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!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wow—It has been a while. So many of you have been checking in to see if I am maybe dead, depressed, or somewhere in between. Well, I’d say that the last two months have been about “getting through it.” I haven’t wanted to talk about my ankle, write in my blog, give updates, etc. In fact, I sometimes wish that the whole subject could be ignored. I am just tired. Since the time I fell, I have usually been “up” with a cheery disposition--reassuring people that things are moving along and that I will be fine. I still believe those things, I just don’t have it in me to be cheery. I could fake it, but it doesn’t seem like I should. Sometimes getting through it isn’t cheery.

So now that I sound like Scrooge, I must tell you that I really am doing very well. I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days with my beautiful family and my awesome students at school. We have spent our days doing plenty of great things: painting faces at the church picnic, hosting a Halloween party (Annika arranged the whole thing!), going to local events like the Air Show, etc. My kids at school are amazing and are the best medication for distracting me from the pain in my ankle. They are so sweet.

So, since the last time I wrote . . . I had my surgery and they removed all the hardware from my ankle. They drilled a 1/4inch-sized cylinder from my talus bone to test it for bone infection, and then filled the hole with antibiotic beads. They also scraped bone from several areas of my ankle to see if they could find traces of bacteria. While they were in there, my doctor discovered that a good deal of my talus is now dead, and the cartilage that was once alive is now dead, too.

To make matters worse, the ankle is full of arthritis (pictured here). Following this surgery, Dr. Carbonell told me that I would definitely need an ankle and subtalar fusion. This is a big surgery with an even bigger recovery time so we agreed that I would do the surgery in May so that I would have time to get better over the summer.

While I was at the hospital for this surgery, a PICC line was put in my arm by a Dr. Groper (his future in gynecology was doomed from the start). When I was on the table getting it done, the familiar smells of latex and paper gowns, mixed in the sounds of monitors and machines lulled me back into the realization that we were “back at it again.” I found myself telling my story to a whole new set of people who were about to take me on the next leg of my journey towards healing.

The next day I found myself at the Infectious Disease office to get some tests done and to pick up my antibiotics. It didn’t take long for my kids to get used to seeing Mom with tubes hanging out of her arm 24/7, antibiotic balls shoved in next to carrots in the fridge, and 5 a.m. alarms going off for the first treatment of the day. I was even able to get through six weeks of treatment without my students at school noticing that I had an IV bag hidden in my smock! With a steady supply of empty syringes in my trash can at school, I was wondering when the janitor might feel compelled to report that there was an Art teacher with a drug problem on campus.

Even though my foot looked like it had been through a meat grinder following surgery, it immediately began to heal much faster than we had seen before. It seems that my body is finally infection-free and that my wound is on the way to being closed.

The constant bright spot in my life is my job, Doug, and the girls. I can be in so much pain—dreading the thought of moving my foot across the room—and then the kids will come in and everything is OK again. They say such funny things that you can’t possibly be in a lousy mood when you are around them. Likewise--when I finally get to just lay down and cuddle with Doug or the girls—life is good.

People have been so good to me. Teachers at school say that the kids ask to pray for me every day. Families bring meals for us. Friends send emails of encouragement. I even continue to receive get well cards. It absolutely amazes me that people still want to know how I am doing after all this time. I feel very badly that my “hunkered down” vibe might give people the impression that I don’t appreciate all that they have done for my family and me.

Mixed in with all of this has been growing concern for my father-in-law, Bob Heetderks. After breezing through two heart valve repairs, his recovery became complicated by a recurring build-up of fluid in his lungs. Now, two months later, he is becoming weaker and weaker while tests continue to offer little help to explain what is really going on. What was once, “He is going to be fine . . .” is now, “I hope he is going to pull through this.” It has been very scary.

I have been in quite a bit of pain and will be visiting Dr. Carbonell on Monday in his office. I will try to do a better job of keeping my blog current for you again!

Love to you all!


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