It has been a long time, folks. After my four hikes back in 2011, my tendons had about had it. What I thought had been just a painful reminder of my time in the service had become so bad I could barely walk.
On April 12th, 2012, I had surgery at the VA Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, repairing my two peroneal tendons. They had transformed from smooth tubes of muscle that helped drive my foot to raggedy ass tendrils of pain.
After the surgery, I thought I would never walk again. After three months, I could sort of walk again, but I thought hiking would never be a part of my life. And it wasn’t, and didn’t seem like it ever would.
I felt like I had abandoned my post, with my goal unfinished and unattainable. My walking got better, the braces got smaller, but anything longer than a mile or so would leave my foot aching too bad to even consider hiking. I had a pair of Vasque Breeze boots my sister got me for my birthday last year, and they helped, a lot.
The Trail House, a great shop in Frederick, MD, helped me find them. I have oddly sized feet, very wide, and the folks there stock Vasque (premier bootmakers) and in my Fred Flintstone size.
They helped me get through that year, but the boots took a beating. This spring, Mary took me back to the Trail House and I got another pair. BTW, we had our dogs with us, but they’re dog friendly, so Karlos and Peterman got to help me try them on. Can you tell I’m a fan of the Trail House. I keep mentioning their name. Trail House. 😉
So now I have brand new Vasque hikers, and we hit the trail again. Elizabeth and I did the AT from the I-70 bridge to the Washington Monument and back in 2 1/2 hours (that girl is hardcore) and at the end of it I had blisters, but none of the usual foot aches.
Two or three more hikes, and all seems to be working. My foot still hurts, but it’s not debilitating, and it keeps getting better.
So I’m back, my feet are re-booted, and my goals for supporting the Sentinels of Freedom are rebooted. Karlos and I will be back on the road, so if you see me and him out at midnight on a ten miler, or up at 5 AM doing the Wakefield Valley loop, be sure to say hi.
Thanks to Mary and the kids for helping me get here, and thanks to the largest and most compassionate medical system in the United States: The VA. The work they do is amazing, I can tell you from first hand experience.
Thanks to Diane DeMarco and her people at Marketing @ Work for getting me as far as I did before my injury sidelined me. None of what I did would have been possible without her.
Finally I want to thank the folks at the DAV, the Disabled American Veterans. They help more Veterans get the benefits they deserve than any other organization extant. Every single one of their employees is a disabled Veteran, and they, by law, have organic access to the VA system.
If you want to support Veterans, the quickest and most efficient way to do so is probably through financial support of the DAV.