The past couple of days I’ve been wanting to do more.

I’ve been anxious to try to walk without the scooter or walker. I got a bit excited about the idea and imagined the freedom of just walking unencumbered.

Yesterday my physical therapist was here. I had my right sneaker and sock ready and I told him I wanted to try to walk without the boot.

My hands are still hurting from putting the chairs together. So I wanted to see if I could eliminate having to grip the handles of the knee scooter and walker.

He looked at me and said: “Why don’t you put on the sneaker and just stand?”

Wanting To Do More:

So I did. I still had two Ace bandages on the inside of the sneaker, walked about 10 feet, and had no more stamina. He was right beside me.

Of course, I had pushed past just standing. Because I wanted to walk freely. But yesterday afternoon I paid dearly for that impulse.

I put ice on the outside of my ankle and took a couple of Tylenol capsules. It took about 2 hours to get any relief. I watched a movie and tried to distract myself.

I’ll be the first one to say that I like to skip steps. I get impatient and want to venture forward. To move and keep moving.

But I can’t skip any steps in this process. Because even if I go through all the steps required, it still might not mean success.

Maybe I won’t ever be able to walk on my right foot without pain. I have to come to terms with that. This walking boot may end up being my constant companion from here on out.

But I just had to try.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

– Michael Jordan

Two Months Since Surgery:

It’s been 8 weeks since I had ankle surgery. I’ve done pretty well up to this point. But Friday night I grew weepy. And I don’t like to cry because it upsets Ivy.

I watch other people walk with so little effort that I want to try as well.

Steve comes over to get my trash and he looks so healthy and walks so well. He’s 13 years older than I am. He also works out at the YMCA 3 times a week. I’m envious of the way he can stay in motion and do things that I can’t.

Most everyone I see around here walks about. And I’m still in a walking boot with a scooter, and it’s a bit depressing. I guess I thought I’d have made more progress by now.

I think back to when I was a kid and could run and run.

Of course, I could no more do that now than fly to the moon.

I remember running with the wind blowing against my face, and my hair loose and flowing behind me.

There is something so liberating about pushing your legs to go farther and faster. It’s something a child does without thinking. They run when they could just as well walk.

I know the surgeon told me that the surgery might not make any difference at all. But I have to think that repairing the tendons was necessary. And taking out some of the shin bone surely didn’t hurt since it was where it shouldn’t be.

I know all this, but still I get anxious and want to accelerate things.

Reining Myself In:

Today I have 4 Ace bandages instead of 2 wrapped around my foot inside the boot to form thick padding around my ankle. I’m still hurting a bit in that same area but at least the pain is transient and not constant.

Living with constant pain is so debilitating physically and emotionally. The thought of going back to that dark place horrifies me.

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

― Jack Kerouac

So I will wear the boot, and if I don’t have pain, I will be thankful. I will be grateful for that gift. Because I truly know what a gift it is to live without constant pain.

I guess one shouldn’t look at what they can’t do. But instead, count all the things they can do. I can enjoy a movie and read a book and be with Ivy. And feel comforted inside my cozy home.

I have a roof over my head and food to eat.

There are still lots of things I can do to pass the time. To be happy.

So I will do my strengthening exercises and try to restrain myself from wanting more, more, more. No one is promised more.

Greg, my physical therapist, warned me. He told me not to push things because going slow was not going to hinder any progress.

And he reminded me of the setback I had after I saw the first physical therapist who pushed me more than Greg thought was necessary.

But I thought I was ready, and I wasn’t.

He asked me to rein in my impulsive nature because it could lead to something I truly do not want.

No one is promised more. I shall repeat that to myself over and over again. And be grateful for what I can do instead of worrying about what I can’t do.

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”

Coco Chanel

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56 Comments

  1. It is totally understandable to be frustrated and want to speed up your healing process. Keep the faith that you WILL get there – I do believe in positive thinking! It is taking more time than you like, and you are entitled to your “down” days, but keep visualizing yourself walking free. I used to tell my son that “your brain believes what you tell it.” So…..keep believing that you can!

  2. Wow, Brenda. I’m sorry you are feeling so frustrated. After reading all the comments, I’d say you are in good company here. It seems many friends here are going through hardships as well, so you couldn’t have a better, more understanding and loving group of friends than you have right here! I’m proud of everyone here! We’re all fighting the good fight, and offering support with encouraging words to help each other. What a wonderful group of friends. Here are some of my thoughts… this is going to take time. A year from now, or maybe two years, you will look back on this experience and realize how much better you are doing. The days might go by slowly, and some will be better than others, but the time, or years, will end up going by faster than you realize. One day, you’ll think back on this and realize you’re finally better. And if you never make a full recovery, it’s ok. You’ll still be ok. Life will go on, and you will adjust. But you will be ok! I believe you will make a full recovery. Listen to your physicsl therapist’s advise, and have patience. It will get better. You might have to lower your expectations and realize it might take a little longer, but it will happen for you. And we will be here for you, every (baby) step of the way!

