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!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Boots Day!

Mile Marker 277:

Boots Day?  Not quite the holiday you were expecting??  

In my short time as an amputee, I've learned that adding another pair of shoes to my wardrobe is a cause for celebration. 

My boots aren’t fancy, nor are they new.  They’re plain black leather with simple silver buckles.  The soles are worn.  The black polish is scuffed.  The zippers stick each time I yank them up. 

They’ve been through a lot with me.

They even survived the accident, hiding inside my backpack that morning.

My mom describes how she kept my backpack by her side during that long first day of surgery at the hospital.   And how, much later, she slowly unpacked my "black boots" at home.  She says those words sweetly as if caressing them with her voice. 

Even now, I imagine how she looked at my boots while I lay unconscious for so many days in the Critical Care Unit.  What those boots meant to her.  How they reminded her of the person I was before. 

But my brother Mark tells a different story.  During those months in the hospital he put his faith in BOOST, not boots.

Boost is the high-calorie protein drink that was delivered to my hospital room 4 times per day.  It came in flavors resembling vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry -- flavors that never quite hit the mark.  By evening, those red bottles lined up along my bedside table, unopened.  

To my touchy tastebuds, Boost became bacon's arch nemesis.

Everyone encouraged me to drink the stuff, but my brother Mark took a different tactic.  He celebrated it!  At random hours of the day, my cell phone beeped with enticements.   Mark ran a creative campaign.  Day and night, he bombarded me with little known tidbits from the Boost archives.

Did you know that Boost was the driving force behind the founding of Philadelphia?

(Click photos to read captions)

How about the election of President Obama?? 

According to Mark, EVERYONE drank Boost.

From my very first idol, Bobby Clarke --
to my pip squeak protégée, Riley Cate!

Apparently, Boost was as critical to survival as blood!

I looked forward to my next Boost announcement.  Where would Boost turn up next?  An MRI scanner?  My IV pole?

Each day in the hospital became BOOST DAY.

But I am proud to say it’s been almost 10 months since I’ve sipped my last Boost.   And today, I wore my BOOTS for 10 hours straight.

Not a bad exchange.

See, before today, each time I tried on my boots, I got only as far as the living room.  After the third or fourth stumble, I always took them off.

But yesterday morning, there was snow on the ground. 

So today I decided it was time to LEARN to wear my boots. 

I started at the place I've learned most everything else:  the rehab gym.   PT Deb suggested a toe-pad for them, and “MacGyver” Paul glued some sticky stuff to their sole.   Then we hit the treadmill.  (In my t-shirt, shorts, and boots, I can only hope I set the newest fashion trend!)

Later, my boots and I took to the street with friends Mary and Chris, who coincidentally wore their boots, too.

Afterward I ran into Mike and Vickie, some friends from rehab.  Vickie's also an amputee, just a few months behind me.  Yes, I assured her.  You’ll wear boots, too. 

So today it's Happy Boots Day...or Boost Day...  
Celebrating all those forces that keep me moving!

(Including my favorite Boost-er!)
And check out those boots!


  1. Thanks! Glad to see those boots walking again! But what on earth was Mom thinking when she put me in that outfit?

  2. From Boost to Boots... how far you have traveled in this past year! And, what a consistent, dedicated and dependable force your strongest "Boost-er" has been, from Day 1!! I so well remember seeing your boots in your backpack through tears of sadness, and today I viewed the picture of you wearing them through tears of joy... followed by tears of laughter. How well I also remember: Winnie the Pooh boots, Sears, January 1977! Any way you spell it, this post gave me a much needed boost:)

  3. I love you brother's pics! So sweet so creative!

  4. I love the pictures - even the one from 1977. Mark was not only a dedicated support in the time he spent with you but man, he's creative too. I remember being surprised to see that you even drank chocolate Boost. Glad to see you have your boots back. I enjoyed the post.

  5. What, no references to Nancy Sinatra?

    "Are you ready boots? Start walking. Dint. Da da da dint"

    1. My mom sang it to me as soon as she read the post!!!