Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ready, Set... Again!

Mile Marker 20:

It has been a tumultuous week filled with new cable lines, a new shower head, leaking sewer pipes, socket fit issues, and 100 degree heat.  I feel like the project manager for a huge corporation, but I know it’s really just LIFE.

Luckily, I’ve had my dad and brother Steve here to do the construction, my Roto-Rooter expert Oscar for plumbing, and my friends Jim and Jen for dinner, the wet-vac, and momentary counseling!  My good friend Sandi also came by yesterday.  In 15 minutes, she helped me fold the linens, take out the trash, and vacuum the living room rug – all tasks that had seemed insurmountable on my own!   Such is household life as an amputee, I guess.  I’m (reluctantly) learning to ask for help!

And now, it’s not yet 10 a.m., and I’m filled with nervous energy.  My fingers skip over the keyboard.  I’ll be lucky to get this one up without typos.

I’m about to embark on a new adventure.  A road-trip.  To Maine.

Why am I so nervous?  For the past two summers, I’ve lived in France – alone!  But things are much different now.

Back in December, when I first arrived home from the rehab hospital, I climbed out of the car onto my crutches.  I crutched over to the door to the house, flanked, of course, by an anxious mom and dad on each side.   My dad opened the door, and then the three of us froze.  There was a step.

After a second of panic, I said, “Wait, let me think here.”   They both stood and waited.  After a few more seconds, I remembered what I’d practiced so many times in the therapy gym.  Crutches to the ground, I pushed off and launched myself onto the step.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.  First hurdle jumped.  Literally.

So this is another hurdle.  Bigger than the front step.   I am traveling far away from my family, my hospital, and the home where I feel safe and secure.  It’s not that far, I know.  But it’s far enough.

I’m taking friends along – Polly and Jen, who are two of the most accepting and giving people I know.  We agreed to pack light, but I told them my new leg is like traveling with a small child.  So in addition to clothing, there's a shower bench, lotions and ointments, shrinkers and socks, alcohol spray, high-powered sunscreen, and the all-important battery charger!  

With them, I’m ready jump the next hurdle -- BON VOYAGE!   Stay tuned for some miles from Maine!
And please pardon any typos :)

Total mileage so far:  20.41

7 comments:

  1. We've arrived in Providence so far we've traveled 10 hrs. on I-95. Temperature 102 degrees but we stayed cool traveling 10 hrs. in the car. Thanks Rebecca and Rebecca's Dad for supplying a map of all the Cracker Barrels in the United States. We had a nice lunch/dinner in Milford, Connecticut. We had a lot of time to catch up and laugh a lot. This is a special trip thanks for letting me be a part of your thousand miles. The adventure continues. Good night Providence.

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  2. I've been on many adventures with Rebecca- from dealing with rambunctious teenage girls at Camp Dreamcatcher to driving to Vermont to fun days exploring Philly, but this one feels different and yet at the same time it's so familiar. Rebecca brought the necessary stash of candy- Twizzlers, Sour Patch and the all important Swedish fish. We sing along to old school rap songs- laughing that I know all the words to Shoop and Busta Move and at times, I feel myself take a deep breath. Road trips are always invigorating and fun but this one means more- how grateful I am and we all are to have Rebecca in our lives....and how happy I am to be a part of this journey.

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  3. Just got back from Maine myself. Food groups there are lobster, lobster roll, and ice cream. Can't go wrong! I'm so excited for all of you. Have a great time!

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  4. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." (Anais Nin) The day you took that tiny, kid-size walker and hopped your way out of your hospital room, tethered to machines and IV bags, and exclaimed in wonder at the immensity and activity of the hallway, you began to expand your life. On that day, it took enormous courage to leave the safety and security of your little room and expand your life into the bright, busy corridor. Now, you're a world away from that day (well, maybe a few states away!), and from Jefferson to Magee, from our house to your house, from the front door to the mailbox, and from South Philly to Maine, you continue to push yourself to expand your life everyday. That's the definition of courage! Walk on, Rebecca!!

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  5. Thank you everybody!! Full of ice cream and lobster, I now have tears in my eyes. It's easier to push myself ahead when I know I have so much love and support behind me!

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  6. Rebecca,

    It was a pleasure meeting you in rehab today. Good to work with you in PT for a bit! Colleen gave me your card. I hope to see you around soon. Let me know when we could get done some miles with a walk around South Philly.

    Dan (South Philly)

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  7. Thanks Dan!

    We should definitely explore the south side -- I need a guide if I venture south of Emily St!

    See you soon!

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