So to set the record straight…I was dependent on a wheelchair for roughly three months after surgery. Physical therapy would eventually get me up and semi-mobile with use of a walker and then a cane, but that wheelchair was part of my daily routine for quite some time. My left leg as a whole had very little functionality. Foot drop was diagnosed almost immediately once my physical rehabilitation began. When I was discharged from in-patient therapy, we truly didn’t know if I would ever walk unassisted again.
During the months that followed in out-patient therapy, a countless number of tests, devices, machines, and gadgets were experimented with in an attempt to gain functionality back to my leg. As the weeks passed, I graduated from a walker to a cane with assist from an AFO to gain stability and neutralize the foot drop.
This approach was not pretty whatsoever. My gait was a complete mess and my spasticity (clonus) could set off a Richter Scale in the tri-state region! I couldn’t bend my knee, nor flex my ankle while having a very bulky leg device strapped to the affected foot. Also, I had to wear sneakers that were three times my normal size on my left foot so that the AFO could fit into a shoe. I was a sight…to say the least. But over the course of the next six weeks or so, I was starting to slowly get the art of walking back again. It was a dreadfully slow process. I remember on a couple of occasions watching small children running and playing. It was so frustrating to see this act done with extremely little thought or effort!
Well…Like everything else in this road to recovery, my leg and my brain began to re-develop patterns which through countless hours of exercise and discipline started to make the connection back to somewhat of a normal stride. And walking truly gained me a glimpse of independence–which I desperately needed in those first few months. Slowly, my wheelchair took a back seat to my cane and in the weeks to come, I was taking very short and slow jaunts into the outside world once more.
Which brings us to this coming Sunday, April 21, 2013. I’ve pondered this event for the past three years and each time the date got close, I found a new excuse as to why I couldn’t participate. Well, this year I have no excuse. I have been on a yearlong campaign to get myself healthy inside and out. As with most of my ventures, some say that I have gone a little overboard in my approach; but I feel really good and I feel the timing is ideal to pull this off…