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, January 3, 2014

Year of the Friend

Mile Marker 1500:

Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.

-- Rachel Naomi Remen

At the stroke of midnight, there's nowhere I'd rather be.

Even though the windchill is in the teens.  Even though the guy in front of me is spilling beer over his head.  Even though my leg is on crooked.

Even with all the "what ifs" and "should have beens" along this journey, I'm exactly where I belong.

Here.  Standing with friends on the sloping sidewalk of Delaware Avenue.  As fireworks burst overhead, we talk and laugh and hug and kiss...

(...well, some of us kiss!)

We're ringing in 2014.  TOGETHER!

In case you missed it,
the Word of the Year is

When the year draws to a close, people always write lists:  Best of 2013, Worst of 2013, Movies of the Year, Artists of the Year, Words of the Year...

I thought about writing my own list to share highlights of 2013, but there were just too many!

2013 was a year without surgery.  It was a year of walking and climbing and hiking.  A year of swimming and biking and skating.

It was a year of rediscovering mountains, water, and snow.

A year of travel to Chicago, Florida, Vermont, and New York.  A year of making history.

There were lots of adventures, to be sure.  But when I look back, what I see most are the FRIENDS who came along for the ride.

As kids, we were cousins;
as adults, we're friends :)

As I near Mile Marker 1500, Tracy visits Philly.  She's a runner, a cyclist, and an energetic walking partner.

In the days after Christmas, Tray and I zigzag the holiday streets, searching out the best window shopping.  We go rock climbing and then grab lunch at Pizza Brain in Fishtown.

Eventually we find a routine.  Tray runs through South Philly while I work out at the rehab gym.   That's when I truly cross Mile Marker 1500 -- on the treadmill.

But better yet, that's when Tracy gets to meet my workout friends!

Beth toasts the New Year
Yes, Jeff is AWESOME
(click to read his shirt)

Tray even gets a taste of rehab herself!

Friendship is a theme of the year, but it's not new on this journey...

The quote at the top of this post -- in case you're wondering -- is by a doctor and professor at U.C.S.F. School of Medicine.  For more than 20 years, Rachel Naomi Remen has been teaching the HUMANISTIC side of medicine.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

As I learned more about Dr. Remen's philosophy, it got me thinking about the doctors, nurses, and therapists who, through a thousand small gestures, have become more than just professionals.  They've become FRIENDS, supporting me in all that I do.

Whether I skate...

...or walk...

...or bike!

Like good friends, they FORTIFY me.  Always in the nick of time.  Always moving me forward.   Always with CARE.

But this year is different.  The road finally goes both ways.

I go back to the hospital to visit one of Dr. J's current patients, a brand new amputee.  I talk to a class of first-year med students.  I volunteer at the inpatient rehab hospital.   I loan my bike to PT Deb so she can teach another patient to ride.

Really, there's no limit to friendship.  The impact goes on and on.

So I'm calling 2013 YEAR OF THE FRIEND.

Old friends came together to celebrate.

New friends created new traditions.

Together we WALKED ON

and ON!

I'm not sure where the NEW YEAR will lead, but I know my friends will light the way.

Thanks to all who walked with me!

Here's to a healthy and bright year ahead!
HAPPY 2014!


  1. Happy New Year! Looking forward to more amazing achievements in 2014! No pressure or anything, but you've set the bar very high is all I'm saying. Amaze me some more...I dare you!

  2. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."... Francis of Assisi
    Old friends, new friends, family and all who love you, will be walking along with you as you journey the next 1500 miles. Wishing you an impossibly amazing new year!!

  3. You never cease to amaze....and that's a good thing!

  4. From the song in your April 10th post, Welcome Home..."Just know you're not alone." We will continue to walk, skate, bike or climb with you on your journey.

  5. Congratulations on completing 1500 miles! What an accomplishment! Thank you for always being the bright spot that you are. This blog was just the cheer up that I needed after our trip Tuesday. Keep writing, walking, biking, skating and climbing through 2014:)-Julie