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, December 8, 2010

OK--I'll just admit it . . . I am feeling a little panicky. Over the last few weeks, I have been enjoying the process of healing, sleeping, strengthening my body, and getting mentally ready for the big moment when I finally get my prosthetic. Well, that moment is now here and it is freaking me out a little.

If you read over the last two years of my blog, you can see that time and time again--things have been going well and then WHAMO--disaster. Well, everything has been going so well since my amputation surgery and I think I am starting to wonder if this has just been another prelude to disappointment. OK--now that I said it--I can easily see that this is "stinking thinking" but I can't help but get a little worried in the wee hours. We are so close to a wonderful ending and it scares me to hope for it too much. Stupid, I know.

Anyway . . . Right after my last entry, I decided to challenge myself to a little independent travel. So, I booked a non-stop flight to California to see my brother and his gorgeous family. I am telling you--it is great traveling with one foot. Everyone was killing themselves to help me with the wheelchair, cut to the front of lines, carry my bags--I even was treated to a very personal "pat-down" by a kind TSA agent. Very exciting.
I was a little nervous to travel by myself--but it ended up being wonderful. My nieces and sister-in-law are amazing and it was so fun to hang out with them for a few days.

My brother (Glenn) has picked up surfing (seen here out on his board on a very (too) calm day in Santa Cruz). Watching all those people in the water got me excited about doing new things when my body gets put back together.

While in California, I had to do some decision-making about going back to work. All along I had planned to return after Thanksgiving, but as that date was coming closer, many were encouraging me to stay home until after Christmas. Doug was very worried that I would go back, over-do it, and then possibly jeopardize the success of my transition into the prosthetic. As much as I was dying to go back, it was one of those things where I needed to listen to the wisdom of others rather than just go ahead and blaze my own trail. Amazingly enough, I went and spoke with my Principal at school and she was completely supportive of me coming back after Christmas. I feel so blessed to NOT have the added pressure of worrying about my job (even though I worry anyway).

So . . . we had some nice family time during Thanksgiving break hanging out, baking a turkey for the first time, and putting up Christmas decorations (all very low to the ground). Best of all--my Grandma came out from Chicago to spend some time with us during Thanksgiving.
She is now 90 years old, sharp as a tack, and so much fun to be around.

By the time Thanksgiving was over, I suddenly realized that things were happening!! How was I thinking I would go back to work with all these appointments?! I first went to see Dr. Hutson who looked at my X-rays (seen here first from the front and then from the side) and was thrilled to see that everything has continued to heal beautifully. I had been concerned about some pain I was having near the bone bridge but he said everything was fine. He gave me a little "talking-to" about what to expect when I start out in the prosthesis. He warned me to take it slow--to just wear it a few hours off and on through the day, and to not panic if it was uncomfortable at first. I like it when people give me warnings.

Then he wrote me a prescription for a new leg and sent me on my way!

I headed over to Eugene's office (my prosthetist) and he took a casting of my leg. It was cool how he would point to certain parts of my leg and say, "This is sore here, right?"--and sure enough--he was right!

He kept making marks on the cast and pressing in around certain joints and bones that will help in bearing my weight once I get in the socket.

He will now fill the cast with plaster to make a "replica" of my stump. He will then put a clear acrylic covering over it that will eventually become part of the socket (I think). For my next appointment, I will put my leg into the socket and we will be able to look through the clear plastic to see if everything is fitting properly.

This whole process gets me thinking about how I will be able to walk so well, get going with my family again, surprise my kids at school with my new leg, etc. etc. It all just seems too good to be true. That's when all the doubts set in again. I think I just need to remember to take it a day at a time and not rush forward. I really need to listen to and trust my surgeon, prosthetist, and physical therapist and believe that everything will work itself out in time. Breathe, girl, breathe.

Our girls are in a really good place lately. Elise just had her orchestra concert on Monday night. Can you believe there are five 4th graders who play the bass? They are all little bass-playing partners in crime up there struggling to get those instruments set up and in the right place. So funny. Elise has worked really hard and has made it to first chair. So sweet.

Annika is enjoying playing basketball and loves being part of a team. For all the miserable memories I have of my time in middle school, she seems to be eating up every minute of it. We are so proud of her.

Our hearts are heavy right now for a few of our friends. A neighbor boy who has been away at college came home with his best friend for Thanksgiving and were hit by a drunk driver. The friend was killed instantly. Robie, Jr. managed to hang on for a few days but eventually died, too. Our neighbors are--of course--stunned, heart-sick, and beyond grief. These boys were 4.0 students and stars of their school cross-country team. So sad.

Some of you might also remember that Vera's (the wife of my youngest brother, Matt) Mom was diagnosed with liver cancer right about the same time as my amputation surgery. While only 10 weeks have passed, they are having to make possible arrangements with hospice because of the rapid growth of her tumors. This has been devastating.

When we see how our friends and family are having to deal with such incredible losses, it seems silly to worry about how my new foot might fit. Who needs it. I just want to be thankful for every day.

We really and truly love all of you and continue to be blessed by the cards, words of encouragement, meals, and flowers that keep on coming. We feel overwhelmed by your love.

I will keep you posted on the making of my foot.

Love to you all--