Week 1-PART ONE

Well, here I am..stuck in bed.

Let me explain. I had a birth defect which caused me to have a shortened achilles tendon in my left foot. Besides all the PT and braces when I was little, nothing worked. Due to the financial state of my family, we weren’t able to afford to correct it with what I really needed: Surgery.

Fast forward to a young adult age with medical insurance.

After years of ridicule from classmates and the endless questioning of strangers and friends (ala “What’s wrong with your foot?”), years of not being able to wear ‘flat shoes’ and balance problems in high heels (due to one foot up, one foot down) I decided to do some research on how I could fix the problem.

I ran across ‘Achilles Tendon Lengthening’ or ATL. The recovery is the same with a rupture but the actual procedure is much different. The tendon is cut, stretched out and sutured together therefore increasing dorsiflexion (heel up).

This procedure should be covered by your medical insurance.

Surgery Day: I had never had ‘major surgery’ so I was quite nervous and scared. I was checked in, dressed down and drugged up  :) The registration process took about two hours and then it was surgery time!

I was flipped on my stomach and given a local anesthetic. I told the doctor I was gravely afraid of general and he commented that it is only neccessary for general in achilles surgery if you are a child.

*Tip: If you are weary about general, demand a local.*

I started to feel sleepy. I kept waking up but falling back to sleep and soon enough it was over. I was placed in bandages and a splint and sent on my way with crutches.

The first 48 hours have been the worst part. During sleeping the whole time, After the anesthetic wore off and the pain pills I was given subsided in the middle of the night, the pain was almost unbearable. It was a different kind of pain, like exposing the back of your leg and someone keeps poking it with their finger accompanied with a burning throbbing sensation. I’m a little irritated as the vicodin generic I’m taking doesn’t work for me. I can only take 3 painpills during the day which are wonderful–no pain– but after that, it’s only the vicodin generic. So my nights are not so fun.

I started to feel like my leg was swelling and cold, even though it was propped up. You need to have your leg raised high above you, up in the air. Two pillows and a box worked for me, the discomfort ended. 

The things you MUST do religiously are: alternating cold packs (20 min. max), taking your antibiotics, pain pills and sleeping as much as possible.

*Tip: Avoid taking a shower for as long as possible in the first days of recouperation.*

 I waited 5 days to take a shower. If you can muster, try doing this as well. You will save yourself exhaustion, stress and more pain, the less you shower in the beginning stages.

*Tip: Remember to move as LITTLE as possible and crutches are a bad idea until DAY 4. The pain that accompanies with the movement is not worth it.*

Today is the sixth day and personally, I am going a little stir crazy. I am an introvert (which means I tend to do activites, thoughts, ect. by myself=a lot of staying in) but there is a difference between staying in by CHOICE and being forced to stay in.

I have been wiggling my toes to try and start the process of moving my joints…

I have my first post-op appt. tomorrow and will report what happens!

7 Responses to “Week 1-PART ONE”

  1. The first post-op visit is always interesting. You get to see the incision, the swelling, the discoloration. Just keep plugging along and you will be amazed at how quickly you learn little tricks to enhance your mobility.

    Good luck, and never feel like you won’t make it, just look at how many on this blog already have.

  2. Well done for being brave enough to correct a lifelong problem. In a short period of time you will start to feel the recovery progressing and you will have the benefit the rest of your life.
    All the best for tomorrow.

  3. Thank You so much for the comments! They really make your day when you are stuck in bed!

    This site is a god-send :)

  4. Thanks for sharing, my 16 year old son is scheduled for this surgery on both feet in a few weeks. Helps me prepare to help him be as comfortable as possible and forsee issues we may have. Best of luck to you in your recovery!

  5. @ Tammy
    I saw your blog and was wondering how your son went with his surgery? I had the lengthening op on my left Achilles in Sept last year and I am really glad I had it done.
    Karen

  6. Hi, I had the lengthening surgery. ,along with having my heel bone broken and repositioned. It’s been about 3 weeks. The stitches and cast are off and I am I in the boot. Iost my balance twice today. Very bad pain. Can anybody tell me what to expect for recovery.

  7. I found this blog useful because I had this surgery on Tuesday.

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