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!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In 5 Years

Mile Marker 3390:

I'm at a stand still.

My thoughts are as tangled as a broken bicycle chain.

It's one thing to count miles, yet another to count YEARS.

I recently found this photo.   Big eyes, bigger hat.  It's my niece Riley Cate, posted to Facebook on November 7, 2010.

My very last post before the accident.

It hits me.



In 5 years, this kid has gone from birth to kindergarten.

When her teacher tells the class, "Everyone has 2 legs,"  Riley Cate replies knowingly, "Not everyone!"

It's amazing how much can happen in 5 years.

In 5 years, a little leg grows stronger.




If we're lucky, our health stabilizes.  Our steps go farther and faster.
A WALK becomes a RUN.

In 5 years, we're embraced by a community we never knew existed.




We learn to use new equipment.  And if we practice hard enough, we even get good at it!



In 5 years, we scale walls.



Walk beaches.





Plant flowers.


And PEDAL ON.






Five years brings danger.

But also RESCUE.






In 5 years, shells are crushed under car tires.

Footprints are left behind.




And street corners are honored with love.



In 5 years, friendships grow and change.






We say hello.




And also goodbye.





Five years can feel like a winning streak.


Or a slow uphill climb.






Either way, it's never enough.


Five years are fragile.  They dangle ahead of us on a string of hope, not promise.  Our ride can stop anytime, anywhere.

I know.

It's November.  My back aches.  I sink down farther into my socket.   I keep walking, and working, and doing what I'm supposed to do, but I really want to take off my leg and hibernate -- no, HIDE -- in bed.

Anxiety mounts.  My chest tightens.  I brace my body so hard I could stop a truck.

But it's impossible.

That part happened 5 years ago.

November 9 is my ALIVE DAY.   I like saying that.

Still, no matter what you call it, revisiting trauma is not easy.  This time of year brings celebration, but loss too.  I want to give each piece the attention it deserves.

Five years ago, I regained consciousness after a week of surgery and -- it's fair to say -- enough life-saving to last a lifetime.   I woke up DIFFERENT but very GRATEFUL to be alive.

Five years later, I still feel the same way.

It's one thing to count miles, yet another to count YEARS.  The years will pass whether we move forward or not.

I choose to start moving again.

What will the next 5 years bring?
There's only one way to find out...



WALK WITH ME TO CELEBRATE 5 YEARS

BIKE HELMET BLITZ -- THIS WEEKEND!  
(Come on out!  No bikes necessary!)
WALK a 5K with me to spread the word about wearing bike helmets!
Saturday 11/21 at 10 a.m.
Meet up at 2nd and Market Streets in Old City.
Hang out for lunch afterward at 2nd Story Brewing Co. (117 Chestnut St.)

Whether you walk in person or in spirit...
Wear your GOT HELMET t-shirt!   
If we convince even one person to put on a bike helmet, it will make a difference!

Hope to see you!  
And as always, thank you for joining me on this journey!

2 comments:

  1. Amazing as always ~ best of luck for a perfect weather day on Saturday! We will be thinking of you from out west this weekend, but know we are definitely on your team!

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  2. After 5 years, your words and photos are STILL an inspiration. See you for 5 years strong!

    ReplyDelete