I’m enjoying a lovely weekend at home after quite a tough week in rehab. We’ve been trying to get my foot to move of its own accord. I’ve spent hours thinking about moving the foot muscles; attempting (in vain) to move the foot; watching the foot hang there like a dead clawed-up thing; and trying not to think too much about the prospect of it remaining like that for good. It is difficult stuff. On the positive side, I’ve been using weights in the exercise class, and this really seems to help with the bilateral rhythm. Just giving the left arm something to resist again meant that, by Friday, I was able to move about to “Starship Trooper” and “Kung Fu Fighting” with a modicum of co-ordination. Bingo!

Several other things have felt like real achievements this week. I finished off some socks for Tom. These are the first thing I’ve knitted to completion since having the stroke. I look at them and I see much more than a pair of plain socks in Noro Kureyon (a yarn I will never knit with again). I see the days of effort in which I struggled to make my fingers move and my elbow to support the weight of both my left hand and the knitting. I also see the difficulty of learning a well-known skill from scratch, and the joy of being able to do something I love again. There are hours and hours of many small achievements stitched into this unassuming and uneven pair. Tom likes them very much.

I’ve also been building up my stamina and strength in more ways than one. This morning I decided that I should try to walk to the place where I had the stroke (on one of my familiar paths). I felt it was important to do this: it happened in a place that I am fond of, and I didn’t want to get hung up about it; for it to be somewhere marked with fear and permanently associated with a horrible event. I was worried both about the walking (one and a half miles there and back) and about how I’d feel when I got there. On both scores it was difficult, but I was fine. I stood there and of course I thought a little about how it felt to fall over on a cold February morning after a gun seemed to go off in my head. But I also thought about the many other times I’ve walked there. With its birch trees, its blackbird and blackberry filled hedgerows, its happy views of the allotments, its motley traffic of runners, pedestrians and cyclists, it is a path that I love to walk along and I know that I shall walk along it many times again. And, seriously folks, I walked for one and a half miles! With my gammy leg and my dead foot! And then I came home and slept for two hours.

I also enjoyed a far less taxing walk in the Botanics yesterday. It was marvellous simply to move about in the sunshine encountering so many signs of Spring (I became foolishly excited when we spotted a bee). A garden really is a very healing place in which to spend time, and I am looking forward to wandering in the Botanics with Tom many times again as I recover. I particularly enjoyed photographing the fresh colours and textures in the alpine garden, so here are a few pictures from there to close.




90 thoughts on “on foot

  1. I’m so happy for you that you were able to knit those socks and that you were able to get out and enjoy nature. The socks are perfection, by the way, and it makes me want to start a pair myself.

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  2. I found you via another knitting blog, stitchingandknitting, and just wanted to send my good wishes to you for your continued recovery. I had a bad fall downstairs, bouncing on the base of my spine down several treads, a couple of weeks ago and was feeling pretty sorry for myself because I can’t sit on the base of my spine and can’t stand or walk for more than a few minutes… you made me see life in a better way, thank you. I can only imagine what you have been going through, and am full of admiration for your spirit. I know it’s not easy to always maintain a positive outlook, so long may it continue.

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  3. Having just found this blog, I’m amazed, but not surprised, at all the warmth of feeling for your recovery. I’d just like to add my very best wishes Kate for your continued return to full health, and my admiration at your resilience.

    And, in knitting terms, I admire your style and technical abilities.
    Sending warm wishes..

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  4. Beautiful socks! I can’t imagine how I would feel if I could’t knit, neither how much strenght it must have taken you to be able to do it again.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  5. I had a great deal of difficulty knitting Noro Kureyon sock yarn without the challenges you have. The accomplishment of making a pair of socks at all, let alone in that yarn boggles my mind. You are amazing and strong and brave.

