This weekend was my three month anniversary of surgery and I was given the great news that I don’t need to wear the boot anymore! Just heel lifts in my sneakers for the next 4 weeks, and I’ll be completely cleared for all activities in December. I can’t believe it has already been three months! Things are going pretty well though. I have a limp but it is getting better. My calf is still 1/3 the size it used to be, but hopefully that will begin to change. My scar is healing well, and my range of motion and strength keep getting better. So as I said, it is all good. I’m already 25% on my way to full recovery! =]
So I went in for my second post-op appointment. When they took off the cast I noticed three things. First, how ridiculously hairy my leg is (not even a little bit important but still gross lol.) Second, how small my calf is. I had read others’ stories telling how small their calves looked but I guess I wasn’t really expecting it to be SO small. It is about half the size of my other calf. But I guess that is to be expected considering I haven’t used the calf muscle in over 40 days. And third, how NOT swollen my Achilles area is. It is actually looking really nice.
The doctor said everything is looking good and that there were two different ways to go from here. He said I would either be put in a boot or back into a cast. However I wasn’t actually given the choice. Since I am 18 and he was “born and bred New Yorker” he doesn’t trust me, which means no boot yet. He was afraid that I would be laying down with the boot off and then the phone would ring or something and I would “run to get it.”
So all this means I’m in another (non-weight bearing) cast for two weeks. He originally said three weeks but since I am going back to college at the end of the month (THAT’s going to be fun) he wanted to get me started on some PT before I left. So I’m in the cast and will officially have been on crutches my entire summer. Awesome.
When I go back in two weeks he’ll be putting me in a CAM Walker with a heel lift and starting me on PT.
So a month ago today was when I ruptured my Achilles. I figured I would write out my story since I’m bored out of my mind and have nothing to do.
First a little background info. I’ve been Irish step dancing for 13 years and in all those years I had only qualified for “Nationals” twice (2008 & 2009.) Last year when I competed it was not anywhere near my best. From November to late May I was in a CAM Walker because of Achilles tendonitis, so obviously I wasn’t practicing like I normally would and needless to say my placement showed it. So this time around I was very excited. I had been working very hard and was feeling quite confident about my dancing. That is before I went to dance class on that one particular Monday.
So, it was June 29th. Exactly 5 days before I was supposed to compete at the North American Irish Dance Championships. My sister and I decided to go to a different class than we normally go to. We wanted a small class and bigger dance floor so we opted to go 40 minutes away instead of 5 minutes away. Everything was going fine. About 20 minutes into class, after warm-ups and some drills my Achilles was hurting, but not anymore than it normally does at dance class. So we started to do our steps and half way through my dance I came down from a double switch (landing on my left foot) and I heard a kind of “pop/slam” and I thought my foot went through the floor.
I didn’t feel any pain at first. Immediately I looked down and saw that I hadn’t broken the floor. I then tried to put my left foot down and it felt like the floor was slanted and then the pain started. All the way up into my calf was in terrible pain. My teacher had me sit down and put my foot up. My sister went and got my mom and I hopped to the car and waited there for 2 hours until my sister was finished with class. I was in so much pain I could barley think. So we decided to go to the hospital.
In hindsight I should have just waited until the next day anyway (it was 11pm by the time dance was over) and went to see my orthopedic, but we went to the ER. After being there for 3 hours and getting x-rays done I was told by their orthopedic that it was just a sprain, the tendon was still intact, I should be walking in a few days and to do a quick follow up with my orthopedic the next day. He wasn’t even going to split my foot or anything. Luckily my mom convinced him to.
SO I went to my orthopedic who immediately knew it was ruptured. After a long emotional appointment we determined that I needed to get blood-work re-done, and that he would refer me to a different surgeon since we were going on vacation then he was going on vacation (it was QUITE complicated.)
So here I am. One month later. I honestly cannot believe it has been a month. I am bored out of my mind and feeling really down. I’ve been reading everyone elses stories and trying to stay positive but I am having a hard time. My summers are always like 100% dedicated to dance and without I’m going crazy. I’ve tried going to class and just watching but that is just as sad as not going at all. I just don’t know what to do with myself. I stay in bed or in the couch all day since I have no where to go/not allowed to go any where. I’m just having a really tough time emotionally but what can you do?
