Thursday, June 27, 2013

Aedificamus: The Defining Point

For some of my readers, this post may seem all over the map. There is a very good reason for it.

Last Thursday, I went in for what I hope will be one of the last chapters of what has proven to be a rather long ordeal. I had surgery on Thursday, June 20, 2013, to remove the steel plate and pins/screws that were in my right tibia. These were remnants of an injury I suffered on August 29, 2011, when I broke clean through both bones in my lower right leg.

The past two years have been times of incredible highs and smashing lows. From the excitement of having my first full talk accepted for a major conference, to having to send my regrets to that conference because I would be flat on my back for the next month and physically unsuited to attending.  That month was one of the longest I ever went through, but it was also cathartic. It was the month I worked through several books. It was the month I spent doing all I could to make "Mordor", a smoke testing framework written in Cucumber, RSpec and Capybara (with a lot of help from Sidereel developers) something that was actually effective and reliable. It was a period where I realized that the world didn't stop turning because I wasn't running 100 miles an hour to do everything I needed/wanted/had to do. I had to rely on others, and trust they would do what had to get done. In most cases, they got done.

Sometimes, we don't know what we miss until we can't do it any longer. I came to the conclusion that I missed running. Note, I wasn't much of a "runner" before, but I took for granted that, if I wanted to go for a run, or play a game of Frisbee or touch football with some friends, I could. Then this accident happened, and even after I healed, my ability to run was greatly compromised. The orthopedic surgeon was impressed with my range of motion, was glad that I could walk for long distances, and looked to him otherwise vigorous and strong. Still, I couldn't run. I could jog at a slow clip, but if I tried to do a full out run, I looked like a drunk man staggering. I lost 25 pounds after the accident, but since I was inactive, much that weight loss came from losing muscle. Sadly, when I gained 35 pounds back, the majority of it wasn't muscle, either. I'm now, like it or not, the heaviest I've ever been (256 pounds). Granted, when you're almost 6'3", that may not seem like much, but for a guy that was used to being a vigorous, active, and fairly solid 225 pounds for the bulk of his adult life, this has been frustrating.

Thursday, June 20, 2013, was a defining and pivotal point in my life. The stainless steel is now gone. The "zipper", i.e the long scar and staples in my leg, has made a return engagement, and I have to do all I can to keep it covered, clean, and elevated. My lymphatic system is still recovering, and my circulatory system, by association, still has a way to go. Also, my tibia now has about 14 holes of various lengths extending from just above my ankle to about 40% up the length of the bone. As a friend pointed out, those holes make my leg, for now, just like the perforations on a saltine cracker. Overall, the bone is solid, but if I hit it just the right way, until those holes fill in with new bone, I run a risk of breakage and going back to square one. The good news? That should take, maybe, six or eight weeks, and then my bone should be "good as new". No more plate, no more irritation and threats of infection, no more torsion modulus if I happen to mis-step or flex my leg quickly. In short, with the exception of a big scar, two remodeling bones, and some nerve damage that may never recover, I have a choice to rehab and get back into my preferred "fighting shape".

I've decided I'm going to share that journey with everyone, or at least those who want to follow along. You will notice a tab that is, for now, mostly empty. That tab says Aedificamus. Much like my "Practicum" is where I practice my craft of testing in various ways, Aedificamus is where I will test and refine the theories needed to rebuild the most important project I have... ME :).

I want to rebuild. I want to get stronger. Most important, I want to run again, and I want to do this in a way that is meaningful to me. This could become the "boldest boast" of my career, maybe even my life. It could work out splendidly. It could go down in flames.

There's only one way to find out ;).

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