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  6. Here is a small thing that pleases me every time I look:

    http://www.paris-live.com/paris_webcam/eiffel_tower_cam3.htm

    The clouds change from moment to moment, the light on the tower and the other buildings likewise…. The long vista makes me feel that I can *breathe*…..

    I hope that you enjoy it, too.

    I admire the perseverance and fortitude it takes to teach a body how to behave. I remember how hard my daughter worked, as a baby, breathing hard and trembling, as she tried to touch a dangling toy….

    Thinking about you and lending you the oomph to try a hard thing one more time.

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  7. I had a heart attack just after my 42nd birthday,at work.
    When something like a stroke or heart attack happens it changes everything you know,everything you feel and you become grateful for the littlest things.
    But it also is scary,you don’t know if things will ever be normal again,will I have another stroke? Will my health ever be good again..
    You are doing wonderful with your recovery.Imagine getting socks knitted! I haven’t managed that in I don’t know how long lol
    Take the time to adgust to your new life.

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  8. Small steps, Kate, small steps. You are right to confront the place where your life changed. It must now hold no fear for you and I hope you will find its beauty again given time.

    The socks are lovely and you are a strong woman.

    Fight on. Love and best wishes, Susie xxx

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  9. I have a skein of the Kureyon sock and have failed to actually turn it into socks so far. It feels dead in the hands. Feh.

    So glad to hear of your progress. Yesterday Paul and I went walking around our neighborhood here in N.C. and saw masses of bee-holes in the ground on one street–little nests all over and bees going in & out. It was very exciting.

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  10. Dear Kate, congratulations on making your first long, real, walk, to that particular place. My youngest is loving a book by Claude Ponti titled L’arbre sans fin, which is about how to deal with fear and mourning, and once the little girl has accomplished her initiatic journey she faces the monster she slept away from in the first part of the book (sorry if that is not clear, I may need to send you the book if you can read any French and if you think you would enjoy it), and she tells it : “I’m not scared of myself”. At which words he shrivels up like an old rotten lettuce (freely translating here). Well, this is exactly what you did by going back there and making it familiar again, though loaded with a different, and unexpected, kind of memory. I love that you chose to knit socks for Tom, though it must have been difficult to go through all that re-learning process to make something that is so related with walking.
    Admiringly,
    Séverine

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  11. No bees here in Hamilton yet, but the robins are back and the cardinals are calling like crazy. Never made socks, now I want to. I love it when knitting is not symmetrical. I always knitted mitts for my children that didn’t ‘quite’ match. It’s in my nature. Lois

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  12. Kate, you are an inspiration! You will be walking and climbing again, sooner than any could imagine. Your determination and optimism are an example to all of us.

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  13. I have been reading (and enjoying) your posts, and cheering on your progress. A friend had a stroke last week, and I want to send your blog on to him when he is out of the hospital.

    Thank you too for your willingness to share all this. I have also been sharing your posts, your insights, and technology with my mom, who at 84 is disheartened from a stroke and debilitating arthritis. Your openness has allowed us some good discussions which were not possible before.

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  14. Beautiful socks Kate! I have been reading your blog for some time and have been following along with your recovery. You are doing amazingly well and I can’t imagine what you are going through, but thank you for sharing your journey. I totally agree with the restorative and calming influence of being in nature. A hike never fails to cheer me up when I am out of sorts. Please know I continue to send healing thoughts your way.

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  15. I think you are lucky. You spent last year walking daily. You accomplished your goal. So, on the off chance that maybe you don’t walk as well in the future you loads of wonderful memories to “rerun”. My uncle is about 11 months ahead of you and your progress compared to his… ASTOUNDING! Well wishes.

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  16. It truly gives a great lift to my heart to hear about you continuing to improve.

    Will continue to think healing thoughts in your direction.

    The socks look wonderful and YAY SPRING!

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  17. So many positive achievements on your road to recovery and those socks, beautiful and significant. You are such a fighter, it is a joy to read of your progress.

