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, September 26, 2014

Clean Slate

Mile Marker 2105:

I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing out the closets of my apartment.

The walls are scuff-marked and scribbled as if Harold and the Purple Crayon lived here before me.  But I'm determined to wipe them down.  Shelves are due to arrive tomorrow, which'll bring me one step closer to unpacking all these boxes.

For my cluttered home, the Jewish New Year couldn't come at a better time.   I know most of you don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah, but really, who couldn't use a NEW YEAR right about now??
In any case, autumn's a nice time to clean the slate.  How in the world did things get so dirty anyway?

My niece Riley Cate is an expert in that field.  Last week she ran her first "Spartan Junior" race.  At 4 1/2, Riley plays happily in the mud.  The soles of her feet are the color of charcoal.  She climbs bedposts and baby gates.  On any given day, she runs the gamut between circus acrobat and Pig Pen.

I didn't run that Spartan race with her, but it sure feels like I did.

It's been a year of obstacles and hills.  Losses and gains.  Plans and transitions.   One recent afternoon, I logged more than 4 miles just unpacking my apartment!

In case you're wondering, I did not cover 70 miles in the last 4 days.   I'm just running a little behind with blog posts!

For me, Mile Marker 2105 presents the perfect chance to start fresh.  Regardless of what you celebrate, September's a good time for taking stock.  A month to think about where we are, as well as where we're going.

If last year's slate is wiped clean, what would you want to write on your new one??

Here are my Top 5 this year:

It's my birthday!  Everybody wins!
BALANCE.  Earlier this month, a game of Pub Quizzo found me sitting directly between the winners and losers.  (Technically I was on the losing side, but I was granted asylum for my birthday!)   Along with unpacking, the last few miles have brought new job opportunities, a new haircut, and a new adaptive yoga class.  Through it all, I've realized how much extra stuff I carry around!  I'm still searching for balance -- between work and play, between holding on and letting go -- but it feels great just to breathe and let the equilibrium happen!

SWEETNESS.  Apples and honey are the foods of the season.  For our family dinner last night, I baked a traditional Jewish Apple Cake.   It's easy but takes multiple steps, which translates into lots of standing time!

So I'll add STRENGTH, too.  Peeling and slicing apples, preparing wet and dry ingredients, greasing the tube pan, and mixing the cinnamon sugar topping.  I can do it all thanks to the strength and technology that lets me stand long enough to spread the sweetness!

HOPE.  Yesterday I swapped High Holiday services for a prosthetic appointment.  (Maybe not the best footing to start off the new year, but it felt like a hopeful trade!)   A month ago Tim casted me, and now -- three fittings later -- we're finally honing in on a new socket shape.  Leg-wise, I've had a year of technical adjustments and malfunctions.  But with a new system on the horizon, the future of walking looks bright!

And finally, the most important word I'll inscribe:


This week marks exactly 2 years (and 1,339 miles) since my last abdominal surgery.  That pretty much sums it up.

As I write this post, I'm thinking of 3 friends who, at this very moment, are struggling through their own journeys -- treatment for cancer.  Their wishes are modest:  to have their hair grow back, to get out from under their fatigue, to have a tumor so small the doctor can't feel it.  And of course, to live their lives cancer-free.

If you're lucky enough to be healthy, stop for a moment and GIVE THANKS.  Every healthy day is a GOOD DAY.

So clear your slate of daily annoyances.  Erase all the tiny challenges that monopolize your mind.   They are -- in the words of a wise surgeon -- bumps in the road.

When you're a kid like Riley, it's pretty easy to come clean.  All you have to do is soak in the bathtub!    But for us adults, the job's a little harder.  We have to stop and look around.  Dust ourselves off.  Get all our parts in working order.  And then walk onward, grateful for each step.

Happy New Year -- or whatever you're celebrating this season!

1 comment:

  1. Positive, Inspired, and Hopeful. Happy and healthy new year...