Life, Love, Travel & What Comes Next? I’m

Thanks to everyone who reached out and sorry this is so impersonal and in a post but in the best of times, I’m behind hundred(s) of messages…and now it’s just overwhelming. 

And while I understand where people are coming from and that it’s not done maliciously but telling me to stay positive or that I’ll be back even better than before makes things so much harder.

And part of that is on me ~ we all know how I struggle with being vulnerable and most have no idea what I have been dealing with. 

So:

It’s now been 292 days since my injury. Odds should have been in my favor with my baseline health metrics, high pain tolerance, and work ethic to have had a normal, quick recovery. But instead I’ve spent the days wondering when I would feel normal again and underwent my third surgery last Monday. 

I have jumped out of airplanes, dove to depths of 35 M/115 ft and as recently as last fall, did a two-week solo road trip and hiked/MTB 100+ miles. I am used to dancing and partying nights away then waking up & adventuring/working thru the days. 

But now it feels like my body has betrayed me ~ After my first surgery, I had a range of motion of 12-52° ~ It’s not complicated ~ a knee straightens: 0° and bends: 135° typically and my right leg couldn’t even get close to normal numbers much less my left leg even with intense PT and at home sessions that would leave me gasping and sometimes curled up in a fetal position from the pain and intensity. 

Surgery number two to address scar tissue and have more weird complications. I spent 106 days on crutches and struggled with learning to walk normally again.  EVERY single day I have had discomfort in that knee or a corresponding issue.  During this time, I would be unable to sit for a couple of hours without my leg becoming completely stiff or I could sometimes  hike and exercise but with fear that it would give out and having to stop myself from taking on things I would have never found even mildly challenging before. It still caught me by surprise when I would hesitate to perform a new PT exercise or teach my niece/nephew a physical trick. I would often look down and wonder whose leg this is as it didn’t seem to belong to me. It didn’t even match my other leg in appearance much less strength or ability. 

For a person that has traveled to 53 countries ~35/40+ solo, I’ve had to depend on others because for 18 – 20 weeks (still ongoing) as I wasn’t cleared to drive.  And this was one of the silver linings to emerge ~ I’ve always known how lucky I am but it’s really become even more apparent that my friends and family are absolutely amazing with how many people have stepped up to help me with so many things.

I have spent the last six months rehabbing ~ the first few months, I spent hours in a static ROM machine then had PT exercises with alternating heat/cold therapy with everything taking up 6-8 hours daily on top of doing my consultant work and/or baking. Working so hard to regain almost my full range of motion (sometimes w/audible scar tissue tearing) , rebuild my strength, agility, etc to have one of my weird complications unravel. And then had to face the prospect of not only needing another surgery but also spending more than five figures on healthcare (so thank you for everyone that bought some baked goods from me ~ you helped me out mentally, emotionally and financially by helping pay for my leg). And now I’m here ~ having to start rehab from the very beginning and again seeing that the outcome is once again uncertain. Honestly there is no guarantee that I’ll be normal ~ that I can go back to my old life and old way of living and traveling ~ and that does really scare me.

I have had my life on hold for so much of this year and have had to say no to a few things that I thought I was supposed to be working towards. I’ve been tested in so many ways these past two years…and still trying to make sense out of it all. But for now, I stay grateful for all those in my life and prepare for the worst but always hope that the best is still yet to come. 

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