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  18. I love Tom’s socks and was thinking that it would be nice just to be able to knit a new foot! I think you are doing a fantastic job of recovery, facing fears and sharing your experience with everyone. I for one find it quite inspiring and would like to thank you! I feel it enriches all of us to hear of your victories and struggles….you have a great determined spirit!

    Annie

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  19. Both this post and the previous one are so inspiring. To write with such clarity on your subject, to push yourself to walk so far and to reclaim that walk, and to have knitted those beautiful socks; all this is extraordinary. Thank you again for sharing it with us and I wish you a good week.

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  20. Good on ya, Kate, for taking back your familiar path! One more way in which you are affirming that you are, as you ever were, uniquely and wholely yourself. The rest will come in time.

    I envy you your bee — it’s still a bit too early here for bees, or crocuses for that matter. But that, too, will come in time.

    Wishing you well!

    K. Louise

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  21. So beautiful…you, the socks, the flowers, the description of your walk. Yes…crying again! You are an amazing woman. So proud of you.

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  22. I was so excited to wake up this morning and see you’d written a new post! Thank you for sharing your progress with us. It may be because I’m a beginner and have yet to tackle socks, but for the record they look great to me! Congrats on both knitting the socks and facing your fears

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  23. I got really excited yesterday when I saw a bumble bee in Belgrave Square Gardens. It was sitting on a very prety daffodil and I knew that the first day of Spring had well & truly srung!

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  24. I know that path. My keenest association with it is pushing my two boys along it in a double buggy while trying to convince my then nine and a half months old bump to give up hiding and come out into the world (she did eventually – though not without medical intervention). If I concentrate I can still feel that path under my feet. So glad you are back walking it.

    By the way if you want another textile heavy movie to watch the new ‘Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang’ is set in the 1940s and is heavy on the florals and fairisle (yarnstorm/Cath Kidston etc.) Saw it yesterday and it is both very pretty and very predictable. But then it is meant for kids and my daughter wept buckets at the ending.

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  25. I saw my first bee this week too, out enjoying the beginning of spring. We are quite behind you here, things are just poking up now, but seeing it all emerge again, somehow reminds me/us that the planet keeps spinning, and we keep walking. Happy equinox Kate and Tom!
    Virginia (and Dan)

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  26. Step away from the Kureyon! NOT the most rehabilitating yarn you could have chosen! Ah but the socks look great and WHAT an achievement! I cannot believe you are walking such long distances already – fantastic work, girl!

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  27. I have also been following your recovery, and cheering for you from afar. Its so good to read your posts, very inspiring. Wishing you all the best with your recovery.

    BTW I love Toms socks and the beautiful pictures of the alpine flowers.

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  28. Well done on finishing those great socks for Tom. I’ve also knit with Kureyon Sock (in that same colourway!) and swore never again (although they actually wear very well). I’m working with some Noro Silk Garden Sock at the moment and it’s just a teensy bit thicker and much kinder on the hands.

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  29. Goodness Gracious Kate, you are currently putting me to shame! I have been working on the same sock (not socks…just sock) for the past 2 months and I didn’t manage to go out walking at all this week! It is definitely time to get my rear in gear and follow your good example.
    I’m so glad to hear that things are going fairly smoothly. It sounds like you’ve found a bit of a rhythm with all the rehab and your indomitable spirit is absolutely inspiring.

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  30. I’ve been away and it has been a while since I’ve visited your blog. I’m very happy to hear about your recovery and recent achievements. You have come really far. You are trully amazing, Kate! Cheering you on from Brazil,
    Luciana

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  31. Lovely socks – what an achievement …and lovely to hear someone else shouted..a bee! today. I saw one in our garden in South Lanarkshire today. So glad you have been back walking in favourite places, your courage and determination astound me.Happy spring days!

