Posted on December 17th, 2009 by strohdecaire
Last week I made it to a goal that 2 months ago seemed unattainable………FWB/2-Shoes. I can’t even begin to convey the overwhelming sense of regaining my independence and knowing that I have made it through the most mentally challenging phase of my recovery. Gone are the crutches, the scooter, the kitchen stool and cast cover in the shower, and the boot………..in return I have regained my independence, my beloved Keen sandals and New Balance cross-trainers, and my ability to carry a cuppa joe from the kitchen to the home office in something other than a spill-proof thermos! I realize I’m still weeks and months away from my goal of a complete recovery, however, day-by-day and week-by-week, I can feel my tendon getting stronger, the pain and swelling in my foot/ankle subsiding, and my calf muscle ever so slowly regaining its “pre-ATR” state. I saw my surgeon a few days ago, December 15………….he took a look at my foot/tendon, asked me my pain factor, gave my foot a very vigorous massage and told me “your recovery is one of the best I’ve experienced, don’t do anything stupid”……….great words of advice coming from a medical professional of 40 years…….lol! I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike in the spring and slowly easing back into cycling……….in the interim, I’m going to keep building up my strength by regular PT visits, home exercises, and plenty of stretching. To all of you just beginning this journey, hang in there………I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the truth, things do get better with time. Don’t over do it, make small, attainable goals, and take this time to relax and take a breath from an otherwise hectic life. To those who are miles ahead of me…….I thank you for your sound advice and suggestions, this blog has truly been a lifesaver……..and as an added bonus, I’ve made a “pen-pal” from halfway around the world, who would have guessed that?! Happy Holidays to all of you……..and may this holiday season bring a lasting sense of joy and peace to you and your families, one that carries and resonates throughout the New Year. Ciao……………Stroh
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Posted on November 30th, 2009 by strohdecaire
Well here we are, 6-weeks post op and I can’t believe how fast the time has literally flown by, it honestly seems like last week when I heard the dreaded “POP” and collapsed to the ground, thinking to myself……..”did I just do what I think I did?!” So……..with 6 weeks behind me, here’s where things stand……….(pun intended……haha): I’m standing, which is fantastic, in and of itself……..and, as an added bonus, I’m able to put 50% of my weight on my foot. With the aid of my lovely assistant this past weekend, I was able to take my first steps in 6 weeks………..wow, talk about frightening/invigorating/exciting……..sheesh! I saw my surgeon last week (November 24)………he gave my tendon an exceptionally vigorous massage, after which he stated………..damn, that’s solid! There’s no sign of infection along/around my incision……….everything is healed up tight, no worries or problems there. I do have a bit of heel pain……..kind of like a pins/needles sensation…….when I put weight on it, but aside from that, things are A-OK. I’m currently not wearing heel-lifts/wedges in my boot…….although I think I could benefit from them. Thoughts? I was given the green-light to start swimming, which I’m going to use as a large portion of my physical therapy…..along with the swimming, riding a stationary bike and ROM exercises……needless to say, I have an outstanding feeling I’ll be in good shape in a few months. I have another appointment with my surgeon on December 15 (8 weeks post-op)……….which will be my FWB/2-shoes date, according to his course of treatment. Its funny to say, but given the past couple months, I couldn’t think of a greater gift this holiday season. Best wishes to everyone……..and regardless of where you’re at in your recovery, keep your goals firmly in sight.
