Cheryl Jerry - St. Louis, MI
"The surgery was pretty extensive, but it was handled smoothly and efficiently. It was what I needed to have done, and after years of pain, it was definitely worth it."
Complex Foot Surgery was ‘Absolutely Worth it’
"I knew I had a bunion on my right foot, but it turned out that my problem was way more extensive," said Cheryl Jerry, who lives in St. Louis and teaches at Shepherd Middle School.
In fact, the pain in her foot was complicated by arthritis. The condition is typical among teachers and others who are on their feet all day.
Jerry's feet supported her for decades as she taught sixth grade science, a job she still loves, and played fast-pitch softball and other sports for 30 years. "I'm very tolerant of pain, and I roll with the punches," she said. "But my right foot had been causing me pain for years, and last year, it was hurting so badly I couldn't sleep."
About six years ago, Jerry had a bunion removed from her left foot. She decided to return to the same foot and ankle specialist who performed that surgery, Orthopedic Surgeon Kent Biddinger, M.D.
Compared to the earlier procedure, Dr. Biddinger told her this one would be more complicated and require a longer recovery. "My foot would be in a hard cast for eight weeks, and in a walking boot for four," she said. "The first two weeks with the boot, I would need crutches and could not put any weight on my foot."
She decided to go ahead, and found Dr. Biddinger and his staff flexible and easy to work with as they planned her surgery and recovery. He scheduled surgery the week before spring break, so that she would have two full weeks before going back to work.
He and his staff also carefully confirmed that she would have the help she needed at home during recovery. "I would not be able to drive for 10 weeks," Jerry said. "I was glad to have a wonderful sister and niece living close by to get me to and from work, as well as other family members who helped."
Dr. Biddinger performed her surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland. She stayed overnight in a pleasant, private patient room, large and comfortable enough for visitors. "It was no hardship at all to come to Midland," Jerry said. "Everyone was very friendly, nice and efficient."
During the surgery, Dr. Biddinger took a piece of bone from Jerry's heel and grafted it to the bone at the top of her arch. On the top of her foot, he attached two bones together with a plate. He removed both the bunion and a bone spur that had developed between her big toe and second toe.
After everything healed, she was able to return to teaching and even began completing 15-mile bike rides without pain. "I have no problems or concerns," Jerry said. "The surgery was pretty extensive, but it was handled smoothly and efficiently. It was what I needed to have done."
"After my foot healed, Dr. Biddinger asked me if I thought the surgery was worth it," she said. "He said he needed to know what I thought, so he could tell other patients. I told him, 'Absolutely! It was definitely worth it.'"
Those who would like more information about Dr. Biddinger may contact his office at (989) 839-8850. For more information about MidMichigan's comprehensive orthopedic or rehabilitation services visit www.midmichigan.org/bonesandjoints.