Yohan is now at Claremont Graduate School in southern California, studying Industrial Psychology. He is getting around campus without crutches, leg braces, or a wheelchair – he’s actually walking on his own 2 feet! In fact, he’s walking A LOT!! Finding his way around the first day of classes was physically and mentally exhausting, and when he looked at his Fitbit at the end of the day, he had walked right around 5 miles – a record-breaking feat! And, he has much less pain, too, which was an unexpected benefit of the surgeries.
After his initial departure, the house was much quieter, a bit too quiet, in fact. Gilles and I felt Yohan’s absence acutely. After such a hands-on experience, we both felt melancholy, pride, relief, anxiety, and relief – relief that it all worked out and our son would be able to pursue his dreams.
We’ve talked to him off and on, and he’s adapting to his new digs very well and continues to walk as much as he can. When I asked him why he doesn’t bike to school, he said, “I like walking. It’s good for me.” I was speechless (which rarely happens).
Why? Because 2 years ago, when Gilles and I encouraged him to remain active by biking for 10 minutes a day, he completely unraveled, “I do not like to exercise. I’ve never liked to exercise. Exercise does not fit into my life, now or anytime in the future. I have issues with fatigue, my feet hurt when I walk, and I have all I can do to get through every day, so please stop asking me to be active.” That was that – then.
Today, he sings a different tune. He personally understands the value of staying fit and ambulatory. When a basic function like weight-bearing is taken away, and you are lucky enough to get an improved version back (walking heel to toe with less pain), every step becomes a small miracle. Never will he take the small things in life for granted.