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I am a soon-to-be middle aged below knee amputee. I am also the Mommy to a very active little boy. 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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Home Alone

The house is eerily quiet without Timmy and Scott. In some ways being alone with Robby is oddly reassuring. I suppose it reminds me of all the years it was just the two of us during the day, playing and learning together. Please don't get me wrong; I still miss Timmy terribly and I can't wait until he comes home. But in the meantime while I'm healing, I am going to try to enjoy rekindling the special bond I have with Robby.

Contrary to Scott's predictions, Robby has not wallowed away the time playing XBox and watching gaming videos on YouTube. Instead, we have been playing UNO and other quiet games. He has crafted and performed little plays, utilizing his turtle collection as both props and characters. We have spent hours just talking, sometimes about a specific topic but many times just sharing ideas and random thoughts. I have been reminded of his humor, compassion and ambitions during our quiet afternoons together.

Robby wants to change the world, starting with my prosthetics. Remembering the difficulties I have climbing up the narrow stairs for the water slides, he has carefully sketched what he perceives to be the perfect leg.  I have no doubt that his walk/run/climb/swim leg will revolutionize the industry!

After solving my prosthetic woes, he plans on becoming an archaeologist, gold miner and ice cream store owner. Rest assured, he has not abandoned his aspirations to make his own moonshine. He plans on taking up the craft as a hobby as soon as he is allowed to use the tools to build his own still. 

In a few short days he will be back in school, and Timmy will become my afternoon buddy. Although I hate that I am recovering from surgery, I am beginning to feel thankful for these quiet hours with Robby. He is growing up so quickly. I need to remember to continue to carve out quiet time, not necessarily for an adventure, but just to talk and hang out. If there is a silver lining behind my surgical summer, it is most certainly the quiet time spent together.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quiet Healing

Despite my visceral overreaction to sending Timmy to his Nana's house, removing the stress and temptations that stem from wanting to take care of him has been a godsend. I miss him terribly, but the constant guilt I felt about not being able to pick him up or carry him has been eliminated. I have been able to sit with the heating pad on my stomach and heal, which is precisely what I need to be doing right now.

Timmy is both safe and happy, enjoying visiting his Nana and being spoiled by everybody in the house. I Skype with him a few times a day, not because I think he needs to see me but because I need to see his little face. If my Mom is tired of anything it is probably my pestering her about him.  She hasn't refused to answer my calls- yet.

With Scott being busy with back to school meetings all week, the house is quiet with just Robby and me. My little Koopa has enthusiastically assumed the role of helper, providing me with a near constant flow of tea, cookies and crackers. I know that I have said this before, but I couldn't ask for a better helper.

I think that these quiet days are precisely what I need to regroup and heal. Having somebody simply stay here and take care of Timmy, although much appreciated, wouldn't be as beneficial. I am too tempted to pick him up and feel guilty watching somebody else care for him. I needed to have the impulse to pick him up, even once, removed completely or I would have ended up hurting myself and delaying my recovery.  My mom, who perhaps knows my tendencies best, knew that I would recover quicker if the Mommy temptation was removed. 

I understand that this family decision has been upsetting for some, so I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify our intentions. We are not trying to exclude anybody from participating in our lives. Instead, I am doing the best I can to survive what has turned into the most difficult summer of my life.

At this moment in time, Timmy is where we need him to be so that I can heal. This isn't because we lack offers of in-home help, but rather because I do not want to contend with the overwhelming feelings of guilt and frustration that arise from not being able to help with the simplest of tasks.  Any insinuation to the contrary is simply incorrect.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody for supporting us through our difficult summer. We have been living in Survival Mode for the past few months, but the patient and selfless understanding that our family and friends have bestowed has made a world of difference. We are blessed to have such a strong support system. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crying

Between the pain and the medication prescribed to alleviate it, the past weekend is a blur. I can get around the house, but moving is both slow and deliberate. Not being able to bend, twist or lift anything has certainly impacted my ability to do much of anything productive.

