If you had asked me a year ago, where I expected my recovery to be today, I would tell you a far different story than what actually came to be. I would have guessed that the surgeries would be a thing of the past, and the infections long gone. I would have spoken about using my prosthetic legs daily, and the pains of the past reduced to mere inconvenient aches. Unfortunately, that dream is yet to come true, and as the past couple weeks have taught me, I still have a ways to go.
As you may remember from my December posting, I had two scheduled operations for the month of January. The first, on January the 16th, was aimed at nerve repair to my right forearm and hand. We were hoping to find and repair the problem in my radial nerve that has prevented me from extending my fingers (I can grasp, but not open my fist). In addition, the doctors were planning to reroute a working but unnecessary part of the median nerve, to the damaged ulnar nerve. The goal being to regain function and feeling in my pinky as well as some fine motor movements in the hand. I was working with a team of doctors outside BAMC since the hand surgeon was the only doctor I’ve met that has offered me any hope that improvements could be made.
After a four-hour procedure, the surgeon was unfortunately not able to do as much as he had hoped. Only the sensory portion of the ulnar nerve ( the part that controls feeling) could be found. The motor portion (that controls function) was either lost in the deep mess of scar tissue in the arm, or lost in the explosion. The radial nerve was not found to have any damage, which is good news. However, with nothing to fix, there was little the surgeons could do to “repair” the problem. Therefore, if it heals at all, it will do it on its own over time. Some other small fixes were done to scars or uncomfortable areas, and a few pieces of lingering shrapnel and rock from the blast were removed. Overall, the surgery was not as successful as we were hoping, but a few improvements were made. It could take over a year for the full results to show.
The bigger and more intensive operation came a week later on January 23rd. Read more