17 weeks post surgery - commuting again!

Today is 17 weeks after my ATR surgery. All is going pretty well, for me. I’ve been reading some of the other posts, marveling at how well some of you are doing, and wondering if I should be happy or sad about my own recovery. I seem to be ahead of some people in the recovery process, and some of you seem to be progressing much, much faster than I am, and are doing things at 9 weeks that I’m not even doing now. I’ve decided to not let that get to me, though – I’m happy for you if you’re healing fast! I really am! Every person is different. Every recovery is different. Some of you are younger than me. Some/many are more fit than me. Some are trying much harder at their exercises than me. That’s great! Each person has their own recovery process, and we’ll all get back to “normal” in our own time!

 So, in my last post, I mentioned that I’ve been on my bike a few times. Last Thursday, I bike commuted to work and back – 13.5 miles each way. Yep, I made it! A little slow – about 7 minutes slower door-to-door than my average time (56 minutes vs 49 minutes average – and, yes, I DO stop at lights and stop signs!) – but I wasn’t planning to push for any land speed records! I found that it was uncomfortable to stand on the climbs (just kinda weak), but I could gear down and spin uphill. It felt soooo good to commute again! Of course, during the day my leg and ankle tightened up and I had limping issues. But, I expect that, until I get that calf and ankle stronger. But, I made it to work and home, no problems.

 Sunday evening comes. The 16-yr.-old says she needs the car on Monday and Tuesday cuz she has Marching Band Section Leader tryouts during the day both days (she made Alto Sax Section Leader, BTW! – hooray!). Yikes! That meant I needed to bike commute two days in a row – 54 miles in two days! I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. But, Monday came, and I hopped on and made it to work. The ride home on Monday was a bit painful…….but not in the ankle……….in the rump!!! Apparently, I need to toughen up the butt muscles/skin again, in order to ride hours in the saddle!!! Lol I dreaded Tuesday’s ride, as I didn’t think my tender butt could handle another 2 hours of that punishment! I did ok, though, and even shaved 2 minutes off my commute (54 minutes, door-to-door)! One strange thing happened on the way home yesterday, though: I noticed that if I pushed too hard uphill, my Achilles felt the pull, but on the side of the ankle; but, it didn’t really feel like a normal pull, and it wasn’t painful – it felt cold, like someone put an ice cube to my ankle. Was very strange, and it would go away as soon as I backed off a bit. So, I paid attention to that, and backed off if I felt anything strange at my ankle. I actually felt pretty good at work, yesterday, and at home last night. Doing ok right now, too. I might even ride again on Thursday or Friday, just because! 

Anyway, where was I going with all of this??? Oh yeah – recovery. Although I may or may not be ahead of some of you by bike commuting at 17 weeks, I still can’t do a single-leg heel raise with my bad foot (frustrating). I still walk with a slight limp, unless I concentrate on my walk. I’ve been negligent with my at-home exercises (too busy/lazy), so that may be the reason I have less strength in my calf than I probably should. I read of some of you running again at this point in your recovery. I can jog clumsily for a short distance, but wouldn’t think of running. I don’t let that get me down, though. I just keep going.

 For those of you who are either early in the process, or are having a hard time coping with this injury, mentally/emotionally: Don’t worry so much. You have to remember that this is a temporary, relatively minor injury in the grand scheme of things. You won’t be “crippled” forever. Your leg hasn’t fallen off. You don’t have a terminal disease. There are so many worse things you could have. But, you don’t. You have an injury. You got hurt. You may or may not have had surgery to repair your injury. You heal. You rehab. You WILL be better! They say a year recovery. But, in reality, most people are feeling pretty good at around 4-6 months or so. The rest is to get back to physical peak. Keep your heads up. Keep doing what the doctors and Therapists tell you to do. Don’t do anything stupid. DO YOUR EXERCISES!!! DON’T LET IT GET YOU DOWN! YOU WILL GET BETTER!!! 

Have a great day, and Happy Healing, everybody!!

(Oh, and an early Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!)

4 Responses to “17 weeks post surgery - commuting again!”

  1. Eric– Thanks for this post. I’ve been feeling the “I’m behind everyone” Blues myself. Some days it gets me down, but I am making huge progress lately and really feeling pretty good about it most of the time! I have to keep reminding myself that my surgery was much different than most of the bloggers on here (and I have a nice, big screw holding the whole thing together!) so my recovery will not be the same as an ATR recoverery. At 10 weeks and just FWB for about 10 days, I’m kinda jealous of the 2 shoes people right now! But I sure am not ready for that step yet!
    Glad you are on the bike and making progress– keep up the good work!

  2. Eric, great to hear you are back on your bike and thanks for a great post, good reading, sounds like things are going good! If it helps, I still have a slight limp and also can’t do any single leg raises. My PT said that I should aim for week 20 at least to do these, happy to wait, just have mobility back is good enough for me!

    I also get a cold / numb ankle sometimes on the side while cycling, my guess is that it is all the muscles and ligaments coming back to life!

    I’m going for every day on the bike this week, but it is only Monday and I am tired already so might rethink that later in the week!

    Good luck and stay safe on the bike!!

  3. Thanks for the reply, jimminyc! Good to know that I’m not the only one w/ the cold feeling in my ankle. That’s just strange.

    I’d like to work my way up to riding to work every day, but I’m not ready, yet. Actually, this week is hot, humid and windy (lower 90s, 50%-60% humidity, 20-30mph winds gusting to 45mph!), so I’m gonna wimp out until it drops to the 80s on Thursday and Friday.

    You keep safe on your bike, too!

  4. eastcoastrunner - I think because most of us are competitive people by nature, we want to compare ourselves to others, and we assume, “I should be able to get better faster than him/her!” What we have to remember is that everyone’s situation is different. Different ruptures. Different body makeups. Different ages. Different surgeries. Different recovery processes. No two of us are going to go thru exactly the same process and recovery. What we have to keep reminding ourselves is that we ARE on our way to recovery, and we WILL get better!! It’s just a matter of time.

    My post, maybe not so well-worded, was meant to help people understand that we’re each on our own path. We may not all progress at the same rate. But, we’ll get there!

    Keep your chin up! You’re doing great, and you just keep doing it!

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