May 5th 2016: I start this blog first by saying I owe a very big debt of gratitude to Dr. Gent as featured in the photo on left (click on photo to enlarge) as we together celebrated the success of my walking ability after 6 surgical interventions regarding my subtalar joint HyProCure stents, distal tibiofibular joint fixation , Gastroc/Soleus lengthening and subsequent downsizing of the joint stents along with an ankle arthroscopy surgery. With the profound better ability to walk, I was then able to also enjoy the benefits up my entire spine as muscle groups now were able to be trained much better. I share this because in my case, my Sacroiliac Joint Surgery success, was only a part of the whole puzzle that needed addressing. I spent the entire year of 2016 improving my walking gait, posture and overall strength of being centered between my glutes which is what I call the core. I say “get it right with the glutes and the rest of the trunk will start to follow suit”. And I also have to say, “get it right with the feet/ankles because there is a direct correlation to the hips/pelvis in the gait cycle”. Oh and let me not forget that I also had an anatomical shorter left leg that was corrected as discussed in Short Leg Syndrome section of website. Now for new readers to this blog, you would have to go back to all my hyperlinks or my website homepage to get the full picture of all I’ve gone through to get to where I am today in writing this update recovery blog. Also during 2016, I was recovering from a right knee injury that happened at end of 2015 and I also proceeded to finally addressing upper extremity issues since I was no longer walking on crutches as the last of the lower extremity surgeries finished in Dec. 2015 with Dr. Gent.
May-July 2016: Because I could walk, sit, travel and be totally pain free, I did enjoy life to the fullest compared to the prior 4 years of non-stop surgeries on my lower extremities. Here is a photo (on the left) of me enjoying Mother’s Day with my daughter in Vegas walking all over in low heels. Then in June I was on a family vacation enjoying a 2 mile hike in a metro park near where I grew up as featured in this photo with my sister, Marilyn and her Borzoi dog, along with my daughter, Ally. I had 2 other weddings that I also attended during the year, and I danced my heart out simply because I could do it with no repercussions to my back/pelvis, legs or feet.
Somewhere between all these good moments, I started getting left knee pain at the insertions of my IT Band. Here is one of the best blog articles in my searching that I recommend reading and please read to the end and see the videos of the best stretch which I do myself: https://b-reddy.org/2012/03/04/the-best-damn-it-band-stretch-ever/
IT band issues go hand in hand with problems of the pelvis/hips. I already knew I had a left IT band from hell but it was managed and under control in my exercises. Well somehow I went through a short phase of not activating my left inner adductor/groin area and in its weak moment the IT band got shorter/hypertonic and talk about hellish pain at my lateral left knee. This was a new one on me as I never had it that bad before. I had an MRI of the left knee. My knee MRI was clean except for IT Band friction syndrome. I had a Platelet Rich Plasma aka PRP injection into my joint and a 2nd PRP injection into my insertion point of the IT band on lateral side of knee. That helped calm the pain at the insertions down and the leg got back to normal with physical therapy.
In July I had an appointment with a Dr. Boone the hip/pelvic trauma specialist at Bellevue Bone and Joint. Dr. Boone is also a trained Zyga Simmetry Surgical Solution Sacroiliac Joint Specialist. The purpose of the appointment was to give me an independent opinion regarding my Stryker Cannulated Screw Fixation surgery done in Georgia of my pelvis after reviewing recent lumbar/pelvic x-rays. I was so pleased that he felt my screws were stable with no negative damage to the surrounding bone and that my body was doing its own fusion around them. This meant a lot to me because over the previous 3 1/2 years since my si joint surgery, I was convinced in my mind that I surely must have tweaked the screws along the way due to my multiple lower leg surgeries and being NWB off one leg or the other etc. and still having some pelvic floor/groin weakness at various times. So I left that appointment empowered to forget about the screws and keep on doing my Postural Restoration Institute physical therapy and pay even closer attention to details that my therapist, Mark Bengtson-MPT, was teaching me along the way. It is one thing to be told what to do, its another to be able to apply the knowledge in different situations away from the time with the therapist. I truly had to learn to feel more than just think.
