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Nov 01 2011

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king

This cast needs to come off already!

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I’m scheduled to see my podiatrist this Friday to get my cast taken off, and placed into a walking boot. I can’t wait until I get this cast off! This one is much more uncomfortable than the first one I had, most likely because of the angle my foot is in. It seems like my foot is a lot more swollen and discolored compared to when I had the first cast on. The swelling also does not seem to go down as much as it did before. I’m just ready to say goodbye to it. Only a few more days!

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Oct 27 2011

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Second post op office visit - Sutures out!

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It’s nearing my 3 weeks post op mark and everything seems to be moving along pretty nicely. I had my second post op office visit with my podiatrist on 10/24/11 to get my sutures taken out. Of course, before that could take place, I had to have my fiberglass cast taken out. For those of you who don’t know what to expect, my girlfriend took a video while the cast was being removed. Here’s the video.

It was completely pain free. The "blade" pretty much vibrates only enough to break apart the fiberglass. When the blade comes in contact with the skin, all you feel is a buzz. Anyways, as always, I enjoyed the few minutes my cast was take off.

My podiatrist the took a look at my wound and said everything was progressing as planned. The wound was free from any infection and was healing well. She plantar-flexed and dorsi-flexed my foot, did a quick Thompson test, and palpated around the incision. No pain!

Surgical wound - second post op - 10/24/11

So the doc said it was time to take the stitches out. She grabbed a pair of scissors and started snipping away. I have to admit, the wound looks way less grotesque with the stitches out.

Sutures out!

Sutures out!

After the stitches were out, I asked the doctor a few questions. Per the recovery protocol, I would be in another fiberglass for another 2 weeks. This was a surprise to me as I had originally thought that my fiberglass cast would be on for a total of 4 weeks. I had my first cast put on a week before the 2nd post op visit. Apparently, the soft splint that I had during first post op week counted as one of the weeks. Which is AWESOME. I am ready to ditch this cast :P. Anyways, on 11/04/11, which will be my third post op visit, I will be placed in a walking boot, with PWB. I’m currently in my second fiberglass cast, with 15 degree dorsiflexion, so my foot is a little more parallel with the ground. I am also still NWB. PT will begin 2 weeks after I’m placed in a walking boot. Per the doc, I’ll be going once a week for 3 months, with home exercises to be done on a daily basis.

I’ve been pretty pleased with the recovery process thus far. It might just be me, but I definitely feel like my tendon is healing. My life has definitely began to feel more normal, especially since I returned to work just this past Tuesday. I’ve also been able to work out 5 days a week (3 days upper body, 3 days ab/core workout) doing a modified version of p90x, and eating healthy definitely has it’s benefits. And to be honest, crutching around alone seriously give your triceps an awesome workout :). If anyone is curious about my workout plan, just let me know. I can definitely PM it to you.

On a side note, I definitely recommend taking 1-3 weeks off after the surgery, if you can, that is. I know that some people will need to get back to work ASAP. But if you are able to take off, I say do it. I used that time to get accustomed to getting around in crutches and pretty much learning how to perform my activities of daily living while on one foot. It definitely helped me transition back to work.

One thing that I really am missing, and everyone who’s been around me for the past couple weeks has probably heard me say it over and over again, is that I REALLY REALLY MISS DRIVING!

Good luck to everyone and their recovery!

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Oct 18 2011

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king

The first post op office visit.

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So I went to go see my podiatrist yesterday for my first post op office visit. It seemed to have gone pretty well. I was afraid of the slight twinge I was getting in my right ankle, especially since I had that splint on ever since the surgery and couldn’t see what was going on down there. I just wanted to make sure everything was alright inside the splint. And it turns out, everything was fine and dandy, if not better.

I was initially brought into the exam room by the ortho tech. After taking my vitals, she proceeded to remove the splint. It was weird seeing my foot for the first time in what seemed like FOREVER. To tell you the truth, it felt wonderful. My foot could breath! The ortho tech told me to enjoy it while I could, since I would be placed in cast after the podiatrist had seen me. And so, I savored those few minutes as much as possible. :)

Splint off!

Ahhh, my foot can breath!

My podiatrist then came in after the splint was taken off. She check my stitches and assured me that everything was going as planned. My sutures were looking nice. No signs of infection whatsoever.

Sutures during post op OV

Oooo, look at those stitches!

She stated that the sutures would be taken out the following Monday. For the time being, I would be placed in a fiberglass cast. I asked my doctor to give me a brief summary of the recovery protocol she had in store for me. According to her, I will be in fiberglass cast for 4 weeks at NWB. Afterwards, I’ll be placed in to a walking boot, whilst starting PWB. Two weeks after that, I will begin PT. I’m not too sure if that is considered a conservative protocol. To me, it seems a little bit on the aggressive side, which is totally OK with me. Fortunately, my doctor also gave me the OK to start working out again. Of course, it would have to be limited only to my upper body. After consulting with doctor, it was off to the cast room to get my fiberglass cast on.

And on goes the cast.

And on goes the cast.

