6 months post apocalypse…

September 30, 2009

Well I suppose I’m slightly exaggerating, my Achilles rupture wasn’t exactly the end of the world, but it doesn’t seem like too long ago when I was crutching around feeling sorry for myself and thinking life would never be the same.

However, 6 months have seemingly dragged on and flew by at the same time.  In just a few short hours it’ll be October, and the entire spring and summer seasons will seem like just a dream.  I guess I’m just always amazed at how true the “watched pot never boils” analogy is; the first 6 weeks after my accident were terribly slow, but the following 6 months? Record speed.  Sheesh.

Well enough rambling about my issues with time, this is a blog to talk about my achilles, not the calendar.  For the most part, everything is still moving along pretty smoothly.  Well, I thought so until today.  Since I’ve been running and working out a lot more, the back of my running shoes have been kind of irritating the bottom of my 5″ scar.  I didn’t think much of it really, I would just put more lotion or aloe on it and it would look and feel better.  Well today after my shower I noticed a little piece of what looked to be thread peaking through my skin.  Upon further examination, and a little tug (I know, probably not very smart) I found out it was indeed thread - attached to a blue thing.  That’s about as far as I got since I immediately freaked out a little and stuck a band-aid over the area.

I called my trainer at school, but no answer.  I’m hoping to hear from her tomorrow to get her take on it.  I don’t think this is something my physical therapist can handle, and my surgeon is back at school 3 hours away.  I assume I’ll have to find a doc from my PT’s orthopaedic institute up here to take a look.

Has anyone else discovered a suture that had been left behind? I’m not exactly positive that it is one for sure, but I can’t think of what else it may be… and I’m not about to go exploring anymore.  I’m just curious to see how long it was after your surgery when you discovered it, and how it was taken out.

Well it’s been quite awhile since I’ve last updated.  I’m approaching the 4 month mark since my accident/surgery, and I’ve made a few milestones.  About 2 weeks ago was my first successful attempt at walking tip-toed, and as my reward my therapist suggested we begin running the following week.  Since then I’ve been running a bit longer every session, and I’m now allowed to run on my own- as long as it’s on even ground, I don’t go very long/far, and I’m super careful. Woohoo!

My limp is almost non-existent now, which tells me my strength is coming back too.  I still feel a little weak when I wake up in the morning or if I’m walking around barefoot a lot, but in my running shoes I can’t even tell the difference.  I can get through my PT pretty easily, not too sore anymore, just a little tired.  Maybe I can make that 5k after all!  (just to clarify- summer goes until september 21, exactly 6 months from my accident!)

Now that I’m feeling that my achilles is pretty trustworthy, I’m more confident in my job search.  I don’t have to worry about finding a company that will let me do office work until I’m ready to go in the field, because I finally feel ready to go straight to field work.  I was even worried before about interviewing, and what I would wear on my feet with professional attire, seeing as I had strict orders for running-shoes-only .  Well, seeing as I wore a new pair of wedge heels this weekend with no repercussions, (another milestone!) I feel pretty comfortable in that department too.

The only thing I worry about in the coming months is getting the scar tissue worked through.  I’m still getting deep tissue massages every PT session, but since I’m back to running (my original goal) I don’t know how much longer they’ll keep me around.  This saddens me!  I love my little british threpist!  He only looks small and weak… but man does he do a good job of workin that scar tissue!

9 weeks in…

May 27, 2009

Well after graduation and my short trip to Detroit I’ve finally settled in back at home.  It’s been wonderful to have a little time off, I guess it’s an up side to not having a job yet.

Ever since I started walking in 2 shoes I’ve rarely gone back to the boot.  My trainer told me to start slow and gradually spend more time in both shoes every day, but that only lasted for a day or 2.  She said the same about weaning off crutches, but the same happened- I just couldn’t go back once I found out how wonderful it feels to have moved forward.  Even though I still have minimal strength in my left leg, my limp is getting a little smaller each day.  I don’t spend a lot of time on my feet, but when I am walking around I make sure to take it pretty slow for the most part, and concentrate on pushing off my toes so I get more of that flexibility back.

