So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

A few years ago I had a contrast CT scan on my chest to check for blood clots. The hospital required me to stop by Urgent Care for an IV needle to be inserted, and then I drove myself to the scan. I then had to change into the gown with this needle stuck in my arm. At this point the tech asked me if had ever given birth. Apparently if I had ever gone through childbirth I wouldn’t be crying about this. 

I am a whiny baby. Pray for my husband.

Today a surgeon is going to tear into my flesh and remove a tiny bone in my foot that is dead, dying or broken. It needs to come out. 

I have been in pain for nearly 2 years. It took 18 months for me to get a diagnosis. Small town healthcare let me down again and again in this process. I saw the first doctor at four months. It’s a sports injury. Push through it I told myself. What I didn’t know was that injuries greater than a few weeks are no longer considered acute, but chronic. Chronic pain doesn’t just cure itself it requires intervention. I didn’t know that I should know that. I was naive enough to trust the medical professional. The first doctor I went to told me I was fine and sent me off with generic anti-inflammatories. Nothing came of it.

I did everything I could come up with to self treat having no idea that it was all in vain. I saw the second medical professional nearly a year later. He is a chiropractor. He took X-Rays and began to educate me on my anatomy. He educated me about chronic pain, about these two tiny bones called sesamoids, and about how unlikely it is for an old ligament tear to ever be whole again. While the chiropractor acknowledged that the injury was out of his league, he is – in a sense – my hero because he educated me. He also led me to my first clue of what my condition was by making a suggestion: taping the toe. I googled how to tape my toe and here is where I got my answer. KT Tape had a youtube video about taping for Turf Toe. Turf Toe? What on earth is that? I googled some more. Holy cow! Those are my symptoms! This is exactly me! This is my pain! 

And so I diagnosed myself. 

I was still so burned out on local healthcare I had no idea what to do with my revelation. So I just sat on my self-diagnosis. 

At the 18 month mark I finally found my answer. A podiatrist set up a booth at a health fair. Free consultations! Poor guy had no idea what a force he was meeting that day. “I have turf toe. What are you going to do about it?” After I picked his brain for at least half an hour it was determined that I needed an MRI for absolute confirmation. Otherwise it would be more guess and check.

The MRI showed that I have two torn ligaments, mild arthritis and possible bone death in those two tiny bones. When I got the results from the doctor I picked his brain for two hours! Poor guy. (He charged me twice for that visit.) Here all the information the chiropractor told me was personalized to me. At 18 months that ligament could never, ever be the same. Those little bones are diseased, and I was in a chronic pain condition from inflammation. 

While that doctor is very nice he is still wet behind the ears. I also had a tough time communicating with him that being physically active meant everything to me. My whole social life was built around friends I met at the gym. I am one of those people. I’m only 31. I need my life back. I have shed tears over my inability to participate with my friends in my favorite activities. This doctor clearly did not get it. He explained that nothing he could do would restore my level of activity. This was out of his league. I will forever be grateful that he educated me about my specific condition. He gave me the right “buzzwords” to find my answers. My sesamoid bones were damaged and my plantar plate torn. 

Finally, there was only two questions remaining. What can be done and who can do it? 

Here’s a couple tips I have learned about finding an orthopedist (or any doctor for that matter). 

First, find a professional athlete that has your injury and go to his doctor! These doctors are accessible to you and to me. The Phoenix Suns are famous in the pro sports community for having a very low injury rate. (My husband told me that). Their head doctor is accessible to me and to you. (Dr. Carter doesn’t happen to specialize in my condition though.) 

Second, Google “the best orthopedic X doctor” and professional associations have lists, awards, accolades, etc. This is how I found my doctor at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. I was going down that list looking at each doctor when I found Dr. Thomas Clanton. Dr. Clanton has been researching turf toe for decades. He lectures on plantar plate repairs and he treats professional athletes. His reputation is built on getting active people active again. This was the doctor for me and he is only 9 hours away. 

