Welcome to Anne's blog!

If you are new to the blog, you probably want to start at the beginning of the whole sad story. To get there, use the "Blog Archive" tool in the right column of the blog and click on "2009," and then "January 25." From there you can continue to click on each week to see the weekly entries.

I would love to hear from you! If you would like to leave a message, you can reach me at aheetderks@wcsmiami.org!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Well, I guess I have to admit that I have been ignoring you a little. I have just been in a mental place for a bit where I would just like to be in denial of that thing on the end of my right leg. I think, "Can anyone stand to read one more entry about this wound that will never heal?" I know that's what I have been feeling myself. Will I ever get to be just "Anne" again? Or will I forever seen as "Anne & Ankle?"

Anyway--It has been one entire MONTH since my last confession--I mean, entry--and I am feeling the longing in my heart to bare my soul again a little.

When we last met, we were heading off to a Heetderks family reunion at the Spring Mill State Park near Indianapolis, Indiana. Doug's parents and siblings are all from Grand Rapids, MI, so they drove and we flew. Despite the fact that my boot tested positive for explosives while going through airport security, we had an easy flight and enjoyed travelling through these sweet little towns on our way to meet up with the family. My foot was feeling so good on this trip that I almost felt like I was faking an ankle injury. I was able to travel most distances without my scooter, and (when I concentrated really hard) thought that I looked kind of "normal."

When we returned, I got ready for my surgery. I had high hopes that the wound would finally be closed and I could start back to physical therapy by the time school started. Unfortunately, despite staying still in bed for nearly three days following the surgery, the staples once again popped back open--leaving me with a larger wound than before. Just to add insult to injury, the wound became infected again with this lovely green gook (check out Great Fall Wound Pics).

Now that I have been on two rounds of antibiotics, the infection seems to be cleared and we are making new plans.

1) We will start me back on the VAC (Vacuum-Assisted Closure) machine. Although I am not thrilled at the idea of having the tube hanging out of me again (everyone always thinks it is a catheter coming from my ankle), I am REALLY excited at the idea of letting my body heal on its own again. It just has become very obvious that my wound does not want to be squeezed shut with staples.

2) After some skin starts to grow again, we will try to get a few layers of Dermagraft put on the wound to help it along.

3) Once that takes hold, I will go to a plastic surgeon for some celebratory "cosmetic enhancement"--NO!--I will go to a plastic surgeon for skin grafting.

So . . . those plans should probably take us into the new year so we can celebrate the one year anniversary of my fall from the ladder! Yippee!

Ever since the surgery, it is very, very painful for me to put pressure on my foot. Nevertheless, I know that it is important for me to walk on it. So, I just use the scooter for long distances and "hoof it" for short trips to the toilet or around my classroom.

Speaking of classrooms . . . I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT I AM BACK AT WORK!

I can honestly say that I have thrown away all timelines for my foot and could really care less when it heals. As long as I can keep dragging my stubborn foot into work via my own power, chariot, lawn mower, roll-a-bout, walker, wheelchair, or office chair--I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON! I love being back with the kids, planning lessons, dreaming up ideas, working with teachers, making plans, and feeling healthy!

So . . . for right now . . . ask me about my class. Ask me what I am teaching about. Ask me to tell you about some of my great, new students. But don't ask me about my ankle!!! :)

No--that's not true. I so appreciate everyone's prayers and concern for my family and me. We just need a little time to feel like our lives are not "hanging in the balance." Doug and the kids need to be able to feel that life is returning to normal--even if my ankle issues are not resolved yet. My ankle will heal in God's time. Talking about my ankle all the time just makes them feel like we still have such a long way to go. Even though I have said this a million times, we have no idea what the future holds and when things will feel complete again. What I do know is that we are solidly in God's hands and that I don't have to wait with baited breath for a positive end to this journey. It will come.

Let me tell you about some good things . . .

1) Dad is Alive. Dad had a major 7-hour surgery two weeks ago to clean out the spinal column of several of his vertebrae. When they were finished, they created a wire "cage" that will keep his vertebrate in place for the rest of his long life. Even when doped up on morphine, my Dad was busy listening to the family troubles of his nurses, complimenting the food service ladies on their flavorful jello, and inviting his doctors to go sailing when he was feeling better. So sweet. He is feeling a little guilty that his wound has already healed, and he has the strength to take long walks around the block. I say, "Thanks be to God!" :)

2) My girls are happy. Elise and Annika have officially entered the 3rd and 5th grades and are loving every minute of it!

3) The emus are clean. Doug just got a kiddie pool for his emus. Now just imagine seeing them with their legs straight up in the air when they want to get their backs wet. Too funny.

4) Rounded bottom shoes have somehow become a fashion trend. When they told me that I would eventually need to wear orthopedic shoes with a rounded sole, I was a little afraid. I was even more terrified when I actually looked at the styles available. U-G-L-Y! But guess what?!? Somehow, rounded bottom shoes are now being hailed as a great way to stay in shape! I am so encouraged to know that I just might have some slightly normal looking shoes to wear someday! (It is the little things that really count!)

Thanks to all of you who have written to see if I am still alive.

I am alive AND VERY WELL.

Love to you all,


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