My insurance company, through the medical director, will not approve the amputation until more documentation is received on five areas:
- Document loss of range of motion
- Document loss of functionality
- Document visits with multidisciplinary teams
- Document the five surgeries and the results
- Document emotional health and well-being
Dr. Attinger reassured me on the phone that he 100% agreed with my decision and that we'd get this done, but that he agreed that this information needed to be documented.
Fortunately, I've recorded all of this information on the blog! I was able to pull together all of this information and send it over to Dr. Attinger's office. I was hoping to update the blog after we received approval, but I think that's still several days away.
In the meantime, I saw my family physician, Dr. Kabatsi, last week for a physical and to update him on my plan. After discussing with him my decision, he told me that he completely agreed. The combination of poor bone quality and history of non-union combined with my family history of heart disease and high cholesterol indicate that amputation is the best possible solution. He told me he sees several patients with ankle fusions who continue to suffer from pain and undergo revision surgeries.
He also told me that he's never heard of anyone choosing amputation over fusion or replacement. Most patients go through with a fusion or replacement only to discover later in life that amputation is the best option.
So that's the latest. I will keep you all updated once I hear any news. Everyone seems to be optimistic that the approval will go through.
I should also tell you that I've found a prosthetist! Elliot Weintrob at Orthotic Prosthetic Center in Fairfax. It was awesome meeting with him and even more awesome that one of the amputees that commented on my post showed up for my meeting! We got to sit down and talk for about 20 minutes.
I'm starting to find out that the amputee community is amazingly supportive.
Finally, I was recently reunited with my snowboard during a trip to Oklahoma. It was the first time I'd seen it since I snowboarded into the tree on February 13th, 2010. I expected the reunion to provoke anxiety and fear, but surprisingly, I was really excited and energized.
My helmet was still in the patient belongings bag from the park emergency room.
I was able to push my right foot into the boot and stand in it, but I couldn't bring myself to lacing up the boot. I was afraid it'd start hurting.
There's basically no damage to the board. There are a few bumps under the right binding where I hit the tree. The park Ski Patrol told us "boards never break, only humans." That is an accurate statement.