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!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just when I said the pain wasn't coming from the bone, the pain started coming from the bone.  Oh, joy.  I had crazy pain last night every time I tried to flex my ankle.  When I went in to see Margarita today, she said that it was not the tendon--but the bone.  Scary to me.  So--she wants me to stop "walking" if I feel pain and to put my big Frankenstein boot back on.  

It is so hard for me to know what is good and what is bad.  They say . . . Yes--you need to put pressure on the bone or it will not heal.  No--you shouldn't put too much pressure on the bone or it will shatter.  I just want to follow my directions and get better.  The problem is that no one really knows exactly what directions to give.  It is just a waiting game of doing the best you can, and then hoping and praying for a positive result.

I was at school today trying to iron out a few details that have been causing Doug and I a bit of stress.  Just when I was feeling low, one of my students came around the corner and stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of me.  Although he can be a student who sometimes needs a little help staying focused, he looked right at me, clapped his hands together and squealed, "Mrs. Heetderks!  Your boot is gone!  You are healing!  I can't believe my eyes!  I have been praying for you every night!  You look so much better!  Are you going to be our teacher again??  I can't believe you are healing!"  He literally bounced up and down with his hands clasped like I was a modern miracle in plain sight.  What a blessing.  What a blessing.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Well, I am technically “walking”—just not very fast.  Margarita has me wearing my shoes, using my walker, and s-l-o-w-l-y taking one step at a time.  My goal is to roll my foot in a walking motion.  Never thought I would have to think and work so hard to do something I have been doing since I was one year old!

Although walking is pretty painful, I am happy that my pain does not seem to be coming from the bone itself.  My tendons, muscles, and joints are just being asked to do something that they haven’t done in a while!  I just need to be really careful to listen to my body and not overdo it.

My wound is getting smaller but the bracket is still exposed.  Dr. Carbonell told me today that he would do surgery to remove the bracket and close up the wound if it doesn’t close on its own in the next four weeks.  Although we have talked about this option plenty of times before, I think it will really happen this time if things don’t improve.

Dr. Carbonell left my room saying, “So, we will wait to see what it looks like in four weeks on June 4.”  I told him that June 4 was the day after my 40th birthday (June 3).  To which he said that June 4 was his birthday.  Guess what—my Douglas’s birthday is on June 4, too!  To think that the two most important men in my life right now were both born on the same day!   

The man who runs the Jackson Hospital Wound Care Centers stopped Dr. Carbonell and me to say that a local news station wants to do a news story about the Center and needs a doctor and patient to interview.  Guess who he wants to use for the story??  I’ll let you know when to tune in . . .

The girls just told me that they think that we should celebrate Father’s Day this weekend instead of Mother’s Day.  They say they have already done enough for me over the last few months and that Dad really needs more attention than me.  So nice to be loved. 

Love to you all!



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Howdy, my friends!  It has been a while!  

I was very busy this week working on our big Art Fair at school.  On Friday, over 400 of my students and many of their parents came to see the artwork and to participate in art-making activities.  Needless to say, I spent most of the day in bed today napping and giving thanks that all went well.

I had a nice visit with Dr. Carbonell on Tuesday.  My wound continues to plug away at closing up so we are just going to be patient and hope that surgery will not be necessary.  When talking about bone death, he told me that he does expect some of the bone to die.  That was news to me.  However, his hope is that the bulk of the bone will live to the ripe old age of at least 97.

I started physical therapy on Wednesday.  What a trip.  My therapist, Margarita, is like the bone whisperer.  She practically laid hands on my ankle and allowed it to tell the whole story from the last 4 months.  I can see that everything so far has focused on major issues of healing.  Her job is to start fine-tuning the healing.  She is thrilled that I am not in a lot of pain and that my ankle has nice range of motion.  What has been shocking to me is how the rest of my leg has deteriorated.  For example, my toes and the ball of my foot act like they are frozen in cement.  When we took my boot off and tried to bend my foot in a "walking" motion, it was totally stuck in one position.  So, we worked two days last week to begin freeing up that area and to build up strength.  She wants me to start wearing a shoe and to try to force myself to walk (with the walker, of course) in a natural motion.  Amazing.  

I now have two more interesting gadgets in my life.  The first is my new 4-wheeled walker.  It rides like a dream.  I love it.  It has an awesome basket that holds tons of stuff, has brakes for going downhill (like my driveway--scary!), a little seat to sit on if I need to rest and . . . it is absolutely silent.  Even with tennis balls on the legs, my old walker sounded like I was rummaging through my kitchen drawers every time I used it.  AND I couldn't hold anything while I was moving.  My new basket allows me to walk and carry things at the same time (what a concept!).

My other gadget sounds much more exotic than it is . . . it is a bone-growth stimulator.  When they called me to arrange a time for a "fitting," I imagined a warm, vibrating apparatus that would cause me to feel like I had been holding on to a lawn-mower all day.  Nope.  It is this thing that I rest my foot on that creates an extremely powerful magnetic field around my ankle. 
 This causes the cells in my bone to begin healing.  I have to do this every day at the same time for 30 minutes.  You feel NOTHING.  According to the guy who came to our house, the unit costs $2500 and is only covered by insurance if 90 days have passed since the original injury.  I guess they figure if your bone hasn't healed after three months, you probably need a little extra help.  After nine months, the unit will automatically self-destruct and you have to throw it away (just to keep you from passing it around to all of your friends with broken bones).

I feel like I have entered a new chapter of my healing.  Although the physical therapy will be time-consuming, painful, and a little scary at times, it feels really good to begin working towards walking and "normal" functioning.  My scooter makes me feel very healthy and independent, but it keeps my foot completely immobile.  It is time for me to slow down again, use my walker (even though I look and feel 83 when I use it), and SLOWLY walk step after slow step until it feels familiar again.   

For now, I am OK with slow.

Love to you all!