by April Archer
April is the CEO and one of the Founders of SaraBella Fishing. She enjoys adventures with her husband (JT) and their 3 daughters. April serves on 2 boards of directors, she is a Colorado native, and she lives in the town of Erie, Colorado.
Surrounding myself with bad-ass Veterans and Survivors keeps me inspired about the REALLY hard stuff in life…challenges MUCH harder than ankle surgery. It’s about perspective and just getting through stuff.
So, I’m having ankle/foot surgery on Friday. After a new bone chip, a lesion in my talus, some crap floating around (doctor’s words), bunged up cartilage (my words), a couple torn ligaments, it’s time to get it tidied up.
One day prior to the fracture, I had a conversation with a parent on my daughters’ youth soccer team. We talked about athlete health, balance, and raising well-rounded kids who love the game. I spoke of my current goal to be “moderately healthy” — to be able to run and play with my kids, do a solid hike, and fish all day long. I told this parent that I’ve already attained my goals as a competitive soccer player, triathlete, and cyclist. Now, I don’t want to run marathons or set individual records….I just want to live a moderately healthy life, make “smart beautiful fly rods” and do as much good as I can for others.
Ironically or coincidentally or accidentally, the next day, I stood up from working at my kitchen table and felt sharp pain in my right foot. Let me repeat…I stood up. Sure enough, it was a bone chip that resulted from my ligaments not being able to support it. Lame! After weeks of RICE (rest, ice, compression + elevation) no progress. Then I did an MRI to assess the damage, then doctors, then pondering/questioning, now surgery.
I’ll be non-weight-bearing for ~6 weeks, followed by several months of rehabilitation. I hope to dance with my husband and chase our kids in 4-6 months. My immediate and extended family will step up to help with the daily duties, my SaraBella team will rise up to keep orders on-time and good stuff happening, my new Erie community will support us with carpools and day-to-day hugs, my life-long friends will send prayers, good vibes, and well-wishes. My fly fishing community will help me seek water and beauty in the world, no matter what.
In my youth, I played soccer for a coach whose name is in the Colorado Soccer Association Hall of Fame. He forever inspired me to live a life of integrity and perseverance, even when things are hard. Our team earned 4 state cup championships (possibly a state record??), and I played in the western regional Olympic Development Program. I played 2 summers in Europe, with a Dana Cup victory and matches from France to Russia along the way. I was recognized as the “most valuable player” on my high school varsity team, which won the 5A state championship, and I didn’t play a single game that season due to ACL surgery. My the time I graduation high school, I had 5 knee/ankle surgeries and 2 fractures. These experiences taught me about leadership, character, adversity, and making an impact with more than my physical body. Through injury in sport, I learned to listen, observe, make friends, and appreciate the value of my experience — as a captain and as a leader.
When asked if, knowing what I know now about sports/recovery, I would have done things differently when I was kid, I say, “nope”. I would not be where I am today, with my beautiful family, connecting with you, doing what I love, if I didn’t have those experiences! Regret brings misery, and I don’t want that. Also, thanks to the earth’s gravitational pull, the rivers must flow forward, never backward. That said, I am trying to learn from my experiences so that I can help my kids (and other people) with recovery, healing, and pain.
I know I’ll get through this surgery and the journey ahead. I also know that we’ll keep building fly rods and going to soccer games. It will just require a little more creativity and teamwork in the process.
I also profess that all dirt roads lead to good things….may this next dirt road teach me about patience, the value of preventive maintenance, preparedness, and positivity.
Please keep my right foot and my family in your thoughts and prayers. Together, let’s continue to find strength and grace to keep moving forward in our lives….one step at a time.
with love + gratitude,