Usually it is a good idea to listen to your doctor.
I have advocated this and been critical of those who refused to see a doctor and instead self-diagnosed or ignored the medical advice given. I never thought that I would one day find myself in this situation: to either listen or to go against the doctor’s medical advice.
There were two issues that could have prevented me from embarking on my Camino to Santiago de Compostela. One was my feet and the other a hernia.
Since I was young, I have had problems with my feet and finally, less than a year ago, I discovered that I have a condition called, “Plantar fasciitis.”
Getting customized orthotics fitted was an effective measure that got rid of the pain I had experienced for quite some time. However, a new problem arose, the orthotics altered the way that I walk, thus re-aligning my posture. My posture has changed and my walking techniques have changed. What this meant for me was I had to learn to walk all over again.
Initially, walking caused me discomfort and pain – certain muscles I had not been using before were causing me aches and pain, the kind of muscle aches and pain you get after working out for the first time. But instead of being discouraged I decided not to let the discomfort and pain deter me from achieving my goal of walking El Camino. After 3 months of training, I developed muscle and the pain slowly eased and eventually disappeared.
As for the hernia, I was told that walking this distance, especially with a heavy backpack would be too much for me and therefore, my family doctor advised I not come to El Camino and have the surgery done instead. But being the stubborn person that I am, especially once I set certain goal, I do not tend to give up easily, I decided to do the Camino and postpone the surgery for a later time.
Even before beginning my journey I had been provided with reasons not to come, but I figured that a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.
When St. Peter wanted to walk towards Jesus and he asked Him, “Lord, command me to walk on water,” Peter first had to get out of the comfort of his boat and onto the turbulent sea. As frightening as it may be, one has to get out of the boat.
When we are faced with challenges in life, we can either let those challenges dictate, or even form our lives, which would be equivalent to being confined to the boat because of fear, or we can use those challenges to take us in the direction we want to go, which would be equivalent to a turbulent sea fine-tuning our skills to forge us into skilled sailors. I have decided to not let fear conquer me, but that I would conquer my fears, and that has made all the difference!