Recovery Part 2

Well as I said I had my second surgery on 6/23/15. The doctor told me that it was a success. I am currently bandaged up in a soft plaster cast that keeps my toes pointed down. In about two weeks I will go back to the doctor and they will put my leg in a hard cast for 2-3 more weeks. The pre-surgery process was similar to the first time. I got some good IV pain meds prior, they put a nerve block in my leg and then I was off to the operating room. This time the nerve block did not last as long and I woke up at 2 AM with a lot of pain in my leg. Lucky my other pain meds weren’t far away. Since the surgery I have mostly been laying around and taking a lot of naps. The oxycodone they have me on makes me very tired and loopy. I am hopeful that I will only have to take it for a few more days.

In talking to the doctor it sounds like it was definitely a good thing that we opted to have a second surgery. He said that my Achilles was re-ruptured in a way that it would not heal back together with any amount of strength that would allow me to do the activities I did before. Now my focus is on recovery and trying to to re-rupture again.

Back Under the Knife

Well today at the doctor my concerns were confirmed with my MRI. I have re-ruptured my Achilles at the surgery site. The surgeon who did my first surgery told me that in 13 years I was his first person to re-rupture. Great. After consulting with other surgeons and doctors, my doctor changed his opinion and recommended a second surgery as opposed to just physical therapy which he originally ordered. He said that because of my age (30) and how fast I was recovering from my prior surgery, he thought I would be a good candidate for a second surgery (also the other doctors he consulted recommended it in my case). They tell me the surgery is a bit more complicated because it is in the same area and that it will take longer. He also said that during surgery if he has any question of the strength of the repaired Achilles site, he will reinforce it with part of a tendon from my foot. Either way I go in for surgery tomorrow morning. Oh yeah, right now I have about a 6 in scar on the back of my leg. After this surgery I will have a scar from the bottom of foot up to mid calf. Chicks dig scars right?

My doctor says that the recovery time will be longer than the first time but I don’t have a specific timeline as it will depend on how I progress through physical therapy. I am hopeful that since it was going well the first time before the re-rupture, it will continue to do so. I will likely have a soft cast on my leg post surgery for two weeks. They will then check to make sure the incision is healing and will go into a hard cast for a month instead of a walking boot. I’ll try to post updates when I can but I suspect the next few days I will be in an oxy induced daze.

Until then….

Doomsday Part 2

I was supposed to start work on a limited basis again on 6/11/15 due to my new found mobility. I’ll set the mood quickly before I tell you what everyone is assuming…

6/6/15 was a beautiful hot humid day in North Carolina, a perfect day for a pool party. I had surprised my friend on his birthday by showing up from Wisconsin, coordinating through his girlfriend. They were happy, I was happy, the pool was cool and my leg felt awesome. And then I tripped….

I had been wearing my walking boot. My walking boot was set up in a way that it was able to flex. My boot allowed me to flex my right foot from my toes pointed downward at a 40 degree angle all the way up to 0 degrees (or where my foot is able to make a 90 degree angle while standing on it. It would not let my foot go past a perpendicular angle with my leg for this exact reason, if I suddenly tripped or fell, it would prevent me from putting extra strain and pressure on my Achillies.

I was walking near the pool when I tripped. I came down hard on my right foot and in my opinion the boot worked properly and prevent over extension of my Achilles. It was trying to regain my balance that was the problem. After coming down on my right foot and boot, I quickly pushed off with my right foot which activated my small week right calf muscle. I don’t want to minimize the severity of a disease but up until this point my right leg looked like I had polio. After pushing off hard on my right foot to regain balance I felt another large pop from the back of my right leg. The next day my leg was swollen again and I was not able to do the physical therapy stretches I had been doing before. I was in North Carolina and had a follow up doctor appointment scheduled for 6/10/15 back home so I decided to wait until I got back to Wisconsin to see the doctor. To put in dryly the 17 hour drive home felt even longer with the thought I re-injured my leg/Achilles.

