Two Years (almost)

Almost at that two year mark …… two weeks to go.
I feel as anxious as I did this time last year which is peculiar. Why should I still be feeling this way? Time ticks on and life flies by but I feel as though there is this small part of me stuck.
I was in Sainsburys at the weekend doing my weekly shop (ironically I bought fajita ingredients and was coming home to watch Britains Got Talent) and over the speaker came a customer announcement for a customer of a particular vehicle to make their way to the customer service. It made me stop in my tracks and a panic filled my bones. Lightening doesn’t strike twice right? As I left the store shortly after this and due to a lack of blue flashing lights anywhere near by I put it down to something else other than the unthinkable.

My personal legal case is still ongoing against her and  I saw the surgeon in December so that he could put together a final prognosis.
In short I have a 25% of requiring further surgery to remove the metalwork, and the symptoms I currently have (continuous aching in my lower right leg and left ankle, occasional swelling of both) are likely to be permanent.
So all in all it could be assumed that that is extremely positive and I am lucky to not be at high risk or osteoarthritis.
Except I have an inability at  present to see the positive. I may sound melodramatic to some, even selfish as I have been told – after all I have my legs and they work, I don’t have a life threatening illness, I am fit and healthy – but 24 months ago there was nothing wrong with me and had it not been for the carelessness of another person my legs wouldn’t ache (sometimes to the point of sleepless nights and through tears), they wouldn’t swell and they wouldn’t be permanently scarred. So yes, maybe I am lucky to some but this is my own personal daemon and I won’t apologise for my feelings.
If I could be rid of the anger and hatred I would as it’s exhausting sometimes.
Perhaps when the legal case is over I can finally draw a line under the whole chapter. At the moment there is still that feeling of unfinished business.

But I know I have a choice. I can either let the emotions fill my every being and dictate how I should live, or I can be triumphant and live life regardless.
So of all things to bein again I have started running! I’m no Mo Farrah but 5km and I are becoming friends.

Speedy I’m not but determined I am.

 

It’s All In Place

So off I trundled to the JR to find out to cause of my lump and pain. It was very bizarre sat there waiting surrounded by people with casts, boots and frames and being totally free myself. Two of the people waiting I have met a few times before in the waiting room, all with different stories but all with the same Ilizarov nightmare. We share an experience that is very hard to describe in words to others.

After two hours a few X-rays I was reunited with my nutty but brilliant surgeon. The good news is that my bone is completely healed, the plate is still in place and intact. Hooray! But the bad news is that the swelling and pain are caused ‘just because’. I may have twanged it when I slipped or my body may have just had enough of having a foreign object invading it. I’m to go back on March 4th if it hasn’t settled down to arrange a date to have the plate removed. In the grand scheme of things this is just a small bump (if you’ll excuse the pun) in the road that will hopefully be fixed relatively easily.

As everything appears to be as it should I am fine to carry on as normal so have been back to the gym this week. Feeling tired but good!

Our family finished it’s run of bad luck this week with James colliding with a pedestrian whilst cycling through London (said pedestrian decided to try and cross the road in front of him). The result was the pedestrian and James meeting the ground with a thump. James is now sporting a hole in his elbow and the hospital discovered a peace of bone floating around in there. It would seem its an old ‘injury’ though so no action to be taken!

Feeling Normal

Things are pretty ok at the moment I think!

My counselling continues and that along with my happy medication I seem to on an even keel plodding along nicely. Maybe it’s a false euphoria, I always w dee if the tablets are actually just hiding the daemons but you know what? I feel happy and content and normal for the first time in a long time. So for now I am going to enjoy it.

Christmas has been a family fuelled roller coaster! I am so lucky to have married into such a warm and loving family, the Hyatt clan coupled with my family make me a very lucky girl indeed. For Christmas we stayed in our home and catered for everyone with James cooking a feast and the children being entertained by Uncles, Aunts and Grandparents. The house was bursting with laughter and joy, the magic of Christmas really did happen.

