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, March 16, 2012

Will Walk for Ice Cream

Mile Marker 380:

What will I do for ice cream?

On a beautiful night like this, a better question is What won't I do? 

Well, I won’t ride spinning rides at the amusement park.
I won’t go skydiving, no matter how handsome the instructor.
And I won’t bungee jump from a bridge, even if the cord’s attached to my REAL ankle!  

That’s about all I can think of at the moment.

Gotta love Daylight Saving Time.  How wonderful to arrive home after a long day to find… more day!

Usually by 6 p.m., weariness is the rule.  But this past Tuesday, I was determined.  Fueled by an unusually comfortable day in my prosthesis.  Powered up by an amputee support group meeting.  

Energized by the liquid light in the sky. 

Since the accident 16 months ago, I can count the number of nights like this on one hand.

Perhaps I am breaking in this new socket,  I think.  Perhaps I’m breaking in this whole new routine.

But thoughts like this will jinx me.  I’ve learned how life can change in a second.

So instead I decide to go for a walk.   A long one,  I tell myself.
I need the miles.

Then my stomach growls.  I’m in the habit of eating dinner early so I can retire upstairs to take off my leg.  But if I don’t walk soon, I’ll lose my nerve and the sunlight.

ICE CREAM... The answer.

As if I needed any more arm-twisting, my phone rings.  

My friend Jen tells me her car broke down.  “It’s leaking gas,” she says.  “The smell’s so strong, I don't want to start the engine.” 

Jim -- her boyfriend, my good friend, and our mutual favorite mechanic -- is on his way to rescue her.

On this perfect night, her car is stuck at the corner of 3rd and Bainbridge.

One block south of Haagen-Dazs.

The universe is smiling.
The walk is on.

I know I’ve complained a lot about my new socket.  But for all its trouble, it really HELPS my gait.  It rides up higher on my leg, cradles my adductor muscle, and attaches more firmly than any of the old ones.  Maybe it’s an illusion, but my steps this evening feel lighter and smoother.

I find myself almost POWER WALKING.

(Perhaps it’s the promise of ice cream rather than the new socket, but hey, whatever works!)

As I walk, Jen and I chat on the phone.   The streets pass quickly as she tells me about her day.   

Her first stop was the dentist, where she found out she needs a root canal.

Her next stop was the vet.

In the background, I hear a loud meow that can only be Jen's cat, Finster.  Apparently Fin doesn’t like the smell of gasoline either.

It is one of those rare moments when I feel LUCKY to be loping along in my prosthesis.

Through Queen Village, I step.   Up and down curbs.  Over bricks.  Past cherry blossoms that are just beginning to flower.

For me, I’m moving quickly.  But I’m passed by athletes in sweaty tee-shirts, office-workers in creased khakis, and pug dogs with bulgy black eyes.

I don’t mind.  I’m on a mission.

When I reach Bainbridge Street, Jim has arrived.
Perfect timing.

I hit Haagen-Dazs while they work on the car.**

So, what WILL I do for ice cream?

I’ll take step after step under a sky with lavender clouds.
I’ll catch up with a good friend on the phone.
I’ll walk almost a mile on a school night.

Even if the sidewalk is bumpy.  Even if short-legged dogs are faster.  Even if the Haagen-Dazs server is in a bad mood.   (She is.) 

Mile 380 is SWEET anyway.

I catch up with Jim and Jen just in time to snag a ride home.

Jim’s got a long night of car repairs ahead.  Jen’s got a root canal.

I got ice cream.

Just lucky I guess.

(**By the way, I did offer to bring J&J some take-out!)


  1. And, of course, you got that ice cream with rainbow jimmies:)

  2. I know we can't walk there but it sounds like we are gearing up for a road trip to George's. I think they open April :)

  3. I might be on crutches... but I'm there!