Two days to go before surgery

Hello everyone. My name is Adam Lewis. I live in West L.A. And I’m 60 years old. A pretty young 60 but 60 nevertheless. I believe in the catharsis of writing so this seems to be the place to do just that.

I have an idea how I got here but couldn’t swear to it in a court of law  I’ve spent most of my life working out my legs  being one of those geeky kids in the 60s who was the last picked on any sport team, I found that I excelled in long distance running. What a thrill it was to easily pass the “jocks” who made fun of me over the years,  and fly way ahead of them. I couldn’t catch a ball to save my life but boy could I run.

so over the years I ran cross country, track, discovered the utter joys of long distance bicycle touring and when I moved back to LA in 1989, someone turned me on to “the stairs” in Santa Monica. Anyone know them?  168 wooden steps straight up and down and it’s filled with wannabe stars and starlets (and then there’s the major players that are there too.)

I worked out there like a demon. 20 round trips was my normal workout   Sometimes I did double that. This was between 1994 and 2000. After 2000, I did the stairs in my condo building’sstairwell. Healthier about excess, I’d do 10 flights there and never really had much trouble. Knees started hurting as I got older and that’s it.

So, here’s what happened

this past January, I awoke and stepped out of bed to a slight pain in my heel  in two steps it’d resolv itself but t if I sat down during the course of the day, it would return  I’d walk it off and poof, gone  I started think it was Plantar Fascitis but gave up that lame theory as I never felt pain under my foot.

By March, I was limping all day and had not been to a doctor. Finally got there in June. All he said was that we had to get the swelling down. So before the cast went on, I got an MRI. It showed an interstitial tear

the cast went on for a month. Lost 50% of muscle volume in my left leg when the cast came off and inside of 5 minutes ALL the pain came roaring back. Found a new podiatrist and he put me in a cam boot. That was July. Still wearing it in December.

PT yielded me nothing so new dr podiatrist says I have to hav surgery. I wholeheartedly agreed. Of course, knowing that it’s in 36 hours has me not so wholehearted about it.

he says the tendon is torn, it has tendinitis, scar tissue has formed, as has calcium and collagen and it all has to be scraped off before significant healing begins. The literature the doc sends to his patients has me non weight bearing for 8 weeks. Recovery initially is supposed to be painful. I have Percocet ready to go along with an anti inflammatory. Lots of movies recorded on my DVR. A few books are planned. Honestly, I really don’t know how I’ll get through even the first day. This kind of laying around is counter intuitive to the way I live. Always on the go.

So I have decided to use this forum to record thoughts, events, (psychosis), that I go through in the hope that someone else may not think they’re alone in this. Surgery is Friday morning 12/4/15. I’ll probably be writing again Friday afternoon.

Until then…

2 Responses to “Two days to go before surgery”

  1. Hi Adam,
    Here is hoping your surgery was a great success. My comment below was copied and slightly modified from my comment to another achilles tendonosis suffer. I hope it helps in that you are not alone in your ordeal, and it will all be better (relatively) soon.

    Hi there, I feel (felt) your pain. This condition seems to happen to us active middle-aged people. After years of searching for answers as to “why” it happens, I still do not know.
    I am 52, slightly overweight, and active in that I like to hike and walk the dog daily. I do not play intense sports (basket ball, volley ball, running, etc.) I had “insertional tendonosis “with degeneration and calcification of greater than 50% of my achilles (where it inserts into the heel bone) with micro-tears and a pronounced “Haglunds bump” on the calcaneus. After a year of dealing with the pain, trying immobilization in a BOOT, physical therapy, eccentric exercises, 1000 mg of NSAIDs per day, then to a prescription anti-inflamatory Piroxicam (which worked wonders regarding the swelling and pain-but a bad idea because I kept using my feet and causing more and more damage), I finally had the surgery.

    The surgery consisted of: removal of 60-70% of the degenerated and calcified portion of the achilles tendon at the heel bone, a shaving down of the “Haglunds bump” on the heel bone, a transfer of my Big Toe Tendon (FHL) to my achilles, and attachment to the heel with plastic anchors and screws.

    My first surgery was 1 year ago. Same thing and same surgery on my OTHER ankle 5 months ago. Both surgeries were a “success” and done by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in feet and ankles. My first ankle feels pretty good now, only a bit of achiness and a little swelling at the end of the day. My second ankle (5 months out) is at the OK point, I can move and walk around for about 5 - 6 hours before it gets sore with more swelling, and then I have to ice and elevate it. Time truly is the great healer! I am sure my second ankle will be as fine as my first in about 5 more months.

    Be confident about your decision to have this surgically fixed! No amount of exercise, PT, or NSAIDs would have fixed this problem, and I truly regret waiting for a year for a miracle cure (and I am a believer in miracles). The surgery itself was not as traumatic and painful as I was expecting. Pain pills taken faithfully for the first 3 days or so did the trick.

    The worst part is the recovery. I was in a soft cast for 2 weeks, a hard cast for 6 weeks, (totally non-weight bearing “NWB”, and THEY MEAN IT), then in a boot for partial-to-full weight bearing for 3 weeks! After that, PT for 6 weeks and getting my muscles and tendon to work well again! At this point, swelling and achiness are a part of daily life, and ice and elevation of your foot is your best friend. The swelling and achiness decrease as time goes by. But the pain you experienced before your surgical intervention will be gone. The mental part of recovery was the worst part for me, but if you conquer that, all else will seem like cake! Some people handle it better than others, but do your best, get some sun when you can, and TRY to stay positive! And if you don’t stay positive, forgive yourself when that happens and carry on! Tomorrow is a new day.

    When reading these helpful blogs, (and they are a God-send) about other folks experiences, be sure to differentiate between those with “achilles tendon RUPTURE”, and those with “insertional tendonopathy” because they are truly different beasts! The rupture people seem to bear weight earlier and have a bit less lengthy recovery time, and are back to running marathons quicker than those who get their achilles chopped off at the heel bone, FHL tendon transfer with appropriate hardware to anchor everything back to the heel bone. The long period of NWB seems to be necessary to ensure the tendon heals back to the bone. I say this because it is a bit disheartening to read of people who are in a boot bearing weight at 3 weeks post op, (ATR ruptures) while we are still sitting on the couch in our hard cast!

    So all in all, my heart goes out to you. I would not wish this ordeal on my worst enemy. I had (unfortunately) back to back surgeries for this problem, and the recovery is the worst part. BUT, I am thankful it can be fixed, and it was, and I would do it again (twice) to be out of the pain and suffering of it.
    Wishing you a successful recovery! This too shall pass, and “relatively” (what is 6 months to a year compared to 50-60 years, eh?) soon you will be walking without pain (a much underestimated blessing by most people).
    Good luck to you,
    Michelle

  2. Adam849, hoping your surgery was a success!

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