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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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

No Hopping For Me

It is safe to say that bed rest has me going a tinge stir crazy. While I have no intention of going against doctor orders thereby jeopardizing the baby, I am growing weary of staying still. My mind is spinning with projects and ideas, and I find it infuriating that my body cannot cooperate right now.

Having Scott and Robby home with me this past week has certainly made the days easier. I have enjoyed the constant company, and perhaps I was even a little spoiled with the doting and fetching of drinks and snacks. I am going to miss both of them when they return to their routines next week, but hopefully my loneliness will be short-lived. Judging by the changes in my body, I am hopeful that this little baby will be joining our family soon!

Although I haven't been able to physically accomplish a lot, I have found ways to be quasi-productive towards checking off items on my various to-do lists. In short, I have rediscovered the joys of internet shopping. I have come to believe that this wonderful form of commerce was invented with my situation in mind. I have been able to honor doctor orders to remain still while still selecting and purchasing Robby's summer wardrobe. It may seem minor, but at this point, each time I am able to accomplish anything I feel like a victor.

Being stuck inside and unable to engage in our typical traditions, it is hard to believe that Easter is this Sunday. This year we will forgo the eggs hanging in the trees, making the birdseed biscuits for our wild critters, and baking bunny car cupcakes. If it wasn't for the egg themed tablecloth on my kitchen table, there would be no indications of this holiday in our home this year. It makes me feel sad, and guilty that we have failed to make this holiday special for Robby. I know that he is oblivious, but I know that the traditions are being shirked and it bothers me.

Scott will be heading out this morning "hopping" for some Easter surprises for Robby. Since my little Koopa isn't a candy eater, his basket will be filled with assorted summer toys and games. I know that Scott will come home with some fantastic surprises, but I wish I could be doing it myself. I just feel so useless lying around! Fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nap?

I have accepted that I am living my life in a perpetual state of exhaustion. I covet a good nights sleep, but I fear that my dream is beyond reach. My sleep issues are due to a myriad of factors including pregnancy discomfort, phantom limb pain, a constant need to use the bathroom and anxiety. It feels like my body is conspiring against me by employing every means to keep me from sleeping. To add a layer of frustration to my insomnia, I now find myself waking up after short intervals of slumber only to fret about the fatigue I am going to experience once the little one arrives. Worrying about sleep which I have not yet missed is infuriating!

It sounds like an oxymoron to say that bed rest is exhausting, but I have found this to be true. My mind is churning, but I have to keep my body still. Thankfully I can complete most of my work responsibilities via the computer. Between Skype and the internet, I have been able to stay on top of my work. If I didn't have reports and projects to occupy my mind I would surely go stir crazy. Scott is grateful for the time I'm working because he is not being commandeered around the house in a quest to satisfy my growing nesting instincts.

When I do move I am met with cramping so severe I am forced to stop after a few steps and bend over until it wanes. My body's reaction to movement certainly helps me maintain the bed rest protocol prescribed by my doctors. While I don't have a lot of experience, I suspect that this littlest Koopa will be here sooner rather than later.

The fatigue that I'm feeling now is easily attributed to the pregnancy and my health issues. Once the baby is born and my health problems are treated, I will continue to be tired because I'll be caring for an infant. In actuality, I don't foresee feeling refreshed and truly energized anytime in the near future. Maybe in 5 or 6 years I'll be able to take a nap? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A More Realistic Portrayal

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Like everybody else, I was horrified and glued to the television as I was watching the events unfold. Being a member of the amputee community, the tragedy struck me on a personal level. As the news stories became more consistent, it became clear that numerous individuals have lost a limb, and in some cases two, during the attacks.

These victims did nothing wrong. On April 15, 2013 they woke up and made a decision to either run or be part of the revelry of the traditional race. Unfortunately, that fateful decision put them in the wrong place at the worst possible time. In a split second, the course of their lives irrevocably changed.

The experience of being maimed through the actions of another is not unique to the Boston Marathon bombing victims. In fact, scores of other citizens suffered a similar fate on that date. Drive by shootings, car accidents, work injuries and a myriad of other accidents occur constantly, rendering innocent people without a limb. Like the Boston Marathon victims, these new amputees did nothing to invite their injuries except making a decision which put them in the wrong place at the worst time. The 400+ other amputations which occurred on April 15, 2013 were the result of less than patriotic methods. These new amputees, and the hundreds each day which enter our limb loss community, are primarily ignored by the news media and society as a whole. 

During the next week the news media will regal the public with stories of fortitude and survival. Advances in prosthetic technology will be highlighted as many of the victims from last year will take to the marathon course this year. Their resiliency and strength will become the feel good story du jour.

