The difficulty I have had when it comes to updating my blog about my injury is that my mind only wants to write while I am in training. I compose thoughts and paragraphs during tempo runs, aqua jogging sessions, and lazy afternoon core routines. I believe my writing process stems from my younger days as a dancer. I would choreograph in my head while dancing, work out a math problem that was bothering me, or think of ways to resolve some dispute that threatened my standings in the social hierarchy of middle school. My first aqua jogging session back after surgery was exhilarating for this reason. It was like someone turned my brain back on after six long weeks of hibernation. Luckily for anyone reading this post, most of my ideas fade away once I take the aqua belt off, but the satisfaction that can only come with an internal, intellectual debate remains.
2 weeks in a splint non-weight bearing.
2 weeks in a boot partial-full weight bearing.
4 weeks of PT that proved to me that I am so out of shape that stretching makes me sweat
Full ROM returned to my ankle, yay!
2 weeks of running with blissful joy
After enjoying a run where I was actually feeling fit and feisty, my foot ballooned up. I distinctly remember sitting at a Rueben’s Burger Bistro and feeling the edema seep into my ankle and foot until my ASICS GT-1000 became extremely tight. The next morning I woke up and tried to run. It was a no go, so I hobbled home, did NOT cry, and promptly spent the rest of the day with my foot in an ice bucket. I wish I could tell you what exactly was inflamed, but I honestly do not know. I can tell you that my peroneals are OKAY and are not the ailing part of my foot. The surgery fixed those peroneal tendons in ways I did not think were possible. My heart tells me that I just pushed a little too quickly after surgery and the gnarly scar tissue surrounding my ankle was not up for the challenge quite yet. I backed off the cross training for a few days, treated the inflamed foot with care, and respected its wishes to come back a little slower. Two weeks later and I am transitioning back into running, but much slower this time and my cross training regimen is back in full force the past week.
Speaking of scar tissue, I do not think anything could have prepared me for the amount of scar tissue surrounding my ankle right now. I refer to it as my pregnant ankle, in jest, because it is at least twice the size of my right ankle. It is getting better with lots of therapy and time, but this recovery process has really tested my patience, my self-confidence, and my self-worth. My advice to anyone getting tendon surgery is take all your time goals and double them. I wish I would have ignored my jiggling backside and had put off my first run for a couple more weeks. I should have spent a few more days in that dreadful boot. Your recovery will go a lot smoother (although no recovery is smooth) if you let go a little. Be diligent with your therapy, obsessive about sleeping, eat protein until you are going to burst, but relax about a time frame. Although our society literally runs on a clock, our body’s healing capacity does not care if it has been eight days or ten days and we need to respect that. Oh, and for goodness sake, calm down about cross training. We runners are desperate to hold on to every ounce of fitness our body possesses, but sometimes what your body craves most is actual rest. Fitness can always return, fat cells can shrink, but tendon rehabilitation is not something to push.
The best fall out of this recovery so far, besides healed peroneal tendons, is the relationships I have developed, strengthened, and mended during this process. My fitness may have been at an all time high this fall, but I have never been so torn apart emotionally. I promised myself that when I am back in PR shape after this surgery, healed tendon in tow, I would be healthy inside and out. For that reason, I want to thank everyone who has healed me...inside and out. Marcus Allen Hille is not only the reason I can run pain free right now, but has also helped me heal emotionally the past 6 months. He is literally a life and career saver, whether he knows it or not. Dr. Richard Hansen has also worked wonders in returning my ankle to full function and getting me off the bench and back on the field. My parents, who treated me like a queen for six weeks straight, deserve a medal. I do not think anyone has been spoiled as much as I was for the six weeks I spent at home. All of this could not have been possible without Dr. Furia surgically repairing my damaged tendons and I am thankful to have been guided by Dr. Brian Fullem and Dr Amol Saxena’s expertise. There are a million other people that deserve thanking through all this time for being supportive friends and you all know who you are! Last, but certainly not least, I am EXTREMELY grateful to have ASICS America’s support through my injury and the long, slow rehab process. They are not only a fantastic sponsor, but a great support system as well. I promise to come back and race my heart out in my ASICS jersey and I hope to make everyone proud.
As for now, I am about 9 weeks post-op and I am SLOWLY building back the physical fitness I had this fall (and hopefully even more!) as a new and improved Molly.