Hey Everyone. This is my first time blogging about anything….so here it goes. Like many of you, my life has been extremely affected by this experience, and I worry that it will never be quite the same by the time this all over with. I was a division one college athlete who never missed a practice, workout, or match. I had never had a surgery or really any major illnesses or health issues. When I was 28, I started experiencing locking and popping in my right knee. Assuming I was just getting old, I pushed through it and continued to play adult league volleyball, basketball, and any other sport that came available to me. Eventually, I had to have microfracture surgery, from which I developed a blood clot and was on blood thinners for six months. After a long stint in physical therapy, I finally began to regain my athleticism. I was running and playing basketball, tennis, jumping rope, everything. I told my old team that I was ready to play volleyball again. I played my first volleyball set with confidence and pure joy. I could play again! Everything was great! The second set began, and I took one step off the net and felt like someone had kicked me in the back of the ankle. I hit the ground hard and was instantly surrounded by concerned teammates. I continuously asked them what happened and who had kicked me. They replied that nobody was even near me. Most everyone was worried about my knee, but as I evaluated where the pain was coming from, I came to a horrible realization that I had just blown out my Achilles’ tendon.
I was lucky enough to have surgery the very next day, and I was relieved to learn that mine had not “rolled up” into my calf like the horror stories I had heard from other athletes who had experienced this debilitating injury. The outlook was good, but I started questioning why this had happened to me. I was probably in the best shape I’d been in since my early post-college days. In the hospital, my mom began Googling causes of Achilles’ tendon ruptures. It was then that we learned the frustrating and despicable information. The antibiotic Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) causes weakness and tearing of the tendons, particularly the Achilles’ tendon. I could not believe my ears. I had been on Cipro for two weeks before I tore my Achilles and had probably taken Cipro at least 5 times throughout my life. My doctor never warned me about this side effect. My pharmacist never warned me about this side effect. There is no warning on the bottle. I had never heard of an antibiotic causing anything like this. We frantically checked the informational packet that I received from the pharmacy when picking up the pills. Yep, there it was. The NUMBER ONE side effect. The first sentence. Why didn’t I read the packet? Why is this drug even prescribed?? Who knew that a common antibiotic could cause such a horrific, life-altering injury??? I was so angry. Angry with myself, angry with my doctor, angry with my pharmacist, but mostly angry with the drug company, Bayer, who as I further investigated, has begrudgingly added two black box warnings to the drug. My packet didn’t have any black boxes. It just had a list of side effects in tiny print that I should have read, but I had figured my doctor would tell me about any side effects more serious than an unalarming headache, upset stomach, or diarrhea. Research “floxies” and read their stories if you want to learn more.
After accepting the fact that I faced yet another 6-8 month long recovery after just rehabilitating my knee, I focused all of my energy on getting better. I took magnesium and collatrim and did leg lifts and iced like crazy. I was in a soft cast, so it was nice to be able to take that off occasionally to shower and shave. I got a knee scooter, which has been awesome. I highly recommend that if your doctor approves. I did everything I was supposed to do. I kept most of my routines and stayed as social as possible, mostly for the sake of my sanity, while making sure not to overdo it. The big day finally came for me to get my boot and begin walking. I was put in a boot that restricted my full flexion. I had to continue to use the crutches because it was a little awkward to walk with my foot at that angle. I was in the boot for three days and was looking forward to ditching the crutches completely.
Then….I fell. I was on a tile floor, and for some reason, it was wet. I didn’t notice and slipped and slammed down my boot to try to prevent face planting into the wall. I don’t remember everything that happened, but I felt a pop and extreme pain in my Achilles and my ankle. I assumed I had ruptured again and would need surgery. I was devastated. That pretty much leads me to where I am today. I had to get x-rays and an MRI. My doctor does not believe I completely re-ruptured because I passed the Thompson test every time he did it. I’ve seen the MRI and struggle to believe it is not at least partially re-ruptured. The x-ray technician saw a small fracture in my ankle bone, but my doctor said he does not see a fracture at all. My doctor put me in a hard cast to allow any disruptions I’ve caused to heal, and I’m back to nwb for three weeks. I have some extreme pain in my heel and arch of my foot. I don’t really know what to think except that I feel like I ruined everything! Reading everyone’s blogs has been therapeutic to me because I know that I will recover some day. Trying to stay positive is harder than ever, but I think I can do this. Thanks for letting me vent my feelings.