I wanted to take a minute to ask you to pray for my middle daughter who is having ankle surgery today; her 6th surgery since 1992, when she was just four months old, and her third surgery in the past 18 months. Long story short: she had Osteomyelitis (an acute bone infection) in her right ankle, had her talus (main ankle bone) removed at that time, then miraculously walked at 10 months of age as if the talus was still there. For 9 years there were no issues, then one day tendonitis set in, and after trying injections and other remedies through several different orthopedic surgeons over the course of a year, it was decided that they would go inside and see what was happening. So in 2002, they looked around, cleaned out a lot scar tissue, and thought they had corrected the problem. Unfortunately, there was still a localized pain the in the sub-talor joint. So, again we went to several orthopedic surgeons, most of whom did not know what to do with something like this; even some fellowship-trained ankle surgeons were baffled.
So, for surgery number three we waited until 2004, two years after the previous surgery. Finally, a sports-related ankle specialist was willing to perform another procedure. He went in to do a scope and upon opening up the ankle joint for a look, the os trigonum (a bone present in 5-15% of people which occurs when one area of bone does not fuse with the rest of the talus during growth) crumbled and had to be removed from her ankle. It looked like ground hamburger meat in the scope pictures they gave us after surgery. While this alleviated a majority of her pain we knew from this point that her ankle would be a continuing issue for the rest of her life. She would always be in pain at some level and would eventually need a full ankle replacement if she turned out to be a good candidate for it down the line. We were told that there was not a good ankle replacement option available at that time.
She never let her ankle stop her from living her childhood and teenage years to their fullest. She cheered on recreational, school, and competition teams from the age of 7 through Middle School, though she did not tumble due to her ankle. She spent three of her high school years in a pivotal roll on the kick-line of her schools Varsity Drill Team after rolling and damaging a tendon in her other ankle in tryouts the first year. She was not going to allow her ankles to stop her from being a part of something that was important to her though she knew it could cost her later down the line.
Two years ago the pain became unbearable. So, we were referred by the Chief of Orthopedics at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth who had done her second surgery in 2002 to an orthopedic surgeon in Dallas with fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery and degenerative conditions. After multiple visits, scans, x-rays, injections, and an ankle brace, it was determined that the best next step was to fuse the sub-talor joint that seemed to be the cause of the majority of her pain. So, in July of 2014, the fusion was completed. After 9 months of worse pain than she was in prior to surgery, a CT showed that the fusion did not take. She almost cried at the thought of going through another 9 months like the previous nine.
We chose to wait until the end of the school year and scheduled her most recent surgery for June 2015. This time they did a bone graft by taking bony material from below her knee, mixing it with a growth formula and injecting it into two mesh wedges created with a 3-D printer to fit in the place where her deteriorated talus should be. (Fascinating stuff! It almost seems like Science Fiction). they then took a long screw and inserted in from the heel up through her talus to hold everything in place and prayed the bone would grow this time.
God is good! We found out in late November that the bone is indeed growing. The one negative in the last 6 months is that the screw is right below the surface of her skin in the area of her heel where it strikes the ground when she walks. So, it’s causing a significant amount of pain. This morning at 7:30 am, they are taking out the screw and again we are praying it is going to make a significant difference in her ability to walk with minimal pain. Your prayers in this area are greatly appreciated. Her name is Chailey (pronounced “Kaylee”). She is a strong, beautiful woman of much faith, who has stood firm through many years of pain and suffering with this ankle. She is ready to move on to the next phase of her education and her life without the hindrance that this ankle has been for the past several years. I believe that my God is a healer who can and will give her the miracle that she needs here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy post and for your prayers. They mean so much.