The NEW AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis)

I finally got my new brace. My 4th brace since I became hemiplegic. Technically, you’re suppose to change your brace every 3 years as the orthopedist suggests. I guess I have this mentality of “if it ain’t broke why fix it” thing going on. Because the ones I have been wearing are long overdue, to be thrown out. BUT I can’t seem, to part with them.

2000 AFO is what I use for riding or anytime I need to wear my boots for formal occasions and all the like. However, after riding, I usually pick up my son from his football practices and I miscalculated a step and somehow, in stepping down, I broke my AFO. Having no choice but to use masking tape and Mueller tape to hold it in place. No, you can’t weld it or remelt it. They finally gave in. I really could not use them. In 2003, I had to change my brace since my leg got smaller and having a lose brace would affect my walking and foot. This was a slimmer which allowed me to use not only cross-trainers but sneakers as well. Then through time, the ball of my foot was always in pain, all sort of discomforts that would even make me wince or cry in pain. Time to get the third pair, 2007.  The third was ultra padded and it was walking on air plus the ultra comfort of New Balance made the perfect match. But because I decided that I seriously needed to lose weight, exercise and minimal dieting over a 2 year period of time, shrunk my leg as well. Making 2007 AFO too lose and started affecting my walking plus the very very tight tendon, was giving more pain and my ankle twisting inward more and more. Thus the ankle surgery that started this blog in the first place.

So today, I picked up my brace. Just like anything else, it needs to be broken in. Give it 3-5 days to pin point the pressure points etc. Then adjustments and extra padding will be put if needed.

It was tiny compared to the others. First the brace was fitted on me then Ric had to attached the straps & the bolts just to make sure he got the measurements right. As always, it felt different. I seriously need new shoes. New sneakers. I walked around getting the feel of my new brace and I was walking better. Again I have to give it 3-5 days to see the difference.

Here’s to a new ankle and a new AFO. Cheers! (Permitted to shop for shoes now.)


Needing A New Brace

In the span of 12 years, I’ve had 3 AFOs that were all made in the US. Who would have thought that the brace maker (orthotist) was just minutes away from my house. Haha. First time to pass the Rockwell-Mandaluyong Bridge also. They had to cast my foot that took minutes. Had to wait for the cement to dry up before they cut it up again for the mold that was going into the oven. Had to make a call to Dr. G. asking if we were going to attach hinges or not. He didn’t want. Oh well. Since it’s Holy Week, they would be closed and I can pick up my new brace next week. Shoe shopping anyone??

I wanted to document how they wrapped my leg in cement wraps and cut it out so I could take my foot out because of course, I was being a blabbermouth and forgot to. Hahaha. I didn’t even get the signage. Anyway, the place is called SGG Orthocare & Medical Enterprise. They have been around for years. They specialize in Artificial Leg, Prostheses, Orthoses, Splints, and other orthopedic appliances. Look for Mr. Ricardo Sta. Maria Jr.

Picked up my mom from the dentist and had to wait. Seems like I’m ALWAYS waiting. One day, I might get tired of waiting. At the dental office, I made friends with this little girl who was waiting for the father and grandmother. Cute little thing. We were watching Cartoon Network.

Had to buy my weekly medicines and do a little grocery and I was forever bumping into Annabelle Rama with her “Dong and Day” after every sentence.  Hehehe. Getting back to my usual groove but still with my yaya Helen. Was so hungry and sleepy. Good thing that lunch was Chicken Kare Kare. 1 pc chicken, lots of veggies and bagoong. Yup! I know. I know. I’m highly allergic and immediately got rashes and itchy all over. Teehee. C’mon a little won’t hurt. Lunch, a little kwento time with my son, and a 4 hour siesta. That’s life. Haha.


It has been exactly 50 days since I had my surgery. It has been 50 days since I had a full leg cast & knee length one as well. 50 days without TV. 50 days of staying in a make shift room (the den) which I have called The Blissful Suite. 50 days on bed pan duties… and well, 50 days. Now, CAST-less. While waiting for my turn at the doctor’s clinic, this is what I was doing.
When the nurse came to me saying that I needed X-rays to be done, I knew I forgot something. Darn it, I forgot about it. I forgot to include a referral slip for X-rays. Consultation, done. Cast Removal, done. Uh-oh. How much will it cost this time? I didn’t have time or a way to go get a referral slip from my insurance. (I could hear someone’s voice in my head, “presence of mind huh?”. haha. fine fine.)

My surgeon led me to the casting room were he and his nurse sawed-off the cast with this contraption which I was terrified of that first time my upper leg cast was removed. I was more at ease this time. The shriek drilling sound wasn’t too bad anymore. My son asked if I could bring home the cast and “by all means” is what the surgeon said. He was probably glad I brought it home as to minimize their garbage disposal.


STITCHES all over. 4-5 all over the ankle for the 3 procedures that was done. That actually is nothing compared to what the surgeon showed me right after surgery. Uh-huh, my ankle in it’s opened glory with clamps & screws to pry open the ankle. There goes all the skin & casting gunk that needs to scraped off during baths…did I hear BATHS? Finally, an actual “FLOWING WATER SHOWER/BATH”. Although, I was getting spoiled with those “beddy baths” where my yaya had to often nudge me to wake up after she was done with one side and another or when I was done with my shampoo. (ala parlor style) Hahaha.

In the span of 12 years, I have had a total of 3 AFOs (ankle-foot orthotic) which were all made in the US. Luckily, there is a local orthotis here in Manila which means that I don’t have to travel all the way to the US primarily for that reason. My surgeon told me to bring whatever I had and see if I can still use them as not to spend any more money. I will need to that support while my ankle recovers and strengthens.  I was afraid that my ankle wouldn’t fit due to swelling or that I gained weight or that it changed a lot. Luckily, it was the 2nd brace that fit to a T.

Yes. It’s EXACTLY how my brace and leg looked like pre-surgery except now you know what it looks like inside. Here’s to the long days ahead and thereafter. I did say, surgery was just the first step. Right?

As promised, I would give my cast to my son. Don’t ask me what he’ll do it. Enjoy your new toy my love. After the long day, I deserve a treat. Don’t judge me. Yup. I have a stash in my freezer. Trust me. It won’t freeze up and get icy.