Set backs and plans

One year ago today I was cleared out of the walking boot and approved to start physical therapy for my surgically repaired, left,  Achilles tendon.

1 year before that I had the right leg surgically repaired and it was responding well.

The year before that I had tried a number of different ways to avoid surgery – Shock-wave Therapy – PRP injections – Boots – PT – Massage – Etc. I ran VERY sporadically in this time frame mostly at doctor or PT orders to test things out.

The reality is the tendons were in bad shape, and I had bone deformities that needed to be fixed, none of the other options worked for me. So I underwent the knife.

This was one year ago today.

I did well in physical therapy – I followed every instruction – Every milestone was hit in order. I never cheated. I never over did it. I “graduated” with a plan to return to full running.

I was given full clearance to run. I started way easier than I was supposed to. I rode my bike more. I took days off. I skipped hills and almost entirely avoided trails. Then I ended up with a massive lump on my heel.

Doctor thought it was a cyst – He told me he had never had this happen before –

Here he is looking stumped:

So he sent me for an MRI – Then I needed to wait a week. The news – Not good.

The lump was not a cyst – That lump is my Achilles Tendon.  He said sometimes the tendons react poorly to the surgery or “don’t take” and at the insertion point they can swell up or “splay out” – All his words not mine. The tendon tore somewhere, at some point and this is the result. In his words he has never seen an Achilles tendon look like this and that is why he thought it might be a cyst.

A massive lump on my heel that never really goes away. The tendon is damaged beyond repair at this time. I  have only 1 option. Remove the damaged Achilles tendon, and replace it with the flexor hallucis longus tendon which they will harvest from my foot.

This will leave my big toe unable to function how it currently does, but could (let’s say that word again) could allow me to return to running in about another year or so.

I would again be on Scoot Magoots as I would spend up to 6 weeks not weight bearing, which is not something I am terribly interested in.

I was told that the tendon itself will hold and there is not a real risk of a rupture at this point, and surgery is a “when I want to do it” type of thing. It really is a pain management thing.

So – I am not going to have surgery right now. I can run if I can manage the pain. I need to get fit and in shape without running 6 days a week, so I came up with a pretty good plan, which will include a ton of nutritional work as well as some eastern practices.

  1. The diet will be changed to a “tendon friendly” diet- This means taking out fried foods – red meat – dairy – and processed sugars. I will be adding in a multivitamin and bone broth supplement which reportedly help with tendon health.
  2. I will take up yoga. May as well spend a good chunk of time limbering up in the process of putting off surgery – It will only make it easier if I do decide to cut and splice again. I found a place near our home that does some hot yoga, which I like. I will start this week and will plan on 2 days each week.
  3. The gym – I  will be back in 2 days a week. Lifting to make sure I improve my strength and balance before making any decisions regarding tendons. This will make any surgery easier on me.
  4. Acupuncture – I am going to visit an acupuncturist and see if they can come up with a plan that might help me improve what I have going on. I have heard good things from others, and honestly, it can’t hurt.

I spent a good 10 minutes completely throwing a hissy fit once I got back to my car in the parking lot and then realized I have been basically moping and making excuses for 3 long years. I needed to take control of this situation.

So I sat down last night, made a plan and today put things into action. I need to find a way through this and I really need to run again. I have only run a handful of days in the past 3 years. I think if I follow this plan, I have a chance to continue to run with everyone until I make a decision on replacing this tendon.

That’s where we are – – –  Is it 2019 yet?

2 thoughts on “Set backs and plans

  1. Julie Wilkens

    Eric–Good luck. I had to make some dietary changes over the past year and found the America’s Test Kitchen vegan cookbook to be excellent. The recipes are not all fried food/processed sugar free but it’s tasty enough that everyone eats from it.

    Also, the Engine 2 Diet is oil-free and vegan (it feels a little cult-y, but recipes are good mostly) and Thug Kitchen is both vegan and right up your alley attitude-wise: https://www.thugkitchen.com/

    (And for the record, I’ve never had surgery but I got a giant Achilles lump once when I trained for the only marathon I’ve ever run–only once I was up above 16 miles or so for training runs. It has caused me to avoid that kind of training for the rest of my life.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: I’m a yogi now – Emerging Trail

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