I graduated from the University of Puget Sound School of Law in May of 1991. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. My mother was so proud of me that it was worth it just for that. However, I didn’t pass the bar exam the first time out and within a year I was on crutches and no one knew why. Yes, I had been to several doctors, had x-rays, and physical therapy and still nothing. I was on those crutches for 7 1/2 years. It turns out that law school was a walk in the park (so to speak) compared to that ordeal.
About 2 years after I graduated from law school my mother died. That was even more devastating. The grieving process for me took many years. I’m on the other side of the abyss now, but her loss still leaves a huge hole in my heart and soul.
With the encouragement of a friend that worked for the Washington State Department of Corrections, I started volunteering. About 6 1/2 years into my ordeal on the crutches and about 6 months of full-time volunteering, I was hired as a Community Corrections Officer and have been doing that job for more than 16 years.
At the 7 1/2 year point, I told my doctor that if I was going to be on the crutches the rest of my life, I wanted to know why. He sent me to a specialist who took and x-ray (and read it correctly) and found that I needed a hip replacement. The surgeon said it had been bone on bone for years. I had a total hip replacement in 1999, 9 days after I first sat in the surgeon’s office. It was a life changing surgery.
The reality that I wasn’t going to be on crutches for the rest of my life lead me to a list of things I wanted to do: Kayaking, white water river rafting, snorkeling in the Caribbean, and hang gliding were on my list. I have been kayaking, white water river rafting (twice) and paragliding (couldn’t find a local hang glider), and only the snorkeling in the Caribbean is left on the list. I also started walking. I had never been an athlete. I had never regularly exercised and I have battled my weight since I was about 10 years old, so when I started walking I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. My favorite place to walk is Point Defiance Park in my home town of Tacoma, Washington. There is nothing like it. Almost 800 acres of park including most of the land being old growth forest. There is 5 miles of paved road that winds through the park. It’s a beautiful walk. Once I found that I could actually walk the whole 5 miles, I thought . . . I could do anything.
So here I go . . .