My mom had been at our house since Wednesday afternoon. While I wish that she could have stayed longer, I know that she has things that she needs to get done at home. We are very similar in respect to relishing routine and home. I know that she was missing her bed, and perhaps more importantly, her puppies. It would have been selfish to ask her to stay, although I'm sure she would have if I had asked.

Because I can't lift or bend, I am virtually useless caring for Timmy. Scott returns to work full-time today leaving us with few viable options. Timmy is enjoying an extended sleepover with his Nana. I know that he is being spoiled and loved, but my heart aches that I am not the one who is caring for him.

I hate not being able to take care of Timmy! I realize that the recovery is temporary, but sending him away makes me feel like a maternal failure. I should be the one taking care of him, and I detest the fact that I am unable to do so right now.

I spent the majority of yesterday sobbing after watching my mom and Timmy drive away. I felt foolish crying so hard, but I simply couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I would blame my overreaction on my new found menopause, but I suspect that it is too early to make that a viable culprit.  I think it was more a result of exhaustion and my fragile emotional state.

Unfortunately, crying after major abdominal surgery is not advantageous to comfort or healing. The harder I cried, the more I hurt, and the pain simply made me more upset. I dove deep into the disastrous abyss of self-pity, and the only thing I could do was fall asleep and try to claw my way back to reality.

Thank goodness for Skype! I am sure I drove my mom to the brink, but I might have pestered her to video chat with my little guy. He seemed unimpressed by seeing me, but watching him play did wonders for me!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Full Circle

I am writing this from my hospital bed with optimism that I will be going home today. I had forgotten the revolving door mentality of the medical profession. I had somebody in the room, taking vital signs or my blood, every hour. The only thing that I am going to miss is the morphine pump!

The pain is significantly more intense than I anticipated. The "cramping" I was warned about feels like labor pains. Except this pain is consistent instead of cyclical. I am glad I didn't suspect this level of pain because I would have worked myself into a panic as I waited.

It has been more than a decade since my first cancer diagnosis, and I feel a huge sense of relief putting this stage of my life behind me. I fought hard to avoid the hysterectomy so that I could have my children. I have come full circle, surrendering my fertility so that I can be around to see them grow up.  The worrying is behind me. Now all that is left is to heal and move forward.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Surgery Day

Well, today is the big day.  I would be lying if I didn't admit to being tired of visiting the operating room. Each time I am wheeled into the cold and sterile room I am optimistic that it will be my last. Hopefully this time my wish holds true!

I've prepared as much as possible, although I've learned that trying to plan for not picking up an infant is impossible. I don't know how I'm going to take care of Timmy, but I am confident that I will figure it out. If I have learned one thing since becoming an amputee it is the necessity of invention and adaptation.

Thankfully I won't have to worry about taking care of Timmy right away. My Mom is staying with us and is happily taking over Timmy duty. Knowing that she is here to help has taken a huge pressure off my shoulders.

My surgery is scheduled for 12:30, and is expected to last two hours. I will spend the night in the hospital, well technically only 23 hours because my insurance won't pay for a full day, and if all goes well I will be tucked into my own bed on Friday morning. In the meantime, please wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anxious

Scott went back to work on Monday to prepare for his 21st year teaching. He is always sad to see the summer end, feelings compounded by the endless meetings confronting him before the students return to class. Speaking from experience, the preparatory meetings are the worst part of the school year.

With Scott returning to work, I have been left alone with both boys. I underestimated the difficulty of caring for both by myself. I have come to accept the unfortunate reality that I have lost considerable strength and stamina recovering from the re-amputation. Just taking care of the basic housework renders me utterly exhausted. I shudder to think about how I am going to be after Thursday's surgery!

