Eight Months Post-Surgical

After eight months I am taking the opportunity to reflect on this life changing experience.

True, rupturing the Achilles is not a death sentence. But this was by far the darkest period of my life.

Once the cast was off I went home and rubbed the area. Dead skin cascaded off. Being the freak that I am I saved it all in a #10 envelope. Particularly found the larger flakes fascinating.

Pain in foot was finally tallied as a condition common to “elite athletes”. Ha! Something to do with calcium leaking out of foot bones due to inactivity. Turning point for me was after consultation with a second orthopedist who said foot was fine. Even with pain. Basically, suck it up and get over it. Prior to that I was in the nasty boot. Next day I said screw it and put running shoes on both feet. Very, very weird. But a welcoming weirdness.

Popped calcium pills and ate great fresh mozzarella cheese from local Italian deli. And one day the pain in foot magically disappeared. That was 4 months ago.

At that time I left the cold Northeast (February) and flew to southwest Florida. Tried my constitutional of 7 mile walk the first day. A bit much but finally put my daughter’s Christmas Fitbit gift to use. Walking on beach sand in sneakers was tough. The angle of the sand at water’s edge was wearying. I walked as much as I could. Everywhere.

Joined local YMCA where there is a large outdoor pool. Joined aquatic class for arthritis sufferers. Pool definitely helped. I could practice walking using the ball of my foot without putting entirety of my weight on it. Only drawback was realizing there were 35 older folks in the pool and not ONE left during the hour to pee. Note to self: keep head out of water at all times…

Major mistake was made at Y. My mantra while exercising has been “don’t get hurt”. (Too bad the Achilles didn’t listen.)I used the weight machines with less weights than before the rupture. Went to the squat machine and set it for 60#. Into my third set of ten my left knee/quad didn’t feel good. Got home and that night the pain started. It was the same side as Achilles rupture and I had no idea just how friggin’ weak that leg was. Strained the knee. Lasted about a month. Getting up and about, driving, sitting at restaurants were all challenges. I did perfect a great grimace though.

After I strained the knee I continued to use the Y for treadmill and weight machines, other than leg. I happened to stroll by my infernal nemesis, the squat machine, while an older woman was using it. To my chagrin she was using 80#.How the Mighty have fallen indeed.

All that was back in February/March and it is now the beginning of July. Have not jogged yet. Can bike fine for 15-20 miles without issues. Have given up the notion of playing tennis again. When I visited my primary care doc for check up he mentioned that when my ruptured tendon was ultrasounded the tech did the good one as a comparison. And that one was not in great shape. I do NOT want to go through this again.

To you Achilles newbies, yes, it’s a dark, dark period. It’s not a death sentence, not a fatal illness though. Go slow. Listen to your body. Small steps/increments rule the day.