Third, if you can, make the sacrifice. Think outside the box. I am asked all the time “Why are you going to Vail?” I’m going to Vail because I’m 31 years old and I want my life back. It’s still true that old ligament damage is hard to repair. Dr. Clanton cannot change that fact but he has given us what no one else has…confidence. Going to Vail will cost us (a lot) more due to travel expenses, fortunately most of it is tax free with a health savings account. We will have to make the trip several times, but it’s all worth it trusting we are in great hands. 

Fourth, learn what questions to ask. After everything, when it comes time to go under the knife we had just two final questions: “How often do you perform this procedure?” and “What are your outcomes?” In my case it’s 30-50 times per year and greater than 85% success. 

Fifth, know that better than standard healthcare exists. My first doctor barely touched my toe. Not much to see anyway I thought. Dr. Clanton examined my feet standing up, sitting down and compared them to each other. He measured range of motion and pain spots. When I’ve had questions I could call his office and speak to a right hand man and get specific answers. His staff is composed of educated medical professionals to carry out most aspects of his clinic. I called to ask a question thinking I was speaking to a receptionist to later find out she was a nurse practitioner. Dr. Clanton suggested a peer nearer to us but we couldn’t get past the office lackey asking me how to spell things. 

If you can get one thing out of reading this please let it be this: Take control of YOUR healthcare. Thanks to the doctors that educated me. It’s too bad they couldn’t also help me, but knowledge truly is power. 

I am scared and I am a whiny baby, but I finally have hope that I can get my life back. 

Read more about how I took control of my hormone troubles at I’d Rather Eat a Cookie

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Adrienne Jones

Adrienne Jones is a clueless newlywed trying to navigate adulthood. While she has been "playing" grownup for more than a decade,she realizes she really doesn't know much of anything about anything especially men. She is a hopeless dog-lover with two beautiful rescues called Maverick and Goose. As it turns out, they are hopelessly devoted to their daddy, and with good cause because he spoils them rotten. As a family hobby the Jones' open their home to foster various dogs waiting for a new start. Conveniently located in the west, the family lives for adventure and basks in the glory of all that God created through hiking and camping. Professionally Adrienne feels like a bonified member of the Island of Misfits. She has a degree in Emergency Management and is a licensed helicopter pilot. Over-educated and unemployed, she is living the American dream.

I Became a Widow at 37; God’s Grace Sustained My Young Family

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mom and young daughter at sunset

After my husband soared to Heaven eight years ago, my three daughters and I found ourselves on an intense grief journey. I never imagined being a widow at age 37 when my girls were just 2, 5, and 8 years old. Despite the heaviness of grief, I knew God was near. And I longed for my daughters to experience His comforting presence too. That’s how we started chasing God’s glory together. We started with a nightly rhythm of watching the sunset together. We would step out onto our back patio or pull over on the side of the road and pause...

Keep Reading

The Miscarriage I Had Decades Ago Is Still a Tender Wound

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad feeling woman walking in early twilight

It’s funny how grief tends to bury itself in the recesses of one’s mind until it literally rises from the dead at some point and resurrects through the experience of others.  I did not know how traumatized I was when I lost a baby in 1993 through miscarriage, or what my doctor termed as a “spontaneous abortion,” until a friend recanted his wife’s similar experience to me. The hurt and denial of the past sprung back to the present rather quickly as if it was happening to me all over again. My husband and I couldn’t have been happier when...

Keep Reading

I’m Letting Go of My Toxic Mother

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Daughter holding mother's hand, color photo

My mom died. She died, but I became free. For the very first time in my life, I’m not worried about what stories and lies she’s spreading about me. Even though we lived thousands of miles apart from each other, she had everyone around me in the palm of her hand. They believed her. I was a horrible child, rebellious teenager, and spiteful adult.  You see, I was never good enough for her. Her fantasy of what she believed a daughter ought to be is something I simply could never live up to. When I realized the behavior was transferring...

