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My Hero - My Son

I want to introduce you to my current hero and my inspiration - my son.   AboHero_medalut a year ago, I  noticed a big change in the way he ran and walk.  It didn't look like it was easy and was almost painful to watch.  Pretty soon, he began mentioning that it hurt to walk, hurt to run, hurt to stand.   Over last summer it got worse and worse.    Pretty soon his hips and back hurt too.   

Img_0024 We went to an pediatric orthopedic surgeon in late summer and found the flat feet he was born with wasn't something he was growing out of.  Instead, they were really flat and flexible.  His feet were so flexible, they "collapsed" with every step so he had aggravated the tendons in both feet and he had a heel cord (gastronimus muscle) that was too tight and his feet weren't striking the ground well.   

So we tried a couple sets of custom orthopedic inserts, and then lots of physical therapy to stretch and strengthen.  Img_0032And then when his feet got worse, we alternated casts on each lower leg/foot to try to stretch the heel cord and quiet the tendons in the feet.   Still no luck.  We hit the final option - surgery.   Last month he got a bone graft (about 1 cm) added into his heel bone and had his tendon extended a few inches.

For him it meant a couple days in the hospital and now a few months on crutches before he can start using the foot again.  It meant the other foot has the tough job of supporting the healing foot 24x7.   

As a parent and runner, it was hard to make the decision and then to watch him go through the healing process.  I was worried how well my "baby" boy (ok, he is 8 now - not a baby) would handle it.  But you know what - he has been my inspiration.    He hasn't complained, our days haven't been filled with drama, he hasn't been impatient and asked "why me" or "is it over yet".  He hasn't tried to use the foot just to see if it is "ready yet".   Just because he misses soccer and Tae Kwan Do - he doesn't sneak out and try to do it.   When his friends head out for tag at recess, he doesn't get mad. 

He hasn't done all those silly things I do when I am injured.  Nope.  He has patiently worked through each treatment, looks forward to the day when his foImg_0075ot won't hurt and just works on getting better.   He has done a good job focusing on what he can do.  He works on getting faster and faster on crutches.  He can hop on one foot the entire length of our house.  And he can now balance almost 15 seconds on crutches only - no legs.  (Thanks for that tip Grandpa!)

He still has about 5 months of healing for the left foot and then he gets to do it again - on the right foot.   11 more months of healing and 11 more months of patience.   When we talk about life a year from now, he tells me he can't even imagine what life will be like when his feet don't hurt.  Up until a few months ago, he thought it was normal for feet to hurt when you walk and run. 

Through this last year, he has taught me patience.  He taught me many mental lessons about injuries and healing.  He reminds me that life is good, could always been worse, and each day it gets a little better.

And now when I head out for a run, I am now just thankful for the opportunity to be out there running. 

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Comments

The Laminator

Great story, Amy. Very inspirational. I hope your son gets to be off his crutches and gets back to his normal activities soon. And yeah, we can definitely learn a lot from kids, especially at times when we least expect to. Thanks for sharing.

Andrew is getting fit

Thanks for sharing. As a parent I can understand how tough it must be having your kid go through this.

I hope the surgery is successful and everything goes well.

Nat

He's a little inpsiration isn't he? I get choked up reading about it.

Thank you. Something to think about when the runs get hard... give a good snuggle for me.

Viv

What a lil' champ!! Thanks for sharing, Amy. I hope he continues to heal. I am sure it has not been easy for you as well. ((HUGS))

CoffeeBetsy

What a tough little guy. Amy, you must be so proud.

Irish Cream

Wow, Amy. You're son is truly inspiring. As an adult, I complained my butt off when I had to be on crutches for just two weeks! He certainly is one tough cookie!

FrayedLaces

Wow! What a tough kid! You're so right about the whole "not trying to do anything he's not supposed to." Why can children follow directions better than adults?

Nancy

Glad you shared, Amy. It's so hard for me to imagine what this is like for you. It's amazing how you are always looking for the good side and what you can learn.

What a great kid you have a what a great tribute to his parents.

Can't wait for our run!

Tom

What a great-hearted young man!

His spirit just oozes with optimism. Many of us have to look far for a hero, but yours is in your family. It's wonderful that heroes come in all sizes!

I can imagine how he uplifts your runs and your life!

William carter

Amy

The whole time I was reading this wonderful post, I was thinking about how I would feel if it was my 5 year old going through this. The thing that I find so remarkable is how truly resilient these children are.. and how much we could learn from them.

I do agree with Nancy.. it is both a great tribute to your son and to you and your husband that he has been such a trooper. You will all win in the end and it is so wonderful that your son can see that there is a means to the end.

Best of luck to your family and your son will be in my family's thoughts and prayers.

Andi

It is amazing how children handle surgery and being restricted - so different than the way we handle it as adults. My daughter had spinal cord surgery a week after her 3rd birthday, and has had PT weekly and in intensive spurts since she was 10 months old. She is an inspiration - I know I couldn't do what she does without complaining, but she does it with a smile. Your son seems to be the same way - he is awesome!

Carly

Wow! What a tough kid to have to endure all of that and have such a great attitude. He is truly an inspiration.

Database Diva

Wow Amy, I think he is my hero, too. The ability to cope with life's challenges is a great gift. He is lucky to have it, and you are lucky to have him.

Runnin' Ragged

What a tough little guy! Amazing how an adult's attitude and take on things are so different than those of little people. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully one day he'll be able to join you on your runs.

Laura

WOW! What a trooper! I am really inspired by your amazing boy. I will think about him on my next run when I start to whine about this ache or that pain. You've got yourself one, fine child (and TALENTED too! It isn't easy to balance on crutches!).
Thank you for sharing that story.

Art Dinkin

We think about your son and his recovery all the time and include your whole family in our prayers. Thank you for sharing the inspiring story!

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