You may consider it weird that I took a day off of work to celebrate the “birth” of my bionic foot. Kenny was the chosen name of the cadaver bone that now resides in my heel. This once-patella-now-calcaneus wedge of bone is having a second life… and so am I.
My foot was irrevocably shifted as ligaments tore and bones moved into neighboring areas. Imagine extended family members who arrived at your house for the holidays. You begrudgingly made room for them, because after all it was the holidays. But now it’s Memorial Day and you’re still squished. That’s it! They’ve got to go back to their homes.
That was my foot.
My bones shifted after injury. Initially, we though it was just swelling, sprains, and inflammation, but alas, it required more than time and elevation to heal, it would require surgery, screws, and precision to move these rogue, nomadic bones back to their permanent homes.
January 21, 2021 was my surgical date and my abilities and day-to-day experience shifted from there forward. I needed help to do the most basic of things. My family arranged pillow mountains for my angry limb and took me to more appointments and follow ups that I knew possible. And this is how Kenny thanked me: by being angry all the time.
Kenny and I have spent the last year growing in our trust of each other and our “marriage.” I have to trust Kenny that he will hold me up and keep moving with good stability and Kenny has to trust me that I’ll give him a break and take care of him when he squawks at me in pain. We have spent months in therapy working on our relationship. That’s why I needed to celebrate his first birthday: to look back at photos of his birth and remind myself not just of the difficulties of the year, but in how far we’ve come.
Kenny is no longer the red, angry, swollen Franken-Foot of his early days. Yes, he still causes me trouble, can tell the weather, and likes to keep me on my toes (in all the ways.) But he also has worked so, so hard. He is stronger than a year ago. He can bear my weight. He can withstand a day at work. He has even learned more recently to ride a bicycle!
Kenny is worthy of celebration because of what he represents. Persistence, perseverance, grit, and community. He did not make it to his first birthday with just me by his side, but a number of therapists, surgeons, family members, and friends all cheering him on from near and far. Kenny’s abilities today are the result of a vast labor of love. We still have more mountains to climb together, but today I take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come. And give Kenny some much needed gratitude and pampering.
You can do hard things, Kenny. Keep keep keep going.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S. Lewis