Throughout the summer I continued in the diagnostic process for my Brachial Plexus/ left arm/shoulder issues. I also was busy with a new female concern and having workups with a Urogynecologist while in the Bellevue area of Seattle regarding my arm.
October 8th, 2016: I was back in Ohio for yet another fun filled night of dancing at a dear friend’s wedding, walking really good on hiking trails and feeling like I was enjoying life. Yet I had to turn a fun family vacation still into a medical trip and get a 2nd opinion at the Cleveland Clinic with their top Urogynecologist as a future potential surgeon on my case.
I had another surgery on Oct 21st, 2016 back in Bellevue and that will be discussed in an upcoming blog in my Upper Extremity Category of this website. Then while healing and having rehab for my surgery, I continued rehab for the lower half of me also.
November 21st, 2016: A very regretful day as I was busy standing doing our annual business baking of our homemade Greek Baklava thank you gifts. Somehow I got tight in my back and I over rotated my pelvis in relationship to my right femur. I had a massage that night with violent spasms going down my lateral hamstring. The next day my private physical therapy consultant, Joanna, acknowledged that my femur was not in the socket like it should and it was creating pain at hip, si joints and medial knee. With her mobilizations I started to feel a little better, then the next day I went to Dr. Sheldon, DC my chiropractor and he confirmed the alignment had been tweaked at my knee by my femur and he did adjustments both at the hip and knee with some soft tissue release of trigger points and I proceeded to have a better day. My knee hurt and I immediately went back to using my Breg Fusion Brace.
November 30th, 2016: During the week of our annual Christmas Contada that I was both conducting and singing in, I also had Prolotherapy to my MCL of my right knee with Dr. Lenoue who specializes in regenerative injections. He also did peri-neural injections to help calm down the medial sided knee pain.
December 24th, 2016: I made my first attempt to get back up on roller skates for the first time in over 15 years. I had to get over the fear of falling and I held onto the wall around the roller skating rink at first because my legs felt like jello and I couldn’t find my center. I was using rental skates and it was hard to control my ankles as they were not very supportive. After about 6 songs of music I am pictured here away from the walls. My husband couldn’t believe how hard it was for me because he remembered when he first met me while I was still doing roller skating competitions as discussed in the attached newspaper article about me in 1981. (click to enlarge article) I had grown up on roller skates since 5 years old and only gave it up in 2002 after my herniation and onset of Sacroiliac Joint (SI) Dysfunction. So to say the least this was a milestone of accomplishment, but I left the skating floor telling myself to come again and maybe it would be better the next time. However, this felt like the best Christmas present to myself as a test of strength and ability to see if my non-stop physical therapy was helping to make me more functional in activities other than isolated exercises themselves. My physical therapists and my sports doctor felt that I needed to do this even though there was a risk of falling. But none of us knows our tomorrows and anything can happen in life. I am not going to stop living just because I have screws in my SI joints and other fixations in legs and feet. It was my step of faith, and I’m thankful for it.
December 29th, 2016: I closed the year with yet another surgery, the 2nd part of an Upper Extremity Surgery; however, it didn’t keep me from dancing at the New Years Eve Ball 2 days later right after we drove back home from Bellevue. I just keep my arm in sling by my side and the rest of me did just fine. Dancing is something I also enjoyed for many years during the Disco Era of late 70’s and early 80’s and to continue to dance now post all of my surgeries is icing on my cake.
February 1st, 2017: A follow up with Dr. Gent. He did x-rays on my feet/ankles. My subtalar stents are seated just perfectly in the subtalar joint/sinus tarsi. No soreness of any peroneal tendons. All was well and no arthritis between any bones. He was able to give me a wonderful brand of ankle wraps that I use mostly for nighttime to counteract my lax ligaments. I’ve tried so many kinds of ankle braces and finally after all these years I can truly say I have the most comfortable ones now after the fact of really needing them like times gone past. Here is a link: FLA Orthopedics Ankle Wrap
I also had an MRI of my right knee on this day in Bellevue while I was at a post op appointment for my shoulder to see if there was anything going on with meniscus from the prior twisting injury in November 2016 as I still had some tenderness across medial joint line to touch but no outright pain and I had complete full unhindered ROM.
