Friday, May 23, 2014

Family / Friends... this will be the LAST post on this blog site under "MC's Healthy Progress".  My new blog is: and the title is now: "Mike's Healing Journey" with yours truly doing the post... I hope I got the name of my blog right... gees!  Anyway, this is the latest report:

First I'd like to again thank those of you who've already reached out and offered help and for those that came over from Bend to spend the weekend with me those first few days. I truly appreciate what you did, perhaps next time we won't have quite so much Makers Mark but it was damn tasty... : )  But with all my heart, thank you!

This surgery was the "de-bulking" surgery to remove a lot of the surplus transplanted muscle tissue (from my back) that was wrapped around my ankle.  The surgeon removed quite a bit from both sides of my ankle and was even able to remove a big part that was higher up and was able to close that opening w/o having to use skin graphs.  That really got my lower leg to tapper down to my ankle much like it should look.  They then did another skin graph from the same site as before, which isn't uncommon as they only remove the top two layers so the graph site heals fairly quickly... although I'd argue that it doesn't feel very good... like one major road rash!  The good part is that they didn't have to graph as much which worked out great for the de-bulked area and my thy where they took the graphs.

After a few days on crutches and a few wound care treatments (bandage change) which happen daily I was able to start to put some weight on my foot, mainly the front. I can use my Primary Care's office for the bandage changes which is very close to where I live so at least I don't have to drive to Legacy everyday.  But now I'm up and walking using my cane (the Hurycane... the one you see on TV... LOL) for a little added stability and can put pretty much my full weight on the foot.  Pain wise, things have really gotten better and I'm off everything I started again and now back down to my baseline meds which I'll maintain for a while.  Hopefully, later this week I'll be able to return to my workout routine, at the minimum work on the upper body, I've had a good start and although sometimes it's hard to go, I'm so glad I do.  I've been going to 24 Hour 6 times a week... don't have any "guns" yet but there's some muscle starting to reappear!  Next up?  Surgery No.16, the one to straighten out the 8 degree bow in my leg.  With any luck we'll be able to schedule that one, which should be my last, thank GOD, sometime in early July but it will take some pushing on my part to make that happen.

Finally, on a personal note, some of you know that Sherry and I have separated and she's decided to move on and start a new chapter in her life.  I'll be forever grateful for everything she's done, I called her my Angle, yet I can never fully repay her for all she did.  I know I would not have gotten this far without her help and support.  Please wish her all the best and success as she starts this new journey.

Thank you,


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another Surgery Behind MC

Hi Folks - hope this update on MC, finds all of you doing well, learning life's lessons and embracing them as they come no matter what that looks and feels like.  

Mike wrote this out yesterday and since he seems to be in the mood to WRITE - I'll just cut and paste what his thoughts & words  in BLUE.  

Family / Friends... just a note to update all of you with regard to yet another doctor visit and consultation today.  The doctor I saw was Dr. Gellman, he's the one who's been taking care of my bones so to speak but works closely with Dr. Frome who did the free flap.  Anyway, today's visit was to remove the staples from the surgery I had on February 21st and to talk about the next steps.

MC ready to head into surgery #14 two weeks ago,

The surgery of a couple of weeks ago was very successful.  They removed all the screws in my knee and upper thy as well as removing a bone/calcium growth that formed in the muscle tissue and bone where my upper leg took the big hit and was damaged.  That same evening I could tell things had changed and was in a very positive way as the sharp pain I was feeling when I moved my leg was gone... : )  Was kind of afraid to say anything at first as I thought perhaps the lack of pain was in some way associated with the pain meds they gave me while in surgery.  But I'm happy and relieved to report that I can pretty much move my knee without pain.  Dr. Gellman told me that while in surgery after he removed everything he exercised my knee/leg and got it to bend 120 degrees, which is way better than when I came in!  I've got my PT session this afternoon which I'll be able to report to my therapist much of what Dr. Gellman told us which we'll incorporate into my PT routine. 
Sherry's Hospital office - ipad and all. 

