Friday, January 23, 2009


I've been going to physical therapy for my leg three times a week since the beginning of January, and that is going really well; I'm SO glad I'm going. I can't imagine how many people suffer unnecessarily because their doctors don't refer them automatically. I had to ASK for it even though my surgeon knew I had been unable to bend my leg almost at all from August through all of November, and I have only been able to bend it 90 degrees since December.

My leg feels SO much better now, and even though a little tiny part about 1/4" x 1/4" is STILL not healed over, I was able to leave it uncovered even wearing pants for the first time yesterday without it burning. I slept without a hydrogel or other dressing on my leg for the first time last night since I had surgery on August 4! Woo-hoo!!

My therapist (Natalie) has been working on softening the scar tissue in my leg. She's doing something called ASTYM. I've only had two treatments of that so far but it has already made a world of difference! It is the most amazing thing I've ever seen since it doesn't seem like what she's doing would be enough to make any difference at all, but it DOES! (I go again this afternoon.)

After my very FIRST treatment on Monday, the tissue under the top part of my scar felt noticeably softer and after the second one, the whole thing feels almost normal.

Basically they just put cocoa butter on my leg and scrape it with this hard plastic tool, not even very hard, and not for particularly long. I don't understand how it works but I am completely amazed at the results. I'm almost positive this will help prevent the swelling in my leg when I sit or stand too long, and my calf is staying more "stretched out" now instead of feeling cramped up.

There's a video of what they do at the link below.

Talk to y'all soon,


Monday, January 12, 2009

Long pants!

As of last Wednesday, January 7 I am able to wear long pants again without it hurting. Prior to this, even a lightweight skirt brushing against my leg was uncomfortable (even with my thigh-high stocking over a hydrogel or non-stick pad covering what's left of my burn.)

January 7 was the first time since August 2 that I had even attempted to wear long pants, and I'm so relieved that I CAN now because it's getting COLD, especially at night.

Last night I slept in sweatpants for the first time since surgery, and am starting to feel back to normal now, even though I haven't attempted to wear heavier fabrics or less-full-cut clothes like jeans.

I also was able to put my light cotton blanket on the bed last night for the first time all winter. Again, because of my leg, I couldn't tolerate any weight on it, and from August through almost all of November I actually had to sleep with my leg on top of the covers first while my scar was healing and later because of the burns on both the back of my knee and the side of my leg.

Physical therapy is going well. Today I was able to scoot 2/3 of the way around the room on an office stool before stopping to rest, which was a marked improvement over last week when I could only go a few steps at a time without resting. So Natalie had me go around twice today, and she has added new things for me to do each time. Unlike PT for my shoulder in 2007, none of this hurts or is uncomfortable; I'm just terribly weak. I'm very glad I'm doing this in a formal way, however, because I'd never do it at home on my own and would probably hurt myself if I tried to just jump in and start exercising again.

Things are picking up again at work since choir starts this week and the kids will resume in two weeks. I've got a lot of scheduling to do before then, so that's all for now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, my leg STILL isn't completely healed yet.... I have a stubborn little spot about 1/2" x 1/4" that just won't heal over.

However, the developments are as follows:

Just before Thanksgiving, I was supposed to have an MRI of my leg. That didn't happen. Instead, I had a CT scan with contrast of my chest, abdomen and pelvis, which came out clean (so they said) even though the written record shows a "lung cyst" and either a cyst or a hemangioma in my liver, and I found out I have uterine fibroids. They didn't TELL me any of this...I wouldn't have known had I not requested and paid for the records.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better since Thanksgiving, and my burn healed really quickly up to the point where it has been stuck since Immaculate Conception. Christmas went remarkably well considering how late I had to prepare for everything since I wasn't able to do ANYTHING much at all until Thanksgiving.

A lady from church (thanks, Maggie!) gave me a little kit of Burts' Bees products including some salve that contains comfrey and lavender. I started using that just before Christmas; the comfrey stimulates cells so that they repair faster.

When I went home to New Orleans the day after Christmas, Mom gave me some medicine she used when she had cellulitis. That helped within one day to reduce the inflammation and discoloration around my wound, and it has continued to help. Within a couple of days, it seemed like the wound was getting shallower (but still not SMALLER.) So the combination of the Burts' Bees and the medicine was helping to spur on some new healing since I was stalled for almost 3 weeks without any encouraging signs of healing at all prior to using these.

By the time I left New Orleans (Dec. 30) I was able to sleep without a pillow between my legs for the first time since the summer. Prior to that, it hurt a LOT if my legs touched if I tried to sleep on my side and if I put any pressure on the wound at all.

The other development since Christmas is that it doesn't hurt if I press around it or even on it (when covered.) Prior to even Christmas Day it hurt, especially in two little swollen spots on opposite ends of the wound.

Last night I put a hydrogel on the wound, and it stayed in place all day, even through physical therapy this afternoon, and two games of bowling with Bill and his son Will, whose birthday it is today.

So I guess my leg is healing deep under the skin, but it is taking FOREVER. The part that's left was right where I tore off the tape which made the original wound, and that's the same spot where the beams exited my leg, and I would have gotten the concentrated "boost" of radiation in my final week of treatment.

My next CT is supposedly without contrast, of just my lungs, in February. I'll finally have an MRI of my leg in May, but Dr. Oskouei said he wanted my leg to be completely healed before that since scar tissue can appear similar to tumor tissue.

I started physical therapy on Friday back at Benchmark Physical Therapy on McGinnis Ferry Road. They did such a great job with my shoulder in Fall 2007, I definitely wanted to go back there again. I had to ASK to get the prescription; they didn't automatically offer it to me. It's incredible to me that they don't prescribe PT for everyone who has not been able to have full range of motion in a limb for several months. It just goes to show you that the patient really has to be proactive about their own treatment.

I'm still tired from the "holidays" which for me include some pretty heavy workdays. I've got to get my house cleaned up now that I have a reasonable amount of energy. It's making me crazy. At least I got all my laundry done over the past couple of days.

Will try to check in again before my next Doctor appointment and post pictures of my leg (now OK for mainstream viewing) and hopefully SOON, one of my leg fully healed with all skin intact!

For now, Happy New Year!