surgery, surgery, and more surgery

This is a long story.

In the fall of last year i went to see a foot surgeon because my
calcinocubital bone has sunk through the bottom of my right foot.
Basically i stood to watch a parade, and the next day had a huge lump
under my right foot. I went to my doc and he said nothing could be
done, and other docs said the same thing. The rheumy however, wanted
me to see a particular foot surgeon, one of the best in North America.
It was a two year wait, but i finally got in. When he saw my feet he
said i would need a total foot reconstruction. I was to think about
it, and let him know.

In May i saw him again and we discussed my options. He would not do
bunions or anything else in isolation. Both feet are in bad shape;
several of the small bones in the forefoot have already fused and i
have bad bunions and ankles. We discussed the options and I ended up
deciding to have surgery on the left foot. The surgery is a total RA
foot reconstruction and ankle replacement, and only ten of these
procedures have been done to date.

The surgery will entail several incisions, and several fusions. It is
a major procedure.

While I was at the foot surgeon's the resident palpated my knees and
said he detected some instability in my left knee, and before any work
could be done with the ankle, they would need to ascertain that my
knee was fine. I needed ex-rays.

I had the knee exrayed, went to see the doc, and was told that the
plastic parts were worn, there was loosening, and i needed to see a
surgeon. In early August went to the surgeon. He looked at my knee
and said that yes, it needs to be revised ASAP because the plastic
degrades and that causes additional bone loss. But.... he had some
previous ex-rays of my left hip, which i had replaced in 1982. He said
the hip does not look good and he wanted additional ex-rays to
determine the condition of my hip. I had the ex-ray, and he called me
back the same afternoon. The hip is loose in both the femoral and
acetebular components, the plastic is degrading, and there is a small
window of opportunity during which this can be revised. I have had
trouble with this hip off and on over the years, so this was not a
surprise. He said he needs to do the hip soon, as he is afraid of a
catastrophic event.

OK, so I am now sort of scheduled for three revisions.

Then about two weeks ago there was a message on my machine to call my
doc, i did and went in for an appointment. It seems that my cervical
subluxation is a problem. The doc says i may need a neck fusion before
anything else.

I told Kelly E about all of this, and she told me to make sure they
did not exray my head!I agreed.

My surgical date for the hip is October 28th. It does not appear that
i will need a nck fusion, so i am assuming that my subluxation of 5
mm and 5.5 mm is still within acceptible limits.

I have been reluctant to tell anyone any of this as i do not want
sympathy or attention. I just want to go on about my business and do
what i have to do. I still want to finish my doctorate on schedule no
matter what; i do not have the money or the interest in prolonging my
studies another year. I have worked too hard.

The doc said well you may need to take an early retirement. I
basicallay said no, as i have put too much into staying in the
workforce. I have spent well over $50 000 on this doctorate already,
and it will cost more before i am done.

I think what was most upsetting to me was that i did not get a
particular scholarship that was offered for people with RA. Kelly is
the one that gave me the info; she also wrote a letter of
recommendation for me. All the letters i had spoke highly about me and
my accomplishments.

The other thing that was upsetting was that i met a fellow that i was
interested in me; but he did not see me, he saw the RA. That felt like
a huge loss.

We won't even talk about losing my sister.

The surgeries do not really bother me. My replacements have lasted a
lot of years as the knee that needs revising was done in 1983 and the
hip was 1982. I had a lot of wear out of them. Far longer than is
typically expected. When i have spoken about this, i have said my hens
are coming home to roost, only they have all chosen to come home at
the same time.

The other thing is that my left elbow has been really bad and eating,
washing, dressing, and writing on the board have been an adventure.
Many years ago i taught myself to write with my right hand ( i am a
south paw[but not a deviant, lol]). This ambidexterity has come in
handy lately.

So that is my story. Kelly has been hugely supportive through email in
spite of what she is going through.

And now i will push send before i chicken out and do not send this.
Rose @}->--
Being educated means that rather than fearing the unknown,
one seeks to understand it.

Please remove "Ima" to reply.