  3. Thank you for sharing your healing journey, Brenda. I think your posts tell the real deal: desire to make progress faster, frustration, slowing pace to move steadily toward mobility. Keep on keeping on! So many insightful comments and lots of good wishes here that I hope give you some comfort and inspiration in your recovery.

  4. Have you thought of taking up crochet? It can be very calming during times when you have to be still.
    I am losing the sight in my left eye to [wet] macula degeneration and am longing to find things to do. I am thinking I could take up crochet again and make lap blankets or prayer shawls for people in our building.
    Prayers for healing and ways to find stillness.
    Blessings to you and your family and friends 💕💕💕💕💕💕

  5. Brenda, thanks for sharing. It gives me hope. I have been comparing what I could do just a year ago with my lack of mobility now without pain. And being envious of those who can walk on their own without an appliance. What I have gained is compassion, patience, awe, & resourcefulness in adapting to what I can do, and grateful for the help I receive from my support people, loved ones. Your positive mindset encourages me often. 💙

  6. Brenda,
    listen to your P/Therapist; SLOW and STEADY WINS the RACE!!! I read your response about being in a swimming pool? Dryness because of Menopause? What kind of Dr.(s) do you have in Oklahoma for crying out loud? So Absurd; I’m in disbelief your logic didn’t come right out and challenge this person! Apparently they are unaware of the advances in chemically treating water. Most pools use chlorine gas which has less toxicity then municipal city chlorinated water. And I know you shower with city water! I belong to the YMCA and use the pool 3 x a week. You are essentially weightless, with no stress on your joints and it helps with strengthening lung capacity.
    On a different note, the series “Crossing Lines” is really good. It’s on Ovation.
    Stay focused and optimistic!

    1. It doesn’t really matter what is in the water. Even taking a bath dries me out too much. I am so dry it is often hard to walk because of the chafing. Can’t sit on the edge of a chair. It is getting worse as I age. I just ordered a new moisturizer and it is helping.

  7. So much good advice and sharing from your readers in this post, Brenda. I don’t think I have much to add except that I know about losing strength and mobility from being semi-bedridden for a year. That has been two years ago and I am slowly gaining back my muscle strength, especially in my legs. I walk every day, which I am grateful that I can do and am gaining little by little. But I, too, go through periods of impatience and frustration. Like others have said, I constantly have to remind myself to keep a positive and patient attitude, believing that things will get better. You are doing that most of the time so give yourself credit and hang in there. Also, make sure that you are giving yourself superior nutrition because that will aid in your healing.

    Take care and keep on keeping on.

  8. I’m sorry your recovery is going slower than you hoped, Brenda, but to not have constant pain is a huge milestone. It sounds like you were comparing this surgery to your previous ones, but there’s been a lot of time and wear and tear since those. Your body is not going to let you push it any faster than it can handle. Listen to it and to your doctor and physical therapist, and hard as it may be, just try to be patient and look at every day as a day closer to healing. If you feel like crying, and who wouldn’t when faced with such frustration, go ahead! Ivy will be fine. She’s very resilient. Take care.

  9. I can understand your frustration and just wanting to get up and walk. That is something I never take for granted.

    Do you have special exercises from the physical therapist that you do at home every day? I wonder if using a stationary bike or swimming would help – both non-weight bearing, but strengthening.

    1. Yes, I have strengthening exercises I do at home. I wrote above why I can’t swim. I haven’t been able to ride a bike since I was 47 years old due to the effects of menopause. And I had just purchased a bike I loved. But it was too hard on my female parts.

  10. 12 weeks of no weight bearing for me in a cast. It does seem like forever! Wheel chair. It has taught me to have more empathy for others. Try to remember that this is temporary. No matter what happens in the future, it is NOW that you have to do. Take it slow and cry if you have to. Crying is a release valve. Impatience is natural, but through impatience we learn new skills. Not fun, but another form of independent. How did you feel after making your bed or doing other things in ways that you never thought you would have to do? I had to use my time in a wheelchair as a learning experience. Otherwise I would of had a worse time. I don’t know any of this makes sense.

  11. Everything takes time Brenda, but try to think positive! A good cry wouldn’t hurt either bc everyone needs to sometimes!

