Throughout life, we meet with adversity. Obstacles try to prevent us from achieving our goals, but those most persistent reach their goals in spite of the difficulties that come along with overcoming mental illnesses like depression or learning a new skill and mastering it. Champions look at adversity as a challenge to rise to the occasion. You are entirely capable of achieving the goals most important to you. Yes you can.
I am devastated by my most recent leg injury I sustained while playing tug-of-war at a company-sponsored event, but I continue to look up. There’s not much I can do to change the reality of my situation, but I’m in complete in control of how I react to these present challenges. Optimism is my defense against losing inspiration. That said, I want to tell the story of what happened.
After winning the first event in a dominating fashion, my confidence in our team soared. With an inflating ego, I walked with my team to a grassy area where a long neon nylon rope laid on the floor. I positioned myself in the front of my team. I grabbed the rope exuding confidence but blinded to our opponent’s obvious superior strength. I didn’t want to let my team down—I thought we at least had a chance. But, the universe had other plans.
As soon as our supervisors said go, our team immediately lost our footing and handle on the rope. I tried to quickly regain my position but at the expense of the stance that protected my knee. The weak area of my knee was exposed. The other team jerked at the rope. I heard and felt a sudden pop. We lost. And then the reality of my knee injury settled in.
I took a seat on the grass where I stood. Without a chance to recover, our team was up for our next event. I got up and walked to the tables where flip-cup was set up. My knee throbbed. “I have to sit out,” I told whoever was listening, then I walked towards an empty cement planter and took a seat. A friend noticed me in distress, walked over and offered an ibuprofen. I politely declined despite a voice in my head screaming, “I tore a ligament in my left knee. I know it.”
I began to sweat. I elevated my leg onto the planter, felt immediate pain, and quickly lowered my leg back down to an idle position. My vision blurred. I limped up the porch, through the club room, and over to the sink. My stomach felt like the tacos I ate wanted to meet the bottom of the drain.
Medical Attention and Travel
Supervisors noticed my distress, gave me a bag of ice and suggested I see urgent care. I did. I agonizingly drove my 2005 stick-shift white civic seven miles in light traffic to Urgent care, where they were closed for lunch. I limped back to my car and napped for an hour.
At 1:30 PM, The urgent care office opened and signed me in. The pain in my leg had gotten worse. The more I walked and used my leg, the more I exacerbated the situation.
A few moments later, I’m called back to an examination room where a practitioner evaluates my leg. He tells me to lie back. Without sympathy for my pain, he man-handled my leg and diagnosed my injury. I groaned and moaned at extending the leg outside of its limitations. He diagnoses the leg with no initial tear, but that an x-ray would be the next step—spoiler alert* it came back negative.
I drove another nine miles through heavy traffic and the hills of Temecula and Murrieta to the imaging location. Balancing the clutch with the gas became more and more agonizing as I rode up and down streets trying to shift as least as possible.
I arrived and limped through the doors and into a bustling office full of patients waiting to be seen for mammogram or x-rays. I waited an hour and a half until getting called back. I changed out of skinny jeans in a small, closet-sized space. Needless to say, I overcame several challenges that day.
After receiving medical attention, I drove another 5 miles to Target to pick up the prescribed 800mgs of ibuprofen to be taken three times a day. However, Target did not have canes.
I drove back up from where I came from to Walmart where they did sell canes and bought a reliable blue aluminum cane that’s able to withstand supporting the weight of 300lbs. It improved my ability to walk, allowing me to displace my weight and alleviate the pressure from my leg.
How I Feel Now
It’s disconcerting not knowing the exact diagnosis of my leg. Considering that I’ve never suffered an injury of this magnitude, I’m scared. I’m also sad. I’m definitely not happy.
This could mean a couple things: 1. I’m out of commission for a few months, maybe even a year, and my leg heals and I’m back to normal, or 2. I fucked up my leg for the rest of my life and I’m never going to be able to play basketball again or get the chance to run a marathon. That devastates me.
But I have to look up—I have to embrace the unknown. While my fate has already been set in stone and I’m just simply waiting for my diagnosis, my prophecy is unclear. They don’t know what’s wrong with it. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. But what I do know is that I need to take care of myself. I need to continue staying focused on my goals and staying focused on building financial, physical and mental wealth. While handicapped, I am not completely incapable. I am capable.
Injuries and setbacks happen to the best of us. Kobe injured his Achilles and came back to score 60 in his final game. Tom Brady tore his ACL and MCL and came back to become the GOAT of football. It’s not at our best but at our worst where we truly represent the integrity of our character.
It’s not to say my time is up, but it’s a sign to tell me to really slow down and be patient. Work on building up the strength to return.
A lot of things change now that I’ve suffered this leg injury. I can’t complete the goal of wanting to run a marathon yet, I can’t workout as heavily as I’d like, and I can’t do the things I’m used to doing. I just have to focus on becoming a brain for now and studying my ass off until I have the strength and mind to put myself in a position to strengthen my body again.
Have you suffered an injury that has set you back? Did it stop you from achieving a goal on time? How did you deal with it?