My legs continue to ache, often waking me up, but I am learning slowly to live with it. The most difficult thing for me is still the numbness and shooting pains in my big toe and foot. I saw a surgeon two weeks ago as part of my civil action (ironically he was the surgeon on call who saw me when I was bought into A&E) and he says that it is undoubtedly nerve damage caused by the Ilizarov pins that were in my ankle. He also said that it will take 18-24 months to know if there will be any long term damage. It’s always a waiting game, never seeming to get a final answer. It does nothing for the impatient soul that lives within me.
I have been discharged from the physio department now and have a huge list of exercises to be getting in with, including walking backwards on the treadmill. I caused no end of amusement to my friends tonight over a curry when I asked how you programme a treadmill to go backwards …… how was I to know that I am just supposed to turn around?

On a day to day basis I can say that the memories of the accident no longer haunt me, in fact I don’t even believe that I think about it every day. When I do recall the events that unfolded that day and beyond I am able to reflect on how I came through it and so making it easier to remember without being panicked and scared. The mind is an amazing tool but sometimes you just need to take control of it.

If someone had asked me a month ago if I would be feeling so upbeat and happy I would have shot them down. Just goes to show that with some love, positive thinking and courage anything is possible!
In two days we will be celebrating the end of 2012. What a fantastic year it has been for so many reasons, the Olympics, the Jubilee, the Tour de France ….. but quite frankly I will be glad to see the back of it and start 2013 with a smile and a fresh beginning.

The Removal! Good Bye Nicholas

So with a glowing fear in my belly I went to the JR on Monday. Hopefully I would be leaving a little bit lighter and a lot happier. But until the frame was actually gone I somehow couldn’t bring myself to actually believe it would happen.

As planned I had an X-ray and then my surgeon removed the three bolts that we have been adjusting. This removed any weight support that the frame was giving me and so allowing me to put weight through my leg and testing out my newly mended bones. James and I went to the Cafe for a cuppa (and a sneaky Belgium Bun). Sitting there my mind was racing and the suspense but built up like a sky scraper. Would my leg be able to take it? Would it suddenly bend in an abnormal way?
With all these thoughts racing through my mind James and I wandered nervously around the hospital until 1pm finally arrived and we made our way back to outpatients to hear my fate.

The lack of pain in the fracture sight gave us a huge thumbs up, Nicholas was going!

I was shown a bed in the plaster room whilst my surgeon went ‘to find some toys’ ….aka a wire cutter and clamp type contraption used to pull out the pins. I was very aware that yet again I found myself in the middle of the children’s clinic. I has to control myself and not say anything inappropriate. I was given the entonox (gas and air) and away I went. Unfortunately my other world wasn’t far enough from my reality and the removal of Nicholas was horrific.
They start by removing the clamps on top of the two screws and then cutting each wire at both sides to enable them to remove the frame itself. With each cut of the wires the ‘twang’ was felt through my leg inside my bones, not a feeling I wish to ever experience again.
With the wires cut he went about removing each one, simply pulling it out. Each wire takes seconds but it could have been hours. As each pin was removed the emotions built up and up inside me. The fear, the relief, the pain, the exhaustion, the anger. How can one person feel so many things at once?
But now came the time that I had been dreading the most. The two screws needed to be unscrewed from my leg. Laying there whilst he removed them, breathing the gas and air, holding onto James for dear life brought it all back to me. Laying on the car park floor in pain and being so incredibly scared. I have no idea why those images and feelings came back to me. Maybe to show how far I have actually come.
Once the screws were free four and a half months of emotion escaped. I sobbed and the tears flowed. I was finally free, I couldn’t believe I had done it. It was very hard to take it all in.
James and I celebrated that night with fabulously cooked steak and champagne.

That was two days ago and looking back it all seems to surreal. I can finally wear my jeans again, I’m not cold for the first time in a long time. I can feel the smooth coolness of my bed sheets wrapped around my leg at night. I keep stroking my leg like a lost pet! My ankle is quite sore as it had three of the pins directly through it so it will take a while to get over the trauma.
I still have a way to go but I am on the home straight.

The ugly reminder of my frame is still there in the wounds left by the pins and screws. They will fade with time and hopefully with them they will take the dark memories of my journey so far.

