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4 Weeks Post-Surgery

Today marks exactly four weeks since I had a second surgery on my ankle.  You might recall that my surgeon removed the hardware that he’d placed in there the year before.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve talked about my ankle, so I thought I would bring you up to speed on my recovery thus far.

I know that I’m repeating myself when I say this, but this has been a lot more challenging than I’d anticipated.  I’ve had a few issues that nobody warned me about.  As a person who doesn’t deal too well with curve balls, this has been especially frustrating.

I’ve continued with the Hurt Foot workout videos that I found through a Google search for non-impact exercises.

I wish I’d found these videos last year after I broke my ankle and was able to exercise again.  I think I would have avoided a few of the setbacks I brought upon myself with the tougher-than-necessary routines that I literally jumped into.

Meanwhile, I was eager for the strips the nurse had put on during my seven-day, post-op appointment to fall off.  Here’s how my ankle looked on January 7th . . .

You can see that a few of the strips had come off.

January 8th marked ten days since the strips had been applied, and since they were peeling off within the ten-day window the nurse had given me, I finished the job . . .

The black dots lining the outside of the incisions were actually the scabs from the staples that had been used in lieu of stitches.  I had not seen these when I first broke my ankle because the orthopedic center had put on a cast that I wore for three weeks.  By the time it came off, the scabs had healed.

You can see how raw those incisions still were after a little over two weeks post-surgery.

They were painful too.  I’d been mandated to start massaging them aggressively to get rid of scar tissue.  The outside of my ankle felt strange though; I could feel the holes that the pins holding the plate in place had left behind.  You can even see the outline of those holes in the little Instagram video I made.

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Meanwhile, I have continued to try out more videos by the same “hurt ankle” girl.  I love the shirt she wore for this one . . .

I need this shirt!

Surprisingly, these videos burn some decent calories!

I didn’t let the boot get in the way of good fashion and went all professional on my students one day . . .

I thought things were going fine even with me calling the Mr. one day with the request to bring me a sock (I’d only worn an ACE bandage) and ibuprofen.

Until January 11th.

Y’all, I’d been having some burning pain, but I figured it was just the incision hitting the boot.

Oh, but it wasn’t.

See what my ankle looked like that afternoon?

It was one angry body part and only getting madder with every hour.

I went back to using crutches to relieve the pressure that walking put on it.

I cried during dinner as I was hit by sporadic waves of pain.

The next morning, it looked like this . . .

I took pictures and sent them to my surgeon’s nurse.  She responded very quickly and told me that the PA believed that it was, most likely, a stitch abscess.  She told me to apply triple antibiotic ointment on it, cover it with a band aid, and keep a close eye on it.  She said it would probably be better in a few days.

The next morning, when I woke up, it looked like this . . .

Yep.  It had gotten bigger, more painful, and generally worse.

The Mr. wanted to take a needle to it; I adamantly refused, fearful of infection.

I did, however, send another email to my nurse while he was driving me to school and asked her if I could lance it if I properly sterilized everything.  She responded immediately, giving me the green light.

A friend at school advised me to use a warm compress to draw out the infection before I performed my at-home, self-care procedure.  I did so, putting the essential oil, Thieves, on my cloth, which I’d read would help with infection and inflammation.  I sterilized my needle while I applied the compress.

You should have seen what my ankle looked like when I pulled the cloth off.

Nasty.  I won’t post the picture (you’re welcome), but if you want to see it, click here.

I got down to work.

Oh my yuck.  It was just everything icky and more.

I had TWO abscesses.

Two.

No wonder I was hurting so badly.

I carefully squeezed out the infection, washed the area with soap and warm water, per the nurse’s instructions, and put a band aid over it.

I can honestly say that my ankle immediately felt better.  I was able to walk around the house (still in my boot) with a minimal amount of pain.  The burning sensation was gone.

However, later when I got ready to change the bandage, I noticed that I now had a deep hole in my incision, where the abscesses had been, and that hole did not want to close up.  It needed a stitch or two.

The Mr. went out and bought me butterfly bandages and incision strips.  He carefully applied a butterfly bandage with a larger bandage over that to see if that would do the trick.

After two days of this, the wound was still opening up, so we used the strips instead.  So far, so good.  I haven’t removed the strips since he applied them a few days ago, but it seems to be healing well.

The best part?

There’s no more pain or swelling in that area, so I know that the infection is gone.

Praise the Lord!

I’ve been able to work out without the burning feeling.  Yay!

So, where do I stand (literally and figuratively) today?

Well, I just put my crutches in the closet.  Woo hoo!

It’s also the last day of me having to wear the boot (and my fun sock-of-the-day, which some of my students have noticed) . . .

Hallelujah!

When I get up tomorrow morning, I’ll get to put TWO regular shoes on again.  I’m going to wear my sneakers for a few days because I need the extra support until I figure out what my tendon is doing (tight, not tight, sort of tight).

I also get to start driving again tomorrow!

The Mr. is thrilled.  He’s gotten up early every single day since I’ve been back at work to drive me there and pick me up.

He’s amazing!

