I’ve learned to walk twice in my life. Once when I was toddler. And once as an adult.
While I don’t remember learning how to walk when I was a toddler, I imagine it was just as difficult as (perhaps more) when I recently learned how to walk again as an adult.
When my mom went into labor with me at 4 weeks to go until my official due date, she and my dad quickly learned (upon my arrival) that I was born with a birth defect. Club feet. Technically, my right foot is the club foot and my left was the positional club foot (easily corrected).
It’s funny, because there are no ultrasound pictures of this. No evidence. In the 1970s, ultrasounds weren’t common place. In fact, I probably had more ultrasounds from the first 3 months of my son’s pregnancy than my mom had from both her pregnancies with my sister and me.
And there are no photos of my feet and legs before the birth defect was corrected. Developing film was expensive in the 1970s (compared to now), and I suppose my parents didn’t see the point in documenting something like a malfunction with their daughter’s feet.
Based on what my mom has shared with me, the Kite Method was used. Essentially, both feet were manipulated, but the actual club foot — my right foot – was also put through a series of castings as well.
Unfortunately, despite all the care I’ve taken throughout my life to wear sensible shoes, my right foot had begun to return to the birth defect shape. When I could no longer stand the pain in my foot and ankle, I began seeking help.
So now, after a 2 hour surgery (in June), which ultimately included 7 pins and a staple or two, and then 2 months of no walking followed by another month of learning to walk with a “walking cast,” I am fully discharged to learn to walk again with my reconstructed foot.
There are so many aspects of my life, like everyone else on this planet, where I’ve lived with the knowledge that I was born with certain characteristics not common to most, but I was able to make do with the cards I’d been dealt.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this is that it will never be over. The ankle pain I experience because my foot’s natural tendency is to supinate (and then I overcompensate by pronating) is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And the severity of my condition is nothing compared to some of what others face.
I’ve lived most of my life acting as if I experienced no physical pain. That’s what I learned to do. But this summer, the recovery time reminded me and underscored that there are so many aspects of my life that are completely out of my control.
I know. I know.We don’t control life. But between the Lynch Syndrome and then also the continued ankle pain with my right foot, I am learning what it means to truly be out of control (and not in the impulsive kind of way).
I am learning to walk in this life.
Just like everyone else, I learned to walk a life I thought I’d prepared for, and now I’ve found, I’m walking another life entirely.
Am I able to do this with grace, dignity, and creativity? That’s what I struggle with the most.
[I response to the Daily Prompt: Stump — I never thought the human foot was just a stump, but I definitely underestimated how important my feet are…]