2 Sleeps Down …… 12 To Go!!

It’s coming off on October 1st!!!!
The X-rays on Monday showed that the bones are doing really well and new bone growth is there! Two more weeks or loosening it to keep the slack there and we ‘should’ be good to say goodbye to Nicholas 😀
Despite my obvious excitement it is not a given so I am trying not to build my hopes up. Butnlets be honest, I have been waiting almost four and a half months to get a date for removal, it’s only natural to hold a little belief that things go as planned.
I will still need another X-ray to make sure that the bones look nicely repaired and the new bone growth has continued and then my surgeon needs to make sure that I can put weight through my leg.
I have long bolts that run down between the rings and it’s these that take the weight. He will remove the ones either side of where the fractures were and that’s where the true test will be. Very nervous about this as it will have been 19 weeks since I walked on the leg without support.
I know my surgeon wouldn’t take the frame off before he believed I was ready but in the back of my mind I have the burning question, ‘what if my bones break?’
What if I can’t walk on it?
I have lived with this for so long it is going to be extremely nerve wracking to be allowed to walk without it.

Once we get over the hurdles of weight bearing and walking we need to actually remove the two screws and five pins holding my leg together.
After having one pin removed in clinic I said there was no way I was going to let my surgeon near me with wire cutters again whilst awake.
Well …… I’m going to give it a go :/ I am SO desperate to have the cage removed and knowing that on October 1st it will more than likely be ready I cannot walk out of that hospital to sit and wait for an appointment for day surgery to have a general anaesthetic. He has said I can have gas and air and there are ‘other things’ I can have for the pain (handful of Valium?!).
I can do this! I will be cage free!! Just five pins am two screws between me and freedom ……..

I’ve decided that surgeons are all a little bit crazy. Whilst at the hospital on Monday waiting for my surgeon to stroll in (and he very much just strolls around in a leisurely way) another, rather larger than life, surgeon walks past in scrubs and leather shoes with tassels on. He looks at my leg, smiles and produces a sound that can only be described as an ‘ooooooop’ and then walks off. A few minutes later he walks back and has another peek only this time he stopped to have a proper look and enquires as to the reason for the Ilizarov. Apparently, according to him, my leg looks extremely healthy for one being encased in one of these contraptions. He then congratulates my surgeon with a smile and ‘Good job Bob!’
Nice to know I suppose!

A little note to anyone who might read this who has an Ilizarov ….. If trying to catch a toddler who obviously needs the toilet, don’t catch your frame on the door frame because it REALLY hurts and will probably make you cry ………

Well Done Bones!

So today was the day when I was to find out if my bones were healing as they should ……..
This was the first time that I have been nervous about a hospital appointment. But I needn’t have been, all is well!

I am now allowed to walk with full weight on my left leg without the boot. Since having the cast removed and replaced with the boot I have been putting more and more weight through it but walking on it without any support is a huge step to take mentally as well as physically.
When we got home I took the boot off and suddenly my leg felt very vulnerable. I used my crutches and took a few small steps, waiting tentatively for pain or bones crunching, but it didn’t happen, it was amazing! It definitely feels foreign, I can feel the plate inside my leg and my ankle feels very weak, it feels like a strangers leg. However it feels fine to walk on. I’m still walking in a peculiar way, I have to concentrate on each individual step and place my foot with a purpose and remind myself to let my knee and ankle move.
You can never appreciate how many different movements walking involves until you have to think about each one of them.
But each new step is a step closer to recovery.

My right leg, with good old Nicholas, is listening to my silent prayers and we can now see new bone forming. They are healing in the best order so at the moment there are no plans for further surgery. My surgeon is just amazing and I have so much faith in him. He automatically puts you at ease and no matter how trivial my questions may seem to him, he answers them with enthusiasm and encouragement. We are still on course to have it removed after 16 weeks post op, which leaves another eight weeks. I am on the home stretch at last! When the frame is removed the plan is to just let me walk on the leg and not have a cast as I first thought. I will be able to have a splint for some extra support if I want as the leg will be understandably weak. I am so excited!
It is always a very surreal encounter when we see the surgeon. I hate the frame with every breath in me, but when he talks about them, today explaining how they fit it, his enthusiasm is contagious. I feel almost lucky to be experiencing the wonderful, almost magic job that the Ilizarov performs.

The roller coaster of emotions just doesn’t end.

The days leading up to the hospital visit have been a mixture of highs and lows in the Hyatt household. We had a family day out on Saturday to Witney carnival where Charleigh was performing in the parade and the main arena with her dance school. Luckily the weather was kind and the rain stayed away allowing us a wonderful time. There were laughs a plenty and a good day was had by all. My Mum took the children back to her house for the night meaning James and I could have a night to ourselves. Feeling upbeat I grabbed the opportunity and we went out for a lovely meal. Time on our own is something that we seriously lack at the moment. Our life is just so artificial that nothing seems real. Everything feels forced and surreal.

