10 weeks post-op today!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been ten whole weeks since surgery.   Some weeks seemed to go by VERY slow…others weeks seemed to go by a little faster.

Last time I wrote an entry, I was just a few days or so away from my second post-op appointment with my surgeon.   That appointment went very well!  He gave me the okay to get more aggressive in PT, I got to ditch the boot (for day and night), went to two wedges in my shoe, I was given the clear to drive, and he said he even thought I could lose the crutches (but I wasn’t there quite yet, so have been on one).

Since then, I’ve been doing more exercises in PT and at home, and have been able to peel a couple of slivers from one wedge (so I’m on a wedge and a third).  My physical therapist wants me to remove one layer each week, as well as practice walking at home without the crutch.  I know I still have months ahead until full recovery, but I’m so excited about how far I’ve come in the last few weeks.  This scar tissue is crazy though…I don’t work it out as hard as my PT does, but I try.

Some additional exercises I get to do now: wall sits, squats, standing heel raises (on both feet, supported as needed), single leg balance (supported as needed), standing toe raises, standing calf stretch, bridges (feet on ground, feet on bosu ball, and feet on exercise ball).

Well, I’m off to PT soon…and did most of my exercises and iced earlier too.

Gotta put in the work so I can ditch this crutch soon, and make my way to fully being back in two shoes!

Slow and steady, but progress nonetheless…

Monday was two months since I ruptured my Achilles.  Time has flown by….but has been slow at the same time.  (I know, that doesn’t really make sense, ha!)

The first couple of weeks were a breeze! I was still driving, and zipping around on my knee scooter.  Sure I couldn’t work out, but I could still be “out in the world”.  Then I finally saw the surgeon two weeks and one day post injury in the afternoon.  The next morning, I was off to surgery first thing.  That’s when things slowed down…

Surgery went great, and I only needed pain meds for three days.  My spirits were up, and initially I enjoyed hanging out on the couch with my books, word searches, tablet, dot-to-dot (yes, dot-to-dot, but we’re talkin’ over 300 dots!), music, and Netflix.

Fast-forward a week…I really started to get bummed out.  Anxious for my post-op appointment, ready to get the cast off, thinking about everything I was missing out on, not being motivated to do the exercises I could do, and frustrated that everyone else’s lives were continuing on while mine seemed to stop.

Finally, three and half weeks post-op, I saw the surgeon.  Staples out, sutures out, boot on!  I felt on top of the world….very briefly.  That was a Monday.  The rest of the week was spent waiting for the PT referral, then making calls to my surgeon’s office, to my insurance, and to PT offices.  On Friday, near the EOB, I was finally all set for PT and scheduled out for four weeks.  In just a few more days, it’d be on!

Now here I am today.  Spirits much higher! On my third week of physical therapy (fifth session is in a couple of days).  As of yesterday evening’s session, I’m PWB at 25%.   Already, I feel like I’m getting my life back.  I’m doing my best to stay positive about all the little wins and gains that are going to get me to full recovery.  As much as I can, remembering how fortunate I still am, despite this unfortunate injury.

Since I started PT on Nov. 14th, my at-home exercises have been: seated heel slides, seated ankle inversions, towel crunches, prone knee flexion with resistance, side lying hip abductions, straight leg raises, clamshells with resistance, and the alphabet.

During my PT sessions, I’ve been doing those exercises, as well as a number of others with resistance, to work on my ROM and strength.  Yesterday, we added planks (on my left foot only), bridges, and seated heel raises, plus I have a few more resistance exercises I can do at home to work on ROM.  He’s very pleased with my strength and ROM, as well as how my incision is healing, swelling (which is minimal), and scar tissue.  So far the protocol has been in the hands of my therapist without guidance from my surgeon, but he and I are both ready to get a bit more aggressive.  He wants me on my feet (well, foot and boot) soon.  I’m strong and ready to really get moving again, though of course, I know I’ll need to listen to my tendon and not push it beyond the limit.  Plus my poor right calf has gotten so wimpy.

My next appointment with the surgeon is on Monday.  I thought about calling and speaking with him or his M.A. about giving the okay to get a bit more aggressive with the protocol, find out when the wedges can start coming out.  But at this point, I’m patient enough to wait and continue to do my exercises diligently each day.  Then he’ll see for himself during my appointment how strong I am and that I’m ready do to more.  I’ll be seven weeks and three days post-op by then.  I trust my physical therapist, and I’d have full confidence in him if the protocol is put entirely in his hands after I see the surgeon.

I read others’ stories on the AchillesBlog, and on a FB group I’ve joined, and though sometimes I am envious of those who are already on both feet, I am SO PROUD of everyone for all of their hard work, persistence, dedication, and perseverance!  No, I don’t know anyone personally, but I’m still proud and excited for each accomplishment they make along their road to full recovery.  I’ve found that it’s so, so true….as much as people, friends, family, and strangers sympathize, unless they’re going through this (or have gone through an Achilles injury), it’s just not the same as hearing or reading the words of people who have.  For me reading those words, seeing people’s progress, and reading stories of full recovery, that’s been a huge part in helping me stay mentally and emotionally strong through this….and it’s really still just the beginning for me :)

Slow and steady, my progress will continue on…

Up and down…

Disclaimer: For me, starting to blog on this site is partly to share with others who know the ATR struggle.  It is also a way for me to “journal” my path to recovery; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  This post is the latter :)

This injury has definitely put me on an emotional roller coaster. I have my good days and bad days. Days when I feel like (almost!) springing out of bed and starting my day with enthusiasm and a positive attitude, and am ready to accomplish some tasks!  Then there are the days when I wish I could stay in bed all day, crying and binge watching Netflix. And there are also the days that are mixed with emotions.

