Two Legs, Four Surgeries.

I've had a total of four leg surgeries, starting in my early teens and ending a few days ago (with my last surgery: I'm still in recovery). I've had quite a hard time for the most part, and feel venting is in order, but I feel I should offer a more positive anecdote. Why focus on negatives? I suppose I'll start at the first surgery...

I was a young teen at the time. I'd been told all my life that I had flat feet, but as it started getting much worse, we realized that it wasn't that. I can't recall the name of the demon, but I suppose if you know the burn you don't care how it calls itself. I remember the operation though: I had all three major bones in my left leg cut through and rotated. The femur, tibia and fibula all were to be rotated due to my abnormal growth. The first one was probably the hardest physically. I eventually developed severe osteoperosis in my left leg. Even after I had fixed everthing with that surgery, the impending surgery on the right leg took its tole. Obviously, it was a full leg cast each time. I took solace in the fact that it would simply be these two surgeries, a max of about a year-and-a-half coming, and I'd end up being ok. Or so I had thought.

It had been a long time. My legs still hurt. All my family did was nag that I wasn't walking enough and that's why my legs hurt. I could tell something was wrong though. Whenever I looked at other people's ankles, I noticed how they would have a bit of an upwards slope in the outer lateral. Mine folded in. The skin on my ankle, rather than beginning up my leg, folded entirely inward. This severely hurt. I distinctly remember one of the worst times: I'd been swimming for a while, my favorite passtime. when I began to wade from the water, I suddenly could not stand. I was overcome entirely with the physical pain I can only describe as nauseating. Suddenly, my ankles hurt so much that I simply could not think. I'd been forced into some odd state of being where I had to breath manualy. Had I not thought, "breath, breath, breath" then I simply would not. The only thing that could bring me peace now brought abhorrence. It was then that I truly knew that I was not done with these usurptations presented by the universe: I needed more surgery. All the while, rather than lending a helping hand, my parents often would chastise me for not working my legs after the previous surgery. I knew we had to visit the doctor, and I knew I wasn't done yet, but they simply would not accept that it wasn't my fault. I do not blame them, though, but offer forgiveness, as they know not the torment but through me, and anger is the vessel we use to put hate into the world. Either way, philosophical or not, I was getting cut open again.

My third and fourth leg operations were much different than the first two. While being smaller, they still have a lot to face. I had my Achille's Tendon lengthened, entire heel shifted over, and a portion of bone in my outer foot removed and replaced with a metal plate and four screws. The inability to be independant, even in such simple things as going to the bathroom or getting water, is mind numbingly depressing. Also, the incessant requests to help me when I finally could do things made me feel either bad for not letting them, or bad because I've grown an aversion to touch. I was always forced to put on a face as happy as I'd ever been, not that I was particularly well-off mentaly prior to what happened. People really can't understand unless they've been through it, and even when I look back I realize that soon even I, whom had the operation, will not understand. 

I said I'd be positive though, so I'll get back to that. Through every staple removed, every metal rod twisted out of my leg without numbing agents, every time my legs hurt so much they burned, every time I had the realization that it will be years before I feel my toes normaly because of the nerve damage, every bout of spasms nearly of epileptic proportions from the sheer pain, I've realized that I've been given a gift. I was left hard, cold and almost bitter from my scholastic misadventures, and have realized that Rousseau was right: sciences have tended to hurt morals. I've not turned to religion, but rather philosophy. I've finaly gained empathy, and I understand the plight of man, and I've forgiven all those that make mistakes as I could've made the same. I've abolished my need to be applauded, and I've found myself a bit more in this thing I felt so wretched. After all, "Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor." -Alexis Carrel.

I'll return to write a follow up after I've finished healing entirely. My last surgery was but two days ago, and I feel as though others deserve better, but I was asked to write this and felt that if my words could help right now, why not start then try more later? I thank you for your time.

User Comments
Anon-1

I have a friend who grew up with one leg longer than the other, and she developed a severe posture problem as a result of her compensation, even when she was very young. She's had multiple surgeries, and still has metal parts in her leg today. She's a beautiful young woman, but there are holes in her leg from where something was once screwed into her (they look like navels--they're very noticeable) and she's quite self-conscious about them. 

I also have an uncle who had surgery on his ears several times over the course of several years, in order to artificially produce the shape that most people have naturally; his ears were flat and distended when he was young. 

Both of these individuals have spoken of significant stress and pain involved in the process of having multiple body-altering surgeries over a long period of time. I don't personally know what you're going through, but I understand that it hurts, and it's been a very difficult process. 

I wish you a speedy recovery, and I hope that everything turns out for the best. 

Anon-2

Best of luck in your continuing recovery! Do you still require more surgeries? I hope that this is the end of the road for you there, and that your legs will serve you well for the rest of your days :)

Anon-3

I can't even imagine what this must be/have been like. I hope that the rest of your life is comparatively problem-free, lol. Seriously, wow. And you seem so positive and upbeat about things, all things considered!

Anon-4

Best of luck in getting through all of this and moving on to lead a healthy and constructive life! It sounds like you're staying largely positive through a series of very painful undertakings. Keep your chin up!

Anon-5

I'm glad you've decided to share your account, seriously. It helps to see people with a positive and forward-thinking mindset. Everyone deserves to be heard, but positive stories can be very helpful to those who don't see a way out of their own situations. Kudos, friend, and a speedy recovery to you.

Anon-6

Thank you so much for sharing such an uplifting story of triumph and overcoming obstacles. You've given me something to reach for, and I needed that today. I appreciate it, and best of luck to you in the future with your continuing recovery!