Two Steps Forward – One Step Back


Over the past week, my progress has accelerated somewhat — to a point where my physical therapist moved me from a walker to a cane, and the walker is being tucked away for my next knee surgery.

When you’re in recovery, it seems like the process moves in slow motion. While I saw a little improvement each day, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time over the last 17 days crying, in pain, arguing with myself about whether I’ve been lying to myself about my abilities. Beating myself up for not preparing better before surgery. Wondering if I’m really cut out for this.

Just keep moving forward.

Until this week, anyway. I knew I was making progress when my physical therapist kept trying me on new things to see how I’d do instead of repeating the same training over and over again. I’ve never been quite as happy to be able to step over a plastic cup by actually bending my knee enough to do it, rather than compensating in some way. It’s simple things, but they’re big, too.

Some might see this as a form of regression; I spent a long time using a cane before I could reliably and steadily walk around my neighborhood. And here I am, again, actually happy to be moved back to a cane. I know this time it won’t take me nearly as long to get my stability back, and once the pain from newness wears off my knee, I’ll be able to build back up to the amount of walking I was doing previously — and surpass it.

Likewise, I finally stepped on a scale and I know how much weight I’ve gained. Yes, it’s a setback. No, I’m not thrilled that I’ve put on a few pounds. The good news is that instead of letting the old voices that used to screw with my head convince me that I should just keep eating and ignore weight gain, to my detriment, I know with certainty that I’m in control. I didn’t come this far, after all, to let recovery defeat me.

A lot has changed in 17 days; even more will change in the weeks to come as I learn, train, and test myself on the way back to where I was before I started this process. I know some finding it frustrating to make progress and take steps backward, but I see this as a necessary part of moving forward; even losing one step for every two taken is moving forward.


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