I Will Dance Again!

It was not what I had planned…(sigh)…to say the least. But, on the third day in Rwanda, surrounded by kids on the playground, I took a quick, fast step on some pretty significant, uneven ground chasing after a ball…BANG!…I fell to the dirt.

My only thought, as I sat there gripping my leg was “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Wow, I have never, ever, EVER been kicked that hard!”  The activity continued around me when I heard “Kate? Are you okay?” I replied with “I don’t know.” And I really didn’t.

My husband, Bill, came over and helped me to my feet… well, foot. Unfortunately, I knew instantly that I could not walk.

I hopped, with Bill’s help, to the sidelines where I sat staring at the ground in disbelief… and I started noticing countless, little, dusty feet surrounding me.  I glanced up to their worried, sweet faces – everyone completely silent.  I smiled and told them I was going to be ok. They nodded, but I wonder what they thought. Even being distracted by the ache and the wonder of what happened… this moment of feeling so cared for by these children did not go unnoticed.  Feeling loved, feels good.

Thankfully my husband is a family practice doctor and he was able to take a good look at my leg… but quickly realized that I wasn’t kicked. “WHAT? No! I was kicked! I SWEAR I was kicked!”  I think this reaction was a mixture of really being 100% convinced that I was accidentally kicked and, with all my heart, not wanting it to be anything more serious. But I could see it in Bill’s eyes – this was more serious.

I had completely torn my Achilles tendon. “WHAT?!??! “Noooo! Nooo! Nooo! Why? Why? Why?”

Bill wrapped my leg in a splint from our team first aid kit and explained to me that he was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to walk on it until we got home. I cried. An instant pity party and Bill was gracious enough to join me in it. It wasn’t because I was a million miles from home, in rural Rwanda or that I worried about having to get additional medical attention and leave early. It was that I was in Rwanda!…and I didn’t want ANYTHING to take away from this experience…and he knew this.

That evening our team prayed over my leg and tears started to fall again… not from the pain, but just because I was truly sad…sad and I couldn’t believe this had happened.

What now? I had 8 more days in Rwanda…how was I going to spend them? An 8-day pity party was not an option.

Insert > genuine attitude adjustment and one set of custom built crutches.

Yes, the next day I met with a local carpenter and he measured me for my very own crutches. I will be forever grateful to him. The crutches he built allowed me to fully experience Rwanda and I barely missed a beat.  I was able to do nearly everything we had planned, even continuing to take photos. I think it was a combination of adrenaline, excitement and down-right, good ‘ole Borgelt stubbornness…that drove me through each day and made it easier than I could have predicted.

I returned on our scheduled flight home and found myself in surgery to repair my Achilles soon after we got back to Denver. I still smile when Bill tells me the story that the surgeon and anesthesiologist came out to tell him that there were no complications and added “I don’t exactly know what you guys did there, but Kate loves RWANDA! I mean – LOVES Rwanda!” I truly feel that I have no regrets, but knowing I had lots (and lots – smile!) of great things to say about Rwanda while under moderate anesthetic (“truth serum” as I have heard it called) – for some reason validates this for me.

It has been two months since my surgery and I would be lying if I said it has been easy. After I returned from Rwanda, the adrenaline wore off and the reality of this injury hit me like a ton of bricks. Surgery and 6-months recovery. I found myself crying in the middle of the night  (re-insert pity parties!) and wondering how Bill, Mica and me were going to get through this season.  I was canceling everything, feeling sad and working to just focus on this recovery. I watched my husband transform from Superman to SUPER DUPER SUPERman – taking care of everything… and my family and friends supporting us in so many wonderful ways. Surrounded by lots of love – I know we will be ok, but I just wonder – somedays – what it looks like to get there.

As you may have guessed, I have had to put my photography on hold and my heart hurt coming to this reality.  Balancing the risk of re-injury and the quality of work I think I can provide on one good leg, made my decision to put “Kate Borgelt Photography” on hiatus a no brainer, but still so hard because, well, I absolutely love photography and capturing moments. I had to cancel and reschedule many photo sessions planned for late summer/fall. Thankfully, my clients have been endlessly understanding and I have promised them… and I will promise you now… “I will dance again!” (smile!)

Like I said, it was not what I had planned, but within these two months I have had some time to search for the silver lining. It is funny how it was just sitting there, patiently waiting for me to find it…a series of gentle reminders of what makes life great.

I will be re-opening “Kate Borgelt Photography” January, 2011… and cannot wait to see what it has in store!

I think I see some killer dance moves, that is for sure!



Susie GradeOctober 1, 2010 - 11:55 pm

you inspire me, seriously.

diane thurmesSeptember 29, 2010 - 5:10 pm

not every day I get to tear up….tears of joy though for you and how you and your family and friends, old and new are walking and soon to be dancing on this amazing life changing experience!!

BeccaSeptember 27, 2010 - 8:50 pm

Kate…You’re always inspiring and are able to find the silver lining in every situation (no matter how hidden it may be). Thanks for sharing this story. XO

EricSeptember 26, 2010 - 11:46 am

I swore I was kicked too when I ripped my gastroc. However I was in Fargo and you were in Rwanda. Easier for me…

Without doubt you will be dancing to Kenny songs in no time!

Cindy LeeSeptember 25, 2010 - 1:25 pm

Thanks again Kate for sharing your incredible story. Your writing is amazing and entertaining…and so you!

Carol MauldingSeptember 25, 2010 - 12:01 pm

Kate, Wonderful story and pictures. You are a great writter and your stories have been told with such enthusiasm. Looking forward to hear about your first dance. Keep up the good work and hi to the family for me. Carol

JodiSeptember 24, 2010 - 9:34 pm

Great post, Kate. We’re all cheering for you. You great perspective, and you really will dance again…I’ve seen a couple of these injuries first hand and it’s a long road, but there is a healthy destination awaiting you! Keep your chin up and say hi to your awesome family from Team Courts! Oh, and fantastic photos!

Katie ThurmesSeptember 24, 2010 - 9:34 pm

I see equal parts bluegrass hootenanny o’ stompin’ and a beautiful waltz in your near future. you continue to inspire Kate!!!

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