December 1st, 2009
Well, I did it. I set my original goal to be back on the court at 9 months. Tonight I joined the local pick up game and played for about an hour. I am still a little tentative in making quick moves but did not have much problem keeping up with the other guys. Achilles is a little sore and tired right now. But the smile on my face makes me forget about the little discomfort. I was told throughout this process to give up hoops….I vowed to play again. Now I need to keep working to get back to where I was before the dreaded AR night. Good luck to all hoopsters out there, keep working and stay positive, If you want to play again..you will. I have a real game tomorrow night in a tough league, will report back after the game.
November 15th, 2009
I have not posted in quite awhile and I know when I first had my ATR I was most concerned about WHEN I would resume my athletic activities. So I will share where I am at 9 months for all those yearning to play sports again. I started playing ice hockey one day a week at the 7 month mark. Skating was really not much of an issue although my skate did fit a little different in the rear part of the boot. I have been skating every since and I would say other than a little bit of exhaustion pain at the end of the skate I am back to 100%. In fact, the first few times I played I thought a lot about making sure I did not get caught in a bad position with my right foot, now I just play and very rarely even think of the injury. I am able to run at this point and have my first basketball game since the injury this coming wed. I will go out a purchase a new pair of sneakers as I believe the old ones have a curse and I will never wear them again. They were only worn a few times before I was hurt so therefore I attribute some of the injury to them as stupid as that sounds.
My doctor has told me all along to listen to my body and that is what I have done. I went pretty hard at the PT thing early on but then just did most things at the gym on my own. I felt just jogging and being active with my two sons was as good as the exercises I was doing at PT. My range of motion is completely back and I can do a calf raise on the injured leg. It is still not as strong as before the surgery but I feel it will continue to improve and by the 1st of the Year I should be 100%. I do understand that it will be tight probably for the rest of my life and at age 41 I will accept that.
So If you just suffered this injury do not listed to everyone who tells you that your life is over for 1 year. I refused to listed, I played golf very early on in my recovery, jogged a mile at 13 weeks and played ice hockey at 6 months. Good luck to all and I hope I brought some hope to those of you who long to get back on the court/field as soon as possible.
May 11th, 2009
1st goal accomplished!!!!!!
to all golfers out there…it is exactly 8 weeks since the ATR, I went out today with one of my best friends and played 18 holes with the boot on. I was expecting a lot of pain and to see my single digit handicap to disappear for quite awhile. Well I am happy to report that I had no pain and actually swung the club pretty well. Did not lose any distance on my irons and with the driver I was about 10 yards shorter than before injury. I said to myselft this morning that I would just be happy to be out there and did not care what my score was….and this time unlike other times I was actually telling the truth and not trying to fool myself. Well I am happy to report that I shot 82 with two doubles….seem to be the talk of my club now since some of the members got a glimpse of my crazy boot. I was disappointed when I originally got injuredthat is was my right leg, well as golf goes it seems you really don’t need the right leg much. In fact, my right leg swung out most of the time when I hit my driver. So to all golfers just starting the journey, 8 weeks and you are back.
no matter how you look at it, it is a chunk of your life. Well I have been two shoes for about two weeks and the slow down in progress has begun. I was so used to making mucho progress week to week I guess I expected I would somehow be miraculously running by now. But the humbling truth of good old reality has set in, this is a marathon even though in my mind I was trying to make it a sprint. I do have scar tissue, my tendon is far too short for my leg, and these exercises and stretches don’t seem to be doing much good. My calf now that the swelling has subsided looks like a wiggley jiggly piece of flubber??? But the tendon is working, I was able to ride the bike yesterday for 20 minutes with some resistance. And I did some leg presses and quad raises with the bad leg. We all know with this injury comes good days and bad days, I have not really had any real bad days but I do have “real” days…and today is a real day. A day that the reality of this injury is hitting home. I must stay positive, do the work the PT gives me and have faith that I will heal completely. Anything less than completely in my mind is unacceptable. For the newbies, my life at 8 weeks is nearly the same as before the injury, minus the athletic activities…and ironically I now understand how much those activities had a positive effect on the rest of my life. And I can not recommend the VACO brace enough. If you are just getting started in this look for it, it is super light and not as hot as the bledsoe boot, that thing looks like a foot jail to me. And I am not getting paid to promote it, just believe it helped me get back to walking sooner than most. Mark OUT.
no I didn’t….but I thought about it. Today is 6 weeks since surgery and doctor gave me clearence for two shoes. I did not tell him that I have been wearing shoes around the house for a few days already. Boy did it feel great to put that right shoe on. I changed my boot to 0 degrees and freed up the range of motion just in case I need it…but I hope I never have to have it on again. Tendon is stiff but I am stretching and doing rom excercises, going to PT on Tuesday. Finally feel like I have my life back again.
