Hey all, I ruptured a few years ago, and posted often back then.  This site was a savior, especially while I was "couch ridden".

Anyway…Since my rupture and subsequent surgery and recovery, I have done 3 off-road triathlons and 4 or 5 running races, plus a few mountain bike races, as well.  Life is now pretty much back to normal.  I’ve had a pretty good recovery, but have to say, the running aspect has given me a bit more difficulty than I had hoped.  I tend to get pretty ache-y once I get past 5 miles, or so, and have to RICE afterwards consistently, even when I’ve slowly worked up to 5 miles, and been there for weeks.  Also, I had a really horrible bout recently that was depressing…after being able to race (and win my age group) in multiple triathlons w/little to no pain, I was "crippled" (exaggerating a bit- but not much) by walking through Disney World for a day…ugh!  So depressing!!!

Anyway… the point of this post is, though…I have gotten AMAZING strength, relief and benefits from ballet!  I started doing it over my lunch hour 2 days a week w/some girlfriends as sort of a lark, and it has been unbelievable for my achilles!  It is the perfect strengthening and stretching exercise.  It focuses a lot of being on your toes, but slowly going back down to flat foot, which is an eccentric muscle exercise that is VITAL to achilles and calf strengthening.

So, I just want to throw this out there, if any of you are suffering from some post-recovery aches and pains, considering trying ballet if it is the type of thing you think you may enjoy… it has worked miracles for me!

Ciao, and happy recoveries to you all…life will get back to normal- don’t worry.  I know it may seem grim now to some of you who are freshly ruptured, but,  it just takes mental strength, patience, adaption and belief in yourself!  You WILL get through this!  :)

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50 Weeks….2 days (Almost done w/the marathon)…

Well, I’m at the 50 week mark, and have to say, things are going great.  The achilles feels wonderful.  I still have some mental issues to work through as far as my fear of rupturing the other achilles, so I haven’t gotten back onto the vball court…but…I have been running, pain free, as well as doing lots and lots of mountain biking and hiking, and am looking forward to this upcoming ski season!!!!  I’ll post again, after I’ve skiied for the first time on it!

The recovery from a ruptured achilles is tough…no doubt, we all know it, but it really does get better, and in time, you truly won’t even think about it on a daily or weekly basis! 

Keep up the positive attitudes…it really does make all the difference (that, and the VacoCast!).  :)

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27 Weeks…

Well, I’m at 27 weeks (that’s almost 7 months!) post op.  I can’t really put my finger on it, but around week 24, or so, I felt a noticeable “shift”.  I just had this feeling of “strength” and “normality” in my Achilles that was amazingly freeing.  It was like my Achilles was letting me know it is ready to be REALLY used. 

So, after the “mental message” I received from the old Achilles, I decided to test it by giving the old 1-legged heel raise a shot, and although it requires concentration, I am able to do a few (no cheating), and they feel pretty darn strong.  I can’t yet do the quantity I can on the “good” leg, yet, but, the quality is definitely there on the first 3 or 4. 

I feel like regaining my old physical capabilities is a reality, and not just wishful thinking, anymore.  I’ve allowed myself to think 100% optimistically, rather than before when I was sort of “shielding” myself, not expecting full recovery…but I feel like my Achilles is giving me strong signals and some proof that it’s up and ready to go!

A few weeks ago I had to go to Utah for work, and was able to make a side trip out to Zion National Park.  While there, I did a 3 mile, 2 ½ hour hike called the Emerald Pools.  The upper part of the hike is moderately strenuous w/some pretty uneven, rocky terrain.  I made it up to the top pool and all the way back down w/o any issues or pain.  That evening, my Achilles was a little bit achy, but not bad at all, and by morning it was good as new.  That was a great day!  The views were beautiful and the hike gave me some much needed confidence that my life as I knew it is coming back!

Anyway…although I feel physically ready to, I still haven’t mentally gotten to a point yet where I’ve tried running more than a few steps.  I plan to soon, but need to get my head on straight, first, and for some reason am just not mentally there yet. 

Otherwise, though, I’m ready (as soon as the dang weather cooperates) to get on my mountain bike and ride w/abandon, and get out and do many, many more hikes w/o worry! 


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17 Weeks and 9-holes of golf!

3.29.11:  So, I just returned from a vacation to Orlando, FL w/my husband to enjoy some sun w/his family at their timeshare condo.  We live in the upper panhandle of Idaho, about 40 miles south of the Canadian border, so….we still have about 8 inches of snow in our yard! 

We arrived in Florida on Wednesday to sun and 85 degrees F (about 29 degrees C).  Wow, talk about just what the doctor ordered!  On Thursday a.m. I went out w/my husband and my father in-law and brother in-law to play golf. 

