Saturday, August 30, 2008

"We can rebuild him. We have the technology."

Dear Friends,
I have received so many sweet emails and texts with well wishes and kind inquiries on how the surgery went, so I thought I would give you an update. Thanks to a wonderful team of very gifted and skilled orthopedic surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists, the surgery went very, very well and the Iilizarov Frame was attached and the tibial fractures cleaned out, re-energized and perfectly aligned and immobilized. Thanks to the wonders of digital photography and x-rays, for the very curious, I am posting photos.
- some of the pictures may cause the squeamish some discomfort.

As you can see, four rings were anchored on solid, healthy parts of my tibia, and then "spokes" or wires were placed through the tibia in several locations and then everything was aligned with external adjusting rods and screws. In the x-rays below, you can see where the rings are anchored and the wires criss-cross through the bone. You'll see a few holes where the stainless steel plate was removed from the tibia, and one or two screws left in the bone when the other plate that broke off was removed several months ago. In the one x-ray, you can see part of my metal artificial knee, which made it impossible to repair the tibia last September with a "nail" or rod which would have been the desired repair. Isn't it fascinating what can be done when someone (like Gavriel “The Magician from Kurgan” Ilizarov) has and idea and the persistence and tenacity to bring it to fruition.

I was discharged from the hospital today and am now resting comfortably at home, with my leg elevated in my La-Z-Boy. "Comfortably because I still have a nerve block that deadens my entire lower leg. When that wears off, thankfully I have some narcotics to get me through for a while. I have been told to start walking as soon as possible (with crutches at first) because weight bearing helps stimulate bone growth. The beauty of the Ilizarov technique is that the bones are held so rigid by the spokes that they will not move even when walking. Hopefully, like Steve Austin, I'll be "Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster!"

The only trouble I will have is crafting a pant leg that will fit over the crazy contraption. Maybe I'll stimulate the resurgence of bell-bottom trousers for men.

Thanks again for all the prayers and kind thoughts! They are truly appreciated.


twclay said...

If, because of the device on your leg, you cause a resurgsnce of bell bottoms, I will campaign against you. Bell bottoms are one of the signs of the apocalypse!

Good luck, and God bless.

Rob said...

Thank you so much for speaking at the Utah Mortgage Lenders Association luncheon on 8/21/08. Although we saw a slight limp in your walk, we had no idea that you were about to have such a major surgery. We were impressed with the homework that you did on our industry and association and the expertly delivered speech. Thank you for your efforts to eliminate mortgage fraud in Utah. You have our full support in this matter.

We are grateful for your successful operation and are praying for your quick recovery.


Rob Haertel

GarfieldRebal said...

I have seen better legs. Please keep them covered up ALL the time. The last thing that I want to do, is open up the reputal "National Enquire" and see you in the "Best and Worst of the Beach" section. Good Luck, we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Come on down south for some needed R & R.

David Watson said...

I pray for your full recovery. I was not so lucky. I was involved in a freeway rollover accident in January and lost my left leg. After 5 months in the Hospital and rehab,I'm doing fine. If you every need someone to talk to, I would be glad to talk. my blog is

coolfamily said...

Hi, Mr. Shurtleff! We want to wish you the very best on your recovery. My husband, Gary, lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident in 1980. A woman in a car hit him on his way to work. He is still very athletic, having won numerous medals in ski races as an amputee. He is currently winning medals by racing 2-man bobsleds in Park City and in Canada. He was a 2002 Paralympic torch runner and kicked off the Sandy City celebrations by lighting their torch. He enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, and many other outdoor sports that Utah has to offer!! We truly hope you and your doctors are able to save your leg, but if not, you will still be a wonderful Attorney General, a famous graduate from Brighton High School, a great father (I saw you at Dr. Gardner's annual pool party, but I was too chicken to tell you what a great job you are doing for our state), and a caring person. Stay positive because a lot of people are sending good thoughts towards you and your family. We hope your surgery works great and you will be on your feet in no time!!! Donna,Gary, and Jon

runawaysteed said...

I am a Salt Lake City Police Officer. I broke my right tib/fib on a motorcycle at work (Kawasaki) in 1998. I was on light duty for 27 months while I had two seperate Illizirov's on, in addition to various infection issues and 9 operations. Hang in there, it will all work out.

Peggy Lander said...

In January, we rescued a 7-week Cocker Spaniel puppy with a genetically deformed leg. A gifted Veterinarian by the name of Dr. Dennis Law performed the Iilizarov Frame procedure on her leg. It looked exactly like your frame, only puppy sized. He actually cut the diseased bone in half and installed the device, including a long screw that we turned one rotation every day for two months. The frame straightened and grew her leg over one inch! It was a slow recovery. But, just eight months later she runs, jumps, and swims. She no longer has pain or limps and is happy to have such a great life. I wish the same success for you. The Iilizarov Frame procedure is a miracle!

Tracy H. said...

Praying for you! Thanks for the pictures and update. Wish we were there!
Dale, Tracy and Gabe

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said...

I very much appreciate the supportive comments, prayers and well-wishes and even the "best medicine": humor.

In his Meditations, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote "when you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one's energy, that one's modesty, another's generosity, and so on. Nothing is more encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us..."

Thank you for sharing your virtues with me. The world wide web and "blogosphere" have opened up new vistas for people to reach out and support and serve one another. Your stories of overcoming similar, and greater, physical tests and challenges, give me hope and motivate me to stay the course and to meet and pass this my personal test.

Your encouragement and faith in dealing with your own challenges are an inspiration to me and to others who struggle with life's daily obstacles.

Feeling grateful and blessed,


TheEaglesRightWing said...

Rather late in coming, I know, but we wanted you to know that I requested that the body of the Federation, irrespective of religious affiliation, keep you in our thoughts and prayers for your wellbeing and that of your leg.

The responses I receieved--all in the affirmative were, "will do!"

You are much loved and appreciated and our thoughts and prayers realy are with you.

Best Wishes,

Sheryl Devereaux,
1st Vice President,
Utah Federation of Republican Women