My Journey Back to Two Shoes

Cruel & Unusal Punishment

I am officially 9-weeks post-op as of yesterday! Yea! I am excited about my progress. I am walking most days and the majority of any given day without a limp. My physical therapist deserves the credit. She works my leg/Achilles heel mercilessly. She has no problem pushing me past what I think I can do.

calf-stretch My physical therapy consists of riding a stationary bicycle, stretching, calf lifts - ouch! And I get to use some sort of machine that measures the strength of my ankle. It is a BTE machine. It is computerized and I do 5 sets of calf lifts on my stomach strapped to this machine. She changes the weight weekly. My therapist tells me I have increased my strength every week over the last 4 weeks, including today. The cruel and unusual punishment is in the progressive difficulty my therapist adds weekly.

I thought I might actually quit today. I actually did calf lifts standing on the floor, feet shoulders width apart and holding on to a bar. It was definitely one of the hardest things I have done to date. My therapist had my leg shaking with all of the things she put me through today. On a happier note I went and had a pedicure today. I had one the week before surgery in August. Today was a treat and my feet are very happy!

First Week in Shoes

purple-tennis-shoes As I get ready for bed my thoughts are on the successful navigation of my world in two shoes this week. It didn’t begin so well. I forgot to put the heel lift in my shoe and by the end of day on Tuesday, I had a pronounced limp and my foot was in tremendous pain with lots of swelling. I had physical therapy that second day and my physical therapist said she could tell I didn’t have the heel lift in. Suffice it to say she gave me an earful about my mistake….

By the time I got home on Tuesday all I could think about was laying down with my ice pack. By Wednesday, I had a revelation of the importance of my heel lift. My foot has had very little pain the remainder of the week. Yea!!

I had a better appointment on Thursday this week with my physical therapist. She spent a lot of time with me adding new exercises focused on simulated walking and lots of stretching. I had the opportunity to walk on the treadmill this week, use a leg press for both feet and for my injured foot. I am committed to working hard during my physical therapy appointments and walking better and better going forward.

I am learning that despite my impatience at the beginning of this process, slow is better in the recovery process. Taking my time is better than pushing myself to pain. And using wisdom is critical to ensure I don’t have an injury. Overall, at 8 weeks post-op I feel good.  I am very glad I did the surgery and I am committed to getting stronger.

October 6th, 2012 at 12:05 am and tagged , , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (9) | Permalink

2 Shoes and Walking

I am officially FWB and walking in two shoes! It is very exciting! When I put the shoe on this morning I was expecting the angels to sing. No angels sang for me, but I had an amazing day walking in two shoes.

As I make this next transition post-surgery I think a lot about my physical health. Specifically exercise. I know that my calf muscle is fairly non-existent post surgery. There isn’t a ton of strength. I want to get my strength back. And I want my shapely calf muscle back. I want to strengthen and stretch my Achilles tendon so that I don’t have to fret about re-injury. And I want to get rid of the slight limp.

I did join the YMCA here in Maryland. I am working on cardio as well as strength exercises for my calves. I want to use wisdom as I exercise. I will be walking as well. My biggest concern is I tend to have more desire to exercise then I do time. Any suggestions? I know I need to exercise and I want to exercise, but my days and weeks usually blend into one another. I rarely take a moment for myself. One thing I am trying to do is to look at one day at a time. Rather then making a huge commitment to exercise I have decided to take one day at a time. Make time each day to stop my world and exercise. Help…saying it is one thing, doing it is another story…

October 1st, 2012 at 12:41 am and tagged , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Shoes in 5 Days!

I am 7 weeks post-op today! My Orthopedic surgeon told me to kick the womens-vibram-fivefingers-purple-sprint-shoe-outlet crutches to the curb last week and put on my tennis shoes on October 1st.

That October date is coming quickly - 5 days to be exact. I am excited about this milestone. I plan to listen to my doctor and not try to get ahead of him. I can wait until next Monday for my two-shoe debut. Can I say that I am excited and nervous at the prospect of two shoes. My biggest concern about two shoes - how do I select the right kind of shoes? Should they be support shoes or tennis shoes? Any recommendations on my two-shoe debut?

