Rachel's Miracle

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Rachel's Blog

Safety or Vanity?

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

After falling and breaking my left hand for the second time in six months, leaving a permanently crooked pinky finger, I’ve come to the realization that vanity isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. In essence, I was trying to cover up the fact that my brain is injured and opted to ignore the advice of professional’s and others stressing safety first. I hated wearing the AFO (ankle-foot orthotic) because it was so big, bulky and noticeable, not to mention the stares I got from people! I wanted to appear normal and look like everyone else, the way I used to look . . . wouldn’t you? Now, I know that normal is NOT breaking my hand twice in one year! I’ve finally learned my lesson the hard way. Safety must come first! Due to my frequent mishaps, it was decided I needed to go back to physical therapy and be re-evaluated. The therapist introduced me to a new type of AFO (called a walk-on), which is much lighter and less conspicuous than the old style. I like this brace because it’s lightweight and fits inside any shoe with a back to it, giving me many more shoe options than I’ve had in the last six years; which is every woman’s dream! Everyone has now commented how much my gait has improved! I decided to continue in physical therapy, working on my balance. After all, practice makes perfect. After a month of PT, the evaluation showed that my balance has improved. So, I scheduled additional sessions through the end of the year in hopes of further improvement. I can’t afford another fall and break to my left hand . . . a girl can only take so much! :)

Left: old bulky AFO - Right: new lightweight walk-on

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Reply ReBuildingYou
2:08 AM on January 2, 2013 
Happy New Year Rachel. Good for you, accepting the new brace. Also... Good for you for keep 'going for gold', even if it means that you do a bit too much sometimes and hurt yourself. If you are disabled and trying hard, you often 'go over the edge'. 28 years ago I suffered a severe brain injury and was told I'd never walk again or talk or drive. I do all those things. And dance ballroom and salsa. I've pushed myself a long way and it's so so worth it. Striking a balance between being sensible and going for gold is hard and it sounds like you're doing it! Go Rachel, go!
Reply Aunt Carole
12:17 PM on November 17, 2012 
Hi Rachel !!! It was so great seeing you last weekend !! When we walked at the park you really were so much faster with the new AFO :) You did so well on the uneven terrain and all those steps ! Love you, have a nice weekend
Reply Aunt Shawn
11:57 AM on November 17, 2012 
Hi Rach!
I'm glad to hear your new AFO is working great for you (and of course, allows you more shoe options!) By the way, you will find that statement about vanity not being all it's cracked up to be gets more and more true the older you get. Can't wait to see you over Thanksgiving! Love you so much!