Okay, actually my surgery was on November 22, 2019. Needless to say, I am so, so glad I got the surgery done long enough before the pandemic started that I even had the two-month follow-up appointment before everything went sideways. Actually, my follow-up was on January 18, 2020 — the same day COVID-19 Patient Zero came into the US, passing through the same airport I did.
Before we jump into how it’s gone, I want to call out once again that without my family, this wouldn’t have happened. Thank you again to my family for making it possible for me to have this done.
Now, on to the less important stuff.
I’m not sure how to quantify the surgery’s success. I only had the one follow-up a couple to confirm I could resume activity, and everything looked good then — a very reasonable amount of blood flow through the artery and a significant improvement in the amount of watts I could output on the bike test. And from January through May, I felt fantastic: Equal power from both legs, similar soreness on rides, and a similar recovery time for each leg. It was glorious!
But since May, I’ve experienced what seems like a slower recovery time and, at times, notable and substantial soreness in my left leg compared with my right leg. Fortunately, it’s not yet been the crippling, debilitating stabbing agony of pre-surgery, and no additional resting symptoms (primarily a constantly sore/tingling foot) have resumed. And I can still go jogging, something I couldn’t do at all pre-surgery.
When those symptoms first started I had a huge spike of anxiety, fearing it would mean a complete regression back to pre-surgery misery. That hasn’t happened (yet), and I’m greatly enjoying a certain amount of vigorous riding, but I don’t have quite the same sense of available energy. It’s a little difficult to describe.
Since then, I’ve really wanted to do another follow-up ABI test to see if some regression has occurred, and if so, how much. Granted, I’m not sure what I’d do if I had regressed, but I’d like to know. For now, though, flying to Stanford for another bike test and consult with Dr. Lee is about as plausible as flying to the moon to enjoy a snack of green cheese. So I’m just enjoying having a leg that works pretty pretty dang well compared with before, and I’m letting Future Katie worry about ABI tests and percent blockage and what have you.
So, bottom line, am I glad I did the surgery? Yes. Although even only in terms of biking, 2020 has not at all held what I expected for it a year ago, I’ve gotten great value from the surgery. Even if it isn’t perfect, I’ve been able to ride more, live my daily life without constant foot and leg pain, and even do the occasional cross-training activity. THAT is something to be thankful for.