I’m going to continue doing the Hurt Foot workouts until I get my next x-ray, which will be on February 8th when I go for my six-week checkup.  I’m sure they will tell me what kinds of exercises I’ll be allowed to do from that point forward.

I’m hoping to start going for walks around the neighborhood soon.  I signed up for the first Hogwarts Running Club event.  It’s a 9k, so I’ll have to split it into segments.

I’m still finding myself sore by the end of the day, and the outside of my ankle, where the plate was, is still pretty bruised up.  I know that things are healing inside; it’s just going to take more time.

I am trying to listen to my body and follow its lead.  I know that standing too long is still extra hard on me.  Building endurance is something I’ll be working on.

My students have been extra careful around me given the nature of my injury and subsequent recoveries from both surgeries.  I’m thankful for their consideration.

I’m especially grateful for your continued prayers as this journey is still far from being over.  You are a blessing to me.

Despite the ups and downs, I am able, with God’s strength, to push on with my mantra of #findingjoyinthejourney.

Staying Warm for the Hodgepodge

It’s been a minute . . . or a fortnight . . . since I’ve written but holy cow, the recovery from what was supposed to be an easy surgery has been anything but!  I’m going to try to catch up with a separate post about that tomorrow.  For today, I’m going to answer Joyce’s all-illuminating Hodgepodge questions.  Thanks for visiting, and I’ll do my best to get around to you soon!

1.  What keeps you blogging?

What keeps me blogging is the need to unload things that build up in my heart.  Even though my blogging has been a little inconsistent the last year and a half, words have been busting to get out.

I think I also write with the hope that someone who is reading about my story will connect to it as I so often do when I read others’ stories.

I love the blogging community and miss it when I don’t have time to keep up with it.  We are our own little family drawn together by the intimate nature of our writing, because writing is just that – very personal, raw, and illuminating.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are –

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?

I live in a beach town, but I don’t go during winter.  It’s about fifteen minutes away from my house, and I don’t feel like dealing with the traffic.  I will brave it to go to the movie theater because it’s a nice one.  I’ve been to Seaside, but only very briefly.  It is very pretty!  I’d love to spend more time exploring – when it’s warm (and when Spring Break visitors aren’t there).  I’ve also been to Fairhope, but I didn’t see the beach.  It was quite a number of years ago, and I don’t really remember much about it.

If I had to choose one to visit, I’d go with Hilton Head.  I like South Carolina; the Mr. hails from Irmo.  I think it would be fun to get out of Florida, where I’ve lived for almost thirty years, and do a bit of sightseeing in another state.

3.  What’s a song you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

“Hips Don’t Lie,” by Shakira, gets people looking at me when I start singing along.  This goes back to when my kids were in high school and I liked to car dance to it whenever it came on which, coincidentally enough, always seemed to happen when their friends were riding with us.

Yes, I was that mom, and I will not apologize for it or pay for any counseling that my kids may need because of it.

Bahahaha.

4.  When you were a kid what’s something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you’re an adult you realize it’s not all that fantastic?

I’m drawing a blank here.  When I was a kid, all I wanted was to be free from being under my mom’s thumb.  I have that, and I think it’s wonderful.  There are tasks that aren’t that great, but I think I had a realistic view of that part of life when I was younger because I was responsible for many things early on.

5.  Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

I’ve been through so much since I broke my ankle in November 2016.  I immediately grabbed hold of the following saying:

With a second surgery now behind me, and my recovery slowly in progress, I’m repeating this mantra.

I have always been a very determined person; what others perceive as setbacks, I take on as challenges.

I am stubborn.  This is where that trait helps me.

I refuse to let anything hold me down for long.

With the Lord’s help, I will get strong again – I will run again.

6.  My Random Thought

Today marks the first day of our second semester.

One half of the school year is done.

I’m having a good year and am enjoying my prep.  Watching students achieve their goals and take steps that put them closer to graduation is very gratifying.

Even while I struggled with making new seating charts yesterday, I found myself humbled to be part of their journey.

Each name that didn’t go on the chart represented another young person who, if every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed, will walk the stage either this May or next May.

Every kiddo who got a spot on the chart represents unleashed potential waiting for the perfect time to showcase itself.

I am very hopeful for the spring and the success that’s in store for my students.

The First Day

Yesterday was my first day back at work after Christmas Break, and boy was it hard to get out of bed.

I’d only had two solid nights of sleep since school had gotten out because of my surgery, and I was still playing catch up.

I’d done my best to prep the night before by whipping up my first ever batch of Instant Pot Make-Ahead Quinoa Breakfast Bowls, a recipe by Detoxinista.  I was shocked by how easy AND flavorful it was.

I’d also found an exercise video that I could do without putting extra weight on my ankle . . .

Y’all, this gal has TONS of videos!  I was thrilled with the gold mine I discovered!

Still, though, it was super-hard to go to bed that night.  I just wasn’t feeling it.

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It took awhile to drag myself out of bed.  Mind you, I am having to stick my foot into a boot before I walk anywhere, so there’s that.

I was too lazy to change into workout clothes – hence, the sweatpants which wound up being too hot.

I rather enjoyed the video.  Parts of it were a little easy, while other parts were a little more challenging.

