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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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Enough with the muffin top!

There is one item that trumps my hatred for shoe shopping. Luckily it only needs to be done once a year. My anxiety begins to rise weeks before the actual event. This past weekend I finally gathered my nerve and set out on my mission. I needed to find a new swimsuit.

Looking at the women who were rustling through the racks of the skin bearing apparel, it was easy to determine that this was not a happy section of the store. I felt a camaraderie with these women, as we frantically searched for the perfect tight fitting, figure flattering, age defying, cellulite reducing garment that would transform the middle aged Mom into a fabulous beach bunny.

I have all of the insecurities of most women. I have a curvy figure which, over time, I am learning to embrace. My bottom has cellulite. I bought cellulite reducing cream a few weeks ago. I quickly realized I was going to need to invest a lot of money in cream to keep covering this area twice a day.

I have lost over 100 pounds, leaving me with some strange "flabby" areas. Despite riding the bicycle over 30 miles a day, my legs continue to jiggle. And, as if the swimsuit gods didn't curse me enough, I have one leg.

Despite being adjusted to life as an amputee, I continue to have body image issues. I don't relish looking into full length mirrors, but I don't get as upset as I had in the past. I have learned to "dress for my prosthetic." Typically I wear shorts or skirts that go fall to the top of the knee to disguise the top of my prosthetic. Unfortunately, camouflaging is impossible in a swimsuit!

I was disappointed this year because I couldn't find anybody brave enough to embark on the swimsuit shopping journey with me. I was forced to face the racks of swimsuit pieces and the full length mirrored dressing rooms by myself. I took a deep breath, hummed "I am Woman" softly and began.

Because I have lost weight since last summer, I started by determining my swimsuit size. I grabbed several pieces, in various sizes, and went into the dressing room. I tried to avoid looking in the mirrors while naked. I peaked. Wow! When did my body start to jiggle like that?

Trying to keep a straight upper lip, I shook off my revulsion and blamed the lighting. It turns out that my top and my bottom are two very different sizes, so I decided that I needed to look for swimsuit separates. I am either too old or too self-conscious to wear a bikini, so I knew I needed to find the "tankini" type top. I very quickly realized the top was not going to be difficult. Finding the bottom piece was going to be the problem.

Much to my husbands dismay, I usually wear swim skirts. I'm sure that it doesn't disguise as much as I think it does, but I just feel more comfortable with a little more coverage. Unfortunately, the skirts become unflattering once I enter the water because they start to float around me. Because I spend a lot of time in the water with Robby, I was looking for a better solution.

I try to remind myself that I am probably not the only amputee with a "muffin" top thigh. The skin on my amputated leg hangs over the top of my prosthetic. I have come to the conclusion that it has very little to do with toning or exercise. I think it is just plain ugly. I didn't know about the "muffin top" thigh before my amputation, which is why I mention it here. If you have this issue, know that you are not alone!

I tried on several different styles, all of which were supposed to "flatter" the hip and thigh area. I shudder to think of what I would have looked like in styles not designed for minimizing! Not surprisingly, I was not able to find a bottom that minimized the "muffin top" leg. The more I tried various styles on, the more I became upset.

Trying to keep from tearing, I finally settled on a pair of sporty brown swim shorts and a colorful halter tankini. When I was checking out, the clerk asked me if I found everything okay. I said no. I told her that I was looking for a swimsuit that took off 15 years, toned my thighs and hips, kept my bumpy butt from jiggling and made my prosthetic and muffin top thigh seem "natural."

The clerk giggled and handed me my change. Finished with my task, I felt victorious because I was able to find a swimsuit. I didn't have to face the mirrors, the lighting and the challenge for at least another year. I left the store and headed straight to Cinnabon.

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