Between surgery and doc appointment MC stays busy.  Here he is at Holman's having breakfast with Goose.  (Sherry, her son Miles and GF Nicole are not in the photo, but Goose belongs to the kids - NO MC did not get a new dog.  But he does love them! ) 

So, what are the next steps?  As I reported last time prior to my surgery that from the CT scan they determined my left leg was now 3cm's  shorter than my right and also had an 8 degree bow in it.  Dr. Gellman strongly recommended that we do nothing with the length of my leg as the procedure is pretty significant, requires a long time to heal and I'd have to wear that damn frame set up again.  The location would be high on my leg and he said it's a lot more painful to have on than what I experienced with it on my foot.  I can tell you that if it were the same I'd have most likely said "no" as I really don't/can't do that again... it hurts way too much!  Instead we're just going to figure out the best way to use lifts to offset the difference and he gave me some heal shims to try out.  I've put one, a 9/16, in the makeshift post surgery shoe Sherry found on line that we've modified.  So far, having that extra height seems to make walking a bit easier, it's only been a couple of hours but I'm hopeful. 

Had to include these photos of MC waiting for Dr. Gellman.  :-)  Sorry MC  - too cute. 

Dr. Gellman doesn't want to see me for a while, we've set a follow up for 4 months out, early July, at which time we'll take more x-rays and talk about the 8 degree bow.  Getting that fixed seems to be a more realistic possibility but he wants to wait for at least 6 months to let my leg fully heal.  The left leg has really seen some trauma as a result of the accident itself and all the surgeries that have transpired as a result.  The process is to take out the bow is a bit more straight forward but means he takes a wedge out of my leg just above the knee to correct the bow and use plates to hold it together while it heals.  He also said that to do this they'd take out the titanium rod in my leg, it's not really needed any longer and with an additional six months of healing he's ok removing it.  Within about two weeks or so he felt I'd be able to walk on my leg again as the plates would take the weight bearing part until everything was healed.  Not sure what, if anything, he'd do after that in terms of removing the plate later on but I guess I'll learn more in 4 months when I see him next.
Dr. Gellman explaining what's to come and what is going on with his bones today. 

A little further explanation from Dr. Gellman while looking at the X-Rays.

Regarding the de-bulking, I guess I'm not sure when Dr. Frome would want to do that procedure.  I had hoped the two docs would have talked, they said they would, but both wanted to see what the other was going to do and the timing.  Dr. Frome however did want to wait longer to let my old back muscle they put onto my foot to continue to shrink and both feel it will continue to atrophy and shrink over time.  My thinking is that she'll want to wait now as well and do the de-bulking in the Fall, perhaps in conjunction with Dr. Gellman. I'm going to follow up with her via phone sometime later this week or early next to try to get her thoughts on moving forward.

Today's visit was both good and in a way not so good as this whole process is going to stretch out a LOT longer than maybe I was hoping.  Sherry tells me that my timeline is often way more aggressive than is realistic and reasonable, she's probably right but I'm just so tired and my timeline is maybe my way of coping or rather "hoping".  The crappy part is now I've got to wait much longer than I would have imagined and the storm clouds of two more major surgeries are still out there... waiting... just a bit further out on the horizon. 
MC's foot as it is today.  It's really starting to shape up. 

Going to do a little internal sole searching and thinking for a few days as I NEED to be more productive, find a job and get back to work!  My initial thoughts are to hit the PT activities hard, there's nothing holding me back now and Dr. Gellman said to put all the weight I want on my leg.  My goal will be to get enough flexibility back in my ankle so I can walk without a crutch, I can a little bit now but it's not a effortless walk by any objective view.  I most likely will not get it all the flexibility back as like my leg, the ankle has seen a lot of trauma and although the bones have healed they heal in such a way that they restrict the foot's movement.  Gellman said he could put the frame back on my ankle and work to force the foot to move more but that would take months.  He knows how much I hated that thing and the net result wouldn't be much different than what I should be able to get with PT so forget that idea!

That's about it, if Dr. Frome provides me an update that's much different than what I'm thinking she's going to say I'll report that out but I think now I just need to focus on getting physically stronger and walking again.  From there we'll see what's available to me in the work arena and go from there.  As always, I sincerely appreciate the thoughts, prayers and well wishes all of you send my way as well as to Sherry who really didn't sign up for this with her guy.

MC...  a.k.a. "Mikey", "Dad", "Mike" out... : )
Love seeing this smile!   Today MC is actually using a cane. 

Hugs from both of us~ 

Sherry & Mike 

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Special Update From Mike Colligan Himself!!!!

Today's update is going to be a very special one and it will be from Mike himself. Yesterday after his doctor appointment with Dr. Gellman, he typed this up. 

