Won the World Series - Game Over

Well, it has again been quite some time since my last post.  Let’s see, where to begin.  Ok, I took the trip out of the country, did not play baseball, was the manager/coach, as it was only 5 months post surgery.  My mind said yes, but my body said no.  I got plenty of exercise, touring the sites, which was good overall for the mind and the body.

Funny thing — at 6 months post surgery, things got really good.  No pain, no swelling, and frankly, no thought to the Achilles. My PT started some plyos and viola, I was going strong and getting stronger.  Played baseball the first week in May and ran like crazy (I kept hearing them say, "Stop Forest, stop!"), but dang it felt so great to run.  Did not even ice down post game.  Got my timing down as well.

Since then, picked up the intensity of the workouts and have no residual issues other than an occasional heel soreness which I attribute to running too hard without adequate support.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gotten stronger in my legs.  I’ve actually got some "hops" in me which, given my age, race and body type, would have certainly cemented the dreaded white man’s disease forever more.  Yet, because of the PT workouts (strength training, etc.), I’m getting in much better overall shape. I’ve also started a fairly aggressive yoga class which is great for balance and strength (I used to do lots of yoga, and actually taught same).

So the marathon is over as far as I’m concerned.  It was 8 months post surgery May 23, and I feel like, as one commentator said, I’m a poster child for quick recovery.  Yes, I still have some soreness and creakiness in my left foot but no pain, no limitation of movement, etc.  I cannot fully extend up on my toes on one foot, but then again, my ballerina days are long gone.

I do wish everyone well.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this experience it is that:

1.  Everybody is different.

2.  Do not (or at least try not to) compare yourself with others.

3.  Take what people say (doctors, etc.) and even here on this blog, with  a grain of salt.

4.  My two cents is that you should really listen to your body (duh) and not push the envelope until you are ready.  If you are a jock, type A personality, or just a general guy/gal, you obviously want to come back from this devastating injury ASAP.  However, the temptation to do "too much too soon" will only set you back.  So be patient.

5.  There is really is no last point.  Just want to extend my wishes, thanks, and love to everybody out there.

Getting Ready for the Playoffs, . . .

Ok, sportsfans, here’s the latest:

I’m 6 weeks post surgery.  Saw the doc on 10-29 and all is good - I’m healing well, ahead of the curve, etc.  The doc says I’m possibly going to break his patients’ record of quickest recovery.  He showed me a picture of a tri-athlete, doing an Ironman event at 9 months.  I’m not a tri-athlete nor do I aspire to be one.  However, it is nice motivation.

The one thing the doc reminded me of was my promise to be a good patient for 3 months post surgery.  Yes, I remember the promise I made.  Do you sense I’m a bit frustrated?  Yep, I am — it is a slow process and one’s patience is critical.  But here’s the thought that keeps me on the straight and narrow path — I do NOT want to go through this again.  I do NOT want to re-rupture my Achilles.

So I constantly remind myself of the promises I made, of the statements I’ve posted here on the blog, and try and stay humble.  My complaints are minimal — wearing the boot causes my good side to get out of wack - hip and back, so I’m constantly stretching, etc.

This is not everyday — just some days.  Even if I wear a cowboy boot on the good foot, I’m still a bit "short" in terms of total balance of both sides.  Yes, I’m aware of lifts.  The best therapy for me is walking bare foot.  I don’t use the crutches anymore.  I do take one with me in public since it sends a message not to aggressively approach me (you know those people - - the ones who slap you on the back from the rear and say "where the heck have you been?").

I’m walking more and more without the boot, and I’ve still got a limp, although not too bad.  When I’m massaged and stretched out, at Physical Therapy, I can walk w/o a limp and have begun some exercises on the balls of my feet (i.e., not total calf raises yet).

My motivation is that in February 2011 I will be on a licensed trip to Cuba, to play baseball.  It will be too early for me to play so I will be a coach (my nickname is Coach Permanente).   I was there in February this year, played baseball against their local teams (comprised of ex-pros, etc.) and have been to the island several years ago.  Playing baseball and traveling in Cuba is quite an experience.   If you are a USA citizen, you need a license to visit the island.  The experience is truly great — it is like 1959 and time stopped.

So that’s the story for now.  I’ll post again in December.  Best wishes to all in the recovery process.

Making it through the regular season, . . .

It has been quite some time since my last post and I appreciate all of the information, suggestions, etc.  Thanks to all.  The great thing about this website/blog  is the great support for each other.  So here’s the Reader’s Digest of my story:

At the outset, I consider myself really lucky since I appear to be healing very well and rapidly.  My PTs say I am way ahead of the curve and moreover, they looked at my incision and were astonished at how fast it had healed.  (I felt like a patient in a hospital bed with all the young docs gathering around and they’re talking about you in the third person even though you’re right there)

I had stayed off my feet for the first week, keeping the foot elevated in the cast, higher than my heart.  I was off pain pills two days post surgery.  No, I do not have a high pain tolerance (read:  wimp).  It was a bit awkward sleeping but I got used to it.  I also was able to turn on my side, with pillows underneath and between my legs.

I came out of the cast after one week and one day; swelling was minimal, the incision looked great, although a bit sore.  I kept my foot elevated all weekend, applying ice and wraps.   I started physical therapy three days later.

My doc’s approach is somewhat aggressive and I consider myself lucky that his approach is to take that dang cast off, put me in a walking boot, and start PT right away.

I have just completed my third week post surgery and second week of PT and am happy to report that last Monday I was able to do one leg balances.  My ROM and strength are really strong, I can actually walk for a bit  w/ just a bit of pain, w/o hardly any limp, and my PTs think perhaps I’ll be off crutches at the next doc visit, which is October 29, and soon thereafter, out of the boot.

I do the PT stuff at least twice a day (morning and night), and don’t push the envelope — if it feels painful to the point of hurting and not being therapeutic, I stop.  Some days (cold mornings) it feels tighter than usual.

I am allowed to keep the boot off during the day and at night, and can stand in the shower (w/o the boot) although I am truly supporting more than  1/2  of my weight on the good leg.  At the office, I’ll take the boot off, elevate my foot, apply ice, intermittently throughout the day, and do some easy foot PT stuff — flex, stretch, etc.

The PTs attribute my recovery to two things: first, being very fit pre-surgery since I did a lot of ankle/foot stuff, and knowing my body (i.e., what works and doesn’t work), and second, keeping the leg elevated the first week post surgery.  I also have not worked a full schedule, believing that rest is best.

Today, I rode the stationary bike w/o any problems.  I felt as if I had just won the Tour de France.  I forgot to mention one of the lead PTs is a former bicycle racer so he is acutely aware of how much I want to go back on my road bike since I used to race as well.  I really don’t care if I cannot play baseball for awhile; I can live with that limitation.

The one thing I constantly keep in mind is to remember that sudden or unexpected falls/trips/stumbles may cause me to put force on the bad foot, and possibly re-rupture my Achilles.  Also, I’m trying to stay as balanced as possible mentally since I am rapidly improving and need to be aware that I could hit a roadblock or plataeu;  so I have to stay humble and not get too overly excited.

Still, having PT is great therapy for the soul; I take every little incremental progress as a "good thing" and therefore keep things positive.  It seems to maintain one’s sanity.

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