Keep on Truckin 5 months

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A goal I had at the when I had surgery on June 25 was to run in the in Turkey Trot 5K in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day….I was not able to run the entire race and my time was rather slow 54 minutes on a snowy day, I still finished. I feel like it was a milestone in my recovery and the days following I have been able to run even more without pain in the achilles.

Some of my timeline for those just beginning the journey.

I went back to work (I am a teacher) at week 9 in the boot, week 10 I could walk on the beach without a boot but was still mostly in the boot, and gradually made it all the way out of the boot in week 11. PT ended at week 16.

Thanks to everyone who posts and comments on this website I read it religiously and it has been a great help in my recovery.

8 Weeks 3 Days No boot…mostly

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I have to say weeks 6-8 I have made the biggest gains, both in confidence and the ability to get around.  I have slowly ditched the boot, I still wear it biking outside or if I am not in a controlled enviroment.  But, I am learning to walk again, stairs and hills are difficult but I am able to walk slowly and fairly well on flat ground.  The shoes I wear are Birkenstocks and running shoes, both feel fine and I am continuing to wear a compression sock which really does help!  The PT was surprised today on how well and not stiff my ankle is, I think it is because of the Vaco boot.

In Colorado and I was fairly limited in what I could do, no hiking or rafting and flyfishing not out of the realm but would be too much standing.  I was able to some swimming, biking, road not mountain and took a ride in a glider though it almost didn’t happen because my boot wouldn’t fit in under the controls.  It only worked because the bottom of the Vaco boot pops off, the views were amazing and it’s all sitting so no re-rupture danger.

The PT in Colorado told me a cautionary tale of a friend that decided to go whitewater rafting at 6 weeks post-op.  She was with him and he was going to walk the most difficult part of the rapids, when it came time to walk, he decided to try his luck, which seemed to have run out, because the raft flipped his boot was jammed against rock, the wound reopened and the achilles re-ruptured.  Luckily they were near help.  Just a reminder not try anything stupid.

Because a shower stool was not available, I began standing in the shower at 6 weeks 2 days, the PT had me standing the next day and shifting weight.  Over the last  2 weeks I progressed from 2 crutches walking with no boot, to one crutch to currently FWB no crutches, no boot most of the time.

The worst time is the morning after that I am pretty much good to go slowly.  I go back to work on Monday, which will be another huge change but I feel like I am ready.

6 Weeks 2 days…standing up!

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Yesterday, I took my first airplane trip since the surgery to Colorado. It wasn’t the most comfortable in a boot, but I was able to get rides to the gates and cut through security so there were some benefits to being injured.

The trip to Colorado is to support a friend who is completing a goal of 50 marathons in 50 states to raise money for cancer research. I think it aligns well with marathon theme of the achilles blog and if any fellow bloggers want to check it out the website is here.

My update

Last week, one day before 5 weeks I had my 3rd Dr. visit, he said I was progressing well, to work toward 0-30 flexion in the Vaco and he prescribed 4 weeks of PT. The next day I began PT with a former Michigan State University athletic trainer who knows how to work with people who want to get back to playing.  PT is 3 times a week, and has consisted of various seated exercises, massage and hydrotherapy which I have been doing on my own.  Injured calf measured 36.7cm good calf 38.7.

After 5 sessions in Michigan I continued PT in Colorado, today she had me stand for the the first time and put weight on the injured leg, I also went on a seated bike without the boot and pedaled very slowly.

I am concerned about some redness at the top of the scar and thought maybe I had an infection. The PT said she didn’t think it was infection but maybe cellulitis she contacted my Dr. and and sent a picture. My Dr. said not to be concerned and it is just a side effect of PT. I have been putting cortisone on it which helps with itching. She also recommended some compression socks.

Did everyone read this? Kobe Bryant says he has ‘shattered’ the recovery time for a torn Achilles tendon

@cgroer at the beach 6 days out awesome!

4 Week Update

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I have been wearing the VACO for 2 weeks now PWB, I bought the Even-up and the CoolPass Liner - totally worth it, has been 90-100 degrees in MI.  I started at 30 degrees locked, move to 15 degrees locked and now am at 15 degrees with flexion.  I am able to move around the house slowly with no crutches and no pain, and I can move outside slowly with one crutch, and fairly quickly with 2 crutches.  It ‘s nice to be able to use my hands again…somewhat.

At 24 days post-op I took the first extended trip outside of my house, for 3 days in Cincinnati. I was nervous about leaving a controlled environment, that I was finally getting along in fairly well. We traveled for my girlfriends family reunion and I was able to do more than I thought.  Even though I was pushed around in a wheelchair through the Freedom Museum and the Coney Island Amusement Park. I was able to ride the carousel seated of course…and tried the Pirate boat which was fun and some kind of go fast in a circle ride which I should not have done, I also made it through 9 holes of putt putt before having to call it quits.

When we returned there was a near catastrophe at my girlfriends house. I wanted to take a shower but she did not have shower stool or any type of plastic chair so I made due with an upside down IKEA garbage can.  The pictures shows what 200 pounds will do to it , landed on my butt and luckily no harm to the Achilles.

Some good things, a neighbor mowed the lawn while I was gone which was very nice to come home to and I got my first post-op haircut today.

I am able to do more in the gym and feel comfortable on the stationary bike with the boot and and seated step machine for about 15 min. so I can get some cardio in, however slowly, along with Pilates it is at least some physical exercise.

