Rediscovering the Present

Hi ARIR Community,

I’ve enjoyed reading many of your posts, and I am grateful to have found such a supportive group. I ruptured my Achilles while snowboarding, had surgery, and am now at exactly 6 weeks post-op.

For this post, I wanted to highlight a few notable learning points from the initial stage of recovery. Many of the rougher times I’ve had have sprung from mental anguish rather than physical pain. I am not a sedentary person, and I tend to get anxious when I’m inside for too long. Four weeks of sitting was an eternity. To rub salt in the wound, just one month prior to my injury, I had moved to California to join my boyfriend after two years of living out East. I still often feel I am missing out on getting my new life together and discovering a new place of residence. I was told over and over again to take advantage of the down time so, naturally, I thought I would have the mental capacity to become so fluent in Spanish people would think it was my first language, add in Arabic for extra fun, apply for 100 amazing jobs a day, save the Earth by coming up with a plan to combat climate change, meditate like Buddha, read all of the classics (twice), maybe write a few books of my own, go through all my college and graduate school notes for a nice refresher, email everyone I’ve ever met, and only eat Super Foods that aid in my recovery. I completed all of these of course.

Right after surgery, I was afraid the tendon detached somehow. My ankle felt oddly loose, and I learned that I violently twitch right at that pivotal sweet spot before falling asleep, which I thought was the cause of the detachment. A sharp pain at the wound and my calf would prevent me from falling back asleep. I then spent many dark hours lying in bed thinking about what happened and how I could have prevented it all and what would be so different about my life if I didn’t get this injury…if I only didn’t have my bindings so tight…why was I trying to get past that other person on the slopes…when will I be running and hiking again…will I ever be in good physical shape again…why is the recovery for this soooo long…why am I not taking advantage of all this down time? One day while in the elevator (which I hate using along with waiting for a close parking spot at the store, but now do) a young woman said to me, “Well at least you didn’t break/fracture your tibia and fibula like my friend did two weeks ago.” That day I was in so much pain and my mom had just left from her two week stint of taking care of me, and I was furious that the woman had no idea what I was going through as far as pain, recovery time, etc. Thinking, oh it could have been worse only makes me feel, well, worse.

I don’t know when, but these negative thoughts started to fade away. Especially when I got a boot and when I started focusing on more tangible daily goals. This is when time started feeling more normal again, that I would eventually be back to what I like doing, and that I’m ok with letting the time pass. I had an appointment this morning and took out the last wedge! The doctor said everything looks good and I can start PT.  A yoga instructor once said at the end of class, “the past is history, the future is a mystery, and the present is a gift.” Recently I’ve gotten better at enjoying that present.

2 Responses to “Rediscovering the Present”

  1. Hi Tonozzi, welcome to the blog. I can totally relate to you. At my job I sit all day in front of the computer (I am a programmer). But when out of the office, I am very active, always have to find some activity to do. I am not the kind of person who goes home and sits on the couch! The early days were very tough for me as well, especially since I had ulnar nerve compression (from putting too much pressure on my wrist while using the crutches). I could not carry any weight on my right arm and hand. While idle, I decided to work on an app I had been procrastinating on. So the moral of the story is, you can still make use of your arms, and your whole upper body, so put them to good use!!! It’s not as bad as you think. I have developed a passion for lifting weights after the injury. Before it, I only did cardio at the gym. But right after I had this injury, I have started working with a personal trainer and doing some serious weight training. This was actually a blessing, if it wasn’t for it, I wouldn’t be doing strength training and I wouldn’t be this strong. I also feel my ankle oddly loose at times, but that’s part of it. I’m at my 4th month, trust me, things will get so much better. My footwork is getting better, and I can run (albeit slow). I also feel stronger than I have ever been before (mentally and physically). So cheer up, stop these negative thoughts, find other things to do that you never done before, set some goals, do some yoga, that will make you happier!!!

  2. Thank you so much for the great advice and kind encouragement s40love!! I agree, I can still take advantage of other activities and have always wanted to add weight training into cardio. I started walking without the crutches yesterday and it feels so good. I can tell that I am making progress everyday – mental and physical ☺.

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