Seriously though, I’m doing my best to keep a positive mindset. I am typically “that type” of person anyhow. My life is usually on-the-go all the time and I love it, I view it as full and abundant (even if sometimes it’s tiring).  Now I feel like I’m at a standstill and missing out on so much, especially with my boys who are 8 (will be 9 in five weeks) and 5.  They somewhat understand the extent of my injury.  They surely got a kick out of looking at the pictures of my staples and the incision after removal.  And of course they try to play with my crutches and knee scooter any chance they can get!

I’m very fortunate that my husband has such a flexible job, and was already working from home two days a week.  Now he’s working from home four days a week, doing school runs,  all the errands, and most of the housework.  I’m a full-time mom/”homemaker” and do part-time event planning from home.  We had a really great division of labor, and he hasn’t complained about having to take on what I can’t do right now, but….well,  he’s a a trooper, and though he won’t say it, I know it’s exhausting for him.  I am so grateful, and let him know that as much as I can.

Anyhow, it’s a struggle not be able to do what I need and want to do when I need and want to do it.  Being forced to slow WAY down has been tough.  I’ve always been someone who takes on a lot, often “busy”, schedule full, and I thrive on that.  Now I feel like my livelihood is being sucked out of me.  There are tasks I can do for my event planning (though I won’t be able to have another event until after the new year) and volunteering from home, but it’s not the same as getting out of the house and being hands-on.

I miss driving, taking my kids to school and picking them up, seeing all of the kids, volunteering at school, getting a coffee a few mornings a week, going to the library, going to yoga class, doing my home workouts, grocery shopping and other errands, taking my kids to the park to play and ride bikes, exploring the tide pools with them, going on a hike with my family, taking my son to baseball practice, going to the zoo,  getting my hands dirty with yard work.

I know it’ll all be there waiting for me, and I’ll be able to get back to things bit by bit throughout my recovery.  And I do my best to remind myself that even a year is a short amount of time compared to the life behind me and ahead of me.  I do my best to keep perspective on this injury, it’s not life-threatening and I’m going to be okay in the end.  I do my best to be grateful for everything and everyone around me, the comforts that I have and the lack of worry in my life.  This too shall pass, and I hope I’ll be a stronger and an even more mindful person after this experience.

Staples & sutures

There we about thirty staples removed from my incision at my post-op earlier this afternoon.  Then the sutures (not quite as many).  It was little bit painful, but not too bad.  And probably took about 10 minutes, if that, to remove everything.

So happy to have them out!

staples

First post-op appointment

Today was my first post-op appointment, at 3 weeks and 3 days!
Though this boot is HEAVY and uncomfortable, I am so happy to be out of the cast.  Every little step counts, and I’ve been so encouraged and inspired by reading many others’ stories on Achillesblog.com.  I’m trying to stay positive!

Anyhow, my surgeon is putting me in the hands of the physical therapist for my protocol.  He’s extremely confident in the procedure, but doesn’t want to move forward too fast too soon.  So for now, I have four wedges (due to my high arch) and am still NWB.  But the plan is to get me started in PT as early as next week, and I see my surgeon again in four weeks.

How did this happen!??

I’m a fairly active and in shape person.  I practiced yoga a few times a week, did HIIT/circuits at home a couple of times a week, a little bit of weight training (also at home), hike, bike, and run around on the playground with my kids.  Aging, I have some aches and pains here and there, but nothing that ever stopped me.
Luckily, I only had about a five minute drive home.  I took a shower, then R.I.C.E.’d up for an hour or so before bed.  I wasn’t able to get in to see my doctor until first thing Friday morning, and he ordered an MRI.  I finally got in for that on Tuesday, but it was still another nine days before I was able to see the ortho my doctor had referred me to.
By the time I saw him, I had done a little bit of research online.  I felt as if surgery was the route I wanted to go.  He didn’t pressure me either way, but when I let him know I’d be opting for surgery, he said “this needs to be done now.  Surgery will be tomorrow.”   WOW!!  That was a shock, but at this point I was fifteen days past the injury.  I had been driving still, and getting around on a knee scooter and crutches otherwise.  But I knew whatever the next step would be needed to happen quickly, so as not to make the injury worse.
So after about 15 years of not being on the softball field, I started playing with a co-ed team.  It’s fairly low-key, but somewhat competitive.  The first night I played (Wednesday), the team had a rare double-header (they were filling in for a team that dropped from the league).  The first game, I played right field.  Not much action, mostly running to back up other fielders.  I hit a couple of times, made it around the bases.  I was probably playing harder than I needed to, but I was so excited to be on the field again!  (I grew up watching baseball and playing softball & fastpitch.  Baseball has always been and will always be my favorite sport!)
The games are only an hour, so we had about five minutes before the next one started.  I felt warmed up enough, so didn’t stretch much in between.  Plus, I was trying to be smart and not overdo it, so I volunteered to be catcher for the second game.  No crouching, no gear, literally standing there, as each team pitches to their own players.  Still in the first inning, I took two steps to catch a throw that was coming to me, and….SNAP!!!  I went down.  It felt like someone had taken a crack to my ankle with a bat.  The ump thought I jammed my ankle in a little dip that was by home plate, but that just put it over the edge (playing in brand new cleats didn’t help either).  My teammates helped me to the bench, got me some ice, and I elevated as much as I could while I stayed to watch the game.
So here I am now, three weeks and three days post op.  Still sometimes thinking…if only it hadn’t been a double-header.  Oh well!