I think I’m still in shock from this appointment.

I’m not going to lie, I cried. I cried enough that my nose ran- and inside a mask, that is decidedly unpleasant. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was scared of this appointment. Maybe not afraid, per se, but very, very uneasy. Amy’s last appointment didn’t go well, and we were both pretty certain that this would be more of the same.

Before I left, Amy’s Dad and I talked about putting together a Plan B. Plan B is what happens if Amy starts having pain when the weather changes this fall. We can’t leave her like this, in a wheelchair 4-5 months out of the year, even if the other 7-8 she is happy and active. That’s not acceptable. I wanted a plan, so we could make decisions now, when we’re not stressed or harried.

My prediction? I thought that her leg would look the same as last time, No worse, but no better. Probably with little to no evidence of the graft in the keyhole. I really, really hoped that I was wrong, and I asked people to pray, and send good thoughts her way.

We arrived at Stanford, and were immediately instructed to remove our masks that I had made, in favor of far less comfortable paper masks. I didn’t like it, but understood the necessity to keep things as clean as possible and protect our healthcare workers, as well as other patients. Amy’s was pretty cute. (Not as cute as the matching ones I made, but I digress.)

We were in the waiting room for only moments before we were called back, then we were quickly whisked into our room. Moments later, x-ray arrived to take her for her “closeups”. (lol)

Per usual, she was a perfect patient.

This is the usual part where I stare at her x-rays and make my own opinion. Not today. My stomach rolled alarmingly, and I decided to leave myself in blissful ignorance, at least for another moment.

Back in our room, no nurse practitioner came to visit us, but after a brief couple minutes, Dr. Frick arrived. He talked to Amy for a couple minutes, and said, “So are you ready to see x-rays?” I tried to play it cool, said something non committal, and turned towards the monitor.

He glanced at Amy again. “I think Mom will be happy.” My heart started hammering in double-time, and I dragged my chair closer, suddenly excited for what he was about to show me.

2nd McFarland Bypass
(Surgery 12.10.19)
Post-Op #4 – 6 months
Lateral View

He started with the lateral view. Looks about the same…

Then, the AP shot, and I was speechless.


So much to point out, but I think it’s best when viewed side-by-side with the last x-ray.

Look at the difference! Need some help?

This is the bottom part of where the graft attaches to the tibia. Back in February you can see a clear divot, but now in June, it has clearly filled in, and massively spread out, strong, and healthy.

Here you can really see the keyhole, and you can really see the graft turning from a wispy spiderweb in February to something way more solid in June!

Not going to lie, I cried. It’s getting better! It’s really getting better!!!  We have a good shot at true side-by-side union!!! It may take years, but this is excellent progress!

Oh yeah, I cried.  I cried in the office, I cried when I called Amy’s Dad, and Amy’s Grandpa, and Amy’s Grandma too. So much relief, it fills me and spreads everywhere.  GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Next steps: She’s allowed to WEIGHT-BEAR WITHOUT A BRACE! Not a lot. She’s not going to be walking around or anything. But brief careful moments. Climbing independently out the tub, for example. Brief standing on two legs. Nothing crazy. (Yet!) New brace, we’re trying a hinge again! Bad news: Cammie, the orthotist, has moved on to another city… and it would really be a stretch to follow her. Not impossible, but truly, I like having an orthotist close by for adjustments. So, I guess that means we’re going to be trying out someone new. Again. Tomorrow we’ll be getting new velcro on her current brace, and then on July 7th, we’ll be molding for a new one. She’s excited for a new pattern, and an ankle!

Otherwise, Amy and Amy’s Little Brother have their Optic Tumor Checks in August, as well as her next orthopedic appointment in December. 6 months! Wow… that’s the longest stretch we’ve ever gone without an appointment. How amazing is that?  That she’s stable enough for 6 months between visits?

Fingers crossed we’ll have no need to see a doctor about her leg until December. How amazing would it be for fall to just be a regular season, instead of an object of fear??? I have faith, she can do this!!!

In the meantime? It’s summer! There is fun to be had!

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Barbara E Allen · June 23, 2020 at 4:36 am

Wishing all of you the best of luck. It is so nice to see all of the amazing things that have happened since I was diagnosed 60 years ago. I had 30 surgeries before amputation, which was the best choice. My leg was three inches shorter and two bone grafts among other surgeries did not work. Keep following your heart. Hugs.

    Amy’s Mom · July 1, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Thank you so much, Barbara!

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