Last weekend, I participated in a community pond clean up with one of my best friends and partner in adventure — Sophia — and, as planned, we then went hiking and grabbed a bite to eat. While getting back into the car after lunch, Sophia asked me if I wanted to continue hiking at a nearby preserve, and I enthusiastically agreed.
Yesterday afternoon, I went on a four-mile solo hike. When I completed the three-and-a-half-mile lap around the lake, I continued in another area of the park Around the one-mile mark, as I was trying to capture a photo of an American Goldfinch dancing in a puddle without scaring it off, it hit me that it was exactly two years ago that I saw stars when my left foot hit the ground while getting out of bed. I went to urgent care and then a series of doctors for two months till they figured out I had the after effects — aftermath— of a virus, along with a heal spur. While they told me the post-viral condition would most likely pass, they also informed me that some people who developed such horrible cases could endure it for up to five years. For more than six months, I could barely walk, and the pain and stiffness spread to other joints. When I started to feel a little better, I could only walk very slowly for about a quarter of a mile.
Once I was able to pick up the pace from last-place turtle and was well into my quest to complete the 52 Hike Challenge, I fractured the same foot! It had been nearly two months since receiving a diabetes diagnosis, so I was frightened my need to stay off of my feet for six or more weeks would lead to weight gain and higher glucose levels. Determined to do everything possible, I found chair aerobic routines online, adapting them to my needs, and I strictly followed my meal plan.
The last five years of my life were filled with unimaginable challenges, but guess who’s doing well today, despite it all? Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t easy peasy, but I’m doing more than just making the most of it. I’ve completed 111 hikes since 2018 and appreciate every moment I can spend in nature. I lost and kept off more than 100 pounds and, most importantly, improved my health — no longer requiring medication.
When we face our challenges head on with knowledge and a plan, focus on what’s going well, and surround ourselves with inspiring and supportive people, we can accomplish almost anything.
If you’re going through a difficult time, take a step back, find support, and put together a plan to overcome your challenges and maybe even climb greater heights — one slow step at a time.