My experience: why I needed surgery and how I’m recovering
Okay so before I get into the deets, please remember that I’m only talking about my personal experience and cannot diagnose, treat, or prevent yours.
Why I needed surgery
Basically I’ve had a broken hammertoe for years, but didn’t know it. I originally went to the podiatrist in the summer of 2017 to have the doctor remove what I thought was a corn on my second toe. Turns out it was actually joint fluid building up from a broken bone. *Mind Blown* How the hell did I have a broken toe and have NO idea?! My doctor told me it would need to be repaired because it was starting to effect other joints and bones not only in that toe but my whole foot.
I remember feeling shocked that I was walking around with a broken toe and I couldn’t remember any specific event that would’ve caused it. I figured it must have been from a soccer injury in high school, but honestly I have no clue.
When my doctor told me I needed surgery I also felt disappointed and nervous because half of my life is spent on my feet, not only as a walking person, but specifically in my work – I’m constantly teaching and moving around.
I waited nearly a year and a half to book the surgery because I felt fine – I hadn’t feel any pain or discomfort. Up until these last few months was I really started to feel the effects (yes, it became painful). It’s WILD how 1 toe can cause such an imbalance in the entire foot and that side of the body. Just goes to show how important every single part of our body is.
I was in denial that I was having surgery
For weeks leading up to it I just thought of it as another day. I’d talk about it casually because it really wasn’t a big deal to me. Until the Monday before going in (Friday, 2/15 was surgery) did it hit me that I’d be off my feet for several weeks AND I wouldn’t be able to drive (since it’s my right foot). I started feeling really anxious. I moved around work, meetings, and obligations since I wasn’t going to be able to go far, let alone ensure I had anyone around to bring me. Fortunately, my tribe of yogis, students, and clients were super understanding and supportive. And thank God my mom is around, available, and beyond willing to help me.
The day before surgery I had a minor panic attack while I was at a client’s house.
I do not do well with needles, IVs, medical and surgical tools. I have to lay down to get blood drawn because I’ve fainted several times. So when I started thinking about the actual process of prepping for surgery I became super nervous and anxious. Couple this with the thought of being home with limited to no exercise for 2-4 weeks was mentally driving me crazy.
I know my surgery is super super minor and done alllll the time.
But surgery as an adult is much different than as a child.
You understand the process, the procedure, the risks. You remember more.
The only other surgeries I’ve had are the removal of my wisdom teeth (is this even considered surgery?) and tonsillectomy (goodbye tonsils) when I was 5 years old. I feel pretty lucky that I’ve been blessed with a healthy body and life so far.
I’m calling it foot surgery but it was really a hammertoe correction – but saying you’re having ‘toe surgery’ just sounds soooo lame (no?!)
Before the procedure
I arrived at the hospital, waited only a few minutes in the waiting area, and then went into begin the pre-op process. First they took a urine sample to test for pregnancy, which obviously came back negative. Then they took my vitals, and then came the IV (and the nerves). Time went by fairly quickly. Before long, my mom was back beside me, along with my surgeon, anesthesiologist, and two nurses.
I was injected with some sort of medication (it went into my vein with the IV) that helps with nausea (since I explained that my nerves and anxiety were cranking, and I tend to get sick with drugs). I instantly started feeling loopy. And then literally within a minute I was wheeled out of the room.
I remember being wheeled what seemed like only a short distance to the operating room. I was pretty unconscious now, but after talking with friends and family after I was triggered with a few memories.
When we got into the operation room I had to be transported onto the operating table. I vaguely remember struggling to get on there, all I had to do was roll, but I felt so weak. After they assisted me, I said my name and birthday, I took deep breaths into the mask, and my very last thought was “God I hope I fall asleep soon!” And BAM the general anesthesia kicked in. It was go time.
After the procedure
My procedure was smooth and seamless. I woke up about 3 hours later. I couldn’t believe it was all over. I looked at my foot and was SO pleasantly surprised to see a soft cast (since my doctor had presumed she was going to give me a hard cast). I laid in post-op for another hour or so before Kyle took me home. I was so relieved and happy and grateful – that everything went well, I didn’t give myself an anxiety attack, and the surgical team was not only exceptionally skilled and talented, but super comforting and empathetic.
My healing process
If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ve heard me talk about how blissful this healing process has been. Not only is my toe and foot healing great, but overall I feel amazing. I’m resting a ton, sleeping in later than usual, and relaxing.
This surgery forced me to literally stop and I am truly grateful for that.
I knew I was stressed before surgery, but I didn’t realize the level of stress. Being on bed rest has forced me to stay home, not exercise, and just chill. After only a couple days I felt rejuvenated. My creativity is back, new ideas and work are easily pouring out of me, my body is relaxed, I haven’t binged (MAJOR since I’ve been home more often than not). I feel light and genuinely happy.
I know this wasn’t major or dangerous surgery, but it has taken a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’m looking forward to practicing yoga without worrying and overcompensating my foot, taking barre without feeling like I’m going to break all my toes, running without pain, and overall feeling whole again. The recovery process has taught me to take more breaks, to ease up my schedule, and ask for help (yes, it’s really OK to rely on other people – in fact I think it’s one of the more selfless things we could do).
I hope you don’t have to have any surgery or procedure, but if you do, remember to trust yourself – your body knows how to heal itself if you allow it to. Give yourself permission to feel all the emotions. You’re stronger than you feel, wiser than you think, and greater than you can imagine.