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The Long Road Ahead

At this point I am 11 weeks post-surgery. That’s almost 3 months into recovery, and I just started physical therapy last week. That means I went over 2 months before I was able to actively work on recovering. Let me tell you, it has felt like an eternity. And that length of time was just how long it took to get TO physical therapy and now I will be IN physical therapy for a couple of months. I had to wait a bit of time for the swelling from the surgery and scar tissue to go down, but this seems like a long time.

I’ve had lots of injuries before (the downside to being an active athlete 12 months of the year), but none of them ever took this long to recover. Why is this one taking so long? The reason is because I hurt a tendon. Your body recovers by sending blood to the injury to deliver fluid and nutrients that are essential for healing. Blood flow also allows your body to deliver macrophages that will eat the damaged cells and take them away to leave a clean space ready to build new healthy tissue.

Unlike muscle tissue, tendons don’t get a significant supply of blood. In fact, to combat this, at the beginning of PT each time, my therapist rubs my ankle trying to get more blood flow to the injury to assist in all of the exercises we’ll be doing that day.

When there is blood delivered, the tissue can heal. When this is restricted, healing takes longer. Also, I didn’t hurt just any tendon, I injured the BIGGEST tendon. The average tendon in your wrist is 3.7 MILLImeters while the average Achilles tendon is 6.8 CENTImeters wide. That is almost TWENTY times bigger. That means there is more tendon to heal. These two bits of anatomical information make Achilles tendon repair one of the longest recoveries for any common sports injury.

As I said, I’m about 3 months into my recovery, but the average recovery time is 6-12 months, so I still have a way to go. This road may be long, but I’m taking my time so that I can heal the right way and do what is best for my body. I don’t know about you, but this journey seems extremely similar to my faith journey.

Overall, I feel like I have so far to go to become a saint, to get to heaven. I make so many mistakes and disobey God daily. I also pray daily, working and striving to become a better person. In recovery I’ve already done a number of things where I use my leg in a way that I’ve been told not to, and it hurts. I have to take a few days off from actively recovering to just rest. When I sin and screw up, this too is a setback. Then too I have to stop, reassess, and begin again. It can be frustrating, but it is worth it. In my leg recovery, I eventually will be able to run and jump again. In my faith life, this road leads to eternal happiness in heaven with God.

So often I wish the path to sainthood was easier. I wish that I had a strong desire to pray all day and be kind to everyone around me all the time. This struggle can seem unbearable, especially when it goes on and on. But just like in my rehab of my leg, I have to wake up each day and put in the work. There is no shortcut. Every single day I must make the choice that today I will serve the Lord. Today I will grow closer to Christ. This road will be difficult, and I will fall, but as long as I have my goal in sight, I will succeed. I know I will because I have God there to help me. Just as in my recovery I have a physical therapist helping me along the way, on our spiritual journey, we have God guiding every step if we just listen to Him. With Him, I can make it to the mountaintop.

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