Well hello everyone. I apologize for the delay in publishing an update on my most recent surgery…
A lot has happened since I last wrote. As you know, I was going in for surgery to begin the arduous process of growing the bone in my right arm. When I woke up from surgery I was in severe pain (probably the worst since my initial injuries) but was told that the operation had gone well. The external frame that wraps around my arm consists of five steel plates, and about 20 bolts/pins drilled into my arm. In addition, there are ten “spacers” that I need to turn four times daily in order to gradually lengthen the bone.
While the head doctor was pleased with the outcome of the surgery, I was dismayed to discover that my radial nerve had been damaged during the surgery. This means that I can neither bend my wrist nor extend my fingers…very frustrating. I now require a splint to hold my hand up. That said… the doctors are optimistic that over time I will regain mobility in my hand/wrist, and now, three weeks after the surgery, I’ve noticed slight improvement.
The initial pain has subsided, but normal movements throughout the day cause significant pain as the pins tug and tear against my tissue. As a result, I’ve started to explore alternative pain management options, such as acupuncture and meditation. The bulky frame makes even the simplest movements a chore (see the attached photo) but if this is what needs to be done to get my arm to a better place, then so be it. I’ve already had my first follow-up appointment, and so far, the doctors are pleased with my progress.
In other news, my girlfriend Summer had to leave, in order to pursue career opportunities, and possibly grad school down the road. My Mom, Joan, has taken over as my non-medical attendee (NMA) and she’s doing an outstanding job with the overwhelming task of helping me.
I continue to strive to regain more and more independence as the days go on. I’ve started wearing prosthetics liners, which is the first step to getting fitted for the “stubbies” on which I’ll learn to walk again.It’s a bumpy road with both successes and setbacks, but irrespective of the challenges, I’m slowly improving. Today, for example, I started pushing my manual wheelchair with the steel frame on my right arm. I move slowly, but this inspires hope in me that I might be able to get a power-assisted wheelchair in the months ahead. That would mean I push on the wheels, triggering a motor to push me further and faster along. It is to hopes like this that I cling in order to get through my days.
Again, I am sorry for having left everyone hanging with no knowledge of my wellbeing for the last few weeks. I hope this letter brings you up to speed on my recovery. As always, thanks for each and everyone’s support. Every little bit helps in a major way. My love to you all.