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!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Take Three

Mile Marker 930:

What to do?  

At 5:50 a.m. I am already fresh out of ideas.

It is February 11th. 

Last year on this day, I watched Bob take his historic first steps as a bilateral amputee.  And the year before, I celebrated my own WALKING DAY.

In between came parallel bars and crutches, ramps and stairs.  Four sockets and two knees.  And -- oh yeah -- one incredibly beat-up pair of sneakers.

But early this morning, I lie in bed restless.  Two years in a row, this day has been important and amazing.  Now, half-dreaming and half-awake, I rack my brain for another milestone that'll measure up.

Idea #1 floats by...

Take SEPTA to the doctor’s this afternoon.  ("Really?" all you city-dwellers groan.)  But up till now, I’ve taken my car everywhere.  Climbing those huge bus steps would mark new territory.  An adventure!

Ten minutes later, the 6 a.m. news dampens this idea.  Rain all morning.  Freezing rain, to be specific.   Not prime Walking Day weather.

On to Idea #2…

Instead of one mile on the treadmill, I’ll walk two.   I smile into the pillow.  This one has potential.  On this day each year, I'll add another mile!  A new tradition! 

Goal in mind, I head over to the rehab gym.   I pick my way carefully through the wet parking lot and then dry my shoes on the carpet just inside.  Merrily, I hop onto the treadmill.  

Unfortunately, 22 minutes and only one mile later, my leg has had enough.  Numbness sets in, along with an ominous socket rub.  I limp over to the mat.

Pull bag and towel in hand, I slip off my sweaty prosthesis.  I dry and massage my leg as I chat with workout buddies in the wellness center.

Despite the nasty weather, everyone's spirits are high.  

Beth, a fellow amputee, just celebrated her first year cancer-free!  

Check out those muscles!
18-year-old Dajon is pumpin' iron like a superhero.  And Dajon's mom, Pat, is a power-walker herself.  

Suddenly, I know exactly how to mark Mile 930 -- and this very special day!

Jess, our wellness leader (and biggest cheerleader), captures our departure on video:

We don't go far – just a victory lap around the rehab gym.  But as we put one foot in front of the other, we carve a path between the exercise machines.  We march over carpet and tile.  We wave to therapists and smile at other patients.  By the time we emerge from our short loop, our speed and rhythm transforms us into a giggling, energetic, cohesive team.

On the outside, not much has changed.  The windows are still splattered with cold rain.  The hovering sky is still shadowed in February gray.

(a.k.a. Riding Hood)
leads rainy day fun!
On my own, walking had seemed like a painful chore.  

But at Mile Marker 930 -- with these friends beside me -- each step radiates all the light and hope of the past two years.

Hello Sunshine.  This is my team.

Two years ago, between those parallel bars, I took one tentative step at a time.

Last year, I watched Bob bravely take two.

This year, it's not about what I do.  It's about who I'm with
When in doubt, take three!  I did.


To see footage from last year's Walking Day, click here.


  1. Although I don't actually write a comment every single time I read all of your blogs and comment in my head :) You are so inspiring and what a great way to mark this year. I agree--it is who you are with that counts and what great people you have met along this journey. I hope to meet you face to face very soon. I am coming to Philly in April with Ariana and I hope that we can meet up then. I will talk to Shawn so that she can try and make a plan for that. Until then keep being your wonderful, inspiring self!

    1. Leah,
      I feel the same way about your blog posts! Ariana is so adorable, and I love the way she is finding her place within your writing. I would love to meet both of you in April. Maybe it'll be sunny and we can even walk together!

  2. Great it's a plan..I hope for sunny weather so that we can walk :))))

  3. I'm still reading...Well, getting caught up is more like it. :$
    I read your dad's comment on the previous blog about getting up to get the TV remote and it created mental image I am familiar with. You skate in a rink, bowl, etc. while I walk PAST my elliptical trainer every day. So not only are you doing awesome things in your life, but you are inspiring us as well. Especially since we take these activities for granted. And, we don't get numbness and socket rub. Keep walking, skating, climbing, bowling and inspiring... The groundhog told me that you'll be outdoor skating soon.:) Oh, getting on the elliptical today!!