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.