G’day Mate!

Well g’day mate!  I’m finally feeling a little more human and able to catch you up on the adventure down under.  I’ve received tons of emails, texts and facebook messages – thank you so much for wondering how I’m doing!  It’s been a bit of a rough go, but it finally feels like I’m getting through that tunnel of drugs and pain and see the light at the other end.  There’s still a ways to go, but we cut back on one of the pretty green and blue pills so my brain is coming back online.

So to start at the beginning… before I checked into the hospital for surgery on the 26th, I had to go in on the 24th for several xrays, ct scan and a dexa scan (bone density).  Everything looked good and we got a thumbs up for the 26th!  Here’s an xray of my femur before OI… I should be getting an after xray within the next couple of weeks.

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I checked into Macquarie Hospital at 7 a.m. October 26th – filled out more forms, had my blood pressure taken about a zillion times, then was fitted with this stunning hospital ball gown in a lovely blue.

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Theater Nurse Sue kept me entertained while Dr. Kumar the anaesthesiologist was busy setting up my epidural and central line… and then it was lights out.  OI surgery here in Sydney is done under light sedation rather than general anaesthetic so there is less impact on the patient and a much less likelihood of negative sedation effects.  I woke up very shortly after surgery feeling just fine with a nice sandwich and ice block (that one took some translation… ice block = popsicle) waiting for me.  I do remember Dr. Al Muderis inserting the implant (Bang! BAng! BANG!!) but it wasn’t stressful and in the moment it was more of a “oh I guess Munjed must be almost done if he’s putting the implant in” thought.  It’s quite the plethora of drugs you’re on and I had four different machines dispensing into the many tubes I had attached.

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The next three days was spent on a cocktail of drugs, courtesy of Dr. Kumar (above) to make sure that I was relatively pain free while my body dealt with the surgery, as well as to make sure I won’t experience any nerve pain down the road.  I had my own happy happy joy joy button I could push anytime I needed to and after the epidural was removed on day 3, I made good use of my button pushing skills.

Day 2 started with a visit from Dr. Patterson, the pain specialist and then Dr. Rosenblatt, Dr. Al Muderis’ Fellow who had joined Dr. Al Muderis for my surgery.  Dr. Rosenblatt said surgery had gone well and everything looked great!  I found out that I was OI surgery patient #305 and when I mentioned that to Mars, my nurse for the day, she pointed out that I was in Room 305… insert Twilight Zone music here lol.

Day 3’s theme was pain… I got some good button pushing in on that day lol.  I should mention that another of the drugs I was on was ketamine which can apparently cause some people to become emotional – yup I am one of them!  I woke up that morning feeling so grateful for the opportunity to have the surgery, that when the nurse came in and saw I was crying, she immediately thought I was in extreme pain.  It took a bit to explain that I was just really really happy lol.

Hospital days 4 and 5 I got to start loading my new leg.  What that means is you start to gradually put more weight on the end of the implant.  This is built up gradually until you reach half your body weight, then the big day has arrived and you can get fitted for the light trial leg.

So I’m now 10 days post op.  I’m loading 35kg for an hour a day and need to reach 45kg for an hour a day by Wednesday, three days away.  The next big step is getting fitted for the training leg. I’ll find out Monday when my appointment is, but it should be this Wednesday.

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You can kinda of see the metal post where it is loading on the scale?  Here’s a pic for those of you who are curious as to what the revisions to my leg look like… just keep scrolling those of you who don’t want the nitty gritty…

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As you can see, I have about 3 zillion staples and there is also the same amount at the back of the leg.  I’m not sure why, but normally the incision is more of a smiley face, horizontal at the bottom of the stump. For some reason mine is vertical.

Well I think that brings you up to date.  Hopefully Andra and I will get an outing sometime soon.  I have a scooter to toodle around on, but it’s really uncomfortable for my leg so need to do a little more healing before I spend any huge amount of time on it and we head out on a day trip.

