One year ago today, my life changed because of one step.
Or actually, one missed step.
One year ago today I moved into my new home, fell on the stairs, broke my foot, and have been in a waiting game or recovery state ever since.
Fracture boots, x rays, doctor visits, MRIs, surgery, non-weight bearing, recovery, physical therapy, shower chairs, orthotics, joint tape, and massage cream are my continuous companions. Kenny is indeed very high maintenance.
I wish I didn’t fall. I wish healing was more quickly. I wish I could run and exercise without constantly weighting the cost and benefit of foot pain in my mind.
I wish I had a better love for my home too. It’s a pretty hard relationship to recover from when on our first day together, it tried to kill me! But I’m also making good memories and trying to love both my foot and my home a little more each day.
I returned to PT today after a hiatus for insurance reasons and my therapist said, “You’ve been through a lot. You’ve got more to go. I’ll help you to keep moving forward.” (This is the summary of a 60 minute conversation!)
- “You’ve been through a lot.” She validated that my life has been turned upside down for the past year and that both body and mind have been at less than their best. I didn’t plan to get a mortgage AND medical debt simultaneously. And yet here we are! I didn’t plan for surgery, atrophy, and bone loss. I didn’t plan to face all the anxious questions about the future and my own frailties this year. But that’s where I’m living.
- “You’ve got more to go.” Now is not the time to get lazy and stop! This statement can seem overwhelming. I can see all the work I’ve already done and be dismayed at the level of progress still required. But it is also hopeful. I am not done healing yet. My fatigue, pain, and limp may not always be my companions. You have more healing to do. Persevere!
- “I’ll help you to keep moving forward.” She wasn’t hindered by my timeline or insurance hiatus or compensatory gait patters. She offered guidance, expertise, modifications to my exercise routine, and told me to forge steadily onward, and that she’d be a companion along the road.
I joked with my therapist that I was out of therapy the past several weeks because I was competing in the Olympics in Tokyo. I showed her my temporary tattoo of the Olympic Rings. I love the Olympics, but they were especially poignant this year for me.
As I was glued to my TV to watch the Olympics, I played little games every night like, “I’m going to try and stand on one foot for the length of this swimming race.” I did lunges on commercials, and sit ups during medal ceremonies. I was in awe of the performance by so many athletes, and shocked the vast number of them who had what could have been career-ending injuries. Nearly every competitor had some surgery, fracture, tendon repair, fall that they recovered from. I was extra aware of the amount and type of previous injuries because of my own experience. I was extra proud of the perseverance of these athletes to return to such a high level of competition.
Perhaps the Olympic spirit is less about perfection and more about perseverance than I ever knew. Perhaps the adage that “struggles make better muggles” is also true. Perhaps I’ll understand someday the reason for this past year of struggles, doubts, pain, and loss.
But for now, one year later, Kenny and I forge steadily onward, knowing that we are not alone in this journey, believing we can do more, and exhibiting the olympic spirit of perseverance through it all.
We’ve made it a year and are still (literally) standing. That is something to celebrate indeed. I think I’ll wear my gold medal today to commemorate it.