gnarly scar

Its been two years since my Achilles rupture and surgery and overall I am doing well. I can run, bike and do most everything I want to (long distance driving is still fatiguing and makes my Achilles sore though). However, I am noticing that my scar has gotten thicker and rubs on many of my shoes. It seems to be getting worse lately. I have an appointment with the PT to see if more manual work or something else might help. Anyone else had scar work done so far out from their injury? Anything in particular to try-laser, ultrasound?

5 month funk

The most common question I get these days is “so how’s the Achilles…all better now?” I am not even sure how to answer. All better? Far from it! I walk with a limp, am in pain much of the day, still take stairs one at a time, my PT progress could be measured with a microscope and I still can’t do much that involves breaking a sweat.

To be fair I guess none of that is visible on the outside (other than the limp). My friends and coworkers see me walking and driving and minus all devices….in other words, all better.

I am not even sure what all better means or if I will ever be. I am more and more frustrated and impatient, not less. I feel awful with extra weight, low energy and accumulated stress. I feel even worse for having so much self pity…it could be so much worse. In the scheme of life, this is nothing. Still, it is my life and I hate it at the moment. So much of what I love and what held my life together has been taken away. Worse, its hard to imagine that I will ever get it back…the road to recovery is so long and then I will need to start from zero to build back any level of health and fitness.

I am sure many of you have had these moments of frustration and despair. What did you do to get through it? Is there anything I can do to move things along?

One day I think I just need to push myself harder and so I take more naproxen and go. The next day I often find myself on the couch exhausted and in more pain. Waiting isnt helping me get better but pushing it doesn’t seem to work either, especially when I have a family of five to take care of.

Advice, support or even a kick in the rear welcome

“Its like patience is part of your therapy”

I thought I’d share with you all what a wise friend and co-worker said to me the other day on our drive together to work. I was telling her about how I was in a holding pattern with PT. My PT had told me I could schedule fewer appointments with her since she had pretty much given me all the exercises I could do before my boot came off in another few weeks and I was good about continuing to do the exercises on my own at home. I was devastated at first…I felt abandoned and that that I was back to just waiting and not "doing" anything. This continual waiting was getting to me after months in several casts and boots. I needed desperately to DO something to help myself get better. In any other aspect of my life I could just try harder, learn something new, and take charge of my success. Apparently, this was not the case with this injury, as I am learning over and over. My dad was walking days after a hip replacement, but here I was months later-waiting. So my wise friend listened to me and was thoughtful and replied, "It’s like patience is part of your therapy". Wow! That couldn’t be more true, in both the physical and psychological realm. I instantly felt better taking that perspective. Being patient and letting my tendon heal is a necessary part of getting better. Its not only what I "have to do", its what is necessary and best for getting better. Not being patient and pushing could actually be damaging. I was not being abandoned by my PT but she was prescribing just what was needed. I was not waiting for the real rehab to begin but it had been ongoing all along but in a form so different from my usual M.O. This has now become my mantra each day when I feel the nagging irritation of impatience rising up with this injury and long road to recovery. I take a deep breath in and out and repeat "part of your therapy" as I take another step through the year toward "all better".

Where are all my right shoes?

In 3 more days until I see my surgeon again and hopefully will be booting the boot! I have a mix of emotions…mostly excitement of course, but also some fear and uncertainty. My PT said I might need a crutch or cane for awhile and it sounds like limping will be my new mode of transportation for some time. I wonder if I will feel I can trust my leg to drive, the Achilles to stay intact and my body to do what it needs to do. It’s been so long!

I would love to hear more from others about what to expect over these next few days and weeks. I am thinking that there may be a slow down before I get more mobile? My PT said it will likely be another 2 weeks before driving. I am really hoping I can start some form of exercise too as one can only do so many push ups.

definition of PWB and FWB

Can anyone tell me for the progress tracker if PWB and FWB means with or without a boot? Big difference so matters for the averages

Finally out of the cast!

After almost 6 weeks since my injury and 5 1/2 since surgery the casts are off and I am in a boot and off to PT this AM. spent much of last night bathing, exfoliating and shaving my very hairy and shriveled reptilian leg. it’s starting to look kind of human again although half the size of it’s partner on the left. I can appreciate why rehab is a long journey. My orthopedic surgeon is apparently a great surgeon, but so many of these guys, a horrible communicator and detached from reality. I asked him for guidance on what I should and should not be doing in this boot and he just said “you can walk” asked if I should start slow or wait for guidance from PT and he said perplexed “no…just walk as much as you want”. Seriously? so after he left I tried to stand up and realized that walking wasn’t just going to happen and the woman who gave me my boot said “Um, you are going to need those crutches for awhile Hon” No Kidding! That MD probably makes 100 times the salary of the “cast lady” yet she has been my source of realistic guidance through this whole thing. Off to see the PT!

