One Month Check-In

Yesterday marked one month since my surgery!  I had my four week post-op visit on Tuesday.  All looks well and I am again reassured that everything I’m feeling is normal.

I had my cast taken off.  This is my piece of advice…  if your cast is bothering you in any way, don’t be afraid to call your doctor.  My first cast, that I only had for a week, was fantastic.  My second cast, which I had for two weeks, was horrible.  I did not call because I didn’t want to complain and I figured I could power through the two weeks.  When the nurse was taking the cast off, she point blank told me how bad that cast was.  Very minimal padding, too tight, lumpy.  I myself should have known better but the nurse that put it on never said anything about calling if I have discomfort.  The nurse that took it off, kept on apologizing and questioned me hard on who it was in the office that put it on me.  She herself gave me some too late advice… call at anytime your cast is not ok!  So do that people!! lol

I moved to a CAM boot.  I am in the beginning stage of weight bearing as tolerated but use my crutches.  Not walking on it but putting my foot on the ground.  Right now I am trying but my foot is having trouble remembering how to be a foot!

The good thing with no cast… I can finally directly ice!!  So nice!!  I have some pretty good swelling, so ice is nice!

I am taking one pain pill probably once every other day at this point.  I have pain everyday but it is so random and not constant, so I can go without pain meds.  Now days I have PT… lol  We know how those days feel.

CAM boot… although I’ve been in one before… this boot is heavy as hell, much heavier than a cast, so my balance is a bit off.  Also the whole strapping yourself in takes awhile.  I’ll get used to it but in ways that cast was a tiny bit easier in a weird way.

I began PT this past week, had two session already.  I am three days a week.  Right now PT only involves moving foot gently up/ down/ right / left (PT does this manipulation, not me). Foot massage. Gentle tapping of the incision areas to break up adhesions.  Sliding my ankle on the floor and picking up marbles with my toes.

I’m still massively unsure about returning to work thing… right now it’s March 1st return.  Scares me!  Although the doctor said we will revisit it at my next appointment, which is before the return date.

I think I take this one day at a time.  The long term is a bit overwhelming right now but I can do one day at a time!

Wanted to add.. I found out that I had one other thing during surgery. So in total four things were done. 1.  Achilles repair 2.  Strayer Procedure 3. Amnio-Allograft and 4. Sural Nerve Release

The sural nerve release I didn’t know this.  We had talked about the nerves pre-op but when we talked after surgery he forgot to mention this.

2 Weeks Post-Op

Last Tuesday was my two weeks post-op appointment.

Week One- I was in just a surgical wrap, sort of like a cast on the bottom side and then just the wrap around it.  The first week was tough, getting used to the crutches, walking on one leg, the surgical wrap, the nerve block wearing off, swelling and pain. I was overall really tired.  I think it was really all par for course.

Week Two-  I had my first post-op appointment at Day 6.  They removed the surgical splint and the doctor checked for infection, all was good!  I had some bruising around the ankle and also swelling but the swelling was overall not horrible.  They then put on my first cast.
Getting used the cast was another thing to add on to recovery. The weight of the cast was pulling on my hip, making it really sore. Thankfully that resolved in a few days. One source of pain is when I would accidentally tighten the calf muscle or achilles area. I would get sharp pains. It wouldn’t last long. I also don’t recommend having a dream, in which you are running, apparently my sleeping body thought I was really running and tightened up everything. I shot up in bed saying OWWW! lol

I had my second post-op appointment two weeks to the day of my surgery. They took off the first cast. The doctor and I had a chat about what they actually did for the surgery. I was too tired to ask the first appointment. We talked about when is a good time to return to work. He said there really is no way to know when there is a good time. I teach, so there is a lot of movement through my day. I told him ideally I would like to get through the non-weight bearing stage (4 weeks), the beginning of the boot and start of PT before I go back. He is very easy going and said whatever I needed. We will make the call at my four week appointment.

They also took out the stitches, ouch! Then put on my last and final cast! The cast itself is tad bit tighter, so I really feel the swelling in this one. Not to the point that it cuts off circulation but to the point of being uncomfortable, need to elevate. The bottom of my foot was bothering me, I can’t tell if it’s swelling or the bandage that they wrapped around it before putting on the cast tube sock is shifting around or a combo of both. I find that by the end of the night I swell more and have a bit more pain.

The one good thing about being house bound is that I didn’t have to go out during the Polar Vortex or all this snow we have been getting for the last couple week. HA

The Beginning to Now

My road in this achilles adventure has been a bit long.

Just about 11 months ago I was hit by a metal cart pretty hard.  I was pulling the front end behind me and the back end swung around and hit me right as my left leg was going back.  It felt like a knife had sliced me open.  I went down because I thought I was bleeding, no blood.  I swelled up and bruised pretty bad the days that followed.  I couldn’t lie in bed with my ankle down on the bed or even touch the back of my ankle.

Being my stubborn self I thought it was fine and it would get better.  So I waited a LONG time before I finally called “uncle” and went in to see a doctor.  (it was four months to be exact)

We knew it wasn’t ruptured, so I was put into physical therapy right away.  That was a HUGE mistake.  I was in so much pain by the end of the three weeks.  The PT suggested in his report that I be put into a boot as the next step, which I find out that is what should have happened first.  I also insisted on an MRI so we knew exactly what we were working with.

The MRI came back as minor tendinosis and some edema.  After about six weeks in the boot, plus steroids and an anti-inflammatory, I was put back into PT.  I failed PT for the second time.  I knew at this moment and months in that I needed a second opinion.  Thankfully my PT, who was not keen on my doctor’s treatment plan, suggested someone to see.

I felt like I was on a merry-go-round, every appointment with my first doctor was the same.  He tried to push vitamins and told me to sporadically wear the boot.  My last appointment with him he said that if there was something he should be doing to let him know.  He is the doctor, how am I supposed to know?  The kicker was when he said I was too beautiful and young to be going through this.  CHECK PLEASE!

My appointment with my new doctor went very well.  He thought there might be nerve damage and injected some numbing solution into my ankle to rule out nerves.  That did not go well.  It flared up my achilles so bad for the following 6 days.  My next appointment it was very clearly decided that we needed to go in for surgery.  I was very ready at this point to do anything.

The plan was to do three things;

1. release the calf muscle through the Strayer procedure - after 11 months I had lost all ability to move my ankle past 90 degrees

2.  get rid of scar tissue that you could feel was wrapped around the tendon

3. amnio-allograft on the tendon to promote healing.

plus obviously see what else he could find on the tendon.

The day of surgery arrived and I was in pre-op.  My doctor came in before to see me.  The days before surgery he had asked me to get a copy of my old MRI.  This is when he let me know that he looked at the MRI and there was a tear and that whomever did the MRI report did a really crappy job.  He showed me a screen-shot of the tear on the MRI.

Ends up it was a huge tear.  A 3 cm tear to be exact, which is pretty large.  So I had the tendon repaired and the Strayer procedure.

I am 10 days post-op right now!

On a side note.  Back when I had the MRI (July), at my follow-up appointment with my first doctor, I brought the MRI disc with me.  I handed it to him and said I quote, “In case you want to look at it because sometimes I know you see something not on the report”  He said he didn’t really need it because he read the report but took it anyway to put it in my file.  If only he took the time to look at it.  Ends up the report missed two things, not just the tear.

I’ll write more about my recovery in another post.  This is quite long enough for now :)