For all those starting out on this journey….they say TRY to enjoy the first three weeks of relaxation, you may never get a time like this again in your life. It is so true….my mindset is so different now than it was before the accident. I do appreciate little things more than before. I went food shopping today with my 5yr old and truly enjoyed our time together. We laughed and did not just rush through the store like we used to. My goal now is to play golf on my birthday (may 28) and then to jog a mile on June 18th…3 months from the rupture. My doctor said whatever I was doing was working as my incision was completey healed and you really have to look for it to see the scar. I stayed constant on my vitamins, zinc and cirrus rx. We changed our diet and eliminated processed carbs and sugars….it all helped I believe and I even managed to lose a few pounds through this process.
Next appt with doc is in 4 weeks on May 28th, I will leave his office and head to the golf course to play 18 holes……
Good luck to all of you and thanks for letting me ride along on your individual journeys….
April 19th, 2009
Today is a day of many firsts for this guy since this journey began….First, I went out shopping with my family for baseball equipment for my son who is starting tee ball, and I went into the store rather than wait in the car, which I have been doing for a month. Walked PWB with both crutches around Dick’s sporting goods and actually moved pretty good. No pain to speak of and the leg seemed not to swell like it did in the cast. Then came home and walked up the stairs with one crutch, usually go up on my butt,…but today walked up in half the time. Then took a shower without a cast or garbage bag….how good does it feel to wash your leg? Felt so good and after running warm water on the achilles it felt like it loosened up and was not as tight. Got completely dressed today without any assistance from my wife…picked out my own clothes, and went back down stairs without her even knowing.
And then…..after being home for awhile I just got up and walked….left the crutches behind and walked into the kitchen and got a glass of water. Then I carried the water back to my chair…..wow, I can not explain how happy I am.
Love my VACO boot and feel like today, I regained a little bit of my freedom. Next goal is driving.
To all of you starting this journey, keep the faith, and keep reading all the awesome blogs, they inspired me and helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today the light shined brighter than it has since that horrible Monday night in March.
April 17th, 2009
Today I went to the doctors office to have my shiny blue cast removed and the Vaco Cast that I worked so hard to get put on. My doctor in every other surgery he has done has kept his patients in various casts for 6 weeks and then on to shoes. That scared me a ton so with the help of this blog and google I helped create my own recovery plan. I was very delicate with my doc as I did not want him to think I was trying to do his job but who knows my body better than me. I recommended this brace and he said he would look into it. To his credit he called his “brace guy” as he called him, he had never heard of it and frankly neither one of them were even familiar with the bledsoe boot or cam walker. Anyway I ramble, the doc cut the cast off, played with my Achilles for two minutes and said everything looked great. He thinks great but my calf looks like my 5 yr olds. It hangs from my leg like a soggy piece of sausage and has the muscle tone of an infant leg. Sorta worse than I thought it would be since I was flexing my toes, trying to move around in that cast, etc. My doc and the brace guy then started to put me in my new boot, neither one really new what they were doing but when they were done I asked if I could put some weight on it, doc said yes and I walked out with one crutch instead of the two that I came in with. As soon as I got home I took it off and started some ROM excercises and some simple stretching excercises, although there was a little discomfort it felt good to see my foot work again.
I have been inspired so much by people on this blog who are running, playing golf, walking normal at 90 days. That is my goal, in 90 days I want to play golf with my friends. My doc wants to see me back in two weeks at which time he says I can go into shoes, scary thought right now but we will see in two weeks how much progress I make. I also picked up equipment for my sons baseball team tonight, the one I am coaching, and I can’t seem to figure out how I going to manage that with this new boot on. Oh well it is only tee ball and if I can keep them from picking daisies and hitting each other with the bats I will have succeeded. And if at the end of the season my son still wants to play I will consider it a win.
I have continued my workouts with my upper body and the good leg. Although I can not use free weights like before (since I can’t carry them) I have learned how to use every machine at my gym. Some of them I never really new what they were for, now I know and I like the fact that everyone gives me honors on every piece of equipment. They see the gimp coming and the just leave the machine. I have explained my story to just about every person at the gym and I almost feel a little like a celebrity….they all want to know how I am doing. To finish my wife has really gone above and beyond the call of duty and I could not imagine going through this alone. I continue to take my “cocktail” as I call of meds each day, zinc, vitamin c, mega man multi-vitamin, and cirrus rx….I am eating pineapple like there is not much left in the world and I drink so much water I almost need to go to the bathroom more than my dog. Thanks for reading and thanks to all of you for your support. I will report back as my progress continues….
