arielmarisa’s AchillesBlog

Just another weblog

i did it, i did it, I DID IT!

Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 8:33 pm on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One FULL year since my achilles tendon laceration…what!? So unbelievable, that exactly one year ago today I experienced the most painful, life altering injury of my life…But, I did it. I survived an entire year and I couldn’t feel better! Technically I haven’t completed my marathon yet since one year from my surgery will be August 11…but I feel like I’ve completed like 4 achilles marathons at this point. There were definitely times where I felt that I was NEVER going to get better…that I would be stuck feeling hopeless and in pain. But for those of you that are feeling like that, IT DOES GET BETTER!

One year later and I’m still feeling a little tightness in the area, and it does ache still after working out or a day of walking, but that’s more than I could hope for after this happened. At least I CAN work out and walk and do my everyday tasks, and all those things that I had SO much trouble doing on crutches…but that’s all in the past! I’ve tried wearing heels, but it’s very difficult, so that’s still a task I need to overcome. My surgery site still gets swollen by the end of the day, but I’m hoping that gets better within the next year as well.

Today was really surreal, but I am so happy that I can say I’ve completed a year. For those who have just begun their journey, or even if you’re exactly where I am, I have to let you know that it really does get better. Just be careful, and take care of yourself and time will fly….and then you can be writing your year blog post too!

The pain is back…

Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 6:50 pm on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So it’s officially 8 months since my surgery. Kind of surreal if you ask me. This year has been so strange and so different then any year so far in college..all because of my achilles. By December, the last time I posted, I was doing pretty well. Things only went uphill from there. I was going to the gym 3 times a week, I was walking pretty normally, and I finally had the courage to wear sandals. I was finally getting back to normal again. I was able to go on a cruise for Spring Break and have a life again. It wasn’t until this last month that I was really starting to feel the pain again. I got another job at another restaurant..(and I am staying FAR away from it’s back door.) I work only 3 times a week, but I am on my feet for about 8 hours walking back and forth to tables, not to mention I’ve had to close the restaurant every time I work. Closing includes, sweeping, mopping, stacking chairs…all things that I should be able to do normally but can’t.

I get home each night I work with my ankle SO swollen and throbbing it hurts to walk. I’ve tried icing it, but it doesn’t seem to help because the next day I’m limping again. I go to the gym still, but even that leads me to limping. It’s frustrating because I was coming along so far, and I feel like I’m falling back again. I still think about the accident from time to time and literally stop in my tracks and cringe when I think about it. It’s like this haunting thought in the back of my head that makes me stop when I hear a skateboard behind me thinking that it’s going to crash into me, or when I stop at a door because I’m scared to go through it. Are these thoughts ever going to stop? And am I ever going to be able to walk normally again?

I’m going back to the doctor on Monday just for a check up, but maybe that will answer my questions. It’s great to have my life back, but it’s a very altered life. Hopefully my limping stops soon and I can go back to my semi-normal life. But I will say…these last 8 months have gone so fast, faster than I would have ever expected. 4 more months till I have completed a full year of recovery, and I cannot wait!

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 1:07 pm on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve written, which is I guess what happens when you’re not confined to a couch for hours on end. It’s been almost 5 months since my surgery, and I honestly cannot believe it. Since I got my cast taken off in October, the amount of progress I’ve made is absolutely unbelievable. I started physical therapy the week I got my cast off, going 3 times a week for 2 hours each time. The first time I went, I could barely walk without my crutch. They had me doing simple ankle exercises and things to strengthen my stick of a leg. As the weeks went on I graduated to more difficult things such as riding a stationary bike, walking backwards and forwards on the treadmill, and even leg strengthening machines. Going on the machines was so scary because even though my physical therapist told me I would be okay, I was terrified of having to go through this whole process again when I had already come so far. But I did them anyway, and was surprised at how good I felt after doing them.

After a couple of weeks I returned to the doctor who took a look at my ankle and was happy with the progress I made. I was cut down to 2 times a week at PT for only an hour. My walking had gotten a lot better, but I still had a bit of a limp. The PT said that I was hyperextending my knee as I tried to walk because I had gotten used to walking that way in my walking cast. I’m still working on walking normally and it really only happens if I am SERIOUSLY thinking about it. I’m finally allowed to go to the gym, but I can only really do the elliptical for 25 minutes before I am hurting. Although it’s nothing like the gym workouts I had before my injury, it’s definitely a start.

