I’m writing this post in hopes of possibly helping someone who’s going through an injury or an obstacle. Note this: You will get through this. You CAN do it.
Today marks 8 weeks post-surgery for me.
Two years ago, I injured my ankle during a training session as I was preparing for the World University Games. I remember the exact moment I felt my ankle move in a way I never had before. Instantly, it swelled up and changed colors right before my eyes. I’d never had a severe injury before, but somehow I knew this one was serious. However, I am a ridiculously stubborn person, and knowing the World University Games in China were right around the corner, I decided to skip a doctor’s visit, to rest, and stay focused on my upcoming competitions.
My ankle worsened in the few months following that, and one day I finally went to the doctor to get an MRI. Turns out, I had two torn ligaments- not something I wanted to hear or was ready to face. I’m not very pro-surgery, so at this point, repairing them by cutting my foot open was not an option. So throughout the next year, I did physical therapy, researched, visited other doctors for second, third, and fourth opinions, and kept going as much as I could. I had a great year even with two torn ligaments, making my 4th US Collegiate National Team and earning a Silver Medal at the G2-ranked President’s Cup.
And that’s when things took a bit more negative turn.
This January, I couldn’t train more than 20-30min without my ankle giving out and going through enormous amounts of pain. People kept telling me I should just have surgery, but my stubbornness continued. All I wanted to do was fight at the US National Team Trials & US Collegiate Nationals so that I could represent the US at World Championships. Then I could get surgery.
That was my plan. Until life decided to make its own plans.
I lost both competitions. I walked onto the mats of my fights not wanting to be standing or walking, much less fighting. At this point, the frustration and pain had taken over me; I was mentally torn down from tolerating this injury for so long. After coming home from the travels, I took a week to self-reflect and get ready to accept the decision I knew I had to make. I was getting surgery.
I know a lot worse things can happen in this world, and I know this isn’t a big deal to most people or most athletes, but to me it was. It was a huge obstacle that I hadn’t planned on, that I wanted nothing to do with, and was getting in the way of me and my goals. And that’s kinda the point I’m writing about. Everyone has their own journey on their way to their goals. We’re all going to run into these unexpected roadblocks that we can’t control, but have to fit in and mold as a part of our journeys.
And it’s okay.
It’s okay that I got surgery. It’s okay that I’m having to re-learn how to walk. It’s okay that I haven’t kicked something in months.
In these past 2 months, I’ve had the time to slow down from my crazy training & competition schedule to learn more about myself and who I want to be. I’ve developed a stronger hunger for my goals and dreams and learned how to work towards them in different ways that I didn’t know before.
I hated being in a cast for two weeks and being stuck in bed all day. But, I learned how to play the ukulele, spent time with family and friends, and got a lot of work done on my laptop. I hated being stuck in a big, heavy boot for 4 weeks and not being able to walk much, but I found a safe way to stretch & kick to keep taking pictures I wanted for my social media. And now I hate having to practice walking instead of kicking paddles or practicing back flips, but I’ll find a way to stay happy and keep going.
This wasn’t the path that I wanted, but it’s the path I’m on. So, it’s really up to me to decide where to go from here and how to handle it.
Wherever you are on your path, no matter what comes in your way, remember where you are going is still up to you.
Accept the obstacles that come into your life. Don’t let them stop you, don’t fight them, but rather, learn how to mold them into your journey so that you can keep going.
“Do Not Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do.”