You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I got to thinking about everything and I realized that in order to be completely honest about this whole venture, I should talk about what I am beginning to think is inevitable emotionally - frustration and even depression.

My surgery was four weeks ago, and I returned to work two weeks ago.  Objectively, I know that I am slowly but steadily healing, and that one day my life will be normal again.  At least, that's what I believe, and the odds are definitely in my favor.

But...I gotta warn you, disability is frustrating.  I am SO SICK AND TIRED OF THE CRUTCHES AND THE ROBOCOP BOOT.  I am tired of sitting on my flabby butt being inactive.  I am tired of not being able to clean my own house (and I'm a neat freak).  I am tired of everything being a struggle.  I'm tired of being bored.  I'm tired of my house.  I'm tired of not being able to shop without it being a major hassle.

I am tired of not being able to wear two shoes!

My leg and ankle are weak and pathetic.  My tendon is swollen to twice it's normal size.  On the bright side, the scar itself is not shocking or distracting - I think within a few months it will be nothing more than a small white line down the back of my ankle. 

But I think the hardest thing for me to deal with is the solicitude of others.  Now isn't that weird?  But I hate to be dependent on others.  I hate asking people to do things for me.  I hate, hate, hate being a burden!  When I'm at work, I hate worrying my customers, who are inevitably alarmed when they see the crutches or see me get up to help them.  Oh, how I hate the clumsy, painful limping along on crutches, and the sympathy that pours out of people!

There - there's my rant. 

I have to remind myself that I was in pain BEFORE the surgery - and things were getting worse, not better.  However, that's hard to remember at this particular point - when I am MORE disabled than I was before the surgery, and I have months to go before I am recovered enough to resume life as I knew it before.

This achilles tendon injury and surgery are exactly what I said they were - DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!

One thing that has been very helpful is that I can track this same set of emotions on other blogs - and the vast majority of those bloggers eventually report excellent results - after many months of rehab.  And I have read as they hit this same wall I'm hitting now - and lived to tell about it.

If you're struggling with this, also - KEEP THE FAITH!

23. Gettin' jiggy wid it!

Well, well, well - good news and bad news.  The good news is that I can tell I am regaining strength in my ankle and calf, and I'm able to put weight on it without cringing - though at this point there's still so much swelling that I can't imagine ever putting that gimpy foot back into a regular shoe!

The other good news is that the incision is healing very well.  The top of my foot is still numbish and tingles if I stroke it - and it seems to be the type of thing that could very well be attributed to the tourniquet that was used in surgery, as Dr Langford said.  This could take months to correct itself - and may not ever be 100 percent fixed, but I can live with that.  But back to the incision - it's a nice, straight, pink scar - not too bumpy, but still definitely tender.  The achilles tendon itself remains quite swollen - roughly twice as thick as the one on the other foot.  UGH!

And all these years I've been a bit vain about my nicely tapered ankles.  Now I only have one nicely tapered ankle!

Every morning the swelling has receded, and every evening it's back in full force.  I have a feeling I'm going to be battling that swelling for months to come.

So the swelling and tingling are the icky news items, but one more good news item is that my ankle seems pretty mobile.  Overall, I'm definitely seeing improvement.  Not every day, but slowly over time.

Another thing that's improved is that I'm getting quite nimble on these crutches.  The key to crutches is to rest your weight on the HANDLES - NOT the pads under your arms.  If you rest on your armpits you will hurt all over.

One ominous sign when it comes to the length of recovery time - my doctor gave me a six months handicapped placard for my car - and I'm beginning to believe I'll need every day of that. 

I have a doctor's appt Wednesday - so I'll update this again then!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

22. Twas brillig, and the slithy legs did gire and gimble in the wabe...

Oh, frabjous day, calloo, callay, I'm chortling in my joy!  I went to the doctor a couple of days ago and I am out of the plaster and gauze cast and into a boot, which allows me to (very gingerly) put a little weight down on my foot!  This is important for several reasons:

1.  It makes walking on crutches a LOT easier.
2.  I can get my leg wet.
3.  It will allow me to use the leg in a limited manner, which should decrease the atrophy of the leg muscles.

Yes, I said atrophy.  Take a gander at the difference in the size of my legs - in just two weeks!  Now - I realize that neither of my legs actually qualifies as "scrawny," but...there is a definite difference between the two:

So - as much as I've appreciated my knee scooter, I'm retiring it for now.  I've found that walking with crutches, while still maddening in it's own way, is not quite as scary when you can bear a bit of weight on the gimpy foot, and I can't help but think that using that leg will offset some of that scrawniness.

The rest of the good news is that my tendon is healing very well, better in fact than average.  This is VERY exciting to me because achilles tendon injuries and surgeries are notoriously bad at healing well, because blood flow to that area of the body is not good.  The fact that I'm healing so well so far has me thinking that my rehab will probably go well when I start physical therapy in a couple of weeks. 

When the doctor took off the plaster cast and unwrapped my leg, it looked AWFUL!  I will spare you images of the abomination of the desolation, and will just use mental imagery instead.  My leg was shriveled, wrinkled because of the gauze wrapping and muscle atrophy (sorry, but I'm used to firm, tight calves!), orange from the iodine wash they used during surgery, and (this was the WORST PART!), HAIRY. 

And then I got a look at the scar......

OK, I have to admit - I'm going for effect here.  Actually the scar itself isn't as bad as it looks - the black stuff is glue.  My totally cool doctor used glue rather than stitches or staples.  So in spite of the grody look of it, this scar is actually beautiful.