This journey has been a long one, and I know that there’s still so much ahead of me…but honestly I can’t believe how far I’ve come from the depressive, injured self that I was only a few months ago. I can walk up stairs without any problems…(although walking down stairs is still a bit of a task.) I still can’t run, but my walking has improved, and I can almost walk on my toes without pain, but it definitely still freaks me out. Before winter break started I went to Islands Of Adventure with my boyfriend and made it around the park for a couple of hours before my leg got tired and started to really hurt, but it’s so much more than I could ask for. I see the doctor again at the end of the month and I hope he’s happy with the progress I’ve made. Maybe he can even clear me to wear….SANDALS! Doubtful, but it’s wishful thinking. At least Florida has been somewhat cold so I can get away with wearing boots! =). Now it’s time to focus on walking normally, maybe that’s what I should be doing instead of updating my blog!


Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 1:01 pm on Thursday, October 7, 2010

I had my 8 week post op appointment the other day. I was beyond nervous because I had no idea what the next step of my treatment would be. The doctor came in and took a look at my ankle and cleared me to put both shoes on and start PT asap. Putting the left shoe on was pretty painful because my ankle was significantly swollen and the heel was a little aggravated from being in a cast for so long. But I sucked it up, and took my first steps (with the help of a crutch of course.) That night I had to drive 3 hours back to school, and my entire left side was numb when I got back. I hope that this isn’t how long car-rides are always going to be.

It’s difficult to walk because of the complete atrophy of my left leg but I couldn’t be happier to see both of my legs for the first time in months. I have heel lifts in both shoes (put in by the doc) and I can’t walk around without shoes on just yet. I had my first physical therapy appointment yesterday and I have to go back 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks, but I’m actually pretty excited. Just from the first appointment, my range of motion is starting to get better, and I’m starting to feel like I may be a normal person soon. I know I still have a long time ahead of me, but I figured I should start being positive. =).

My ankle and foot is still very swollen from walking around but I’m going to start icing it more. Unfortunately, I can’t limit my walking because I still need to get to classes, which is a huge pain. Tonight, my sorority is holding an event where we are all wearing heels….guess sneakers are going to have to do for me. Monday is my year anniversary with my boyfriend, so I really hope my sneakers match my dress nicely….can you tell how much I hate my sneakers?

But I guess ANYTHING is better than not walking at all. =)

Every 2 weeks…

Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 8:53 pm on Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chapter 2 of my Achilles Story…

After the surgery I was on immediate bedrest and some serious painkillers. I lucked out because I still had about 2 weeks before my fall semester of Junior Year started and the doctor told me I should be okay to go back to school around then. Unfortunately, I was missing out on Sorority Recruitment week. Every year I sing on the last night of recruitment and was really bummed out that I would be missing it this year, but I tried to stay positive that this injury wouldn’t be keeping me from too much more.

The next two weeks were unbelievably miserable. I couldn’t do ANYTHING for myself, and I absolutely hated using crutches. I’m stubborn and independent, so letting people do things for me was so annoying. I’d never felt more helpless and could feel myself becoming more and more negative. I sat in my bed watching TV, sleeping, and searching Facebook so much that there was nothing new to look at. I received cards from my sorority and my boyfriend came and visited me also, both of which lifted my spirits.

At my first doctor’s appointment I saw my post surgery leg before they put me in cast (PICTURE: POST SURGERY SUTURES ) and then August 20th, I was cleared to head back to school and was SO thrilled I’d finally be able to be social again. I made it back in time to sing for sorority recruitment, but had a bit of  a scare that day. For that day of recruitment, we were all wearing long black dresses and heels, but since of course I can’t wear heels I figured I would be okay in a sandal. I was laying in bed with my leg elevated (as always) and went to go retrieve my crutches which were propped up against my dresser. I went to hop once to get them and the front of my sandal bent and I went falling forward. I think I was in shock more than anything because I didn’t feel any pain, but I couldn’t help but hysterically cry at the thought that I could have possibly torn my tendon all over again. I called the doctors office explaining my accident, and was told that I would most likely be okay since I was protected in a cast. I had to elevate and ice the leg and take some Tylenol and if the pain was worse or still there in the morning to call back. The next morning I was okay, and believe me I wore nothing but closed toed shoes from then on.

