Three Years, No Breaks
By: Connor Lenahan
Today’s anniversary shouldn’t really be possible. By nature of my bone condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, I am more likely to break a bone than normal. I’ve broken a shin on bubble soap, a femur on mop water, an arm on mop water, and put a crack in a vertebrae opening a printer. These are not dangerous activities, just wrong places I was in at the wrong time.
Yet, somehow, even though I’ve been living up in Boston since August 2013 for school – faced with walking all over the city, literally millions more people around me than at home, and record-breaking snow storms – I have been safe. Three years ago, right as I was set to finish high school I innocently tripped and fell while walking to math class. Too much weight caused my left shin to buckle underneath me. A six inch metal plate might have turned me into Iron Man, but it also forced me to relearn to walk as soon as I got to Boston.
Is it weird I can’t remember not walking at school? For all of a month of college I have been recovering from injury. I can’t quite explain it, but I have been fortunate enough to only have nagging injuries while in school. A foot sprain here and a pulled muscle there is lightyears ahead of another femur fracture and the cast that stretches around both of my legs.
I share these stories constantly because I’ve learned from them. For one, don’t run on mop water under any fucking circumstance, ever. But larger, there is a way to make good things happen if you put the effort in. I’ve been extremely lucky in my life, far more than I deserve, but I think I might know why.
For one, caution is smart. While I am one to say “Who’s up for McFlurries?” to my friends at both 9:20pM and 2:43AM, calculated risk is fun. I love doing goofy things in the spur of the moment. It’s fun to live with excitement. But my mom has the ultimate test for any of the things I do: How do you explain what happened to the doctor in the ER when you end up there. If I can muster an excuse, I go. If not, maybe rock climbing is not for me.
But larger than caution, being positive is better than anything. There are many out there who have asked me how I can possibly deal with the feeling of having injury possible every moment. I just try to focus on the fun aspects while being conscious of the negative. I zip around Boston in my wheelchair far faster than I could walk and have been able to make people laugh just by imagining that I’m Adrian Peterson breaking tackles. That’s way more fun to concentrate on than the thought of getting stuck in the snow, right?
But larger than that there is a lot of fun to be had if you can think of the good of any situation. Sitting on the floor of Abington Heights High School with my shin in pieces I didn’t think about the rehab and the surgeries all that much. I knew they were coming – but that they would also get me out of my finals, so, net positive?
It’s not always easy, that’s for sure, but it works. I have friends because I try to be a happy person, thankful for what I have been blessed with and the craziness that comes from such a weird condition. I am eternally thankful for everyone that has helped me in any way with the chair, my physical handicaps of any kind, and/or just supported me in trying to stay Unbreakable. Today is a critical day that helps me get excited to stay out of casts for another year.
But most importantly, even if another cast comes I know that it’ll be fun to try and break this streak on the next go around.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me stay out of a cast for the last three years. I hope we can keep this streak alive for a very long time, and I hope that you can get even one positive thing from this story. I’ve been lucky, and I’d love to share that with you. Just keep your head up, it’s more powerful than you think.