  12. As the saying goes. “One has to crawl, then stand, then walk, then run before trying to fly. One can’t fly into flying”. Patience not pain is for me too is the true struggle with chronic health issues and pain. Two months although our head says is forever when healing is really nothing in the scheme of medical healing process. You are wise to heed the advice of your therapist. You will get there. Just remember to not get in the way of yourself and keep the forward positive/grateful thinking. Mindset will move the whole healing process forward in of itself. Hugs

  13. Brenda please allow yourself some Grace! You’ve come a long way since your surgery. We “see” you in ways you don’t see yourself. It’ll be like this for a while and then one day it won’t – poof it’ll all be behind you.
    Brenda, are you able to grip a pencil, pen or crayon? I’ve been thinking you might enjoy “coloring” with gel pens or crayons. I’ve found that keeping my hands busy truly helps my mental health. You don’t have to grip a gel pen or crayon very tightly so it may be something to consider. Just food for thought as I think of things to help you.
    And, by the way a good cry is very cleansing and good for the soul. Trust me I know!

  14. I just celebrated wearing an ileostomy bag for 33 years. Yes, I have spent the last 33 years walking around with a bag of poo taped to my belly. The doctors saved my life but then I was sued for a $100,000 by the hospital. They took my home, my husband didn’t want me and I was too sick to get a job. Brenda, stay focused on the end goal when you can. But it is also OKAY to feel the way you do. It is not pity, it is part of your acceptance of what might lay ahead. You and I are insurors, we prepare, that is how we survive. So you thinking ahead of all the possibilities to me is very normal. I just recently sky dived at age 65, I have terrible pain in my body but the young man did all the work. The wonder of the beauty outside my mind’s world opened a door to positivity I had never experienced. It lit a fire inside of me that has given me courage and determination. The silence of the parachute was life altering. I am going to do this every year on my birthday, whether I deserve it or not, I need it to inject life back into my days. Handicap people can do amazing things with the help of strong young people. How about a balloon ride at sunrise? That is on my bucket list, handicappers welcome! ~jackie~

    1. Wow Jackie! So glad you’re living life to its fullest! I’m scared of heights so that’s not on my bucket list! Lol
      My Mom has a bag too and it saved her life many yrs ago and thank God she is still here and my Dad too!

    2. Jackie, your story is inspiring! And your out look on life is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. And for the record, the thought of voluntarily jumping out of a perfectly good flying aircraft is terrifying! Definately not on my bucket list either!!! Lol!

  15. Oh Brenda, I hate to hear you having so much difficulty but reading what some of the others have said about healing times is certainly an eye opener. I never knew it could take so long to heal. I know it seems like that if surgery is over and my six weeks are up one should be up and running again! For someone like you always on the go I know it must be extremely difficult. It sounds like you have a wonderful therapist working with you. Sending you big hugs❣️

    1. It’s kind of awkward needing to move things by dragging them behind me with one hand while moving along on the scooter. But it works most times!

  16. I don’t know if you have considered it, but it sounds as if you might benefit from joining water exercise class at the ymca. With the water bearing your weight you could possibly “walk” in the pool maintaining your mobility and rebuilding you strength. Some pools have lifts so people with disabilities can enter and exit the pool without effort. Often ymca has special pricing for older patrons and/or offer refunds if program is not for you. Many Medicare advantage plans include free exercise programs including pool exercises.

    I have been in treatment for cancer for ten years and I know how debilitating inactivity can be both physically and mentally.

    It sounds like you have found the perfect niche in your new apartment and with your new group of friends. But perhaps you should continue to stretch your horizons. I hope the best for you.

    1. I have very dry skin, and since menopause at 47, every part of me is dry! So I’m not to take baths, the doctors tell me. So I know I can’t get into pools.

    2. Edit to add: Pop down to last paragraph, then you can ignore everything else I’ve said…. 🙂

      I was going to suggest the same thing as Shirley about water therapy and about checking your Medicare supplement for a free gym membership. I’ll add that I don’t think you could just water walk, as walking on the pool floor is more resistance than walking on land. (At least that’s what I found when trying to water walk while rehabbing my arthritic knee after arthroscopic surgery.) And, you could use a pool noodle or a flotation belt to be weightless and move about the pool. All of the YMCAs should have a lift chair. They should also provide some type of scholarship or sliding scale cost if your supplement doesn’t cover a gym membership.

      When I first started back, I was in the pool for maybe 10-15 minutes. You could shower immediately afterward; our Y has shower chairs. And, it’s just now dawning on me that right now you would have difficulty getting from Steve’s car (I was hoping he’d drive you on days he went), to the pool, back to the shower area, where you would use LOTS of good lotion, then get back out to Steve’s car.

      So never mind my suggestion of the day! You could consider water therapy when the PT has you walking a bit further, such that you can make it out to the parking lot.

