Well, two months and one day actually. Surgery seems like a long time ago but in many ways the time has flown. When I last wrote a monthly recap, I was still non weight bearing and in a boot. Now I’m closing in on a week of walking around in regular shoes.
Here is a quick recap of Month 2: I was cleared to partial weight bear right around the week 5 mark. Even more excitingly, I was allowed to start riding my bike on the trainer in my boot and begin aqua jogging. I started physical therapy around week 7. Then one day shy of week 8, I took the boot off and walked a few steps at physical therapy. Two days later I was fully walking for the entire day. Things certainly moved fast the past few weeks. In some ways I wish I could have seen into the future the first few weeks after surgery and known that by week 8, I would be walking around. My doctor always gave me very broad time frames and was noncommittal on anything beyond the next appointment. I can see why though. There are countless tales of woe out there in Internetland from others who had this surgery and were nowhere near as far along as me at this point.
I can swim normally now and even push off with both feet on the wall. (I’m rather out of swimming shape though and really need to get back to group workouts.) Since I started riding my bike on the trainer, I’ve been riding every other day. I started out at ten minutes and then increased by ten minutes each time. I have settled around 75 minutes because, well, even with Zwift you can only ride inside for so long…Yesterday,I did my first really hard workout of bike intervals. It’s been some time since I did anything really horribly anaerobic and it was quite a shock to the system. An easy warm up, then 8 x 1:00 on/off at 9-9.5/10 effort. Of course I went too hard on the first one and then things got more dreadful as it went along. High intensity interval training (HIIT) really does hurt in the moment but packs such a powerful punch in terms of fitness effect. I swear it makes you age backwards too.
Walking on the other hand is nowhere near that level of awesomeness. I have very little flexibility in my ankle which means I can only limp along taking small steps right now. I feel a low grade pressure at the bottom of my heel and have the sensation of the padding on the bottom of my foot being gone (it’s not). It gets a little better every day though.
Most importantly, being able to get up off the couch and walk to the kitchen is amazing. It has made life so, so much easier. Taking a shower standing up feels glorious. There are moments though when the steadily upward trajectory is not steep enough. I was slowly stepping over cones at physical therapy the other day, a simple movement which turned out to be extremely hard because my stability is shot to pieces on my right side. A wave of tearfulness and self pity threatened. I felt a sudden urge (which thankfully I resisted) to howl that I used to be good at these kinds of things.
My physical therapist is turning out to be excellent and is very invested in my progress. He thinks I’m doing well and actually thanked me for being a good patient the other day. His last Haglund’s surgery patient became super frustrated after a couple of sessions when he wasn’t cleared to run and never came back. On that last point, people keep asking me when I can start running. The truth is I really don’t know and the only thing I feel confident about saying is that it will happen when the time is right. Maybe in a few months, maybe in many months. Right now, I feel that it will take me weeks if not a couple of months until I am walking 100 percent again, so that’s all I’m focused on for now. Well, that and the trial team assignment I have looming over me. I have eleven days of relative freedom left before I deploy to the trial site. I don’t think the novelty of walking will be wearing off before then.