high-fiving the miter saw | update

Well apparently I haven’t done a proper update on the hubby’s hand since March.

Let’s back up a little. Prior to his second reconstructive surgery in October, Jace had basically no pain, but also had VERY limited function and motion due to excessive scar tissue growth and tendon attachments. This occurred because the hand had to be immobilized for so long in order to allow the bones to heal. The hand surgeon was very impressed with the bone healing rate, but held off on another surgery until October so that he could definitively remove all the hardware at the same time as he freed the tendons.

img_20161017_184324The surgery in October went very well, the hand surgeon was able to form a fist with his hand in the OR, which made us very optimistic. During that surgery, the hand surgeon ended up needing to make 2 new long incisions. Through those incisions, he released 6 tendons that had scar tissue and had adhered to other tissue, he removed all the hardware from around the bones, he resurfaced the joints, and manipulated 15 joints. He was immediately instructed to move his fingers and hands as much as possible since the tendons were intact. This was to prevent as much scar tissue build up as possible. While initially he didn’t see immediate improvement, right about 16 days, exactly when the hand surgeon said he would, he began to see more motion. This is related to the way the body heals, deals with inflammation, and grows scar tissue. img_20161020_201729

In the weeks following that surgery, he saw marked improvement. While his first finger and thumb were virtually unusable before, he now was able to actually move them significantly more. This allowed him to actually be able to grip and pinch things. He was able, with continual exercising, improve his range of motion significantly. Although he still had very little muscle strength. We were confident this would come with time though, as he was able to move it more.

Just this past week however, during his three times a week therapy appointments, the PT noticed what appears to be a chunk of bone right on top of the knuckle joint of his pointer finger. Since the ultrasound massage last week, he has been having intermittent significant pain in that joint. It is sensitive to touch and motion, but also just spasms unexpectedly. It has gotten stiffer as he is using it much less, and he has had a reduction in mobility.

He was able to get in for a quick appointment this holiday week, and the hand surgeon feels that it is a chunk of bone that was trying to grow over the wires before they were removed. He is not too concerned, but is going to schedule an out-patient surgery to remove the bone chunk. Luckily, while he is in there, he will go ahead remove another benign chunk and manipulate the joints again. We don’t have a date for this surgery yet, but it will likely be within the next month.

He is also seeking a second opinion (based on the recommendation of his PT) with a practice well known for their cutting edge work on joint replacement. His PT was concerned about the strength of the bone and joint. That appointment is next week, and should be informative for us. Although it’s likely we will still go ahead with the planned surgery with his current doctor.

As we can imagine, injuries like this will probably continue to be two steps forward, one step back. He is on the road to recovery and hopefully gaining at least most of the function of his hand again. We are nearing the year mark from the injury and very blessed that all that means for his job is a slight reduction in pay as he loses his “flight pay” after a year of not flying. We are very blessed that he still has a steady income and a career willing to wait on his recovery. We covet your prayers as we continue to walk this path!

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