Keep Reading

I Buried My Heart with My Baby but God Brought Me Back to Life

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in a sweater standing outside looking at sunset

Recently, my world felt as if it were crashing around me. I was so angry I think my rage could have burned a small village. Unfortunately, that rage was directed at God though I knew that wasn’t what I needed to be directing toward Him. He owed me nothing then, and He owes me nothing now; however, my heart was shattered, and for a while, it seemed as if my faith was crumbling with it. I stopped going to church. I stopped praying. I stopped all positive feelings and allowed myself to succumb to the pain and the anger. When...

Keep Reading

My World Stopped When I Lost My Dad

In: Grief
Sad woman placing a white flower on a closed casket

I think it’s safe to say we have all dealt with grief. If you haven’t, count your blessings. I, like so many of us, have traveled on the road of grief . . . an unpleasant walk. After several losses, I have been on different sides of grief. When your friend loses a grandparent, you mourn with them, for them, for yourself, for their family. But it doesn’t quite affect your everyday life. When your spouse loses an aunt after an illness. When your spouse loses an uncle in a motorcycle accident, you mourn the loss of a kindhearted man....

Keep Reading

It’s the Flower Food Packet that Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Flowers on a headstone

It’s the flower food packet that gets you. That little plastic packet with the powder that keeps your flowers alive longer. The little packet you know you’ll never use because these flowers aren’t going in a vase. They’re going on the ground. RELATED: The Impossible Grief of Child Loss Hurts Forever Buying flowers for my baby’s grave is a normal process for me. Every so often, and especially around the time of year we lost our boy, I grab a bunch at our local grocer. I lay them carefully on top of where his very tiny body was laid to...

Keep Reading

How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Mother?

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on edge of bed

Sitting at a McDonald’s table in Charleston, SC, I looked down at my ill-fitting shirt and shorts. Stress had taken its toll, and most of my clothes now hung off me. I should have worn something else I thought, but how do you pick out an outfit for saying goodbye to your mother? I reached up and felt my earrings. They were hers and seemed right. That was something at least.   Within the hour, my family and I would come together to take my mom off life support. It was Good Friday and I managed to secure an Episcopal priest...

Keep Reading

This Is How to Show Up for a Friend Who Has Cancer

In: Cancer, Friendship, Living
Bald woman during cancer treatments and same woman in remission, color photo

One moment I was wrestling with my toddler and rocking my 3-month-old to sleep, and the next I was staring blankly at the doctor who just told me I had stage four cancer that had metastasized from my uterus to my left lung and spleen. “Well, I didn’t see that coming,” I smiled at the young doctor who had clearly never given this kind of news to anyone before. I looked over at my husband’s shell-shocked face as he rocked our baby back and forth in the baby carrier because I was still nursing, and we knew we’d be at...

Keep Reading

All I Have Left Are Dreams of My Mother

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, older color photo

I had a dream about my mom last night. It’s rare when this happens but last night’s dream was unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I was at a party, and she just walked in. It was so vivid. She sat down in a chair, looking so beautiful, so young, her eyes so very blue. She was so full of light, something I hadn’t seen in a while. I just looked at her, stunned, and gasped. I said, “Are you here? Are you real?” I couldn’t believe this was happening. Just like that she got up, grabbed me, and hugged me...

Keep Reading

I Miss the Little Moments with My Mom the Most

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Woman sitting on floor by couch looking sad

You think it’s going to be the big holidays that are hard. The first Thanksgiving without her. The first Christmas. Maybe even her birthday. But it’s not the big days that bring you to your knees. It’s all the little moments in between. It’s cooking a family recipe and not being able to call her to ask a question about the directions. It’s looking down and realizing you’re using the Tupperware you stole from her and knowing you can’t return it even if you wanted to. RELATED: My Mom is Never Coming Back To Get Her Shoes It’s talking about...

Keep Reading