Get Back Up
Three simple words. But when put together, they convey a very strong message. Our “community” – those of us who have, and continue to battle, neurological conditions, cancer, etc., feel a connection and bond that many times is difficult to articulate. It is however, much easier to appreciate the challenges others have faced. And understanding those challenges validates one’s acceptance into this “community.”
My story – which is humble compared to many people I now cross paths with, begins five years ago with melanoma cancer, three surgeries, including removal of lymph sack from groin, loss of a femoral nerve, relocating muscles, then chemo – lovely interferon. Re-learned to walk straight, and then started running. Then dystonia onset in foot of the same leg. It took six months before a correct diagnosis was made. Dystonia is permanent and painful. I now take a series of three botox shots every twelve weeks in my calf to eliminate the nerves firing the foot muscles. Re-learned to walk straight, and then started running – again! This time with the aid of the Allard ToeOFF® orthosis. After filling a closet with numerous other useless orthotics, the ToeOFF® was spot-on. It provides comfort, control, and confidence – and I can’t begin to put a price on those, especially during rehab.
Although my walking and running now consists of being able to push off using only one foot, I still compete in numerous triathlons and running events each year – I’m just not as fast. But being “fast” is no longer important. Priorities now consist of enjoying the abilities I still have, and reaching out and encouraging others in our “community” with methods and means to remain active. As many of you reading this know, it’s not uncommon for the physical disabilities to take a back seat the mental challenges faced, as a result of those disabilities. That’s why having the support of the “community” and efforts such as “Get Back UP” are crucial for maintaining a rich quality of life.