February 16th, 2017: On this day, I decided to drag out my professional skates, clean them up and see if my feet could still squeeze into them. I wanted so bad to skate again but dreaded the rental skates. My Professional skates are fitted very close to feet and even with the major changes in my feet, I was pleasingly surprised that I could get them on. They just need a little stretching across width of the ball of the foot as my feet are no longer as high arched and over supinated. My feet really are more true neutral than they ever were and I’m back to wearing a wider width tennis shoe and/or dress shoe.
The best way to show the joy and happiness of my years of successful rehabilitation since the surgery is none better than a simple home video that I posted on my YouTube Channel of me roller skating filmed on 2-16-17. I succeeded, my core, legs and feet were all working together this time around and it was heavenly. I felt free like a bird sailing around the floor. It started to feel very natural again. My higher quality skates were a blessing in assisting to make this moment of good skating come to pass. While skating, I’d be remiss if I did not mention that I had re-injured my right knee back on Nov 21st 2016. That is why I have knee wraps on my knees. But I wasn’t in pain so I just protected them from strain.
I also wanted to share that around this time I had a profound change in finding my inner core compared to relying on what I call my outer core(hanging on my hip flexors, hips, leg muscles etc). This was simply by feel and asking questions of my physical therapists. I describe it like letting go of everything except the inner core pulling upward in my innermost part of my body. Then my hip flexors/psoas muscles were able to let go more properly as I came to realize they were not. This truly was totally different for me and my entire spine loved it even more. I’m attaching this research blog pertaining to the subject that I found after the fact. But I can’t even begin to describe it like this professional physiotherapist, Diane Lee, does in her blog entitled: “Training for the deep muscles of the core” I came to realize that I was actually bearing down with pulling my abs inward to support myself; but by finding the separation of the deeper core muscles, it then actually helped relax the various pieces and parts and ultimately helped my colon function better and a better feeling for my female issues. I really thought I had it right for several years before this and I really did not; however, its never to late to change. I have better thoracic rotation of my ribs because the muscles that come up from pelvis are not tight in the wrong way where they insert into spine/ribs. Both of my physical therapists could now see the positive changes I was making as they continued to give me feedback to my feedback and descriptions of what I felt. My spinal segments were staying pliable throughout the day so much better, yet I could sit up in a chair without recruiting the wrong muscles for support. I find all of this just amazing and continue to look forward for even learning more and strengthening my entire body in a true neutral activated core.
February 17th, 2017: After a wonderful night of roller skating, I got news that I had a longitudinal tear of the posterior horn of my medial meniscus as discussed with me by my orthopedic doctor in Missouri, Dr. Main, that I always consult with on anything pertaining to my knees. I had sent my MRI to him for a thorough review of the images. He told me that I needed to consider an arthroscopic knee meniscus repair and not to wait as there was no other pathology in my knee and he didn’t want the tear to get bigger or become not repairable. The tear was acute and not a chronic degenerative type. Needless to say, I had my moments of losing such the joyful feeling I had the night before when I got this news. Now a knee surgery? This was not in my plans. Again I had to surrender my thoughts and feelings and prepare myself for the next adventure. My roller skating days were now temporarily halted.
Well, stay tuned for more updates, more surgical stories as the journey continues to unfold. In the end of the day, life is still very good and I thank God for everything I learn along the way. Sacroiliac Joint Surgery has continued to prove to be a success for me and it gave me a platform/stability to sort out everything else proximal and distal in my body. Over time Malalignment Syndrome has been diminishing piece by piece out of my body. To God be the Glory! See me on my Facebook Page also.