Life IS Good

October 27th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Hello all-

I just past my 10 week anniversary of the ATR yesterday, and am only a couple of days away from 10 weeks past surgery.  I am extremely pleased with the progress I’m making, and I feel better and better each day.

The swelling still shows up from time to time, especially if I neglect to wear the compression sock and am more active than usual.  When we were in Cabo two weeks ago, my wife got her bargain shopping game face on, and we walked a good 2 1/2 to 3 miles in town haggling with the locals after getting off the cruise ship (By the way, our first trip without the kids in quite some time to celebrate 10 years of marraige was awesome, even if we didn’t really “do” too much while we were there).  My ankle was so sore that night and the next day, I actually took one of the pain pills I still had left and hadn’t taken for well over a month. 

Fast forward two weeks, and I feel comfortable doing more and more each day.  I shot hoops with my girls Saturday at the playground and felt great.  Moved around a little quicker than I’ve been lately, but obviously was taking only set shots and making sure I didn’t jump even on the good side.  Had little to no pain Sunday at all.  I cut the lawn for the first time yesterday and feel great.  I still do have pain at random times, mostly in the heel area, but it’s becoming less and less frequent.  Range of motion is really close to 100%.  At this time, I really have a lot of confidence in the strength of the tendon.  I’m no doctor, but the signs I get from the way my body feels are all positive.

I’ve been riding my mountain bike, climbing steps and doing my stretches with the band with no problems.  The muscle still feels quite a bit weaker than my good side, but I’m not too concerned.  I know when I have full confidence that the tendon is closing in on 100% strength, I will push myself to bring it back as far as I can. 

Interesting, though, and I think some of you can probably relate to this.  In the early stages of this journey I was absolutely glued to this site, often checking it several times a day.  While I often think about my fellow ATR recovering brothers and sisters out there, I don’t have that urge constantly pulling me to log on to this site.  I guess that’s as much of a sign that life is getting more normal than anything.  I did, however, let my doctor know about this site’s exsistence and told him how much of a help it’s been for me mentally.

I’ll be going back to work light duty in mid November, and my doctor said I can start the jogging/walking rehab at that time.  I really think a return to full duty is possible maybe as early as mid January. 

I guess the point of this rambling monologue is that if you are just beginning to ride the ATR recovery wave, be prepared to ride fast.  Things can really start to get better soon.

Funny Pic

October 11th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

You can use your time while recuperating from ATR to do many things.  You can learn another language, maybe learn to play the guitar, or…..teach your dog to balance a treat on his nose!  BTW, he won’t bite until I give him the “OK” command.

2 Shoes, baby!

October 10th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

I saw the doctor on Wednesday, and he did his general examination of ankle and scar, and cleared me to ditch the splint and start wearing two shoes.

I’ve been gradually increasing the amount of walking I’ve been doing.  Four nights ago, I walked around the block at night, and my right ankle and calf were pretty sore.  Yeaterday, I walked a good 1-1/2 miles, and while my leg was a little sore today, I still felt pretty good.

I’ve been cleaning up around the house, moving furniture to vacuum, and I think mowing the lawn is right around the corner.  The flexibility in the ankle has increased dramatically in the last few days, since I started the stretching and band exercises my PT prescribed. 

My doctor told me no weight bearing PT (i.e., toe raises) for three weeks.  But I did get approval for the stationary bike and mountain biking, with pain being my guide as to how far to take it.  I’ve been doing my standard weight lifting routines for several weeks now, and I really can say that at this stage, progress is coming very quickly.

I’ve had a few situations when my brain and leg aren’t on the same page since the splint came off.  I was walking down stairs a couple of days ago, and was doing the one leg down other leg to same stair, and as I was three steps from the bottom, I instinctually tried to jump a step.  I landed OK and didn’t feel any pain, but now know I need to remind myself often that I need to take it easy.

I just want to tell the new members of the ATR club to hang in there.  After the initial shock of the injury sets in, followed by at least two to three weeks of being able to do almost nothing, things start to change pretty darn fast.  I’m seven weeks and one day post-op, and I’m feeling more normal every day. 

I’m off to take a short vacation, and am really looking forward to showing myself in public minus the weird looking splint everybody always focuses on when they pass me.

Keep healing, everybody.

Positive Side of ATR

October 6th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

So I’m at week seven, and have been off work the entire time.  I’m a police officer and can’t even work light duty yet because I’m in the right foot ATR club and can’t drive to work.  My doctor thinks I can drive the distance at about week 12, so I still have 5 weeks to go.

So, I got to thinking how I could use this time a little bit better than just sitting around in the living room.  Checked the net, and realized there were some really sweet deals on cruises.  Found a six day cruise leaving next Monday from San Diego to Cabo and Ensenada, and the price was very reasonable (Maybe the economy is keeping people home, I guess).  So I booked it, in honor of my upcoming 10 year wedding anniversary.  Was just planning on a nice dinner out, pre-ATR.  So my beautiful wife and I will be able to take a real trip without the kids for the first time in years!  Wouldn’t have taken this trip, if no ATR.