It was fantastic!  I was able to swing the club w/o any issues to my achilles, and was able to play 9-holes w/no discomfort or soreness.  Later that evening we walked about 1/3 of a mile round trip to the pool.  This was by-far the longest uninterrupted walking I’ve done since the injury and it felt great.  I was a little bit slower than everyone else, but not too bad, plus, I was wearing sandals, so I wanted to be a little cautious.  Once in the water I did a bunch of heel raises and 1-footed heel-raises progressing to shallower and shallower water.  It felt so nice!

Woke up the next day w/no soreness (except for my killer sunburn!).  I walked 1 mile round trip to the lazy river.  Swam around, did more heel raises, etc.  I even walked all around the pool and pool deck and in the sand barefooted w/no pain on the bottom of my foot….FINALLY!  YIPPEE!

Later in the week I had a 1 1/2 hour golf lesson, and again, no issues (other than my horrendous slice!  :)  Although the golf pro fixed that, so one more YIPPEEE!). 

I still haven’t tried any sort of jumping or jogging, per my PT, but that’s okay.  It felt really great to be in the sun and to play golf, swim and enjoy the warm weather and family. 

On the 7 hours worth of flight time home, I was in no pain and did some nice stretching of the tendon and ankle in my seat and some seated heel raises, etc. 

I would say the biggest challenge was walking through the airport while pulling my rolling luggage, especially going up ramps.  I did notice a bit of a small limp when I did that.  Oh well, in time I’m sure that too shall get better.

Returned home to a yard full of snow and a high of 47 degrees F…..Looking forward to Spring!

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Week 15- The little miracles

3.15.11:  So, it seems that the large milestones have come to an end, (I realize only for the time being).  The next few large ones I suspect are a ways away, like jumping, running, etc.  But, for now, and for the last 3 weeks or so, I’ve been paying close attention to all the “little miracles”. 

A few weeks ago I accidentally took 3 running steps.  Not necessarily a “good” thing, but, I recognized it in one way, as a “little miracle”…considering the reason I took those running steps was that although I was out in the yard, walking in snowboots in 2 feet of uneven ground…I had forgotten that I was recovering from an ATR.  My repaired achilles felt just like the other one, and during that brief walk outside on that sunny, snow-filled day…I felt like my old self for the first time in 3+ months! 

Just this past Friday my tendon started to hurt pretty strongly, in a really odd spot, and it seemed really sporadic.  I was a bit worried.  I hadn’t felt these types of pains before.  I also noticed a few other “odd” spots on different areas of my foot and in my calf that also felt sore and “sharp”, again, sporadically, but strongly.  I took it easy, and layed-off the PT over the weekend, and just tried to keep the foot loose and moving.  It was still hurting on Sat., and on Sun. as well.  By Monday evening as I headed to the gym, it seemed to subside…once I got to the gym and started my PT  exercises on the BOSU ball, it was like I had a new achilles!  My ROM was HUGELY improved over just the previous Thursday.  My calf exercises on the weight machines had a MUCH larger range of motion w/no perceptible stiffness at all, and my heel raise lowering felt stronger than ever before, and way, way more controlled.  It was like that soreness was just my achilles and the surrounding muscles stretching out, strengthening, growing new tissue…whatever, but it was good.  And I appreciated it, and I took the time to notice it. 

Today, as I was walking around at work, my achilles felt “normal”.  There was no stiffness, no slight weakness, it just felt “normal”.  No soreness sitting at my desk w/my legs crossed for an hour, no need to pull up a chair to elevate my leg… I know that my achilles is not “normal” yet, and I know that I still can’t do a 1-legged heel raise, and I can’t run…but…I can sit comfortably now, and I can walk, and I can walk well, and it FEELS good to walk, and it FEELS normal.  I pay attention to that!

These “little miracles” aren’t me jumping or skiing or running a 5K, or playing a round of golf…but they were me feeling small achievements in BIG ways, and they feel really, really great! 

I urge you to just pay attention to the “little miracles” of each day!

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Week 14- Calf muscle pictures

So, the picture on top is of my “calf muscle” when flexed.  It’s still a smaller than my left, but is a HUGE improvement over where I was 6+ weeks ago. 

The picture below is my attempt to compare left to right.  Maybe if I had a tape measure or something, or a different angle, it would have been better, but anyway…my cats in the picture, so I figured I’d leave it in : )  His name is Valorian (Val) and he is 13 years old and super cool!  He pretty much stayed by my side through this whole recovery and kept me company, as did my other kitty, Maru (named after the Hello Kitty character “Bad Badtz Maru”).  They “lived” w/me on the couch while I spent those first few weeks of recovery “living” on the couch.  Pets rock and help the healing process (when they’re not under foot trying to make you fall)!

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Scar at 14 weeks

So, the scar is looking pretty good.  I am going to try to post a few pictures where I compare my calves.  I have a cute one w/my kitty cat in it.  My repaired leg calf muscle is actually coming back fairly well.  I had lost a lot of muscle, but each day I can feel and see it coming back.