Life Lessons From My Achilles

My story, like so many others, began with an unexpected pop, a turn of the head to see who had kicked me and a step that felt like there was no earth below me.  I had just joined a woman’s soccer league and was at my first practice. I had never played soccer before but I was in great shape after running my first half marathon and biking in a 150 ride the 2 days before. My 12 year old son assured me he could teach me everything I needed to know about soccer in 5 weeks and we were enjoying the bonding time together during his "training sessions" with me. It would be easy to blame this on soccer; after all, what’s a 44 year old mom thinking, taking up a new sport like soccer? But, when the Achilles popped I was just taking a step-no slide tackling, no hole in the field, no winning goal. It was a step I could have taken in my kitchen or at work.

I had very little physical pain (lucky, I know!) which has given me the luxury of focusing on the emotional impact. In the first few days I had all the classic grieving emotions: denial (probably just a calf tear), anger (why me? Why not the other woman at practice who hadn’t worked out in 5 years?), fear (will I go crazy without the ability to workout for months? Will the pain be awful? ), blame (what did I do wrong?), and sadness (I have lost the ability to do everything I love!) to eventual reluctant acceptance (sort of). I admit that I am still a bit stuck on "Why did this happen?" question. It would be nice to have the answer so I could take steps to prevent this from happening again on the other side in the future. However, as the weeks go by, I am realizing that "letting go of control" is Life Lesson #1 that I am to learn with this injury.  As a health care provider in oncology I know that bad stuff often "just happens", usually out of the blue, even if you take care of your body like you are supposed to. Still, its different when its your own body and your own psyche (and, yes, I am very aware of how minimal this injury is compared to cancer and many other serious health problems). Going into surgery under general anesthesia is certainly the ultimate in letting go of control! There are so many "opportunities" to learn this lesson when you are stuck on the coach with your foot in the air.  I have had to relinquish so many of my Mom-tasks as well as the control and sense of accomplishment and value to my family that comes with it. As  grateful as I am for all my husband and children are doing around the house, it is also hard for me because, well… they don’t do it my way (dare I say, right?). Most things I have learned to let go, but every so often I step in and ask for the task to be done differently and then feel like an ogre for caring about such silly things like how the laundry is folded. Other times it matters a great deal (at least to me) like asking for the stairs to be vacuumed daily so I can inch down on my rear end without getting all full of dog hair.

I am gaining more an more independence (thanks to my Medline knee scooter on loan from my brother-in-law), but early on even the smallest tasks required help; going to the bathroom, getting dressed, getting a drink of water. Of course it is wonderful to have so many friends and family come to help, but after a few days I realized that I much prefer to be on the one helping others rather than being waited on. I feel guilty asking for help and inconveniencing others. Life lesson #2…"learning to be cared for"

I am a doer and a goer so not being able to drive or make plans on the spur of the moment is especially hard. Exercise has been my primary stress management technique so I am adjusting to new strategies such as mediation.  My husband finally had to tell me that sometimes it was better if I would just sit on the coach and read a novel, because every time I try to "get something done" it requires extra work by everyone else! I am getting better and better at afternoon naps and hanging with friends on my back porch doing "nothing" but it still goes against my nature. Life Lesson #3…"learning to slow down and just ‘be’".

My doctor’s protocol was a splint for 10 days followed by a cast for 2 weeks and then another cast (with some stretch to bring foot more to neutral) for another 2 weeks. I just got my 2nd cast. I am a naturally patient person and keep thinking that once I can start PT I’ll feel better since I can finally "do" something and see progress. The NY City Marathon tracker is also nice for people like me!  Enter Life lesson #4….Patience.

I know others (my brother included, who did this 2 years ago!) have a more aggressive protocol. I started researching all the options and thought about getting all sorts of opinions (what I usually do if faced with a problem) but this time I decided I needed to just trust that I had a doctor who was high regarded and that this was one of many ways to fix this problem. As hard as this was, it is also sort of a relief.  Life Lesson #5….Trust.

Clearly Life is smarter than I am about what I need and I am trying really hard to be open to these lessons. Glad to have all the others on this blog going through this journey with me!

Hello world!

Welcome to

This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Following link will take you to your blog’s “command center” where you can write your posts:

Be sure to fill out your city, Achilles rupture date, surgery date, etc.. (if you know it) here:
Fill out my Achilles Profile Here

When you do, you can keep track of your recovery progress and see your information on the Marathon Tracker.

Here’s more info: using Achilles Timeline Widget

Please change this post’s title to something more descriptive. Just leaving it as “Hello World” leads people to believe that you haven’t updated your first post!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask! :)