Just another Achillesblog.com weblog

1 Year, 4 months later - 3 fantastic days of mountain biking in Moab, UT!

The AT held up well for three days of tough riding out at the ultimate mountain biking playground. For those familiar, we rode Slickrock, Porcupine Rim and Baby Steps. All are super trails and quite challenging. Overall my AT held strong and was only mildly sore at the end of each day. I am very grateful for a full recovery well enough to enjoy many of my favorite sports! I do not plan to return to basketball the offending sport as I really don’t want to repeat with the other leg. All the best to those recovering. You will get better. Just stick with your plan and work hard. Cheers, Bode

1 Year Post-op, Life is good!

Hello Fellow ATR Survivors, I made it past the 1-year recovery milestone! I often reflect on what life was like just 1 year ago and realize how bad it was. Lying on the couch with my foot above my heart for several weeks, the long painful process of NWB-stumbling around on crutches and scooting on my turning leg caddy, then the even more painful process of FWB as I tried to regain some normal functioning-the limping, hobbling, painful end of day swollen leg and the rush to ice and elevate as soon as I hit the front door. It is amazing how “fast” a year goes by and yet while in the throws of recovery how dreadfully “slow” a year goes by.

At the one year mark I feel like I have fully recovered in the sense of being able to do most all activities I used to do except for the choice I made NOT to return to full-court basketball which was the cause of this whole mess. I have decided to focus on Mt. biking and snowboarding for recreational sports and leave the competitive team sports to the younger and more athletic. I also still feel the effects of ATR–every time I go for a run or a long ride I am reminded that it’s just not the same and it’s more sore than my good leg. Overall, life is very good and I can honestly say I learned some patience and to be somewhat more compassionate towards others since I never really know what they are going through at any given moment. We all face trials in life of all kinds and I now try to have more understanding for how others might be feeling. Now that I am a 1 year survivor, I thought I would share a few tips for those just starting out or in the midst of recovery:

  • Learn to laugh at yourself. Try to find the humor in your awkward bumbling about.
  • Seek out ideas and learn from others who have “been there” but also realize you are unique and you must have your “own” experience. It is easy to get discouraged reading about all the fast recovery go-getters out there. While you may get some encouragement and some good ideas to speed your recovery, you are also unique and must take the recovery process that best works for you.
  • Do all you can to be mobile and active as soon as possible. I firmly believe that caution is important but also know that once your AT is properly protected with a cast or boot you actually can do quite a bit and if you were active before the injury, which is most of us, then returning to anything that gets you moving can be helpful. Like doing pushups, riding a stationary bike, lifting weights, sit-ups, etc. can help you feel like you are not just wasting away.
  • Ask for help! This is especially important for those who may not have a family around. Getting some help in the early going can really boost your spirits and help with the recovery.
  • Blog. As often as you feel the need to express yourself and share your experience even if you just want to rant. I think this blog community is extremely useful. To have several hundred people all with the same ailment and all connected at the same time is huge! It provides so much information and real life experience about what you are going through and is not available anywhere else. So log on often and stay connected!

That’s all I have for now. Just wanted to share a brief update and encourage all who are still on the journey of recovery to stay positive and proactive! All the best, Bode.

Week 32-Jogged 2 miles, biked 26-working my way back to full AT strength

Today I reached 32 weeks post op so I am getting closer to the end of the marathon.  I went for a 2 mile jog this week and it went fine, no pain, AT felt good.  Today I biked 26 miles and have been doing that type of mileage for a few months.  All in all recovery is going well but I am not back to full strength just yet.  I can do a few one leg toe raisers but not nearly as well and my good leg.  The AT still gets  sore after long workouts or a long day on my feet so I can tell there is more work to do.  Early on it was hard to understand when people kept saying it will take a year to recover but I am seeing how true that is.  Even though I can do most of what I did before, it’s not with the same power and strength.  So I press on day by day as IowaJim likes to say!  He’s so right.  Just take is one day at a time and DO NOT give up on your recovery efforts as it’s all worth the effort.  We all have a whole lot of living left to do and repairing the AT is crucial to future years of enjoyment.  My kids and the expectation of grandkids sometime in the distant future keep me going.  I want to be active to enjoy them.  All the best to my fellow ATR Recovery Friends!!  Cheers, Bode.

