Is it Time to Make a Change?


Ok, first, I have had SERIOUS writer’s block! Which, in a sense, is probably not a bad thing for someone who writes a blog about learning to live and laugh as an amputee. It means that life has been uneventful (at least as far as the amputation goes). However, it is not fair to my readers, especially those of you who have been with me since the beginning. I have tossed around ideas, but nothing really stuck out and I kept slacking….until Tuesday. I went into the Prosthetist and met a woman in the parking lot. She and I have met via email, but never in person. I was THRILLED to bump into her! I wrote about her on May 5, 2012 in “Introducing Cupcake”. Scooter is a 70+, spry and hysterical woman, who also happens to have a residual limb named “Cupcake”! She told me she noticed it had been a long time since I had written. She told me she kept checking but there was nothing new. She also called me out on my last blog being a re-run of a past blog. I decided I better get my butt in gear and WRITE. I did not want to upset Scooter or Cupcake! So here it is!

I have noticed on a lot of interactive amputee support websites, the words, “look for a new Prosthetist” are thrown around a lot. Of course, there are times when a new Prosthetist is your best….or only choice, but I think too often, we jump the gun. Our care is not something the Prosthetist should bear alone. He/She needs our participation in order to properly do his/her job.

I have heard people say, “my Prosthetist didn’t give me any options” or “my Prosthetist didn’t tell me that” or “my socket doesn’t fit right” and the list goes on. My question is, how involved did YOU get? Did you ask what your options were? Did you ask questions? Did you give the Prosthetist a list of what you wanted and didn’t want? Did you take your time with the test socket and insist on changes? Or did you just sit back, complacent, and expect your Prosthetist to read your mind?

Don’t get me wrong. If your Prosthetist tells you that you “have to” get a certain product and doesn’t give you any other options or does not listen to you, then yes, you may want to find someone else. If you tell your Prosthetist that you are in pain or having issues with your prosthesis and they tell you “that is just how it is”, then yes, find someone else. But if you are not interacting and participating with him/her or being a little demanding, your issues are just as much your fault.

Here is an example. I got a new socket a while back. It just never seemed right. I had multiple issues including the fit, pain and the prosthesis making odd noises. My Prosthetist, Rich, tried multiple techniques to fix it and finally, in December, instead of settling or giving up, we decided to just start over with a new one. I have been wearing a test socket since January. Everytime I would say, “we still haven’t gotten it right”, I would hear from friends and other amputees, “maybe it is time to find a new Prosthetist”. My response, “NO WAY!” Rich LISTENS to me. He is willing to keep trying until I am 110% happy. That is NOT a Prosthetist you toss away. If your Prosthetist decides to give up and says, “there is nothing more we can do”….that one needs to be traded.

Part of my pain issue is due to a neuroma, which has nothing to do with Rich or my prosthetic. Instead of telling me it was not something he could help me with and I should see a surgeon, Rich made it his mission to design a socket that did not press on the neuroma and was more comfortable for me, so I could avoid surgery. Guess what? He did it. But I had to help. I had to be insistent. I had to put my fears, feelings and frustrations into words. I had to believe that “good enough” was NOT good enough for me. I had to be aware of my body, where the pain was and what it felt like. I had to put all of these into words to explain to Rich what I was dealing with, so he could help me.

Friends, this goes for any medical provider. They do not know how you feel unless you tell them. Most professionals are in the medical field because they want to help people. However, in order for them to help you, you must help yourself first. No one will ever be a better advocate for you than YOU. Just because something hasn’t been done, does not necessarily mean it CAN’T be done.

As I shared in “The First Four Months”, I wanted a great ankle, that moved like a regular foot, making walking look more natural. I decided on the MotionFoot. There was only one issue. I was insistent on a split toe so I could wear flip-flops. It was not something I was willing to give up. This ankle was not designed with a split toe and I was told I would have to choose between split toe OR the MotionFoot. I said that was not acceptable. Rich, being a great Prosthetist, agreed and contacted the company. He said, “what will it hurt?” Imagine our surprise when they said they had tossed around the idea of designing one with a split toe. They said if we provided them with a foot shell I liked, they would make a foot for it. So here I am, with EXACTLY what I wanted, because I asked and I have a Prosthetist that listened.

So is it time to make a change with your Prosthetist? That is entirely up to you. But before you make the decision, ask yourself, “Am I being as involved as I should be?” The answer may surprise you.

