About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active eight year old (Robby) and an infant (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jellystone

Greetings from Jellystone Campground!

My sister's kids have wanted to visit Jellystone for years. I toyed with the notion of taking them for a night, but when I found a Groupon I knew I had stumbled upon our next adventure.  We are staying in a cabin (air conditioned with a full bath because I don't enjoy roughing it) until Wednesday.  All of the kids (minus Robby who knew about the plans) burst into tears when they arrived and realized that we were staying.

My Mom and I packed and meticulously planned for this surprise.  We packed their clothes, fishing poles, sleeping bags, favorite stuffed animals and a carful of food without their knowledge.  My Mom even bought them all underwater digital watches so nobody missed an activity.

Jellystone is more than the typical campground.  They offer an amazing variety of structured kid-centric activities every hour throughout the day. Yesterday my nephew's played in a laser tag competition while Robby and Tiffany competed in the pool game Olympics. In the evening we all went to play Bingo (Robby triumphantly won a round.)

Today is chocked full of activities and adventures.  It will be hot, but hopefully the thunder storms will stay away.  I think it is safe to say that I knocked this year's Aunt Peggy Adventure out of the park!







Monday, July 25, 2016

Aunt Peggy's Adventure 2016

In a quest to snap out of my funk I packed up the boys and headed to my Mom's for a few days. I was hoping that the change of scenery and routine would help me to recenter. I was right, and I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better. I also want to thank everybody who has supported me over the past week. The messages of love and support have been overwhelming and have helped to lift me out of my hole.

This is the beginning of a new week, and I'm going to make it a good one.  Today I'm taking Robby and his cousins on an adventure. Aunt Peggy's Adventures have become legendary with the kids and they look forward to them every year. (I think my Mom appreciates them as well because I keep the kids occupied and away from her house for awhile.)  They never know the adventure plans ahead of time because I quickly learned that the surprise factor helps to make the experience more special.

Last year we took the train to Philadelphia, where we toured the sights on a double decker bus. We went through Eastern State Penitentiary, which is touted as one of the top five most haunted locations in the country.  From start to finish, I tried to make every aspect of the trip special and memorable. The kids are still talking about our trip to Philly.

To be honest, it is a lot of pressure to keep devising adventures that will leave them both delighted and awestruck. This year I think I managed to come up with an itinerary that will make our Philly trip pale by comparison.  Stay tuned for updates about Aunt Peggy's Adventure 2016.  (I don't want to let any details slip on the off chance that they are reading this blog for clues.)  At the risk of sounding cocky, I'm fairly certain that this will be the highlight of their summer.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Full Blown Funk

I am having a difficult time snapping out of this downtrodden mood. What started as an unsettling series of dreams about my Dad has spiraled into a full blown funk. I'm trying to keep a happy facade, mainly because Robby becomes upset when he knows that I'm sad, but I wish my smile were real. My "stay busy to keep the emotions at bay" approach is resulting in my being exhausted from constant activity, but it hasn't erased my sadness.

I'm still extremely upset about the dreams involving my Dad and my memories of his entering hospice care, but I've also managed to throw some anxiety about Robby into my emotional quagmire.  Jack moves away next week and I know that my little Koopa will be sad to see his friend go. I've tried to expand his friendship circle but have only yielded limited success. It turns out that many kids travel during the summer and, barring involvement in structured activities, social opportunities are rare and difficult to coordinate.

Today we are heading to check out a different pool in our area, one that seems to have more kids than our current one. I'm hopeful that this may, eventually, help to foster some new friendships.  I know that I can't stop Robby from being hurt, but my goodness I want to soften the blow.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Staying Busy

In an attempt to hide from the raw emotions brought out by my recent dreams, I spent much of yesterday trying to stay busy. As long as I was engaged with the kids or with a project, my tears stayed at bay. It was during those brief moments of solitude that the delayed guilt/grief swept over me like a tidal wave. Thankfully Timmy was more than happy to occupy the majority of my day, so my emotional spells were brief and few. 

After Boot Camp we all headed to the farm for the afternoon. To his absolute delight, Robby and I spent an hour fishing at the pond. We stopped counting at 10, but it is safe to say that he had a great day reeling them in. Of course he is still timid about unhooking the fish, a less than glamorous duty that falls to me. Scott is highly tactile defensive and quickly bailed on fishing, opting instead to play with Timmy on the playgrounds and jumping pillow. 

When we were finally out of bait, Robby and I packed up and met with Scott and Timmy to pick some peaches. There is nothing comparable to picking a ripe peach and eating it directly off the tree while the juices are flowing from the heat of the sun.  As it turns out, we ended up having peaches in the orchard for lunch.

