The most uncomfortable thing about an elective amputation is that it’s elective. Mountain biking has been a blessing. It’s enabled me to be active again for the first time since this started over two years ago. However, when I’m active, and the pain isn’t there, neither is the constant reminder of why amputation makes sense.
I’ve done ten miles on my mountain bike each of the last two mornings. During those rides, other than times I get off to walk after failing to make it up a steep climb, the pain doesn’t haunt me. As a result, I have to regularly remind myself what’s so wrong with my foot that it has to go. I know it’s the right decision, but the days with less pain breed doubt.
Memories of pain and limitations on the bad days are fleeting. The days where the pain distracts me from my family. The days where I focus minimizing my pain rather than maximizing our joy. Even with things as simple as going to the park, every step hurts. Even a simple walk around the block is miserable. Forget outdoor hiking or trips to amusement parks. And that doesn’t even touch on the times I’ve had to say no to my family for small things because standing or walking even a few steps is just too much. Those memories fade quickly. It takes effort to hold onto them.
I’m confident about the decision. But the good days crack the door ever so slightly to let doubt try to sneak in. Those are the worst days. For now, it’s the bad days that I look forward to. They’re the days that help me remember why I’m doing this.