November 09, 2004 07:01am
Alexis Fire Strides Towards Recovery
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Alexis Fire
Just wanted to say hello to all of my friends out there and to thank all of you for your well wishes as they did not go un-noticed.
I had every intention of writing sooner, but as my recovery progressed, I decided to do what I rarely do... put myself first and take time off of work and from the public arena to focus on my soles and my soul.
The outpouring of emails and phone calls I received and still do amazes me. I know I haven't gotten back with everyone yet, but I've been feeling much better lately and felt it was time to address everyones concerns and to put into words all of the details about my injury as well as the challenges and insight it has given me to move forward happily in my life and my career.
It has always been the small kindnesses of friends and even strangers that keeps me going in tough times..... The "Adult Company" who wishes to remain anonymous that sent me a weeks worth of gourmet meals so that I could eat something wonderful since I couldn't cook... strangers at the grocery store that came up and offered to get something off of the top shelf for me... amazing friends and family that took time out of their busy schedules to come stay with me and take care of me...all of the emails expressing love, suggestions of websites to look at to help with my recovery, gifts of foot creams and flowers and lots of love and patience. I also received a very special email from Stevi Secrets mom Dory before she passed away. My heart goes out to Stevi and her family at the loss of her mom.
My injury was no ordinary break or sprain. Almost exactly 3 months ago, I split the calcaneous bone of my left foot completely in half and part of the bone protruded out of the back of my foot about 1.5 inches (the calcaneous bone is the heel bone which takes most of your body weight).
I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. I had to wait a few hours until an Orthopedic Surgeon could be called in to see me. After x-rays, his concern was that he usually likes to wait 6 weeks before performing the surgery that would pin my heel back into place so that the tissue would have a chance to heal first. However, the injury was so severe and so close to breaking the skin, he felt that it was imperative that he do the surgery that day as soon as the operating room was available.
He explained that the tissue in my foot was highly damaged and even with emergency surgery, there was a chance that the tissue in my foot would not heal properly, could get infected and he may have to amputate. Being a dancer since my teens, this was traumatic news and I was really afraid. I immediately started trying to rationalize how I might live life differently without my foot.
The surgery went well, but I left the hospital after 4 days with the Doctor and Nurses not realizing how internally bruised my right foot was. So now I had two left feet that didn't work so to speak! I got home and couldn't use the walker I was given by the hospital. I had to get creative just to do those little things that we all do everyday and take for granted. Getting to the bathroom or kitchen meant scooting on my bottom and using my arms to push me along. (My sister made me this gizmo out of a pair of kids carpet skates and some heavy duty tape so I could slide along with a bit more ease). Getting down the stairs of my apt on the 2nd story was an even greater challenge.
At my 2 week check up, x-rays showed that my right foot had no hairline fractures and was just internally bruised and still unusable. The left foot was going to stay in a cast for 6 more weeks. The good news was that the Dr. said that I would indeed dance again, but it would be a very long recovery. I told him I was slated to perform at the Exotic Erotic Ball, Oct. 23rd and he said "no, you won't be dancing that soon." So I rented a wheelchair, put things in perspective and life started to get a bit easier.
Six weeks later my cast came off and I got a walking brace that I could take on and off. All I can say is Ahhhhhh! To be able to ice my foot and run it under hot water was just the best!
I'm able to walk these days without my brace most of the time, however I have 3 of those Dr. Scholl type of foot pads padding a pair of boots that I bought 2 sizes too big. Walking flat footed is still painful, especially in the morning, so I put on my padded boots before I do anything. Usually graceful, I still feel like a klutz when I can't turn quickly or I stumble a bit.
I've been to a few events recently including "Rock the Vote" in San Francisco and most recently the 25th Anniversary of the Exotic Erotic Ball in San Francisco, October 23rd. I had every intention of staying off the stage (Drs. orders), but there I am on the sidelines dancing a bit with Ed Powers. (Ed is a pretty good dancer! What fun we had!)
When "2 Live Crew" started jamming and one of the dancers on stage gave me that "come hither" motion to join her on stage, that was it! I danced for about 3 songs on stage (I tried like hell to stay mostly on my right foot!). The lead singer came and scooped me up, threw my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck and we got "jiggy with it" on stage! It felt so good to groove again. Of course my feet were incredibly sore for 3 days afterwards, but some moments are worth suffering for in my book!
On another note, I have always felt a special bond with handicapped friends and fans. I noticed early on in my contortion career that the people who would watch me perform wide eyed and come back again and again that same day were usually in a wheelchair. I have always considered it a gift that one gives to me when someone gives me their full attention. I can see in their face that they are wondering what it would be like to be in my body... to be able to bend and contort like I do. It is as if for a brief moment, I give them the visuals to "imagine" it and they give me that warm fuzzy feeling and an enormous amount of courage!
This whole experience has taught me many things and I am very thankful to be able to walk again and my heart dances. So, hats off to all of you for sending so much love my way!
Hugs, kisses and my toes in your mouth,
p.s. The next events you can catch me at are AVN in January and the San Francisco Footnight party Dec. 2nd. See the following link for details for Footnight party info: FootNight.com/quicklink/sanfrancisco