Because of my impending surgery, I have a schedule overflowing with doctors appointments and meetings. This is precisely the reason I wanted to have the surgery earlier in the summer when Scott would be available to help. I'm frustrated that my planning didn't materialize, but I am trying to make the best of the situation. I have had no choice but to schlep both boys to all of my appointments which I have no doubt has compounded my fatigue.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my ability to walk again. Spending nearly three months on my knee scooter while trying to take care of Timmy and Robby was torturous. I may be tired now, but I also realize that my situation could be far worse. At least I'm walking and comfortable. My leg is still shrinking, which equates to my constantly adjusting my leg with socks to fill the void. I hate wearing socks, but at this point in my recovery they are a necessary evil to keep me ambulatory.  Being able to wear my leg again removes an obstacle that I feared would impede the recovery from my next surgery.

I was worried about how Robby would react to my having another surgery. It turns out that my worrying was for nothing; he is embracing the procedure. All he had to hear was "they are removing Momom's baby making parts" and his anxieties vanished.  Apparently the promise of no more siblings softened the blow of my being laid up again. Again, my worries were unwarranted. 

I will spend today finishing up errands and completing my final round of pre-op tests. I am preparing to be laid up for a week, but will feel considerably more comfortable if I create a buffer so that I don't have as much facing me when I recover. I would rather do too much, knowing that I'll be able to rest soon, than take the day off and be slammed during my recovery.  I am not looking forward to tomorrow, but I am eager to put this whole episode behind me and move forward. It has been an extremely long and difficult summer. I'm anxious to get my life back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hair Buzz

We continue to wage our war with lice. We thought we had made strides towards eradicating our foe, but recent setbacks have reminded us of the ferocity of our enemy. We have invested a small fortune in chemical warfare and won't quit until we are victorious. 

Friday afternoon Robby started to scratch his head again. I immediately ushered him into the bathroom where I proceeded to comb out more bugs. I will never get used to seeing bugs crawling around my son's hair! Despite knowing that they won't cause physical harm to his body, seeing the creepy crawlies always brings me to the brink of panic. I called the pediatrician, hoping that she would prescribe a shampoo to kill the bugs and eggs left behind. Wanting to spare exposing him to the chemicals in the prescription shampoo, she recommended getting his hair buzzed.

Robby was not a happy little Koopa when we told him the news. He is only eight years old, but he loved his rag top hairstyle. Driving to the barber, his sadness about losing his hair morphed into anger over the infestation. He has no problems casting blame upon the individual he views to be responsible; it turns out my little guy has a vengeful side.

Despite the lamenting and anger, Robby handled getting his short cut like a trooper. I saw his eyes swell with tears when the clippers removed the first swatch of hair, but he quickly regrouped and remained stoic. He hopped off the chair when the barber was done, and simply told me that he didn't want to talk about it anymore. Instead of discussing hair, which despite being considerably shorter, is utterly adorable, we went for ice cream.

After several hours of hanging out inside the house, Robby asked for a fire pit party. Delighted that he was willing to go public with his hair, we immediately agreed. Scott set out to light the fire pit while Robby skipped through the neighborhood inviting the neighbors.

Mr. Bill was the first to arrive and immediately complimented Robby on his new hairstyle. I knew that Mr. Bill's approval would go a long way towards Robby embracing his new look. The fact that he told that he "looks like a little man" certainly helped lift Robby's spirits!

After accepting the compliment, and smiling for the first time that day, Robby engaged in the following conversation.

R: "Mr. Bill, I had to get my haircut this short because I had lice. Have you ever had lice?"
Mr. B: "No buddy, can't say that I've had lice."  At this point a coy smile wafted across Bill's face, and he developed a glint in his eyes. "I have had crabs a few times though."
R: "What are crabs?"

At this point I jumped into the conversation, interrupting by asking Robby to go inside for marshmallows. After Robby was safely out of earshot, I just looked at Bill and said, "Crabs? You're killing me."

"Well Angel Girl (that his his nickname for me), I just wanted him to know that it can always be worse. Trust me, crabs trump lice every time."

Robby and Mr. Bill never returned to their crabby conversation, but I know that it is just a matter of time before the topic reemerges. Robby remembers absolutely everything! I am just hoping that it happens at home and not in public.