April 6th, 2009
thought it was time for a new post. Been doing a lot of reading on this blog and not enough contributing so here it goes. Went for my first appt with my doc after surgery. Exactly two weeks and one day….knew I was getting off my cast and getting the staples out, at least I think I had staples…how would you know with a cast? Anyway….doc’s asst cut off the cast with a freaky looking saw. At first I was afraid he would cut my leg, but after a quick google on my blackberry before he came back to start, I found out this saw can not cut skin. Once I read that I relaxed, he cut down the back of the cast, I was on my belly, then started prying this thing open and jiggling me around a bit. No real pain just a tickling feeling with a little nervousness since I’ve never had this done before. Then he cut the bandage off that was under the cast, no big deal here either. Then he pulled out the staples, about 8 of them to be exact, a little pinching feeling but nothing my 4 yr old son couldn’t handle. I finally got a good look at the incision. My doc did a nice job and it was healed up pretty nicely. No signs of blood clots, or infection…whew that scared me the most when he explained that there was a chance of those two things after surgery. Then finally my doc made an appearance, did the Thompson test and low and behold Achilles workie like newie….. He advised that it felt really good, was thin and did not appear to have much scar tissue. I think elevating 99% of the day helped with that. Calf was skinny and when I say skinny I mean skin+bone and not much else…but I had always had skinny calves before this. Pushed my foot to neutral position, asked me what color cast I want, I say blue…he wraps the new blue cast and shazam, I’m outda door.
Now the moment of truth, my doc wanted to cast me for another 4 weeks…4 weeks, he is nuts. I brought all the information I have gathered from this site with me, including the brochure for the Vaco cast. I said ‘doc, I really want to get this boot” I need to start putting some weight on this leg in one to two weeks. I thought I was in for a battle…he said “Mark, I have already spoken to the brace rep, and I’m getting it for you, I just need to be trained on how to adjust it” . He said call him in a week, and then I will go back in to get this shiny new blue cast of and get the coveted VACO cast/brace. I will call him tomorrow to make sure I was not halucinating…
Today, went to the gym and worked out. I am trying to go 3-4 times a week to keep the rest of my muscles in shape. Did some one legged quad extension with my good leg and let my bad leg just lift the cast. Worked out with weights for about 45 minutes doing shoulder,tris,chest and bis, and then did 15 minutes on the hand bike, don’t know clinical name for hit but it looks like a bike that you peddle with your arms. Got real winded and knew I burnt some calories…felt great as always..really need the endorphine release.
I know I write novels but feel I need to share and give back to all those who write so religiously. It is the christmas morning like expectation of a new blog or entry that helps me stay sane throughout the day. My goal is to play golf in the month of June, I feel like each day that passes makes this more realistic. And I am trying not to wish away these days or months to be healthy again, I am trying with everything I have to appreciate the things that I never had time to appreciate before….and some of those things are pretty awesome.
March 29th, 2009
I have been doing some research and cast from Germany called the VACO cast has gotten some good publicity. Has anyone used this cast instead of the Bledsoe cast most doctors prescribe. AND if so how much did the VACO cast cost?
Also, anyone convince their doctor to use this cast? You can google VACocast to see what I am talking about. Stories of people using the cast walking normal at 8-10 weeks.
March 28th, 2009
Well a beautiful sunny Saturday morning here in Buffalo NY. Normal for a lot of other places but sun here in Buffalo after a long winter is like a sip of water to a thirsty man stranded in the desert. Like all of you I am constantly getting calls, emails and texts asking how my recovery is going. In the beginning I was honest and told them about the road ahead, the NWB time, the PWB time, achilles boots, etc. They would listen but I could sense how really bored and uninterested they really were. It is human nature to ask how you are doing but we all pray that the person says “I’m doing fine or great” or something that makes us feel good. We do not want a dissertation of the rehab and obstacles of recovering from a surgery. So, lately I have changed my strategy….I received a call from a friend of my wife’s who is a real pranckster herself, she asked “how are you doing” I said “great”….I followed up by telling her that I felt so good this morning that I cut the cast off by myself and starting slowly walking around our house. I told her that I must be a quick healer because by the end of the day I was doing wind sprints up a down the driveway. She was completely and utterly amazed at my miraculous healing. She commented “That is so awesome!, wow I have never heard of something like this before” “Mark, I am so happy for you”…I then quickly burst her and my bubble stating that pretty much all I do ALL day is sit in my chair that I used to love but am beginning to have issues with. I have used this same strategy in texts and email to friends responding with things like “Thanks for your text, I am doing great and appreciate your concern, today I did 1000 jumping jacks and thinking about going up on the roof to clean the gutters” Their responses have ranged from “really?” to “sorry I asked, no need to be a smart ass”..
As for my progress, what can I say….feel good, not much pain, able to flex foot pretty good and crossing off days on the calender till when I see the doc again like my kids cross of the days left in school.
It is my youngest 2nd birthday today, we will celebrate tomorrow with family at our house. Sounds like a day full of fun for my kids and a day of explaining over and over and over how I did this, when I will walk again, whether it hurts or not, yadda, yadda, yadda…I’m sure you all know the drill. And my responses will be…”no I can’t drive”, “yes it does suck”, “yes crutches do hurt my pits”, “maybe I will let the kids sign my cast” blah…blah…blah….
Gimp of Buffalo NY signing off, need to get focused for a day of holding my chair down from flying away.