Plates of meat… part one.

Blugh, I SO do not want to write this post..  Why?  Because I don’t want to think about my feet and in particular, my forthcoming – longed for, way-overdue operation.  However, I think it is important to document my feelings/pain/recovery/experience in this way as it may help others in the future.

My name is Humphrey, I am brave and strong! I am not afraid of ANYTHING!  (with the exception of nasty stuff happening to my family) Always the first to enter into dangerous situations, memories of derelict Spanish houses come immediately to mind! I’ve had three children “the old-fashioned way” with just gas, air and ridiculous panting to get me through. So why, oh why am I so nervous about my operation?  It’s ridiculous, I can’t even read the literature the Surgeon gave me. I have made very vague plans for transport, after-care etc, I have pretty much blocked the whole event from my terrified mind.

OK, focus.. the operation itself is to correct deformity in my right foot.  My foot first started troubling me when I lived in Kent in 2009, it was just a sore toe, didn’t think much of it.  I had to have a full body scan for suspected arthritis that year, it showed up in the big toe on my right foot.  It has been a long, hard slog getting a date for this operation, originally a much less invasive on which was scheduled for May 2010.  Following the removal of accountability to the 18 week waiting lists, my operation was abandoned and I was left hanging on the list..  My foot has deteriorated a lot since then through usage (although I’ve been very careful not to walk/stand much since last June) and it now requires different, more serious surgery.

*breathes*… the surgeon is taking a piece of bone out of my big toe, just before the big joint which has bone over-growth on it, preventing it from moving.  He will also remove the overgrowth and possibly the joint, depending on how eroded it is.  There will be a metal plate put in to stabilise the foot and maybe some fake cartilage.  This is all designed to force the foot to perform properly and prevent it “rolling” to the right.  In time my left foot will need the same treatment. 

It is really odd, nobody else in my family has had problems with their mobility, save for my little niece who has a form of cerebal palsy.  I am certain that my condition has been brought on by Rheumatiod Arthritis, this has yet to be confirmed although my hands have been diagnosed with mild arthritis and my neck has “wear and tear”.  I am due back with the Rheumatoligist in March, hopefully he will test me for RA and take new X-Rays of my neck, I have been in severe pain with it for almost a year!

Back to the feet…  Today I collected my post-surgery painkillers and received my hospital “check-in” letter.  Sunday I will go shopping, topping up all the essential items and buying lots of pro-biotic yogurts.. I will be on anti-biotics for a week or so and they always seem to wipe me out completely, due I am sure to lack of good bacteria.  That’s my theory anyway : )

I’ll write more about feet in general and post some pics of pre and post surgery as the week goes by but enough for now.. *puts operation thoughts back on a floaty cloud and blows it skywards*

But, you look so well…

Yesterday was World Arthritis Day and @RosieCosy sent me this link to a really good demonstration on how it is to live with arthritis for a day

However, arthritis doesn’t happen overnight, you don’t just go to sleep and wake up in the “body suit”.  It  is a slow, debilitating illness which can take months or years to develop enough for a diagnosis to be made, as so many people find out.

Mine started in my right hand, around 6 years ago when I was living in Spain. I put it down firstly to the stress of moving, then to too much driving and cleaning, our house had 23 rooms!  My right hand aches, I can feel it right down to my bones, sometimes the ache travels up my arm. I have even felt the same dull ache in my eyes.  It has never deteriorated though, I have bad days with it when I can’t use it and have it wrapped up to try to ease the pain but in general, I cope well with it.

A year ago next week I first saw a Rheumatologist about it, having been referred by my GP.  She ordered full bone scans which did not show any arthritis in my hand but did pick it up in my right toe, which had been painful but I assumed it was just one of those things, as you do…  The toe took until February to stiffen, finally locking itself completely around June.

A year on, I am now walking with a stick, yes, I took “the Secret” out this week after so much Twitter support..  I was amazed at the difference it made, not just to my mobility but to the way I was treated by others. Suddenly, I was disabled in their eyes. I was offered help, doors opened for me, people started unnecessary conversations, maybe to prove they’re not disablist?  Who knows.. It was eye-opening though.

Once I have my operations, I probably wont need the Secret but I will still be suffering from an invisible condition. Just because you cannot see illness, does not mean it doesn’t exist..

Please raise awareness for invisible illness when you can.  If you have a story you would like me to add to this page, please give me a nudge : )

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