Family / Friends... as many of you know I've got a couple of doctor appointments (my two surgeons) this week and next which will determine what's next on my recovery journey...   Today I met with Dr. Gellman, he's the surgeon who's been working on my ankle and did all the fixator stuff but he's also been following (tracking is more like it) my upper leg and knee. Earlier, I had some new x-rays and a CT scan taken of my knee and upper leg as it's been hurting and I have a internal growth that's bothering me.  Today was the follow up to that earlier appointment.  We started with a full height x-ray of me standing as upright as I could to give him a total picture of my leg.  The following is the take away...

First, my left leg is 3cm's shorter than my right leg, that's just over an inch...   2nd, my left leg has an 8 degree bow in it as compared to my right, this I could tell just by standing so that wasn't a surprise.  As for my foot/ankle, there's no change and everything down there is healed and I can continue my current rehab but as he put it... "... you'll never be 100% and most likely will always have a limp etc..."  not something I wanted to hear and frankly I'm going to kinda reject for now as I WANT to return to as close to 100% as I possibly can.  There has been so much trauma to the foot he feels that it will be impossible for me to have full range of motion in my foot... we'll see about that!

So, what's next?  I've got a surgery, No.14, scheduled for Friday, Feb 21st, at O:Dark30 at Emanuel's Day Surgery.  This surgery is going to do two things: 1st, he's going to take out all (at least I'm pretty sure that's what he said) the screws in my knee as they are no longer needed and the one, possibly two screws that have backed out and are causing a lot of pain in my knee when the tendons have to move over them.  2nd, he's going to remove the bone growth that formed just above my knee and is uncomfortable to lay on when I'm on my side.  He said that once that's removed it won't grow back which is good news.  The recovery from this should be pretty quick as all the bones etc are fully healed and it will be more about healing up the incisions.

Down the road and what to do with my shortened leg and bow?  He wants to wait on that until my foot/ankle issues are resolved, meaning the de-bulking etc., that appointment is next Tuesday with Dr. Frome.  What he hopes to be able to do is to operate and lengthen my left leg as much as possible, he thinks he can get about half of what I'm short back but that's about it.  (Hey GL... I'm wishing now you'd have saved the chunks of bone you found... Poor joke I know). He feels he can also take out the bow completely which will be good.  As a result of my 8 degree offset I'm walking on the side of my foot and not the whole foot bottom which is uncomfortable and not a good long term situation.  The bummer part of that surgery is the recovery, it's long, as he more/less has to break apart my leg (remember it has an SS rod in it), spread it as far as he can, reset it and hope it all heals.  I'm thinking that surgery won't be for a while given that he wants my foot/ankle done before he tackles this.

Anyway... I guess the journey continues.  Sherry is going to do an update (post) on the blog site and I'm sure she'll do a better job of capturing the details but I know some of you wanted to get a report.

On a related topic but one that dates back to my time in St. George, UT the hospital, Dixie Medical Center has updated its web site and on the site's front page and half way down is the video we did for the hospital.  This was done the day before I was to be discharged and suffered my heart attack... : O  Anyway, if you'd like to check it out the link is:

We'll have to see what Dr. Frome says next week...   but I'm going to continue with my PT and also doing my near daily routine at 24 Hour Fitness.  It's been a LONG time since I stepped into a gym and it feels good to start to rebuild the muscle that I've lost.  It's going to be a long haul but I'm more than committed to getting back.  Thank you all for your support, something I need to remind myself to say again and again, as it truly helps.  Sherry is with me each and every day and does such a great job in lifting me up from time to time.  She's also tracking the progress, in this case the "shrinkage" of my free flap on my foot and it has gone down.  We measure it each week and it is shrinking... so in this case... shrinkage is a good thing...    That's it for now and again, thanks for your love and support.

MC/Mikey out

MC walking into the Dr. Office - his new trick is getting around with just one crutch. 

Happy and hopeful that the Doc will have good news. 

X-Ray of the screws and nails in Mike's injured leg. 

Well you heard it from Mike himself today.  It's nice to hear what "he" has to say!!

As always, we love to hear from you and we'll be sending out another update after next week's appointment with Dr. Fromm. 

Big Heart Hugs, the S&M couple. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's Past Time to Catch up On MC, However I'm starting with a Tribute to Jim Colligan. MC's Dad.