The casting was a very quick process. Either that, or the ortho tech was just really good! I thought it was pretty neat that they let you choose the color of the cast. After a bout of indecisiveness, I went with  blue. Maybe next week, I’ll go with the glow in the dark :D. The fiberglass felt a little warm during the application, but it was nothing unbearable. Within minutes, I was fully casted and out the door. I was surprised at how light and much more sturdy it felt. My splint felt as if it was starting to get loose, as I could feel my foot moving around it. Also, it was much bulkier than the fiberglass cast. With the cast, it definitely feels like my foot is much more protected. My foot remains in a plantar fixed position, at least for the next 4 weeks.

My friend for the next 4 weeks.

My friend for the next 4 weeks.

Everything is going well so far. I also worked out today, for the first time in about 2 weeks. It felt GREAT! As you’ve probably read in my first post, I was very active prior to the injury. I was used to working out 6 days week. Being able to work out definitely was stress relieving and brought back some normalcy, which is always appreciated. I’ll see about posting more detail about my workout regimen later this week, for those who are looking to work out during the recovery process. I have also learned a lot about staying healthy by reading others’ blogs on this site. I am currently consulting a fitness coach’s recommendation on another forum, in regards to how my workout should look like. I’ll be sure to report back on what I learn.

Good luck to everyone and their recovery!

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Oct 16 2011

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And so it begins…

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I’ve never been much of a blogger. In the past, I have attempted to start a blog several times, but it would never really come to fruition. I would begin, post a couple times and then eventually fall of the wagon. Call it a slight case of ADD, if you will ;).

Anyway, after my doctor had concluded that I had a full rupture of the achilles, I decided to search the internets to gain some insight into the injury and idea of the recovery time. That’s when I came across AchilleBlog.com, and found a wealth of information. I also noticed that there were many on this site that shared their experiences through blogging. I read through countless entries and learned a great amount, But most importantly, I was inspired by other people stories. I wanted to do the same, as well as chronicle my experiences as I recover from this injury. I felt that that this would be a form of catharsis for me.

And so, this blog was born. :)

My name is Brian, and I am recovering from a full rupture of my right Achilles. I consider myself a very active individual. I love to get out there and do stuff. I love biking, running, snowboarding, airsofting, going to the beach and taking trips. I just finished a round of P90x (a fitness program) as well as enduring my second round of Insanity (another cardio fitness regimen). I worked out 6 days a week and was always on my feet. The injury occurred on 10/02/11, exactly one week after I turned 29. I was playing basketball at the local park with some family. I recall doing some stretching prior to playing. In retrospect, I probably should have stretched a bit more thoroughly. This is me preinjury :P

Me! pre-injury.

The Injury

It happened maybe 30 minutes into the game. The basketball bounced off the rim, I lunged to get the rebound, when suddenly it felt like I was kicked in the back of the right ankle, really, REALLY hard. I immediately collapsed to the ground due to the pain. I didn’t hear a snap, just felt pain. I was able to flex my foot up and down, however the pain persisted. I sat the rest of the game, thinking that I had suffered a pretty bad sprain as a result of the kick to the ankle. I limped back home from the park, which was about 1/2 mile. It was painful, but I made it. When I got home, I laid in bed, raised my foot, and played some Call of Duty. My girlfriend made sure I was comfortable and taken care of. I took some ibuprofen and iced my ankle. Two days went by, and my ankle remained swollen, and I was still having difficulty walking normally. Luckily, I work from home, so I never had to walk or drive long distances. Some bruising was forming on either side of my right heel, which was weird to me. I thought I would have had bruising around my ankle, of all places. I mean, that’s where I was kicked after all.

The First of many trips to the Doctor

At the behest of my girlfriend, I went to urgent care at Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday, 10/05/11. The urgent care doctor performed the Thompson test, which was this:

Thompson Test

The doc said that my calf was still barely moving, so it was likely I had a partial tear. He advised that I make an appointment to see the podiatrist on Friday. I asked if it was still OK to walk around with my injury, or if I should use crutches. He stated that I would be OK without. That night, I went to Dave and Buster’s with the girlfriend for a friend’s birthday celebration, all the while limping on my affected leg.

I received a call on Thursday morning, asking if I wanted to come and see the podiatrist that day. I said sure, the sooner the better. I drove to Kaiser Permanente again that day. I explained to the podiatrist what had happened, and what the urgent care doctor had told me. She performed the Thompson test again, and confirmed that there was no movement of my right foot whatsoever. She diagnosed me with a full rupture of the right Achilles. She urged to no longer put any weight on my right foot from here on out. I decided not to tell her that I had been walking and driving for the past week :P. She laid out the treatment plan, explained to me that surgery would be the best option in my case due to my age and activity level. Never before having major surgery, I hesitantly opted to go the surgical route. I asked when. She said tomorrow would be best. The sooner the better. After coming to terms with the shock of my potential surgery, I told my self “Let’s get this done.” Being an avid snowboarder, I asked her if I would be able to snowboard this season. According to her, if everything went well, I would possibly be able to hit the slopes by January 2012. Here’s hoping. :D They put me in a splint that day to immobilize my foot. I was given crutches. From that point on, I knew that thing would be different for a long while. I had my pre-op appointment with a physician’s assistant that day as well, who was very helpful at explaining what was to expect with the surgery.