What I liked was burning calories and getting my heart rate going a bit.

Because I’d dragged my feet, or should I say boot, getting up, I ran a bit behind.  The Mr. was not too pleased because he’d gotten up early to drive me since, once again, I am unable to drive since it’s my right ankle that’s recovering.

It was 33 degrees when we left the house – perfect weather for the use of my hand knits.

I had quite a few kids absent; the cold weather kept them bundled up at home, I suppose.  Still, being on my feet all day was harder than I’d expected.  By 5th period, I was regretting my decision not to take crutches to school.  The outside of my ankle hurt something fierce.

When I got home and removed my sock and bandage, I could see the swelling.

I was so exhausted that I went straight to bed . . .

And slept for TWO hours.  When I woke up, I thought it was morning.

I must have needed the sleep, though, because I got up, cooked dinner for the Mr., and we watched a couple of our favorite television shows.  I went to bed around 11 and slept through the night without waking up.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad first day back thanks to lesson planning that wasn’t overly ambitious yet relevant and kept my kids busy.

Only 73 days until Spring Break, but who’s counting.

New Year’s Shenanigans

I managed to stay awake until midnight New Year’s Eve.

Go me..

Actually, what helped pass the time was that the Mr. and I rented the movie, American Assassin.  It had a lot of action!

I slept in a little New Year’s morning.  It was the best night’s sleep I’d had since prior to my surgery.  Of course, it was the first time I was back in my own bed since then as well.

We got going pretty quickly and headed to the mall.  We had recently upgraded to the iPhone X and had purchased screen protectors and cases from Cellairis, a place in the mall that my Sprint guy had recommended.

Y’all, we usually buy this stuff on Amazon and don’t pay much for it; however, we weren’t willing to risk dropping our brand new phones without them being protected, so we coughed up the extra dough.  I was impressed by the young guy’s quick service and the fact that he got the protectors on without any issues.  I always ruin the first one when I do it myself.

My protector started lifting while I was out of town with family, so I visited a Cellairis in the mall there.  It took me a few hours to realize that they’d: 1) put it on crooked and 2) given me a matte protector.

Not good.

I went nuts.  I went back to that mall the next day and asked them to fix it but was told that they were out of them and to go back in a week.  I couldn’t do that because we were going back home the next day, so I figured that I’d go to the one in my own mall.

That’s what the Mr. and I were doing there at 10:00am New Year’s morning, but y’all, when we drove up, look at what we saw . . .

There were lines of people waiting to go into Dillard’s.

What the heck?

The Mr. dropped me off so he could park, and I got in the queue.  It was freezing, but the doors had just opened, so I didn’t have to wait.

Oh my goodness!  The people were NUTS!  They were almost running across the store, while I was doing my best to not get trampled or tripped.

I saw people grabbing blankets off of tables that only had 20% off sales signs.  What the heck?

I went past the shoe department, and that’s where the wacko behavior really cranked up.  I don’t even know that people cared what the shoes looked like.  They grabbed them and then jumped into a line that was marked off with a rope.

I just wanted to get out of there and into the rest of the mall.

The guy at Cellairis did NOT give me a new protector.  He had to call his boss who wouldn’t allow it because the other place had put on the wrong one.

Talked about MAD.  I was extremely angry and told the kid that it wasn’t his fault, but that this was horrible customer service.  I asked when his boss would be in, and he said later that day, but since the Mr. and I had plans to watch football, I told him we’d be back today.  He did straighten the matte protector, but y’all, do you know that it started lifting in the corner a little later?  I was DOUBLE-MAD.

I even tweeted out to corporate.

Take that!

When the Mr. met up with me, he told me that the line in the shoe department of Dillard’s was wrapped all the way around the corner.  Fortunately, he had parked in a different lot, so we didn’t have to risk our lives getting out of there.

We ran a couple of other errands before we returned home.

That’s when I got busy.

I had gotten an Instant Pot for Christmas and was eager to make my first dish, Vegetarian Instant Pot Chili.

First, I had the fun of using the new slicer that Chicky had given me to do some prep work.

You can find this at Walmart.

Look at that green, yellow, and red pepper deliciousness

I was so impressed with how quickly my veggies were chopped.

Next, it was time to get everything into the Instant Pot.  I was nervous; pressure cooking is something I haven’t done is probably twenty years, and it made me nervous back in the day.

Setup was actually pretty easy!  The manual that came with it had clear instructions.

Of course I chronicled my antics on Instagram (I saved the entire video story, posted below) . . .

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The dish itself took thirty minutes to cook.

I am sooooooo glad that I asked for the model that has Bluetooth; watching its progress on my app was fascinating.

I was like a mama hen and refreshed my screen often . . .

Isn’t this cool???

The pot took a few minutes to heat up and then about ten minutes to vent.  I’d read a few things about manually venting it or allowing it to do it naturally.  I turned the valve to venting after ten minutes of letting it do its thing on its own.

The results were sooooo worth my foray into new cooking lands . . .

The recipe is flavorful.  I’d suggest adding chili powder for an extra kick.

It made quite a bit, so I’ll be eating it for lunch this week – no complaints here!

