I am reading a book entitled Daring Greatly and a quote in explained exactly what I’ve feeling in this season of life but couldn’t put to words. Brené Brown writes about lessons she learned from people who have gone through hardships and losses. One of the lessons was to “be grateful for what you have and celebrate it. When you honor what you have, you’re honoring what I’ve lost” (125).
I started thinking about this in regards to running and it is so true. I am in a period of life where I’ve temporarily “lost” my ability to run. Most runners are eaten alive when they can’t run for even just a few days. I am totally fine doing nothing. I’ve decided that I am the “craziest non-crazy” runner out there.
But, I still smile when I see people running because they are enjoying something that I presently can’t do. I feel honored in this time of injury when they cherish their ability to be out there running healthfully. I want to hear about their good workout or see their excitement about a new training breakthrough. It is a reminder that they are not taking running for granted and in that, they honor me.
So for those of you who run, thank you for appreciating the days when you get to lace up your shoes and run. Seeing you celebrate the milestones you’re reaching and find joy in the process encourages me. It honors where I am at and gives me hope for the future.
Today I am crutch free!! In some moments, it feels hard to believe that 10 weeks have already gone by. But boy am I glad they have! I never thought I would be excited to be in a walking boot, but after 10 weeks on crutches a walking boot sounds like an incredible upgrade!
Being on crutches has given me a greater compassion and appreciation for people who go through life or seasons of life with a disability. It has also given me a new perspective on things I wouldn’t have noticed before.
-People want an intense story of what happened (I’m taking suggestions, just for entertainment value.)
-Humanity is kind. People are always willing to lend a hand.
-A bathroom sign should not say it is handicap accessible if the door is so heavy you can barely open it.
-Muscle atrophy is alarming.
-I would be rich if someone would have paid me every time someone talked to me about my injury.
-Who decided that handicap stalls should be at the back of every bathroom? Isn’t it a feat enough to make it into the bathroom, let alone crutch to the very end to get to the stall?
-Electric carts at grocery stores are never charged. What’s worse, actually using the cart or being stranded in the middle of the store like a helpless babe when the cart dies?…the jury is still out on that one.
-If you crutch into a road to cross the street, cars stop like you have a plague. Crossing streets couldn’t be better!
-You are never too old to get on your hands and knees and crawl.
-Being open to accepting help is humbling over and over and over. It never felt easier, but it was good practice.
-One crutch is about as lame as it looks, but is a necessary transition.
-There is joy in the midst of every moment, even the hard ones.
Overall, I have learned to be present and live in the moment. As cliché as that sounds when someone tells you, it is so true. I wouldn’t have chosen 10 weeks on crutches, but I couldn’t change it. Accepting the crutches as my new reality and finding ways to adjust made the last 10 weeks way more enjoyable. Now off to 10 more weeks of practicing this in the walking boot! With 2 legs the world is my oyster (but as a 12 year old so kindly reminded me, I still can’t run a 5k). haha.
This is a season for me of humbling. I am learning humility in more ways than I thought possible. It is uncomfortable, but so important at the same time.
I am daily humbled by having to ask for help, in learning to accept help, and in being grateful for people’s attempts to help. I am working on communicating where I am and the uncertainty of the future and being okay with that, despite how unknown and scary it feels. I have tipped over on a knee scooter, climbed groceries up stairs, and elevated my leg in all sorts of not so appropriate ways in public. And, lest I forget, my impressive newfound ability to take down displays in grocery stores while riding the electric carts (which, might I add, move at an incredibly pedestrian pace).
For someone who likes to fly under the radar, I am an attention magnet. Despite my attempts to not stand out, crutches seem to scream “look at me” and apparently demand that you “tell me your story about that time you were on crutches“ (or your brother’s, parent’s, or great aunt second removed’s stories). Most days I wish I could go unnoticed, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be an option. Maybe if I died my hair bright purple people would be so distracted by that they would miss the crutches. 😉
But since bright purple hair dying isn’t in the cards for the imminent future, humility it is! I know one day I will look back fondly at all the ways I was humbled during this time and consider myself blessed.
