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!