Living With Arthritis and Necrosis

I have had a lot of people reach out and ask me about what it’s like having arthritis and necrosis in my ankles, and how I manage it on a day-to-day basis. I’ve decided to share a couple “highlights” about living with arthritis and necrosis damaged ankles. (You can see some the current status of my feet and the noise the damage makes here: Damaged Ankles)

In 2009, I was diagnosed with arthritis and necrosis in my ankles and throughout my feet (Avascular Necrosis is also called Osteonecrosis). Specifically, the damage is pretty bad in my talus and metatarsal regions with both feet suffering from collapses which means part of the bone in those areas of literally collapsed down.

My first surgery due to arthritis and necrosis was on my right ankle. I had a bone fragment break off my ankle and a growth actually started growing on the bone fragment! I immediately went to the doctor who referred me to a specialist who then performed an in-office test, and then scheduled me for surgery the very next day. Luckily for me, the growth wasn’t cancerous and the bone fragment was successfully removed. While the Orthopedic surgeon was removing the bone fragment, he also cleaned away additional bone debris which helped alleviate a lot of pain in my joint. I’ve inserted some pictures so you can see the bone fragment and the growth that followed. The growth ultimately started oozing which is why you see some scabbing.

My next surgery involved scoping my left ankle and repairing my big toe metatarsal. I was already suffering from severe pain in my ankle joint due to floating bone debris caused by damage from necrosis and arthritis, when my big toe metatarsal joint literally blew out to the side! My big toe metatarsal was so weak from the damage that it completely fell apart! When it happened, I was walking and I could feel it “pop”, and then tremendous amounts of pain shoot through my foot. For the most, the majority of bone debris was removed.

Unfortunately, it’s only been about three years since that surgery, and I already have significant bone debris in my metatarsal region again. I also have significant bone debris again in both ankle joints. Even normal walking can cause excruciating pain when a piece of floating bone debris lands in just the right spot. If I am having a flare-up or a “bad day” I can experience significant swelling in my ankles and metatarsal region which causes a lot of pain, and severely reduces my mobility.

I consider myself pretty lucky for a couple of reasons: 1) I was diagnosed with necrosis when I was young (19) which increases the possibility of my body being able to somewhat heal itself. 2) I’ve been able to have some of the best treatment including electrical stimulation. I really hope to have stem cell treatment when hopefully it can be approved by insurance, but that seems like to might be a while. 3) I’ve sort of “adapted” to the pain. Most days I only have mild pain, but it’s definitely manageable. Here are a couple of pictures of what my feet look like today 🙂

If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis and/or necrosis it can be a very tough thing to deal with. However, don’t lose hope! I’m still able to exercise regularly (which actually helps) and do a lot of normal activities. It will be tough for sure, but it’s definitely worth it to keep a positive attitude and keep pushing forward!

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

-Dylan

25th Birthday–New Goals

I share two important goals as I celebrate my 25th birthday!

Welp. I’m officially in my mid-twenties now. Yesterday, July 2, was my 25th birthday which is hard for me to believe—It’s crazy looking back and seeing where I’ve been, and just how much I’ve progressed. Ten years ago, I had rampant, undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease which has changed my life forever. I’m eternally grateful I’ve been able to heal and recover and get to the point of health that I have today. Looking forward to the next ten years I have multitude of goals that I want to accomplish, but specifically two really stick out to me:

  1. Maintain My Current Level of Health and Continue to Heal- Ask anyone with a chronic disease, every day is a battle to maintain your health. There are so many things that could trigger a flare up or a setback. It’s so important to take care of your body and listen to it’s needs. I also want to make significant improvement the condition of my ankles. As many of you know, I have severe avascular necrosis combined with arthritis in my ankles which prevents me from running, jumping, and lifting heavy weights. I’d love to prove the doctors and everyone else wrong and make progress in my fight against avascular necrosis. One day I’d love to be able to run!

 

  1. Help Others With Their Chronic Disease Battles- I feel extraordinarily blessed in my fight against chronic disease that I’ve had the best of the best doctors and resources to help me get better. I’m aware that not everyone has had the same resources and opportunity to get better like I have. I’m working on mediswarm.com to help others dealing with chronic disease to find a support group that can actually help them get better along with finding answers to their questions, sharing ideas, and being able to see top-rated solutions. I’m always available to talk about ways of living with chronic disease and serious life hacks to make things better. If you ever want to talk, chat, IM, whatever, just let me know 😊

 

I know I only shared two goals, but I feel like they are so very important. If I can continue to take care of myself, then I will be able to help others in their journey even more. Here’s to the best yet to come!