One Year Later

Today marks one year since I had the Achilles’ tendon repair surgery.  Life has mostly returned to normal and I can do everything I was doing before the injury.  I do get stiffness in the tendon area, but I actually get that on both legs even though it was only my left tendon that ruptured.  And, thinking about it now, I realize that I had had stiffness in both tendons for a while. After sitting for a while, usually an hour or more, when I first stand up I can barely walk for about 10 seconds until it loosens up, and then it’s basically fine.  But I can ride my bike, walk, sprint to catch a train, take stairs two at a time, and have even gone back to the ocean a couple times – which was the real leap of faith, since that’s how I injured it in the first place.  

So for anyone who’s found themselves with a ruptured Achilles’ Tendon, I just want to let you know there’s life after.  It definitely helped that I had a great doctor, great physical therapist, great wife and a great employer (who let me work from home for 2+ months after it happened) and great health insurance for support.  But stick with it and hopefully you can expect a relatively normal life afterwards.

One year ago
Incision scar on my left ankle after 1 year.

Video update I recorded last week in Central Park.

Home NAS with ZFS – failed disk!

It’s been over two years since I built my home NAS box.  A couple days ago I logged in and noticed some file operation was taking a while, so I did a “zpool status” and was shocked to see one of the disks had failed at some point.  I really have no idea when it happened, but the “last scan” date said something about December, so it could have been months.  I was a bad Sysadmin and didn’t have alerting for this case – silent HA failover is a risk most people don’t think of, though coincidentally it’s one of the projects I’m currently working on at work.

Anyway, here’s what the failed zpool looked like:

root@lunix:~# zpool status
  pool: lunix1
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices could not be used because the label is missing or
        invalid.  Sufficient replicas exist for the pool to continue
        functioning in a degraded state.
action: Replace the device using 'zpool replace'.
   see: http://zfsonlinux.org/msg/ZFS-8000-4J
  scan: scrub repaired 0 in 12h54m with 0 errors on Sun Dec  2 14:18:15 2018
config:

        NAME                      STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        lunix1                    DEGRADED     0     0     0
          mirror-0                ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdb                   ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdc                   ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1                DEGRADED     0     0     0
            sdd                   ONLINE       0     0     0
            11769402787959493007  UNAVAIL      0     0     0  was /dev/sde1

errors: No known data errors


Fortunately, back when I built this thing, I bought a spare disk which has been sitting on the shelf in the box from Newegg for 2 years. I replaced it a little while ago and ran “zpool import” to bring the zpool back in, and then did the “zpool replace”:

root@lunix:~# zpool replace -f lunix1 11769402787959493007 sdd
root@lunix:~# zpool status
  pool: lunix1
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered.  The pool will
        continue to function, possibly in a degraded state.
action: Wait for the resilver to complete.
  scan: resilver in progress since Fri Apr 26 15:47:41 2019
    21.9M scanned out of 3.71T at 3.12M/s, 345h50m to go
    10.5M resilvered, 0.00% done
config:

        NAME                        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        lunix1                      DEGRADED     0     0     0
          mirror-0                  ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdb                     ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdc                     ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1                  DEGRADED     0     0     0
            sde                     ONLINE       0     0     0
            replacing-1             UNAVAIL      0     0     0
              11769402787959493007  FAULTED      0     0     0  was /dev/sde1
              sdd                   ONLINE       0     0     0  (resilvering)

errors: No known data errors

345 hours to go?!  I ran zpool status about 20 minutes later and got a much better number:

root@lunix:~# zpool status
  pool: lunix1
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered.  The pool will
        continue to function, possibly in a degraded state.
action: Wait for the resilver to complete.
  scan: resilver in progress since Fri Apr 26 15:47:41 2019
    125G scanned out of 3.71T at 101M/s, 10h18m to go
    62.3G resilvered, 3.28% done
config:

        NAME                        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        lunix1                      DEGRADED     0     0     0
          mirror-0                  ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdb                     ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdc                     ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1                  DEGRADED     0     0     0
            sde                     ONLINE       0     0     0
            replacing-1             UNAVAIL      0     0     0
              11769402787959493007  FAULTED      0     0     0  was /dev/sde1
              sdd                   ONLINE       0     0     0  (resilvering)

errors: No known data errors

Anyway, this was my first experience replacing a failed disk under a ZFS raid, so it was pretty exciting.  The hardest part of the process was figuring out which disk was the failed one.  The bad one didn’t even show up as a device in /dev, so what I ended up doing was “hdparm -i /dev/sd?” for each disk that was there, noting the serial number, and then looking on the outside of each disk to see which one had a serial that wasn’t available to the OS.  Overall it was a pretty good process.

