As my leg has improved since amputation and gradually been able to handle more, I’ve thrown more at it. Like with any physical activity, however, it never gets easier. You just push yourself harder.

Lately, after workouts, I’ve come home and been in tremendous pain. Every single part of my body hurts, and movement is a complete struggle. Even just an hour of basketball had me reaching for Tylenol, and I don’t do that lightly.

At first, I was concerned. How can an hour of basketball take such a toll? But after some thought, I think I’ve figured it out. For the last two years, any activity was limited by my leg. I could push myself, but leg pain erected a wall I couldn’t break through. I couldn’t actually push the rest of my body because my leg would slam on the breaks long before I could get that far. Now, it’s different.

Whatever metaphorical wall my leg represented, I’ve broken through. My leg still hurts after workouts, but it’s ceased being my limiting factor. Instead, I’m back to the point where my entire body is my limitation. Now, after aging five years and turning 40, it’s a much stricter limit than I’m used to, but it’s encouraging.

For five years, I’ve been forced to take it easy on myself. For better or worse, my leg was holding me back. There will still be days where it imposes its will, but I feel like I’m through the woods. Maybe, just maybe, I can finally pick up where I left off five years ago.

It’s going to hurt, but it will feel great.