View Full Version : Dip in the River Styx

June 26th, 2013, 11:19 PM
This past Friday, I got to spend 2 -- count 'em, TWO -- fun-filled hours getting a few dozen MRI scans of my Achilles tendon. (this is the same Achilles tendon that I injured in mid-April, then re-injured a few weeks later). It has now been 10 weeks and while I'm not limping as much as I was, it's obvious that "taking it easy" isn't getting me very far recovery-wise.

Yesterday I met with my foot specialist to discuss the results. He showed me the MRI images, pointed out the large bone spur (trust me, don't need special equipment to see that one), pointed out the tiny bone fragments embedded in the tendon, and then pointed out the other white areas of the tendon. Something I didn't know about looking at images of a tendon on an MRI: If it's dark, it's good. If it's light or white, it's bad. Right where the tendon attaches to the heel, there is a significant amount of white. And all that white represents tiny little tears. And those are the source of my pain.

We sat and discussed options. Option 1: The Conservative Approach: I take it even more easy than I have been, get fitted with a sexy black walking boot, which will be my constant companion for 6 - 8 weeks, effectively immobilizing my foot and giving that tendon a chance to heal. At the end of 2 - 3 months, we see where we stand and hope for the best. Of course, if that doesn't work, we have no alternative but to operate. Which brings us to Option 2: The Aggressive Approach: We start with surgery to remove bone spur, fragments, and stitch up the tears. I then get fitted with a sexy black walking boot, which will be my constant companion for 6 - 8 weeks, effectively immobilizing my foot and giving that tendon a chance to heal. At the end of 2 - 3 months, I should be all better.

What's that, you say? Option 1 and Option 2 have striking similarities except for the "S" word? Well, yes. Option 1 is a maybe fix. Option 2 is a definite fix. And the doc said that while he's happy to pursue whichever of these options I prefer, given that we've already invested 2 1/2 months into taking it easy, he's not holding out hope for that one.

Hope I came to talk to DH, because I value his opinion on big decisions like this and he said, "Well, you do whatever you think is best for you." After hearing this several times, I told him that's a bull**** answer and a major copout. Because whichever way I choose, if I lament or complain about it later, he can say, "Well, this is the decision YOU made." Eventually, grudgingly, DH admitted that if he were in my shoes, so to speak, he'd go for the surgery. Which, honestly, is the way I'm leaning. SO ready to be done with this! Calling the doc tomorrow to get the ball rolling.

Once having voiced his opinion, DH was suddenly quite verbose, and shared the following with me:

Ya know, babe, you don't need to go to the hospital to have the surgery. I've got a scalpel and a suture kit in my old Army Medic bag. I can cut you open and stitch things up for you. And as far as reattaching the tendon, I figure a couple of grabber screws will work. And there's always duct tape! (pause) We might have to hit your doctor up for a prescription of Lidocaine, though, because I think I'm out. Told him I was glad he loves me, and that I was afraid of how he'd treat me if he didn't. Oh, I'd do it exactly the same. Just wouldn't use the Lidocaine!

June 26th, 2013, 11:22 PM
So sorry this pain has gone on for so long! I hope you are able to make a wise decision to the next phase of your recovery........both including that sexy boot, in summer that will be miserable!!! I sure hope this is not the right foot that you use to operate your sewing machine with!!!!!

June 26th, 2013, 11:24 PM
Meli, I think you are choosing the best option - at least this way once you are done with the 6-8 weeks in the boot you are done. If you choose option 1, you could be in the boot for 6-8 weeks, then surgery and then 6-8 more weeks in the boot. I know surgery won't be fun, but there is at least an end in sight to all of the pain you have been in. I am sure glad that your DH is not your doc - his methods sound painful even with the lidocaine! Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

June 26th, 2013, 11:25 PM
Oh, Meli, I feel for you! I tend toward achilles tendonitis, so I know the pain you're experiencing.

I think I would probably opt for the surgery. Only you know if you've been able to rest it. If you've been able to and it still hasn't healed, then surgery is probably a given. But if you think that sexy black boot would give you more rest, it might be worth a try.

Please keep us posted!

June 26th, 2013, 11:46 PM
Whatever you decide (sure won't be the duct tape, grabber screws, scalpel and suture kit from the old medic bag), I hope that it goes well for you. If you do decide to go the surgical route (not by DH, but by the actual real surgeon), then be sure to follow the surgeon & physical therapy instructions to the letter during recovery. I have learnt through experience (2 knee reconstructions, 3 years apart) that the recovery phase is really important. If you rush things you can slow recovery down. Every day after surgery is a day closer to full recovery!! I'm sure you'll be well looked after.
If this is your left leg, then you'll have to find some way to set your left foot elevated on something, whilst you drive sewing machine with right foot. If it is right foot, then you'll have to learn to drive machine left footed. If you don't think either of those is going to work, then have plenty of hand stitching ready on hand to get you through.
All the very best to you and a speedy recovery post surgery (if you do decide to go ahead).