Sherry has to admit, I'm behind on my blogging and MC updates.  So let me catch you up.  

So much has been going on and we have some progress to report.  The first part of today's post is to give remembrance to Mike's Dad, Jim Colligan who passed on the 14th of January.  Jim was 89 1/2. (although he called it 90)  So we gave it to him.  :-) This photo was taken during a trip to Arizona over Thanksgiving weekend to see his brother Dean and sister in-law Sharon.  Although he had a great visit, he never quite recovered from the traveling. Unfortunately it would be his last trip.  We are all thankful for the time he had with Dean and Sharon during that time of giving thanks. 

I'd like to take some time to share a few of our favorite and more recent photos. Please enjoy! 
Remember this photo from the MC T-shirts blog post?  This is Jim in AZ and very proud to sport his MC's Angel T-shirt. 

October 2012 Mike's daughter Katelyn got married.  It was a wonderful family time for all. 

I had the distinct privilege of dancing with this fine man.  I think he enjoyed it as much as I did! 
Last spring 0f 2013 the family went to Colorado Springs to visit Katelyn, Codi her new husband and  other Colligan Family members in the area.

Personal favorite! I loved getting a big hug from this very special man! 

Maddison (Mike's youngest daughter) Jim, Sherry, MC, Katelyn (Mike's older daughter) 
Codi, the son-in-law at Garden of the Gods in Co Spr. 

MC loves sniffing at the Harley Dealership in every city we visit. It was an extra treat for him to have his Dad with him on this particular trip.  Hang Loose Papa Jim. ( He would rather have been in Hawaii) 

Here's the small family reunion with what is more commonly known as the Bloods and the Crips. 
Family members and the NON- family members, but who's looking? 

The Colligan Men. (missing Mike's brother Pat)

Mike, Jim and brother Pat during Jim's last month with us. 

What more can I say except, for this is Jim's sweet, sweet Mary.  I would say he felt a little lost and incomplete without her.  It was a tough year and a half, but they are finally reunited!  

We love you Jim, Papa!  We will always treasure the memories we have of you and with you.  We are better people for having had you in our lives!  
July 26th, 1924 ~ January 14th, 2014

If I may..... Here are the last few weeks on MC.
We had a great Holiday and it was so good to see Katie & Grandson Brayden from CO.  

He's just a little bit happy to be holding his Grandson Brayden. Hi-light of the Holidays! 
And he happens to be the cutest little thing you ever did see. 

Baby Brayden, lifelong friend and 3rd daughter Jamie Loo, Sister in-law Christine & daughter Katie.  (oh and Kidderz sneaking in there - always) 

All I can say about this is "MINI ME" 
(Daddy Codi and Baby Brayden) 

The last week in December, Mike had an appointment with Dr. Gellman to see if he would PLEASE pin down a date to have the Ilizaroth Frame removed.  Here's what happened...

Just a few days before Mike's "FRIDAY" appointment he got this fortune cookie! 

MC in High Hopes of getting a removal date on the Frame.

Fingers and toes crossed. (as much as possible) Sweat & panic added in as well. 

Dr. Gellman approaches.  Current state of "the Foot" that day. 

Guess what?  Fingers uncrossed and all thumbs are UP! 
Surgery date set for the 31st of Dec.  Great way to bring in the New Year! 

New Years Eve - Out patient at Legacy Emanuel - waiting to go back for Ilizaroth removal! 

Procedure discussion with MA - all systems GO!  

30 minutes later - a little recovery time, back to the prep room and we are all DONE ! 
We have one happy camper. Headed home shortly after this photo was taken.

MC- had quite a bit of swelling and discomfort after the procedure, but it helped pass a little time watching football with Brayden on New Years Day. 
2014 looks a lot more promising!  We like to show the smiles, but some days are just plain tough.  We still love visitors and MC could use the added ongoing support!  :-)

Shortly after the surgery Mike's foot looks like this.  Remember they took the Lat Muscle off of his back. Read more by clicking HERE

The swelling seemed out of control and the pain was pretty intense.  
But we know this is all part of the journey and we can't slow down yet! Mike stays hopeful and keeps his spirits UP as best he can considering what's behind him and what's in front of him. 

You can see where the wire pins, 3 running through the ball of his foot and 3 running through the heel bone have been removed.  The open sore is a place where the skin graft from 3 months ago has never healed. Because there was never skin on the flap, it has not grown there or filled in yet.  Also we have been told that with all the swelling, the body will keep that spot somewhat open and take advantage of it for drainage purposes. 

