I remember walking out of the surgeon’s rooms last November. Elated, joyful, thankful. I was finally on track. And even better, I felt free by the thought that I would not be walking into another specialist’s rooms for 7-8 months. I was revelling in the words I had just heard from the surgeon. I could be walking aid free within four months. I had a new goal to work towards and one that I thought was possible.
It’s now six months to the day. I’m still joyful and thankful. I haven’t stopped writing, I just stopped publishing, on the blog anyway. I have rewritten, written, and rewritten, over 180,000 words of my PhD thesis. There has been progress. But that’s not the kind of progress you are wanting to hear. You’re perhaps wondering if by the four month goal I was walking without an aid.
The past six months have been a roller coaster, to say the least. At the beginning of my third week in Cambridge I woke up one morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck and it became apparent that my right leg had suddenly become weak, again. My walking had become laborious and I could barely go up and down stairs. And this persisted for a couple of months. When I saw my Physio for the second time since my arrival, it had been six weeks since he first saw me, and he was bemused. He was expecting improvement, ready to progress to the next set of exercises, instead we went back to the basics, nearly back to the beginning. He was honest. If there was no improvement, then there was little point in regular physio work. About five weeks later though I was getting back on track. My walking was more or less normal, with a walking aid. And while there has been ups and downs since, I can honestly say that I am walking better now than back in November when I saw the surgeon for the last time. But the four month goal slipped past me, unachieved. And I’m not there yet. My walking gait looks relatively normal when I’m using my walking stick, when I have my foot-up and ankle support on, but without any of those aids, my right leg finds supporting my weight hard work. But I’m still joyful and thankful. Because I’m living, I can walk, my disability isn’t stopping me engaging with life. I’m not constrained by it. But I look forward to that day when I leave my walking aid inside my home and, walking out the door, I close it behind me with both hands free.