I’m a little leery of all the walking I might want to do, but my wife and I agreed I just need to waddle up to the deck, find a good chaise lounge and be ready to drink a few beers while watching the water.  I might not even leave the boat in port.  Maybe just to the taxi stand for a ride to a nice cantina, I don’t know.

So, I guess I’m making a pitcher of lemonade with this lemon life threw at me.  Maybe, I’ll add a little Tequila to it south of the border.

Wishing all of you good healing,



September 28th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

I’ve reached a milestone!

I haven’t used a crutch in over 48 hours other than to the grocery store yesterday, because I walk pretty damn slow with my splint on. 

The walking is getting easier every day, and the tendon doesn’t really get too sore.  My heel does, though, as I’m not able to wear shoes under my splint.  I have been able to strap the splint over a slipper, which gives me a little protection against the hard tile floors in my house. 

Today is actually the 6 week anniversary of the incident.  I think I’ll feel more like celebrating when I have my 4, 6 or 12 month one, though.

Question for the vets out there.  When my foot is at 90 degrees or maybe stretched just a bit farther, my tendon feels as if it’s stretched as tight as a guitar string.  How does the progress go as far as getting that tendon to stretch over time, and how soon can I look forward to walking someawhat normally?

Short post, today, gotta go back to watching the Raiders kick San Diego’s tail (It’s still the first half as of this writing). 

Shelley, you beat me to FWB, nice one.  I’m gonna try my best to catch up, though!

Keep up the hard work everyone.


Should I should just stick to golf and poker?

September 23rd, 2008 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Hello to all my fellow ATR rupturers (is that a word?) out there.

Well, I am just about at the five week post-op point, and am doing very well, as I hope all of you are.  I’m now at the point in the recovery process, where I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, although I know I still have a lot of work to do and need to practice a lot of patience.

The above photo shows the splint I’ve been sporting since my first visit with my physical therapist (who by the way is the same person responsible for re-molding it every week when I see her) about two weeks and a day post-op.  I was initially under the impression that I would be getting a walking boot at some point, but I was told that the boot was only to be a temporary thing between my first post-op doctor visit and my appointment with the physical therapist the following day. 

So, the only thing protecting my Achilles from circumstance and my clumsy nature is a 30 inch piece of re-moldable plastic. 

Last Friday, it was re-shaped to come to an almost 90 degree angle (maybe a few degrees short of that), and I was told to start walking with crutch assistance as tolerated.  On a side note, it’s kind of interesting how the splint is shaped every week.  The therapist dunks it into a tank of hot water, and it becomes soft.  She then shapes it according to the angle that she measured by flexing my foot forward to the point of stretch but no serious pain.  So I started walking as told, and felt some pain immediately on the heel of my foot.  Lots of pin prick sensations as well.  Thanks to this site, I wasn’t surprised because I know that is fairly common. 

Initially, the walking was difficult, but I have noticed over the last three days it gets a little easier every day.  I’m now able to take (albeit very slow) steps with little to no crutch lean.  It feels good. 

By the way, there is a name for the post-operative plan that my doctor has ordered.  It is an early weight bearing process designed to minimize muscle wasting in the affected calf, and is called the Ontario Achilles Tendon Splint Fabrication & Early ROM Postoperative Protocol.  If anyone would like some information on this process, I can scan (with my wife’s assistance because I’m technically challenged) the paperwork my doctor gave me and email it to you.  The plan calls for full weight bearing to be achieved 7-9 weeks post op with no, I repeat no, restrictions and full activity restored at 3 months post-op. 

So anyway, enough of the technical stuff.  I’ve had some time to reflect on things, given that I can only watch football three days a week, the A’s are way out of the playoff hunt, and think I’ve seen just about every show the Discovery channel has to offer.

I was talking with a work buddy on the phone the other day, and he just so happens to be the guy that was pitching in the softball game the day I had my ATR.  I told him I was going to pitch next year, because I couldn’t see myself playing outfield again after what happened this year.  My wife looked at me like I was crazy to even think about playing softball again.  So, I got to thinking, am I banished to a life of golf and poker?

I’ve always been a run 110% kind of guy when it came to sports.  Even as I started aging and playing sports less and less often because of family, friends, work, overtime, etc., when I did get out there I always went to the max.  I thought I was in the shape to do it, because of my normal 15 mile per week jogging and three day per week lifting habits, but I have since realized that sprinting combined with little to no stretching was a bad combination.  In other words, I think I set myself up for this whole mess.

I guess this has been sort of an epiphany.  If I’m going to continue to enjoy a sporting life (and I can’t see myself not doing that), I’m going to have to drastically alter the way I work out to incorporate serious stretching).  Maybe I’ll enroll in a yoga class or something (I used to tease the crap out of my old UCSC roommate who used to do yoga all the time).  At any rate, I have to become more pro-active in my fitness routine to try to prevent this or any other future injuries from knocking me down again.  

This is a necessary thing, because I drink too much beer on the golf course, and I’m not even a break-even poker player.  Oh, well.

As always, I appreciate everyone else out there sharing your experiences here.  It has made it so much easier knowing what to expect as the recovery moves on.