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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Do da bump, do da bump, do da bump bump bump!

Just thought I would do a better job this time of chronicling my painful journey thru Torn Tendon Land. Here's a photo of my right ankle, with the bump where the lateral tears are concentrated and fluid has built up.  Ugh.  If your ankle looks like this, you're about to go through a life changing episode.

I'm just sayin'.  Sorry.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Hey, it's laugh or cry sometimes, right?  So I have decided to laugh - with the added benefit of occasionally offending others!  (Woohoo!)  Just ordered this terrific velcro backed patch to adorn the RoboCop boot:

I also bought the matching T-shirt!  I plan to wear this home from the hospital following surgery - and probably every day for two weeks afterwards (though I also plan to wash it during that time as well!).

Oh, and I have implemented another brain storm I had (remember, I've been down this road before...and learned from my mistakes).  One of the most dangerous trips (and that can be taken literally) for a person in a non weight bearing cast, with crutches, to make is the trek from the bedroom or sofa across the hard tile kitchen floor.  Plus, you can't CARRY much when you're using crutches.  So...guess what I just tricked out the bedroom with?  That's right - a little mini fridge and a small microwave!  We have a use for these later so I didn't feel like this was totally decadent luxury.  Before the surgery, I'm going to put a decent sized trash can in there, a fruit bowl, some paper towels and paper plates and plastic utensils, and I'm going to stock the fridge with bottled water, individual yogurt thingies, that ramen in a cup stuff, those sorts of items.  Oh, and I'm putting the Keurig in there with me as well, along with a gallon jug of water.  This should cut down on harrowing adventures into the kitchen.

I'm also going to take a set of hand weights in there as well.  And I'm committing to exercises for every part of my body other than the right leg from the ankle down. wallowing in the bed or one spot on the sofa for days at a time.  I'm going to get up, get dressed, "put my face on" every day and park myself in an uncluttered living room for part of each day.  I think it's important for our own self image, as well as for our caretakers, to get out of our gnarly funk (and pajamas or sweats) every day.

One more thing I'm excited about - a friend of mine contacted me and asked if, while I was confined, I would make some handmade cards for nursing home residents.  Absolutely!  This already makes me feel better.

Lots and lots of people have it so much worse than I do.  Let's get this over and done with!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Same song, verse two - I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

OK, it's official - I'm a medical anomaly.  Well, I'm not sure I believe that, but that's what my doctor told me yesterday.  See...a few months ago, I noticed something ominous happening to my right ankle.  I noticed a stiffness in the Achilles tendon, pain when I got up in the morning...OH NO!  I immediately started resting it, putting ice on it, elevating it sometimes in the evenings...and for awhile all that seemed to help.  But over the course of a few months, I noticed a very familiar looking lump on the back of my right ankle...just like the one that had developed on my left ankle three years ago.  WHAT THE HECK!

So...finally I had to admit this wasn't going away, and off I went to the doctor again.  Same great doctor, same great team - and they couldn't believe it when I walked through the door again with the same symptoms on my OTHER leg.  They scheduled an MRI right away and I went in the next day for the results.  Here was the conversation:

(Door opens and PA walks in and takes one look at me and starts laughing)
Him:  "I really can't even believe this MRI.  Do you know how weird you are?  If I didn't know any better, I'd say I was just looking at a mirror image of your left ankle three years ago."

Me:  "Well, what I want to know is this - was the last surgery a Buy One Get One Free deal?"

Him:  "Uhhh, no.   Honestly, I've never had a patient with a situation like this.  Both your Achilles tendons have basically just degenerated.  That's so weird.  I talked with Dr Langford about this and he's never had this happen to any other patient either.  Do you have any other family members who have had this?"

Me, feeling like a freak:  "No.  Could it be the way I walk?  The shoes I wear?"

Him:  "No.  I hate to tell you this, but we think that your Achilles tendons were doomed from the moment you were conceived.  It's got to be genetic.  They've both just shredded from the inside out.  Anyway...the good news is, we fixed the other one and we think we can fix this one too."

Well, I got all excited, because in spite of all my angst, the results of the last surgery were awesome.  My left Achilles tendon is FIXED, baby!  But the doctor did temper my enthusiasm a little.

"Melanie, I have to be frank with you.  People make this mistake a lot with bilateral surgeries.  This is a different ankle, a different Achilles tendon, and three years later.  There is no guarantee that this surgery will be as successful as the last one.  But for all we know, this surgery could be MORE successful, LESS painful.  We just don't know.  But don't assume anything.  This is a new experience all the way around."

Well, that flattened my sails a bit, but then he did tell me something that cheered me up.  He told me that since my last surgery, they've been trying the concept of less time in the cast/splint and moving faster into the boot and weight bearing mobility.  That means LESS TIME ON CRUTCHES! Two is scheduled for February 12, and I'm back in the Robocop boot and a knee brace till then.  GOOD TIMES, GOOD TIMES!