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What I’ve Learned From a Year-Long Injury

yearlong injury

5 diagnoses. 4 x-rays. 3 doctors. 2 MRIs. 1 cortisone shot. That essentially sums up the last year of my life. Since Labor Day weekend 2013, my life has felt as if it has revolved around my left foot. From doctor’s appointments, to exercising, and everything in between, everything has been about my left foot.

I won’t lie. This last year has been trying. I’ve been in a walking boot three times, on crutches once for 4 weeks (but probably should have been on them when I was first diagnosed), and have been forced to put most of normal activities to the back burner on numerous occasions, all because of a foot injury that just wouldn’t heal.  It seemed like just as I was able to get back into a routine of exercise, and more importantly – riding a horse, my foot would start to throb, and I’d be at square one again. Since I was first injured, I’ve gained 20 lbs. And that’s after losing 10 initially. I should have eaten better. And I could have worked out with my upper body more, but I decided I would rather eat my feelings. I’ve always been an emotional eater. This injury completely interrupted my life, as they always do.

But this isn’t about how much my foot injury set me back. This is about how what this injury taught me.

I know. You’re probably wondering how an injury could teach me anything when 99% of the time, I wished it would just go away in my sleep. But reflecting over the last year, I have learned from this.

yearlong injurySource 

I’ve learned that it’s okay to rely on others. You are looking at a person who doesn’t like to ask for help. Who has NEVER liked to ask for help. I’m not sure why, I just never have. But with this injury, I’ve had no choice, especially when I found myself on crutches. And I what I found out was that people are always willing to help. I quickly realized that little things like getting dinner in the kitchen, grocery shopping, and just about carrying anything, wasn’t going to happen without help. Thankfully, I had a lot of people around me who were always happy to assist when I needed them.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to rest. I like to be on the go. Sure, I enjoy taking a break, reading and watching TV, but on my terms. When you’re in a boot and/or on crutches, it’s not on your terms anymore. It’s a forced rest. Accepting that I needed to be off my foot and on my couch was sometimes tough to take, but I stuck it out. But I found a new respect for my couch, and just being able to sit quietly without having to do something.

I’ve learned how necessary, and important, it is to be active. You know the whole phrase ‘You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone’? That pretty much sums up the last year. I never really enjoyed exercising. I rode horses and liked to walk. I was starting to get into running when I got injured. In the last year, my activity has been on and off, depending on how the foot was. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my fiance and said “I wish I could go for a run right now.” Let’s just say, activity will be incorporated back in my day, almost immediately.

But one thing I already knew, I have the best support system there is. There have been countless tears, rants, angry text messages and swears thrown all over the place since I first was injured, and my fiance, family and friends, have always been there to remind me that this will heal and I will get better. And without them, I probably would have tried to chop my foot off lost my mind.

Most importantly, I’m on the road to recovery. I’m on the mend. I’m out of the boot, and off crutches. I’m slowly getting back to my normal activities. I should be fully cleared by 12/1. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep reflecting on what I’ve learned and continue to focus on healing.

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