Just 28 days ago, Sara Black could barely move without pain piercing through her body, but the healing process, as she discovered, wasn’t as easy as it seems

Text by and photos courtesy of Sara Black

As soon as I was able to walk with a walker, I was determined to start moving. My rehab coach Francis and I talked briefly about using the pool in my building as part of my therapy. He wasn’t scheduled to come back for another couple of days so I thought I’d go down to the pool myself and do a few laps.

Since we hadn’t determined at that time if my fracture was completely healed, Francis told me to use a pull buoy and band my feet together. I swam all of 40 meters and felt tired. Unbelievable, considering I had just done a 2.5-kilometer open-water swim a few months back. This was the first of many instances in which I would be faced with that thought that I had a lot of work ahead of me to regain my fitness level.

Swimming 500 meters in her building’s pool

I also went through a phase where I thought I would be a cripple. Esmeralda became Quasimodo. I sat with the crookedness for weeks and it didn’t seem like I would be able to shake it off. I messaged Francis. “Will I be crooked forever? Just tell me the truth.” There were some dark moments, and I did not want to stay in them.

So I learned to celebrate my small victories: first time to swim 500 meters straight,  first time to push off the wall on my swim with both legs, first time to increase my power on the stationary bike from 40 to 70 watts, first time graduating from a walker to a cane, first time to do some yoga poses like downward facing dog and wheel. I focused on my “firsts” and they gave me the exhilaration I needed to keep going.

Downward facing dog

Wheel pose

With the help of friends, family, and loved ones who never stopped encouraging me to keep going, I kept my spirits up. Friends from my tri crew kept me swim training with them; another group of friends took me to the Chinese doctor to get some Chinese medicine to help my bone healing; loved ones messaged, called, and visited to keep me company. I cant stress enough how invaluable the support system I have with the amazing speed of my recovery. Yes people, I need your help, please help me be well.

A strong support system, she says, was key to her recovery

I did my therapy diligently twice a day and by Week Four I was walking without a cane and, best of all, went back to work, which I missed dearly. What an amazing feat. Just 28 days ago I could barely move without sharp pain piercing through my whole body. Life was beginning to normalize but at the same time, some of the most frustrating parts of the healing process were about to begin.