My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this appointment for about four months, after finally discovering the name of the condition I believe I have. I discovered the term brachymetacarpia and the surgery that can possibly fix the condition through a routine Google search one day after my friend came back from class reporting on another disease he learned about that has the symptom of shortened ring fingers. I knew I did not have the disease that he mentioned, because besides from my strikingly short ring fingers, I’m pretty much perfect. Still once again my curiosity got the best of me and I tried to find a likely reason for my condition. While I still don’t know the cause, I found a picture of a hand that looked very similar to mine. The picture was part of a paper about the surgery the girl had to lengthen her finger and the results were quite impressive. From what I understand, the doctor cut her shortened metacarpal bone and attached an external fixator with pins attached to the bone. The girl turned the pins herself over several weeks, separating the gap between her bone and her bone grew to fill in the gap, resulting in a normal looking finger!
After finding this paper, I’ve been fascinated with the surgery and the possibility that it could work for me. Since first noticing my hands were different from others at about age 7 or 8, it’s always been something I wished I could change, but never thought possible. I did more searching for more doctors performing the surgery and patients with similar histories; finally I decided to make an appointment, book a flight to go to New York and meet with an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital that performed that girl’s surgery.
Through my expert googling I found several blogs written by people who have a similar condition, but on their feet, called brachymetatarsia. Based on the numerous blogs and even news coverage of brachymetatarsia, the surgery to correct a shortened toe seems to be a little more common in recent years. Their blogs have definitely been helpful in preparing for my appointment and the questions I will ask tomorrow, but I’m not sure how much recovering from a surgery on one’s toe relates to the surgery performed on one’s finger. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about not being to walk, but how to dress myself might be a problem. For some reason or other, people have not written many blogs about having broken hands! And perhaps my goal of keeping a blog while having this surgery is a bit too lofty. But in the hopes that I will learn tomorrow that I am a good candidate for this surgery and that I will still be able to type, which is quite important for my livelihood, this will be the first entry of my blog.
In the last four months I’ve thought of a lot of questions that I can’t wait to get answered:
- Have other surgeries besides the one in the paper performed?
- How long does it take for the bone to grow with the external fixator and then to heal completely once it’s removed?
- How much use of the rest of my hand will I have with the external fixator on? Can I get my hand wet?
- Is it possible to have the surgery performed on both hands at once or will I need to do one finger at a time?
- Will I need to take time off of work? How often will I need to make appointments with the doctor?
- How long does it take for the scars to heal?
- What is the most likely cause of brachymetacarpia? Will I pass it on to my children?
- How much does the surgery cost? Will my insurance cover it?
I’m sure there are a ton more things I should ask and hopefully meeting with the doctor will help me think of some of them. I’m already super anxious because my appointment was bumped up from 11 AM to 8 AM because the doctor is in surgery later, so I hope I have enough time with him. Well either way I’m excited to have a weekend at home with my family. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back.