I saw the doctor on 6/10/15 back in Wisconsin. I told her what happened and she called in my surgeon to inspect my Achilles. During the examination he told my other doctor several things that I did not understand. He then told he me thought I re-injured my Achilles and that I could expect to have my recovery time doubled. He also said I slightly lowered my chance of making a full recovery and that we would treat the injury without surgery. He told me that we were starting over from square one and that I was back to non-weight bearing. I also was told I had to start physical therapy over from week one protocols in 2-3 weeks. I came into this doctors appointment with lots of questions for my doctor but after getting this news all of those questions escaped me. Instead, my head was filled with questions of will I ever walk or run again and will I ever be able to work in the same capacity again. I was devastated.

I consider myself a very optimistic person. Even when the injury occurred I was upbeat and joked about it with friends. Not this time. The following two days were terrible. I have been with my wife for seven years and married for almost one and she saw a side of me she has never seen, and I hope will never have to see again. Being optimistic was out of the question during this two day depression. I had no plan. I did not want to talk to anyone about my injury. I did not want to talk to anyone in general. I had no light at the end of the tunnel. I was concerned about our financial security. I did not know when I would be able to work again. To say the least I was irritable and inconsolable. To use my wife’s words I was “doom and gloom.” I was devastated.

Luckily I have an amazing wife who let me vent for 2-3 days straight without complaint. I have an amazing family and group of friends who offered suggestions of how I should proceed and offered support. I have a lot of people that support me which I had completely lost sight of during that two day period. Once I was reminded of that, my optimism came back….albeit slowly.

My discharge paperwork from the doctor said I had strained or re-ruptured my Achilles. The doctor did not order an MRI before telling me we would treat it non-surgically. The doctor told me that a second surgery was not an option. After talking with family and reading these blogs, I wondering why I was not getting an MRI. I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to have anywhere near their knowledge but I wondered why they would not want an MRI to know the extent of the re-injury. What if I re-ruptured in a different location on the Achilles? What if it is just a strain? What if I tore my calf muscle when I pushed off on it because it was so weak? These are the questions I wanted answers to. I have learned that you have to be your own advocate when in comes to healthcare and ask these questions, because if you don’t no one else will.

This brings me to the present day. I am doing reasonably well again. I have regained a positive outlook on my recovery. I planned my finances and it turns out the outlook is not as depress and I thought. I started my first blog. After repeated calls to the doctor I got him to order an MRI to see the extend of the re-injury. I go in for the MRI this Saturday 6/20/15 and have subsequent consultation with my doctor on Monday 6/22/15.

Fingers crossed….hoping for good news….


5/5/15 was surgery day. My wife brought me to the hospital where they prepped me for the big event. I was given a nerve block and prior to the nerve block I was given Fentanyl through and IV. This being only the second time I received pain medication through IV (my first being 4/30/15) I did not know what to expect. About two minutes after they gave it to me I quickly realized that I was rocked, flying high, not a care in the world and it was great!. I watched the anesthesiologist put a large needle into my leg to administer the nerve block and could not care less. I was whisked away to the operation room where I took a few large breaths of gas through a mask and that was it.

Two and a half hours later I woke up in a recovery room feeling well rested. After the nurse in the room realized I had regained consciousness, she told me that while I was in the process of waking up she had asked me how I was feeling. Apparently after appearing to collect my thoughts for a few seconds I looked and here and responded “alright, alright, alrighttttttt” in my best Matthew McConaughey voice. She quickly asked me if she was talking to Matthew McConaughey and I regrettably told her “Nah, I’m Magic Mike!.” I then promptly went back to sleep. Needless to say I had no recollection of this and I spent the next few minutes telling her I was not a stripper. And for those read my previous post where I told you my job requires me to be in shape, no I’m not a stripper or in any related field. Had the nurse not shared this embarrassing detail I would have woken up none the wiser (but wouldn’t of had a story that apparently has given joy to many people…)

Anyways…. the doctor told my wife it was a full rupture of the Achilles tendon but the surgery was successful with no complications. I was put in a soft plaster cast that came up to my knee. This cast kept my toes pointed down and restricted any movement of my ankle. I had this cast on for two weeks. My nerve block lasted 24 hours after surgery which was wonderful as I felt no pain or anything for that matter in my leg. I was given oxycodone for pain management over the next two weeks. I took the oxy for about a week post surgery for pain. It worked wonderfully but it frequently caused me to fall asleep shortly after ingestion so as soon as I was able to tolerate the pain, I stopped taking it.