MC - got behind the wheel.  Reports have it that he was the cause of the morning traffic jam that day, but it's really just a rumor no matter what his "best" friends claim. 

I was clearly with him on this trip, but he has taken a few solo's since then.  He went to watch football at the Gonzale's, went to a Dr. appointment 1 block away & went to get his hair cut! 
All of that felt good for both of us. 

This photo was taken just yesterday.  I take lots of pictures of "The Foot" so that Mike can see what the bottom and sides looks like.  We have a few reasons to celebrate. First Mike finally got his leg into a pair of jeans!!! 2nd we are taking measurements and we are recording a significant reduction in the size.  The flap it's self is becoming soft and moveable. The spot on the bottom of the foot has still not healed, but we are hopeful so that Mike can join me in the water aerobics class at the gym. 
(the line at the ball of his foot is from the compression sock MC wears during the day. 

New profile.  You can see the leg is blending into the foot.  We had a meeting with Dr. Fromm about a week ago and she talked a lot about the level of pain MC is still experiencing and timing on the additional surgeries needed to reshape the foot.  Once the swelling is down and a few months have passed they will be scheduling the follow-up surgeries.  It's called debulking and will also require another set of skin grafts from Mike's thigh.  Dr. Fromm and MC are very optimistic.

Why, just yesterday you could have spotted MC at the Beaverton Target getting his laundry and tissue supplies.  His only complaint is that the carts move way to   S  L  O  W..... (he also doesn't like to go backwards due to the fact that he feels like he's on a construction site with all that loud beeping. Sort of draws attention to him.  Hmmmm Maybe he actually does like the beeping and the attention because I caught him backing up several times. 

Overall, we are doing well.  We are making our lifestyle packed with some healthier habits. Better eating, better sleep, stress reduction by reading and better TV habits & we are moving more!   Our hope is that you too are making happy healthy choices for yourself and loved ones.  Let's all live as long and as well as possible. 
Life is so precious!!! 

S&M out for this afternoon. 
I promise to stay a little more up to date. 
Please leave us a comment if you have the time. 
MC loves to read them!!! 

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Sunday, December 22, 2013


"MC's Angels T-Shirt Photos!! " 

Mike's Daughter Katelyn put together a way for people to show their support for MC. 
These are some of the folks showing OFF their support! 

Jim Colligan - MC's Dad! 

MC's Daughter Maddison, her BF Zach, the GF Sherry and Sherry's daughter Britta

Maddie, Zach, Sherry & Britta showing off their wings!!! 

MC's 1st cousin Tracy Colligan 

Good friend Shaun Golden of San Diego! 

This is Kelsy, MC's neighbor.  Lived in the same cul-de-sac since she was born - 3rd daughter for sure! 
I bumped into her at Costco and she was sporting her MC t-shirt while Christmas shopping. 

This is Mike Zabierek, fellow rider and Angel friend! 

Quote from Jim
"Here's the picture of my wife Joni with the shirt I got for her. I sincerely hope your Dad is doing better. Best of care and luck to him."

Joni and Ken Barnes

This is Sherry's Mom, Nancy Haring - almost like having a Mother-In-Law! 

Here is Dean, Russell & Randall. Dean met Mike in Utah just before the accident at Shark Week III.  How nice of him to buy a t-shirt for the boys as well. 

This is Randy Willig.  He and MC worked together.  I hear he is responsible for turning MC into a true Salesman.  Mike says "thanks Randy"! 

This is Brady and Bryan!  Angels ONLY Because they are wearing wings in this photo.  So I hear from my Dear Friend Lucia.  She should know since they are her Grandsons. :-)

Brady and Bryan - with NO wings.  "Super cute and thanks boys for supporting MC! "

Quote from Ron
"Sherry - you rock -  hoping to finally meet you in Maine and see Mike again.
Please tell Katelyn thanks for letting us be a small part of the recovery
effort. Tell Mike first round in Maine is on him -- Ron "Workman"

MC's Angel Jack Wojnowski

This is the dear sweet Martha "Marty" Markward from St. George. 
Dixie Regional Medical Center Case Manager - but mostly a great friend!!!!

MC & SB out for now
and thank you dear friends for your MC support!