September 26th, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (9) | Permalink

Crutches Kicked to the Curb

So I showed up for my post-op appointment with the Ortho surgeon. Of course I confessed my driving excursion to him before he could ask me how I have been behaving. He was speechless….he was actually upset with me. Think of it! He proceeded to tell me that he is quite good at what he does (he is an award winning doctor), and that I should trust his judgment and allow him to release me rather than doing things on my own.

no-more-crutches From there he proceeded to manipulate my foot, pushing and creating resistance for me to ensure my tendon was strong enough to handle the breaks and accelerator in my van. I passed all his test. He adjusted my boot and told me to get rid of the crutches. He said I was ready for FWB in the boot and go to two shoes on October 1st. That was great news. He also said my physical therapy would intensify next week. I should be walking with two shoes by the October 1st date.

Walking without my crutches today has been a wearying proposition. I am happy to be off the crutches and driving but now my physical body has to catch up. I look forward to getting into the gym over the next several weeks. This Achilles journey has been very interesting. Despite my doctor’s displeasure with me today, I am convinced that prayer and positive thinking, will move you successfully through this journey. I look forward to the intensity increasing next week. Happy healing!

September 20th, 2012 at 10:28 pm and tagged , , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

6 Weeks Post-Op: I’m Driving!

6-weeks-post-op I had a very interesting day today. First and foremost, I am  celebrating 6 weeks post-op and I feel great! Yea! I am very happy to be working. I feel stronger this week then I did last week. The pace I "run" at, on a normal basis with two feet is challenging with crutches, but I have been able to handle most things that I do since I went back to work.

I arrived for  my physical therapy appointment today and the receptionist said I didn’t have an appointment. Apparently the scheduler, scheduled me for next Wednesday rather then today. Once they realized it was there mistake they did everything to attempt to solve it. After 30 minutes of their confusion, I was ready to leave, when they found a therapist who could work with me.

She spent a lot of time pushing against my foot amd having me push back. My foot felt great. And as I lay on the table pressing and pushing and stretching my foot I was convinced I could drive today. I am really not sure where the confidence came from, but the more she worked with my foot the more convinced I was that driving was in my near future. Then I asked my spiritual father what he thought. I told him I want to drive - he said, "go for it"! That was enough for me….

When I got home I told my daughter I was was driving back to the church tonight and she said okay. More confidence…she was not afraid. At 6:15 I crutched out to my van and got in the drivers seat! I took my boot off, put my tennis shoe on my injured foot, started the engine and off I went. Not even one concern! Yippee!!! It felt great to drive and be on my own. Happy 6 weeks….

September 19th, 2012 at 10:38 pm and tagged , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

To Drive or Not to Drive?

steering-wheel I have been very busy with my students and responsibilities at the church. So I haven’t been out here on the site for a few days. I have been plotting and planning about my next milestone….driving.

I am coming up on 6 weeks post-op this Wednesday and I am ready to drive. My plan is to go to my post-op appointment on Thursday and broach the topic with the Ortho surgeon. I would like to drive by the end of the week. Your thoughts? When did you begin driving again? Do I need to move away from this thinking? I really want input. Thanks!

September 17th, 2012 at 1:14 am and tagged , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (14) | Permalink

Yippee! 50% PWB!

I have been waiting all night to get to my computer just to sit down and write this post. I went to my second physical therapy appointment this afternoon! Before the end of my appointment my therapist was adjusting my boot and telling me that I would be going to 50% PWB! I was actually shocked. I wasn’t expecting that for two more weeks! Absolutely the power of prayer!

purple-balloons Let me slow down and document my appointment today. When I arrived for my appointment, my therapist tells me that I am going to ride a stationary bicycle for 8 minutes. It turned into a 10 minute ride and I hit one mile. That was a pleasant surprise and I did it without the boot and with no pain. From there my therapist began to stretch me out with therabands and a towel. I enjoyed the stretching. My tendon has felt like a tight mass under the skin. Tonight is feels quite pliable, still tight but definitely looser.

After the stretching she had me put my boot back on and stand on a step and a scale. She began to teach me how to distribute my weight and to understand what 50% PWB would feel like. Immediately after that exercise, she teaches me how to walk with my boot. It was a bit awkward at first but I got the hang of it.