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13 Weeks…and all is well.

Not much to report, but in some ways, I guess that’s a positive sign. 
I’ve been able to go for short 15-20 minutes walks through the snow w/o any issues.  Went up to the village at the ski resort in town and watched an aerial show last Friday night.  Walked around in the snow, and the Achilles felt good. 
I feel like I have pretty good flexibility.  I can walk both up and down stairs using both feet normally, w/out much issue.   
The main place where I notice the repair is after I’ve been standing in one place for a long time w/o moving.  Once in a while I get called down to our production plant to watch product get made, and I’m up on the platform, just standing.  After about 40 minutes w/o moving, my ankle starts to get a little bit sore, and after 1 ½ hours, it’s pretty darn ache-y.  After I get home, my ankle is a little swollen, but not too bad, and seems to go back to normal fairly quickly once I elevate it, and let it rest.
I’m still sticking w/my gym routine of 30-40 minutes of stationary biking, PT exercises, then lifting weights for an hour.  Once a week, I’ll skip the biking and swim, instead.    It has been working pretty well…I would love to have even ½ the muscle definition Janet has.  Her pictures have been an amazing inspiration to me to push myself even harder on the weights.  I’m really quite excited!  Now that I’ve announced it “publicly”, I feel more obligated to make it happen.  Maybe I’ll try to get something posted…do a “before” picture and then after 3 or 4 months, commit to an “after” picture sort of thing to keep me committed!  We’ll see.
My PT exercises mostly consist of some ROM stuff on the BOSU ball, (some w/the platform up, and some w/the platform on the ground).  I also do some one leg balancing on the BOSU w/the platform down, and tonight am going to move to platform up.  I also do my 2 footed heal raises on the floor, and 2 different calf machines at the gym, and then I do some self-massage on the scar.
So, I’ve been thinking of some goals to keep me motivated and “on-track”. 
• My “short-term” goal is to play 9 holes of golf (walking the course), by March 24th (4 months, post-op).
• My “mid-term” goal is to do a “sprint” triathlon in mid-July, (7 ½ months, post-op).
• My “long-term” goal is to downhill ski by December 1st, (1 year, post-op)!

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picture test

Picture from my surgery.            Picture of surgery scar (wk 6)

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12 Weeks & Herding cats…

2.22.11: Well, it’s official…I’m 3 months post-op…1/4 of the way thru my journey. I feel really good! Working out at the gym is a wonderful diversion. I have been enjoying seeing my upper body strengthen over these last few months, and now I’m finally seeing my legs (including my calf)…come back to their former “beauty” :).
I haven’t had any MAJOR milestones, lately, but have gotten to a point now where I have had periods where I almost forget about the achilles (which can be good, and very bad). Here’s my story…which I will preface right away by saying…everything came out okay in the end…so no worries…

I started to run after the cat a few days ago!

I was walking in the yard in my winter boots (we have about 1 foot of snow on the ground) following my kitties footprints (he wandered into the neighbor’s yard) and noticed my achilles was feeling really sturdy, and was pleased that the ground was actually very level. Ah…I can actually enjoy a short 1-2 minute walk outside in fresh snow…this is a great day!!! So, I found my kitty, and I started “herding” him back to the house. After a few seconds, I started to pick up the pace, and found my self taking 3 pretty darn quick steps that I can only describe as “jogging” steps. I immediately stopped and was like “oh my god! what am I doing?!?!??”. It didn’t hurt at all, but I knew it was a BIG, FAT “NO-NO”…but it was an accident…I completely for a second had forgotten about my achilles. Sooooo since then it hasn’t hurt, and it’s been 4 days, so I am certain no harm was done, but that can just go to show how tricky this can all be. I have to admit, though…now that I know I lucked out and didn’t hurt myself…a small part of me is smiling thinking that it’s a pretty kick a$$ sign that I am able to “forget” about my achilles now and then…I’ll just be sure to pay more attention though, ‘cuz I really never expected to be taken off guard like that. The funny thing too, is that it is TOTALLY out of my character to have a lapse like that. I actually dreamt a few weeks ago that I was running and IN MY DREAM I stopped and was like “oh no…you can’t run…you’re recovering from an achilles rupture! Stop!”….so, not only am I normally very conscious when conscious, I’m also apparently quite conscious when I’m unconscious…except for this weekend! WEIRD!….anyway….just a quick story, and a word of warning…:)
So, aside from some illegal cat herding activity, I’ve mostly been just working out, going to work…feeling good walking indoors at work in tennis shoes, and at home in slippers or bare feet. The bottom of my foot seems to be getting less sensitive every week, and I think that incorporating some swimming into my workouts has really done a lot to help keep my ankle limber.
Little by little, it all comes together, and if I listen closely to my body, and pay attention, I find that every day holds a gift of strength that may be small, but is immeasurable in it’s magnitude!

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