|Kimberly Butler and her children reside on a mountaintop farm overlooking Glenville. Their family includes a menagerie of animals including, Wilbur, the mini pig who thinks he is man of the house. You can reach her at email@example.com
Road to Recovery Paved with Good Resolutions
Walk It Off: Putting One Foot in Front of the Other
Resolved: This Year Is About Moving Forward, One Step at a Time
By Kimberly D. Butler
Life sure handed me a basket of lemons the last couple of New Year's, and there were days I wanted to just lay down and die. There were also days when I wanted someone else to fall over and expire (just sayin'). And, then there were finally days when I wanted to run like the wind and prove to everyone involved that NOTHING was going to destroy my ability to get back on my feet and SURVIVE.
That old adage, "Success is the best revenge," was always in my head. But for a long time, I couldn't do much about it. My bone infection did a serious number on my pelvis, leg and lower back. Even after spending weeks in Cleveland Clinic, there were more weeks of IV antibiotics, physical therapy and repair surgeries. Would take another year to get it all accomplished. Uggghh! The doctors predicted that, at best, I might walk again with a limp and a cane (guess they didn't know me that well, did they?).
And, I had gained 120 pounds from various treatments as part of the process, most of that over an 8-month period. It happened so quickly, I sometimes felt like someone had me hooked up to an air hose and was torturing me at a slow painful pace.
This was all happening simultaneous to a difficult divorce. Sometimes it felt too overwhelming, but I knew I had to get myself going again. So, I embraced physical therapy with a vengeance! At Cleveland, I was on the 8th floor, overlooking the helipads bringing in critical patients. The choppers would fly in and out several times a day - a constant reminder to me, that someone else was worse off. Lamenting seemed selfish.
I could barely stand, but I would grab my walker and eventually make circles on my floor. There were over 80 rooms on my floor, so it was a BIG circle. My first attempt took most of one painful morning. By the end of it, I was making a few a day.
After a few weeks, I could walk with a cane. Then, the day came when I could walk slowly with a limp ON MY OWN. That was about this time a year ago. I remember thinking then … if only I could, I would walk for miles and never complain. So, last year's resolution was simply to be able to walk enough to start losing weight. In the back of my mind I had a secret goal of 100 pounds. WOW! Wouldn't that be awesome! But, it seemed so out of reach …
The road to recovery
I kept pushing, and by spring, I was able to walk a mile or so at the track. At one point, I decided it was time to work on the farm and strengthen my muscles and bones with some good old brush cuttin' and fence cleanin'. My long gravel driveway had fence on both sides, completely overgrown with briars and brush. So, I bought myself a chainsaw, a sun hat, a pair of work boots and some really cool safety glasses. I stuck my cell phone in my bra and went to work.
My mother nearly had a heart attack! She would call me several times a day, hoping I hadn't fallen in a ditch somewhere missing a few critical limbs. I could only work a little each day, but after a couple of months (and a few replacement saw blades) I had lost about 30 pounds and gained a nice-looking driveway. And, I'd only fallen in the ditch a couple times! That's when I knew just about anything was possible.
By the close of the year, I had dropped a whopping 86 pounds. Not bad for someone never expected to walk normally again.
People were starting to notice. They would ask me what diet I was on, and I would jokingly reply, "It's called the 3-D Diet. Disease, Divorce and Depression. I wouldn't recommend it for just anyone. You have to have strong shoulders, a built-in support group, and a willingness to pull up those "big girl panties" and face it head on. But if you can endure it, embedded deep in the base of that road to recovery, is a built-in foundation of self-esteem and fortitude that carries you over the other struggles in your life.
I was getting very motivated. Someone said to me one day, "Everyone is watching you, Kim. They believe in you. They all want to be on your bandwagon just to see what you do next." Some of the most important words to ever cross my ears. My friend J.C. would remind me that, "You are a leader, and not a follower, so get used to it." That was it. I knew I had to forge ahead.
My dad used to say, you can be an anybody, or a somebody. I was feeling so much like an "anybody." Here was my chance to be a "somebody" again. People were counting on me.
It is a brand new year, again, and I desperately need to finish my goal of losing 100 pounds. I am only 13 pounds away as I write this column. One of my resolutions is to reach 100 by the end of January. My plan is to tackle it by exercising every single day of the month, regardless of weather, wimpiness or whining. I am adding in some energy vitamins, lots of protein, very little carbs, and a ton of water.
By the time you read this column, I will have either failed … or had one heck of a celebration! WOOHOO!
Tune in next month.