Thank you for your patience with my writer’s block. I am always open to suggestions! Send me your ideas!

And as always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Memorial Day Revisited


because of the feedback I received, I have decided to re-run the blog that appeared last Memorial Day. Enjoy!

Today’s blog is a combination of rant and education. If you do not want to hear a rant, learn anything or hear the word God, I suggest you stop reading now, otherwise, here I go.

For days, I have been watching postings on Facebook (these are real) that say things like, “YES! A three-day weekend!”…..”Woo hoo one more day to party”…..”Thank God, an extra day to relax”……”Can’t wait to go camping and hang with my friends all weekend”…and the list goes on. What I haven’t seen are many comments on what today is REALLY about. Today is MEMORIAL DAY. It is a day to remember and honor the heroes who have fought and given their lives so the rest of us can enjoy the partying and barbeques and camping and extra day off of work or school. I am not without fault. For years,I too have looked at today as a “day off”. I am not quite sure what has changed. It may be the beautiful woman I have recently become friends with. Ashley raises her four kids primarily by herself as her husband while her husband, who is a submariner in the US Navy, is gone 3-6 months at a time, never quite sure where he is, what he is doing or when he will be back home. It may be my brother who was a United States Marine and shared stories with me of a young man seeing and doing things no one should face. It may be communicating with many servicemen and women who have become single, bilateral, trilateral and even quadruple amputees as they serve and protect. It may be my son, who was going to join the Military after high school. We met with the recruiter and I was terrified. He has decided to wait until he graduates college to join, which gives me four years to read stories and let the stress and worry build. It may be a combination of things, but whatever it is, this year, I woke up and prayed. This year, I decided to dedicate my blog to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I found a website (http://usmemorialday.org/intro.html) that said the following: “This site was created to help promote the return of the original intent and meaning back to Memorial Day, to be a central point for finding information on the day, and to provide an online community for people to share their feelings, pride, respect and honor for those that gave their all…..Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance, a day where we in America go to cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It is a day where we remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice. But now, too many people “celebrate” the day without more than a casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their life for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice? We have 364 other days to celebrate and enjoy the freedom and life that we have because of their sacrifice…..it’s only by actions that we can repay those who have come before us. Let us take just one day to remember.” As I read these words, I felt somber, as the meaning of this day began to truly sink in. I also felt guilty about all the years I never even acknowledged what Memorial Day was about.

The number of fallen soldiers given above stunned me. 1.8 million people dying so we can truly live? Granted, that has been since 1775 when medical care was poor and battles were more primitive. The numbers of fallen soldiers had to decrease over time….right? The only way to find out was to research it. Part of me wishes I never had looked for the information. What I found made my stomach turn. I typed “how many us soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq?” The number of links that appeared was unbelievable. I didn’t even know where to begin. As I looked at different sites, I was absolutely stunned and then I came upon the Washington Post (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/national/fallen/?page=1) and the tears began to well up in my eyes. According to this site, “6,648 U.S. service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom”. While seeing that number is shocking, seeing it broken down the way this article does it makes the reality really set in. There are break downs by state, year, age of the servicemen and women, service branch, cause of death and location of the death. If that is not enough, not only does the site give a picture of each solider, but clicking on the picture gives you the specifics on each of them. It is absolutely surreal. I spent an hour clicking on pictures and barely put a dent in it.

I am not saying that today should be a day filled of being somber and depressed. I do not believe that is what these soldiers would want. They fight for freedom and we SHOULD celebrate that today. We should enjoy our lives, our family and our friends. However, we should also remember why we are able to do that. Take the time today to explain to your children the true meaning of today. Call a Vet and thank them for their service and protection. Take a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen and to pray for those who still fight. Think about the words of Lee Greenwood (in the song God Bless the U.S.A)

I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t
forget the men who died who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this
land, God Bless the USA.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Please be safe and enjoy your freedom today. And as you think about the true meaning behind today, be proud of the men and women who have fought for your country, whether it be the United States or outside the United States.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Lindsey’s Story


This woman is amazing! She is smart, beautiful and has a sense of humor that may be more warped and twisted than mine! We met on Pinterest of all places and became fast friends on Facebook. I feel blessed to know her. Lindsey, from the United Kingdom, is a make-up, airbrush and nail artist who also happens to be a bilateral below the knee amputee.

lindsey sitting

Lindsey was on IV antibiotics for 4 years as she battled a bone infection in both of her feet. After discovering that the infection was not getting any better, she chose to amputate her right leg in April of 2012 and her left leg followed in August of 2012. After the amputations, Lindsey wore cosmeses (“flesh” covering) on her legs. Just before Show Your Mettle Day last year, she told me that she had been thinking a lot about WHY she was covering her metal and decided to have the cosmeses removed.

