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#30DaysOfThanks: For the Body I Have

This article is part of a series known as #30DaysOfThanks.


Earlier this year, during my quest to live out my “Year of the Yes” I broke the crap outta my leg. I mean I really smashed it. But I’m thankful for the whole experience. You may be asking yourself “How in the world is someone thankful for breaking their leg in half?”

Let me explain.

It all started innocently enough. One day at roller derby practice, just shortly after exiting my fresh meat period, I fell. This happens all the time. In fact, falling was the first thing I learned how to do on skates. But… I didn’t fall the right way. Instead of falling forward onto my pads, I feel back on my leg in such a way that I managed to break both bones in the lower half of my right leg. After a lot of noise and a lot of my teammates calming me down, I left practice thinking it was a sprained ankle.

Well, it wasn’t.

What has followed since has left me forever changed as a person (inside and out) and so thankful for the life that I’ve been able to lead – and the life that lies ahead of me.

After some jokes about Grey’s Anatomy, which to my surprise they weren’t that popular with hospital staff, and a brief trip to the operating table I had a new body part! A sweet, surgical steel rod that stretched from knee to ankle. This is, of course, secured with some fancy screws.

I was out of commission for about two months. I was told that under no circumstances should I put any weight on my right leg. This lead to a great many challenges and not just in the ways that you might expect.

So let me ask you, dear readers: What do you do when you need to take your garbage out? What do you do when your fish dies at the most inconvenient time? Better yet, how will you get to all of those doctors’ appointments, physical therapy appointments, to campus for classes, or to the store if you broke the foot that makes your car actually work?!

You ask for help.

This was not easy for me. At all. I’m fiercely independent, sometimes to a fault. Having a new bionic body part forced me to slow down and reach out for assistance. I’m better at it now, but asking for help and not being ashamed to do so is still challenging. That’s not the only lesson I learned though. It’s funny what one little fall can do to your worldview.

This klutzy moments and the months following made me think long and hard about able bodied privilege. The concern I faced for the new scars I sported took me by surprise as I started to really notice how much of a microscope lens we live under. Learning how to walk again, literally starting with baby steps, required me to think about my lack of patience and how we as a society aren’t really told to be patient. Instead instant gratification seems to be clouding our thinking.

Those two months were two of the most challenging months of my life thus far but I’ve learned so much about myself. While I could do without the doctors visits and the added security pats at the airport – I’m thankful for my spiffy metal leg and I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned for the world.

I’m so thankful that I’m walking again. I’m even more thankful that I’ll be skating again (fingers crossed). I’m overflowing with gratitude for the friends that I have had and their outpouring of love, support, and encouragement.

Yes, when it rains, my ankle creaks a little. Going down stairs is more challenging that I’d like to admit. My scars are still very noticeable. But I’m trying to let these things act as a reminder of where I was and more importantly of where I’m going.

So I’m thankful that my extra metal bone taught me that I’m going to have to be patient in figuring out exactly what direction I’m headed in and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn next.

P.S. If you’d like to know something ironic, my derby number was x23…so we have a little more in common now than I ever thought we would.

P.P.S. When working with sever year olds at a summer camp, telling them you have metal bones like Wolveriene is a shoo-in for cool points.

About the Author

F. Lee

F is a graduate student who enjoys knitting, baking, theatre, The Boston Red Sox, being sassy, and roller derby. She is pursuing a career in mental healthcare and hopes to help and advocate for the LGBT community.