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  32. Of course this is difficult stuff ! But you are amazing none the less. Your tenacity and determination seem to me like they will most surely win over. I am so glad you went back to your Familiar Path and faced yourself, your future, and perhaps paused at your past, but walked away from it definitely facing forward ! It’s hard to believe you walked *so* far ! I mean, one and a half miles is something that many able-bodied people choose not to do, though they can and take it for granted. You have a fresh rebirth into the life you choose, by choosing so very consciously, every step which is now Kate Moving Forward to the future she chooses !

    Your photographs are spectacular !

    Lots of Love your way ~
    Jen from MtVeeder, Napa, California

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  33. I hope the foot begins to respond. That feeling of knowing to move a limb and your brain doing everything to move it and then seeing it just lie there, unresponsive, is so terribly disconcerting. It’s like repeatedly and uncontrollably stepping on a stair that is not there. You can’t stop your brain from going through the motions to motion, but the physical part isn’t there.

    You sound like you’re staying positive despite the frustrations, and your photos are gorgeous. And those socks look better than the single socks I’ve managed to make so far. Beautiful.

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  34. Noro sock – terrible stuff. You’re a better woman than me, I gave up with it after the first sock only to discover it is rather lovely for lace – who knew?
    In a life full of challenges you seem to be turning them into a lot of successes. Thank you for sharing them.

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  35. The walk and the sock sound like such huge accomplishments. I really admire how hard you are working, and how determined you are to not let this change the way that you live your life. Congrats on two major milestones!

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  36. An FO! YAY! Your OT must be so proud of you and the socks are lovely!

    Good for you to go back to “the scene.” What a healthy idea. My sis had a small to moderate medical crisis once and refuses to go back to where it was, which is unfortunate as it’s our brother’s home!! Go girl!

    xoxo

    Wendy

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  37. Oh happy spring! Congratulations on your long walk — impressive, indeed. The socks are great, too. You are marvelous and courageous.

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  38. stumbled through to you from deb lacitiva’s blog and to hers from Virginia Spiegel’s.

    Kudos on the walk to the place where everything changed. And on finding some optimism there.

    Are you familiar with Dr V. S. Ramachandran’s phantom limb box? To make a long story somewhat short — He’s a neurobiologist who worked with people who were suffering the sensation of pain and cramping in limbs that were no longer there. He discovered that if he put a mirror in a box, had the patient put her or his good arm in the box alongside the mirror and watch the reflction while flexing the good limb, then the brain was tricked into “thinking” that the refelction was the missing limb. And that the limb was again flexible and pain free. I don’t know if it would help with persuading your foot to move, but it might be worth trying.

    wishing you many blessings,
    Melanie

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  39. Wow! I can’t believe you managed to do those socks, go for a walk (and a significant one at that) and write two posts for your blog! Amazing! It’s so heartening to see your recovery continuing apace.

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  40. I love the socks–and they must have added life to them, because of their provenance and the hands that worked to knit them. that is not put very elegantly but I hope you know what I mean. they are Socks with a Soul …

    I am glad to hear of your successful walks–and reminded of my own last visit to edinburgh which included several walks in the botanic gardens which I love … joy to live so near a place like that …

    wishing you well! and just about to cast on for “dolls” … it seems a good springtime sweater.

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  41. Beautiful socks and pictures. What achievements in knitting and walking.

    We had a bee down here in Wiltshire today, and there was lots of birdsong on our walk.

    Keep up the amazing recovery.

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  42. Oh, Kate! Beautiful pictures, beautiful socks, beautiful post. A mile and a half? Beautiful. There’s a funny thing about learning and growing: it doesn’t all come at once and it isn’t all steady progress. Sometimes those seemingly still moments, for all our effort, are when incredible work is happening. It’s just in a way that we can’t see and can’t feel. It can be difficult to keep powering through the valleys when our inner hare wants to bound forward (I am speaking from such experience here!) Keep at it! And please keep posting your amazing and beautiful pictures and stories. You should know: you are giving me courage to do my own work.

