Posted by bennet on September 29, 2009
Where do I start? The last time I posted, I was struggling with pain in my leg and trying to figure out whether I had a blood clot or infection… Turns out it was an infection but I have a long, long story to tell before finally reaching this conclusion.
I spent the first few weeks of June 2009 seeing 4+ doctors. Each one had a different diagnosis and a different treatment protocol. 1) Infection - IV Antibiotics 2) Suture Allergy - Do nothing 3) No infection and no suture allergy, but take antibiotics 4) Infection - Take antibiotics.
While trying to decide on which doctor to listen to, the scar began getting very red and raised. Within days, the scar had opened back up. Blood tests and cultures were all normal. I finally called International SOS and spoke to a doctor who recommended that I fly to HK to get a second surgery and debride the tissue.
So off to HK I flew. Was pretty down that I had this major setback and that a second surgery was required.
Arrived in HK and had my pre-op with my surgeon. He said most likely was an infection but couldn’t be for sure. What!!! Why can’t any doctor give me a solid diagnosis! I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to get a second surgery. I was heading back to the USA for the summer in 2 weeks and would wait to get a second surgery then. I would monitor the infection or whatever it was and ensure medical help if the infection got worse or if I started getting a fever, etc.
So came back home and decided to take matters into my own hands… For the past few weeks the scar had opened up and I was having trouble closing the wound again. I decided (since I had nothing to lose) to try a old home remedy which was to apply whole leaf aloe vera directly on the wound. Every night, I put a leaf onto my open wound and held it in place with my dressing. Every morning, I would change the leaf and apply another one.
Within 5 days, the wound had closed almost 100%. Two weeks later, the wound had healed 100% and the pain was completely gone. I was still in a boot and using crutches though and taking it very easy. I booked 3 doctor appointments in the USA - 1) Orthopedic Surgeon 2) Podiatrist 3) Sports Medicine Doctor. All of them gave me the same diagnosis - Was an infection but since wound has closed and looks good, NO SECOND SURGERY required!
I was told to ditch the crutches as soon as possible but continue to wear the boot. Incidentally, I was most impressed with the Podiatrist. He did a thorough historical review and suggested that I get another MRI to see how much damage the infection may have caused. He was the only one to suggest this.
So I scheduled a MRI and to make a long story short, results were - tendon still intact although infection did cause a partial tear. Recommendation was to remove boot and begin physio. Only way to make the tendon stronger and repair the partial tear is through physio. AT will either rupture again or get stronger.
SO, I began my physio on August 4th. I was officially 2 Shoes although I was walking with quite a limp.
Almost 2 months later, the calf muscles are still pretty weak. I’m concentrating on doing calf raises and trying to build up the muscles. I can walk at a normal pace although there is still an unevenness to my gait. Once I can get to one legged calf raises, the real fun begins (or so says my physio).
I am on the path to recovery and will begin playing golf this weekend. Yes Life Is Good again.
Lessons learned through this ordeal - You can’t trust one doctor’s opinion and you know your body the best. If what a doctor says doesn’t make sense, you need to trust your body and get 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions until you agree with the diagnosis and treatment.
The healing time has been much longer than what I ever imagined. But it’s also added a new perspective in my life and made me focus on living a better and healthier life. As with all things in life, there is always a silver lining… This one has just taken me longer to find.