This was one of Lindsey's cosmesis covered prosthetic legs.

This was one of Lindsey’s cosmesis covered prosthetic legs.

Lindsey recently told me, “I’ve been showing my metal since May 2013 and it feels great! Since stripping the cosmeses off I have been like a new woman! More confident and kick ass than before!

lindsey chair

lindsey Family

I LOVE this picture of Lindsey in her custom-made "stump warmers"

I LOVE this picture of Lindsey in her custom made “stump warmers”

My first Grandson, Oscar was born shortly after my first amputation and I look after him whilst my daughter and son-in-law are at work. He keeps me on my toes! I am a peer mentor at my local hospital and love meeting with amputees new and old, sharing stories, alleviating fears and smoothing the way. I’m so very fortunate that I met you Lisa, you have helped me through so much of my journey and are a constant inspirational to me and so many others”.

lindsey boardwalk

And I am honored to have people like Lindsey, who help make my journey easier as well.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Dawn’s Story


As you have seen this month, I have become very good friends with many amputees whom I have yet to meet. This next person is an exception. Not only have we met, but I consider her one of my dearest friends. We met through our mutual Prosthetist, Rich Wall. Dawn and I were introduced in the waiting room of the office and immediately became close friends. We text almost daily and get together for lunch at least once a month. We even went shoe shopping last week. Our friendship developed quickly. Yes, it began over the fact that we are both amputees, who adore our Prosthetist, but it turns out we have so much more in common, including our love for Vampire TV shows and our VERY twisted sense of humor. I absolutely adore her and I know you will too! This is Dawn’s Story in her own words.

Dawn and I with our Prosthetist Rich.  He was speaking at a Career Day and we got to be his "show and Tell"

Dawn and I with our Prosthetist Rich. He was speaking at a Career Day and we got to be his “show and Tell”

I was born missing both tibias and had my amputations at just over a year old. This has been all I’ve known, since I learned to walk in my first pair of prosthetics. As you can see in the photo, they’ve come a long way. My first pair didn’t even have a bendable knee. The photo of me wearing my second pair of legs, you can see had a knee, which was really just a hinge. There were metal bars attached to a belt around my waist to keep them on and I wore stump socks between my legs and the sockets. There were bulky, fell down a lot and I was constantly hiking them up. It’s difficult to be inconspicuous when your hand is down your pants and you’re trying to fish a stump sock up. That was pretty much how all of my legs were until I got my first pin suspension sockets in 2002.
dawn legsdawn little girl

I didn’t have the support that is available today or any peers to talk to about being an amputee. I just figured it out as I went. I’m usually very positive but I’ve had plenty of melt downs and still do at times. It’s so nice to have some friends out there now to talk to (especially you Lisa, my life has been enriched knowing you), laugh about the absurdities and know that they really understand.

I wear my stubbies when I’m at home and also out in the woods walking my dog. Yes, people are usually shocked when they’re out for a hike and come across this short person who looks like she’s walking on her knees. I also wear them out kayaking, one of my favorite hobbies (the photo below is during a day kayaking, stopped on a little island for lunch).

At the beach in her stubbies

At the beach in her stubbies

Dawn in her stubbies at home.  She describes it as "being in slippers"

Dawn in her stubbies at home. She describes it as “being in slippers”

I do face other struggles as a result of my amputations. Long story short, I had a bad fall landing all my weight on the end of my stump and ended up in a wheelchair for several years. Being inactive for so long, gained weight. I wanted to lose the extra weight before having new legs made. A year and a bit and 65 pounds lighter and I got the legs I wear today. They are the most comfortable and sexy legs I’ve ever had.

Dawn in her newest legs (and you can see by her shirt, she has an awesome sense of humor!)

Dawn in her newest legs (and you can see by her shirt, she has an awesome sense of humor!)

I’m proud to show my metal and my mettle. I rarely have a day out without being approached with questions, comments or just a thumbs up. I also love being a peer visitor and helping when I can. Not having had that myself I know just how important it is. Things happen and instead of taking them too seriously, I usually see the humor in it. How can you not laugh about breaking down in the middle of an intersection wearing stubbies and my husband’s underwear. I can pretty much guarantee that tow truck driver will never have another story quite like it.