Since I had driven to my appointment, I contact my girlfriend to pick me up. I told her about what the doctor said, the suddenly upcoming surgery from nowhere, and the estimated recovery time. She was just as taken aback as I was. So that night was spent hobbling around at home, and me speculating how my surgery would go the following day.

Surgery Day

I got up at 5:3o am on 10/07/11 and arrived at the hospital by 6:00 am. I was checked in and immediately sent to the pre-op ward. Here is a picture of me in pre-op, ready to bring it!

Surgery Day, in pre-op.

The surgeon and anesthetist met with me and explained the details of the surgery. The anesthetist stated that I would be put under, and a breathing tube would be used to keep my airway patent while in surgery. I also opted to have a peroneal nerve block inserted post op, to help control the post op pain. I must have been rolled into surgery around 10:00 am. The last thing I remember is breathing in the fumes from the breathing mask, and I was out cold. I woke up to them inserting the peroneal nerve block behind my knee. It was weird feeling, although pain free. I could feel my right foot twitching if they made contact with the nerve. My girlfriend was eventually brought in, and I was beginning to fully wake up. My foot was in a splint again. It almost seemed like I had simply taken a nap. My foot was little numb due to the peroneal nerve block constantly infusing Ripovicaine. Here is a picture of the continues infusion:

Ripovicaine Peroneal Block, post op

I could still however, move my toes. The good thing was was that no pain was felt at all. According to my girlfriend, I was in surgery for almost 2 hours, and in post op for another 2. So a total 4 hours! I felt bad for her, but also grateful that she stuck it out and waited for me. So after about an hour, I was ready to go home. My girlfriend drove me home, and slept most of the day away.

Post op day 1 and onward

The first post op day was fine. My foot was completely numb from the Ripovicaine. It was a peculiar feeling, not being able to feel my foot. But at least it kept the pain at bay. By the second day, the Ripovicaine wore off. I could tell, as I was slowly regaining feeling in my foot, and was starting to be able to move my toes. Within an hour, the post op pain settled in, and man oh man, it HURT. I wondered how long I could hold out without pain meds, but it just became unbearable. I took one percocet, and then another 10 minutes after. The pain eventually subsided after 30 minutes, and boy was I relieved. Fortunately, I only had to take the percocet on 3 different occasions. After the 3rd day, the severe post op pain was gone. The pain would only rear it’s ugly whenever I got up from a lying or sitting position. I experience a throbbing pain in my lower leg as the blood would rush in. Thankfully, it was bearable.

I am now 9 days post surgery, and everything seems to be going well. I am trying to positive each day. I have had days where I feel a little down. I have taken a lot of advice from others’ blogs on this forum and have discovered that getting out once in awhile can help deal with mental aspect of the injury. Staying cooped at home will definitely drive me insane. I’ve begun to take some supplements, such as whey protein, glutamine, fish oils and vitamin C. Eating healthy is also a priority. Getting around in crutches is starting to become easier by the day. I’ve been complemented by random people when I am out, saying that I move pretty fast in crutches without tiring out. I owe that to the rigorous p90x and Insanity program for keeping me fit! I’ve also been able to get around on one crutch, although I only do this when I need to hold something in my other hand, as it is a little taxing on the body. I miss driving a great deal, but my girlfriend has been quite the chauffeur, taking me places running errands if need be.

Helping with the groceries!

Helping with the groceries!

And speaking of my girlfriend, she is savior! I would not know what to do if she was there to help me out on a daily basis, especially during the first days of my post op. Here is a pic of my girlfriend Christiana and I:

Me and Christiana

Because of this site, I have also been able to procure some items that definitely help me with day to day activities. So far, I have purchased a shower bench, as well as the Xerosox water proof cast. Both have worked phenomenally and have made life a whole lot easier. Here are the links to products on Amazon that I found on Achillesblog.com.

Bathroom bench

Xerosox Waterproof Cast

I look forward to swimming as soon as I get the OK from the doctor, so the cast cover should prove useful when that time comes.

I think this post is long enough. Sorry if I’ve bored anyone out there. I want to be able to look back at this a year from now, and be able to recollect my experiences. Tomorrow is my first post op appointment with my doctor. According to what she said, I will be getting a cast put on (oh joy :/). If she gives me the OK, I will also start working out again. Of course, only focusing on my upper body and core. I am looking to stay active while recovering from this injury. I feel it will help me stay positive and provide some normalcy in my life. I have also read a lot about the VasoCast on the AchillesBlog site as well as the main Vasocast site. I will be bringing this up to my podiatrist tomorrow and see how she feels about it. It seems that people have had good results with the Vasocast, and it’s economical to boot! (see what I did there :D)

I will post more after my post op visit tomorrow. Good luck to everyone and their recovery!

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