Even though she had a serious look on her face, I connected with the intent behind her eyes and out of the silence erupted my laughter.
The tears were still fresh on my face from telling my story of pain and uncertainty. But her sense of humor and boldness so captured my attention that I knew I had limped into the right doctors office THIS time!
A smile curled around her bright eyes and she joined me a chorus of laughter.
She listened intently as I told her how I had hidden my pain for months in the worn orthopedic boot that sat close to my hip on the examination table. It was never more than an arms reach, as I knew the pain all to well without it.
Six months had passed since the original injury that occurred in my kitchen. A simple thing, really; I just stepped on something that lodged under the skin in the ball of my foot.
But after suffering through two doctors who treated me poorly and actually caused more harm than good, I had found myself with a foot that no longer functioned in it’s full purpose, and painful damage to my physical, spiritual and emotional well being.
I had come to the end of my place of hiding. I was ready to face whatever was needed to get my life back, if possible, to normal.
Grateful that I had found Dr. Stacy Bacon, a surgeon that I no longer feared, we scheduled surgery.
It was a much more intensive and invasive procedure than either of us expected, as was the recovery time. It was nine weeks before I was able to walk and begin physical therapy.
Eager to get back to my active lifestyle, I headed back to the gym as soon as I could. However, I found that the same middle toe that “offended” my doctor, was still a problem. During surgery, she admitted that it seemed the tendon had been damaged for so long that it had retracted into my foot and she could not re-connect it.
I still could not move my middle toe even after the surgery. Not that it was the point of the surgery; I had so much infection and injury, the surgery was a necessity that saved my foot.
But, I found that the toe caused me great pain to continue to walk and especially to exercise, which if you know me, is a major part of my life.
So here is the crazy part of ME, that I have only admitted to a select few in my life…
About a month after I was released to walk, I went back to my surgeon. I told her that I had been in physical therapy and had begun to workout and had nothing but trouble with this toe. I was struggling to adapt my work outs and to find any and all exercises that I could do flat footed. Since I could not move it voluntarily, and it was not connected with tendons, it simply caused grinding in the joint when I tried to raise my toes or bend them.
I knew that she was an avid marathon runner and so I asked her point blank, “If this were your foot, and you had this much pain, would you amputate this toe, to keep running?”
Without hesitation, she said, “Yes!”
That week, I had her amputate my toe. Yes, voluntarily.
The funny thing is that the recovery for THAT surgery… she said, was walking within a few days! Crazy!
And since then, I have NEVER looked back. I am so much more confident and capable to move and to walk (with orthotics to cushion the ball of my foot) and do not really need that middle toe.
But what I DO struggle with, is being open about it to other people.
Even this post has sat… unfinished, on my laptop for three days. I have nearly deleted it a couple of times thinking that no one cared or ever needed to know. I have hidden my secret really well for all this time.
But that’s exactly the point!
We all have some part of our life that is not working… not helping us, not working to propel us in our purpose. And we keep it like a secret inside, sheltered so others can’t possibly make fun of it or see our weakness.
It might be something physical, but unlike my toe, it’s not something you can cut off your human frame, but rather need to cut out of your life like an addiction or a habit.
Maybe it’s a relationship that you know is holding you back or bringing out the worst in you. Or a job that you know is not challenging you or satisfying to your heart, whether it pays the bills or not.
Maybe you know that it is not what God would have for your life, but you are, “afraid of what everyone will say.”
That’s exactly why I struggled with amputating my toe.
“What will other people think?”
“Am I crazy to do this?”
“Have I lost my mind?”
But no one has to walk in your shoes, or on your feet, as in my case. And no one feels what you do inside or hears the whisper in your heart like you do.
God has a purpose and a plan for your life, one for hope that He wants you to enjoy until it overflows. (Jeremiah 29:11 and John 10:10)
But we need to stop listening to the NOISE bombarding our head that tells us it’s important what other people think. We need to be still and listen to what God has for us. It will be a softer, quiet thought in your heart.
You know it. You probably already have something you’re thinking of now that you have heard, over and over. But you have put it off because it’s too hard, or it’s too scary, or other people will think…
STOP! Forget that!
I am posting this TODAY! I am on notice as a nine-toed, by my own choice, woman!
I love my life and I am proud of my two feet. I can walk and I can run. I can proclaim that God has healed my foot and my heart.
Now it’s your turn.
Take that part of your life that you know needs a change. Find a quiet moment in your day, away from the distractions and noise of life.
Close your eyes and imagine lifting it in open hands, palms up to God; giving it to Him, openly without a grasp on it. Stay there. Breathe in and out.
And then visualize Him, even just His strong hand taking it tenderly from you. You can trust Him, He knows your future and what is best for you.
Now relax your shoulders and breathe in and out. Have faith. Tell Him you trust Him with what you no longer want to hold on to.
You will walk lighter today, move more freely and think more clearly when you aren’t burdened by that gnawing any longer.
And commit to keeping those hands open each day, walking in faith and trusting that He will help you, steady you and walk with you.
You can make this change… I did!
… after you make your declaration, maybe you can help me with one more dilemma.
One more thing with which I personally struggle…
Can you tell me why they look at me so strangely at the pedicure salon when I ask for the 10% discount?
I think it’s a very reasonable request… considering!
And now what you REALLY want to see…
But interestingly, it was done on a trip to Hawaii a couple years prior just after my brother and dad died. It was an emotionally related tribute to them.
No, I’m not apologizing for it, nor sorry that I did it. And this injury was not a curse for getting the tattoo. But I find it interesting that it’s on this foot and that God nudged me to take pictures of my foot during the year of my injury. Kind of hard NOT to say, “That’s not the same person, ” like we do in those big transformation photos.