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 5, 2013

Indoor Recess

Mile Marker 919:

Snowflakes, 40 m.p.h. gusts, below freezing temps...
As an amputee, the winter blues strike with a vengeance.

Slick sidewalks send my left foot sliding.  Wild winds knock me to my knees.  It's enough to make me hole up like a groundhog and sleep the season away!

So for the last few miles, my Genium and I have decided to fight back.

Call it innovation.  Call it necessity.  Call it INDOOR RECESS....

Remember how your teacher dug out the old board games when the school's playground was covered in snow?

Surprisingly, these dreary days have helped me do just that.  They've given me a chance to revisit some old skills -- to get them in shape before spring arrives.

In 6th grade, I lived for weekends at the roller rink.  Under the disco ball, my friends and I did the backwards skate, the couples skate, and the ever-popular Hey, Hey Alligator!

Now I've traded in my Jordache jeans for a prosthesis.

As the miles roll into the 900's, friends Chris and Mary reacquaint me with my indoor skating roots.  The smooth floors and repetitive laps prove to be just my speed.  While the rest of my skate pals tear up the frigid streets of Philly, I lace up, let loose, and try not to trip over toddlers!

We've even recruited a newbie --
my friend (and former nurse)
Deb's daughter, Rebecca!
Stride by stride, my footwork is making a slow, steady comeback.

I'm probably the only skater in the rink's history to wear a helmet, but better safe than sorry.  At this rate, I'd be laughed out of Jefferson's ER if I came in with a SKATING injury!

Next, I swap skates for shoes to join my amputee support group for an evening of BOWLING.

At a cool basement bowling alley in South Philly, we become bionic bowling to the 10th power!  Together, we re-teach our bodies how to send that ball as hard, far, and straight as we can.

I mark a rhythm and count my steps to get a running (er, walking!) start.  1, 2, 3, 4, lunge, release!

The technique pays off.  My Genium and I hit a new high score -- 44.

Most of Team Bionic still bowls me over.  But at least now I'm bowling up the right alley!

And finally, who needs an indoor gym when you're surrounded by stairs?

This week, the PT students at Arcadia University welcomed me to their class for a lesson on prosthetics -- and STAIR-CLIMBING.  If you think it's motivating to work out with a PT, try working out with 50 of them!

With a close look, you can see I still have plenty of skills to chase.  But 15 steps with only one mis-swipe?  In my life, that's stair-climbing on steroids!

All in all, a few days of indoor recess can be fun.

But as any school kid -- or teacher -- will tell you, it's just a way to bide time until the weather clears.

Punxsutawney Phil agrees.  In a few short weeks, he's really gonna step outside and celebrate!

And me?  I'll be right there in his shadow.

Thanks to PT Chris for the awesome AU video!


  1. Your energy never ceases to amaze me as I sit on the sofa watching TV, trying to decide whether to get up and retrieve the remote to change the channel or just watch what is on the screen.

  2. If that wasn't notated by your dad, I would have sworn it was Uncle Steve! Brothers to the core! Aunt Patti

    PS I also remember fondly the board games coming out at recess time, and in the Berkshires, it happened a lot in the winter! We had marathon chess games that were allowed to run over in 5th grade.