Thanks for your patience and hope you’re all doing fantabulous!!

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11 Hours To Go

11 hours to go until I join the Cyborg community.

I’m finding this quite interesting.  I’m not stressed, or nervous, or much of anything really.  I keep waiting for the butterflies to show up but nope, no fluttering.  I’m guessing that when they have me all drugged up and are wheeling me into Theater, that as we go through the door there’s going to be this huge wall of electric blue butterflies that fly out and surround me as the doors open.  That’s my theory anyway lol.  I’ll find out in less than 11 hours.

Things have been fantastic so far, I’ve done all the xrays and ct scans and blood tests and passed with the proverbial flying colours.  Today was the walking test to see how far I could walk in 6 minutes – yup aced that one too.  The walking test gets repeated in 12 months to see how much better my gait is.  Looking forward to it!  I also had my meeting with Dr. Al Muderis and his team this morning to go over all the test results and get any questions I may have answered.  Check marks on all the items of the To Do list 🙂

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This last Sunday Andra and I joined up with some of the OI patients currently in Sydney and traveled by train and ferry to Manly Beach for a sit at the beach and a lovely pub lunch.  What a great bunch of people, all with very different stories about how they ended up in Sydney with a titanium rod in their leg.  It was a fantastic opportunity to make some new friends and then pick their brains about their surgery and recovery experiences.

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So if everything goes as planned, I’ll be in hospital until October 31st and will be starting weight loading with my leg at day 3.  Fingers crossed please that everything goes as best it can!  I’ll be a bit of a drug pin cushion for the first three days but will do my best to get a post up.  Andra will of course be photo documenting as we go and will be posting to Facebook.

Time to say goodnight and hit the sack… sweet dreams from down under 🙂

 

It’s Fly Day!

It’s fly day and the start of the adventure!  We’re off to Oz tonight.

I’m actually feeling quite calm.  Normally at this point the jitters would have started to kick in and my tummy would be full of those proverbial butterflies.  I’m going to have to attribute my new found Buddahness to my friend Anne Dickinson who is a hynotherapist and kindly ran a couple of sessions for me for pre-surgery prep.  There is tons of info out there that shows using hypnosis as a preparation for surgery can assist in less blood loss, faster healing, calmer mental states… I’m currently enjoying the calmer mental state.  Can you say Om?  lol  Thanks so much Anne!

If you hadn’t heard through Facebook, I got some big, and we’re talking HUGE news last week.  Last Wednesday afternoon I received a call from BC Medical.  Not a normal occurrence.  And she said “I don’t get to make these calls too often…” and my heart just started going BaBOOM and the tear ducts started filling up and she continued “… but I wanted to call and let you know that your out of country medical coverage request has been approved.”  Those were the sweetest ten words I’ve heard in a while.  Costs associated with the surgery (including the implant!) are being covered.  I’ve since learned that my friend Lee who just had her surgery two weeks ago has been approved as well.  Brava BC Medical!  Thank you for taking the time to investigate and speak with the other provinces who have approved coverage and to make the decision to help your citizens be of sounder body.

As Andra and I attempt to fit everything into our suitcases, I’m ruminating on thankfulness and determination.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to receive this surgery and the amazing blessing and timing of learning the surgery costs are covered; the support I’ve received from people like Award Prosthetics, Connie McCracken, Anne Dickinson and everyone who participated in the two Facebook auctions; emotional support from close friends (sorry about it being all about memememe lately, it’s your turn when I get back 🙂 ), the constant nagging from my daughter who is being so wonderful and coming with me on this adventure… “you can do it Mom, just keep picturing it and it will happen”.  I’m also grateful for the determination I managed to hold to keep this vision and outcome clear through BC Medical’s first rejection of my application, the potential financial stress of having fund this project myself and the several moves I’ve had in the last year (yes, three moves is as good as a fire and on the fourth you realize storage units are your friend).

