after surgery. I went in right away and the x-rays showed that everything was fine. I continued to follow my doctor’s orders and let the healing process do its thing.
At about my six-month post op, the nurse became increasingly concerned. I hadn’t been improving as much as I should’ve been. My doctor ordered a CT scan and the results of the scan showed that my fusion wasn’t happening. I was placed back in a cast and an ultrasound/bone stimulation machine was prescribed.
I came out of the cast after a few weeks and I was slowly allowed to put weight on my foot. At the end of August 2013 a second CT scan showed that there was “probably” more healing happening. I was to continue with my bone stimulator sessions and do physical therapy at my chiropractor’s office. I needed to check back with my doctor at the end of November or beginning of December, which happened to be when my chiropractor began to worry that my ankle wasn’t healing properly and said I should probably go back to see my orthopedic surgeon.
Well, I checked in with him and the doctor has said that he’s very certain that I will have to have a revision surgery done.
This means 12 more weeks without ANY walking, plus another slow recovery.
This also means that I have to pay for another surgery.
Although I have applied for insurance this time (I’ve been told by Health Partners that I’ve been accepted even though I have a pre-existing condition, one of the rules of the ACA. Again, this is NOT political. It just is.), I will still have to satisfy my $3,650 deductible (and pay my monthly premium of course) before the insurance company will pay for any part of the surgery, equipment, or tests required.
This basically means that I will end up paying for both surgeries myself.
I wish I could just skip the surgery, but my life is so limited due to pain that it just isn’t an option. I can tolerate the pain enough to go on small shopping trips, make most meals, and do the dishes (sometimes). I can also do a bit of laundry and vacuum – although breaks are needed between rooms and I have a lot of trouble going up and down stairs. I force myself to workout because I’ve been told that for every pound you lose, it takes ten pounds of pressure off your joints. I could really use a lot more pressure off my joints!
I’m not asking for a hand out, but I am hosting my own fundraiser. I have an Etsy Shop and I make very pretty scarves. The scarves are reasonably priced and make a perfect gift for any woman/girl on your holiday shopping list or even a gift for yourself. I have all sorts of color combinations available and I’ll be adding more each day.
My goal is to sell 250 scarves in the next fifteen days to pay off a large chunk of what I still owe on the first surgery. This way I can start fresh with a new payment plan for the second surgery.
If you can help me out by purchasing one or more scarves and/or letting your family and friends know about me and my situation, I would be so very humbled.
You can keep up with my fundraising efforts on my Facebook Event Page: Scarf ‘n Fusion Thank you for all your support, prayers, good vibes, and most of all, thank you for being here.