6-month Dr. Visit-Ho Hum, why did I bother?

My doc wanted me back for a 6 month checkup so I just show up for what I am not really sure.  After waiting for about 20 minutes the Dr. takes a look and says all looks good and I’m set free.  Wa la! That’s it, no party, no celebration, no dancing in the halls, no “you are amazing for making it this far,” nothing, nada, just a mere, “I guess you are set free.”  I mean come on people I have survived 6 whole months and I have paid you all thousands of dollars and that’s it?  Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m grateful for the excellent medical attention and glad to be recovered–it just seems like there should have been a bit more fan fare.  Well one thing I can truly be thankful for is that my injury occurred BEFORE the government takes over the healthcare system.  Yikes, that will be a scary day in America.  Let’s hope is doesn’t come to that.  Well, my ATR friends, thanks for all the great posts and comments–YOU all made a difference for me.  Seriously, this blog was a HUGE benefit in my overall recovery.  Keep up the faith, you will recover!

Back to Mt. biking-Week 21

I’m happy to report I am back out on my mountain bike and ripping up the singletrack.  Well, okay, not really ripping it up just yet, but definitely back to riding intermediate trails and climbing hills again.  I can handle most rocks, roots, turns, climbs etc. as before but have not even attempted any of the most difficult technical trails and no jumps or log piles just yet.  Mostly it’s great to be back riding and having fun on my bike.  I took my 9 year old son camping this weekend and we rode a 10 mile trail called Rock Lake Trail in northern Wisconsin.  We both were challenged by the terrain but finished well.  Then today we rode Lebanon Hills 6 mile intermediate loop and it felt great.  So if you are just starting out or a few weeks in, please be encouraged and know you CAN return to your favorite sports.  Lot’s of patience and lots of work will help you get there.  Keep going ATR friends!!

Week 19-Life is getting better!

Seems a while since I gave an update.  Life is getting better as the healing continues.  The worst is soon forgotten as walking becomes a normal everyday activity instead of a desired future state.  Of course there are still days when my AT is sore but only because I am working it more all the time.  I have managed two bike to work days, 12 miles each way which is great.  Also started a bit of jogging/running.  Still doing therapy every other week–helps me stay focused on doing the exercises needed to regain full strength.  Still not able to do one legged calf raises.  Hopefully soon.  It’s easy to get lazy now that I am getting back to normal life so my PT gave me a good pep talk about now is the time to “double down” and work hard to get your leg back in shape or I may never fully recover so I will keep at this long journey and stay focused.  Mostly I’m greatful that God created our bodies to heal themselves, sometimes with a bit of help from a surgeon.  Even so, once their work is done the body still has to heal all the cutting and sewing and what seems a miracle to me-the body just goes on and heals itself–how cool is that!  A great mystery indeed!  For that I am most thankful!!

14 weeks-finally walking without a limp!

Week 14–I really thought I would be a lot further along on the recovery by now but the sad reality is that my body is taking it’s own sweet time to heal.  I am somewhat encouraged today though as I was able to mow 1/4 of my lawn (1/2 acre total) pushing my self-propelled mower.  I decided that mowing is now part of my physical therapy so I’m going to mow a small chunk each day and maybe I will have a decent looking lawn this year–by the time  it’s done, I can just start mowing it again–like getting your hair cut so often no one ever realizes you got it cut!  I will also be taking walks with my dear wife who LOVES going for walks and I’m usually too  busy or just not interested in walking.  Well now I am interested in walking, basically it’s all I can do.  So walking it will be. Don’t worry, I’m still dreaming of doing all sorts of high intensity sports again some day!  Now I will walk.  

