1 year ago I walked in to get an MRI to address a chronic hip pain that had reached its tipping point for me. I felt constant instability, like my femur head was popping out of my pelvic bone. The pain kept me up at night. I was about to go on an expedition, so I thought I’d get a cortisone shot and find out what was going on so I could continue to stomach the pain and just get through.
Turns out it wasn’t something to just get through. I was on the brink of losing my hip functioning entirely, and I faced the career ending decision of having an immediate double hip reconstruction to save what was left of my run down bones and shredded labrums, or a double hip replacement that would forever change my mobility.
I decided on reconstruction, being in the prime of my athletic career, it felt like the only option to continue to be a professional climber.
The day I walked in to surgery felt like the most uncertain day of my life, short of walking down the NICU to see my dad post his life ending hemorrhagic stroke. It felt kind of like a small death to my former life, and like I was headed into this unknown territory that looked bleak and scary.
After 5 surgeries in the last 9 months and learning to stand up and walk again on my own 6 times, today marks a really significant moment of reflection for me; to remember the resilience that brought me to this day, the support of my family and friends that enabled me to love and be loved.
Being physically stripped of even the basic ability to go to the bathroom or get out of bed on your own is tough. There were dark days that I didn’t feel a purpose to my life. Having sport, a central part of my identity, be ripped away, was incomprehensible at first.
I woke up counting down time to when the day would end so another day would pass.
In the process I found my purpose; my light, in many ways beyond the sport that I love. There are big parts of my journey, including the founding of a company I will launch this year, that gave me this confidence, focus, and excitement, that had been left in this void.
I was given the opportunity to sharpen my own understanding of who I am beyond climbing; a sport that has been my life since I was 6. The stillness and the stripping of travel from my otherwise chaotic schedule enabled me to understand Home. And, the mental and physical challenge of building purpose to my life when the very sense of it was gone - was a new lesson.
I have found a lot of relatability and inspiration in the new GoDaddy four-part digital series, #GoForth — which covers the way in which 3 elite athletes opt off the well-worn trail to turn their passions into viable livelihoods. In it, Tony Hawk, shares wisdom from his own journey as an athlete and entrepreneur.
Check it out here!!
#goForth #godaddypartner #godaddy