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What a day… I have to say this was soooo much harder then I thought it would be. As you all know I’m all about a good challenge, and dang it was a challenging day. We’ve been waiting for the water leg to come back from the Prosthetic company, and it finally did, and it finally fits properly. Then we needed some decent weather and to make the time. Well it was windy and the water was super choppy. Something 5 yrs ago I would not have cared about or given a second thought too. I learned how to Stand Up Paddle (SUP) while my leg and foot were still super painful, but I was walking and as healed as I would ever be, according to the Doctors. I was told not to do it, because if I fell I risked shattering the leg or foot again. I didn’t listen and knew I’d be fine. I missed surfin, being out on the water, and just in it upright so much. And back then I needed to work on not putting all my weight on the good leg, and knew this would force me to balance out my weight or I’d fall, lol. So back then, I got up for the first time, fell once, and never fell again. It was like I had been doing it my whole life. I tuned out the pain and took in all the beauty and peacefulness that I found out in the ocean. I re learned again a couple years ago what a natural I still was when I went out after the half foot amputation had healed. I only got to paddle a few times before I loss my leg, but I never fell even once back then, and felt one with the ocean and my board…

Well… today 2 years later and wearing a prosthetic I learned a whole new appreciation for those who need to learn to SUP. I was no longer a natural at all. I got up, stayed up, wobbled, bobbled and almost fell over and over till blamno I fell right on my ass onto the rocks. I got up and repeated this lol. It was so choppy and just not the best conditions to learn how to do this with a new leg, a foot that I cannot feel touching the board, an ankle that doesn’t flex, a knee that doesn’t have any give, a million reasons I could list as to why this was hard. Mid way I cried like a little baby. Frustration, feeling like I lost something that was once so natural and easy for me to do. Feeling like I had no sense of balance or that being one with the ocean, the board, and all that I once felt. I could give up and at least know I tried. Or I could get the heck back on my board and keep trying and keep trying and keep trying until I find my oneness with my surroundings and myself. So…I got back up and kept trying, and I stayed the heck up on the board, cause falling sucks. haha. Still a wobbly mess, but up at least.

We left Lahaina and headed towards Kihei. I didn’t feel defeated, but did feel frustrated with myself. I struggled with not being able to get out of my own head and stop thinking about how easy this once was for me, even though it was challenging with the pain and warpedness of my leg at the time those years back. Instead I needed to let this be new, accept the need to learn, be open to Matts advice and instruction, instead of upset with it, and just keep trying some more. It wasn’t that I kept falling in, it was the struggle to stay upright and just paddle, not weeble wobble around trying so hard not to fall, that I was loosing the whole enjoyment of SUPn… As we were driving to Kihei to see if we could catch a little less chop in the water for my first time back in, Matt said did you hear those two ladies on the beach talking about you? One was talking about how she couldn’t even do that, and she had both her legs. Then the other lady told her that she’d always been afraid to try it, but now she would have try. He said that’s what you do, you inspire people Babe…

He asked if I wanted to try again. I said yes. We went out to Lipoa. Wind was
blowing hard but water didn’t look as choppy. Back out I went. I found my
footing. I found my stance. I found my calm in my head and my heart. Then I
found my balance. Fell once, paddled the rest of the time without the weeble
wobbling lol. Stumpie hurt like crazy, but then stumpy always hurts. Fighting
the wind was a bit much for a first time trying, but then I figured if I can get
my balance back and be out here doing this while it’s windy, choppy and landing
on rocks, lol, then it’s gonna be all that more awesome when I come out on a
nice calm early morning and paddle the day away. The best part of the day wasn’t
what I was doing. It wasn’t about walking on the sand for the first time in a
couple yearsBeing out in the ocean, SUPn again on two legs … It was
about what it did for others…

See while I paddled my okole off someone was watching me. There was a man sitting in a beach chair off to the side when we arrived. All alone, no one else on the beach as far as eyes could see. He got up out of his chair when he saw me walk out to the water. He stood up the entire time at the edge of the sea. When I mastered my first 10-15 min paddling without a fall, Matt said rest my stump for a minute so I sat down on the board to chill. We heard someone yelling something, looked over and he was applauding me, hooting and hollering. While balancing himself as best he could. Not knowing at the time that he needed two canes just to walk, and later you could see it took all his strength to do so. I continued to paddle for some time. Matt stayed nearby to help if I needed it. When we got out of the water, this gentlemen walked over to me. Taking him some time, as sand is so hard to walk on when you struggle. This much I know cause walking in and out to the water was harder then paddling was for me. lol. Anyway he comes up to us and he said “I am sorry to disturb you, I’m not a weirdo, I just had to come over here and tell you that you are awesome. He said you filled my soul and heart with so much hope. I had to thank you. You are fabulous. You were amazing out there. She is fabulous he said to Matt, Matt said, ahhhh she’s all right lol. He said thank you so much. Being out there is my next step and you just gave me hope that I can do it. I told him then he will do it. He said I was just what he needed, right when he needed it. Little did he know he was just what I needed too. He reminded me what this is all about. As did Matt. Matt again said see Babe, that is what you do. That is who you are. That is what you do for others. He told me this journey I’ve been on has never been about me. It’s always been about others. As is my life. So this day, that was to be about me learning to SUP again turned into a day far more moving then I can even explain right now. I wasn’t put on this earth to serve myself. I’ve known that since I was a kid. I’ve spent all my life trying to help others in anyway I can. All the hards that have come, just open more doors to ways I can help others. People connect because they have their own struggles, their own fight, and they get it, and see the fight in you, as you do them. Regardless to what the struggle may be.

Today was an awesome day. As is every day that we are blessed to wake up. Thank you Matt for your constant encouragement, stubbornness, ability to push me, believing in me, and always knowing me, the person I am, and the heart that I feel for others. Thanks for putting up with me too. Lol. No matter how much pain you feel physically, mentally and emotionally, you are always 100% there, and never let me give up on anything or anyone. I’m grateful every day, with every breath, for every second I’m blessed to share with you. Thank you!!!

Ahhhhhh, I had a great day. I will never ever forget the light that I saw in this mans eyes as he spoke to me. The happiness, joy and hope he was filled with because of something so simple. Those ladies may or may never go out and SUP. They may never give today a second thought. But that man, he will continue to push himself every single day, just to get himself out of bed. He’ll force himself to walk, when he legs don’t want to move. He’ll build up his strength and eventually he won’t need the canes. He’ll without a doubt get out into that big beautiful ocean and stand up paddle his heart out. I will never forget him, and I have a feeling he’ll never forget me either. You never know what or who a day will bring. Strangers making a difference without even trying to are an incredible blessing. Thank you for the blessings. Thank you for another day alive, another day fully lived !!!

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