Thursday, 7 December 2017

My Achillies Rupture

For those of you who know me personally, you'll know that I'm constantly on the go! As well as enjoying being a busy Mum, my Day Spa is my passion and Beauty Therapy runs through my veins.
I am currently running 3 businesses, my first love being 'Cove Spa', second 'Splash Alchemy Make Up' and more recently 'Merrilyn Davey Meditations', to which I am currently editing and mixing, creating a wonderful future library of unique Spa pieces. Yes, I survive on very little sleep.

With 3 very sporty active children all of Primary School age, their extra curricular activities are enough to create a full time job in itself! My daughter graduates next week and I have also put together the entire Year 6 graduation video. Throw in a husband who loves building and designing houses who often requires my interior design ideas and likes to move house regularly and you could say my life is certainly never boring. We have been having 'Home Opens' every Saturday for almost 2 months during my injury, whilst building two other houses! So if you're not exhausted yet, read on.

So throwback to that fateful day late September... my husband Jon who is involved at the local Footy club, had our sons' wind up and was helping present medals to the team, whilst at the same time, my daughter had her Netball wind up in Fremantle. We started with a 'parents vs kids' game. I was enjoying playing GD in the first half as it had been awhile! It was lots of fun and the parents were starting to get a bit competitive. Then, as I ran out to block a centre pass, I felt the muscle on the back of my leg literally go 'BANG' and I fell to the ground. I honestly thought my opponent had tripped over me and accidentally kicked me hard in the back of the leg, but I've since learned that that is how it feels when you tear your achillies!
How embarrassed was I when they bought out the wheel chair on court! All I could think was, "Noooo!! This only happens to OLD people!" Well at 43, I'm having to come to terms with the fact that I'm officially middle aged and as much as I still feel young, my body is telling me otherwise. Thankfully my sister and brother-in-law came to my aid and drove me home that day, little did I know that my drive to Fremantle would be my last driving experience for the rest of the year!

So after the official shock diagnosis of multiple high grade tears of the Achillies Tendon with less than 10% of the tendon fibres still intact, I was given the option of a surgical repair or a splint. Apparently achillies tendons are the slowest to heal and I'd have been back on feet way quicker if I'd broken my ankle! Dr Gerard Taylor from Sportsmed Subiaco said that had the tendon been completely severed, surgery would have been the only option, but the few tiny fibres still hanging on were enough to provide some scaffolding to allow for it to slowly repair itself, so I opted for the splint as I have every confidence that my body has good healing abilities.
The vaco-ped is apparently fairly new technology, only having been around for a few short years.

It's a seriously big, heavy boot that starts off at a 30 degree incline and is gently lowered over time to a neutral position. So basically my toe was pointed downward to shorten the tendon, pushing it back together. It has been with me day and night now for 3 months. That first week is still intrinsically imprinted in my brain as being the week from hell. I felt so claustrophobic wearing it at night, I remember waking in the middle of the night in a mad panic thinking that a shark had hold of my leg! And hanging it back down from the bed in the mornings, the blood would rush back down towards my toes and that was actually the most excruciating part, in fact way worse than the original injury. Showering was also a challenge, so Jon bought me a large plastic stool to sit on which made it easier.

Thankfully over the course of those first weeks, that part improved, but the crutches I found very frustrating as I couldn't carry anything around the house unless it was in a backpack. The boot was also very heavy and having to hold it up all the time made my hip joint ache. So I bought a knee walker and Ohhhh the freedom!
Having a single level house and polished concrete floors was perfect because I could get around very quickly while having free hands for cooking, cleaning and all the household chores. The only downside, was after 8 weeks, my knee constantly being bent and taking all the weight was not very happy with me. However by that time, my boot gone from 30, to 20, to 10 degrees and finally made the neutral position which meant that I could begin putting some weight back on my foot using the boot, which meant the knee walker went into retirement.

2 weeks on and my foot by night, swells to double its size as it gets used to moving again and going any great distance is near on impossible, however I am excited to find out next week exactly when I'll be officially finished with the boot (fingers crossed by Christmas) so I can start some proper rehab. The muscle next to my knee is almost concave now, as is my calf, so according to the Doctor it'll be another 3 months before I'm properly running on it again. Other than that first week when the blood drained to my toes in the mornings, the following 6 weeks were relatively painless. These past 2 weeks I've been quite sore and swollen as I've probably been pushing it by walking way further than I should, but hey it's December and there's lots to do. It'll be interesting to see how I go once the boot officially comes off... I might just crack open a bottle of bubbles to celebrate!

Poor Jon has almost worked himself into the ground having to drive me around and do all the extra jobs I can't do, so he has had an equally frustrating time. But as grumpy as he's been, I love and appreciate him more now than I ever have! My mum has been wonderful helping me out with housework and shopping and my support crew at Cove Spa have been terrific, helping out with all the little things and even ferrying me around a few times, as have my immediate circle of friends. Having such an understanding and helpful support network has kept me positive and in-check when I've fallen in a heap and I can't thank them enough!

So I dearly hope to get back to driving and some normalcy by January next year. Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has sent 'thinking of you' messages and offered to help, and my apologies if I've sometimes forgotten to respond amidst the chaos. It has certainly been a challenging few months but it feels good to be at the tail end!
If you know of anyone who has a similar injury, there is not much written about what to expect on the internet so please feel free to share my experience if you think it will help.
Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas!

Love Jocelyn Derecourt