Physical therapists in rehab made predictions I would be "walking" within six months. I took that to mean "normally." But at 21 months I still limp and tire easily. I've started walking regularly around the block to improve my form and stamina. This half-mile took 38 minutes my first attempt and I had to lie down for 40 afterward.
My husband and I share a passion for world travel. More than any other recovery goal, I want to walk with my husband when we're on our adventures. Together we have trailed rhinos through the African bush and explored the ruins of Cambodia's Angkor Wat. We have braved the crowded streets of Old Delhi during Ramadan and hefted packs along muddy trails in a Peruvian rain forest.
I try not to think about whether I'll be able to carry weight over rough terrain again. My husband says my condition won't stop us from doing what we want. "We may have to do it differently than before," he says. "We may have to hire Sherpas."
I'm trying to focus on a more achievable goal. I remember a glorious day we had wandering Rome, encountering ruins so common they weren't even marked on the map. We probably walked 10 miles that day. I'd like to be able to walk like that again – with my eyes taking in the world around me rather than focusing on my feet. Three miles … just three miles like that.
I've cut my time around the block to 26 minutes and I don't have to lie down afterward. Both my pace and rate of improvement are agonizingly slow. But Rome wasn't built in a day … probably not even in 21 months.