I’ve been very reluctant to share my clubfoot story and my struggles after my military service but now I need some help and I think sharing my story is a good step in that direction.
I was born with a talipes on my left foot, I also had some malformation on my hip. To make this issue even more interesting, I was born in Mexico in the late 70s and it did not look good for me.
My parents did their best to get me the proper medical attention and they were able to locate a great orthopedic surgeon who happened to be working in partnership with an American doctor group who were conduction clubfoot surgeries in Mexico and South America as part of a humanitarian outreach program. I had surgery on my left clubbed foot when I was 6 months old, I had to wear prosthetics on my hip, leg and foot along with a cast in order to correct my foot.
The surgery was a success and I was on my way to having a corrected foot and a better life.
Fast forward 18 years and I’m sitting at the San Diego military entry processing center and after spending a long day going thru extensive physical testing I was medically disqualified by the doctors and told that due to my left foot condition I wouldn’t be able to make it thru Marine boot camp.
I felt broken but not defeated, I went back home and I applied for a medical waiver and 4 months later I bypassed the medical processing center and I was on my way to Marine Corps boot camp.
I made it thru boot camp, in pain but I made it, I proudly served 6 years in the Marine Corps, I served in operation Iraqi freedom and enduring freedom, I’ve been all over the world, done incredible things and I have no regrets, I would do it all over again if I had the chance.
My foot has been an issue all my life, I dont know any better, the sworeness after physical activity, the stiffness in the mornings, the regular rolling of my ankle while walking or running, the icing it at night before bed, and the list goes on.
Fast forward some more and now I’m 40 years old and dealing with a whole new list of pain.
My lower back has been a source of chronic pain for many years, sciatica is a constant companion to my lower back pain. A recent mri confirmed that I have several bulging discs and these are pressing on my sciatic nerve and causing hate and discontent up and down my left leg where my clubfoot resides.
The last month has been the worse, I have lost feeling from my knee down, I haven’t been able to move my left toes, and the pain I feel on my left thigh and buttocks is strong enough to stop me on the spot and demand immediate attention. I have lost track of what combination of pain killer, muscle relaxers, and other medication works to ease the pain.
I have become desperate and I found myself searching for cases and reports of elective limb amputation in an attempt to talk my self out of considering this as an option to eliminate this pain.
This current chapter of my life after clubfoot surgery is difficult enough to bring me to tears. Tears of pain, frustration, hopelessness and desperation to find a solution or at least a way to make this champion of a leg hurt less.
I have a 10 year old son who loves baseball and plays in a travel team. Practicing with him and playing baseball with him is by far one of the best things in my life, any pain that I have to endure after playing baseball with my son is welcomed and well worth it.
I’m scheduled to resume physical therapy with the VA this week, I’m also being seen regularly by a chiropractor and I keep doing my morning stretches.
I don’t know how effective all of this will be, I really don’t think any amount of stretching and flexing will increase the size of my left calf afflicted by muscle atrophy or repair the damaged tendons on my left foot.
I’m not very optimistic about the future of my foot, I feel like I’ve entered a new stage on this book of Wills talipes foot. I really hope this isn’t the beginning of a downward spiral where my foot just goes from bad to worse and my quality of life follows.
I started to write these thoughts with a point that I wanted to make, I’m not sure what that point is anymore. Maybe I just needed to get this off my chest in hopes this audience understands what I’m going thru. It’s hard to explain things associated with my clubfoot to people who don’t have this issue.
Is anybody going thru similar long term issues with clubfoot corrective surgery?
Since the circumstances surrounding my surgery in Mexico are so dim, recovering medical records is impossible. I don’t know exactly what was done to my foot, I don’t know what method was used, I don’t even know the doctors name. All I know is that they did a great job, they gave me an opportunity to do some incredible things in my life, things that I know I couldn’t have done had the surgery not been a success.
If I have to spend the rest of my life on the sidelines because of my foot then I think I would be ok with it. I feel like I’ve done more with my life so far with one bad foot than most people have done with two good feet.
Hopefully me sharing my story helps somebody, including me.
Thank you for reading.