In the evening we went to the pool for a few hours where Robby was able to play with some friends.  Timmy practiced jumping into our arms and splashing on the stairs. Although the day started off with difficult emotions, my vow to stay busy certainly helped to turn it around. I still feel horribly guilty about my Dad and surprisingly grief stricken again, but I'm learning that avoidance works perfectly for me.

A photo posted by Peggy Friedman Chenoweth (@amputeemommy) on

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Open Wounds

I am not sure of the reasons but lately I have been having some extremely vivid dreams of my Dad. Dreams of my Dad healthy and happy are rare and always leave me feeling uplifted when I wake. Unfortunately my dreams of him almost exclusively involve him dying, leaving me waking up feeling despondent. 

My dreams of the past two nights have been especially upsetting because of both the content and the vivid nature.  In my dream we are back in my Dad's hospital room, preparing to be released to home hospice care. Looking into my Dad's eyes I recognize the same expression that I saw 16 months ago when this dream scenario was real.  It is as if I am replaying the video through my sleep.

I don't know why I didn't recognize the expression in real time, and why it has taken me over a year to realize what he was trying to communicate. He was terrified, and needed me to be patient. I think he knew that going home on Hospice care meant imminent death. He was scared.

Instead of being patient, I was pragmatic about the situation. Perhaps it was my own survival instinct, but I knew that it needed to be done and was working towards making the transition a reality. His transition to Hospice became my new "to-do" list.

I wish I had just slowed down and held his hand a little longer. He wasn't ready to go home. As I was packing up his hospital room, I think he surrendered to the reality that he was terminal. Transferring from the hospital bed to the transport gurney, I witnessed the last time my Dad's feet touched the ground. He had tears in his eyes as he was wheeled out of his room and down the hallway for the ambulance ride home. I am haunted by bearing witness to my Dad accepting and ultimately acquiescing to death.

I know that I could not have halted his death, but I do think that I could have been more patient during his struggle. I find myself wracked with guilt for not doing more, for not being more loving and for not staying in Texas longer.  He died four days after I left. I know that he wanted me to stay, but I left anyway.

I have been on an emotional roller coaster since these dreams surfaced. I have a difficult time even verbalizing my feelings without crying.  I'm typing this blog with tears streaming down my cheeks, hopeful that putting words to my emotions will help heal this newly opened wound.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Priorities

Yesterday I bailed on Boot Camp and I don't feel the least bit guilty. I haven't quit, and I fully intend to go today and the rest of the week. I have decided that I am no longer going to Monday's class, which focuses on the bum and abdominal regions.

Last Monday I went to the abs and buns class only to be squeezed out of my spot on the mat. The class was packed with people whom I have never seen before, and have not seen since. I suspect that they only come for the Monday workout. While I do care about my bum and tummy, I don't care enough to compete with the hoards of cheek squeezing, spandex laden, Jane Fonda wannabes.

Instead of going to class I went for a jog on my exercise trampoline. I hate running, so it is safe to say that I was probably as miserable as if I had attended class. I continue to be frustrated with my lack of strength and sore body. Nobody else in class seems to have any of the same ailments, which makes me feel alone and weak.

Like most people I know, I have gone through sprees with diet and exercise. There are times in my life where I have given it my all, convincing myself that this is a new part of my normal. Then my priorities shift (I prefer this term more than quitting, which has a self-deprecating inference) and the excess weight creeps back. 

Hoping for long term results, this time I am approaching my endeavor with a different perspective. I am not concerned about weight or shape. Instead, I am focusing on strength and health. Perhaps viewing working out as body maintenance rather than calorie burning I will have more long term success.

Despite the muscle discomfort, I felt oddly empowered by following through on my commitment to health. I'm sure that someday I won't always be sore and tired, and that going to Boot Camp and working out regularly will be worth it. Right now I'm not there yet, but I can see it on the horizon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Shoe Shopping

I have always felt like a bit of an anomaly among my female friends. While they all seem to channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw by boasting of their closet teeming with shoes, I have always taken a minimalist approach to footwear.  Even when I had both biological feet I wasn't a shoe fanatic.

I have never enjoyed shoe shopping, nor have I ever become excited by scoring the perfect pump or heel.  Before I was an amputee I never ventured out in heels, I certainly don't feel the need to start now. That's right, I'll confess. I am 42 years old and I've never worn high heel shoes.

Since my amputation, my ambivalence about shoe shopping has morphed into a strong dislike. Shoe shopping is now a chore, something that I'm forced to do three or four times a year when my sneakers finally wear out. I have a pair of "dressy" black flats that I will wear when a more upscale attire is required, but typically I am wearing sneakers. I know that most will not understand, but I just don't really care what is on my feet.

In this month's episode of Amp'd, Dave and I delve into our footwear feelings. Whereas I am a minimalist, Dave has accumulated quite the shoe collection. We discuss the unique issues that arise when shopping for shoes as a lower extremity amputee, as well as our personal (and somewhat humorous) experiences.  Enjoy!



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