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!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

OK, OK!  I won't do any more googling!!!  So many of you have written to tell me to get off the computer and take this whole thing day by day.  I now know that giving into the temptation of taking a sneak peek at the future really FREAKS ME OUT!  

Since being discharged from the hospital, the only reason I have left the house is to go see a doctor.  Well, last Thursday, I took my foot on a big field trip to our school.  I helped Annika and some classmates make chili for a chili cook-off, and Elise got to explain all of the medical gadgets attached to me to her class.  It was good to be at school again--and I was glad that I felt at peace being there.  I left feeling like--I know that I will one day return to teach, but I am in no shape for that right now.  All in good time.  

After two hours at school, I was totally exhausted and came home and slept and slept and slept. Every time I woke up, I thought about my students and colleagues who were happy to see me, my good friend who has done a fantastic job taking over my Art classes for me, the kind school parents who are bending over backwards to help us out, my dear girls who seemed relieved to see me out of the house and in my usual surroundings, and my precious husband who is managing to keep our family afloat with a smile.

Doug and I enjoyed some time together this weekend because the girls both had sleepovers on Friday night.  We managed to watch The Bucket List without falling asleep.  This was actually a really big deal because--prior to my fall--we had rented that movie three times without ever watching it before the due date!  

Then, on Saturday, we got really ambitious and went to the movie theater to see Slumdog Millionaire (my second field trip of the week!!).  Now, when I get in a wheelchair with my leg straight out and my foot propped up on 5 pillows--I am quite a sight.  I literally scared small children at the theater.  We laughed and laughed trying to fit me and my foot into the handicapped bathroom. It was good to be out doing something normal.

On a bummer note, my insurance is "officially" unwilling to pay for the dermagraft necessary to close up my wound.  I don't know what this means for me, but I am sure Dr. Carbonell will tell me what is next soon enough.

Thanks for all of your encouraging notes!  Much love to you all!


Thursday night, February 27, 2009

I just made the mistake of googling "ankle fusion."  Freaks me out.  There are a ton of people who have written about what it is like to recover from a bad ankle break.  All of a sudden it is dawning on me that I may be looking at a future of living in constant pain.  I don't want to be on pain meds for the rest of my life.  I am also realizing that when they talk about these future surgeries--we are talking about a long time of recovery.  I kind of had it in my head that I would just have to make it through this recovery . . . but not a few more!  And so many people write that the one surgery causes another problem that results in another surgery.  I want to get back to work and my life.   How long will this take?  What are we talking about here? I think that I just might be dealing with this for the rest of my life.  What in the world was I doing on that ladder?

I am just thinking about my friends, Joyce McKimson and Sharon Carper.  These are two amazing women in different stages of dealing with cancer.  They, too, will be dealing with their cancer for the rest of their lives.  And yet they are facing life with courage.  Taking life one day at a time.

Get over yourself, Anne.  Deal with it.  Everyone has their stuff that they have to deal with. Yours just happens to be your ankle.  You will make it.

Thanks for letting me vent.  


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Well, the people have spoken.  66% of you voted that you would enjoy seeing a current picture of my wound.  It looks good, huh???  Lucky for the 8% of you who voted that my wound pictures gross you out—this picture isn’t too bad compared to the first ones (feel free to scroll down to look at some of the earlier pictures if you don’t believe me!).  I still have that pesky little hole (see it below the wound?) where fluid drains out.  The hole should close up eventually.

When Dr. Carbonell saw my wound yesterday, he was more convinced than ever that I need to get the wound covered with dermagraft (a skin substitute made from human newborn foreskin).  Hopefully the insurance company will approve it soon.

It is interesting that the focus so far has been on keeping the infection at bay and taking care of my open wound.  We really have not talked at all about the bone itself.  When I mentioned it yesterday, Dr. Carbonell kind of smiled—like—we are not ready to go there yet.  The nurse even said that my body is producing the fluid in the ankle area (that is sucked out by the VAC) because it is trying to fill in the areas that would normally be filled with bone.  That one was new to me.  Made me think that I should go out to the front yard and look for those pieces of bone that got left behind. 

I can see that once the external fixator is taken off and x-rays are taken, a whole new chapter to this story is going to begin. 

I feel encouraged that I seem more human-like lately.  When I am not sleeping (I sleep about 15 hours a day), I feel like myself—a non-mobile version of myself—but still myself.  That is good.

My friend, Natalie, drove me to my appointments yesterday and managed to meet someone she knew at each office.  She even ran into a close relative at my wound care center.  My foot is bringing people together. Who knew?

Love to you all!

Anne (and my foot)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello!  My Mom has been taking care of me over the last few weeks—coming by to feed me lunch, drive me to appointments, take care of my kids, provide me with Gatorade when I look like I am about to pass out, and give me good ol’ motherly love. 

Well, she has left me.  Left to go to California and Chicago for two weeks. 

So, I am now spending my days alone.  All alone.  With no one to care for me. No one to pick me up off the bathroom floor when I have tripped over my VAC tube.  No one to spoonfeed my DanActive drink into my trembling lips.  No one to help me wrestle my underwear up over my external fixator. 

But I will make it.  I will.

And all kidding aside—I hated it today when I knew that I would not hear the sound of her coming through the door and calling out, “It’s me, Annie!”  There has been something so wonderful about needing my Mom again—like I did when I was little.  She is an amazing woman who has been so willing to drop everything for her daughter.  And although she may regret raising me to be the independent type of girl who would decide to climb up a tall ladder without help, she loves me—lame foot and all.

Enjoy your break, Mom. 

Love, Anne

P.S.  I got a handmade card in the mail today that said, “She had a great fall . . . and love came tumbling after.”  I am feeling the love from all of you.  Thank you so much.  --Anne