Also, tomorrow is my first day of PT at Fox Valley Orthopedics, I’m very excited about that.  I’m hoping they have good things to say about how I’m healing… I haven’t seen my trainer in about 2 weeks.  Also, I devekoped a small blood blister recently and I hope it can be remidied easily.  Has anyone ever developed one on their scar? It doesn’t hurt nor is it very big, but I’m hoping it’s not serious.  Well I suppose I will find out tomorrow.

One last thing- I never knew I would miss running so much! I see it everywhere… TV, around my subdivision, Chris even fit one in on our trip to Detroit.  I initially had a goal of being able to run a 5k by the end of the summer… but I don’t know how realistic that is.  For now, I’m taking what I can get with bike riding; I’ve been going on them with my friend Holly.  Speaking of which, it’s about that time….


May 18, 2009

Well I did it!  Saturday I donned the good ol’ cap and gown for a 3 hour graduation ceremony and walked sans-crutches across the stage to get my diploma.  I still have the boot on, and got enough funny looks and questions about it, but i’ll take the walking in the boot over hobbling with crutches any day!

The funny thing is, walking up to the stage, across it, and back to my seat was the easy part.  Apparently sitting in my chair wasn’t though.  After sitting through our university president’s speech, she asked us graduates to stand up and give a round of applause and thanks to our parents for being here and helping us get where we are.  At that point I didn’t know where they were, but as soon as I stood up I found them; I was sitting on a row end and they were pretty much straight to my right, just several rows up.  They had known I was there, but I waved frantically at them as soon as I saw them, happy I was able to find them.  But as we were sitting down, everyone else’s chair in my row had stayed folded down, while mine folded up… unknown to me.  Well I got the chair-pulled-out-from-under-you effect and as I was falling to the floor my hat fell off too.  Needless to say my parents were laughing pretty hard.. probably along with everyone else.  Kinda fits me though… always been a little clumsy :o)

This week I head up to Detroit with Chris for a Tigers game, mostly just for the sake of taking a trip.  (I’m a Chicago fan, go Cubs!)  And Wednesday I get to start walking 2 shoes, I’m pretty excited.  As of right now it’s mostly stretching and balancing and ROM stuff, but  I’m excited to get home and back on my bike!

I have 2 legs again!

May 6, 2009

well today was the big day!  I’ve been counting down the days since my surgery and after 6 loooong weeks it finally came around.

I visited the doc last week because of a possible infection.  There was a little scab that wouldn’t really heal, so he took a look and prescribed some antibiotics.  It wasn’t too worried about it, he said it was just precautionary, but I was really hoping that it wouldn’t interfere with my countdown to weight bearing.  He looked at it again today and he said it looked great.  But he also said that he wanted me to keep it still for awhile too to let the scab heal without pulling at it, and to wait til Monday to see my trainer and start with exercises again.   I got pretty upset about this because I thought this would mean a no-go with ditching the crutches.  He almost left it as an afterthought saying, “oh, and of course you can start putting weight on it (still in the boot), and get rid of the crutches.”


When I got home it was hard for me to actually tell myself that I could walk around, but right after I made myself breakfast I leaned my crutches against the fridge and started walking around cleaning up the kitchen.  I was savoring being able to carry stuff around and wash off the countertops and unload the dishwasher.  Sounds pretty lame I know, but I kind of missed cleaning our kitchen!

For the most part, I’m very comfortable walking around in my boot.  There’s a tiny bit of a difference in height between my boot and my shoe, but not bad at all.  My heel feels really sensitive, and it’s kind of sore, but other than that I can’t even put into words how great it feels to have freedom back!

AND i’ll be walking for graduation… woo hoo!

So it’s been a little over a week or so since i’ve had my boot, and today I had my first appointment with my trainer to do some stretching/ROM exercises.  I’ve been working on moving my foot around all week and luckily it paid off, she said my flexibility is great.  It seems like I’ve come a long way even from last week, when I thought I was going to bust into tears just to fit my foot in the boot.  She also said everything was healing pretty nicely, there was just one area she had to put a little antibiotic stuff on.  But other than that, my scar looks a million times better than it did a week ago, and for that I am happy!!

Also, she said that we could start putting some weight on it next week, which will be the 5 week mark from the surgery.  Even if it’s not walking, it’s another step forward which is all I can ask for.

