Yesterday, I ran.
For 5 minutes, going a very leisurely 4.5 mph. But, I ran. I have not run since I finished my last 5k in March of 2014 (I think?) and was riddled with pain in my ankle.
Even when I have kind of needed to run . . .like, when my kids are swiftly moving down the hallway at the YMCA and they turn the corner where the door to the outside is and all I can do is pray that my scream of “RED LIGHT!! RED LIGHT!!” has effectively stopped them. Because the stakes weren’t high enough for my brain to cross the threshold into the pain I knew would come, and stay. (When Angus ran into the street in August, the adrenilene was enough to get me across, but with dire consequences.)
But yesterday, I ran. And the week before I took four quick steps and leaped onto a box. And for the last 8 days, I have walked as quickly as the length of my legs once before allowed me. I raced my children to their bedroom, and I won.
There is no way to overstate just how incredible this is, how immensely it has shifted my perspective on virtually everything. When you are in chronic pain and you don’t even feel able to walk the trash out to the alley, that lens colors everything else. When you are sure that pain and disability will continue to worsen indefinitely, it’s hard to not feel continually victimized by the rest of your life as well.
Conversely, right now, things feel somewhat euphoric. I mean, the shit is still shit. It’s just a bit rosier tinted right now. I imagine things will settle once I get over the wonder of walking foot over foot down stairs. I’ll probably still be in awe of my pain-free abilities, but that awe won’t overshadow the other bullshit that exists in quite the same way.
Until then, I’m rolling with it. And I’m bringing my family along with me. I’m also planning on going on a hike, solo or with whoever will join me, once a week. Because my soul needs it, and now my body can do it.
The icing on this incredible cake is that about 4 days after I launched my GoFundMe to try and raise the money I needed, an anonymous person from my life contacted me and offered to give me the full amount that I needed. Just, write a check for $4500. As long as I kept their anonymity and returned the other money I’d raised. It was a totally unexpected and shockingly generous gift. So now in addition to having a fully functional leg, I am not in astronomical debt or begging my friends for their starbucks money.
Of course, there are things to adapt to, as there are with any change. My shoe collection is now useless. I’d grown accoustomed to having to find shoes that were comfortable for my issues and accommodated my already large feet. But now I wear a 12 4E on the left (that’s HUGE and SUPER WIDE if you don’t know shoe sizing in the US) and I really have to have neutral soles and sturdy materials. So my options are limited. I currently have a pair of black new balance running shoes, a pair of what I would call ‘dress’ sneakers (they might also get labeled tied oxfords) and a pair of hiking boots. I spent $350 to get those and even though I really kind of need something dressier and black for more formal-ish (I live in Washington state so ‘formal’ is relative) I can’t quite swallow buying another pair of $100 shoes while I simultaneously give away my favorites (RIP sweet sweet Blundstones) so I’ll be waiting until it’s a necessary thing.
And if I have it on, I have to wear shoes. Which maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’m kind of a hobbit and if I’m at home I kind of don’t want to wear shoes. So I’ve been trying to balance wearing them for a while at home while I do the more active stuff and then taking them off when I’m sort of ‘done’ but I miss badly the feeling of coming home and taking my shoes off. Also, I have to wear socks and I kind of hate socks. Not just socks either, compression socks. Still, worth it.
There’s so much more to tell you all but this is the thing I am thinking about almost all the time right now. Tomorrow we have our xmas pictures (excitement/dread for me personally) and Ansel picked out a buffalo plaid dress to wear and it’s just so amazing to watch them do gender and (mostly) not get any shit for it. I pray it’s always so and also that our families keep their shitty opinions to themselves when they get our xmas cards.
And here’s a picture of Angus on a pumpkin after he painted his own face on Halloween cause . . .why not?