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, February 7, 2012

Always a Catch


Mile Marker 328:

The game's going on all around me.

But I'm a quarterback in a slump.  Easily blocked.  Sidelined on the bench.

When I'm not walking, my thoughts hang in the air like incomplete passes.  Even a blog post is tough to get together.

The end zone seems very far away.


Still, it's better than last year.   I watched last year's Superbowl sipping bottles of Boost.
   
All last February -- through every night of sickness and pain -- I stumbled into the bathroom on crutches uttering these words:

“I wish it were JUST MY LEG.”


Now, each night I dream of running and skating.  Of moving about the world easily and unrestricted.

Yet day after day, I find myself standing still.

 It is just my leg, and it also is not.


At the start of this journey, I imagined walking farther and faster as time passed.  I saw the months falling away and the miles racking up.  I envisioned new paths to discover, new trails to explore.  Each step would take me closer and closer to my goal, but yet...

There's always a catch.

Eight months into it, there’s still no schedule.  No predictability.  No moving on with anything.

I am on the DL.


Don’t get me wrong.  I’m plenty grateful.  This Superbowl Sunday was a blast -- a hundred times better than last.

Family flocked in from Vermont, Baltimore, and Chicago.  We gorged on our favorite football food:  barbecue burgers, bacon-wrapped dates, veggie lasagna, and meatballs. 

I even carved out a few short walks:

3 blocks hand-in-hand with my little niece Caitlyn.

4 blocks through the Italian Market with Andy and Nina.

5 blocks with Sam’s tiny sidekick Eloise.


From the nosebleed seats, this game would look pretty good.





But the week dragged by in INCHES, not yards.  I averaged less than one mile per day.

And if you watched the replay, you'd see --

Most of the time, I was NOT walking. 

Last Tuesday, I left work early when leg pain made it impossible to focus.  Friday night, my friend Jen and I settled in for sushi delivery (again).  And late Sunday, I sat exhausted on the bed while my niece Riley ran in circles till she was dizzy.   

I am so thankful for my friends and family.  And for my good health, otherwise.  

Still, lately, there have been more time-outs than time-ins.   

I try to remind myself that it's JUST MY LEG.  But more and more often, frustration and anger bring me to my knees.  My eyes well up with tears of fear.

“Do you think I’ll be able to wear a prosthesis AT ALL?”  I asked Tim at my appointment last Friday. 

He said yes and kept moving.  He’s casting yet another type of socket for me to try.  He doesn’t give up.

I believe him, but I am an IMPATIENT BENCH WARMER.  


This weekend, surrounded by nieces and nephews, cousins and siblings, I joined the bustle in the kitchen and the TV action in the family room.  I was part of the big game.  But I was also separate.

Partway through the second quarter, I went upstairs to take off my prosthesis.

“Come down with your crutches,” Mom called up after me.  Her stairs aren’t nearly as treacherous as mine.

“Not till Caitlyn leaves,” I said. 

Caitlyn is two, and our walk together that evening marked the beginning of our bond.   Big for her age, she’s really just a shy toddler.  I didn’t want her to see me without my leg.  I knew it would scare her.  She doesn’t yet have the words to understand.


So it’s February 7th, and it should be halftime by now.  But Madonna is nowhere to be seen.  I've only just passed Mile Marker 328.  Barely cracked the second quarter of this journey.  There’s a long way to go to 1000.

Each day, I put on my leg and hope for the best.  I wait for the coach to glance my way.  To give the signal so I can jump in and score the winning touchdown.

Unfortunately, like the Patriots, I'm learning there's ALWAYS A CATCH.

This week, I’ll try 2 more test sockets.  I’ll consult with 3 surgeons.

In a way, I’m lucky.  My team's even more clever than those ad execs for the Superbowl commercials.  I know they'll come up with a groundbreaking way to get me back on the field.
 

The season may be over, but at this point, I'll be happy just to WALK ON!

5 comments:

  1. You're stronger, smarter and more tenacious than Tom Brady and Eli manning combined. (and more eloquent than Giselle!) My money is on you for the win ( and then we'll go to Disney World!) xoxo always, Amy

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  2. The headline in your last posted photo pretty much says it - GIANT STEP --- you've taken plenty of them, and I have no doubt you will take plenty more! My money's on you and your team, Rebecca!

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  3. Hang in there, keep the faith.

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  4. First, i must say you are a gifted writer. As i read your blog and waited for the right moment to speak, im hit with the revelation that there isnt one.....you see, Rebecca, i firmly believe that as much as we think we can control our lives we do not. We are all in this world for a purpose and must find what that is. Your injury is a sad one because you miss what you were use to. However, you have gained much more and your knowledge and experience from both side can serve as an inspiration for others. The people who love and take time to know you already identified with that...they are happy that you are here to love, let them do so and recognize "they too understand you are more than your leg." 328 weheeew! "KEEP GOING" LOVE YA!

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  5. I think you need a proper treatment.Without treatment one person can not get relief completely.In this sense you also do something more which helpful in remedying problem.

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