arielmarisa’s AchillesBlog

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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! =)



Comment by normofthenorth

October 4, 2010 @ 3:01 am

Thanks for the vivid and personally revealing story, from a self-admitted “drama queen”, yet! You sound like a hoot!

If you and your Mom haven’t built up your “good-side” shoe so it’s as high as your cast plus that black cast-shoe, you should try to do it. I used a similar cast-shoe over a sandal to match a walking boot. JLA___ here had a shoemaker build up a shoe to match the height. However you get balanced and straight, you don’t want to train your body to walk crooked, or risk damaging hips, spine, or knees by doing so.

You should be ready for 2 shoes soon (if not now), though it will slow your walking down, compared to a walking cast or a good boot. And it gives new meaning to “Watch Your Step!!”


Comment by csmva

October 5, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

Wow - while I think its difficult not being able to do anything, I can only imagine what you’ve been going through at school - yeah for sorority sisters and good boyfriends!

Good luck with your next appt.!


Comment by maria

May 29, 2012 @ 9:16 am

I’ve injured my ankle, have stitches and hate being immobile or dependent on anyone, so absolutely understand your agony! I haven’t injured the achilles tendon though mercifully, and in comparison to your injuries I feel a bit better off for reading this. It was useful seeing the picture of the stitches as I was looking to see if mine look normal, and I think they do, thanks for sharing, loved the way you told your story x

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