Today, June 20th makes 6 months exactly, since I fell and broke my leg. It was a rainy morning on Friday, December 20th (1 day before the Winter Solstice). It was a quick slip and fall. As I lay on the ground, in pain and half crying, the only thought in my head was ‘how will I travel to India in 5 days?’
Upon reaching the hospital and several x-rays later I realized there was not going to be a trip. I had a Pilon fracture (where both the tibia and fibula break close to the ankle) and had an upcoming surgery instead…well 2 to be exact. The next 2 weeks were a blur as I went through both surgeries and recovery.
At the time I couldn’t understand what had happened. Questions were running through my head. ‘Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How could this have happened?’ Those of you who know me know that I’m always looking for the meaning or significance behind things that happen. What was the significance behind my fall? I was upset, frustrated, angry and in A LOT of pain. This was a major setback. I was supposed to be on a plane to India, to get away from the cold wintry weather and spend time with my parents and sister. But instead I had a long road of recovery ahead of me, and I had no idea what that would entail.
Over the next several months I went through many emotions and mental states. I’m not going to lie. It was tough, painful and frustrating with lots of questions and emotions. So many new experiences – learning to depend on others for help, realizing I didn’t have the energy level to do what I wanted to, lots of sleep and naps, countless side effects from the meds, slow moving days …staring out the window as the snow fell and the wind howled under grey, cloudy, bitter cold days.
After 5 weeks my cast came off. I remember staring at my leg at the surgeon’s office – swollen foot and leg with dry, peeling, and scarred skin. It looked like an alien that was somehow attached to my body. ‘Where was my leg?’ I fought back tears. They put me into a boot and I started PT. I really thought getting back on my feet was going to be simple and easy. I was in for a surprise. That’s when the tough work really began, on so many levels. The challenge was not only for my body but also my mind as I retrained my foot and leg (amidst the swelling and scarring) to regain its flexibility, strength and mobility. I remember many PT visits where my mind would tell my foot to move or my toes to curl, and my foot would barely move. It just wouldn’t listen. It was like a struggle between my mind and my leg/foot. That feeling is inexplicable. Tears flowed down my face. 45 minutes of PT felt like I had been running for miles. I was exhausted. I wondered, will I ever be able to stand or walk again? After a few tough and frustrating visits I started to notice some improvement. My heart swelled with pride, joy and accomplishment. I was excited and happy to see progress. I was nurturing my precious leg back to health.
As I watched my leg/foot improve – my mindset shifted. I began feeling grateful….for so many things. Little things. My toes curling (back and forth) slowly but surely. My foot increasing its range of motion. Decreasing numbness and that prickly sleepy feeling. I never realized or appreciated the work our human body does, on its own. Yes, I remember taking Biology class but never did I really sit back and appreciate how amazing the human body is. All our systems working together doing what they are supposed to when it’s time to do it, with rarely any interference from us.
Have you ever thought about the work your legs do? Your toes? The ball of your foot, the heel? They hold us up, transport us from one place to another, hold our weight, allow us to balance, dance, stand on our tippy toes, exercise, run – so many things. And do we really think about everything they do, not just from an external point of view but the internal workings? The tendons, muscles, bones, arteries, veins…all of it. No. I know I didn’t. All I knew was if I wanted to go from my bedroom to the kitchen I would get up and start walking. I took it all for granted.
The fall and recovery time gave me a lot of time to reflect, slow down, and become more present with my body. As I look back at the sequence of events over the past 6 months everything turned out absolutely perfect. I couldn’t have planned it better. Yes, the fall was unfortunate, tough, and inconvenient but out of it came so many beautiful, eye-opening experiences for me.
I realized how blessed I was to have family and friends that stepped forward to support me through the process. My brother who was by my side through both surgeries making all the decisions needed to ensure I was healing and comfortable. My sister in law who spent 2 months nursing me back to health, cooking for me, giving me massages, waking up in the middle of the night to give me my meds. My mother, and sister who flew back home early to step in after my sister in law left, and of course my sweet father who gave me pep talks, love and encouragement through all of it. My amazing CCT family who did countless healing sessions, Soul Charts and held space for me through my surgeries and recovery. My patient, encouraging and supportive Physical Therapist who balanced being patient and knowing when to push me. My next door neighbors who cleaned off our driveway every time it stormed so that we could get out safely for my Dr’s appointments. Friends who stopped by to keep me company and bring food. Our amazing Universe and God, who brought everything that I needed to me in Divine Right Timing …gently and so lovingly. So many acts of kindness, unconditional love, and encouragement. I was and am still humbled and in awe by this support. In addition to the gratitude piece, I realized I need to slow down and take time to smell the flowers, be more mindful, and present. And more than all of that, my love and appreciation for my body skyrocketed as it supported, healed, recovered and regained its strength. I feel so lucky and blessed.
Our lives are so busy. Mine is no different. But one thing this experience has given me is the ability to step back more consciously and take a look at how ‘busy’ I’m making myself. Slow down, relax, take time to smell the flowers and breathe in the warm, beautiful sunshine.
I was indoors for what seemed like endless months this past winter…and now that it’s warmed up beautifully outside, I’ve given myself the gift of communing with Nature, and I am LOVING every minute of it. Every opportunity I get, whether it’s sunny or cloudy out you’ll find me on my deck with an occasional glass of wine, spending time with the trees, soaking in the warm sunshine, noticing the beautiful shades of blue in the sky, experiencing the breeze through the rustling of leaves and being awestruck at how each season of our life brings something new and beautiful to us.