Living Life Ruled by a FULF

Today marks 19 months since I underwent ankle fusion surgery, a procedure that is supposed to bring 8-20 years of relief for most people.

I am not most people.

My FULF* is an overachiever, proven by the 6-month post-surgery X-ray where additional traumatic arthritis was already visible. The surgeon was very surprised to see it. That was 13 months ago.

I wasn’t expecting a miracle. I had decided that if I had a 50% reduction in pain I would be happy, and I did get that 50%. Score! Unfortunately, the pain level has been creeping back up. The doctor told me to not wait as long to come in for help because it had been so bad last time. But at what point to I go in again? When I can no longer sleep at night because of pain? That’s what I did two years ago, because there is the rest of the family to think about, especially my husband (a.k.a., my live-in nurse) and any travel plans. The surgery itself takes significant recovery time — last time was around 11 weeks non-weightbearing, after which I used crutches and slowly added percentages of weight on that foot. There was a lot of time spent lying in bed with my foot in the air, trying to keep swelling down to allow the incision to heal. The scarring isn’t pretty and more surgery means even more scarring.

*FULF is a term coined by a blog friend who also has struggled with a “flubbed up left foot.”
It’s more than just my left ankle and the traumatic arthritis brought on by the trimalleolar fracture of November 2015, although the ankle and resulting surgeries is the worst of it all. FULF encompasses everything that has been dealt with over the past 10+ years and I’m grateful to Barb for the easy moniker.

8 thoughts on “Living Life Ruled by a FULF

  1. I’m so sorry, it just sucks and I have no answers. Chronic debilitating pain is something I can’t imagine as I’ve never had any that couldn’t be solved by ibuprofen. But I’ve been told it’s the worst thing ever. You are worth whatever it takes, if there is something that will relieve it. Xoxoxo

  2. I am so sorry you are experiencing what you are experiencing. It has to be very frustrating. Hopefully you can get some resolution soon. I will send out all the positive vibes I can muster.

  3. I somehow happened upon this…but I was needing to see it. I have a fused left ankle…also a mess. I have also had two total hip replacements, two total knee replacements, a shoulder replacement, and in March of 2019 I had to have my left femur rebuilt. Chronic pain is just so difficult…I don’t know what point is the right time to call in the doctor. The last surgery recovery was just beyond belief. I think I’d rather not walk again, than go through that type of pain another time. My thoughts are with you, and hope you are feeling ok.

    • I’m sorry you have had so much pain. The surgery recoveries are challenging, but when you can get some of your life back with less pain, it is helpful. I think it’s pretty rare to go to the doctor too early when it comes to replacements and fusions; you want it to make a positive difference. With a fused ankle AND a femur rebuilt on the same side sounds awful.

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