Friday, February 7th three friends and I played in a competitive 4’s volleyball tournament. During our second match of the night, I went to dig a ball, as I have done at least a million other times in my life. I stepped back and went to step forward into the dig. Right as my body hit the floor, it felt as if someone stepped on the back of my left foot. I looked around, but didn’t see anyone. It mostly felt like a sting of pressure, but mostly it just felt numb. I tried to get up and I couldn’t… Insert: Pure panic.
In less than 6 days, I was due to get on a plane to Hong Kong, crash there for the night. Then on to Bali for 10 days and then on to Thailand for another 10 days. A trip I had been planning for MONTHS. A trip that I had paid in full. A trip in which I was meeting a friend – who was ALREADY in Indonesia.
With a quick stop at my apartment to grab my insurance card, Ingrid, one of my bestests, drove me to the ER. After about two hours, we were seen by a nurse. A quick exam, drug test and another 30 minute wait, the ER doc came in. While she couldn’t do an MRI that night, she informed me that I likely completely tore OR partially tore my achilles tendon. Super.
I was put in a splint, given a pair of crutches and sent home. She recommended that I follow up with an Ortho and get an MRI ASAP. Gotta love 1 am ER visits on a Friday/Saturday morning – nothing was open till Monday. I had two days to wait and wonder.
I was able to get into an amaaazing sports injury doc first thing Monday at Castle Orthopedics in Aurora. They fitted me with a walking cast/boot and I quickly realized how hard this was going to be. I discovered that a walking cast is not exactly that. I couldn’t actually put much weight on it – without my foot/leg hurting. The boot was HEAVY. Crutches were difficult for me to manage. If I was planning on going on this trip, I would need to find ways to make it happen. I spent much of the afternoon researching knee scooters, per the doctor’s recommendation… thinking I could just scoot my way through airports and the streets of Bali. But seriously, WHO was I kidding??? My head knew what I had to do… but my heart hadn’t fully caught up.
Traveling and seeing the world is a drug to me. I LOVE new adventures. I love the thrill of feeling lost in a new place. I love experiencing new cultures. It was so close… I wasn’t ready to give it up. But once I had some time to actually sit down and think, I started to process what was happening. I really thought about what I was about to get myself into. From boarding the plane, getting from the Hong Kong Airport to my hotel… on crutches. Getting ANYWHERE. Not being able to run along the beach, jump in the pool, swim in the ocean, etc. I slowly realized it wasn’t going to be the trip I had imagined.
And that is when reality set it – late Monday night. Where I had a good, hard cry that my trip was going to be cancelled… by me. I next to never cry, but I straight up sobbed my eyes out. Not only was this trip not happening, but more importantly, I realized this wasn’t [in general] going to be an easy road.
The MRI showed that I completely tore my achilles tendon… aka a complete rupture. But I tore it at a point that I was not a candidate for surgery (I didn’t even know that was possible). I would need a cast right away; for which I need to wear for 3.5 weeks and then I’d be back in a boot for another 5 weeks. I cannot put any weight on either cast/boot for the next 8 weeks. Super.
It takes 4-6 months to fully recover from an achilles tendon tear. I could re-rupture it again and be in the same situation a year from now if I don’t let this heal properly. The timing sucks, but there are so many worse things out there that could have happened.
I am only a week and a half into my recovery, but I am BEYOND grateful I have family close-by. I have had to move home for the next month. My apartment in Bucktown is a bit too tricky to get in and out of with crutches. But mostly I have help at my mom’s house. My mom (and sister) have been amazing and step in whenever I need an extra hand… which is about every two feet. As an extremely independent person, it is very hard to ask for help. But there is a lot I just simply cannot do. So I am beyond thankful for all the little and big things people are able to do for me. Thank YOU.
There are several positive things I’ll choose take away from this. 1) I’ll be back to 100% in about 6 months (hopefully) and those locations aren’t going anywhere. 2) I don’t have to have surgery. 3) I had trip insurance and I am 100% covered. 4) Most importantly, my arms and abs are gonna be RIPPED from rocking these (sheep-skin covered) crutches for 8 weeks. All I can do is look forward and work on getting better. In the meantime, I get to rock prime parking, Target scooters and watch a lot of Netflix.
If anything this is an eye-opening and humbling experience all around. I’ve stumbled, slipped and tripped. Not only in reality and metaphorically-speaking as well… but let’s be honest, that’s life in general. We all trip up, we all fall a little – it’s how you handle those types of moments that defines who you are. So as far as my injury is concerned, it’s just one little bump in the road. #bringit