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!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Straight Up, With A Twist

Mile Marker 44:

What do you get when you combine a bunch of movers and shakers who also happen to wear prostheses?  But wait…. Don’t answer yet.  Throw in a team of professionals who believe amputees can do anything….  And a sprinkle of family and friends who agree.  Ok, now what do you get?

Why, a rock climbing clinic, of course!

Let me introduce you to my team: 

Michael climbs with or without his legs.

Shannon scales the wall like Spiderwoman.  Pisey anchors my foot when it misses a rock.   Zach explains the finer points of bouldering.

 And Samantha and Jake are our pint-sized scramblers that can’t be stopped.

Our prosthetists – Tim and Chris – are climbing too, and so are their families.  And John and Chris, the amazing guys who crafted our bionic arms and legs.  And Tyl, our personal paparazzi – snapping and filming as we go higher and higher.


Let’s just say I passed Mile Marker 44 somewhere up in the air. 

Up there, I could hear my team cheering me on.  I could hear our belayer Lex shouting directions for my hands and feet.  And I could hear myself yelling back, “Are you sure you’re holding on to me?!”

But it wasn’t about how high we went.  It was about squeezing out every last ounce of energy and helping our friends do the same.  

I can’t explain the bond I feel with this group, whom I’ve only known for a short time.  They give me an adrenaline rush.  But they also emanate a warmth that’s comforting and safe.  (In this case, we were all very sweaty, but you know what I mean!)

With every move and every conversation, I soak up what they have to teach me.  They inspire and awe me.  They motivate me and build my confidence.  And they make me laugh…especially at myself!

I climbed three times last night, till my muscles shook with exhaustion.  Yet every time I reached the ground, I was ready to start again.

At the end of the night, I was tired.  But it wasn’t the weak kind of tired you feel after surgery.  Nor the stressed-out tired you feel after trying to fit too much into one day. 

It was a satisfied tired.  The kind I so often felt after a long, fast Tuesday night skate. 

It was the kind of the tired you get from pushing yourself to the limit…and farther.    

It was the happy kind of tired you get from being part of something bigger than yourself.

From being part of a team that can raise you to new heights!

Click here to watch Tyl's amazing video of us: 

Mileage so far:  44.78


  1. Rehab on steroids?

    I'm speechless!

  2. Ricki, you ROCK in so many ways, and now you're rockin the rock-climbing!
    And I must comment at how very timely this blog post is for me. Just today, I was hiking here in Colorado with my brother and sister-in-law and I was thinking about you and talking about your journey....and knowing full-well that someday you'd be hiking and climbing with us. And now this evening I see your post, which confirms exactly what we were talking about today.
    Rock on!

  3. Wowie kabowie! No stopping you, Rebecca! You are truly an inspiration. Rock on, indeed...

  4. How awesome that you found this inspiring group so quickly--I'm really excited for all the possibilities in front you (or above you, LOL) xoxoxoxoxoxo

  5. Wow! That is an incredible video! That's so cool that you went rock climbing - you truly are superwoman (or should I say spiderwoman?)!

  6. You continue to amaze me with your courage and strength. You guys make one awesome team!

  7. Maybe this chapter can be subtitled: A Bump in the Wall - conquered. I totally get the fast Tuesday night skate analogy. Keep climbing that mountain!

  8. What an inspiring group of people! How high was that wall?? Yikes! It's so nice that your mom and dad could be there for such a "mile"stone. Simply amazing.

  9. I had a teacher in second grade who told me that the words "I can't" should not be part of my vocabulary and now I know she is right. You are an inspiration to us all, that "I can" climb the wall of life. As Tracy would say "You Rock!!"

  10. Thanks everybody!! I'm finding out there's not much you CAN'T do with a great team behind you! And you're all a part of my team!

  11. Incredible! So incredible that I've shared it with others.