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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!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hello! My surgery went without a hitch on Wednesday afternoon and I was back in my room recovering by 10:00 pm. The pain is ridiculous. My Mom faithfully wiped my brow with a wet washcloth as we struggled to figure out the right mix of pain meds to make my life tolerable. It is now Thursday night and I am feeling the need to put up a few pictures to share a few details of the last few days.

Once again, I am blown away by the kindness of strangers. My doctors and nurses are endlessly giving, kind, intuitive, patient, caring, and informative.

This is the face of Dr. Carbonell who has faithfully seen me through a ridiculous amount of ups and downs over the last 10 months. I am very grateful to have such a wonderful doctor. One of his residents stopped by yesterday to give information and answer questions about my surgery.
Amazingly enough, he told me that they were shocked to find three remaining fragments of landscaping fabric still hiding out in my ankle.

This is the piece of bone taken from the calcaneus of a cadaver and cleaned up and sent to me. When Dr. Carbonell got in my ankle, he discovered that the bottom half of my talus was still alive while the top half was dead and crushed. Therefore, he sculpted this cadaver bone to replace the top half of my talus. He also inserted a battery operated bone growth stimulator next to this bone to encourage it to grow into the other bones.

Among the many doctors and residents who watched Dr. Carbonell perform my surgery were my old dear friends, Bozena and Maribel. These lovely women were there for me during my first three weeks in the hospital following my fall. They saw me through some very dark and scary times with lots of love, advice, and information. It was delightful to see them again.

Several doctors have raised a few concerns and are having me take a few precautions. 1- I am now on blood thinners to eliminate the chance of developing a blood clot in my ankle. 2- I am blowing into this contraption 10 times every hour to decrease the chance of fluid building up in my lungs while I recover. 3- I am on antibiotics to keep any chance of bone infection at bay. Dr. Jacobsen (my infectious disease doctor) stopped by yesterday and told me that I might have a PICC line put in again so that I can take 6 more weeks of IV antibiotics at home. He doesn't want to have the bone infection issues with this new bone that I experienced with the old one.

One way to get out of making a Thanksgiving meal is to have a major surgery during Thanksgiving Break. I was delighted to find this lovely feast on my meal tray today. Awesome!

Well, it turns out that seeing the Sponge Bob float while on pain meds was neither an opportunity to fly above New York, or a terrifying experience. It was just a plain old Sponge Bob float. So now I know.

So this is what I know. I know that I have the most wonderful husband who is grieving the loss of his Dad while faithfully checking up on me. To say that he is "so sweet" doesn't begin to describe the man. Just the sound of his voice on the phone is an immediate comfort.
My Mom has been amazing while seeing me through some very rough times of extreme pain. Even at 40, there is nothing better than cuddling with my Mom to make me feel better. I think the whole experience has been a boost to her self-image, too--Two people today asked if my Mom and I were sisters.

My dear girls have been asked to get through some pretty rough stuff over the last year and they are handling it beautifully. I love them so much. I can't wait to feel their tiny hands in mine. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such faithful friends. People have already offered to make meals or drive the girls home from school when Thanksgiving Break is over. Amazing to me.

Some of you have asked about my Dad. It turns out that--unbeknownst to anyone--he had a mersa infection while fighting a case of mono! When he went into the hospital, as the doctors treated one symptom, it would aggravate another. It took a "House" style of doctor to finally put it together that he must be suffering from a virus--tested him for a few--and came back with a positive result for mono. Dad is now at home recovering from what was a severe blast to his system. So glad that he is still with us.

As for me, I continue to feel blessed all over.

I love all of you so much.

Talk later (when my head is clearer).


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