Before my amputation I engaged in hours of research. I became as familiar with the medical jargon as possible. I spoke with other amputees, and I met with my prosthetist.
Despite all of my efforts to educate myself, I encountered surprising facts and situations about being an amputee that I did not anticipate. Here are my top 5 surprising facts about being a new amputee.
1. Nobody told me about the intense stinging sensation in my stump when it was below heart level. Stinging is actually an understatement because it can be likened to being bitten by a hoard of wasps simultaneously. I wasn't prepared for the feeling the first time I dangled my stump and I was overwhelmed. It was helpful when I was able to anticipate the stinging. Fortunately, the doctors were correct and it did fade with time.
2. I cannot shave my stump. This seems to be common knowledge, but I somehow missed this little tidbit in my research. I don't think it would be as big of an issue for men, but I had a difficult time adjusting to a hairy stump.
3. Depression! I didn't realize how much the amputation was going to affect me psychologically. I thought I was mentally prepared for the adjustment. What I have discovered is that one can never be 100% prepared for such a drastic change. It took a very long time for me to realize that I am not my leg. It sounds strange, but it was revitalizing to discover that I am the same person without my leg. I will blog more about this issue in the future.
4. Unfortunately, when friends and family don't know what to say or do to make a situation better, they avoid. Before my surgery, we were deluged with offers of meals and help from friends. After my amputation, Scott and I found that we were alone. This is not because they did not care. Rather, they did not know what to say or do. Instead of risking saying the wrong thing, they simply didn't call or visit. This was incredibly isolating during an already difficult time. Scott and I both lamented the perceived abandonment. Given time we have been accepted back into the fold by our friends but, to be honest, an unspoken pain still lingers. I learned to rely on a handful of loyal friends whom I could call at anytime.
5. Volume fluctuations are a recurring issue. I didn't realize how much the stump will fluctuate in size, not even over time but during a given day. My socket will become tight for a variety of reasons, including diet and the weather. Substantial fluctuations in weight equates to changes in sockets. I have gone through at least 5 sockets since I began my weight loss journey, over 100 pounds ago.
Since I have started my blog I have been contacted by several people who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of facing an impending amputation. Although I am by no means an expert, I am happy to speak to my experiences with the surgery, the recovery and my life as an amputee. Please, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to talk with somebody who truly understands. After all, we are a very small community and it is important to reach out to each other!
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (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.