While their victory marathon is remarkable and is certainly a reason to celebrate, the media is not providing the entire story. The Boston Marathon amputees, the selected 16 individuals whom the country has decided to follow and support, have been the beneficiaries of unprecedented prosthetic, physical therapy and emotional supports. The vast majority of amputees in this country will never receive the services or prosthetics which have been flowered upon the marathon victims.

One year ago I received a message from a scared Mom living in Colorado. She was taking her child to school a few days earlier and, while standing on the sidewalk, was struck by a drunk driver. Her leg was severed at the scene. She was terrified, alone and unsure about how she could live the remainder of her life with this unwelcome (and undeserved) disability. She lost her leg protecting the life of her son, yet her heroic tale was never reported by the media. Her resources were limited and, with no community support forthcoming, she reached out to me- a stranger with a blog. 

Unfortunately this story is far more common in the amputee community. Prosthetics, physical supports and emotional help are often hard fought to receive, if the individual has the fortitude to wage the battle with their insurance carrier. The typical amputee is not up and running a marathon within 12 months of their injury. It is not because they are lacking the motivation, the skill, or the desire. Rather, they are not afforded the cost-prohibited devices required to complete such a lofty achievement.

Comparing the Boston Marathon amputees to the average amputee in this country is simply perpetuating a fallacy. The Colorado mom, who was the victim of a crime and lost her leg protecting her child, hopes to be walking by the end of the summer. Injured at the same time as the Boston amputees, running is not even on her radar of dreams and goals. Instead, she is hoping that her internet fundraising campaign will provide enough money for her to finally make the co-payment required before she is fit with a basic walking knee.  Her story is far more indicative of the journey of an amputee, yet the ending isn't nearly as Disneyesque. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break School

Robby is on Spring Break this week, meaning that school attendance is optional. The academic program is on hiatus until after Easter, but his school remains open for "camp" (i.e. daycare) purposes. At his previous school, Robby never would have entertained the notion of attending school on a non-mandatory day. Imagine my surprise when he woke up Monday morning and asked if he could go to school!

During the past few months, I have watched my little Koopa's self-esteem soar!  He frequently comments that he really likes his new school, and his popularity is obvious each day when I drop him off and pick him up. Academically he is thriving; I am astounded by the new things he is learning and sharing on a daily basis. Perhaps most notable, he no longer shies away from reading publicly.

It has taken a year to unravel the story, but it turns out that last year Robby was ridiculed by the teacher when he read aloud. She remarked that he should just sit down because "nobody could understand his talking anyway." My heart broke when this story was revealed, and my anger was palpable. I wish I could go back in time and rescue him from the situation, but all I can do is be vigilant while rebuilding his confidence. 

This year his teachers and speech therapist have taken a different approach. Recognizing that he was self-conscious about his speech issues, they encouraged him to read to the babies in the daycare section of the school. As his speech improved, Robby slowly started to increase his public reading. It has taken 7 months, but now my little guy no longer avoids reading aloud. Both his reading skills and his speech articulation have improved dramatically because of the dedication and love shown by his teachers. As a matter of fact, Robby no longer qualifies as a student with a moderate speech impairment. His impairment has been downgraded to mild, and it is expected that the issues will be resolved within the next school year. I couldn't be prouder of the hard work that he has put into improving his speech skills.

Yesterday morning Robby got dressed and headed to school on a day when it wasn't required. I could not have been happier dropping him off, and the smile on his face when he saw his friends playing was absolutely priceless. He is already asking to go back to school again today. I'm so glad I followed my instincts and made the switch to a new school. We were both nervous, but it was the best thing we could have done!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sprinkle!

I have tried to focus on the fact that I am going to be a mother again, but the cancer diagnosis coupled with the difficult pregnancy have left me feeling worn out and emotionally exhausted. It is difficult to remain optimistic and happy when I feel like I am being met with bad news at every turn!  Yesterday, as friends and family joined us to celebrate our little miracle, I was reminded that I am extremely fortunate.

I cannot thank my Mom enough for throwing the Sprinkle Shower for us. Although I was initially hesitant about the idea, it turns out that the Sprinkle was just what I needed. My spirits were buoyed, rejuvenating me as we enter the next stages of the pregnancy and ensuing medical journey. I have come to accept that my mom still knows best.

I was overwhelmed with the friends and family who traveled great distances to spend some time with me. So many people sacrificed the first beautiful, warm weather weekend day (after an extraordinarily long winter) to show me that they care. I left the party feeling loved and supported. This little baby is lucky to enter into this wonderful circle of support!

Since I am supposed to be keeping movement to a minimum, I spent the majority of the Sprinkle seated. I was able to talk, eat and enjoy catching up with friends. I have to admit, it was nice not having to do any of the work and accepting the pampering and doting of others.