I do also struggle with other medical issues as most of us do but I still wouldn’t change any of it. I’m not one to dwell on ‘why me?’… Why not me? Am I helping anyone just by being me? I don’t know but I hope so. :-)

Bill’s Story


The stories I have posted so far, are all people who have started off as readers and have become friends. These people and their stories remind me that I am not alone and I am not the only one who has had to face pain, suffering, trauma and self-doubt. Bill is another person who started as a reader way back at the start of my blog. He is another shining example of strength and perseverance. Below, Bill shares his story.

bill3

I am from the eastern shore of Maryland, a little town called Denton. I had a total of three knee replacements. After the first one, my bone started to deteriorate so the doctors had to do a second knee replacement. That lasted about two (2) years and then the components came loose, so they did a third one. Ok, so then the third knee replacement got infected! At that point, the doctors said I had three (3) options.

The first option was, I could simply live with the infection. Haha! Like that was a real option, aye? The second option was, I could have a rod put in my knee and I would be stiff-legged, which meant I would not be able to ride my scooters. Plus, there was no guarantee that the infection would not come back. So, that was not really much of an option either. Then they said that the last option would be to amputate. I had already pretty much decided to tell them to take my leg because I was sick of all the operations and pain I had been through, so that option seemed like the only one. On October 13, 2010, away it went and I became an above the knee amputee.

bill2

I started riding my scooter about 4 short months after they took my leg. I have been very lucky I have only had one small bout with depression and that was just a little bit….about 30 minutes…and I was done with that. I have struggled with trying to get a leg to fit right and feel right but so far that has not happened, so I still use crutches to walk. Other then that I am doing well. I am happy that I get up every day.

bill

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Trevor’s Story


April is Limb Loss Awareness month.  Over the past two years, I have met some amazing people who started out as readers, shared their stories with me and eventually, became dear friends.  Trevor Montgomery has not only become my friend, but my hero and inspiration as well.  This is Trevor’s story in his own, unedited words, written April 14th of this year.

 

t1

Today is a very difficult, bittersweet day for me and my family. Today is the day my life changed so drastically eight years ago and my life has truly never been the same since.

On this exact day, at this exact hour, April 14th 2006, I was with my family and several other families on a week long camping/riding trip at the Calico Ghost Town off the 15 freeway near Barstow. During the first hour of the first day we arrived my life and my body were shattered in a way I have still yet to fully recover from.

While taking a break from riding OHV’s with my children, I inadvertently stepped into an abandoned, unmarked 4′ x 5′ mine ventilation shaft in the ground that dropped over 90 feet to a ledge, where my broken and battered body landed and came to rest.

Over the next 10 1/2 hours I layed at the bottom of that mine shaft, assessing my injuries, wondering if I would ever be rescued, thinking about what kind of future might lay ahead of me. From my decade working as an orthopedic specialist in the Army, I knew I had broken my back. My left foot was nearly completely severed and I knew I was paralyzed. I had also broken dozens of bones in my feet, ankles, legs, ribs shoulders and much more. As I lay there, broken, battered and clinging to life in the pitch black of that hole, I wondered if I would ever see my wife Robin or my children again, who even back then numbered nine at the time.

Thankfully I was successfully rescued after three different mine rescue teams were flown in from around the state. the rescue alone took nearly two hours. Once rescued I was taken to Loma Linda Hospital, where I lived for four months while recovering from my grievous injuries. After more surgeries than I care to recall, countless doctors and surgeons began the process of trying to explain to me that between the fact that I had broken my back in four places and suffered severe spinal cord injuries as well as the fact I had sustained a traumatic brain injury, their prognosis was that I would never walk again, nor lead any semblance of a normal life. Every time a doctor would say this my wife would angrily and quite physically throw each and every one out of my room and ban them from ever returning. Let me tell you, we went through a whole lot of doctors that first year.

Four months later, I came home as a paraplegic, pushed into my newly transformed “handicapable” home in my wheelchair by family and friends and I assumed that was to be the new life God had given me. I accepted my fate the best I could, but depression, frustration, furious anger, drug-induced confusion, long days and even longer nights were what lay ahead of me those first ten months. The pain was unbelievable and my poor broken body caused me more pain, grief and suffering than I had ever thought possible. Learning to re-live life as a paraplegic, my body seemed to be working against me at every possibility. I was on nearly 30 different oral medications as well as multiple I.V. antibiotics and medications. Robin became my full time nurse, caretaker and provider and life as we knew it seemed like a long lost distant memory. Thankfully, it turned out it wasn’t.