School started that week and I found a lot of difficulty finding handicapped spots and crutching to my classes. I had more than enough help from my boyfriend and friends but still couldn’t help but feel depressed. I pretty much was crying everyday from frustration and feeling helpless…(I didn’t even know I had that many tears.) I had a doctor’s appointment within the first 2 weeks of school and had my stitches taken out (PICTURE: STITCHES ARE OUT! ) and my foot flexed to what the doctor’s say was -5 degrees. So if a regular flexed foot was 0 degrees, my ankle was pointed to just under that. Having my foot flexed was so painful…I was in tears (of course) and scared out of my mind to have it bent. After they casted me, I felt some pain from the tendon stretching, but it went away within the next 2 days. I was still on crutches, but back on my way to school.

I was getting used to the "crutch life" but it was beyond annoying. I live on the 2nd story of my sorority house and it took at least 5 minutes to get up and down stairs. I was starting to get gym withdrawals and that made me pretty depressed too. I love the gym and went everyday before my injury, and now I wasn’t even allowed to think about even looking at a gym. My left leg had atrophied quite a bit, while my right leg was starting to look like the Hulk, not to mention my manly arms I was aquiring from all the crutching. I was still crying everyday, especially when everybody was getting ready to go out, and I was stuck sitting on the couch.

During those last two weeks I was getting woken up from serious pain every night. My last appointment was on August 30th and I had to come home for an emergency appointment September 9th to make sure I was okay. My mom didn’t want me driving home, so I had to fly ( a 45 minute flight…absolutely ridiculous…but necessary.) The airport was awful, I have extreme sympathy for anyone who has ever or has to always go through security in a wheelchair. I felt like an assumed terrorist, my cast was swabbed as well as my hands, I had a full cast xray, and was patted down. It was all very stressful, but I guess I feel pretty safe they have to go through such precautions. At my doctor’s appointment I was told that the pain was coming from the cast being put on too tight, which was causing my leg to swell during the night. Nothing too serious, thank god. My tendon was checked (doc said it was lookin good!) and I was recasted and sent to fly back to school.

..And then 2 weeks later I had to go through the whole airport process AGAIN for yet ANOTHER doctor’s appointment. This time my foot was flexed to 0 degrees (OUCH!) and I was given a removable hard cast. (Pretty much a regular cast, split down the sides, and held back together with an ace bandage.) It was removable because the doc told me I would have to start doing leg exercises every morning and night for ten minutes. It was fairly simple, just pointing and flexing my foot, but he wanted to get movement in my leg again. I cannot tell you how happy I was to be able to remove my cast every morning and night. Seeing my two legs bare next to each other and my left leg moving again made me feel like I was really making progress. I will never forget however, one night I was doing my leg exercises next to my boyfriend, and he put his leg next to mine and exclaimed, "EWW OUR HAIR IS THE SAME!" Well that’s what you get I guess for not being able to shave for 8 weeks….(PICTURE: 3 1/2 WEEKS AFTER STITCHES REMOVED )

The next two weeks came pretty quickly and I was flying home again for my 6 weeks post-op appointment. I was put into a cast again but this one was not removable and I was given a little black shoe like thing for the bottom of my cast. My foot was at 0 still, but when I went to go take my first steps I completely froze. I didn’t remember how to walk, and whenever my foot came remotely close to the ground I cringed from fear. I’m so lucky my Mom’s a physical therapist because she showed me how to become comfortable walking again (using crutches for support at first) My hips were completely misaligned because the little boot raised my left leg so much higher than my right. Getting comfortable walking was so difficult because every time my foot was on the ground it felt like when your foot falls asleep and you try to walk on it. But I put a sneaker on my right foot (cringing at the thought that a sneaker did not match ANY of my outfits…=) ) and took my first steps a day later.

That’s where I am right now, walking with my little black shoe. The last two weeks have been SO much easier because those damn crutches are gone! I’m still careful, and walking is still a tiny bit painful from time to time, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m back home for my 8 week post-op appointment tomorrow and I’m unbelievably nervous to hear what’s to come. Thinking about walking with 2 shoes is so exciting, but I can’t help but be a little cautious and uneasy. I’m hoping for a splint, but I know that my completely atrophied leg is going to be difficult to walk on. I’ll probably post again within the next couple days on how my appointment went…wish me luck! =)

In the Achilles Minority…

Filed under: Uncategorized — arielmarisa at 12:56 pm on Saturday, October 2, 2010

My name is Ariel, I’m 20 years old, and a junior in college. These last 2 months have been the most life changing and challenging of my whole life. I wish I had found this blog earlier because it is helping me cope with the daily struggles that this injury has brought me. But, I guess I’ll start out my first post by explaining the reasoning for my title.

