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!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

Mile Marker 4700:

At 8 a.m. the fire alarm blasts.

It's our first one of the year -- a false alarm, thank goodness!

Still it's jarring, and heart pounding, and blaringly loud.  The siren echoes off the walls of my bedroom.  At least I have my leg on.

No pants yet.  But at least a leg!

I flip my Genium upside down and pop off its shoe.  Ears ringing, hands shaking, I slide on a pair of corduroys, refit the shoe, and lock my knee back into place.  Then I grab my cell phone from the night table.  Pull on a jacket.  Head for the stairs.

Halfway down, I notice my left foot is still wearing its sock from yesterday.

Oh well.  Not bad for an emergency.

It's January 3, 2017.   Does the beginning of the year predict the rest?

It seems like it would, but experience tells me it doesn't work that way.  (And in today's case, that's probably a good thing!)  After all, I've had plenty of great New Year celebrations with not-so-good years to follow.

This week, my Facebook newsfeed was kind enough to share a few reminders of New Years past.  Ironically, one of the best was from January 2010, when I rang in the year with friends, neighbors, and hundreds of Mummers on Philly's famous "2 Street."

Wanna travel back in time?  Here's a clip of the fun:
(To view it on youtube, click here.)

Those were the good old days!  But listen.  Bon Jovi called it.  Life was about to take a dramatic turn.  Who would have guessed I'd be Livin' on a Prayer, literally, by the end of that year??

On January 1, 2011 -- exactly one year, 12 surgeries, and 7 weeks of hospitalization later -- I posted this memory on Facebook:

Shelley even flew in from Chicago!
I spent most of that New Year's Eve doubled over with abdominal pain, so being "home" only lasted a few days.  I never imagined how many obstacles still lay in my path.  Yet it was a new year.  Friends and family gathered.  I was home, and for the moment anyway, it seemed like a step forward.

Another year later, with a 13th surgery under my belt, I reached Mile 267, and finally returned to my home on "2 Street" -- just in time to ring in 2012!

A toast to 2014!
The next few years brought new apartments, new friends, and even a few new leg tricks!

Each year had its share of ups and downs, but there was also much to celebrate.

Fast forward a few thousand miles...

Make way for 2017!

Now, I live two miles north of South Philly, so when the sun rises on New Year's Day, there are no Mummers in sight.  Instead, when I stand on the balcony -- balancing on one foot -- I see the clearest, cleanest, most hopeful sky.

A blank slate.  Full of quiet possibilities...
...and, of course, the occasional fire alarm.

So here's to 2017, and whatever it might bring.  As Bon Jovi says, We'll give it a shot!

Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!


  1. I'm so happy to see a new blog post which, despite the pesky fire alarm, fills me with positivity, optimism and hope. You're writing again! Wishing you and all those who follow your journey a new year filled with endless possibilities, promise and peace.

  2. Hearing Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer, always reminds me of 2 Street and a New Year. Always enjoy celebrating with you the unknown that a New Year has to offer.

  3. Yay you! Happiest of New Years.......we can count on you to always give everything a shot!

  4. Happy 2017, and here's to hopeful skies.