So you’re all up to date for now… next update will be from down under in a couple of days after we’ve gotten settled.

As the Aussies say… toodle-oo!

Flyin’ On A Jet Plane

Well, we’re flyin’ on a jet plane October 18th!  All systems are go for Project Just A Leg.  Tickets are booked and bags are being packed!

The next week is going to be a busy one.  Last minute items to pick up, better renew my car insurance before we go… and packing up house and home one more time.  When I get back, I believe my next project is finding a permanent home to move to so I’m not living out of a tote anymore lol.

So we fly to Sydney October 18th, the doctors run me through a few tests like bone density and xrays to make sure they have a clear picture of the size of the implant, it’s insertion and how much they need to shorten my leg.  You know what this means don’t you???  My knees will be at the same height again and both feet will touch the ground when I’m sitting!  Woohoo!!!  Surgery day is October 26th.  Average time in hospital is 5-6 days, then I’ll be released to stay in the hotel with Andra and will go back and forth for physio and weight loading.  At about one and half to two weeks, I’ll be fitted with a light walking leg and will be set free to walk with two crutches (courtesy of Award Prosthetics).  The next step is to fit my regular knee and foot.  Eventually I’ll progress to one crutch, then none.

I’m still waiting on BC Medical to let me know whether they will cover surgery costs – I believe there are two of us in BC currently waiting for an answer.  I’ve been told they plan on speaking with the other provinces who have reimbursed OI patients.  This is very good news, but it creates a delay of at least another month before we receive an answer.  So I’m travelling on a wing and a prayer… I won’t be able to get a new knee and foot, but I have enough funding to cover everything but the surgery and have been given a intermediary loan for the outstanding balance.

It being Thanksgiving, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has been of assistance.  I’ve had so much support that I’m grateful for.  Generous financial donations – funds received paid for our flights; support for the two online facebook auctions; friends who have donated their emotional support, time and products to support my health… it’s been very humbling to be the recipient of such love and kindness.  Thank you.

Andra is the photographer in the family so she’s in charge of taking pictures.  We’ll be posting on facebook at the Just A Leg page as well as posting here.

I think that’s it for now, I’m off to pack another box.  Next news will probably be some quick posts on facebook when we’re on our way!

 

What’s Goin’ On?

What’s goin’ on you ask?

Well for starters, the first auction is done and we netted a total of $779!  Woohoo!  Thank you so much to all our supporters and Lise Haddock’s assistance and patience in teaching me how to run facebook auctions!  Lise your assistance has been sooooo helpful 🙂

The next auction starts September 19th at noon pst and we have a completely different set of items for you!  What are they?  Go here to have a look… September 19th Auction or here… Just A Leg – Facebook.  Donations are still coming in and are being gratefully accepted… who knows, maybe well need to do a third auction?  Christmas is just around the corner and winning items would be a super duper easy way to get your shopping done!

I’m still on edge as to whether I’ll have the funds together for my October 26th surgery date.  The surgeon’s office has requested payment a month in advance and I haven’t heard back from BC Medical yet as to whether they will cover the costs for surgery and hospital stay – which if it’s yes, would make a HUGE impact on the fundraising goal.  One thing I’m ruminating on is the possibility of postponing for a month to near the end of November, that way there’s time to hear back from BC Med and have time to submit an appeal if necessary.  Sounds reasonable eh?  LOL my heart says “no frikken way! get it done! get it done NOW!”  Apparently heart doesn’t understand the in’s and out’s of the financial world.

That’s the update for now.  Fall is here and it’s going to be an awesome Autumn on Vancouver Island.  I’m going to try my hand at going paddling with a friend next weekend on a sit-upon kayak.  This should be interesting… note to self, take plastic bag and elastics to cover prosthetic knee and foot just in case 😉

A reminder to subscribe to my blog so you get notifications when I post updates and fantastic info.  Thanks!

Have a great rest of your week and I’ll be back with breaking news as soon as it happens!