      1. Praying for you! I know how difficult it is to not do the things you truly want to do. Aging does not sit well with me. Sending love and pray that this too shall pass and you will come out of that boot feeling really good. Take it slow. Build it up!

  17. Healing thoughts are being sent your way…sometimes we have to cry to release the emotions we are feeling on the inside …and that is ok…one day at at time is all we can do..bless you 💕

  18. Sounds like you have a very good helpful therapist…that is a big blessing!! My Hubby has not been able to walk normally for a long time now…but when he came home in Jan from the hospital, all he could do was stand (with help), pivot and sit down in his wheelchair. Since we got here in April, he can walk a few feet at a time, with his cane, inside the apt and out to the car…that is it. We don’t know if it will ever be better. We are both so grateful that the laser treatments have helped our knee pain…I was BARELY managing to take care of us here. It is SO SCARY to loose mobility…pray you will heal in time… Do some research on what natural things you can do to help too. I wonder if some collagen and hyaluronic acid would help? Something I am considering for us to help with several joint and skin issues we have… You are a brave woman, by the way…all of us have tears at times…and its ok, Brenda…

  19. You are getting better even though it may not seem like it to you. Be patient, it is the hardest part of the healing process. Better days are ahead, I’m sure and we are praying for you.

    1. After the other 2 ankle surgeries, I was in a cast and boot I think for 6 weeks. Then it was taken off and I was walking. Not this time. But then things were more torn up this time.

      1. You are also older and it takes us longer to heal. Crying is good for you. It is relaxing. Holding tears is not healing. Ivy will be fine and you will, too. You are strong and people care.

  20. Brenda, don’t give up yet. I had surgery on my foot to repair I severe break that I walked on for five months. I had a bone graft and a screw inserted. It was a full year before I could walk with no pain.

    Last Dec I had hiatal hernia surgery. Here it is 8 months later and I’m just now starting to feel better with a ways to go.

    So don’t get discouraged. I’m 65 . At our age it takes our bodies time to recuperate. The doctors don’t tell us this. I’m fully expecting it to be a year before I start to feel the new normal from the hernia surgery. Hang in there. We are all sending prayers and best wishes for your recovery.

      1. Several years ago I fell down some stairs and hit the wall at the bottom and severely sprained my ankle both sides from my instep up into my calf. There was nothing the doctors could do surgically and they said to go easy and wait for it to heal. So that’s what I did because I had no choice — it took 14 months before I could walk normally without any brace or bandage but today I am pain free with only a little bulge on the outside of my ankle to show what I did.

        This week I go in for knee replacement surgery and I’m trying to get my mind set in the mode that it’s going to be painful and I have to work slowly through it. I have a physical therapy appointment already set for two days after the surgery and am hoping all goes well.

    1. Yes.
      Sadly, 😔 the same exact things happened to me re hernia surgeries. Took forever to heal. Another medical issue I had, was a strangulated bowel.
      I could have easily died on the way to the ER.
      Hadn’t eaten any solid food in nearly a month.
      Time was certainly running out.
      Fortunately, I had a great surgeon. He recognized the medical problems.
      Immediately ordered emergency surgery that afternoon.
      Took over a year to fully be myself, to heal.
      For awhile, I was afraid to eat certain foods.
      These days, I could not go through these surgeries again.
      All out of strength for them.
      Thinking positive 💖 Brenda on your continued journey to wellness.

  21. You are making progress…just compare yourself to a year ago. I couldn’t walk without a walker, had hip replacement surgery and am back to good health…..but, I screwed up about at six months and overdid it with three pilates classes, three days in a row. Color me stupid!!!!! It took months to get back to good function, so pace yourself and you will be in such better shape soon, whether it be two or six months.

  22. It’s so hard after a surgery or traumatic injury to take it slow. Don’t be hard on yourself, Brenda. It’s normal to want more. I shattered my tibea in February 2020 and it was a full two years before I could take running steps. I can’t run any longer, I’m gaining weight, and I’m frustrated — but I can walk and I have to remember to be grateful for that. I had a neurologist tell me it takes two full years for your brain to trust your leg, or in your case, ankle, after a surgery. Take it slow and listen to the guidance of your physical therapist. I feel your frustration and understand. Living alone with limited mobility is incredibly difficult and it is hard to stay positive and motivated all the time. You are doing great.

    1. Today I made my bed while on the knee scooter. It isn’t easy, but doable. That’s very interesting what the neurologist said. Greg told me that my brain has come to expect that when I put my weight on my foot, that pain will follow. That my gait has been altered for a very long time and I won’t walk normally even if there is no pain. Thanks for sharing this.

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