Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and I began to mark time with the changes in my mobility. Looking back, in January and February we were cross country skiing and ice skating, and I fell numerous times as one would expect on the ice and snow, nothing really odd about that. Yet at my daughters seventh birthday party, for the very first time she skated past me and said "Hey Mom, I can skate faster than you!" At the risk of sounding ruffled at the thought of being upstaged by a seven year old, I'd have to say something was wrong. You see, I had been rollerblading for nearly twenty years, and when I skated it was with speed not grace, I would always push myself to the limit, but on that day something didn't feel right, and she passed me several times as I cautiously moved about the rink. I had just purchased a new pair of speed skates, and I was excited to use them for the first time but I couldn't seem to find my groove. I wasn't sure if I just needed to get used to the skates, or if something changed but I took a hard fall and decided to step off for the day.
In March, I began to have increasingly pain in my right leg and lower back, I thought it was likely to be the bursitis I'd dealt with for the last twenty years aggravated by a tight IT band from the running workout I had been doing, so at the advice of a good friend I went to see an Orthopedic Back Specialist. He examined me, prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug and physical therapy. In April and May I saw a PT and diligently did my exercises and stretches but we couldn't seem to get rid of the pain and I had developed a limp in my right leg, or as I later learned was called a gait disturbance. I could still walk at a very brisk pace but my right leg was slower than my left and it was noticeable.
On Memorial Day weekend the weather was beautiful and I decided to break out the rollerblades and try again. Maybe the wheels on my new skates were better on pavement than an indoor rink surface; I just needed traction! I skated cautiously, first in the garage, then the driveway and finally on the street in front of my house, back and forth I focused on how I shifted my weight with my hips and heels. No quick turns or fancy stops, just an even stride and concentration on finding my groove. No luck, it must be these new skates; pull out the old K2's and get back up, try again, try harder; you can do this, the voice in my head continued to push me. But the old skates did not revive my groove, and I wept on the floor of my garage knowing something that always brought me great joy was lost.