It’s hard to believe that it’s been six months since my surgery. It’s been quite a journey so far. Since I live alone, the first weeks on crutches were the most difficult. I was at least fortunate that I injured my left AT, so I could drive right away but going to the grocery store on the second day after surgery, hobbling around with a bag in my hand trying to shop was not fun. But I managed it and was amazed at how kind strangers could be when I was on crutches. When I went into the boot and was FWB, it was great to be able to hold the door for others. For those of you who are not yet FWB, believe me, when you go FWB, you will not only be able to move about easily again, it will boost your spirits immeasurably. For me, becoming FWB was the biggest milestone and the most exciting.
I also consider myself to be fortunate in that I never had any pain after my surgery. Some discomfort from swelling while in the cast but not pain like many here have had.
Enough of the past. I’m writing to hopefully encourage those of you just starting this journey that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. I know that’s a tired cliche but it’s true. I’m been going to the gym regularly for quite some time and doing the elliptical walker, treadmill, stationary bike and the stairmaster to get in shape for ski season. I can hardly wait! BTW, the stairmaster with just your toes on the platform is a great strengthening exercise for the AT. I’m still also doing a lot of barefoot heel raises and my one leg heel raise is much better. Not as good as the right leg but getting there. I rarely even think of my achilles tendon any more except when I’m doing my heel raises. Yes, there will come a day when you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about ISN’T your AT!
When I told my surgeon early in my recovery that I was planning on skiing this year, he was not a fan of the idea. When I last saw him at my 12 week follow up, he was really pleased with my progress and skiing no longer seemed to be an issue, though he told me to stay out of the bumps - yeah right, like that’s going to happen. :-) I intend to be doing all of the activities that I did before my ATR, and although it’s a personal decision, I believe that everyone on this site can do the same if you want.
Having been on this site for six months and seeing everyone’s progress over time, it seems clear to me that whether you go the op or non-op route, if you are diligent in your PT and, as NOTN says, Watch Your Step, at four months you’ll be amazed at where you are and at six months, you’ll be almost as good as new. Maybe better, especially if you had tendonitis or tendonosis prior to your ATR.
I also think that one thing my ATR gave me was perspective. For those of you who are on crutches and NWB, this perspective is more likely to come when you’re FWB. Many others who are further down the road to complete recovery have also said this. And that perspective is that this injury, as bad as it is, is temporary and that we will walk, run, and be back to our favorite activities in a matter of months. And as I remember, that seemed like forever at the beginning of this journey when I was NWB and on crutches but it’s not. Your ATR can be painful, frustrating and downright demoralizing at times but rest assured, you will walk, run, play sports, dance (I won’t do this because I’m a terrible dancer), and be your old self, or likely, an even better self in no time!
That’s it for now. Keep healing!