The strain and pressure is taking it’s toll on everyone and unfortunately it is true what they say, you take it out on those closest to you. Despite the good days and the appearance we give of being in control, it feels as though underneath our family is breaking at the seams and it’s tearing my heart apart.
I know I’m not to blame for the accident but I feel so incredibly guilty. My family means everything to me and I hate what this is doing to us. James is working so hard to keep us all together but it’s a different world than that of dealing with customers. I’m his wife who’s job was the house and children and now here he is forced into my role. I am finding it very difficult to deal with and I am having trouble explaining it. I hate arguing with him but I cannot find the right words to tell him how I feel. Instead it bottles up inside and erupts in incomprehensible frustration. Charleigh is suffering too and I think that this has had more of an affect on her than we first thought. I know we are strong enough to get through this but it scares me to think what darkness will be left. I might be the one to carry the physical scars but what scars will my family have to bear?

Despite being surrounded by my amazing family and truly outstanding friends, I have never felt more alone than I do now.

Sunshine Day

Today the sun has been shining, inside and out, what a beautiful day!

Last night before bed, to try and help with my inability to sleep, I had a cup of hot milk with some grated nutmeg. I’m unsure whether it was that, the crisp clean sheets or sheer exhaustion that helped me to sleep, but sleep I did for around 5 hours. Even when I did wake up I was able to drift back again relatively easily. How amazing it was this morning to feel rested.

And the good feelings continued……

With the boys being so comfortable with my new position in the house, cuddles are a plenty and a different sense of normality is taking shape. This morning they were quite happy for me to take charge from my chair and get them dressed and ready to go to nursery. I am gradually finding my place back in the family mix and it feels wonderful and if can only go from strength to strength.

After seeing the boys off with a kiss and a smile James and I made our way to the hospital for my next check up. I was feeling a mixture of excitement, I wanted to see how the bones were healing, but also a little nervous, what if things weren’t fixing? Could I handle a knock back?
I need not have worried, my bones are working a small miracle.
The X-rays showed the extent of the damage that was done to my legs but also the magic that is going on within.

The left leg, with it’s metal screws and plate, has healed so far just as it should. This means I have been able to exchange the cast for a Samsonite boot. It’s big, bulky, black and hot …… but it brings me the ability to bein weight bearing! I can now partial weight bear, enough to move around and balance. In the next two weeks I should be able to begin full weight bearing. In just one short month my left leg is halfway to recovery. Well done bones!

Good ole Nicholas is fulfilling his responsibilities too. Even though there is no sign yet of healing to the bones, it wasn’t expected at this stage. However everything is looking good (well as good as a leg with multiple fractures and pins holding it together can look) and my surgeon is happy.
The tibia is broken in various places, there is a clean break at the top and multiple breaks (where the car ran over it) further down. If the bottom fractures heal before the top I might need another operation to insert more pins and tighten the frame to squeeze the bones together. This doesn’t concern me in the slightest. I have come this far, I can deal with that.
I have total faith in my surgeon that he will do whatever necessary to fix my legs and I will do my part and stay strong.

Pulling up to the house I was excited, I had butterflies, my heart raced a little too fast, would I be able to walk? Was I expecting too much?

James wheeled me into the house and up from the wheelchair and onto the zimmer I went and I walked, actually walked!!!
Both feet on the ground, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
I made it roughly five feet and promptly burst into tears. I have never felt so many emotions at once, relief, happiness, excitement, nervousness …. I felt free and independent for the first time in five weeks. I wasn’t reliant on anyone, just me and my frame. In the flick of a switch the world no longer seems likes a scary place.
I can walk!! It’s going to take some practice, I need to learn how to walk properly again, at the moment each step is slow and precise, it isn’t natural yet, but I can do it! YES!!!!!!!

Looking at the x-rays is very surreal. It’s an indescribable feeling to look at the broken bones and accept that they are mine. They bring back memories of the accident, the horror and the pain, but they also tell and wonderful, beautiful story.
It’s an ongoing story of stength, courage and faith, as yet I don’t know how the story will end, but I am excited and ready to find out.

I have a new fire burning in me, I feel alive!