Cleanup was a piece of cake!  Everything was seriously done in one pot!  I didn’t know that you could saute in it (this recipe didn’t require it, but I read that you could saute in it on a blog) . . . something that will be handy when I want to whip something up after a tiring day of work.

I also did some baking.  The Mr. had requested the Peanut Butter Cake that he loves so much.

This thing usually sinks in the middle because he’s not allowed to have anything with baking powder, cream of tartar, or other leavening agents.  I decided to try adding a splash of lemon juice to the recipe with the hopes that it would interact with the baking soda and make the cake rise.

You can see that it worked!  I was shocked!

It looked like a real cake after I frosted it . . .

The Mr. said that the texture was spongy too.  Yay!

I wasn’t done in the kitchen, though.

Chicky had found a recipe for a Peanut Butter Lover’s Chocolate Tart, from Oh She Glows (I found the recipe online yesterday, so you’re welcome) in one of my books, but we had not had the time to prepare it, so I got busy.

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Every component was homemade . . .

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First I baked the crust, and then I made the filling . . .

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While it was setting in the freezer, I made homemade caramel sauce and chopped peanuts for the garnish . . .

This was seriously fun to assemble!

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Look how pretty it turned out!

I’m going to cut this into small slices and freeze them individually for a quick solution to a craving for something sweet.  This thing is DECADENT!

After all of that cooking, I finally sat down to watch football and knit.

I slept well again last night – past 9am – the Mr. thoughtfully got up early and fed the dogs.

We headed BACK to the mall.  Just look at the aftermath from yesterday’s sales . . .

I am so thankful that the Mr. was willing to take me out on errands.  This is the second time in just over a year that I’ve been unable to because of my ankle.

If only my makeup looked that good without the Snapchat filter!!

We first visited the Cellairis place, and this time the manager was there.  I went through the spiel again, and he had to call the owner.  I was just about ready to blow a gasket; however, I’d prayed before I’d gone into the mall, and God had answered.  The manager replaced the screen cover, even managing to apply it evenly.  Whew!

Then, the Mr. and I did a bit of shopping at American Eagle, where they were having a lot of sales.

Of course, the things that fit me perfectly weren’t on sale.  I got them anyway.  Ha!

Excuse the hair – it was clean and dry but not styled. #ChristmasBreakProblems

That outfit right there?  Yeah, it’s what I’m wearing for the first day back at school tomorrow, so if you see me, just know that I did not wear it home!

We also went by Books a Million; I had a gift card to spend!

It took two employees to locate the cookbook I wanted . . .

While looking for it, I found a lot of other books I wanted; however, I held myself to just one more . . .

Aquafaba is the liquid left over in a can of chickpeas, and it’s magical, especially if you’re a vegan and can’t use eggs for whipped stuff.  I am so excited about this cookbook!

I’m sad to see the end of the break quickly approaching.  I needed the rest that this break provided.  Although the first week of it was rough with my surgery and ensuing recovery, I still enjoyed not having to stress about writing up errant children, entering grades, or making lesson plans.

Please say a prayer for the Mr.  He’s got to get up to take me to school until the 22nd (boot removal day), and he is not an early-morning kind of guy, let me tell you.  He’s already refusing to take me to Starbucks for hot chocolate or by Panera for the free daily bagel deal that’s going on this month.

It should be an interesting series of mornings as our “together time” is put to the test.

Ha!

Ringing in 2018

I don’t know about you, but I sure was happy to bid adieu to 2017.

One year ago, I had no idea what the year had in store for me.

I had no idea that just twenty three days in, I’d find myself at the physical therapist’s office for the first of eight months’ worth of sessions.

I had no idea that a mere two hours later, on the same day, I’d find myself in the emergency room with the hubby as the patient this time and that we would spend a week in the ICU as medical professionals told us he was septic and needed a complicated surgery.

I had no idea that the Mr. and I would soon be listening to one of the top Crohn’s surgeons in the state tell us just how dire the Mr.’s health was.  The drive home from Jacksonville was filled with many tears.

I had no idea how dependent we would be on family and friends to fill in the gap with their prayers and provisions for other practical needs.

I had no idea how grueling my recovery process from my broken ankle would be and how many, many setbacks I would have – all of them so very discouraging and incredibly frustrating – and how much pain I’d have to endure.  Even the simplest tasks often felt overwhelming to complete.

I had no idea of the miracle that was in store for us as we found out that the Mr.’s health, despite great odds, was improving, and that he did not need to have the much-dreaded surgery.  The drive home from Jacksonville that day was filled with awe as we praised God for His healing touch.

I had no idea that my heart would soar to such great heights and then, mere days later, plummet to the lowest depths when I lost my precious Molly – and that the grief would still cut so deeply six months later.

I had no idea how fervently I would pray while my child was gone on his first deployment.  Being a military mom is a role that brings with it much joy and much worry.

I had no idea that I’d be facing another ankle surgery to remove hardware that I’d assumed would be a permanent part of my body since my injury the year before, and that the surgery would not be the piece of cake I’d thought it would be.

The year 2017 had so many lows, but it was rich in its blessings as well.