Just ten months after my accident, I realized I was starting to sense movement in one of my toes. My new goal in life was set and I was like a man possessed. I was GOING to walk again. I spent every moment of every day doing every amount of in-home physical therapy I could muster the strength to do. I would lay awake at night working around the clock at forcing my brain to make the reconnections necessary in my damaged nerves and spinal cord to be able to someday rejoin the “real” world and the actual living.

In July 2007, just 15 months after my terrible accident, I returned back to work full time as a sheriff investigator. I had impossibly beaten the odds and proven to every doctor that miracles could and do happen. I was on cloud 9 and nothing in the world could have brought me down or slowed my progress. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, just nine months after returning back to work, repeated bouts with MRSA and bone infections caused my left foot and ankle to completely collapse and I ended up having the first of what would be two separate amputations of my left leg. First at the below knee level in 2008 and then again later in 2013 at the above knee level. Additionally, in 2011 my spinal fusion, which doctors had used to repair my destroyed back completely failed, causing me an additional 15 months down in bed, first waiting for and then recovering from yet another, much larger and stronger spinal fusion. From September 2011 through December of 2012, it would be 15 full months before I would have the opportunity to be up and out of bed again.

Nowadays, I still deal with severe back pain and gastrointestinal/bowel issues related to the injuries and problems from my original spinal cord injury. Some days I feel it is all I can do to hold on for the better days that I can barely keep faith might someday show themselves again.

However now, eight long years later, I can honestly say despite all I have gone through I am the happiest I have been in nearly a decade. In spite of everything, I am actually healthier (most days) than I ever was before and I finally feel like my life is slowly inching closer back to the normalcy I so desire and miss.

In spite of it all, I have learned to accept myself and I actually love who I have become since my accident. I feel I have truly learned to love both myself as well as my life and my family. I am far more optimistic nowadays and I find much more true joy in the small blessings in life. In spite of all the bad things that have happened over the last decade, I feel as if I have grown leaps and bounds as a person, a husband, a father and a friend. I truly hope and pray I have gotten through the absolute worst parts of my lengthy recovery, however regardless what God allows me to endure I now know I can overcome any obstacle.

I now have 13 children who call me dad, each of whom I love dearly and I have three grand babies I absolutely adore and never otherwise would have gotten to meet. If things go well and if I get my way, I might even soon be re-joining the ranks of my fellow law enforcement officers, although never again in the full capacity I used to provide, and that is OK…..life is all a process of constant change and hopefully positive growth. I have learned to embrace my injuries and limitations and more importantly, I have found a new way to love my life and all those in it again. I ALMOST feel like I am actually living again. I am close and getting ever closer.

For those of you who live with my mood swings and medical issues yet still love me, you are saints. Each and every one of you. For those of you who follow my daily dramas and rants, comment or laugh with me at my posts and listen to my (hopefully only occasional) bitching, I love and appreciate each and every one of you. For those who argue with all my posts and offer a diametrically opposing point of view from my own, I thank you for helping to re-sharpen my mind and thought processes after years of letting my brain turn to mush from taking the worst, most hardcore and toxic meds you would never want to have to absorb into your system.

It has truly been a very long eight years. But thankfully I feel have come a long way even though I still have a long way to go.

Having a strong support system is as important as having a great prosthetist or surgeon - Trevor definitely has one

Having a strong support system is as important as having a great prosthetist or surgeon – Trevor definitely has one

 

Thank you Trevor for sharing your story.  I will be posting more inspirational amputees’ stories this month, along with some other information to help educate people abut limb loss.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Life is Like Vegas


I had every intention of writing this a few weeks ago, but I ended up really sick and in bed for 15 days!  My goodness, it seems to be a rough year for all the amputees I know!  I am interested to hear if it has been for you as well.

On March 19th, Michael and I caught a red-eye to Las Vegas for an extended weekend getaway.  This was a huge trip for me and I was so excited to come home and share it with you! You see, the last time we were in Vegas was three years before (February of 2011) and the difference between the two trips was night and day!

