In nearly 40 years of life, the most physical pain I have experienced was rupturing my Achilles tendon muscles – and that happened twice – to both tendons. A year ago this week, I ruptured my right Achilles and announced my retirement and I took off my mask.
Beyond the physical pain (and trust me, its painful), the ruptured Achilles symbolized an incredibly difficult year – the toughest in my year thus far. So, marking this past year, has been significant for me.
I know that none of my blog readers are celebrating. Even my wife and kids had no idea but this past week was a time of much reflection, prayer, and hope.
Yesterday after church, I shot some hoops in the back yard with my kids and tested my Achilles again and then did something I haven’t done in over a year: I went hiking (an hour trek). It wasn’t long and arduous but it again tested my Achilles and I’m still in one piece.
Why is this a big deal?
It’s been a tough year in many ways but I survived. I made it. I toughed it out. I persevered. I wrestled. And I am thankful for my family, friends, community, and most of all, God’s grace in the midst of all this…
And that, is worth celebrating…
I hope that you’ll never ever have to ask me for advice or for my experience but just in case:
- Exercise regularly. 84% of ruptured Achilles happen to men between 30-40 who still think they are in their 20s.
- Exercise regularly, stretch regularly, and cool down regularly.
- I chose surgery for my left and natural healing for my right. I choose the latter for my right for financial reasons (since it’s FREE!) but if I needed to choose (in hindsight) and all things were equal, I’d go with surgery. Naturally, I prefer natural procedures rather than an incision into my body but I can tell the difference.
- My right Achilles is still experiencing some pain and even though it’s been a year, it takes me about 5-10 minutes to walk off the pain. I’m wondering if it might be like this for the remainder of my life. The re-rupture rate is also slightly higher: 3-5% vs 8-15%
- As for the advice about picking up different sports…you got to go for your passion and mine are Basketball, Volleyball, Hiking, and Baseball.
But be careful…
Well, here’s my video tryout for the Miami Heat. It still hurts a little. I can’t jump as high, move as quick, and the handle and shooting are all off. It might be time to buy those Kurt Rambis glasses and revamp my game as a soon to be 40 year old warrior.