I had no idea how tangibly I would feel God’s arms surround me in the darkest of nights, when I came home from the hospital when the Mr. was admitted to the ICU, and I didn’t know if I would be getting a call from the nurse to give me news that his condition had worsened.  Although I shed many, many tears that week, I felt God’s peace as I navigated through the what if’s that ran rampant through my mind.

I had no idea that despite my physical challenges, I would complete every single race hosted by my virtual running club, the Hogwarts Running Club, and would also participate in a real-life 5k as well.  God was with me as I put one foot in front of the other as I covered each mile and babied my ankle afterward.

I had no idea how humbled I would become because of the hardships God would allow into my life and how much more empathetic I would become because of those experiences.

I had no idea that I would end the year with such new perspectives – for what’s important and not important – for the amount of pain I might have to face.  It’s funny how many things pale when compared to what I’ve already endured.

I am praying that 2018 will be a year of reprieve from the hard stuff of life.

I don’t expect the year to be completely void of challenges; however, I’m not afraid to ask God to put longer gaps between them so I can catch my breath a bit.

If the year turns out to be another doozy, I can say, with 100% certainty, that I will face the hard times with more strength because of my knowledge that God will be with me guiding me every step of the way.

Happy New Year to all of you!  I pray God’s blessings upon you and those you love.

Christmas 2017

Whew!  This Christmas season has been quite the whirlwind, let me tell you!  Now that I’m back at home, I finally have time to sit, reflect, and write.

Our Christmas celebrations were very different this year due to a number of things.  First of all, Rooster and his wife were 3,000 miles away.  We opened presents with them via FaceTime a few days before Christmas.  Second, the Mr. was on call this year, so we were stuck at home – a first, I believe, in all of the years that he’s had his job.  I guess we should count ourselves fortunate, eh?  Because of that, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home.  Thankfully, Chicky had driven to our house on the 23rd, so we got to enjoy the holiday with her.

The Mr. got called in to work in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Day.  Poor thing.  He texted me when he was on the way home – my wake up call since I still wasn’t sleeping through the night.  I’d left the tree on all night so I could see it, in all of its loveliness, whenever I turned over in my chair.

He grabbed a few hours sleep when he got home before we opened gifts.

It’s a good thing that Santa got the message that we would be home this year.  He left our stockings under the tree instead of the usual spots at the in-laws’ house.

It doesn’t take long to open presents, even going one at a time, when there’s only three of you.  We had fun, though, and enjoyed the looks of surprise when each recipient discovered an unexpected or much-longed for item.

Chicky gave me a chopper that I’d read good things about on my Detoxinista Facebook page.

This thing does everything!  It even has an egg separator, a salad spinner, and an egg whipper, which I can use when making my aquafaba “eggs.”

The Mr. gave me these Vionic boots.  I’d tried on a pair at Dillard’s a few weeks ago.  He had found them on Amazon for much cheaper.  I cannot wait to wear them after I finish healing.

He also gave me a much-longed-for adjustable bench.  He’d hidden the box in the garage.

I also got a pair of workout pants, a cute little Auburn shirt, and a couple of dressier shirts.  My stocking had been filled to the brim with a couple of magazines, sneaker balls, Twizzlers, gift cards, and an insulated cup.  The Mr. always spoils me.  ❤

I didn’t take many pictures this year.  Shame on me!  Chicky gave the Mr. a lap desk.  I gave him an iPad mini, a hedge trimmer, and a wireless charger for his new phone, along with an Auburn puzzle and this adorable totem pole . . .

I’d filled his stocking with a plethora of goodies.  I had taken advantage of being able to drive in the weeks before Christmas this year.

We gave Chicky a good pair of ear buds – a brand that she had not expected but that she’d been wanting.  We also gave her a pair of shoes, an Auburn shirt, and gift cards.  Her stocking was overflowing.  We love pampering our kids!

The Mr. had to work Christmas night, so Chicky and I watched a movie on Netflix.  We turned in early, though.  I was still plagued with frequent post-surgery fatigue.

She drove me to Bigger City, Florida for my follow-up visit with my surgeon (I wrote about this in my prior post), but we had to leave the Mr. behind because he still had to work.  He drove over on Friday.

We treated Friday like our traditional family Christmas Eve.  Super Sis and I made plans to spend the morning together, as we always do, and she agreed to pick me up since I couldn’t drive.

Now let me tell you, God certainly meant for us to be sisters because we are always such a hot mess – in the same, exact way.

When she arrived, we discovered that we had chosen similar shoes.  Of course, she’d opted to go without the Darth Vader boot, but I digress . . .

The first stop we made was Starbucks.

Go ahead and admire our cuteness.

I was super excited when I realized that I finally had a partner who could/would do fun Snapchat filters with me . . .

She has to work on her timing with that tongue thing.  Of course, she was trying to place our order and stop laughing while posing, so there was that.  I need to work on looking in the right spot.

Told you that we’re a hot mess.

We went to Dillard’s first, and she showed me some of the charms she wanted for the new James Avery bracelet one of her sons had given her for Christmas.  She’d received a gift card and knew exactly how she was going to spend it.  I, of course, was an enabler who encouraged her to buy what she liked.

