Major Surgery for Maureen?

Many of you have seen me zipping around the restaurant with my mini knee scooter over the past week or so.  To save myself from having to tell the story over and over again I thought I would fill you in on the situation and share with you the “below the belt” hit we took while I am down. So, here we go…

Many of you know that my body produces all kinds of stuff; primarily arthritis, bone spurs, gallstones and kidney stones. I had surgery 15 years ago for a bone spur that was impinging on a nerve in my left shoulder. Also, I have a bone spur and arthritis in my right hip. Seven years ago a bone spur started forming on the back of my left heel. It was not super painful and I always wore open-back, clog style, tennis shoes at the cafe, so it really did not bother me too much.  I just did not buy any shoes that had a back to them.  Yes, it would hurt every now and then; but it was not totally disrupting my life.  My motto is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

A few weeks ago; without warning, things changed. The back of my heel, calf and back of my knee were really hurting and I was walking with a pronounced limp for about 4 days.  I struggled through my normal 11 hour Saturday and was in agony. By the time I got home the only way I could move around was by crawling on my hands and knees.  When I awoke Sunday morning, I tried to walk on it and the pain was right up there with my kidney stones, so I knew I had a big problem and immediately went down on my hands and knees to get to the bathroom.

Dave went to open the cafe and my sister took me to urgent care; they took an x-ray, gave me steroids, immobilized me, put me on crutches and gave me an urgent referral to an orthopedist.  Urgent care said: “bone spur, inflamed, degenerating Achilles tendon and calcifying Achilles tendon”. The next day the orthopedist took a few more x-rays and told me what the problem is:

Insertional Achilles Tendinosis with Bone Spur. Basically, the bone spur is wearing away/shredding my Achilles tendon where it attaches to the heel.  It is also calcifying.  Yesterday,  I had an appointment with a top doctor at MedStar Union Memorial who specializes in this issue (and wow, this man understands Celiac Disease too!).  In addition to no vertical movement; he brought it to my attention that I don’t have any strength or lateral movement in the ankle/foot from left to right. (mmm..who knew; I never noticed!) Another contributing factor could be the doses of Cipro I took several times this year for kidney infections  (side effect: it can cause issues with tendons). I am scheduled for an MRI to figure out what is going on.

Basically, the only permanent fix is surgery. Detaching what is left of the tendon, removing the bone spur and then re-attaching by taking a tendon out of my foot/big toe and moving it to the heel. They will know more when the MRI is done. Avoiding surgery is optimal..but not a guarantee.

I spent five days at home on my couch with my leg elevated and went stir crazy. My first day back was Friday of Memorial Weekend (we wanted to be open for all of you). Many of you hear me say that whenever we close over a holiday, someone always has something nasty to say..usually on our answering machine.  This time, it was worse. Of course; someone left a beyond nasty review on Trip Advisor saying we are “Rude” because we closed early on Sunday. They were upset because we would not re-open for them after showing up an hour after we closed; while Dave was mopping the floor. Our staff was long gone and they wanted me to re-open the kitchen and make them a sandwich. You all know that we posted holiday weekend hours in the cafe, on door, on facebook, twitter, website and my blog; weeks prior. They went by a third party’s website info. They also accused us of just being in it for the money.  Come on people, really? We still don’t take a paycheck!  They were upset because they were on their way to DC and drove out of their way (3 miles off of Rt 95), but in the review, they said the drove 8 hours just to come here and their four year old is disappointed. Wow, poor planning on their part. So, instead of taking responsibility for their poor planning, we are deemed “rude” and in it for the money.  Anyway, I just cant win; it takes a lot to rock my world and these people really  hit us below the belt. I am not a big crier, but I cried my eyes out over this one and started wondering why I am even bothering to do this. Either way, I definitely overdid it at work Memorial Weekend.

Going forward, I have to get the inflammation down, but I cannot take any NSAIDs (anti inflammatory drugs), so I am “screwed”.  A compounding pharmacy made me a special NSAID cream that I can massage into the heel and calf, and it will not absorb into my system like taking an oral NSAID, but definitely does not work as well. It needs rest to get swelling down.

I am in a cast/boot (24/7) for another 4 weeks in order to relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation.  The good news is that it only hurts if I try to use it or walk on it. So, I have this really cool knee scooter so I can zip around the cafe; complete with a bell and a handy basket on the front handle bars.

So, I will be scooting around for a while longer and will let you all know more after the MRI and if/when I schedule the surgery.  The ultimate goal is to avoid surgery, but I may have to do it. Recovery is long after this type of surgery, no weight bearing, for at least 8 weeks, suture removal in a couple weeks and then a hard cast. Full recovery  can take up to a year.

