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!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Shades of Winter

Mile Marker 2270: 

For most people, GREEN is the color of spring.  But if you're from Philly, you know it means late fall.

Mark and I kick off Mile 2270 at the Eagles game.   The crowd is a sea of green and hundreds of fans thick.

As we near the security checkpoint, I whisper to Mark, "Do you think I should tell them about Genie?"

He shakes his head.  "If they ask, just pull up your pant leg."

Incredibly, they don't ask.  Metal detector in hand, a woman traces the outline of my entire body -- arms, legs, and torso -- without a beep or a second look.  "Go ahead," she waves us through.

I raise my eyebrows at Mark, who's stifling a laugh.

"Not such a great metal detector,"  I say once we're a safe distance away.

"Maybe they only turn it on for certain people," he jokes.  "Keeps the line moving."

It's a green light start to the day.  The weather's perfect, prosthetically speaking.  Mid 50's.  Too warm for volume loss;  too cool for sweating.

We descend the concrete steps to our seats in the corner of the end zone.

... and our other team too.
(Check out the blue ads!)
We stand.  We sit.  We cheer for our E-A-G-L-E-S...

We even run into my friend Tammy!


Who says it's not easy bein' green?



Thanks to Jodie for the invite!!
Mile Marker 2279:  

A few days later, I'm off to explore another Philly tradition:  Winterfest at Penns Landing.


My friend Jasmine and I follow a trail of WHITE LIGHTS into the winter wonderland.

I pick my way carefully over the yellow straw, only once launching into a full-fledged stumble.  Luckily Jasmine grabs me before I go down!

It's surprisingly comfortable!
We bypass the skating rink but find an armchair built from hay bales.

We round out the evening with a cup of Mexican hot cocoa by the firepits.  By the time we head home, we smell like a campfire and feel like one too.

Cozy and light, with the promise of more winter fun to come.


Mile Marker 2292:

A week later, Mom and I see RED.

At Target, we gather Hanukkah goodies from boots to toys to housewares.  Pushing a shopping cart makes it easier to walk.  It's like using a walker with wheels!

But the highlight of our trip comes in the check-out line.

Sure, why not?!
As the cashier fills our bags, she glances from Mom's face to mine.

"Sisters?" she asks.

It makes Mom's day.  And mine too.  Today it feels like it might just be true.

Holiday cheer not from Santa, but from a woman in a red shirt!


Mile Marker 2300:

I'm trying to walk every day, but some days are brighter than others.

The red marks on my leg tell a different story than the holiday lights.  Each morning I adjust my socket, trying to relieve the newest pressure points.

Despite the colors elsewhere, the hazy GRAY of winter hangs over my head.  Cold wind.  Icy sidewalks.  Snowbanks along the curbs.  I know it's coming.  Fear.  Loss of independence.  Being unable able to walk when I want, where I want.  (You knew there was a catch, right?)

Walking itself is a GIFT.

So I've been trying to make the most of it.

When my leg hurts, I distract myself.  Stop at stores along the way.  Snap photos of the decorations.  Inhale the chilly air.

I even bribe myself.  Nine blocks for a latté.  Hey, whatever works!

I'm out for one of these walks when I see friends Donna and Mike coming toward me.  They're like a poster for the holidays -- toting a bright red shopping bag from our city's newest department store.

Donna suggests strolling through the lights on Jeweler's Row.

"Oh, wait," she says.  "Is your leg ok for that?"

Surprisingly, it is.  "It's a lot better with friends around," I tell her.

Jeweler's Row is worth the extra few blocks.  With its MULTI-COLORED LIGHTS, it's a perfect end to this blog post!

You got this, dude!

One store window catches my eye.   It has tiny figures building snowmen and exchanging gifts.  My favorite little guy is pushing his car out of a snowdrift.


I call it shopping season!
Technically winter hasn't started yet, but this is the part I love.  When there's more anticipation than actual snow on the ground!

On our way home, the sun fades below the buildings.  The sky turns blue, then lavender, then violet.

The colors change before our eyes.

2 comments:

  1. I always love reading your blog! If you hadn't mentioned this latest one, I may not have known about it. It didn't show up on facebook

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  2. So many multi-colored miles were described in the small space of this post... but so many more left unspoken. What is the color of courage, of perseverance, of positivity? Between the ribbons of Eagles green, Target red, winter wonderland white, and cloudy gray lie the quiet, connective threads of determination, strength, optimism and persistence. You are truly a rainbow - a miraculous spectrum of effort, tenacity, hope and inspiration - visible only, and always, through a prism of sunshine. And who can resist rainbows and sunshine:)

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