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A Good Day… For Surgery

Chad at Race

It is gone. The cold, jagged mess of metal plates and pins has officially come off. Yes dear friends, the day has finally come. This past Tuesday I met with the Orthopedic team managing the reconstruction of my arm, and after examining X-rays and a CT scan, they determined it was time to remove the frame. The external fixator was put on October 5th of last year. In what I can only describe as a very excruciating process, we successfully regrew 22 centimeters of bone and later fused the elbow in order to bear weight on the limb.  This was a result of a bad infection last year which nearly required amputation of my right arm. As the months passed, the doubts grew in my mind as to whether or not I had made the right choice to endure such a painful process, versus amputation and working with a prosthetic.  And while the answer will still wait to present itself in the years ahead, today it feels great to still have my arm.

The procedure Thursday morning was quick and relatively painless. I was heavily sedated, and when I awoke my arm was free… at last. The next few months are CRUCIAL to the success or failure of this process to save my arm. Without the frame holding the bone together, and holes in the bone where the pins were anchored, the arm is in a highly fragile state. That means strictly no weight bearing at all for a month or more. Unfortunately, my walking rehab still relies heavily on using canes for support, so for the foreseeable future, my walking will be on hold. Even rolling on it in my sleep could potentially break the arm, so I will be wearing a brace for 4-6 months. Any break at this critical stage will require surgery and possibly another frame to repair.  I am determined to not let that happen.  The next step will be in a few months, when hand surgeons will work to repair some of the damaged nerves in my arm and hand.  More details on that as the weeks unfold.

In other news, on November 16th I was given a Segway from the non-profit group, Segs4Vets. They donate Segways to seriously wounded veterans to give us back some of the mobility freedom we lost. The technology is amazing, and through my training over the past week, I was able to use the machine to cover the bulk of the traveling near the hospital and difficult terrain. This enabled me to save my energy to walk when I reached my destination. Getting on and off is a challenge, but I will get better at it.

Chad Running

Chad Running the JFK 50 Mile Race

Finally, on Saturday, my friend Captain Chad Maddox ran the annual JFK 50 Mile Race. Chad ran this as a culminating event in his “Greg’s Legs” campaign in my honor.You can see Chad and what he has accomplished on his blog:

http://www.gregslegs.blogspot.com/2012/11/mission-accomplished.html

Thank you Chad, and a big congratulations to both him and his wife who just had their first child, a beautiful baby boy. When it comes to running 50 miles, he is certainly braver, and definitely crazier than me. Thank you ALL for staying with me on this long journey, and as always, thanks for keeping me moving.

 

-Greg

10 Comments
  1. Trish #

    Greg!

    Love you and love your continued positive attitude and willingness to never give up. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and Summer.

    Best wishes and love,
    Trish

    November 19, 2012
  2. Valerie Lawrence (AZ) #

    Oh Greg!!! This is such wonderful news for you! You sooooo deserve something good like this after everything that you have been through. I will continue to send hugs and prayers. Good luck with the Segway.
    Much Love,
    Val

    November 19, 2012
  3. Letitia #

    Greg:
    I’m so happy to hear that your arm is progressing so well. God bless your journey to wellness with your continued amazing strength and positive attitude. We have a lot to be thankful for this year.
    Love and hugs…

    November 19, 2012
  4. Richard Dunkin #

    You are amazing Greg! Thanks so much for keeping us informed of your progress. Miss you man!

    November 19, 2012
  5. Mary Olsen #

    Greg, this is great news. A patient of mine had one of those bone extenders on his leg and he went through the same doubts about amputation you had. Although the process is painful, the results will be worth it. Take care in the next couple of months and the bone and your arm will regain its strength.

    November 19, 2012
  6. Reet #

    Great news, Greg! Take lots of calcium :) You are a daily inspiration!

    November 19, 2012
  7. Jason Chartrand #

    Great news, man! Stay tough and keep the updates coming.

    Cheers,

    Jason

    November 19, 2012
  8. Jim Tommins #

    Hi, Greg,

    Great to hear the halo is off. Take it easy. There will be a lot of folks in Fairfield , Conn thinking about you and sending their best wishes on Saturday.

    All the best
    Jim Tommins

    November 19, 2012
  9. Pamela #

    Greg, I am happy to hear your arm is free…at last! I truly am thanking God and praying that He protect that arm so that it can continue to heal. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration to me and to so many! In the words of Tupac Shakur, “Keep ya head up!” :-)

    November 20, 2012
  10. Clay Johnson #

    Greg, It is great to see you have the fixator off. I would like to see you on the Segway. Carol & I wish you a wonderful Holiday season with lots of Love, Peace, and Ice cream.
    Clay & Carol

    November 22, 2012

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