It was 13 yrs ago this month that I found myself battling to keep my leg, keep the ability to walk..run...jump. I had contracted osteomyelitis in my knee, an insidious and devastating bone infection. One that in many cases required amputation. Two months in a hospital room, five operations, six months of intravenous antibiotics and pills, and twelve months of physical rehab would follow. I was a shell of who I was, 30lbs lighter, skin and bones, barely able to walk 10ft down a hospital corridor. There would be no more running, no more sports, no more squatting...at least that's what the docs said and I don't blame them.
I learned a lot about myself that year and subsequent years, things that still resonate today. Never quit, keep working, one day, one step (literally in that case) at a time. There was no quick fix, no panacean drugs, no one was going to learn how walk again for me let alone run. It was exhausting. It was hopeless at times. It took tenacity. It took grit. It took awful days and good days. Everyday didn't have to be a win, just had to be a "try". The scars are there to remind me even now. But contrary to what the doctors believed, or had to reason to believe 13 years ago, I can run, I can jump, and I can squat. You don't recognize or appreciate the significance of that until you lose it like anything else, and must face the daunting task of trying to get it back.
And still everyday I wake up with a different knee, the long term effects of the damage unclear. I haven't let that stop me from doing all things I love. I've played sports again, I've hiked mountains, I've run miles, I've hit PRs! And I look to grow that list everyday...Am I ecstatic I contracted something that is 2 in 10,000? No. Am I glad it happened? Yes. And though this hasn't always been my favorite story to tell, it's all part of the process. Mindset is everything. Ultimately it and experiences like this one are what make me the person, athlete, coach, and leader I am today 👊💯