Two years ago was Feb 4, 2020. The “before-COVID” times. It was also the day I had foot surgery, specifically an osteotomy, to address my inflamed posterior tibial tendon (aka. my flat arches were causing issues). I had to have three large incisions on my left foot, and one on my calf to “lengthen my calf muscle.”
Afterwards I had to be non-weight bearing on my left foot for four weeks, and I was riding around on a knee scooter like a pro! Then I used crutches for four weeks, and after that did three months of physical therapy. You can read more about the details here, and even see gross post-surgery foot pictures if you want to!
The healing process felt never-ending. Even after I was discharged from physical therapy, I wasn’t back to normal. I still had a bit of a limp sometimes. When I first got up in the morning, my left foot was stiff and I would hobble around for a while until it loosened up. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to go running again, and honestly I was kind of afraid to, since that was the catalyst for my injury.
Even one year later, I was still keenly aware of some of my limitations that I hadn’t had before my foot injury – like experiencing some residual foot pain and always needing to wear supportive/orthotic shoes.
I think it’s valuable to take a moment today to look back and remember where I was two years ago, so that I can fully appreciate just how far I’ve come in terms of recovery. In my post from May of 2020 (four months after the surgery) I had written:
My foot is not perfect, I’m still waiting for that glorious day when I can do a heel raise while standing only on my left foot, but I’m not there yet. I’m longing for when I can go on a walk around the block without limping or feeling sore, and I’m dreaming about a day when I might be able to go for a jog again.May 2020
Later that year in October, five months after writing those words, I went for my first post-surgery jog. It had been 17 months since I had been able to run. I couldn’t run as far or as fast, and my foot was really sore after, but I did it.
How often do we get to receive the things our hearts are so desperately longing for? Honestly, it may be more often than we think. If you do any sort of journaling – whether it’s personal writing, blogging, or even photo journaling – it makes it easy to see where you were and how far you’ve come.
Many times we get the exact things we’re hoping for, and we’re happy for a little while, but then we move on to hoping for the next thing, and then the thing after that. It’s easy to feel like we haven’t “made it” yet because there’s always something we are looking to accomplish next.
This is, in part, a good thing. We should continue to grow, develop, and set new goals and challenges for ourselves. But we also don’t want to forget how much progress we’ve made, or neglect taking time to be grateful for all the goals we’ve accomplished that we may never have thought were possible.
Two years ago, I wasn’t sure I would run ever again. Now I’m running.
Two years ago I wasn’t sure if my foot would ever look normal again. Now it looks (mostly) normal – you can barely see some of the scars.
Two years ago I thought I was doomed to wearing only supportive or orthotic shoes. This past month however, I recently tried out wearing a cute pair of ankle boots, and found that they don’t hurt my feet! (hooray!)
Despite my successes, I’ve had a few setbacks along the way. A few months after I started jogging again, my right knee began hurting. It bothered me enough that I ended up going back to physical therapy for it.
We discovered that I needed to work on strengthening my hip muscles, because my muscles on the right and left sides of my body were pretty uneven – my right side had been overcompensating for so long, that I needed to relearn how to be balanced when I walked, ran, and even while I was standing in place.
After about 6 weeks of physical therapy, including some dry needling, my therapist felt like I could continue to work on strengthening my hip muscles on my own, and also monitor how often and long I could run without causing further injury.
For a few months, I ended up taking a break from running, and my knee pain actually went away. This past week I went on a run for the first time in a while, and so far my knee (and left foot!) have been okay.
The whole process of foot surgery and recovery has been an interesting one. I have a lot more empathy for people I see in walking boots, on knee scooters, or with crutches. And it’s been a good reminder that sometimes progress can feel so slow that it’s hard to even realize it’s still happening.
So next time you’re feeling discouraged about where you are in life, or in regards to where you feel like you should be in life, take a look back at where you used to be. There’s a chance you’re a lot farther ahead than you realize.
Thanks for reading.