@normofthenorth I read your post about skiing at 17 weeks, I have trip planned to Telluride, CO at 6 months.  The lift tickets were half off if I bought them early so I did…the goal is ski in December.

I read this blog along with the newspaper every day thanks for everyone’s posts they are very informative.

2 Weeks and 1 day…cast off Vaco on!

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I visited the doctor this morning he said everything is healing well and looks good. The nurse sawed off the cast, took out the stitches and cleaned up the wound. This office had never used the Vaco before, I knew it going in so I educated myself on how to use it before my visit and practiced on my good leg. The Doctor remarked it was better than the Bledsoe brace and the nurse said they should begin prescribing them.

The doctor said I could use about 10% of my weight on the injured Achilles and walk just on the toe, moving as if the crutches are tied to the boot. He said I could begin some PT on my own and showed my an exercise to do. Finally, he said to adjust boot degree as I feel comfortable and add weight as I feel comfortable.

It is so much better to be able to put some weight on the injured side I can actually stand up! I was getting so sick of the cast I almost went to urgent care to have it cut off, the nurse said even if you asked they wouldn’t do it, she also said it’s a common reaction and if it happens take a Benadryl and go to sleep.

Third appointment is in 2.5 weeks (week 4.5) I would begin PT then and be off crutches and only in the boot by week 6.

11 days post surgery 6 days with a cast

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Last night was the first since surgery I felt I really slept well, no pain pills and not getting up in the middle of the night with some sort of pain. It’s also not swelling up as much when my leg is not elevated, so I feel like I can do more and not be so dependent on other people.

I have been doing some upper body workouts with weights, some core work and stretching everyday and helps to get the blood flowing, they are not hard workouts but something is betting than nothing. Furthermore, I am taking one trip a day from the house just to get out, Independence day was fireworks, yesterday out to lunch today the grocery store. Finally, I am able to take a shower everyday now using the cast cover and shower stool.

I can’t wait to be able to get out of a chair and step with my left leg. The one bad thing is I was injured at the beginning of summer it seems like I am counting down to the end of summer…when I’ll be able to walk again…and since I am teacher when I go to work again the first day of school is 10 weeks from surgery probably FWB by then!

The Vaco arrived yesterday looks really cool, I get the cast off Wednesday so I am looking forward to the sweet looking boot! Going to buy an extra liner and even up shoe as well. Thanks to everyone on this site and their posts they are great to read.

Get a cast, buy a Vaco?

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This morning after 6 days I got the splint off and the cast put on, I went to bed without a pain pill which may have been a mistake I didn’t sleep too well but the Percoset messes with my mind.

The doctor said everything looked good and put on a hard cast for 9 days with no weight bearing.  I asked about the Vaco boot, he said he never heard of it but would write a Rx for it, if I wanted to order it.  Vaco said the office needs to make an account to order and the doctor’s office said they just fax Rx’s and do not make accounts.  Insurance said they would pay with a letter of explanation since I got a boot from the ER last week.

If the insurance co, doctor office and Vaco can’t communicate I may buy the Vaco boot on my own because swimming would be one thing to look forward to this summer is it worth it?

The days after surgery

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The day after surgery I continued taking pain pills, kept the leg elevated and slept quite a bit.  My mind was still in a haze from the anesthesia for about 48 hours.

My girlfriend visited every evening after work and it was nice to hear about the real world outside of the den and the bathroom.  I have been able to ween off of the Percoset though it still helps me sleep and I am down to a pill or two a day.  I do have to say that the pain is nothing like my  ACL  was, I was expecting much worse and it hasn’t been terrible.,

I was able to take a shower 3 days after surgery using the the cast cover and shower stool advertised on this site.  The cast cover kept everything dry.  And the shower made me feel much better.

Yesterday I took my second shower…it’s a big project and somewhat tiring, and was able to focus enough to play scrabble with Erica.

I can’t imagine how difficult the few days would be without help because every movement is a project.  Like this blog mentions one positive of surgery is how thankful you are to those close to you.

Surgery Day 6-25-13

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I have had a knee reconstruction and and knee scope so I knew what to expect from surgery and was not looking forward to it.  Especially the anesthesia and first few day afterward.  They gave me General and the last thing I remember was lying in room.  I woke up with a splint on and the leg bandaged.  It didn’t hurt too much they gave me a Percoset in the office and we left the hospital by 3pm.

My mom had  the den set up as convalescing room because it is on the first floor and close to the bathroom.  I took a Percoset about every 2-3 hours and slept decently with very weird dreams I did get up around 4am to go the bathroom on crutches which I managed on my own.

Dr. Appointment June 24 2013, Cancelled trip to Europe :(

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I went to the Dr. with my mom and dad who were very supportive, up until this point I was still planning to go a on trip to Europe from July 2 to July 26.

The doctor was very good and said I probably would not be traveling in July.  He wrote a Rx  and I was able to get a refund on most things.  Airbnb gave me a full refund on 3 different places, Amsterdamn, Bruge and Paris.  We received a 70% refund on the overnight train from Paris to Florence.  United charged $150 each way to redeposit miles but I will hopefully receive $200 back because of the doctors note.  The only thing not refunded at a all is a train ride from Bruge to Paris on July 6.

The doctor tried to schedule me for surgery that same day, but it ended up being scheduled for 10:45am the next day.

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