Normalization of surgery and toes

It struck me the other day that the whole concept of surgery has been normalized for me. I knew this about breast cancer surgeries – where the talk of lumpectomies, mastectomies, and reconstruction are just normal part of my vocabulary, but I didn’t realize how that also influenced other areas of my health.

When my big toe pain came back (I have osteoarthritis in my big toe – I had a surgery about two years ago to clean out the joint which did relieve some of the pain), I went back to see the pediatrist. He recommended a synthetic cartilage implant ( that has recently been approved. What is interesting to me is that the studies were done in Canada and the UK.

What struck me was that the idea of the surgery didn’t bother me in any way. The whole idea of getting a cartilage implant seemed cool more than anything else.

I’m finding myself wonder, if my willingness to do this is in part because the whole idea of surgery has been normalized for me? I’m not worried about it. It doesn’t feel odd in any way.

It is also interesting that I didn’t want implanted breasts, but I’m OK with implanted cartilage in my toe. I think part because the alternatives aren’t any better. My toe pain is back. It can be problematic at times. The surgery I had two years ago relieved some of the pain, but not all of it – and my range of motion isn’t great. The x-ray showed that the arthritis grew back. The pediatrist doesn’t think doing the same surgery again makes any sense, because it will just grow back. We knew when we did it, that is was just a stop gap. The idea was that it would give me 5-7 years before needing to fuse the joint. I didn’t get that long, but this option is much better than fusing. It it doesn’t work, then fusing is still an option, so it doesn’t take that off the table. So, logistical me says this is the right choice.

Do you find that breast cancer surgeries have made it easier for you to approach other health issues?

  • Becky

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