Redirecting: My Surgery Story

 

bird s eye view photography of road in the middle of desert
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

We live in a society that is always pushing forward with little time to stop and reflect. Always racing toward the next promotion, the next degree, the next goal… but what happens when something blocks us from reaching that destination?  What does that mean for us? Does it make us feel less successful, less credible, less motivated? It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that way. So much time and energy put into pursuing an aspiration only to be faced with a big flashing sign that says “road closed” with no way to get through.

Recently, I pursued a certification to teach a high impact fitness class. I was thrilled to be able to spread my love of intense cardio to others in the community. I spent hours practicing, listening to the music, and teaching my friends to get better at instructing this format. Though, after an hour or two of practicing I noticed my feet were becoming very achy and sore. I decided I’d go to the podiatrist to get it checked out. I knew I had bunions (a common bone deformity that causes joint pain) and figured it couldn’t hurt to receive some insight into what could be done for the issue.  Within minutes of being at the office, I had x-rays taken of my feet.

When the doctor came in, he acknowledged what I came in for and shared that my joint pain was attributed to bunions. However, he went on to ask me something I was not expecting. “Are you having any heel pain?” To which I answered, “No, not that I have noticed.” His expression revealed that he was surprised to hear that, and he went on to direct me to my x-ray asking, “do you see that?” Right away I was able to see what appeared to be a large hole in my heel bone. The doctor informed me that the hole was a bone tumor, and that I would need to receive a CT scan for more information to be gathered. The doctor reassured me that the odds of the tumor being cancerous were extremely slim, but that due to the size of the tumor I would be at risk of fracturing my heel with my current level of activity.

I left the office surprised, a bit worried, and perplexed as to what this tumor might mean for me. A week later, I received my CT scan and a week after that I was back at the podiatrist to receive the results. My doctor explicated that the tumor was a fatty lesion, meaning that instead of solid bone that “hole” consisted of weak fatty tissue. The location of the tumor apparently being known to occur in less than 1% of the population. I won the lottery! (The wrong kind, but at least I can proudly say I’m one in a million.) He further confirmed that although I did not have pain in the area, my risk of fracturing the bone with high impact activity would be heightened.

The doctor described the ability to correct both my bunion and the tumor with surgery. Sharing that it would mean 2 full months of downtime, and up to 6 months before I would be back to high impact exercise safely. I took a few weeks to decide. Ultimately, I decided to go all in and get both surgeries out of the way, scheduling the procedure for a few months out. I did not want anything to stop me from reaching my goals, even if it would take half a year before I could go back to teaching group fitness post-surgery.

The week eventually came, just 3 days before surgery, I had my pre-operative appointment with my doctor. Here my doctor seemingly provided new information. He stated that I had the option to complete the bunion surgery alone, and that I could wait on completing the tumor removal. He expressed that if I hadn’t planned for the bunion surgery, he would not have recommended the heel bone surgery as It was much more extensive. He said with modified activity, the tumor could be monitored for growth/ pain over the years instead.

At this point, I felt stuck. I had already made up my mind to get both surgeries, but was I making a mistake? I knew what “modified activity” meant, and I really did not want to give up high impact exercise. I mean call me insane, but I absolutely love jump squats! Nonetheless, I only had minutes to decide after given this opportunity to back down. Me being me, I went forward signing the papers confirming I would have both surgeries completed. After leaving the appointment, I was more confused then ever. I called my family asking what they thought, and they called every doctor they knew asking for a second opinion.

By the next day, my family gathered the insight that the heel tumor removal was not recommended (by the doctors they contacted), as there would be a risk of the surgery causing lifelong pain where there was none to start with.  I then knew I should back down on the heel surgery, but could I? It was only 2 days away at this point. In a slight panic, I called the doctors office to inquire if this could be done. Thankfully, the office called me back and I was able to alter my procedure.

Here we are one month post-op, I received my bunionectomy and my foot is healing very well, but the reality is I do need to conduct “modified activity” to prevent a heel fracture. After a slight grieving process in terms of my fitness aspirations, I’ve chosen to redirect my energy. Life threw me a huge road block, but instead of putting the car in park and remaining stagnant, I’ve chosen to take a new path. My previous goal might not be possible at this time, but there are so many destinations to choose from. For one, I’m taking time to commit to this blog, and for another I plan to work toward a yoga certification further down the line.

As I mentioned in the beginning, life happens fast and sometimes we commit to goals that are no longer serving us or aspirations that are no longer within our reach. I encourage you to slow down today and look at where you’re going. Is the destination still available, if so, is it worth your energy to get there? Your energy is precious. If you read my first blog post, you’ll know that there Is more to fitness than just exercise. To be truly fit we need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. Choose to be fit, assess your efforts, and redirect when you need to. The end location is your future, and you should enjoy the ride.

 

Side Note- If you think medical stuff is neat. You can see my CT scan and post-op x-ray below. If not, bon voyage! ❤

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Bunion_LIHeel bone_LI

 

 

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