April 2, 2008
May 17, 2008


Satya is yoga’s second social ethic or yama. It means truth.

Well, truth be told, I don’t want to see him again. He didn’t listen when I told him I was in pain. He’s never returned my call. And when I wake at 3:00 a.m. with a dull ache, it is him I think of, and they are not happy thoughts. I need to dump this guy.

Who is he? A lover? No, a surgeon.

We have a long-standing relationship. For nearly fifteen years, I’ve lived with hardware he’d inserted in my ankle. I’d snapped the fibula in what I call A Cycling Accident: Careening through a sharp turn, rubber met sand instead of road, spilling the rider – me – to the asphalt. The less glamorous and more truthful explanation is this: I fell off my bike. One metal plate, five screws, and several months later, I was back in the saddle riding through Montana.

My bike has taken me alongside olive groves in Portugal, down the Lido from Venice to Italy’s mainland, on an exploration in the Himalayas. There are added benefits, too. I seem to sort out life problems on long rides. I burn a ridiculous number of calories. I meet wonderful people (my husband being one of them).

My next trip is a tour of Bryce and Zion. Ankle permitting. The fifth screw at the tip of my ankle needed to be removed. After reconnecting with the surgeon, he removed it over the winter and confidently stated that recovery shouldn’t be longer than two weeks.

It’s three months, constant pain, and continuous swelling later. When I described the throbbing and twinges to him after a month – and again after two months, then three – he didn’t take x-rays, neglected to notice the thick puff that used to be my ankle.

Shakespeare, speaking of truth – of satya – said it best in Hamlet: This above all: To thine own self be true. I’m not listening to that surgeon; I’m being true to me., and I say, Dump him. I’m seeing someone else.

More surgery is what the second doctor recommends, to fix what happened in the last surgery. Now I’m up against a timeline. It’s three weeks before the Utah bike trip. The yogi in me says, be true to your needs; take more time to heal. Listen to your body, which isn’t difficult given that my ankle is screaming at me.

But there’s a whisper I need to listen to as well. It holds an even deeper truth, a bigger timeline. If I’m to be true to myself, I can’t ignore it. My body is telling me that I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to pedal through my vacations. The Parkinson’s may take that away from me, forcing me to give up cycling.

What I do know is that I can do it now. And there’s only now. As long as I have this gift of movement, my ankle will have to come on the trip with me. We’ll talk. I’ll listen to it and do what’s needed to keep from stressing it. And I’ll ask it to carry me through. We’ll be kind to each other; we have a good, honest relationship.

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