Robby, along with my niece Tiffany, were the official event photographers. The pair took their roles seriously, snapping pictures of everybody who entered the building (regardless of whether or not they were guests of our party.) The cousins took over 300 hundred photos, highlighting everything from the guests and food to the water fountains and chairs. I couldn't help but smile as I reviewed the photos, seeing the Sprinkle through their eyes was nothing short of charming.

I would like to thank everybody who sacrificed their Sunday afternoon to show us how much they care. I cannot find the words to convey how much the support means to me. It turns out that (yet again) my Mom was right. This baby deserves to be celebrated, and I needed an opportunity just to be happy. For a few hours yesterday afternoon, I was able to escape all of the medical setbacks and obstacles. 

I was tickled with the cards which were sent by readers of this blog. Thank you for caring, for taking time out of your day to check in with my blog, and for the beautiful sentiments and messages of support. Every card will be proudly secured in the baby book, so that this littlest Koopa will know how much everybody cares.

Here are just a few pictorial highlights from Robby.  To view all the photos, visit www.dropshots.com/schenoweth   :)






















Friday, April 11, 2014

To Do

I anticipate seeing two elated boys at 3:00 this afternoon as they celebrate the beginning of Spring Break. Robby has been busy making plans with friends. Our involvement is now limited to chauffeuring and financial support, and I don't see this trend changing in the near future. Although it is tough for me to accept that he is growing up, watching him thrive both socially and academically has certainly helped the transition.

Scott will be home from work all next week, a fact which delights him. I feel a little guilty because he seems unaware that his time is already being allocated. We still have a lot of work to do before baby arrives, and since I'm relegated to bed rest, my role has been shifted to purely supervisory.  I suspect that by the end of the week he will be looking forward to returning to the classroom!

I despise being on bed rest, but I have accepted my fate at least until the baby is born.  I find it infuriating that there is so much to be done and I am being restricted from doing it. Unfortunately for everybody in the house, I've been left with a lot of extra time to think of projects and make lists. I'm going to try to somewhat curb my nesting tendencies and hopefully I'll be able to strike a balance between Scott enjoying and relaxing during his Spring Break and my compulsions to crack the whip for productivity.

I am going to try to ease off my directions next week, I know that Saturday will be busy for Scott. His Mom is coming to visit for a few days, and the house is no where near ready for her arrival. He will have to spend his first official day of Spring Break tackling the lengthy "to do list" that I have been writing. Typically I would be the one running around frantically cleaning and tidying up. Watching him do the work will certainly be a role reversal!

Although Saturday will not be a lot of fun, Sunday is sure to make up for any cleaning misery he endures. My Mom is throwing us a "Sprinkle" to celebrate the arrival of our newest family member. I am looking forward to spending the afternoon with friends and family. I even have a friend from college who is attending, and I haven't seen her since my bachelorette party!

This pregnancy has been wrought with ill-health, worries and medical set-backs. This Sprinkle is the perfect chance to celebrate the little miracle who we will soon meet. I won't be terribly mobile during the event, but I am looking forward to just being happy and celebrating our good news.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Perverts

I have been receiving messages from devotees ever since I went public about my life as an amputee woman. Naive at the beginning of this venture, I have come to accept that the unsavory and distasteful messages are par for the course. I can typically spot the devotee message within the first sentence or two and respond by hitting the delete button. I would prefer to invest my time in helping others rather than appeasing some fetish or sexual fantasy offered by an internet troll. Responding to the message only fuels the desire for interaction, and I just don't have time for such nonsense!

Lately I've discovered a disturbing trend when opening my blog email. As I have become more comfortable discussing my pregnancy, the level of pervert I am attracting is deepening. Being attracted to a pregnant amputee is certainly a niche fetish which I've come to believe is held by those with more aggressive communication tendencies.

The emails I have been receiving transcend raunchy and crude. The desires conveyed are downright demeaning! The penis photos, which are often attached, only confirm the low-life mentalities of the authors. Needless to say, I am not impressed by the sentiments written or the visual aspects of the appendages being displayed. Neither, in my opinion, are brag worthy. I suggest the authors would be prudent to keep both under lock and key!

I will continue to delete and block all emails which contain lewd or pornographic images. My only response will be limited to this blog. To all of the perverts who have been sending me photos of their privates, please know that I find your images pathetic. From size and girth to basic cleanliness, you are not helping to build a case for your manhood.

I implore those individuals who feel compelled to contact me with their sexual fantasies to please stop. I am not interested in your advances, your flattery or your dimensions. I am strictly in survival mode at the moment and don't have the energy to deal with your perversions.