We had a bit of an experience while we were shopping at Express, one of my favorite stores.

Have you ever seen videos of people spitting out their drinks when they’re laughing or sneezing?

Yeah, she kind of did that, although it was because something went down the wrong way, and for the FIRST time ever, I was on the receiving end.  One minute, I was scrutinizing a possible dress to wear to this year’s high school graduation, and the next second, I was watching my Apple watch get sprayed with her chai tea.  I mean, it went ALL OVER THE PLACE.

She later told me that the look on my face was one of shock.

Truly it was.

I was worried about her because she’d choked on her drink (thinking the same thing that I was about the dress, which had lace panels down the back in a ‘HELL NO – not appropriate for any graduation” kind of way).

Then, we hurriedly tried to clean up the floor and my watch as we hightailed it out of the store.

THEN, I threw away my kleenex in what I thought was a trash can . . . only to watch it float and then sink into what turned OUT to be a can of water (I didn’t notice the chairs that people could sit on to get their feet done, I guess?

The giggles, y’all.  We could hardly walk because we were laughing so hard.

I seriously love my sister.

We went back to Dillard’s, since we’d parked there, but did a bit of shoe browsing (ahem) before leaving.

That’s when I fell in love with these . . .

Oh Vionic shoes, you get me every time.  I texted a couple of photos to the Mr., told him that I really liked them, and then bought them.  I’m saving the receipt in case I find them cheaper somewhere else or discover that I can’t wear them when I can actually put two on at a time.  I’m not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle unless it’s in a boot, which means no regular shoes on that foot for an entire month.

We went back to the house, picked up the Mr.’s mom, and took her back with us to the mall, where Super Sis bought the charm she’d been admiring and had it put on.  We also visited another store outside the mall but didn’t buy anything.  Oh, and we had to go to Trader Joe’s, where I found some canned coconut milk that will be perfect, later, for some desserts I’ve been dying to make.  Most coconut milk has an ingredient (can’t remember the name now) that prevents it from being whipped.  Not so with the Trader Joe’s brand.

By the time we got back to the house, my ankle was shot.

It’s quite clear that I still have a LONG way to go in my recovery . . .

But our fun wasn’t over yet!  We still had dinner and presents to go!

But first, another Snapchat selfie with my seester . . .

Can you just see her face . . . forty years ago.  Quite the imp she used to be.  And please admire my hair.  My hairdresser had washed and dried it for me on Wednesday.  She’d done a FABULOUS job.  I love good hair days.

Chicky and my oldest nephew cooked most of the dinner.  Super Sis got a picture of them, but I didn’t.  Boo!

I did manage to snag another selfie with my sister though.  When you don’t see each other very often, you’ve just got to take lots of selfies.  Ahem.

Dinner was fun; everyone squeezed around one table.  We sure were missing my boy and his girl.

Then, it was time to do presents.

Super Sis and her family had already opened gifts with the in-laws, but we still had a few presents to open.

Cali jumped right in the middle of things.

As usual, we went from youngest to oldest.

The Mr.’s parents gave me the Instant Pot I’d had my eye on.

This one is f-a-n-c-y, let me tell you, and even has Bluetooth!  I’d seen a number of vegan recipes that call for this appliance but that I’d been unable to try (yes, I know that I could have made them, but it would have taken far longer to cook).  I’ve got a New Year’s recipe all picked out already!

They also gave me an Amazon gift card!

Super Sis and her family gave me a Books a Million gift card and this fabulous jacket . . .

It’s the only Hogwarts item I received this year.

The Mr. got several nice gifts, including this Auburn plaque for the wall . . .

The Mr. and I gave his mom a couple of gift cards and his dad a Roku, which the Mr. spent the rest of the evening setting up.

What an eventful day!

Our time with our family wasn’t quite over, though, and we woke up on Saturday raring to go.  I made another couple of trips to the mall and did a bit more shopping since the Mr. had not been with me the first couple of times.  I texted the following picture to Super Sis to show her that I’d worn my new jacket . . .

I did a bit of a DIY project and tightened the screws on the banister in the Mr.’s parents’ house . . .

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Later that evening, we visited Blaze Pizza, which I’d never eaten at.

I was duly impressed with the care they took with my vegan / dairy-free pizza.  I got the gluten free crust and just WOW.  I ate half and saved the rest for today.  It was delicious!

Then, we went to Shoe Station – a family favorite.

There were two sections of Vionic shoes . . .

I didn’t see too much that I liked, but I did find this pair . . .

I liked them, but the price was not any cheaper than Dillard’s.

So, I bid them farewell as I left them at the store . . .

We went back to the in-laws’ house, but it wasn’t long before Super Sis and I decided we had one more errand to run . . .

We were all about the nail polish – clearanced ones at that.  Of course, we had to act goofy and managed to clear the place out by the time we were ready to pay.  I think people were afraid that we’d escaped from the loony bin.

Alas, Super Sis had to go, though, so the beautifying would have to be done individually.  She had church to prep for the next day, and we had to get ready to head back home.

As I got ready this morning, Cali kept me company . . .

The Mr. and I said our goodbyes.  I hugged Chicky tightly; it will probably be a few months before I get to lay eyes on her again because of our work schedules.