On August 2nd 2010, my leg was caught in the back door of the restaurant that I work at. I was walking back into the restaurant when the heavy metal door closed abruptly on my ankle. Assuming that I had just received a cut (I was a little in shock to notice any pain) I stepped back down outside only to realize I couldn’t put any weight down on my left foot. The cut opened up and I saw my tendon. I hopped back into the restaurant, in shock, and realized I was about to pass out. I called to my boyfriend (who works in the restaurant as well) to come help me. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a drama queen so it was hard for him to believe that I was about to pass out from getting my foot caught in a door. Everything at this point was very fuzzy, but I remember my boyfriend holding my face telling me to breathe. He later filled me in that my entire face was white, and my eyes kept rolling into the back of my head. The last thing I remember was him saying, "Are you able to walk?" and me responding "No." He picked me up and that’s when I passed out.

Within those next couple hours I was finally beginning to feel the pain. I remember not realizing how bad the injury was. My foot was limp and the back was bleeding, but I never would have expected my achilles to be cut. My boyfriend rushed me to the hospital which is a good half hour from our university. When I got to the emergency room, I was informed that I may have possibly nicked the tendon, but they would need to do x-rays to make sure nothing was broken and then take a look inside the cut as well. The x-ray process was long and painful because they had me contorting my leg into positions I didn’t realize would be hurtful to a cut tendon. The x-ray technician was making small talk with me (I thought to get my mind off the pain) but the x-ray session ended with him giving me his number and telling me that it  "would be so awesome for an attractive girl like you to give a guy like me a call."… if the pain and trauma of my night wasn’t enough. Needless to say my boyfriend wasn’t too pleased when I told him…but I stopped him from almost running down the hallway to put this guy in his place. =).

The night was long, as every emergency visit to the hospital generally is. After the x-ray, they put novacaine in my heel and very painfully looked inside the cut. They told me that the tendon looked nicked but I would need an MRI to decide if it was more serious. I was really upset, but still didn’t realize the severity of this injury. 8 stitches, a fiberglass splint, and some pain pills later, I was sent on my way home with a doctor’s appointment set for 2 days later. (EMERGENCY ROOM AFTERMATH )

At the doctor, they performed the Thompson test which resulted in the doctor calling in an emergency MRI. I came back later in the day for it. I’m a bit claustrophobic, so the MRI was scary, even though it only came up to my hips. I never knew how noisy an MRI would be…let alone probably the most boring and tedious thing ever. But I went home praying I wouldn’t get a call the next morning that I would need surgery.

The next morning I was (attempting) to pack up my apartment by hopping around. In the middle of this all happening to me, I was supposed to be moving out of my apartment and into my sorority house, so things were pretty stressful. My phone rang, and I was told my fate. My achilles had been fully lacerated, and was separated 5 cm. I was going to need surgery. Hysterically crying and shaking I called my Mom to tell her the news. I knew I would need to return home for the surgery and it was finally starting to hit me how serious this all was. My boyfriend packed and moved my entire apartment for me, while also packing and moving out of his apartment also. I moved in to my sorority house that Saturday, and was picked up by my Mom to go back home for surgery.

August 11th I went in for surgery at 6:00 A.M. I was terrified and in pain, but I knew it had to be done. I crutched my way to prep for surgery and was put into my backless hospital gown. I remember the hospital being freezing, but I was too scared to really notice it. The IV hurt SO badly, more than I was expecting it to.I was giving 4 sedatives to relax me, because I was absolutely terrified of getting anesthesia and getting surgery. But finally I was wheeled into a room,  and told they were going to give me the anesthesia…and the next thing I knew I was waking up. The surgery was over, but little did I know I was in in for many more months of pain and struggle. My tendon was completely lacerated, but hanging on by one thread so the surgery was only 45 minutes instead of 2 hours like I was told. I was stitched up inside and out, and probably experiencing more pain than I was ever expecting.

I was put into a non-weight bearing cast and told that I would be on crutches for 6 more weeks. I found this blog only a couple days ago, and am currently on my 8th week post-op in a PWB cast. I intend on updating this blog with the in between period and also the many months to come…but I figured this post was getting pretty long. I still can’t believe this happened to me…and my normally happy self has been pretty down in the dumps. But this injury has made me appreciate my amazing boyfriend, family, and friends. And I have to say, I am pretty lucky…I live in a sorority house filled with 40 more than willing to help sisters who have been so supportive. Finding this blog is also helping me see that I’m not alone in this struggle. While I’m still pretty far from a full recovery, you all are giving me hope that I will get there soon!