June 26th, 2013, 11:47 PM
I developed this very same problem early last fall, October 9th to be exact! Got a boot on October 13th, and wore it for the next five months. Is my problem gone? No. Is it better? Yes. Can I wear shoes with backs? Usually not. I also, when I wear a shoe with a back, have to wear an insert inside the shoe.

The same time this flared up, the two bone spurs in my heel decided they could not be left out! Those caused severe plantars faciitis. In February I had a cortisone injection...hurt like a mother *************. (sorry, but it did!) After about ten days, that started working and about a month later was when the boot came off. Don't know what I will do if it ever snows because I won't be able to wear a snow boot....can't wear high heels either.

After our vacation to Hawaii this winter, if it's still bothering me, I will at that time push for surgery, but I'm not doing that before. Besides, I'm kinda getting used to the pain.

June 27th, 2013, 01:20 AM
I think at this point surgery is the only option. At least that way there is an end in sight, in the same time frame, and you won't have to wait for the inevitable.

K. McEuen
June 27th, 2013, 02:29 AM
I don't blame you for not wanting to drag it out. I hope your surgery goes well.

Sew Perfect
June 27th, 2013, 02:54 AM
Gotta love the medic! I would hope you would not need surgery, but on the other hand, if it is the quickest way to get better. Spurs are so painful and torturous. Why keep going through that? Been there, done that. Not fun! praying for you, Meli.

June 27th, 2013, 03:23 AM
Such a supportive DH. I would be tempted to tell him I had an idea for the duct tape. Hope all heals well.

June 27th, 2013, 08:12 AM
I think I would have gone with Option 2 myself. Good luck on the surgery.

June 27th, 2013, 10:01 AM
I was in " the boot" for twelve weeks two years ago! I was going to bedazzle it lol. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! It was just ugly!

Sandy Navas
June 27th, 2013, 10:54 AM
Not a pleasant choice either way, is it. And, did you explain to DH some of the surgeries you would be happy to perform on him, with or without the use of Lidocaine??

Gotta love the men.

June 27th, 2013, 11:08 AM
I would go for the surgery since you have already invested so much time taking the passive approach with little or no results.

June 27th, 2013, 11:35 AM
Good luck Meli, will keep you in prayer and keep us posted! Hugs going your way!

Miss Sheri
June 27th, 2013, 04:21 PM
Meli, wow, no fun any way you look at it. Hang in there, and go with your gut instincts. I will keep you in my prayers too.

June 27th, 2013, 04:33 PM
My mom was in the boot for awhile, and still has pain, and in her knees too. And my pastors wife just had ankle surgery and is in the boot now - we are trying to convince her to wear a 2nd one and duct tape both of them silver - VBS this year has a knight theme, so we figured they would look like armor.

One other thing - saying "in the boot" makes me think of my brother in law and family - they are from England, and would probably read those sentences as "why is someone in the car?" LOL

June 27th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Surgery would definitely be my vote! Keep us posted. I hope they can schedule it soon so you can get on the road to recovery.

June 27th, 2013, 06:21 PM
So, are you and hubby speaking yet?

Grandma G
June 27th, 2013, 06:47 PM
Glad you still have your sense of humor through all this. I think surgery is the better option, too, and bet you wish you had gone that route from the get go. You would already be in the healing process. Of course, it is easy for me to say since I am not having to go through it. Wish you all the best and will certainly keep you in my prayers. BTW - did DH give you color choices for the duct tape??? :icon_bigsmile:

June 28th, 2013, 07:53 PM
I think DH has been consulting with Cathy... Her solution for my stenosis was some food-grade hose :icon_giggle:

Well, I'm facing a similar decision. I can continue to have my trachea dilated every 4-6 months until I eventually have no other choice but to have a tracheal resection, or I can go ahead and have the resection now. My choice? One big surgery is better than a dozen little ones :) I say go for the surgery, at least in 2 to 3 months you're pretty much guaranteed to be feeling better! Good luck, and keep that hubby away from the OR! lol

June 29th, 2013, 12:01 AM
Your DH is quite the softy, isn't he?? :icon_heh:
Hope it goes well, and that you are done with this whole business quickly.

June 29th, 2013, 01:03 AM
You all crack me up! Yes, DH and I are still talking. One of the reasons I fell in love with him is because he makes me laugh. Every day. And I know he'll take good care of me while I'm immobile.