I went to an orthopedic ankle doctor/surgeon at the University of Minnesota today whom I have seen once before (1.5 years ago for the same problem). He actually referred me to the doctor who performed my ankle surgery a year ago. My appointment was at the Riverside Orthopedic Clinic and I have to say the place was hectic and an unorganized mess. Despite that I had called them multiple times before my scheduled appointment to make sure that they had received my records, there were no records to be found today. More than one woman who works there assured me the records had been faxed and received (note to self: next time write down the woman’s name who says such things). So, despite having to wait extra long because the doctor was running behind, I had to wait an additional amount of time while the nurse got my records re-faxed over to the clinic. What is the point of me even calling to assure that my IMPORTANT records and information are there in time for my appointment if I’m not being told the truth anyway and they are NOT THERE? Frustrating.

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Today is her birthday

I can’t believe another year is gone and it’s already my birthday again. Crazy! It’s also crazy to think that a year ago today I had a synovectomy on my right ankle (what a nice birthday present, eh?). The surgery was not a great success and my ankle (both actually) is still in a lot of pain and I’m very limited in how much and how long I can stand and walk.

After 2.5 years of living with the agony and worry of inflamed and intensely painful ankles, I felt such relief when I found the orthopedic ankle surgeon who performed my surgery. I thought that finally this hell would end and I would be on my way to healing and recovery. However, now a year later, it seems this is not the case.

My ankles (both are painful and inflamed) are a bit better and the right one is a little better, but nowhere close to being normal and pain-free. I recently got the name and number of an orthopedic doctor from my rheumatologist, however I have seen this orthopedic doctor once before and he referred me to my ankle surgeon. My rheumatologist suggested that I see him again, now post-surgery, and see what he says and that maybe something else can be done. I’ve been meaning to call and set up an appointment for two weeks but I either keep forgetting or maybe it’s just subconscious hesitation.

Over the last two years of this mystery-ankle-nightmare, I’ve seen so many different doctors, specialists, orthopedic doctors, podiatrists, physical therapists, etc. How can this “problem” be so difficult to correctly diagnose and treat? My ultimate fear is that it is indeed arthritis-related and the pain and inflammation and disability will be permanent (which means not being able to walk or function like a normal person ever again).

I know I can’t give up yet I can’t even begin to express how exhausted and tired I am with trying with this. Life has turned into a giant schedule of doctor’s appointments with conflicting, confusing answers or no answers at all. Do I want to get back into this “game” of musical doctors again? I’ve been in pain yet limping along fairly well since returning from France in May, trying to occupy my mind and time with other distractions. I know the situation can’t stay like this though. So yes, I will give the doctor a call and set up an appointment, although I fear that once again I will only get no answers or the wrong ones.

On a positive note, I seem to be tolerating the Orencia pretty well. I haven’t had any serious side effects or any side effects at all, it seems. My immune system is quite weak and frankly is pretty shitty lately – hence my weird sinus sickness and now nasty cold. Let’s hope the Orencia kicks in soon and kicks the inflammation right out of my poor little ankles. That’s right, I said “poor little ankles.” They used to be little, anyway.

So yes, today is my birthday. Each year I find birthdays to be more depressing and weird than the previous ones. Maybe that’s normal? I don’t know. Tonight my family will go out for dinner to celebrate not only my birthday but my dad’s as well (his birthday is today too). It will be nice to go out together and it will be a relief to not have the fear of surgery looming ahead. The best birthday gift would be to have normal, healthy ankles again, but I don’t think I’ll get that, unless some miracle happens. However, friendship, love, support and understanding from the people in my life would be a close 2nd, I’d say. Or maybe even better than good ankles.