The actress is already planning her next trek and pushing through her rehabilitation so that she can follow through with it.
In February 2021, actress Ashley Judd faced one of her most painful experiences when she endured an accident that "shattered" her leg.
The 53-year-old actress was hiking in a jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to research the endangered bonobo apes when she tripped over a fallen tree. At the time, she stated that her headlamp "wasn't working properly," according to Insider. The fall broke her leg in four places and she suffered severe nerve damage. "As I was breaking my leg, I knew it was being broken," she said, as per the outlet. She stated that she was prone on the rainforest floor with a "badly misshapen leg" for five hours "biting my stick," "howling like a wild animal," and "going into shock" from the intense pain.
Finally, her "Congolese brothers" carried her in a hammock to get her out of the rainforest. During a six-hour motorbike ride, she had to "physically hold the top part of my shattered tibia together." Eventually, the Double Jeopardy star was taken to South Africa for treatment before being brought back home where she was placed in rehabilitation. She shared her journey through Instagram, thanking everyone who was involved in helping her out.
In her recent post, she revealed how far she's come in her recovery. Taking to Instagram, the High Crimes actress shared photos and a video of her scarred leg, a result of multiple surgeries. She explained how she was focusing on manipulating her damaged leg in various directions to help rebuild her strength and mobility. "With the kind of injury I (and many others) have, we speak of degrees," she wrote. "In the video, 109 degrees was an outrageous dream, and trying to reach it was agony. I did 60 of those heel slides a day. I sobbed through them. I made it because of the loving exhortation and validation of my many friends."
And it seems she's made good progress. "Yesterday, I effortlessly reached the benchmark of 130 degrees. I can nearly reach my knee as you see in one picture. My feet can rest almost parallel." The UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador also shared that while the four fractures in her leg are "healing" and her knee is "coming along," it's the nerve damage that will take the longest to fix. And it's what's keeping her from walking. "The peroneal nerve injury will take at least a year," she said. "I concentrate hard at moving my very still foot (and appreciate my sister's medical-grade massages which remind my brain that I do have a right foot). Come June, I will walk with a brace and a cane."
But while the actress is still recovering, she already has plans for her next trekking adventure. "Look out, Patagonia, because when that nerve heals, you’ll be seeing me. My Partner gave me that book for my recent birthday. I believe. Just as that little endangered bonobo knows that she’ll be seeing me back in the Congolese rain forest soon. 'Blessed are those whose strength is in you. Who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage,'" she wrote.
Even through her struggles, the one thing she recognizes is that her ability to heal is because of her privilege and access to health care. "Let us always remember those without insurance," she said, as quoted by People. "Let us remember those who do not have choices. Let us remember those who are lonely and afraid."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Mark Mainz