I haven’t posted for awhile, because I fell into the roughly 5% camp that gets an infection from the surgery. Hopefully, my comments will help others that fall into the same category as me.

Diabetes and and ATR
I have been a Type 2 diabetic for about 5 years now and to be honest, I haven’t really seen it affect me until this ATR. No extra pain, nothing that limits physical activity, and no visible signs of effects. Yea my doctor does a blood draw every 3 months and the lab comes back with a number that has been “good” for a diabetic most of the time. There are very few instances where I have been physically affected until now. Even my blood sugar has been high the majority of the time there are no indicators to let me know that unless I do a blood test.

At my 6 week post-op meeting, my orthopedic sturgeon saw that I had gotten an infection and that had opened up a wound about the size of my pinky fingernail. 10 weeks and various different treatments later and that wound is yet to close. For the past 8 weeks, I have pretty much heard the one more week story. I am optimistic that this week will be the week.

I believe my diabetes has been a big factor in my wound taking so long to close, especially given its location. The Achilles is at one extremity of the body, and thus there already isn’t much blood flow to that area of the body and thus not as much “nutrients” to facilitate normal healing. Top that off with Diabetes and you have the makings of a very slow healing process. And the first time that I have really seen Diabetes affect me in a tangible way and not just a number.

So, in closing, I just want to say that I wouldn’t change my decision to have surgery again, but in the future I will factor that in as a part of the risk. I know my surgeon did bring up that my complication risk was higher because of my diabetes, but that was hard for me to groc, given the limited visible physical affects have had on me up to his point.

When I can finally go to PT and return to my regular workout routine, I am going to look for ways to further reverse or at least slow down the progression of my diabetes.

Today was a day that I had circled on the calendar and was eagerly waiting for, but it didn’t go the way that I had hoped. Today, I was supposed to start my journey back to two shoes by being able to put some weight on the ATR leg. Today was supposed to be the day that I could start PT. Unfortunately, I got an infection brewing on my scar. It started weeping yesterday and that continued today. Doc wasn’t happy with that at all. He cleaned it up and pushed all of the blood and puss out and holy cow did that ever hurt when he did that. Check that - it hurts right now, some 12 hours after he did it. So, now I got antibiotics to combat the infection. But the ankle pain is the same level that I had the first couple of days after the surgery. I haven’t taken any pain meds since then, but I may need one to sleep tonight. I am just hoping something worse than an infection didn’t occur. Interesting enough, one of my friends wife had the same doc for a torn meniscus and she lamented that the doc was too rough. At the time, which was after my surgery, I had dismissed it, as I hadn’t had hat experience at all. Well today I can totally concur with her.

Not the day that I was hoping for at all. I guess there are hills in this marathon of a recovery and I just hit one of them. Somehow, just writing that makes me feel a bit better, even if it doesn’t take a way the pain.

I was scooting from my office down to the elevator when all of a sudden my support began to give out. Next thing I do instinctively is to put my leg with the ATR down to support my body and then look around to determine what happened. Well what happened was my Kneal scooter literally broke in half. The main tube just severed and it wasn’t even on a weld joint. At that point I am in disbelief that this could be happening.

Anyhow, I am not in any excess pain. In fact, if anything I got less pain now, but my foot is swollen. I can twitch my toes. The paramedic said that I would be in a lot of pain if I had reruptured it. I sure hope that is the case. I am going to call the doc in the morning. Crossing my fingers.

I still can’t believe that the scooter broke like that. Anyone else had one break before?

I don’t think anything big is wrong - probably the normal ups and downs of recovery, but my Achilles is definitely more sore today than anytime in the past 10 days. Could be that I worked some long days this week and my leg wasn’t raised enough. Definitely going to go easy on in it today and going to be a couch potato. Not good to do often, but once in a while it is good for the mind and this time hopefully for the Achilles.

Also, thought I that I would try out the WordPress app for my phone. It seems ok.

Well, I got to see the doc for the first time today since just minutes before surgery and he told me that my recovery time might be a month or so quicker than the typical ATR. Wow - that’s cool, but why? Well, it turns out that I now have a titatium screw attaching my achilles tendon to my heel (calcaneus) bone. So, it turns out that I didn’t have your “standard” ATR, but rather I also had a partial avulsion of the calcaneus bone. So, my achilles tendon did tear, but when it did so, it pulled a piece of bone with it. Doc says it takes less time to heal a bone than it does a tendon and thus the 1 month or so potential bump in recovery time. Turns out the X-Ray had indicated there might be partial avursion, but the MRI ruled it out - only to be discovered when he opened up my heal. 

Today I got my sutures out and I swapped out my splint for a boot. He also had me press down on my big toe and boy do I have a lot of range of motion to gain!

He also said that I could start doing some exercise, like doing some weight lifting, as lonnnnnnnnnnnngg as I put no weight on my left leg for another 4 weeks. I think I am going to hit the gym tomorrow and at least get some upper body weights in and maybe some leg extensions in for my right leg. I could really use some cardio, but that doesn’t look like it is going to be in the cards for a bit.

And he said that I should be back to snow skiing this winter, so now I got my goal in place.

Joining the ATR club was not on my list of summer activities, however sometimes you don’t have a say in these things. The summer really started on July 4th, even though us Seattleites lament that summer starts on July 5th. I say it started on the July 4th, because I got to go up skiing at Crystal Mountain that day and that began a 2 week activity log that also included hiking, swimming, boating, and horseback riding. None of those things bothered me or my achilles. It wasn’t until I got to cub scout camp and a friendly game of Capture the Flag where I “joined the club”!

If you are still reading here - well thanks - you are kind. I guess the reason that I created a blog was to really join the community, look for guidance, and offer my support when I can. Because, right now, 6 months seems like a long time to be inactive. It is definitely not something that I am used to. Right now, the burning question is how have you got through a work week in the office? Last week, I worked from home on Monday - Wednesday and I could lay out on the couch with my leg up and work away on my computer and be productive. The problem came when I went back into the office last Thursday - it was thoroughly exhausting and painful. I simply couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit and do my work. I tried putting my leg up on my Kneal Scooter that I have, but that tweaks my lower back to the point that it is causing  just as much pain in the lower back as I am receiving from the Achilles. Any thoughts?

Looking forward to seeing the doctor on Wednesday for my 2 week post op check up. Surgery was 7/27.

 

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ATR Timeline

  • Name: daveb
    Location: Sammamish, WA
    Injured during: Capture the Flag @ Cub Scout Camp
    Which Leg: L
    Status: NWB

    301 wks Post-ATR
    300 wks  2 days
       Since start of treatment

  • daveb has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
    Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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