Either way, I plan to be at the restaurant as much as I can..and you will see me hobbling around or on my scooter for quite a while. Yes; I am ready for all the jokes and teasing that you all will be sending my way!

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in our bodies and it connects our calf muscles to our heel bone and is necessary for walking, running and jumping. Don’t mess around or put off seeing a doctor, even if it is not causing severe pain because the worse it gets, the more complicated the fix!

Achilles tendon


17 thoughts on “Major Surgery for Maureen?

  1. Maureen, don’t let the naysayers get you down. They do not walk in your shoes (no pun intended). There are many people out there who don’t consider anyone but themselves. I know you are a good person, and I hope you are able to overcome this malady soon. Godspeed.


    1. So sorry, Maureen, that you have had to go through all this. I will be sending you lots of healing energy and love.


  2. Oh Maureen – We are so sorry to hear about your latest health challenge….you surely have been through the wringer! You are great at adapting to your circumstances but I hope you get some good pain relief and long-term answers soon…praying for you!


  3. I had the exact same thing a few years ago. Do the surgery!!!! You will ask yourself after why you didn’t have it sooner. Good luck to you!!!!!


    1. Maureen, we are so sorry for all that you are going thru…our thoughts and prayers are with you!
      Also, I am so saddened to read that someone gave you a bad review…shame on them. Not only is your food amazing, but you, Dave, & the whole staff are too…and we are so grateful that you have dedicated your time & energy to give families a “safe place” to eat out!
      I know we haven’t made it in to see you guys in a long time, but we think of you often!
      🙂 Susie, Jeff, & Anisa


  4. Maureen, we are so sorry for all that you are going thru…our thoughts and prayers are with you!
    Also, I am so saddened to read that someone gave you a bad review…shame on them. Not only is your food amazing, but you, Dave, & the whole staff are too…and we are so grateful that you have dedicated your time & energy to give families a “safe place” to eat out!
    I know we haven’t made it in to see you guys in a long time, but we think of you often!
    🙂 Susie, Jeff, & Anisa


  5. Seriously? What a nasty, reality show culture we have become. I have celiac disease and a newly diagnosed, quite dangerous and rare gluten allergy on top of it. This now requires EpiPen possession at all times. I live in Atlanta and come to your restaurant when I’m in the area, typically once a year. I try to eat every meal there while I’m in town and long to be able to eat there the rest of the year. Maureen, I am GRATEFUL for your family’s commitment to people like me. And people like me know better than to ever attack you for something so ridiculous, or frankly, for any reason. I’m 53 years old and was diagnosed at 31, following 31 years of illness and suffering. This is not a trend or a healthy lifestyle choice for me. People like me appreciate you, pray for a speedy recovery and will wait patiently for you to return to the restaurant, when and only when you and your doctors deem it appropriate. I’m headed to Trip Advisor now to throw a counterpunch….


  6. So sorry to hear of your recent health challenge and especially about that rude person. I came from Rockville for lunch today and truly enjoyed your food, as always! I hope that you’re feeling better soon. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking of you – take care!


  7. Maureen, Do take care of yourself first – and then you will still be able to take care of the rest of us! And don’t let the truly rude people of this world get you down. Your friends and customers know the real you and the phenomenal job that you do at the restaurant and in every area of your life.
    Sending love and best wishes from WA state!


  8. Thank goodness for you, Dave and your PLACE ! Just came by for Sliced turkey and roast beef.
    Did not know of your problem, but your staff took care of it. We have not found all that Kerry’s
    problems, but know he is now also sensitive to pork and more. The celiac diet just does not work.
    Hope you recover and know you have the will to make it. Betty & Gerry Griffin


  9. Maureen,
    So sorry for all your Achille’s issues. Dont know anyone who works harder than you. You cant please everybody all the time. Don’t beat yourself up over not being at everyone’s disposal. Sh– happens and it’s not your fault. Thank you for your dedication. Heal quickly and well! Be good to yourself. If you dont take care of yourself, you cant take care of others. Godspeed. Diane


  10. Maureen, Take as long as you need to heal. You are important… your employees and the restaurant will survive, too. You taught them all they need to know to serve celiac and gluten-intolerant patrons to ONE DISH. All the best to you and your family!


  11. I wonder if there could be another disorder going on other than celiac? Many of those symptoms are found for example, in Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and maybe others? Just mention it because often when mystery symptoms are present then more could be going on than anyone could think. Also there is a difficult precedent of autoimmune conditions and problems being a ‘collect them all’ kind of thing, and I know that celiac can be found alongside many, many other disorders, and that is it rarely a simple matter of cutting out just gluten and then being fine as many doctors seem to think.

    Hope you feel better soon, and rest well, and heal.


  12. Love and prayers coming your way. So sorry these people hurt you after all you do for all of us. Take care of yourself and know they will get theirs- karma…….


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