WHEN WILL THIS END?!
I’m not a hundy on how to take this latest news.
If you were following my Instagram Stories last week, you would have probably picked up on a trend that over time is becoming less and less hilarious. At least for me. The trend seems to be this: for every single good, progressive thing that happens in the Monday Hustle world, there’s a negative when it comes to my Achilles. The old one step forward, two steps back scenario. Only in this instance, it’s a little too literal for my liking and I also need to replace the adjective ‘step’ with ‘hop’.
As you know, the darn skin that normally houses and protects my Achilles tendon doesn’t seem to want to heal. You can see my Achilles through the hole on the back of my leg. It’s pretty gross. And also a little depressing. I kind of feel like a failure, because my body isn’t doing what it’s meant to be able to do naturally – that is, heal itself.
I mean like, I know I’m not a failure, and I’m not about to spiral into a deep self loathing depression around this, but I also know that I’m very lucky in that fact.
Plainly put, injuries suck. They often come out of nowhere. And they are often immediately life altering. This means that it’s tough to prepare for the sudden changes we have no choice but to try and become accustomed to effective now. Here are just a few of the lifestyle changes I encountered when I first snapped my Achilles:
- I had to get around on crutches (think 10,000 tricep dips a day, calluses on your hands, bruises on your elbows)
- I had to stop wearing jeans and pants
- I couldn’t drive my manual car, and therefore was stuck unless someone else was going somewhere
- I had to sleep flat on my back with my casted leg propped on pillows
- I had to ensure that everything I was wearing had pockets so I could carry things around
- I had to stand on one leg to have a shower, and when I finally got motivated to make the effort to shower, I had to wrap my casted leg in some sort of plastic sheath which can best be described as an elephant condom
5 months in, and I can only take two things off that list. I am stoked to report that I can now sleep without my moon-boot, and can therefore assume my favourite sleeping position which is flat on my face. I am also happy to inform you that I can now wear pants.
I wrote a post a wee while ago about how I felt as if I had lost my identity. 5 months in, and crutches + moonboot have almost become my identity – but that’s a different blog post.
Anyway, my point is, it’s tough when life changes in an instant. And immediate change happens to everybody at some point, whether it is chosen or entirely unanticipated. And what I have learnt through this experience is that when life is ‘normal’, it is so important to look after yourself, to challenge yourself and to consistently exist out of your comfort zone so that when life does inevitably throw you an unexpected curve ball – we are best prepared to handle it.
And lucky I have been trying to do that lately, because last week – life threw me another.
On Tuesday, I saw my surgeon. He took one look at my Achilles, blinked, gathered his thoughts and said with total conviction that I’d need more surgery make the skin to knit back together. Likely a graft. But he’d leave that decision up to the plastic surgeon.
This news rendered me ready to run out of there crying. If only I could run..
This news was shocking. I had expected a solution to the skin problem, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would be as drastic as that. A raft of emotions flowed through me. Disappointment at my body’s incapabilities. Frustration at having yet another setback. Rage, that no one had picked up on this sooner.
**Warning – slightly gory detail to follow**
By some miracle, I was able to see the plastic surgeon the next morning. He told me that the procedure wasn’t going to be overly straightforward. That they’d have to slice a tear-drop-shaped piece of skin off the side of my foot, pivot it around to cover my Achilles and take a skin graft from my thigh to cover the new hold they’d created in my foot. He then said that Achilles skin is unlike any skin on the body, as it’s relatively thin, but extremely flexible, and because of this, I may need one or two more surgeries down the track where they’ll thin the skin across my Achilles so that it’s flexible enough to handle the range of motion my ankle will eventually regain.
After each surgery, while the skin heals and my body settles back down post surgery, it will be two weeks to a month before I can weight bear on my left leg again.
So this news was pretty rough. When I had a second infection scare about a month ago, I broke. But with this fresh round of news – I hit rock bottom.
With a thud, my body hit that stone cold reality while my mind numbed and my senses became paralytic. After 5 months of this bullsh*t, how could it still be going on?? One game of netball and we’re still here?? To add insult to injury (lol), I paid $10 to play that game. And now – I want a refund.`
However, after Tuesday and Wednesday were said and done, I began to peel myself up off my self-imposed rock-bottom-floor. I finally re-affirmed that the state of my Achilles does not define me. It is not my essence. It doesn’t make me any less capable of progressing in other areas of my life. It’s just something that I currently need to work with and be patient about when it comes to getting it better.
I’m learning to move through life without having a rigid vision for my future in my mind. Of course, I have hopes in that some things will work out the way I anticipate and want – but more and more, I’m understanding the importance of being able to adapt to a plan B. Because if there is one thing that’s inevitable in life – it’s that we are going to need to be comfortable with change, and capable of embracing the unexpected when it arises rather than resisting it.
I am determined that this experience will not be standalone, that I will use the lessons to do good, to help others, to build from and grow through.
More on this very shortly..