Today marks 3 weeks post-op. It feels like it has been an eternity, but at the same time, has flown by. Hopefully time starts to fly faster so I will be back on my feet soon. But until then, I will share my reflections along the way…
-single leg ninja balancing abilities come out of no where
-packing becomes a lot easier when you can only wear shorts, dresses, or skirts over the boot and only need the right shoe
-calf muscles shrink at an alarming rate…I could get my whole hand down the cast after 2 weeks
-crutches mean a backpack is your new best friend so you can carry things
-you have an excuse to get out of household chores
-everything takes exponentially longer (but may actually provide a valid excuse for being late)
-the knee scooter is a life safer (when inside, otherwise it is a health hazard)
-people go out of their way to help you. unless you are in a grocery store, then hunger rages and you get death stares until you move. 😉
-sometimes all you can to do is laugh and make fun of yourself
I’ve always said that I have learned more in times of injury than I would have ever learned if I was healthy. But in all honesty, this injury has shaken me to the core. It has challenged me to really examine if I still believe that to be true.
At some point you have to have learned all that you can learn from times of injury, right? I mean seriously…I did the whole 6 months off, pedestrian-paced build-up last year. And here I am again, staring at the reality of beginning that all over again. What’s left to learn?
Apparently a lot. In the last 6 days on crutches, I am already beginning to see the lessons. My eyes have been opened to the strength of the run community, the importance of being vulnerable, and how to reach out when I need support. I can’t isolate myself and try to endure this on my own little island, even though that may feel safer. Honesty is sometimes awkward. But that is why we are made to live in community, so that when we get through those awkward moments, we can look back and laugh. I am also learning to be humble enough to ask for help, grateful for the army around me ready to help, and gracious when attempts to help go awry. 😉
I know the lessons will keep coming. As much as I want to fight this process, it is out of my control. I have to surrender to the healing process, accept my limited mobility and establish a new norm. I have to open my eyes to the opportunities for growth around me and embrace this undesired, but purposeful period of my life. I will learn just as much through this time of injury as previous ones and I will be better for going through it when it is over. And I am writing this to convince myself of these things as much as anything.
My grateful appreciation to all those who have stood by my side and will continue to do so in the coming months! May we learn together and have laughs to share from the awkward moments that unfold! 🙂
Sometimes I wish I knew how things would turn out before I committed to them. It certainly would make decision making a lot easier. Although in regards to running, I’m thankful I haven’t known. I definitely wouldn’t have signed up for the hand of cards I have been dealt.
In February of 2014 I was diagnosed with a navicular stress fracture in my left foot. It was discouraging, but I had experienced injury in my career before and knew I would bounce back. I took 6 months off and then began what felt like the slowest build back up of all time. I did all the rehab exercises, changed shoes, and even ran with a metronome to increase my cadence (bless my teammates for putting up with it). But if I’m honest with myself, my left ankle was always in the back of my mind.
People told me that navicular bone fractures often bother you for up to 18 months after injuring it, so I relied on the army of people around me to help manage the tightness. I seemed to be able to manage it so long as I only wore flats for workouts, did all the little things, and took days off. Fitness was coming around and I was hopeful my ankle would cooperate as well.
Then 2 weeks ago in one workout it went from feeling like it normally did to me waking the cool down. An MRI revealed that it was fractured again. While deep down I probably could have told you that, hearing the news from a doctor was like a punch in the stomach. It was the death of a dream that I had committed myself to for the last 2 years.
Seeing a dream die is not easy, especially when it is not on your terms. I cried so hard my abs were sore the next day (potential new ab exercise?). I bought myself a stuffed animal. And for the last week I have gone through the motions of life while feeling numb inside. But it will get better. Time will pass and this too will feel like a blip in the road, a deck of cards that I wouldn’t have chosen but were used to build character.
Here is the link to a blog I wrote for Oiselle about my mom: http://www.oiselle.com/blog/ode-kelly-jo