 

 

 

180 days post-op

It’s now 180 days since my Achilles’ tendon repair surgery. Life is sort of back to normal, though my leg is still not back to 100%. I can’t do a single-leg raise on my bad leg, and running isn’t something I want to try, but most of the pain is gone. Physical therapy has helped a lot but I am winding that down now as well. Anyway, just wanted to give an update for anyone facing this surgery.

Continue reading “180 days post-op”

2018: good riddance

As 2018 draws to a close and I look back on it I can’t help but think it has been the worst year of my life. Obviously I’m in a very privileged position but the problems started early on and kept on coming.

First of all, I had resolved at the end of 2017 that this would be the year I “took care of” the ruptured disc in my neck that was impinging on the nerve root. So I spent the first couple months obsessing about whether to have ACDF surgery ( vertebrae fusion) or CDR (replace bad disc with artificial one). So I was already pretty anxious as the year started. Regarding the disc, I ended up with another MRI and a doctor informing me that surgery was only 50% effective in fixing numbness in the fingers, and was really only recommended for cases of extreme pain. So I guess it was good news – doing nothing is the right course of action.

Then in March we had to put our dog Chloe to sleep. I wrote a couple posts about this already, but when it happened it sent me into a depression unlike any I had experienced before.

On Easter, I was playing football at my brother in law’s house and the next day I started feeling a strange pain in my chest. It bounced all around and was very faint. I kept it to myself for a couple weeks because we had a vacation coming up and I didn’t want to ruin that with a bunch of health stuff looming, but it was on my mind the entire trip. When we got home I told my wife about it and went to my doctor. He couldn’t find anything wrong but sent me for a cardio stress test and an EKG. those didn’t find anything wrong either. I went to a cardiologist and had two more stress tests (treadmill) and none found anything wrong.

At some point around April/May I also developed a weird twitch. I’d be sitting at my desk with my hands on my keyboard or mouse and my finger would press a button even though I hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t just my fingers, sometimes it was my arm, or leg (I was awakened a couple times when my leg twitched overnight). I sent back to the doctor who said I should cut out caffeine, but that had no effect. He said it was most likely Benign Fasciculation Syndrome and I should just try to ignore it.

Things started turning around when we got our new dog Maisy, though the day we got her I happened to develop an abscess on my back and ended up having to have a surgeon drain it, and that took a couple weeks to heal., during which time it was very painful to sit down.

Then of course, over July 4th weekend I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon. It’s now over 5 months later and while I can mostly walk normally, it’s far from back to normal and I have rather significant pain when walking. I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week since September and it’s helped a lot but it’s not magic. On my PT days I work from home, which also lets my leg rest, but the decrease in my exercise has led to gaining a bunch of weight.

Of course, there have been a lot of positive things this year. Mostly seeing my son grow from a little boy to a young man and seeing him succeed on school. But overall this has been a terrible year and I will be glad to put it behind me.

16 weeks post-op

Today is 16 weeks since my Achilles’ tendon repair surgery. I spent the weekend mostly resting and am back at work today. Every step I take now is pretty painful in the ankle area. I’m not sure if it’s inside or just the scar being stretched when I walk but I’m starting to develop a limp because it hurts pretty badly when I walk. Still been doing PT 2 days a week, and it’s helped with flexibility and strength but the pain the past 10 days or so has actually been getting worse. Also my calf and ankle seem a lot more swollen now. Definitely a bummer since I thought my recovery was going pretty well.

Day 106 update

106 days since surgery. Pain is starting to come back now, maybe as nerves are coming back. Had to get some new shoes with lower backs that don’t run against the scar.

Day 77 post-op: 11-week doctor’s visit

This Monday, October 1st, marked eleven weeks since I had surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon. At my follow up visit with the surgeon, he looked at the incision scar and seemed impressed at how well it’s healed. He said this is how it usually looks for patients after a year of healing.  I guess there’s no way to know how much of that is just how my body heals and how much is due to my physical therapist working the scar tissue with his IASTM torture device (joking).

Continue reading “Day 77 post-op: 11-week doctor’s visit”