For those of you early on in your achilles journey, I am just one more successful recovery story. If you’re anything like me, you look for those stories on this blog because they give hope. It’s a long recovery, so hope is a tonic. At least it was for me.
Eighteen months ago I never would have dreamed my achilles could be this strong again. I was a runner of 37 years who hadn’t been able to run for two years because of chronic tendinosis and a huge Haglund’s deformity. I limped 24/7. So eighteen months ago I had surgery to repair my badly diseased tendon after exhausting all the non-surgical options. Slowly, ever so slowly, I was able to begin running again. But it was a long, slow return.
Earlier this month, 18 months from surgery, I ran my 8th marathon in hopes of requalifying for the Boston Marathon. I had qualified twice before but had not been able to run it because of the achilles injury. On the day of the marathon, it did not look promising. It was very warm and humid and we hadn’t had anything but cool, mild weather for training. The heat and humidity nearly did me in but my achilles was not an issue. The last 3 miles were the hardest ones I’ve ever covered. I realized I may not make it in….but then I realized that I had already WON!!! I was running again. I had successfully completed training for a marathon (without 1 day off because of injury) and I was running a freaking marathon! I think that realization pushed me through.
I did finish. And qualified. So come April 2016, I plan to be at the starting line for the Boston Marathon. Pretty darn close to a miracle and certainly a dream come true.
That first year after achilles surgery or an ATR is a long, slow recovery - as everyone on this blog can attest. It absolutely helps to have goals. It helps to have patience. It helps to remind yourself over and over that we all heal at different rates, but we do heal. For all of us, time is the ultimate healer. And the healing and strengthening continue well after the first year. For all of you who are in the earlier stages of the journey, I wish you all the best.