I won a trip for two to southeast Asia at my company’s holiday party. Finally experiencing Thailand, my bucket list destination for years. My childhood friend was my companion, planning most of the trip for us as I dealt with my husband’s unpredictably extraordinary health challenge, tying two jobs together to make our mortgage payment, and playing both Mom and Dad as our oldest navigated the college application process and scholarships to cover AP test scores. Stress mounted.
Meeting Lori in Seattle for a free-spirited adventure; after a 30-minute monologue, skimming the surface of all drama and challenge at home, we agreed to be present on our adventure of a lifetime and leave home at home.
On our last day, after riding the scooter caboose in Vietnam, touring temples in Siem Reap, and wandering the flower markets in Bangkok, I left for a two-day hike compressed into one day with a monk tour guide and a tourist from London sporting six-pack abs. Long before seeing the first hike highlight, I was amazed. The beauty of all the greens, the sound of the waterfalls, and the simple and yet so complex insight from our guide blew me away. Eventually, we stopped for lunch. Our pad thai to-go, wrapped in banana leaves, was set upon a place mat cut from the banana tree where the fresh bananas fell and a watermelon, pulled from our guide’s backpack, was cut. Waterfalls were the backdrop. Unbelievable.
Leaving there, the hike continued to amaze – we stopped to smell fresh tamarind and wild ginger and then we rounded a curve, 3 hours in to an 8 hour hike, where the path meandered into a vine covered jungle like I imagined in National Geographic.
Remembering Lori, who chose to stay back to meet a monk, while I was in the jungle on my own private tour, I felt compelled to video my path into this overgrown amazement. 11 seconds of video, included my fall, which is the beginning of my continuing Comeback Story.
My guide scurried into the jungle, returning with a bamboo stick for a crutch, and then encouraged me to a river of ice cold water to soak my ankle for 30 minutes before returning to the trail.
Had I had fewer than three years of daily meditation under my belt, I wonder how I would have gotten out of the jungle. Each step, following the loud pop and searing heat and pain, I summoned my inner mojo to figure out how to quickly get off my right foot and back to my left. No even footing at all as we continued to climb to the village which was the destination. We clearly weren’t calling in an airlift; oh wait, no cell service and no roads and no people.
We reached the village. Unbelievable and amazing. Completely worth it. Our descent to our transportation was unbelievable as the decline left little room for error and our guide managed his pace with the sun, hoping, I believe, we would get to the road in time. I went step by step, my chatter and enthusiasm ended.
Fell on November 7 in a jungle in Thailand
Hiked with a bamboo stick for 4 hours to get to transportation
Put foot on tray table in airplane from Chiang Mai to Taipei
Limped to eat dumplings in Taipei
Foot back on tray table from Taipei to Seattle
Wheelchair to curb where my brother met me with crutches
Overnight in Seattle
Crutches to Minneapolis
My children pick me up in Minneapolis and bring me to ER on November 11
ER says x-ray inconclusive and I am given a gel cast (I declined “the boot” for fear of my back going out)
ER recommends if I am not better, see an orthopedic
December 22 (yes gel brace and limping for 7 weeks), my amazing boss wonders how she can help me
“I want to go dog sledding but I want to know if I’ll mess up my ankle more”
“You can get an MRI as a walk-in”
Oh boy. Lucky me an ankle surgeon was in the TCO Urgent Care and ordered an MRI on Christmas Eve.
December 26, Dr. Brad Moser
asked, “Doesn’t it hurt? You need surgery and Dr. Coetzee
has taken your case."
January 9 I meet, and fall in love, with Dr. Coetzee. He watches my video of my fall in the jungle in Thailand, offers me an option, approves me getting a pedicure (7 weeks of jungle in my toes), and instills confidence and kindness that still brings tears to my eyes.
January 11 surgery. Leave with an amazing cast!
11 days later, the cast comes off and I have an unbelievable nerve response.
Recovery. Is. Slow. And. It. Keeps. Snowing. And. It’s. Really. Cold. Schools. Keep. Closing. Longest. Winter. Ever.
Eventually. PT at Eden Prairie TCO – Meredith and Jake are amazing!
April 11, I was able to venture on a work trip to Dallas without my knee scooter or boot and even took a spin two-stepping.
April 27, I walked 5 miles (not all at once), and I am on my Comeback!
I spotted the advertisement for the Comeback deadline and had high hopes I would be doing something amazing by May 3 – almost 6 months after my fall – but it’s amazing that I find it amazing that I can stand on one leg and walk up and down the stairs.
It’s a journey.
Thank you TCO!