Two weeks went by relatively quickly. Probably because I was high on oxycodone half the time. After two weeks I saw the doctor who removed the soft cast and took out the stitches in the back of my leg. They told me that everything looked as though it was healing properly and I set up my physical therapy appointments.

I started physical therapy on 5/20/15, three days after having my soft case taken off. At first it was slow going and being off of work completely I had a lot of time to complete the required stretches on my own at home. After a slow start physical therapy began going very well. I was actually 2-3 weeks ahead of where I was supposed to be in my P.T. program. At just 4 weeks post surgery I was full weight bearing and able to walk in a walking boot without assistance virtually pain free and without significant swelling. Then I got the best news I had heard in over a month….my physical therapist told me he was optimistic I could get back on the golf course at the end of July!!! I was ecstatic!

Since I had been off work this whole time, I had wanted to visit friend in North Carolina for a few days. I thought, why not? I have all of this time off I have never had before, what a better opportunity to visit a friend? My wife was skeptical at first and did not want me to go. She did not want me to chance re-injuring my leg. After seeing how mobile I was and how well physical therapy was going, she cautiously gave me the green light. I made the arrangements and learned that there would be a pool party in North Carolina with my friend for he and his girlfriends birthday. After learning this I got the go ahead to go in the pool from my physical therapist with two conditions, could not try to swim and I had to wear my walking boot. On 6/4/15 I began the long voyage of driving from Wisconsin to North Carolina….left footed. I have not yet been married a year but I learned a valuable and painful lesson…listen to your wife’s concerns…because on 6/6/15, tragedy struck.


This is my first attempt at blogging and I will try to keep it up to date with my progress. At first when I ruptured my Achilles I was hopeful of having a full recovery. After a subsequent re-rupture/strain post surgery I was devastated. Although my prognosis is still good, my timeline for recovery has been doubled, according to my doctor.

About me… I’m 30 years old in relatively good shape. I live in Madison, WI. I have been involved in sports/athletics all my life including high school, college, and post college. My job requires me to be in good shape/health and prior to this injury I was big into strength training (4+ days a week at the gym). On my days off from the gym I would often do cardio/running to stay in shape. Enough about me back to doomsday….

My wife and I recently bought our first home. After moving into a new neighborhood a few of my neighbors asked me to be in their flag football league. Sounded like a blast so of course I said yes! Prior to our FIRST game I had been warming up/stretching/building up to full sprints. I did this for approximately an hour prior to the start of the game. I don’t normally warm up this long however I needed to learn the playbook and routes (I quickly learned I was on a very competitive team). Five minutes into the game one of the more challenging things in my life happened. I was on the line of scrimmage, the quarterback said “hut,” I pushed off with my right leg to being my sprint down field and heard/felt a loud snap on the back of my right leg. At that point I knew something was wrong but did not fully understand it until my right foot came down again and I realized my foot was not working. I did not fall down, however knew I could not walk or run. I pathetically hopped off of the field to inspect my leg. Upon looking at the back of my right leg I noticed that had a significant indentation where my Achilles tendon once lived. Having had a friend who ruptured his Achilles two years prior, I had a pretty good idea of what had happened. I called my wife, told her to pick me up. My suspicion was confirmed at the doctors office later that night….a ruptured Achilles. I was given pain medication and put into a large boot that locked my toes downward to relieve tension on the area of my Achilles. This was on 4/30/15…a date I will not soon forget. I know everyone reading this wants to know how my flag football team did that day….we got smoked.

Prior to this as I stated I was in good health. I had no known medical conditions and my only surgery was getting tubes put in my ears as a child. I have never suffered any pain or soreness from my Achilles tendon area. I saw another doctor and an orthopedic surgeon on 5/4/15 who confirmed the rupture and gave me a surgery date of 5/5/15.