100 Kilometres To Say 100 Thank you’s
March 9th is a date I will remember forever. Every year, for the past 4 years, on March 9th, I say thank you to Dr. Bridge – the surgeon who repaired my foot and gave me my life back – by lacing up my runners, getting outside, whispering countless ‘thank you’s’ and feeling immense gratitude, every step of the way. Special thanks to Dr. Elwood and Dr. Jameson as well for being on the team and for everything you did to ensure that my dreams remain a possibility.
Yesterday, I laced up my runners and got outside in the gorgeous sunshine, with music cranked in my headphones and the biggest smile that could not be wiped off my face, even if I tried. This past week, I’ve run 100km – to say 100 thank you’s to Dr. Bridge for sharing his tremendous talent and allowing me the opportunity to do what I love. Run.
My life has been a blessed one. I’m blessed with great people around me – good friends, a lovely family (filled with both chosen family members and actual ones) and even though I’ve had my share of ups and downs, I remain one of the luckiest people I know. Perhaps it’s a tremendous ability to be resilient, and it is true – resilience plays a big role in my life. Perhaps it’s a great sense of faith, and for me and likely many others, faith does play a role in feeling blessed and fortunate. It certainly does for me. Perhaps it’s being curious and adventurous and willing to work had that creates luck in one’s life. I don’t know. While these things do work for me, are they really the key to being lucky? Perhaps luck happens when the Universe simply bestows a little good fortune, grace and blessings on people just because.
One thing is certain – I did not feel so lucky or blessed on March 1st, 2017. It was a night I’ll never forget and one that I feared would alter my life in a disastrous way, forever. My then-husband and I were unloading a 350lb box from the back of the pick-up truck. Ignoring my inner voice that spoke so clearly I could not dismiss it (that said “Do NOT do this tonight.”), we unloaded this huge box from the back of the truck and in doing so, a total freak accident happened and the box ended up falling and crushing my foot from behind as I was mid-step. The first metatarsal bone in my right foot was crushed. I could not walk and the pain was excruciating. I crawled inside, down the stairs and lay on the living room area rug with my foot raised high against the wall…until 7am the next morning when we went to the Emergency Room.
They cast my foot and I hoped that this would be all that was needed. I didn’t know the break was much worse than that.The doctor on call said that I would need surgery but that I’d have to wait until March 9th to get in to the O.R.
I was feeling quite hopeful overall. I was cooking dinner (with my foot propped up on a stool beside me). I was getting good at hopping on one foot and going up/down stairs on one foot was becoming a skill I could master. Yes – overall, I was positive, hopeful and willing to look for the gold in the situation.
March 9th arrived and I was at the hospital, filled with fear and trepidation. I decided to write a message to Dr. Bridge and his team on my good leg so that they could read it during surgery. It said, “Dear Dr. Bridge and Team, I heard you guys were the best. I believe in you. Thank you in advance for doing an amazing job with my foot!! Running long distances is my passion. I want to run the Bhutan Global Limits Ultra next year. We can do this! Thank you. Crystal”
When I woke up after the surgery, the first thing out of my mouth was, “Did they read my leg?” They said they did and, smiling, they said they had never seen this sort of thing before. For me, it was a last ditch effort to try to influence a positive outcome and change the current state of my situation – even in a small way. The medical team also said they did their best to repair my foot and that the healing process would be lengthy. 4 months of no walking, no driving, no running, no nothing. For 4 months!
Over the next several weeks, I kept my foot elevated with my care-taker Maya spending most of her time on top of the healing progress, literally. I was still feeling very hopeful that everything was going to be fine…until going to get the staples out 2 weeks later.
At that appointment, my GP said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” when she walked in. I asked, “Why?” She replied, “I read the report. You will never run again and you will walk with a limp.” I responded that, “No, I had surgery and everything was going to be OK.” She dismissed my words and said again, “You will walk with a limp and never run again. You’re in denial. You have PTSD.” I burst into tears.
She was wrong. She read the wrong report (pre surgery vs post surgery) or she was simply off point.
When I left her office, I immediately called the surgeon’s office but he was on holidays for 3 weeks. I called the ER and they said they did not know anything and could not speak to the reports. So, I spent the next 3 1/2 weeks crying, unable to come to terms with the prognosis that I would never run again.
3 weeks later, I was in ER upon Dr. Bridge’s return, waiting for him to see me between his surgeries. He came down 4 hours later. Looked at my foot. Said to be patient. And that he would see me 2 weeks later at our scheduled apt. The following months proved to be somewhat difficult for me b/c Dr. Bridge said the healing was going exceptionally well. But I could not get the words from my own GP out of my mind. I believed what she said. I accepted it as truth. As the weeks and months went by, and when I was able to get back to walking and then running, I began to trust in what I saw. I could run. I did not limp. And she was wrong. While it was hard to erase those words from my mind, as each week passed and there were great strides forward, it became a remarkable thing to observe and be living lucky, living in a place of resilience, living in a place of gratefulness and living out my dreams once again.
The past 5 years have had their fair share of tough moments along with an aching foot, many physio and different treatments along with any and all healing potions, lotions and ideas ranging from comfrey root powder (a powder you make into a paste to heal broken bones), essential oils, hypnotherapy (to let go of the wrong diagnosis), accupuncture, biomagnetic pair therapy, visualization and lots of prayer.
It seems to be working. With a wider toebox in my runners (Altra brand), I can run as far or long as I want or have time for. Good music helps. So does sunshine. And so does gratitude. Here we are, five years later, in an easy 100km this past week, I’m feeling strong, grateful and send not just one hundred but countless thank you’s to Dr. Bridge and his team for doing what they do best and for giving me my life back.
We’ve all had set-backs. We’ve all had our share of struggles. Here’s just a few things I’ve learned in this particular mis-adventure. May these simple ideas help you if you ever find yourself at a low point in life: Listen to your inner voice. Don’t believe everything you are told. Visualize the outcome you are wanting. Surround yourself with the right team and trust in them. Dig deep and refuse to give up or give in. Create a great music playlist. Be tenacious in the pursuit of what matters most to you. And if you ever find yourself on the way to OR – take a jiffy marker with you. 🙂
#listentoyourinnervoice #don’tbelieveeverythingyouaretold #takeajiffymarkerwithyoutosurgery
Crystal Flaman is an international keynote speaker and social entrepreneur, inspiring you to discover your dreams and the difference you can create in the world. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Believe in your dreams. Do what you love and be fearlessly you.
If you would like to learn more information about this topic or to have Crystal share this message with your team, in person or on a virtual platform, please contact Crystal. Thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 250-215-2903 (cell) or 778-477-0100 (on the rotary dial land-line)