Comeback as defined by Merriam-Webster:
comeback noun | \ˈkəm-ˌbak\
: a return to a former good position or condition
: a return to being popular or fashionable
: a new effort to win or succeed after being close to defeat or failure
My apologies for my long absence. This entry marks my comeback. Let’s start with important updates. Get comfortable because this is a long one.
- I am back in Los Angeles after 2 years in Seattle.
- I am back to running after a serious ankle injury that reformed my right foot into Franken-foot.
When last we left our heroine, she was living in Seattle with her sister’s family of 2 stepdaughters and a brand-new baby boy and a dog. Well, that baby is now 3. My 2 nieces have blossomed. I miss them every day.
Here’s the short story:
- February I am unemployed for 4 months.
- July I secure a new job and an apartment in Seattle—a 4-story walk-up with no elevator. Thank you, cool 1920s building.
- August I move into my apartment the day before I start my new job.
- August 9 2 weeks later I am out with friends. A cell phone is stolen. I fail at being a superhero. Instead, there is a snap of bone, a lone cop, a crowd of onlookers, strangers surrounding me, trying to help, an ambulance ride and storytelling in the ER. This begins the heroine’s long descent into madness and despair.
- August 11 Surgery is successful to repair the shattered bones. I have no medical insurance and dollar signs swirl in my head. I am defeated, helpless, angry, held captive in a hospital bed and succumb to my inner demons. Their powers grow and the world turns black.
- August 13 My sister and her husband pick me up and install me in their guest room. I am disgraced and full of self-loathing. The pain meds have rendered me useless. I have had anti-nausea drugs since the night in the ER. The pain meds continue to make me sick. When I run out of the anti-nausea drugs, I am sicker than sick. I am dehydrated. I stop taking opioids after 4 days and the withdrawals have the same effect. I can’t hold down food. I can’t even hold down water. In 2 weeks, I lose 12 pounds. I am in crisis. My sister is worried and unable to help me. I refuse to go to the ER. I will ride out the withdrawals. I worry I will die in this bed from a stupid broken ankle. How did I get here? I spiral into depression that will last at least 2 months.
- September I have not been able to work since the accident. I am finally able to eat food again. But I am losing my mind and paying rent on an apartment I lived in for only 2 weeks.
- October I return to work thanks to the support of 2 dear friends, who have committed to chauffeuring me to and from work every day for the duration of my recovery. I will forever be in their debt. They pack me up and move me back to my apartment.
- October-December I become quite adept at navigating the world with crutches. My friends drive me to and from work. They deliver my groceries and pick up my laundry. I am humbled by their acts of kindness. I cry more than I need to. I try to remember that my condition is temporary. But, I am isolated. I don’t leave the apartment after hopping up the 4 flights. I am careful not to slip on wet sidewalks. I manage to fall 3 times during this period. I learn to fall on my left side and to protect my head from hitting hard surfaces, like porcelain. The day I had to climb the kitchen counter with one good leg to change the lightbulb was a personal victory but also scary. This sheds light on the small things we take for granted in our lives.
I pray to Zeus, Apollo and Athena, to Buddha, to Jupiter, Minerva and Janus. I seek counsel from the Norse gods Odin, Bladur, Eir, and Magni. I ask for strength and forgiveness. I make promises that I will likely fail to keep. I seek redemption and fight my own anger. I look outward for inspiration and inward for hope. I want to be a whole person again. I want to overcome my failed attempts of charity and compassion. Mostly, I want to run again. I limit my Facebook viewing because I know it will lead to envy of my friends who are running. I do not want to live in this dark space. I take joy with every new small thing I can do on my own.
I make myself small promises. I learn to do things slowly. Is this the message the universe and the Norse gods are trying to send me?
The demons are losing their hold. My anger flips sideways and becomes something else—not power, nothing too loud. It is a slow building up of positive energy. My smile returns and I start making plans. I will conquer this moment and return to my former self. Or something better. That is the hope. That is what I owe my friends, my family, and my supporters. That is what the universe has brought me with this gift of being broken and in debt. Monetary and spiritual debt. I will somehow climb the dark mountain and reach the light. I will take back my body. Blah, blah, blah. Trying is all I have these long, slow, dark months.
- January I get a walking boot and use one crutch. I take a short drive. I am unsteady and scared. I take back my independence. I thank the world for its support. I learn to walk again. I go to physical therapy. I take comfort in the small exercises my therapist makes me do. My poor right leg is shriveled and unfamiliar. The surgical scar is prominent and the plates and screws that protrude from my thin skin are visible from across the room. I have been marked.
I start walking downhill to work and uphill back home, Igoring my way and freaking out people along my route from Capitol Hill to Downtown. I decide to return to Los Angeles.
- February I am crutch-free. My confidence returns. I secure a job and say my goodbyes to Seattle. My feelings are mixed. Seattle is a beautiful destination to visit, but Los Angeles is my forever home. I drive to San Jose for a short visit with a close friend and then travel on to L.A. I find an apartment my first week back. I start work. I plan my return to running.
- May I run for the first time, a short flat mile on the chip path with a dear friend. It’s a small victory.
- June I run my first 10k obstacle race (Camp Pendleton’s World Famous Mud Run) with my L.A. crew. My body hurts. I worry that I will always be in pain.
- July My L.A. crew encourages me, telling me about the Team NutriBullet L.A. Marathon Training Program. I commit to running the Hawaii Ragnar Relay in October 2016.
- August I mark my 1-year anniversary of my superhero accident with a hike/run in Griffith Park. I nervously apply to the Team NutriBullet L.A. Marathon Training Program and make it on the team. I shed tears. I follow those tears with a batch of brownies.
- September My first day of practice with Team NutriBullet. I am sleep deprived due to fears shouting loudly in my head.
My goals are simple. I don’t care about how long it takes to finish the marathon. My only marathon was in November 2011. I didn’t enjoy it and vowed never to run another one. Never say “never.”
I want to love this race from start to finish. And I want to be a stronger runner. On the first day of practice with Team NutriBullet, someone spoke about enjoying the journey. That is all I want. And if I can inspire others to live healthier and push harder—if I can give back to anyone who needs support, I will feel like I’ve paid it forward. I will feel like I learned the lesson of the broken ankle.
During my healing, I never wanted to blog about my injury. I didn’t want to indulge my pity party. Now, I want to record my return to running. I hope that my words will hold some kind of wisdom and charity, gratitude and perspective. I hope that I can remain humble, but ultimately become a better person—someone who can walk in the world with a smile that asks for nothing in return.
And, so it begins. This is my comeback song. Cue the music, maestro. This is a good ol’ fashioned country song. Only, this song is about a broken ankle, not a broken heart. Bones and hearts heal. Spirits endure.