apollo’s AchillesBlog

         Just another AchillesBlog.com weblog

May 29, 2013

2 Weeks - 1st Post-Op Visit

Filed under: Uncategorized — apollo @ 4:48 pm

Today was my first post-op visit to my surgeon’s office, which is a 20-minute drive from home.  Had spent all of the past 15 days since surgery inside the house.  I don’t think I’ve ever been indoors for that long a stretch in my life.  So, naturally, I was expecting that it would feel good to leave the house (finally) and be outside.  And it did.  But it felt more than just good.  It felt surreal.  I’m not sure why.  I think when you’re inside all the time, you can sorta fool yourself into thinking that you’re not missing out on much — you can enter a black hole where the days blend into one another.  But going outside today instantly dispelled any illusions that the world was on pause.  The streets were bustling with activity — joggers, bikers, dog-walkers.  The surreal part came from seeing all this life and activity around me — continuing as it did before my ATR — but feeling like I was no longer a part of that world.

But today definitely felt like a solid step (or at least a PWB step!) back towards rejoining civilization.  Doctor said the wound appears to be healing well and that the tendon is intact.  He said that’s all he wanted to check today and to come back in 4 weeks.  Somewhat to my surprise, he said that I could begin PWB in a boot (50% strength).  And in 2 weeks, he said I could ditch the crutches and go FWB.  This all seems a bit aggressive, but I feel somewhat reassured by what I’ve read on this site about how early weight-bearing and rehab have been shown to get better overall results.

The challenge for me is to figure out now what it means to be 50% PWB.  I’ve been putting some cautious weight on the foot today, but I have no idea if I’m putting 10% weight on it or closer to 50% (in reality, it’s probably been more like 5%).  In my head, I’ve always regarded standing on a leg to be a strictly binary matter — either you’re standing on it or you’re not.  Anyone have any advice on how to gauge what 50% weight-bearing feels like?

May 26, 2013

Podcast - Surgeons’ Roundtable

Filed under: Uncategorized — apollo @ 2:58 pm

Listened to an interesting podcast today — basically, a roundtable of surgeons discussing how they treat ATRs (surgery vs. non-surgery; need for an MRI; how they go about re-attaching the tendon; rehab plans).  I’m guessing others have already discovered and made reference to this same podcast before, but I figured I’d post the link here (it’s #83 on the list associated with the link).

May 24, 2013

May 11, 2013 — The Rupture

Filed under: Uncategorized — apollo @ 12:04 pm

For me, like many others, it happened on the (outdoor) basketball court, making a simple move I’ve made a million times — spinning reverse tomahawk dunk.  Ok, just kidding, more like running after my own rebound after missing a jump shot (a move I truly have made a million times).  I’ve heard the incident described by some as feeling like a gunshot, kick to the leg, etc.  In my mind, it felt like some heavy random object had just landed on the back of my leg (airplane part?!), I let out a primal scream, and then just went down, knowing something very, very bad had just happened.

Went to the ER, got the initial diagnosis that it looked like a complete Achilles rupture and then, of course, started googling “achilles tendon rupture.”  I think the first thing I read was the wikipedia page.  And, soon after, I found this tremendously useful website.  I think, for me, the biggest shock of all was the amount of recovery time needed for this injury.  I knew it was a big deal, but half a year to a year?!  Ugh, that took a while to sink in.  Looking back, I definitely went through the stages of grief, starting appropriately enough with DENIAL.  I can probably still go with my family on our planned trip to Europe in 6 weeks, right? (Response 3 days later from surgeon: Europe will be there next year.)

Got the surgery 3 days later, on May 14th.  And now I’m waiting for my first post-op visit, scheduled for May 29th.

More about the incident:  I didn’t stretch before playing.  I hadn’t played in a few weeks (–I normally play around 2 times a week).  I don’t otherwise exercise regularly, although I like to play tennis and swim, which I do only occasionally.  I’m 37 yrs old.  I was wearing basketball sneakers that have an unusual strap inside the shoe that wraps around the ankle, ostensibly to guard against ankle sprains.

One thing I’m pondering:  even if I hadn’t taken that triggering step on May 11, was this likely going to happen to me anyway?  I understand it wasn’t inevitable in the sense that I could have been a better stretcher, a regular exerciser, etc.  But assuming I had continued along my path of being a 1-2 times a week basketball player who was not good about stretching, was this likely to happen a week, month or year from now?  Had my tendon deteriorated in some way that made this a likely outcome?  Or is it more random than that?  Because there are plenty of people like me (weekend warriors!) who don’t rupture their achilles tendon.  In fact, the vast majority don’t.  So, I’m just wondering if this was a random unlucky alignment of variables that caused my tendon to snap that particular day, or if my tendon was particularly susceptible to injury because of deterioration (i.e., that this was going to happen to me sooner or later anyway).  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

And before I sign off on this initial post, just want to say thanks to all those out there who have shared their stories, their setbacks, their triumphs, their knowledge…  It helps to know there’s a community out there going through, or having gone through, the same thing.  And it’s an incredibly effective way to learn.