From "Can't Walk" to "Like to Run" (Warning: Surgery pics)

Apologies to my MFP friends who've already heard the story. I thought I'd share it here too as a way of paying back to the peeps who've helped inspire me.:smile:

In 2007, I was working out with my younger brother, studying/practicing football fundamentals. He was playing linebacker and I was playing running back. I ran a drag route, caught the ball, stiff-armed my brother, and then turned and accelerated to spring toward the end-zone (that taught him to play soft coverage on me over the middle:) Four or five steps after the stiff-arm and subsequent acceleration, I heard a loud "snap" and felt immediate pain in my left leg.

I thought Mike had dived at my leg, but when I turned around to yell at him, I saw he was not near me and had, instead of diving, taken an angle to cut me off on my path toward the end zone. Puzzled, I turned...hopped a few times toward the end zone, and then lay myself down on the ground and started feeling my ankle area with my hands to confirm the source of the pain. Having been around football for years, I knew about Achilles ruptures and I feared that that's what had happened to me. Eventually, I would find out, confirmed by doctors, that it was indeed a complete rupture of the Achilles and that I had a long road ahead of me in terms of recovery.


Recovery had a number of setbacks. For various reasons, surgery was delayed. When I finally had surgery, the docs had to remove tendons from my toes to strengthen and give blood flow to the Achilles. The wound opened up at one point and I contracted a staph infection. I wore a pic line for almost six months. The wound failed to re-close on its own and I had a number of subsequent surgeries...ultimately turning to a plastic surgeon for help...before the wound closed and I could begin to heal. My muscles atrophied enough, and some were lost during the time between the injury and surgery, that my left leg will always be a little smaller than my right (my brothers call it my "spare tire leg";). I ended up not walking at all for almost a year and then, when I started walking again, I had to wear a heeled-support and use a cane.

By the end of 2009, I could walk again with some proficiency, if with some limping. I had to wear good shoes since some toe tendons had been removed thus rendering the toes less-than-helpful with walking/retaining balance/etc. By the end of 2010, I could walk without a noticeable limp (though at the end of a long day, my leg/foot was certainly tired and would often cramp up). In 2011, my leg/foot had regained sufficient strength that I'd go for long walks without too much pain.

In 2012, I ran a 5k (I kind of shuffled/walked the whole thing and I was SUPER sore for almost a week afterward). 13a7c2ad-ed9e-40b1-97a1-97cdff0c1d27.jpg
Earlier this year, I started doing cardio (30 Day Shred, etc.) (previously, I'd been unable to withstand much, if any, exercise that had much impact...but at this point, I was able to do it.) Earlier this year, I ran a 5k, was surprised at how well I did, and then decided that it was time I started running again. I've been running consistently since then and plan to continue.

Last month, I ran a Half Marathon. I finished in 02:09:47 (just under my ten-minute-mile goal. Later that night, while reflecting on the race, I got emotional because the run signaled to me that my "recovery journey" was over. I of course intend to keep running, so THAT's not "over"...but I feel like I've finally "caught up" to where I ought to be, and now I can just focus on becoming a fit person instead of trying to just become a functioning one.
I'm proud of myself for that little "comeback milestone". Similarly, I'm proud of all my MFP friends who are overcoming obstacles and reaching all their little comeback milestones. I'm proud to be on the same team as you and pushing in the same direction--fit and healthy living for a fulfilling life.

#goyou #gome #goteammfp


  • Healthy_4_Life2
    Healthy_4_Life2 Posts: 595 Member
    Wow!!! You are so inspirational!! Talk about overcoming a lot to get to where you are right now. Thanks for sharing your story. It motivates me and I am sure it will motivate may of us here. Keep doing the fabulous job you are doing. :flowerforyou:
  • zebszee
    zebszee Posts: 31 Member
    well done......heaps of courage........and a strong will to keep on going......good luck to you..........:smile:
  • blueboxgeek
    blueboxgeek Posts: 574 Member
    Awesome.... absolutely awesome work! *claps*
  • Donners185
    Donners185 Posts: 329 Member
    Where theres a will theres a way!!! Fantastic work and commitment!!! :heart:
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
    Thank you. Keep on trucking!
    Great dedication to overcome the injury!
  • cinrn68
    cinrn68 Posts: 215 Member
    Congrats on your amazing accomplishment! I'm so happy for you that you were able to persevere and make a full recovery. Definitely not an easy process, but so worth it in the longrun. You're definitely an inspiration to many! Very cool pics btw.
  • FixIngMe13
    FixIngMe13 Posts: 405 Member

    Talk about dedication and motivation!!! You are awesome!!! Congrats and man.. you are now my hero!!! :flowerforyou:
  • TamaraKat
    TamaraKat Posts: 533 Member
    Wow man; that is amazing stuff! I'm just phasing out of recovery at the moment myself -
    When I was 8, I had skin grafting surgeries on my leg and took a long time to recover from that (learning to walk, etc etc).
    Last year I was involved in a motorcycle-vs-van hit and run accident and broke 6 bones in my leg which took some more months!
    But this...
    ...what you did is inspiring!
  • thebigcb
    thebigcb Posts: 2,210 Member
    Where did you get the Irish Jersey?
  • PJ_73
    PJ_73 Posts: 331 Member
    Not surprised you are proud of yourself, love! I am proud and I don't even know ya!

    Great that MFP has been such a motivation and support for you - well done!
  • pandamonium1987
    pandamonium1987 Posts: 47 Member
    This is really inspirational!
    I have weird knees that dislocate themselves...( I know, eew right?) In conjunction with that, I used to be a long distance runner. I was really good. But alas, my knees gave out, and so began my struggle to simply walk without it feeling like there are shards of glass in my knees. I've had numerous surgeries and I know the intensive effort you had to put in to recover from this.

    For me, I won't ever be able to run/jump again, but I'm really thankful that I can still walk normally (unless I'm walking downhill or down a flight of stairs...)

    Congrats! And good luck with your future progress!
  • dorothytd
    dorothytd Posts: 1,138 Member
    Great story - thank you!!
  • boehle
    boehle Posts: 5,062 Member
    :love: :flowerforyou:
  • Nyksta
    Nyksta Posts: 241 Member
    Congratulations on overcoming all of the obstacles thrown at you and being determined to work your way back to the fitness level you were. A good reminder that nothing can completely stop us in our paths :)
  • Dauntlessness
    Dauntlessness Posts: 1,489 Member
    Wow! That is amazing!!! I'm glad you recovered so well.

    Stuff like that doesn't gross me out.:laugh:
  • megalin9
    megalin9 Posts: 771 Member
    Holy cow. First of all, those surgery pics are AWESOMELY gross. I love it. Second, you are super inspiring. I have been dealing with some pretty significant back pain, feeling like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm feeling better, but in the back of my mind, I've been wondering if I'll ever be able to be as fit as I want because I will always be fearful of reinjuring myself. You have really inspired me to not allow those thoughts into my head, to give myself TIME to heal, and to work back up to the things that I want and CAN do. Congrats to you for your incredible achievement.
  • renatewolfe
    renatewolfe Posts: 91 Member
    Thanks for sharing. Your determination gives me hope and inspiration. What an incredible comeback!
  • karllundy
    karllundy Posts: 1,490 Member
    THIS is a fantastic story! Way to stick with it and move forward! Very inspirational!
  • AllonsYtotheTardis
    AllonsYtotheTardis Posts: 16,947 Member
  • loserbaby84
    loserbaby84 Posts: 241 Member
    Amazing and so inspirational! Leaves the average joe thinking, "If he can do it, I surely can!"

    Thank you for sharing!!
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