The other day I was walking to the train and I see it coming down the tracks and decide to make a “run” for it.  Well it was more like a speedy hobble, I made the train and it really did not hurt too much so maybe running is not that far away.  Oh the small victories on the long journey to full recovery.  My marathon tracker says I have completed 7 miles–still a long way to go.  I think I am learning to be more patient.  Can that be possible?  Am I actually more patient?  Am I more tolerant of others who move slowly through life? Am I more compassionate of those with disabilities?  I truly hope so–there has to be some benefit to this whole ordeal.  All the best to my fellow ATR survivors.  I hope your journey going well!

12 weeks-Suffering with heel pain, any ideas?

Hello ATR World,  I’m now over 12 weeks into my recovery and all was progressing well when about 2 days ago I started getting this intense heel pain which seems to have come out of no where.  It’s worse when I straighten my leg out and dorsiflex, does not hurt if leg is bent, only when leg is straight or almost straight.  Also hurts when walking when landing heel first.  Is this because of 3-4 weeks of walking improperly with a limp–is this what I get for my gimpy walking?  Just when my calf and AT are feeling a bit better and I can almost walk with no limp a whole new source of pain arrives.  And this is not just a mild burning, this is shooting pain right in the bottom and back of my heel.  My next PT appt. is on Wed. so I will be asking him what the deal is but wanted to find out if anyone else in the ATR World has had this and do you have any remedies?  All help, suggestions, treatments are welcome.  Thanks, Bode

First Bike Ride and a New Pair of Shoes

Recovery has it’s bright spots. Yesterday was a beautiful day in MN and the sun was out so I had to try riding my bike outside. It was a short ride (about 6 miles) but felt great to be rolling again. I attached my flat pedals vs. clip-ins just to be safe and wore my 3/4 top mtb shoes which have extra ankle support. The AT felt pretty good and it’s one more milestone and the road back. I was so inspired I went out today and bought myself a new pair of running shoes, not that I am a runner, but just to have something comfortable to walk in and to inspire me to be able to run again. These shoes are amazing. I have not taken them off since I left the store. They are Nike Equalon+3. The cool thing was I got a 20% discount because of a referral from my PT who recommended I get a good pair of running shoes that matched my foot type. In my case I have mild over pronation which this shoe is supposed to help. All I know is that they feel great to walk in and I’m glad to have them. My wife was also impressed with the style so I got points for looking good too. I am almost limp free when wearing these shoes, my next trick will be to run a mile–hopefully before the end of May.

Ups and Downs-11 weeks postop

I’m really feeling the weight of a long recovery–the ups and downs, and the plateaus.  At 11 weeks I have now been in 2 shoes for 3 weeks.  The first week was part-time  2-shoes and then full time 2 shoes and walking more and better as time goes by.  A few days ago, after a rigorous PT session my leg was especially sore and swollen and I thought I was never going to get better and I will always walk with a limp.  Today was a little better, walking a little better, leg a little less swollen, with a little less pain.  Okay, already I get it.  This recovery is SLOW compared to what I WANT it to be.  I guess that is how most endeavors of any significance go, development of mastery takes time.  In this case the mastery is simply to walk and then run again.  So I’m back to being patient and slowing down.  Just to make myself feel a bit better I took both of my bikes to the shop last week and tonight I picked them up all tuned up and ready to ride–one a commuter bike that I hope to ride to and from work this summer to get back in shape and the other my off road, full suspension Gary Fisher HiFi Pro, with newly slimed tubeless tires is ready for action some time later this summer when I am up for it-hopefully sooner rather than later.  Just having them “ready” to ride gives me hope.  Tomorrow I visit my Dr. again for a checkup to see how my progress is going.  For all those just starting out, remember to pace yourself and stay the course and don’t worry when you have bad days as they are likely to show up.  Just know that you also will have many good days on the journey.  Best of luck to all!