On one final note, I bought these “Crutch Critters” in attempts to make the crutches more bareable. They make me laugh and actually work really well as coushins. (This is the best picture I could get of them)
I can’t wait until I can walk again and I especially can’t wait until I can dance again. It’s going to be a long road but Nationals 2011 here I come! This has been quite a long post. I’m finished for now.
I had my first appointment since surgery on Monday. They took the stitches out (which barely hurt at all) and the nurse and doctor said everything is healing “perfectly” and it looks “beautiful.” The doctor is very happy with how things are looking and although he said we are not completely out of the woods yet in terms to wound issues but it looks pretty good. He also said that my foot is at a much better starting angle to begin with. Before surgery it was expected that we would have to move and re-cast at least three times. Now he said in two weeks it will be cast at a neutral position. So for now I am in a hard (non-weight bearing) cast for two weeks.
This is my first time in a hard cast so it has been annoying getting used to it. I don’t like how my foot feels like it is being squeezed. As time goes on I get more and more used to it. It’s just annoying that my summer is wasted because of this. I can’t believe it has almost been one month since this whole thing started. It’s pretty crazy.
On July 10th I had surgery to repair my completely “shredded” tendon. I woke up at 7:30, I didn’t sleep very well because of my stupid wet cast. So we got to the place at 8. I went in, got in a robe, and instead of being on like stretcher they have you sit in these nice recliners. So I sat in the recliner with a heated blanket on, answers lots of questions. First the nurse talked to me, then the anesthesiologist, then Dr.Teplitz, then Dr.Grossman, and then the resident. A little after 9:00 after everything was ready to go they wheeled me into the room in the comfy chair I was in.
The room reminded me more of a garage then an OR. It was cluttered and lots of things were all around. They gave me a sedative, and the rest is kinda a blur. I remember getting up on the table and hunching my back so they could give me the spinal. I don’t remember rolling onto my stomach, or the blood pressure thing being attached or the mask being put near me. I remember the anesthesiologist asking if I had any brothers and I remember the nurse or someone wiping my nose but I have no clue why. APPARENTLY I was hysterical crying, like for a really long time, I don’t remember it, which freaks me out, but yeah. I remember waking up on my stomach, seeing the mask like lying next to my face and someone telling me “they were almost finished.” I also remember hearing the doctors discussing what they wanted for lunch lol. When they were finished the like flipped me off the table onto a gurney. Which was really weird since 1. I couldn’t feel my bottom half at all because of the spinal and 2. I was like half asleep. The surgery took an hour.
So they wheeled me into the recovery room where they tested my blood, hooked me up to the blood pressure machine and told me everything went well. Dr.Teplitz said everything went great and that the tendon was like completely shredded and really ratty. Then I took two naps each like 25 minutes while the anesthesia wore off. It was like so sick when they lifted up my leg to elevate it and even though I say them moving it I couldn’t feel my leg or foot at all. Turns out they had put in a nerve block which is like the best thing ever, but more about that later. So I waited to get feeling back into my leg. Once I was able to feel it the nurses moved me from the bed to the chair and my parents came in. After a little while, I ate some graham crackers, drank some diet ginger ale, and was able to get dressed and leave. By 1:00 we were on our way home.
At home I took a nap on my bed which my dad has moved down to the office for me, which rocks. I was able to sleep because of the nerve block. I had no pain and it was awesome. Everything was good…until the nerve block wore off.
Starting at like 9:00 the pain came. I had taken some pain killers at 5:30 to help but it was still terrible. My leg felt like it was burning, they was no way to rest it down without it hurting, My leg kept convulsing and I couldn’t control the muscles in it. Words cannot describe the pain. I tried to fall asleep but it was impossible. I was up until 4am until I finally moved out to the recliner and was able to get comfortable enough that I could fall asleep.
So to sum things up.Surgery went well. I like my doctors a lot. Apparently I cry when sedated and Nerve block = awesome.