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Posted on November 11th, 2009 by strohdecaire
Yesterday I had my appointment to remove sutures and for my doctor to take a good look at my incision, tendon, and how I’m progressing (3.5 weeks post-op). Suture removal (all 16 of them) was a fairly painless process……..they were in a week longer than usual (3 weeks), so they did sting a bit as they were removed. The incision has healed completely…….no signs of infection, redness, swelling……which are all good news. I have no residual pain……just some random calf pain (probably my once VERY pronounced calf muscle whithering away to nothing….lol). I went through a few exercises with him…….ankle flexing/extending and he vigorously massaged my tendon……..after which he stated “that’s better than new”. He wants me to take the boot off every evening and flex/extend my foot “a few dozen times”……and this weekend I’ll be able to FINALLY take a bath/shower without a cast/boot/worry of getting my foot wet. I have my next appointment scheduled for November 24……….that’s when he’ll give the OK for partial weight bearing…..and he’s hoping to have me in 2-shoes by the end of the year (10 weeks). Overall, I’m pretty happy with my recovery……..things seem to be progressing ahead of the curve. I’m still doing push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and using dumbells on a daily basis………so I feel some sense of accomplishment, plus I’m hoping to get in the pool in a couple weeks, I feel that would help with overall conditioning immensely………..until then…….stay tuned!
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Posted on November 3rd, 2009 by strohdecaire
Well, here we are…….2 weeks and 2 days post op (16 days total). Went in for my first post-op appointment with my surgeon this morning expecting to get the cast off, sutures out, new cast on……..see you in 2-3 weeks, thank you very much, I think we all know the drill. Instead, I was very pleasantly surprised when I arrived. First his nurse (of 15 years) cut my cast off………cut away all the padding and dressing, then proceeded to peel away all the butterfly tapes that were placed on top of my sutures. After those were removed, she commented that my incision (all 4″ of it) looked really, really good……..still a little moist, but good. My surgeon then came in….he took a look at things, commented on how good the incision looked, then asked me to move my foot to 90 degrees…..with a bit of apprehension and after asking him if he was serious, I began to move it, for the first time since my injury, surprisingly, it went to 90 degrees effortlessly…….no pain. He asked me how it felt, I replied “pretty good, zero pain”………..with that, he had me flex it a few more times from 45 to 90, back to 45 then to 90, talk about nerve racking…..however, it felt really good. He then told me that he was going to wait a week to take the sutures out to err on the side of caution and to give the incision another week to completely heal……then he said “I see absolutely no reason why we can’t get you in a boot today”………I nearly fell over. He dictated a few statements into his tape recorder, then gave his nurse the course of action. As she was fitting the boot and going over a few things, she told me I was “miles ahead of the game” and to take it easy. My next appointment is in a week….November 10….I’ll get my sutures out and begin a light PT schedule….can’t wait, to say the least! Lessons learned (actually quotes from the surgeon) 1.) it helped that I was in good physical condition at the time of my injury and that I’m not carrying around a lot of extra weight (I’m 6-4, 195)….and 2.) he reiterated how crucial the first two weeks post-op are………rest, elevation, hydration, not over doing it, taking it easy…..those are the keys to a quick jump on a successful recovery from ATR……these from a surgeon with 43 years of experience…..needless to say, I believe him.
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Posted on October 31st, 2009 by strohdecaire
Of course, by the time I post this, Halloween for some of our readers will be over, done, and in the books……….however, in the “spirit” (pun intended….haha) of the holiday, I wanted to extend a Happy Halloween to everyone out there in our ATR circle. I also wanted to pass along my thanks, gratitudes, and best wishes to everyone on this site. The support we give one another as we collectively traverse down a similar path with our common injury is fantastic, to say the absolute least. Regardless of our athletic ability, age, sex, or race, we all share a common bond……..and although the path to full recovery may be a long one, we have the unyielding support of our families, friends, and fellow bloggers to help see us through. Best wishes and speedy recoveries to all…………….Stroh
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Posted on October 25th, 2009 by strohdecaire
