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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Chat With Us! #AskAmpd

Although I was honored to speak at the Medicare hearing, I am fully aware that my words fell on deaf ears. At the beginning of the meeting it was announced that the only comments considered by the committee were those submitted in writing. Written comments are accepted until August 31st, and it is imperative that every amputee and supporter take this next step. Unless we flood the committee with letters I fear that the proposal, either as drafted or with nearly as disastrous modifications, will be adopted.

Online forms are available to make the process easy, but I urge everybody to take a little more time to send something personal. If you don't have the time to write something, the online forms are better than nothing. A patient letter is available here and a supporter letter can be found by clicking on this link. For those who wish to personalize their comments, please direct your emails to Stacy Brennan, MD using this email: DMAC_DRAFT_LCD_Comments@anthem.com

I realize that the notion of writing something original may be daunting. Speaking with my podcast partner Dave, an insurance reimbursement specialist and expert in this arena, we decided to make ourselves available to help. Today we will be hosting a social media chat to answer questions about the proposal and the comments. Questions can be submitted via twitter using the #askampd hashtag or can be posted directly on our Facebook Podcast page. We will be available between 12:30-1:30 EST today to answer questions.  Now is your chance to get clarification and answers to questions about the detrimental impact of these proposals if they are enacted. 

We are looking forward to talking with you soon!


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Meeting Recap

Yesterday can only be summed up with one word. It was absolutely amazing. Four hundred people, from all around the country, converged at a single point behind a solitary cause. So many amputees were in attendance that we joked about the hearing becoming a mini-conference.

I am fortunate that the hearing was relatively local. With the exception of a lot of time behind the
wheel and a single night at a hotel, my expenses were null. Sitting outside the hearing room, I was reunited with friends who flew across the country, at their own expense, because of they felt compelled to be involved and show solidarity.


I drew so much strength and courage from the crowd that I didn't feel nervous when I approached the podium. I knew that the stakes were high, but I also knew that I could not have been surrounded by a stronger support base. A new friend videoed my testimony so that I could share it in this blog. I stumbled over a few words, but I did my best to convey the real life implications of these proposals.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Opening Statement

Today is the hearing!  I'm so excited, nervous, terrified and honored to be here to speak on behalf of the amputee community. I wanted to share my opening statement.  Wish me luck!

Good morning.

My name is Peggy Chenoweth, and I am a mother, wife, friend, author and employee who happens to have a below knee amputation.  When I was in the third grade I read a book about Helen Keller, and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was going to be a teacher for the blind and help unlock the potential of the visually impaired.  I never wavered from my dream, earning my Master's degree and a 4.0 GPA from Michigan State University 1997.

Fresh out of graduate school I was offered my dream job of providing rehabilitation services to recently blinded adults. Every day I was making a difference and helping somebody reach a new goal. With the exception of lacking a boyfriend, my life was perfect. On March 12, 1997 everything changed when a computer fell on my foot, ultimately leading to my amputation.

I was fit with a standard prosthetic and assumed that I would resume life as normal. I didn't know any better.  I didn't expect everything to be so hard. From simply walking upstairs to trying to keep up with my students, I struggled. I was devastated when I lost my private insurance as an Orientation and Mobility instructor. While I could still teach rehab skills, I was no longer "safe" teaching students how to use the white cane.  As my mobility and life became more difficult, I turned to Snickers to cope.  I gained 100 pounds during the first year after my amputation.

Obese, pre-diabetic and depressed. I assumed that this was normal because I was an amputee. I didn't know better.  Thankfully my prosthetist, using his professional knowledge and experience, recognized my potential. He recognized that my walking was laborious and that the prosthetic was not the right device for me. Because he is a highly trained professional, he knew that my prosthetic foot was limiting me. He asked me to trial a new foot, a microprocessor ankle system.

My prosthetist unlocked my potential by providing that microprocessor ankle. I began walking with ease, and my confidence soared. I lost 100 pounds, resumed my dream job and started my family. In other words, I regained my life. Because my prosthetist was able to both recognize my potential and provide the device necessary to reach it, I have achieved more on one leg than I ever dreamed possible when I had two.

