Early last year, my parents took me over to one of the most reputable orthopedic professors and surgeons in the country to find out of anything could be done about my legs and feet. After 12 year of crawling and relative immobility, my knees and feet had grown into shapes and forms that made it very difficult for me to walk.
So this professor investigated my legs, knees and feet very thoroughly. They took X-ray scans and filmed me walking with a special camera that registered my every move and documented this in a 3D analysis.
Based on this analysis, the professor decided to operate my legs. He was convinced he could put my legs straight, fix my knees and ankles and that operation would make it much easier for me to walk in the future. My parents didn’t hesitate for a second and cried tears of happiness when the surgeon told them he wanted to operate on me and asked them for their permission. It was an awkward moment for the medical staff because they had not often seen people react so happy to such a heavy news.
The operation date was set and the necessary preparations made to undergo the surgery. The operation lasted 9 hours and each leg was broken in 3 separate places – a so called multilevel orthopedic correction. They lowered my knees and reconstructed my ankles. The surgeon worked non-stop and it took 3 shifts of nurses to assist him during the operation. Metal plates were bolted in to keep everything tightly together.
After the operation I spent another week or so in the hospital before being sent home to recover. My parents had a hospital bed installed in our living room and a nurse came in every day to help my mom with the caretaking activities.
After 3 weeks I had to go back to the hospital for a first checkup and to replace the casks on my legs and feet. I had those on for another 6 weeks before they could come of and I could really start my revalidation exercises. I had been exercising daily with a leg-stretching machine to keep my muscles flexible but it was only after 9 weeks that I finally got rid of all the casks and could start standing and walking again.
My mom trained with me every single day and when I was able to go back to school at the end of the year, it felt great to be with my friends and teacher again. They had sent me “get well” cards and presents, but I had missed them so much!
Earlier this year I had to go back to get an extra correction done on my feet but luckily the revalidation for that surgery was a lot faster than with the large operation. I was up and training again in only 3 weeks’ time and this time I was a lot quicker to remember how to walk. Learning to walk again gets easier if it’s the third or fourth time.
Early next year I need to go back to the professor who will take out all the metal plates that are still in my legs. I’m not looking forward to this surgery but I realize it’s necessary as I have been growing quite a bit and the plates are beginning to bother me as they start to stick out. I realize it’s necessary and afterwards I’ll be a lot more comfortable which will help my walking. The professor also told me I’ll need more surgery in the future but if that is what it takes to get me to walk, than that is what it takes. I’m ready for it and so are my folks!
We have been through quite a rough period my parents, my brother and I. The hospital where they operated me is quite far away and going back and forth all the time for the necessary checkups is sometimes quite annoying. Spending days and weeks there was quite exhausting on all of us. But we will prevail and I will walk again eventually.
Today I can walk ten to fifth teen meters without help and I’m quite proud of that! I need to practice every day and although I sometimes don’t feel like it, my mom continues to motivate me and herself to exercise daily. She has thought me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it so that one day, something that many people take for granted like walking, but is such a huge challenge for me, will be possible as effortless as it is for most people. Until that day is there, I will prevail and continue through. One step at a time… And when I occasionally fall down, I’ll get up again and will try again.
So even after the surgeon takes out all the metal plates early next year, I’ll still feel like Iron man and I will walk again!
Hope you enjoyed this week’s post and stay tuned next week for more on my adventures.
Have a great week!