We stopped for hot chocolate at a local coffee place on the way out . . .

The drive home was quick, or so it seemed, as the Mr. and I listened to old-time church music.

Our dogs greeted up happily when we got home, and I found the cutest calendar waiting for me in my stacks of mail . . .

I think I’d seen a story online about this little boy and his dog.  The foster family just adopted him; the proceeds from the calendar sales will go towards charities that support foster children.

Yeah, I’m going to enjoy this one all year long.  ❤

And that about covers Christmas.

I’m exhausted.  I think I’ll take a nap now.

Talk to you in 2018!

Day 7 Post-Op

Wow, wow, wow.

This second surgery has really thrown me for a loop, y’all.

I went into it expecting to be back on my feet right away.  That has definitely not been the case!

As you know from reading my Day 1 Post-Op story, I’ve had a tough time from the get-go.

The Mr. went to work the day after my surgery.  I managed pretty well without him there, but the pain pills really started doing a number on me.  I had gone up to two every four hours by then, but they made me terribly sleepy – and itchy.

The Mr. did come home in time for my new dryer to be delivered.

The Best Buy guys were uber-professional!  They quickly removed my old dryer and set up the new one.

It’s pretty fancy with a lot of features to choose from . . .

Poor Gambit was having a hard time though.  By Friday evening, he’d finally figured out a way to get close to me.

I didn’t sleep well that night and scratched like crazy every time I woke up, which was once an hour.  I gave up the fight around 7:30.

I suspect that my sleeplessness was due to another thing . . .

The Mr. helped me get my first shower since the day of my surgery, and I sort of felt human again.

That’s a compression sock I’m wearing on my left leg to help prevent blood clots.  I took it off mid-day.

Chicky arrived around lunch time, and we decided to have a mother-daughter date at the nail salon.  I haven’t had acrylics in a couple of years, so I splurged . . .

I took what would be my last pain pill while I waited for Chicky to get her nails done.  I knew that I wouldn’t be taking any more because of the icky way I’d been feeling.  I had two goals:  1)  To make it to church for the Christmas Eve service, and 2) To not sleep my way through Christmas.

I paid the price for this decision.  While my head wasn’t loopy, my pain increased.  The boot was the biggest culprit.  Every time I put it on, I felt a burning pain on my ankle bone.  The friction was terrible.

I made it to church the next morning but crutched my way around even though I was allowed to be weight-bearing.

I took my boot off during the service to alleviate the pressure.

I’m glad I was able to go, though, because the lighting of the candles at the end was breathtaking.

I was faking it until I made it though.  People kept telling me how impressed they were that I was out and about three days post-op.  I just didn’t want to be left behind, which is why I went grocery shopping Sunday afternoon, albeit with the motorized cart.

I was exhausted when we got home and, if I remember correctly, napped.

Chicky and I did some cooking later that day.  I made the Mr. a cake and started on my 15-Minute Peanut Noodles, which Chicky had to finish up for me since I got tired by the end.

I can’t remember if we started to watch a movie.  I think so, but I fell asleep halfway through and had to finish watching it the next day.

Y’all, the struggle has been REAL!

We celebrated Christmas the next morning.  I’ll share that fun stuff in a different post.

The Mr. had work Monday night, so Chicky and I chilled at home.

Tuesday marked five days post-op, and according to the instructions left by the doctor, I was supposed to change my bandages.

The Mr. supervised while I removed the ACE bandage first and then cut off the white padding . . .

I was still a little swollen, and the doctor’s writing had not faded . . .

Then, I turned my leg and saw my incisions . . .

It looked as though the doctor had marked lines on my previous incisions so he could follow along rather than making new cuts (thanks Dr. B).  The lines going across marked where the staples were to be placed.  The incisions looked pretty bad though, and I counted 28 staples total – 10 on the inner side and 18 on the outer side.

The incisions hurt like fire when the cool air hit them.  The area you see circled, below, was especially tender.  That’s the spot where the boot had been rubbing, and boy, was it aggravated . . .

I still couldn’t get my ankle wet, but I dabbed around it and tried to remove the beta dine from my leg.  It’s going to take quite a few showers to get it all off, I’m afraid.

The Mr. helped me put fresh gauze on both sides, and he wrapped it in a clean ACE bandage.

What an exhausting task!

Still, I was able to catch my breath and muster up enough energy to treat Chicky to lunch at my favorite local Thai restaurant . . .

Leftovers for days

On Wednesday, Chicky drove me to my hairdresser so I could get my hair washed.  It hadn’t been clean since the week before, and I was miserable.  I wasn’t feeling too well and wound up hitting the sack when we got home.  A cold had attacked my body rather quickly, the result of stress, I suspect.

That afternoon, we drove to Bigger City, Florida.  I had a post-op appointment the next day (this morning), so we came on over to stay with the Mr.’s parents.  He’s going to arrive tomorrow since he’s been working this week.

By the time I went to bed, I was feeling horrible; the cold was in full throttle.  I pulled out all the stops to try to get my symptoms under control . . .