The decision to disregard the potential in prosthetic fittings will lead to the further disabling the community. Because my potential was recognized and accounted for through my prosthetic, I was able to return to work and realize my dreams. I urge this committee to continue to recognize the prosthetic potential of those living with limb loss. We may be missing legs, but we have a lot to offer the world.  Please don't limit our potential.  Thank you for your time, and for listening to me this morning.  I would like to offer myself to serve should you decide to form an advisory committee to create a proposal that makes fiscal sense without disabling the amputee community.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Podcast

Our new podcast is now live.  Please take a moment to listen to this important information. It is imperative that everybody become involved in the fight against the implementation of these Medicare proposals. It is estimated that these proposals, if adopted, would impact all lower extremity amputees within 12 months regardless of your insurance!



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Monday, August 24, 2015

Decluttering

Friday morning, as I was sitting in my rocker trying to slurp down coffee during the few fleeting moments when Timmy was amusing himself with a toy, I made a split second decision. While I had every intention of cracking the whip and calling a family cleaning session over the weekend, I realized that I had too much on my plate. Instead of fretting and stressing over my cluttered house, I called reinforcements.

I would probably feel more comfortable claiming that I needed to call a cleaning service because I was having trouble with my leg, the truth remains that I was just lacking the time and motivation to tackle the dirty beast that has become my home.  I really wanted to just enjoy time relaxing with my boys before they returned to the hectic schedule of the school year. Coupled with the return to school, this week I travel to testify at the Medicare hearing.  I wanted to be able to be as well-rested as possible, so I broke down and made the call.

After the maids left, I sat in my living room in comfortable awe. My house smelled good, and looked sparkling clean. I really should have done this earlier because I felt a weight lift as I took in the order and cleanliness around me.  I never realized that my living room was so spacious!

Timmy had a great time running laps around the living room floor, giggling and spinning himself dizzy. After about 10 minutes his mood switched, and he became frustrated. His happy squeals morphed to panic. Standing in the spot where his music table had always been located, I realized the problem. His toys were missing, which is also the reason my living room looked so big and uncluttered!

I quickly located the small mountain of bright plastic (and large) toys stashed behind the couch. As I slowly moved the pile, my spacious and uncluttered living room began to change. We are now back to the same cluttered space with a path among the toys to traverse through the room. Oh well, I guess I will have to live with the baby clutter for awhile. Someday I will have my spacious room again, but for now I'll just be happy that the floors underneath are clean.

Friday, August 21, 2015

End of Summer

Today is Scott's first day back to work after summer vacation. Much like him, I am sad to see summer end. While the return to work also means the return to a normal schedule, which I appreciate, it also means that the carefree days of lounging by the pool and and summer fun are over. Due to a change in the school calendar this vacation break was shorter than others, but we still managed to pack in a lot of fun!

Robby has one more week of summer vacation before he returns to school. It is hard to believe that soon the house will just be occupied by just Timmy and me during the day. I'd say I was looking forward to a quiet house, but I know that my toddler Timmy has a different motivation.  He is into absolutely everything and soon my life is going to become increasingly complicated as I try to juggle working and caring for him without back-up. 

This weekend will be spent getting the house ready for the return to school. While I never claimed to be to keep an immaculate home, my housekeeping has been lax since the medicare proposal was released. When I haven't been doing something with my family I have been working non-stop on raising awareness and fighting the proposal. Laundry, dust and clutter have accumulated as collateral damage of my grassroots efforts.  (Hopefully Scott fill find something clean to wear today, but judging by the mountain of dirty clothes I'm not completely confident that he won't end up picking the least dirty shirt from the pile.)

It is going to be a difficult few weeks of adjustment as we all acclimate to the school schedule. I know that Hamlet is going to miss his Daddy and brother, which also means that I am going to become soul playmate. I'm not sure how I am going to juggle that job with all of my others, but I guess I'll figure it out! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fair Fun

Yesterday was exceptionally busy. I was worried about how little Hamlet would handle the commotion, but I am happy to report that he rose to the occasion. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy being the midst of all of the action.

We began our day at the farm and finished at the fair. Robby and Scott had a fabulous time riding and spinning all evening. Timmy was content sitting in his stroller and watching the action while munching on french fries. Despite a little rain, it was a perfect evening.

I do have to admit that I wasn't delighted with Robby's choice of prize (an inflatable machine gun) but he was adamant about his decision.I tried to dissuade him, but he insisted that the gun would be fun when playing in the woods. I finally acquiesced, with the promise that it would never be pointed at anybody (especially his brother) and that it would be used only while playing combat in the yard.