Troubled Waters

I don’t usually write after a disease-related traumatic event but today is different. I’m writing now because I need to distract myself, and quite honestly I don’t know what else to do.

I stumbled this morning when I looked out my window at construction taking place on my building’s exterior. It was early, I was exhausted, and I wanted to see if I should turn on my air conditioner to drown out the noise. As I was walking back to bed I bumped into a table, stumbled, and twisted my left foot.

I felt a shooting pain like I’ve never felt before. I don’t take proper steps, since my legs and calf muscles are so weak that my legs bow out. One little bump from a table and it is enough to cause my foot to roll over. The pain is concentrated below my pinky toe, on the foot itself. It feels like it is on a joint of some sort, or underneath, or on top, who knows. This is a new pain for me, and to try and isolate exactly where it hurts would only lead to more discomfort.

I can deal with the pain, but what scares me is what the underlying pain will mean to my future. Tomorrow morning I go for x-rays. Is it a sprain? A small fracture? I have no idea. My foot, six hours later, still hurts a lot, although the pain has been dulled by my trusty frozen bag of butternut squash.


I hope and pray that it is just a sprain, and not a break. I cannot afford to be off my feet for any length of time, or even in a walking boot for that matter. I don’t have the strength or stability to walk in a boot. If I am stuck in a seated position, I will get weaker even faster, which is especially concerning since I have gotten noticeably weaker in just the last few months. To speed up the weakening process means that my walking days are numbered.

As I sit propped up in bed, surrounded by phones, remotes and pillows, I am thinking about what comes next. I try not to dwell on the future, partly because it is a scary place but also because there is so much unknown. As my friend Rhamy cheerfully likes to say when I worry about what lies ahead, “Hey, you could always get hit by a bus.” With that uplifting piece of advice in mind, I try to live in the present as much as possible. I accept my situation, but this is still a scary world I live in and that I will never get used to.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be afraid – perfectly normal – but now, more than ever, I must put on the face of resilience. Every time I share my story with audiences I talk about what has helped me overcome adversity when times get tough, and I must take my own advice to heart right now. I don’t know if that gives me more credibility or less to talk on the subject, but that isn’t my concern at the moment. All I care about right now is trying to stay afloat on an angry sea of adversity, fearful that the anchor I threw over the edge of the boat won’t find the bottom in time.

I don’t know what tomorrow will reveal. I am hopeful that it is just a sprain. But if it is more than that – a fracture, no matter how small – this could be the beginning of the end of my time walking. It is a future that will come at some point, but I hope that time isn’t now.

My foot is starting to get wet. My butternut squash is beginning to leak so it looks like it is time to wrap up this post. I’ll keep you all updated. Thoughts, prayers, whatever you like to give to others, are welcome right now. I’ll take whatever help I can get.

Unlike my leaky bag of squash, I’m not ready to give up. Hopefully my body feels the same way.

6 thoughts on “Troubled Waters

  1. Theresa Anselmo


    On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 6:19 PM, Sidewalks and Stairwells wrote:

    > Chris Anselmo posted: “I don’t usually write after a disease-related > traumatic event but today is different. I’m writing now because I need to > distract myself, and quite honestly I don’t know what else to do. I > stumbled this morning when I looked out my window at construction ” >

  2. ETurbert

    Chris, I don’t have your ailment but I follow your journey because it is all of ours in a way. I am in my 70’s and watchful of EVENTS, something happening that changes the game. For me maybe that would be stroke or heart attack or fibrillation or a fall. As Americans we don’t see fragility or vulnerability shown or discussed even though it is a part of life, all around us.

    You may have an experience something like my own a year or so back. I smashed the big toe. When it was x-rayed I heard unless the x-ray is directed straight at the site of a break in a toe or foot bone, it may not come visible on the picture. Then it was explained that breaks are so hard to place a cast on that the boot is the only option to reduce movement in that area.

    The demands an injury places on a person can be stressful, just the impatience of not keeping to the pace we set for ourselves. This is where my Captain Ahab comes in and I don’t recommend it. I curse my fate and rail against the Higher Powers that dealt me this injustice. I guess it is a way of going against the pain and frustration. God becomes the object to defy or yell at.

    Your voice is so reasoned and deliberate even when hurt and impatience must chide within you too. I admire your being in it but able to experience it or describe it openly and soberly.

    I do recommend prayer. And I’ll pray for you also. Focusing on the words of prayer or a poem touching on higher spiritual energy gets me out of myself and helps furnish endurance, resilience. Its not a thing addressed well by the scientific method of management, clinicians and astronomers. It is a mysterious thing. It is an intangible that needs exercise like our minds and our bodies. But for suffering it can be helpful, be it inner difficulty or exterior.

    So, thanks for your directness about your life and struggle. And I hope my thoughts are an aid to you and not another distraction. Thanks as well for letting me sound out here.

  3. ralph anselmo

    Happy to come up and see you today, sad it was for the reason it was.
    I was able to spend the day with my number one son on a sunny day. We we able to pick up your cap and gown for graduation. I was able to help you get to the Dr and an x-ray. Now, we know it was just a bad sprain.When life pitches a curve ball, check your swing and wait for a better pitch. You are still at bat. The game is still on.

  4. Ray

    Hi Chris, I follow your blog and I can’t tell you how much I admire your up beat attitude in the face of your future. I have muscular dystrophy and struggle with a lot of the same issues but I find it very difficult to talk about so I usually struggle in private. Hopefully your foot is healing and doesn’t cause you any more discomfort. Take Care, Ray

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