Well, all I can do for now is keep stretching and keep my focus on finishing the semester.  I’m happy to be keeping busy so I can keep my mind off my foot all the time, but then again I hate being so busy because all I want to do is enjoy all this nice weather with my friends before graduation.  24 days!


April 13, 2009

Now that I’m finished telling my story up until now, I can update my blog in real time.

That being said

Update: Okay so I guess I was a little harsh earlier.  Even though I do hate my boot, I understand it’s a step forward.  I was caught earlier today saying that I wish I had my splint back… but Chris reminded me that’s not what I really want, considering that would mean going backwards.  So, onward we go.

For how optimistic I was last night though, I pretty much did a 180 this morning with how down I was feeling.  Stretching my foot to 90 degrees in my boot was the first indicator that my recovery was going to be harder than I thought.  I can foresee a lot more frustration with this ordeal, but I guess I just have to stay focused on the positives…  like showing my friends pictures of my scar!

The days following my surgery have been trying.  The pain has never been terrible, except for the first night after the surgery when my nerve block wore off.  I woke up from the pain being so bad, but after another pain pill and a little time I was feeling alright and the pain had subsided enough for me to fall back asleep.  Chris worked very hard from the time I got home as well, setting his alarm for every time I needed to take any pills.  3 prescriptions, and each had a different schedule.  I was very impressed with him, waking himself up in the middle of the night to wake me up to take my medicine on time so I wouldn’t be woken up by pain again.  What a sweetie!

Anywho, after the first day or two I was feeling pretty good.  The anti-nausea medicine wasn’t really needed, but they told me to take it anyway because it will make me super sleepy… and it did.  However, I only had to take it 2 days, and by Thursday, 2 days after the surgery, I was up and about and got out of the house.  My mom came the previous day and did my laundry and made me dinner and helped get me food, etc.  Mostly provided me with much needed family support.  Even though I love living 3 hours away from home most of the time, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss my fam!  So Thursday she brought me over to the bookstore so I could order my cap and gown for graduation and look at class rings.  Now that I was injured and out for the rest of the track season I would be able to walk at commencement, whereas before I would have had to compete at the MVC conference meet.  Actually, I use the term “walk” loosely… since it’ll probably be more of a limp.  No complaints though, i’ll be happy with anything better than crutching!

I returned to classes Friday since I was feeling much better and didn’t want to miss anymore class than I had to.   My mom also left this day.

Now the absolute worst thing about crutches is getting to class.  I live off-campus: just close enough to have a nice walk or bike ride to class sans-crutches, but just far enough to be a terrible hike on crutches.  I got a ride to campus on Monday, but decided to try and make the trek home after my last class.  I made it back alright, but barely.  I cried and felt sorry for myself all evening, wondering how I would get through the next 5 weeks.  A phone call from my dad made me feel a bit better, and ever since then I’ve been doing a little better everyday.  I still am getting help getting to and from class from Chris and my roommates, and my arms are getting used to getting myself around in between classes and such.  Just taking it a day at a time has been the key thing for me; the second I started thinking about the number of weeks or days I had left made me start feeling sorry for myself again.

I know I only tore my Achilles and it’s nothing permanent and nothing that can’t be fixed, but it’s just such a shock and such a change in daily routine that it’s overwhelming sometimes.  I never thought I’d take walking for granted, let alone early morning track practice.   But now that my glass has shifted from half-empty to half-full, I’m just looking forward to graduation and the start of my PT :o)

Also, I get my stiches out tomorrow!  Hoping to get out of this stupid splint/cast for good and get a boot!

Gettin’ cut open

April 8, 2009

I didn’t really  much pain after the tear.. it was in a splint and since I couldn’t move it, I couldn’t really feel it.  After talking to the trainers at Bradley when we got back from our meet I thought I would have a few days before the surgery, but when they talked to the doctors they wanted to schedule it for the next day, Tuesday.  Everything from then went pretty quickly.  I had to squeeze my MRI in between classes Monday and took my last shower that night.  I also had to talk to all my professors and let them know what was going on and how much class I was going to miss.  My trainers were telling me I would be in bed most of the week, but luckily my profs were pretty compassionate about the matter.  The next morning I met my doc to go over my MRI and schedule the surgery.  He confirmed the tear, but unlike what I had been hearing before (that it was only partial) he said that it was a complete rupture and it was higher in the tendon than normal.   Not that it makes a big difference anyway, but I thought it was interesting.  I went home for a few hours, and we headed up to Methodist around noon.  I also called my parents around then, asking for one of them to come down and stay with me for a few days.  I live with 5 roommates, one being my boyfriend, but I just wanted some family around so I could bug someone to help me all the time without worrying about annoying my friends too much.

