By AJ Jacobsen
If you’ve been following my blogs, you are aware that back on December 3, 2016 I broke my leg in a dirt bike accident when another rider hit me, and both of us ended up rotating over my leg. Unfortunately for me, this was not “just” a broken leg – it was what is called a “pilon fracture” and, come to find out, one of the worst possible breaks you can have on a leg.
As of my last blog related to this saga, I was facing down 6 weeks of IV antibiotics. That process seemed to be effective, and I was moved to oral antibiotics until such a time as we could remove the infected hardware (anytime implants are infected, depending on the bacteria, it creates a “biofilm” on the hardware that can be suppressed but is nearly impossible to remove without removing/replacing the hardware).
I had that surgery scheduled for September 26, 2017. This was going to be my 4th surgery for this injury. It was the Tuesday following Round 6 of the AFM race season, which would then give me a full 3 ½ weeks to heal before Round 7 if all went well. If things didn’t go well, then I’d only end up missing one round instead of several.
I headed in for surgery, which was scheduled for late in the day. It appeared things went well, and I was sent home with “weight bearing as tolerated” status. They removed 2 plates and 18 screws – just a little bit of hardware! It has now been almost 3 weeks since the surgery, all of my staples in the four “zippers” on my leg have been removed, and thus far things seem to be healing quite well, and I’m intending to make it to the final round of the AFM this year.
Having the hardware removed was a pretty quick recover, and thankfully before a week was out I was able to give up the cane and walk pretty normally and begin stretching things out again after a break. As with any major surgery, there’s a recovery period, but thus far it’s going well.
I’ve been taken off the antibiotics as well. I’ve been on them since April, so a full 6 months of antibiotics of some variety. It’s going to take my system a little time to recuperate, but forward progress is good!
The doctors both want to see me one more time to be sure everything is going okay, so I have a couple appointments in early November, nearly one full year since I broke my leg. In fact, it will be less than a month shy of a full year from the day I broke my leg until my *hopefully* last doctor appointment.
While this injury is slow to heal, I’m looking forward to having the winter to finish up my rehab and re-strengthen and train my muscles and body. The 2017 season has pretty much been a wash – between actual physical issues, stress from the ongoing problems, and just the mental strain of juggling all of it (including the very legitimate fears of potentially losing my leg), I didn’t gain much over the year – but, the good thing is, I didn’t lose a whole lot either.
2018 will hopefully kick off in a better position. I’ve already decided to cut back on my coaching responsibilities so I can spend more time and money focusing on my own race program since there shouldn’t be the same physical limitations as I was experiencing this year. I’ve managed to gain enough confidence in the bike to finally push myself out of *my* comfort zone and I’m looking forward to being able to start working on improving my technique on the bigger bike, as opposed to just “sticking with what I know/am comfortable with” like I have most of this year.