Last night Wifey decided it was time to get me out of the house and try out the new orthopedic scooter………….we decided on our local big-box retail store, not so much for the shopping (we both despise big box retail), but more so for it’s open space, wide aisles, smooth, flat floors, and people watching…………needless to say, it was all a rousing success. We stayed out for a couple hours, scooting around, drinking coffee, commenting on the vast array of demographics represented at the store. I even answered some questions from a few curious shoppers about my “scooter”……….and scored some “cool” points with a few young children as well. All in all, it felt awesome to get out and exercise in this fashion……pushing myself along and keeping upright for a couple hours was really nice; not bad for a week post-op. I thought I would feel a bit of pain/discomfort since it was my first time getting out in a week, but surprisingly my muscles feel fine. Today is exactly 1 week post op…………….I have my appointment on November 3…………and as for now, I’m feeling pretty good about things. Lessons learned from the first week: 1.) Be as active as you possibly can, don’t push it too far, but don’t be a total couch potato. 2.) Accept the help that’s offered to you………..Type-A personality (which I am) or not, accepting help is paramount to recovery and healing. 3.) Only take the pain meds for as long as you need them………..the narcotics wreak havoc on your digestive system, not to mention they make you overly groggy, lethargic, and sleepy……..switch up to plain Tylenol or Motrin as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. Good Day and Speedy Recoveries to all……………..Stroh
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Posted on October 23rd, 2009 by strohdecaire
Wifey came home a few hours ago with this……….a Roller-Aid! Pretty sweet…………..it’s certainly going to help with mobility and getting out and about a bit. My neighbor stopped by too, with something to “help numb the pain”…………..gotta love great people! I’m hanging in there……….this Sunday will be my “One Week Post Op Anniversary”.
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Posted on October 23rd, 2009 by strohdecaire
Just a bit of a back story………….I fully ruptured my left AT on Sunday, October 18…………..Wifey took me to the ER in the Subaru, fortunately there happened to be a orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Carl Mattsson) already at the hospital, its like they knew I was going to be arriving……….he gave me some options (surgery v.s. casting, when to have the surgery, cost, pros/cons to both, recovery times………….very informative, to say the least). I opted to have surgery that same day (late afternoon)………..3 hours later the operation was done, I was casted, recovered, and on my way home. I agree with what I’ve read here…………the first couple days were the absolute worst, however Wifey took a couple days off from teaching her Jr. High students about ecology and stayed home with me……..YAY! Pain, lack of mobility, an overall feeling of “what the hell is going on here”………were exceptionally pervasive the first two days, but as each day transpires, it does get better. Yesterday was the first day without pain management…………figured I really no longer needed the Lortab 10/500 (and all the wonderful associated side effects)………I drove yesterday for the first time……..it felt really good to get out. I’ve been making dinners for the past couple days too……….keeping my leg supported on a wheeled office chair, it’s better than crutches, but limited to just the hard-floored surfaces of the kitchen, home office, and hallway. Wifey picked me up a shower bag for my foot/leg from the medical supply store……..it’s a pretty handy thing to have, it’s made of thick plastic, shaped like an over-sized leg……plus it comes complete with a couple of velcro straps to ensure the leg stays dry. As far as work is concerned, I’ve been a work-from-home Radio Frequency Engineer for the past 3 years for a small telecom company…………so all-in-all, things have been good on that front. I do head out to the field every so often, but I’m hoping I can work those issues once I become a bit more mobile.
All in all…………..I’m going to learn a valuable lesson here. I’ve never been one to ask for help, I usually just do things on my own………..well, that’s changing, albeit, slowly. Wifey has been a godsend……….she’s a wonderful woman and I couldn’t imagine going through this without her. I’m fortunate to have her in my life, without question. My doctor told me every ATR is different and recovery times are all up in the air as well. He did tell me, however, I do have a few good things going for me………I’m active, relatively young (38), healthy, and I’m not carrying much extra weight……..(6-4, 195)……….so I’m hoping I’m on the shorter side of the recovery timeline, but……….we’ll see how it all goes. I have my two-week post op appointment on November 3. They’re going to cut off the current cast, remove sutures, inspect things, then recast for another couple of weeks…….Wifey and I have an NPR “Planet Money” event we’re volunteering for on November 5 (we’ve been active NPR volunteers for years)………..stay tuned! We now return you to your regularly scheduled day……………….your local news is next
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Posted on October 23rd, 2009 by strohdecaire
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