I wasn’t very nervous until the anesthesiologist came in and started talking to me.  She wanted to know if I wanted a nerve block to help with the pain after the surgery.  My trainer told me it was probably a good idea, so I agreed.  So the anesthesiologist and her team came in and flipped me over and started shoving huge needles into my leg, right behind my knee.  At first I thought that they would be doing this after I was already knocked out, unfortunately she just said they were going to give me “woozy medicine” for this part, and as they started  I remember saying, “I’m very much awake for this!”  The needles didn’t hurt too bad though, just a lot of pinching.  I could feel my leg twitching like crazy too.  Around this time my boyfriend showed up.  I had asked him to be there for my surgery; even though he couldn’t do anything it was still nice to have him there.  Then before I knew it they whisked me off to the OR, put the breathing thing over my face, and the last thought I remember having was, “Please take care of me!” and asleep I went.

I went into surgery around 3 and got out about 5.  I woke up around 6, after an hour in recovery.  I do remember being coherant enough to actually read the clock.   After I stopped wanting to go back to sleep, the rest of my day was actually pain-free.  That nerve block really worked wonders; when I was laying in bed my friends came to see me and started poking my toes, and they were completely numb.  My appetite was good too, I had some soup and salad from Panera.  After taking all my meds, I drifted off to a nice, deep sleep.  (For a few hours anyway)

Gotta give thanks here too, to my our athletic trainer Jess, who helped me with all my appts, and to Chris who got me my Panera supper!

The accident

April 3, 2009

So my achilles tale actually begins with a small (slightly unrelated) backstory.

I’m in my second semester of my senior year at Bradley University.  I’m on the track team here, and spring is always super busy, being in-season and all.  Unfortunately, our first outdoor meet happened to be scheduled during our spring break, which was pretty annoying in the first place.  I had never been on a spring break trip before, and this was the first year I actually had the money available and a destination to go to.  But, being the loyal student athlete I am, I was on that bus to Tulsa at 5:45am right smack dab in the middle of spring break.

The 10 hour drive started out alright (after I got over my massive st. patrick’s day hangover) and soon enough we pulled into beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The weather that wednesday was gorgeous, almost 80 degrees, as opposed to the 50’s in Peoria.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t last, and we were stuck in 50’s and low 60’s the rest of the week.  And did I mention rain?

Saturday was the day of our actual meet.  Cold, cloudy, and rainy.  This made me particularly bitter because the main reason we came all the way out to Oklahoma was for better, warmer weather than the normal chilly SIU meet.  Anyhow, getting to the point, despite the day being so cruddy, I was doing surprisingly well in my first event, the Triple Jump.  I was scheduled for 4 events that day, TJ, 4×100, and the 100 & 200 dashes.  My warm up was was decent, and I had been 3 jumps into compitition before the incident.  I was the first jumper to go in finals, and as I was on the runway getting ready for my takeoff.  I took one small jump to push off of and thats when I felt the snap, and heard (along with everyone else in a 100 feet radius) the thunderous “crack!”

Cue waterworks.  I’m not normally a crybaby, but I was really balling.  I truely have to thank the official who reached me first: I wrapped my arms around him and didn’t let go until after he carried me over to the bench.  There wasn’t necessarily a lot of pain, but the fear I had of what happened was just that great.  They carted me off the field, and by that point was was reduced to sniffles.

After that, the U of Tulsa trainer took a look at it and confirmed my worst fear, torn achilles.  At that point we didn’t know how bad, and after the doctor got there, all we could do is splint it and wait til we got back to Peoria.

I’m still playing the what-if game, sometimes blaming my injury on the trip.  Like, “If I’d only gone to Florida!” but I know it’s just a freak thing that happened and I was only doing what I was supposed to do.  So, as my dad says, just chalk it up to a new life experience. :o)

Shout out to Katie, who sat with me in the training room for hours waiting for the doc, and Vikki B.  who was my stand-in mom for the day… Thanks!