I need my leg back!

June 2, 2009 | |

It was just this past Thursday night, 5/28/09, when I ruptured my right achilles tendon for the first time.  I am a gymnastics coach and choreographer, so bouncing around and leaping are just things I do, and love to do more than anything.  Although I just turned 41, I am in excellent shape from demonstrating basic gymnastics skills, yoga, running and walking, all of which I do daily.  I was approaching a simple split leap when this happened.  For those of you who understand dance terminology, I did a chasse, step, and never got to the leap. 

At first, I thought there was something wrong with the floorboards, as I did this on a regulation gymnastics spring floor.  Once I hit the ground, it took a second for me to realize it wasn’t the floor, but me.  I felt no pain at all-zero.  Just a rather creepy sensation, now that I look back on it.  I don’t like to think about the way it felt-gross.  If you can imagine holding a stick, and breaking it in 2, that was the sensation.   There was  a very noticible gap, and I knew right away what I had done.  Years ago, a co-worker who did the same thing on a tumbling move described her injury to me, and so I always had it in my head that I never wanted to sustain that injury.  She seemed very debilitaed by it, and I knew what that was like.  I had ACL repair 12 years ago, and felt like I had my fill of serious leg injuries.  Now here I am with the injury that I dreaded. 

I should have headed the warning signs better.  About 3 weeks prior, I “tweeked” my achilles for the first time upon landing a leap.  It was very sore for a couple of days, so I followed the RICE method.  By day 3, I was almost 100%.  I kept telling everyone around me that I don’t want to mess with the achilles, and that I needed to take care of it.  I should have been more intune with my injury, but hindsight is always 20/20.  The pain was gone, and I would only expereince mild soreness in my achilles while walking or running once in a while, until Thursday, when the unthinkable happened.

I am a choreographer, dancer, gymnast and all-around athletic and hyper person.  Although a part of me is absolutely devestated by this injury, I am determined to turn this into a positive experience.  There has to be some good to come out of this, and I am feeling it already.  It has made me think more about my priorities and if I am really doing the things I need to get what I want in life.  I guess the saying “sometimes you have to slow down to speed up” is true.  I have to believe that this injury is something else telling me to wake up, slow down and rethink how you do things.

I’ve gotten lots of support from the people in my life, although I wish I was back home in the states dealing with this instead.  Nothing compares to the love of family at a time like this.  At least I speak with them everyday. 

I will be using my “time off” from my lower right leg to catch up on things I really never make time for, because I’m always at work.  I am going to write, and strengthen my upper body, core, and weaker left leg.  My hope is to come out of this more fit and balanced, and on a more clear path to my goals and dreams.

It has been barely 5 days since the incident, and I am currently on a non-surgical healing path.  I can still change my mind, but both of the surgeons I saw suggest I go with natural healing.  I’m in a cast up to my knee, but am going in tomorrow morning to have my cast changed to a double-slab, so I can take it off and let my leg air out.  I just have to keep it pointing down at all times when it’s out of the cast.  I am also considering PRP therapy, as the research on it looks good and makes sense.  It’s been a tough decision for me, and I hope I am making the right one.  I want to dance around and be able to flip again.  I dont care if I can only flip on a trampoline, I can live with that.  Moving physically is what has always made my soul sing, so I need my leg back!!!!

If anyone at all had input for me and my situation, I would appreciate it greatly!  Thank you, and good luck to everyone out there dealing with this “life altering” injury.  hopefully everyone life will be altered for the better-that is my goal and the only option :)


2 Comments so far

  1. jeeepin on June 2, 2009 7:26 am

    I know what you mean about needing your leg back. I coach baseball and soccer along with constantly being on the move, so my injury has about killed me. I went to a Cardinal’s game last night and saw the players running, which reminded me the whole time that I can’t run or do much of anything. I have come up with creative ways to do a bunch of things but it definitely takes a lot of extra energy on crutches.

    My injury happened in December but the first doctor misdiagnosed the injury calling it a calf muscle tear. Mine is not completely torn. Only the back side of it is torn but since it has been a while since the injury happened the tissue around the tear is deteriorated making surgery difficult, so two and half weeks ago I had the PRP injection into the tendon. I go back Friday to the doctor to see if it has been working. I am told that if it is sore than that is supposed to mean that it is working and it has been sore, so I am hoping for the best and see where I go from here. From my understanding the PRP injection for Achilles tendon injuries is fairly new, so a lot of doctors have not recognized it as a treatment instead of surgery. I tried it because it sounded like it made sense biologically and my other option has a much worse recovery time, which is my back up option that I hope I don’t have to use.

    Good luck in your recovery.

  2. Peggy McDermott on June 2, 2009 9:34 pm

    Loved your message. Keep up the blogs…and oh, yeah, come home!

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