(…With a shout out of thanks to David Degol, Alexandrea Emeigh, Gary McShea, and all the staff at Tussey Mountain for making this all possible.)
In my pre-stroke life, I was a rather big skiing/snowboarding enthusiast. I always knew that at some point when I was physically ready, I would get back out there. Last year with some help I tried to get back up on skis, but learned rather quickly that the left leg was not going to cooperate. The muscles simply do not fire. Balance becomes an issue immediately and general function and control is extremely limited.
In theory, I figured that snowboarding might be a more realistic approach to get me back on the mountain. The thought here being that the bindings restrict the left leg from “doing its own thing” and balance (though difficult) is more achievable being strapped to a single unit.
So during these blustery winter months I made it a priority that at some point during the season I was going to strap in for the first time in seven years. Well, through a pile of trial, error, and tweaks, we made this happen. I got up, I rode my edges, I carved by overcompensating with my right side, and successfully transitioned on and off of the chairlift. The key was that I needed quite a bit of assistance strapping in and getting up.
I fell a lot; my affected side fatigued quickly, and I can tell you I was sore as hell the next day. But this was a big day in my path to recovery. I seriously doubt that I will be thrashing down black diamond slopes in my immediate future, but it’s simply the burn inside to get back out there. It’s all about the small steps that start to build the big picture. Who knows what the future holds? A corrected golf swing, strumming a guitar, walking a 5K….