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!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Life Is...

Mile Marker 419:

The Life is Good store is quite possibly the happiest place in Montgomery County.

Mile 419 begins when Bosco breezes up from Delaware.  In her silver Subaru, she whisks me away from my parents’ house.  Sunglasses on, we roll down the windows.  We’re headed to Life is Good.

It’s a store that reminds you to keep your head up.  A cool assortment of t-shirts, bags, and coffee mugs – all POWERED BY OPTIMISM.  (It's written on their catchy bumper stickers!)  There’s even a heart-shaped sponge beside the cash register. 

Sales clerk Natalie laughs as we chalk up our latest mile outside the store.   I give her my Thousand Miles bracelet.  "Bring in more!" she says. "I'll put them on the counter!"

How I love -- and miss -- shopping!   With only 50% of my legs absorbing 100% of the weight, my capacity for standing is limited.

So we check out Kumo, a creative new sushi place in the same shopping center.  Mmmm.  

Life is Good.

The next morning Mom drives me downtown for the first skate of the season.

Well, not exactly for the skate.  

But with Susan and Rocco's support, I hop my way into the post-skate brunch.

Skating or not, it's GOOD to be part of the club!

On Monday, friends Susan and Karen drop by the house with lunch  – what a treat!

Afterward, Susan has to return to work, so Karen and I stroll down to the end of my parents' street.  There's a little farm with three donkeys grazing in the pasture.  We can't help chuckling.  Karen and I live a few blocks apart -- in South Philly!

It's short walk but quite a hike on crutches.  Sweaty and tired, I celebrate the end of Mile 419. 

Life is good. 

Mile Marker 421:

It gets even better.

On Wednesday, my friend Cécile stops by, toting treasures from France.  Homemade quiche and - plus bonne -- her toddler niece Capucine, visiting from Paris.

As we eat, Capucine shows off with beaucoup finesse.  She waves and points, chattering away en francais.   She approximates early words – “regarde!” “descende!” “encore!

I try to keep up but my French is rusty, comme un vélo sous la pluie.

I vow to start practicing again soon.

A few days later, my friend Suzanne pops in with her adorable girls Maddie and Violet.  And a picnic lunch.

At a neighborhood playground, we feast on quinoa with cucumber, berries, and lemon-basil dressing.  Maddie dubs it “Rainbow Salad.”  

Violet downs her peanut butter-banana sandwich and takes off joyfully for the swings.

"What happened to your leg?" asks a young boy playing nearby.

I mumble something inaudible, ending with “…I’m getting a new one soon.”

I can't think of anything to add, so I stand still -- balancing -- watching his little mind absorb this.  Somehow a "robot leg" is much easier to explain.

At a loss, I grab my crutches and hobble away to find Violet.

A short time later, we break into the cupcakes.

No, life isn’t always good.   

But there are a few things that make it BETTER.


  1. Glad you had some good times in the last week. I wish I were closer.

  2. And don't forget that the Ocean City boardwalk has the store called Cloud 9 that carries Life is Good stuff. http://oceancity.patch.com/listings/cloud-9-3#photo-7502855
    It's close to George's ice cream. No, life isn't always good, but ice cream is! Apologies for the recurring ice cream theme.