Well, it has been 262 days (nearly 9 months) since the accident where a distracted driver hit me head on and nearly killed me. I would like to say I am back to normal, but that is not even close to reality. Yesterday I was hit with the news that I am to have more major surgery to try and correct MAJOR defects this accident left me with. But before I get into those details, I will give you more of an update on how things have been going. Click to skip to surgery details
I have been doing PT twice a week to try and gain strength, mobility, and some normalcy. I also go to the gym 3 nights a week to add on to that strength building doing a variety of exercises. While I am at least upright and “walking” (hobbling around with a cane), it is not without large amounts of pain and difficulty.
Unfortunately, a part of this healing process is apparently a disorder called “patellofemoral pain syndrome” which is also known as anterior knee pain. When rehabbing through a major leg disaster like I am dealing with, other parts of your body basically get angry and cause issues – specifically my left knee in this case. So because of this, I have been re-limited on some of the things I was able to do for a while. I was walking up and down stairs like a normal person, I am back to more of a toddler approach to stairs (both feet touch the same step instead of one foot on each step). I cannot squat down to do anything without SHOOTING pain to the point my leg gives out under me. Even sitting down onto a chair can bring tears if I do not approach it right (cannot use my left leg to support my weight descending).
I get out to see my horses once a week (PT/Gym/Pain stop me from being able to go more often because after working a full day and doing these other time-consuming activities I just cannot make it). I still have not ridden my horse (or ANY horse) and that is killing me. That might honestly be the hardest part of this all. Riding is my “me” time and I haven’t had that for nearly 9 months. I can not really do any of the work with my horses that I would like to because I just am not stable enough to do those things safely.
I have gotten in more pup couch snuggles than should be appropriate for a person LOL. But my dogs are not complaining (and neither am I).
I have learned a lot about my ambitions, my determination, and myself as a person in general because of this. I have good days and bad days. And am trying to be “ok” with having bad days and not always being strong.
I would absolutely not have made it to where I am without the amazing family, boyfriend, and friends that I have. When I have a bad day, they are there to pick me up and help me get over myself or they just help me embrace the suck. When I have a good day, they celebrate with me and let me know how proud they are of me. The kindness and love I have felt through this are nothing short of amazing and inspiring. There are not enough words of thanks to give to the people that have supported me in any way on this journey.
Now onto the surgery…. My right femur was by far the worst injury I received in this accident. It shattered into multiple pieces and those pieces shoved their way through my muscles and tendons and somehow amazingly stayed inside of my skin. But because they got so badly displaced, they lost their blood supply, and that can be really hard to get back. Without a proper blood supply, bone growth just will not happen. So even though they were put back into place, supported by hardware, supported by vitamins, treated with a stimulator, put under pressure, and given everything they could have needed; they still have not grown any bone or tried to fix themselves. This doesn’t even touch on the permanent damage to the muscles/tendons because of the traumas.
As you know, a rod, screws, and a plate were inserted into my right femur to try to repair the damage. So the surgery will be removing the current hardware in that leg. The surgeon will then drill out the hole in the middle of my femur to make the hole larger, the procedure is called the Reamer-Irrigator-Aspirator (RIA). He will save all the bone shavings from doing so to do a bone graft later in the procedure. A new larger rod will be inserted into the now larger femoral cavity, and new screws will be put in place to secure it. He is not planning on adding a plate to secure anything this time around. After all of this, he will complete the bone graft. The surgery is estimated to take about 3 hours. I will spend a few days in the hospital, will be sent home with crutches (although I am allowed to and strongly recommended to bear weight on the leg immediately after surgery), and then be faced with a 6+ week recovery just to get me back to where I currently am. I have no idea how long it will take me to get to whatever my new “normal” will be. But my specialists have confirmed that I will definitely never be back to 100% of what I was before the accident. I just hope and pray that I can get back to dressage riding at the level I was doing before this accident.
Here are a few photos of my right femur currently (you can very clearly see the gaps and missing bone):
Here are photos of my very well behaved and healing left femur:
Here is an animated video to give you an idea of what the femur rod insertion will be like (and was like in both femurs the first time around), this video does not include the RIA procedure that will happen prior to the new rod getting put in this time around.