In December of 2010, I had what would be my 19th and final surgery to attempt to fix my ankle.  I had my artificial ankle (the second one) removed and my ankle fused.  I was still in a cast up to my knee and spent the majority of the trip in a wheelchair.  The trip started of on a bad note before we even left Seattle.  I was wheeled through security and they did the standard test of my chair and cast for explosive residue.  Michael was already through security waiting for me.  Imagine my surprise when out of nowhere, I had a half-dozen security people surrounding me!  It turns out my cast tested positive for the explosive residue.  Obviously, as they started questioning me and talking about removing my cast, I was in a bit of a panic and searching for Michael, whom they refused to let back to me.  Finally, a man who I assumed was the supervisor came over.  He looked at me in the chair, tears rolling down my face and insisted they bring Michael to me immediately.  He bent down to my level (everyone else stood, looking down at me) and very quietly asked, “Does your foot get really dry from your cast?”  I was a little confused, but nodded yes.  Then he asked, “Do you put lotion on it?”  Again, I shook my head yes, still having no idea where he was going.  Finally he asked, “Is your lotion from Bath and Body Works?”  Michael and I looked at each other, totally confused, but I answered, “Um, yes it is”.  The man then said, “Let this poor woman go!”  He explained to me that Bath and Body Works lotion gave a false positive reading quite often and he was unsure why.  He had someone rush us to our flight and I have NEVER worn lotion when I travelled since!

Once we got to Vegas, we realized it may have been a mistake for a vacation.  Poor Michael had to push my chair up and down the strip.  We tried to see shows, but it was difficult to get seating for the chair and crutches were too much trouble to bring along.  I couldn’t even gamble, because the tables were too high and there was no place to put the chair.  I spent all my time in the casino at the slots, which I don’t really like, wishing I could play Blackjack. We couldn’t go to the pool because my cast was so hot and couldn’t get wet. Even going to exhibits and the wax museum were a bit of a bust because everything is at standing eye level, not sitting eye level! Michael ended up needing naps everyday because he was so exhausted from pushing me everywhere. I was miserable.  He was miserable.  Yes, there was some fun, but for the most part it was just more trouble than it was worth!

Fast forward three years and the trip was completely different from the last one!  Michael had to actually convince me to take a cab a few times!  I was walking everywhere!  We didn’t have to look for elevators and could go anywhere we wanted.  We had amazing 5th row, center seats for The Blueman Group.  We went to the Bodies Exhibit and I actually got to see everything at eye level!  I played Blackjack with the best of them (and yes, I left Vegas ahead).  I felt a new sense of freedom while we were there.  I was no longer limited.  I also got to do something I was unable to do the last time.  We stayed at Paris and I was able to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  Last time, I couldn’t go because it was too difficult to navigate the wheelchair in the tight spot at the top! I even got to spend the day at the pool AND go in the water.  It was the same Las Vegas, but in a totally different light.  I saw it at eye-level or looking down, not looking UP at everything and everyone and we had so much fun!

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Do not get me wrong, Vacations can still be difficult and I still get frustrated with my leg sometimes….I even have meltdowns.  As a matter-of-fact, I had one Sunday.  I couldn’t get my leg to lock into place and kept stomping it like a kid having a tantrum.  Michael looked at me and said, “are you ok honey?”  My response was something along the lines of (and imagine this said as one very fast, long, loud word) , “no this stupid leg won’t go on I am going to fall on my face I hate it and I don’t want to spend the rest of my freaking life living like this don’t smirk at me you don’t know what this is like it sucks it sucks so much and I hate it and it’s not fair and I just want my leg back”!!!!!!  Michael (very wisely) said nothing.  Ten minutes later I apologized and said, “I’m better now” and went about my day.

I recently have heard about experiences many of you are going through, that four-limbers cannot even fathom!  These trials we go through as amputees may not always seem fair and they try on our patience and our strength, but we are warriors.  We have been through worse and made our way through.  Stay strong my friends and know you are not alone.  There is a community of us behind you.  The frustration will never fully go away.  We will all continue to have our melt-down moments, but if you are a new amputee, I can guarantee, those moments will get fewer and shorter.  You too, will be given back a life filled with adventure.  Life is like Vegas; you need to gamble and even lose once or twice, in order to walk away with more than you started with.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day!

****By the way April is Limb Loss Awareness month – HUG your favorite amputee!  Also, if you are an amputee, please email your story and some pictures to me if you would like to be included in my blog this year about other amputees! LisaOnALimb@Hotmail.com