The ibuprofen was for my ankle.  I’d emailed my doctor’s nurse to find out what I could take instead of the prescription, and she’d told me that I could take up to 800mg 3x/day, which sounds like a lot.  I only took 400 though.  My ankle had been on fire for almost a week.

Thursday (today), I woke up to find Chicky’s dog, Cali, eager for attention . . .

I got myself showered, and Chicky drove me to my appointment.

My surgeon has a fairly new PA who’d met with me for my pre-op.  I really like him; his bedside manner is excellent.  He is very patient and knowledgeable – impressive given his youthful appearance.

The nurse first removed my staples.  She did my inner ankle first.  Oy vey!  That hurt like a mother – especially when she got to the tender spot.  Then, she wiped the area with an alcohol wipe.  Y’all, I may have had a few tears in my eyes, but they didn’t come out – because I’m brave like that.  She proceeded to remove the staples from the other side.  This wasn’t nearly as painful . . . until she used another alcohol wipe.  Ugh.

She applied strips to both sides.  They’ll fall off in about ten days.  Until then, I cannot keep my foot submerged in a bath.  Dang.  I was sooooo looking forward to a hot bubble bath.  Guess I’ll have to wait a little longer.

The PA came in after the nurse finished, and we discussed my surgery – how sick I’d gotten – what a rough time I’d had all week.

Then, he took a look at my ankle and told me that it looked really good.  I asked him a few questions – I only had three, if you can believe that.

One thing that has become an issue is that my pointer finger on my left hand has gone halfway numb.  It’s as though it’s in that in-between stage of wanting to wake up after having fallen asleep.  The PA had no answer for what might have caused it.  I assured him that my finger was fine before my surgery, and that I’d read that having a cuff (blood pressure) on that same arm could cause it.  He didn’t agree because he said that the cuff wasn’t on the entire time.  He also told me that they had not numbed the left side of my body; however, I remember that before I passed out in the OR, I started losing feeling in my left arm.  Hmmm.  He told me that although he didn’t think it was from the surgery (I think it is the result of it), I should get back feeling eventually, after the anesthesia comes out of my body completely.  If it stays numb, I have to let them know.

The PA discussed what I’m allowed to do for the next few weeks.  I have to wear the boot for three more weeks.  During that time, I’m only allowed to work on range of motion exercises, with no board or bands.  After I’m out of my boot for a week, I can start low-impact exercises, such as walking.  I am not allowed to do any jumping.  He said that I could do some of my at-home physical therapy exercises.  I’ll have to go back in six weeks and have another x-ray to ensure that my bones have filled in.  We will discuss if I need physical therapy at that point.

I also have to start massaging my incision areas with Vitamin E oil to prevent scar tissue from forming.  I’ll do that as soon as the strips fall off.  The massaging is actually a painful process because I have to dig hard into my skin.  I didn’t do so well at this last year.  I hope to do better this time.

I asked him if I could have the boot section of the practice loosen the sides of the boot since the friction was causing me a lot of pain.  He fixed this by removing the cushioned part that had been attached to the inside with velcro.

Y’all, my jaw just about dropped to the floor when I saw what a simple solution this was!  I’m a rule follower as far as my ankle rehab goes, so I never even considered (or knew) that this thing could be removed.  When I put my boot back on after he’d wrapped up my leg in yet another ACE bandage, all was good, and what pain I felt was simply from the irritation that my inner ankle had been undergoing since the staples were removed.

The PA commented on my bright Tweety sock

I was able to walk out of the office without using my crutches at all!

I felt so much better that Chicky and I ran by the mall.  She needed to exchange a pair of shoes, and I wanted to do a bit of looking / buying at a store we don’t have in Podunk, Florida . . .

I spent the afternoon at Super Sis’s house chatting while she made up a batch of vegan vegetable barley soup.

I feel as though I turned a corner today.  I’m still sore, even without the boot on, but that’s to be expected.  I had twelve pins and a plate removed from my ankle, and tissue and bones need to finish healing.  I slept in a bed for the first time in a week last night, and the pressure from the covers made my ankle hurt – to the point where I had to stick my leg outside of the blankets for part of the night.  I tossed and turned and actually had to lift my ankle each time I rolled over.  I know that this will get better with time, but I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since before my surgery, so I’m a bit weepy if I think about the word “sleep.”

I’m also desperate for the feeling to return to my finger.  This is aggravating and, at times, painful despite it being partially numb.

This recovery has been a long, long road – one I knew I’d have to travel down immediately after learning the name of my injury.

I’m learning valuable lessons that I’m actually putting into practice.  I’m listening to my body and letting the pain be my guide.  I’m giving myself grace to rest when I need to.  I’m not pleased with not being able to exercise, but honestly, I’m too exhausted to do much, so there’s that.

As always, I am so thankful for the prayers that my friends and family continue to lift up on my behalf.  One of my church’s pastors told me, on Sunday, that he’d been praying for me.  I’m very much an introvert, but his words touched my heart.  My church has watched me struggle these past thirteen months, as all of you have.  I’m still struggling, but at least I know that I don’t have to do it by myself.

#findingjoyinthejourney continues to be one of my mantras as I walk into this final phase of my healing process.

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