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  43. Oh well done, you! Not just the walking (for it must have been tough) but in reclaiming your familiar paths, so they belong to you and not to some scary event.

    All good wishes.
    (so was the Kureyon rough? I have some in the stash).

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  44. so glad to hear you’re taking walks again! I, too, love the newness of spring. and equally wonderful that you’ve managed to produce a newly completed knit. all the best as your recovery continues.

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  45. Today I came across your beautiful therapy socks on Ravelry. After reading your blog here I can see how each stitch mattered, each stitch was difficult and worth celebrating.

    And your walk – what courage you have.

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  46. Wow, your intestinal fortitude is amazing. And, so is your progress.

    I most likely would have curled up in a little ball and succumbed to depression.

    My hat’s off to you! Even though it’s 70 F here in central NJ. Cheers!

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  47. Dear Kate,
    This post brought tears to my eyes. You have come so far, and been so brave. BTW, I have pretty much kept my commitment to walk two miles ‘with/for’ you every day (there were a few times that life got in the way). I am absolutely delighted that you are now able to be out taking in the sights and smells of spring for yourself. Both the one and a half miles and the sock are very impressive!

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  48. Kate I am so full of respect for you. I hope you don’t mind me saying that I think you are a woman of quite remarkable courage. And I saw a *ladybird* today. In Sheffield! Still waiting for a bee, though.

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  49. thank you! i am not the only person on this planet who gets excited when seeing the first bee of spring. this feels good. i was simply ignored by the other people standing around (we were actually talking with me before!) when i began to jump around and smile and point at THE FIRST BEEEEE!!!!!
    i wish you all the best for your recovery, may you and tom be able to enjoy spring and summer outside and walking!

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  50. Dear Kate,

    The progress you are making the the milestones you are reaching are nothing short of inspiring. To say “well done!” somehow seems patronising, but honestly, I don’t know what else to say! So good on you, well done, congratulations, or you can substitute whatever plaudit you fancy. Love the socks and the colours, but like you I’m not keen on the yarn. Hugs from this part of the Highlands.

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  51. Fabulous news, your accomplishments! And Tom will treasure those socks, I’m sure. (You aren’t alone in your assessment of Noro Sock, I’ve heard it from many others…)
    Wishing you well in your continued progress!
    (((hugs)))

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  52. Those socks are a wonderful achievement. Was the Kureyon too rough? On the other hand only Noro results in such a lovely effect, it is like the colours in the knitting have been painted…

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  53. Kate, I am so happy that you were able to walk along your “familiar path” and that it can now return to being one of your favourite places. I love the Spring flower photos and know that the new life unfolding around you will give you emcouragement to get out there and walk some more so that one day soon you won’t have to think about your movements anymore.
    Happy Spring to you and Tom.

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  54. Bravo Kate. Lovely socks for Tom and beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing your recovery, insights, photos with us. Thank you!

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  55. Hello Kate, what a wonderful and uplifting post! You are doing so wonderfully well and being so positive. I know this must belie some of the doubt and frustration you will go through at times, but now you can at least re-read your posts (that MUST turn into a book at some point) and gain strength and purpose from them. I know I do. Thank you, and lots of love to you both, xx

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  56. Kate it is wonderful to read about so many achievements in the last week. The socks are fantastic as are your stunning photos, especially the bee. Spring is unfolding here slowly, and no bees yet. I am going to a textile exhibit and talk this afternoon. Best to you and Tom

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  57. Wonderful, I had a walk this morning with my dog and husband. And then came how to discover that I got to have a second walk with you in Scotland. What a happy spring day!

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  58. Congratulations on some significant achievements Kate! I agree with you on how rejuvenating a walk in a spring time landscape can be….such a happy patch of crocuses in that top photo!

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  59. I’ve been following your recovery, wishing you well, and cheering you on through all your accomplishments, great and small. So wise of you to spend time doing things that are healing to the spirit as well as the body. (And yay for bees!)

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