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!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Walking Wish List

Mile Marker 416 (or 417?):

If my feet don't touch the ground, do the miles count?

Monday’s surgery was pronounced a success.  And, in the fog of leftover anesthesia, I found space to dream.  

About walking of course.

Places I would walk if I could.
Places I will walk when I can.

Here it is --  MY WALKING WISH LIST:

1.       TAKE A HIKE.  I’ll hit the trails, crunch through leaves, stumble over rocks, and leave footprints in sticky mud.  I'll climb hills until my right calf aches.  I’ll ford fallen branches and rock-hop across shallow creeks.  In snowshoes, hiking boots, or sandals – in Vermont, the Poconos, or Wissahickon Valley -- my feet will be ready!

2.       SHOP TILL I DROP.  I’ll trace those walkways of the mall complex at King of Prussia.  The sprawling Promenade of South Jersey.  The outdoor wonderland of Old Orchard.  Get ready shopping partners – you know who you are!   Dust off your coupons and credit cards.   It’s gonna be a long day!

3.       FUN IN THE SUN.  I’ll dig my toes into the thick, wet sand along the water.  I’ll feel the waves lap against my ankle, the grains of salt prickly against my skin.  I’ll stroll along any beach, anytime.  Ocean City, Lake Michigan, Frejus, Arcachon.   I'll find a million shells.  And my blue-metallic “water leg” will glimmer like sea glass.  

4.       RAINY DAY SCHEDULE.  When drizzle knocks against my bedroom window, I’ll wake up late and meet the Sunday crowd for brunch.   Fueled up, we’ll tour the latest museum exhibits.  The Art Museum and Liberty Museum.  Springsteen at the Constitution Center.  I won’t worry about handicap entrances or fatigue on my feet.   Nothing will stand between me and the culture of Philly.

5.       WHEN THE FLOWERS BLOOM, I’ll explore the parks.  The Grounds for Sculpture, Longwood Gardens,  Rittenhouse, Central Park.  I’ll dodge kids on scooters along the winding paths.  I'll inhale the breezes of spring and the heat of summer.  I'll savor the shade of a slow afternoon.

6.  MOTHER'S DAY.  Not this year, but maybe next,  my Mom and I will return to the Parkway for our annual Race for the Cure tradition.  That 5K won’t tire us out or scare us off.  And afterward, we’ll walk even farther!   We’ll celebrate more mother-daughter days to come.

You'll see my sign!
7. MORNING NEWS.  It’s a hassle to get myself out in the morning, but not TODAY!  I’ll rise at dawn in a hotel that overlooks midtown Manhattan.  I’ll wander outside and stare up at the skyscrapers.  Strong latté in hand, I’ll crowd up to those metal railings along Rockefeller Plaza.  I’ll wave to Ann, Matt, and Al and hope for my 5 seconds of fame. 

8.  MAGNIFICENT MILE.  In the glow of holiday lights, I’ll be daring! Bundled up in boots, scarf, coat, and hat – in the Chicago way – I’ll brave that lakefront wind.  I’ll see my frosty breath under the white sparkle of the Water Tower.  Then I'll warm up with thick stuffed pizza that can melt the sidewalk ice.  And when snow turns to spring, I’ll return...with my bike.

9.   BONJOUR.  There will come a day when I’ll drag my luggage down that jet-way to board my long overdue flight to France.  I’ll see those olive trees and walk those steep sidewalks; the ones that were all cancelled in 2010.   I'll visit my French family, and experience  those markets, cafés, and vineyards encore à pied!

after all!

10.   AND THEN….  When I’m all walked out, I’ll retire to my favorite spot along Kelly Drive.  I'll plop down on the curb and lace up my skates.  Then, I'll crouch low and push off.   Hands clasped behind my back, I’ll weave in and out between runners, and bikers, and – well -- all those "newbie" skaters.  

Yesterday as I crashed on the couch, my brother informed me it was "National Walking Day."

My dad laughed and replied that it was “National Hopping Day” for me.

Really, it was neither.

My biggest accomplishment was changing my bandage and checking out my newest set of sutures.  (Supervision provided by Uncle -- a.k.a. Doctor -- Steve.)

This afternoon, my dad pushed me around the block in the wheelchair.  My leg and I are taking it easy for a few weeks.

But if I'm more COMFORTABLE in the long run, a month is a very small price to pay.

Do the miles count if your feet don't touch the ground?
Let me know what you think...

Because in a month or so, I've gotta pick up the pace!

For now, I'll settle for DREAMING BIG.

Tell me, on a good walking day where would YOU go??


  1. You're moving, aren't you? Then - as far as I'm concerned, at least, the feet, yards, miles, (it all adds up) count!!!

    Yay Team Rebecca!

  2. I say every mile counts as long as you are moving forward. No matter how you get to the destination doesn't matter as long as you've travelled the distance. On a good walking day, I would love to spend time with my best friend walking through a mall and shopping til we drop. I would also love to travel back to France or some other destination and enjoy the country and laughs. And, since I always love a vacation a nice walk on the beach sounds devine.

    Keep on dreaming. They can't come true unless you have them. Keep this list. Let's see how many you accomplish in the next few years. I would love to be by your side.

  3. Jennifer Olree-CollazoApril 5, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Rebecca, so glad to hear that your surgery was a success! Sounds like you have a great team at Jefferson. Hears hoping that all of your future miles will be more comfortable ones.

  4. Hoping for a speedy recovery from Monday's surgery. It has to be so difficult to go back in for another operation but from the looks of your smile, you're not letting it get you down! Your dreams will come true; thank you for sharing them with us. I certainly think the miles count. Without a doubt.

  5. Hoping for a speedy recovery as well. I believe the miles count - you are moving!

  6. PS - I'm with Marla - a walk on the beach is always great! Longwood Gardens has many beautiful paths, too. Cooper River Park's trail or the Art Museum Loop because you can see the water. I feel a pattern emerging here!

  7. I'm always on your side, so of course, I think that your chair miles count. I would look forward to sharing almost all of your walking adventures (with the exception of roller blading). The France miles are most appealing to me as a fellow Francophile. One of my favorite places to walk is the little Poconos area near my house on Rock Lane. I'll look forward to sharing it with you!

  8. It's counts. You are moving. May not be on both feet but you are moving on the wheel chair. Every so often put you foot down on the sidewalk and then it will definite count. Heal fast!!! I think about you everyday and know that the strong person you are that everything will be ok in the end. You are a fighter and I am proud to know you.

    Bonnie Lipschutz

  9. Of course the miles count if YOUR feet don’t touch the ground…somebody’s feet are touching the ground while they are pushing you around in your wheelchair :)

    Keep dreaming because someday those dreams will become reality.

    On a good walking day, I would be walking on the beach with the waves breaking at my ankles and the warm sun in my face. Of course, I would have to finish the day with some ice cream, preferably George's :) Looking forward to the day that we can make that happen.

  10. Everyone has so many great things to do on a "Great Walking Day". Each one with its own unique characteristic; walking in the snow, in the sand, among the flowers, surrounded by artistic treasures... Today, I rode my bike on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, VA. After the ride I just had to walk to the ocean, The sand was warm for April and the ocean was only slightly chilly. But it was a very satisfying walk; even without Georges ice cream. And yes, of course, your miles count.

  11. I think your miles totally count! I would have to agree with your Hike description as my favorite walk! Rest up Lev!