Of course they always save the best for last - I got a massage. She told me it wasn’t going to be like the massage you get from a spa. She told me ahead of time it would hurt. She started very gentle, and I thought, "this is not too bad…but within 10 minutes I was on the verge of letting out a  bit of a yelp when she finally stopped…THANK GOD! Lastly, she iced my foot - sweet bliss…

I am officially done with the wheelchair. I actually got rid of it earlier this week, but I am really done with it today. I have updated my profile to PWB and I will be exactly 5 weeks post-op tomorrow! This was a significant milestone in my Achilles journey back to two feet!

September 11th, 2012 at 11:39 pm and tagged , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (6) | Permalink

4 Weeks Post - Op - Healing…

4 Weeks Post - Op - Healing... I am home for the weekend. I plan to rest for the majority of the day today. I am at 4 weeks and 3 days post-op. My foot has been throbbing and sharp pains have taken my breath away daily over this last week. What’s up with the sharp pains? They are in my incision, inside…I don’t ever have any idea they are coming until they hit me. Anyone else have pains like this? I am tempted to start on the Tylenol again…
Things are going fairly well in my life. I get up and go work daily. I am teaching again, so I sit to teach rather than stand. I sit in my office all day (without my leg elevated). I need to work on getting my leg elevated to help alleviate the swelling I fight every night. I have included a picture I took on my 4 week post-op anniversary a few days ago. I was too sleepy to post it then. I plan to continue to take pictures of my wound as it heals. I have been playing the piano and keyboard a little - both with my boot on. I learned a new way to walk with my crutches from my PT on Thursday.
It has helped to take the pressure off my hands and make it so I am "walking" with my crutches rather than swinging my heavy boot. I still get tired with the crutches but I have kicked the wheelchair to the curb unless I really need it, which is maybe once a day - at the end of the day.
One thought to share - The slow progress this surgery seems to require forces me to rely on a lot of people to function from day to day. I realize I took my feet for granted. As a result I injured myself and I am relegated to "humility". I have to ask for assistance with food, daily, every meal because I can’t cook or drive yet.  In order to get to a meeting someone has to come and help me so that all of my stuff gets to the meeting, along with my body. Just needing to go to the store or get my nails done has been a challenge because I have to rely on other people.
"Thank you" doesn’t seem to cover the wealth of gratitude I feel towards those who love me and have cared for me over the last month. "Thank you" is a powerful word. I absolutely need to ensure I say it often (and I do), but it seems like there is more I can do for the ones who have extended themselves to ensure I am right where I am suppose to be. "Thank you" - to those of you in this community who freely share your life so that newbies like me can get through the hard days! Blessings!
September 8th, 2012 at 9:05 am and tagged , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (7) | Permalink

Confession is Good For the Soul

Today marks 4 weeks post-op! I had the privilege of going back to work two weeks ago.  Tonight I am home and exhausted from my first week of school. It has been an eventful two weeks since returning to work and I have to admit that I wonder if I went back to soon.. I’m not sure, but I am in the "frying pan" so I have to go forward. My foot is healing nicely according to the physical therapist.

Yesterday I went to my first physical therapy appointment….I took my boot off and tried to walk with out it prior to going to my appointment. I was using my crutches and I was definitely moving slow…in the end I put my boot back on and sat back down in my wheelchair. I believe that God can heal this injury. That is why I took my boot off. I was walking by faith and praying and trusting that God would touch my foot. It didn’t happen and I confessed to my physical therapist. She was not happy with me.

I am okay with her dissatisfaction however I know I have to use wisdom concerning the healing of my tendon. So I am committed to not taking my boot off again unless they tell me it is okay. I want my foot back. All in due season…I know, but waiting the months it will take to get full use of my foot seems like a long way away…and I am weary in the waiting.

My first physical therapy appointment was  a bit of a disappointment. All she did was measure my foot and test it. I understand beginning with a baseline, but we didn’t do much together. She says it will be weeks before she will actually manipulate the foot and challenge me with exercises that will help me walk again. It still needs to heal. I did come home with new stuff. I got my first compression sock and a theraband for doing minor exercises with over the next week.

September 6th, 2012 at 6:28 am and tagged , , , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (7) | Permalink