March 18, 2020
7 min read
About 7 years ago, I started working out. My eating habits finally caught up with me and I needed to change. So I started working out with a couple different personal trainers over a couple years, I did many off-road obstacle courses including several Tough Mudders. I started getting bored so decided to train for a full marathon and I got up to running 18 miles at one time which was meant to be my max training length but I was having lots of pain in my feet with my left being the worse. My wife got pregnant and figuring I needed to rest (was coming off another Tough Mudder in Chicago) I stopped running. After a long time, the pain lessened but it never went away. I had to change the way I slept and I bought myself a medical boot off Amazon for when I would aggravate it.
First Doctor Visit
In October of 2018, I decided enough of my self healing that wasn’t working, I needed a doctor’s assistance. Got some X-Rays taken and was diagnosed with Retrocalcaneal Bursitis and was told to get some heel lifts to put in my shoes and I could get cortisone shots in my heel and there is a surgical option. Got the heel lifts and went on my way… to not use the lifts because they were uncomfortable.
Back to self managing I went. I would aggravate my left heel often as I did anything physical it seemed, like re-side my house and replace all 25 windows. I’d be known to randomly walk around wearing this medical boot and would have to wear a shoe on my right foot because hobbling around on just the boot was killing my back.
Second Doctor Visit
Ok, self managing wasn’t working. I could get by but I was always hurting and I never wanted to do too much and I have a four year old that wants to be active and play outside. So about a month ago, back to the orthopedic doctor again where I got more X-Rays taken (since the others were too long ago) and I was told I had Haglund’s deformity. This time, I asked about the surgery because I’d like to take care of this once and never have to worry about it again. But I was told the recovery was 5-6 months and he didn’t want to go into detail ont he recovery since that wasn’t his deal, he wasn’t going to be the one operating or managing my recovery and so I got a referral to their surgeon that was a couple weeks after.
I wanted to try the cortisone shot out even though it would be temporary, I wasn’t sure if I would be getting the surgery done now since the recovery could be long and wasn’t sure what that’d actually mean. I got two shots in my left heel which hurt like a bitch! Must have been the largest needle they had.
Went in for my next appointment with the surgeon. Nurse took my vitals and luckily my blood pressure was pretty normal (I tend to have high blood pressure from my lifestyle of not doing anything and drinking energy drinks). Next came in a PA (Physician Assistant) which did go in depth on what the recovery would mean. Basically, first two weeks would be non-weight bearing and I’d have a splint in. I’d get that taken out and then spend 4 weeks still non-weight bearing in a cast. After that I’m in a medical boot for a couple months till I’m back to normal. During the first 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, I could scoot around in a knee scooter. This recovery didn’t sound bad at all, I was quite relieved.
So then I got to talk to the surgeon about the surgery. He asked if there was ever a specific moment that I went from little-to-no pain to a lot of pain because the back of my heal where I had the extra calcium growth, there was a little piece that had broken off. He further went in to what he was going to have to do. Since the Achilles tendon was calcifying, he was going to have to remove about 1.5 inches of the tendon. This means that my Achilles tendon wasn’t going to be long enough so he was going to have to basically supplement it with another tendon. There are two tendons going to your big toe and the one for the furthest knuckle could be used although this would be I wouldn’t be able to curl that toe but I’d still be able to bend the toe, no biggie.
So the surgery was going to be a bit more involved than I had previously known and the recovery was going to be much better than I expected. Let’s schedule it! Right?
All Hell Broke Loose
Before I tell you what happened, I’ll tell you some more of my history. Two decades ago, when I was a teenager, there were a couple times I just randomly passed out. Yes, randomly. I didn’t have to do bunch of physical things (I was very active with different spots). There was one time, I stood up, walked over to where my mom was cooking breakfast and next thing I know I’m waking up on the couch my dad carried me to. I’d be out for 15-20 seconds but when I came to I was all good. Did bunch of tests (stress test, echo, tilt table, etc) but the doctors never knew what was wrong. I was told to eat more salt and keep my electrolytes up.
I bet you can guess what I’m about to tell you happened when talking to the surgeon. Yes, I got very hot, started sweating, got dizzy and passed out. When I came too, I was all sweaty and was told I said a few things I don’t remember and I was out for a couple minutes this time.
Yep, great to be talking to a surgeon about having surgery when you faint. So now I have to see another doctor before I go back to see the surgeon in a month. Tomorrow I go in to get a monitor I have to wear for 24hrs (may be 48hrs, don’t remember). Then on the 31st I go back to talk to the actual Cardiologist.
What Is It?
Over the last couple decades, I’ve had those tests and some followup tests (just had another echo about 5 years ago). Everything checks out with these tests so I’m not sure what this round will find. I do know each doctor has different experience and this doctor may have had something similar before, I go along with things and keep a notebook about these to tell the next doctor. But is it a cardiovascular issue or is it more mental? Are these just anxiety attacks? Course, the first couple times it happened were in situations where there shouldn’t have been any anxiety but there also wasn’t anything that would require lots of blood flow.
Hopefully, when I see my orthopedic doctor next month my surgery isn’t delayed because of the cardiologist. If it is, then ok. I’m really hoping to be back to walking without any assistance by October/November time. I promised my daughter that we could go to Disney World (which should be reopened by then) and I don’t like breaking promises even if there is a good reason. I also really want to get back to working out and getting on a diet so lots of reasons I want to get things taken care of.
Written by Mitchell Simoens who is a long time nerd developing software and building computers and gadgets. Anything expressed on this website are Mitchell Simoens's alone and do not represent his employer.