About Me

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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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Continuing the Cyber Adventure.

I would like to invite all of my readers to visit my new website. I am creating this website to provide resources and links to products and services I have found helpful as an amputee Mom. The website also has a forum, which I hope will become a nonjudgmental support network for all amputees and their families.

The website is not meant to replace my blog. I will continue to blog 5 days a week to communicate my ideas and stories. I will continue my blog as long as I have people willing to read what I write! Eventually, the website will provide direct information and links.

Please check it out and let me know what you think. You are invited to write in the forum. Let's start this new internet adventure together!


Slippery Legs Slide Off!

I love my bath. I take it as the opportunity to pamper myself and to relax. I try to turn the daily activity into an event, utilizing everything from candles for mood lighting to soft music to enhance the "spa like" atmosphere. Sometimes the music is loud enough to drown out the repetitive knocking and "Mommy" being screeched on the outside of the bathroom door!

Knowing that I'm a sucker for new soaps, my Mom gave me a bottle of Dove liquid bath soap the other day. I was eager to give it a try. I thought that the moisturizing cream infused into the soap would leave my skin feeling soft and smooth. Last night I lit the candles, turned up the music, put Diego on the television for Robby and Scott and took my long anticipated bath.

My 20 minutes of solitude flew by because, before I knew it, Diego was finished and my two guys were knocking on the bathroom door. I climbed out, dried off and got dressed in my jammies. I was met at the door by a very happy little boy and his tired looking Daddy.

Robby and I went to the kitchen for ice cream. As I was walking around the kitchen, my stump kept pistoning. Usually, when I feel my stump pistoning, it is within the socket. This time it felt different because I was pistoning within the liner. I readjusted my leg, pulled the liner up higher on my leg and continued walking.

I was walking to the bedroom, Robby in tow, when I walked completely out of my liner and prosthetic. I was very lucky that I was able to grab onto the door frame as I was losing my balance. I came down on my knee, saving my stump from an extremely painful impact.

I had slipped out of my liner. The liner was still inside the prosthetic, indicating that the seal did not fail. For some reason, the liner was sliding right off my stump. One feel of my skin provided me with the answer.

The new soap, with moisturizing cream, did indeed provide me with soft and silky skin. Unfortunately, these two attributes are not necessarily a good thing on a residual limb. The cream in the soap was acting as a lubricant, enabling the liner to slide.

I rinsed off my limb to remove the lotion residue. I grabbed a different liner and put the creamy one in the wash. I put my brand new moisturizing soap in the cabinet for guests. Apparently soap infused with moisturizing cream is not necessarily a good thing for an amputee. Having my skin be silky and smooth proved to be too dangerous for this amputee! I found my grocery list and added Ivory soap.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Gimpy Limp

Children mimic their parents and Robby is no exception. He loves to "help" around the house, and will do this by copying everything that I do. I've learned to utilize this eagerness to help by teaching him how to perform basic housekeeping tasks like wiping down the counters or putting his own dishes away.

I was watching Robby play in the driveway this morning, and I had an opportunity to watch him walking towards me. I noticed that he was limping on his left side. Immediately concerned, I asked him if he was hurt.

Robby told me that he was hurt. I asked him where he was hurt, but he was not answering. I became worried, and scooped him up and carried him inside. Being nearly 40 pounds, this is no easy task!

I carried him into my bedroom, and placed him on the bed. I took off his left shoe and sock and began to examine his foot. I didn't notice anything unusual, so I continued by looking at his ankle and knee. Everything looked fine and nothing explained the limp.

I asked Robby if he was hurt, and he said yes. He then proceeded to crawl off the bed, run to the kitchen and grab the ice cream out of the freezer. He came towards me, carrying the ice cream but not limping. He handed me the ice cream and told me he was hurt. Then I had an epiphany.

When Robby fell off his bike a few days ago, Daddy made his boo boos better by giving him an ice cream cone. Robby now figures that he'll get ice cream every time he is hurt. When asked if he was hurt, he took it as the opportunity to get ice cream.

He is always observing and learning. Like many amputees, I have a slight limp. Sometimes the limp is more severe, depending on how the socket is fitting and how my stump feels. Overall, I am not concerned about my limp and I have learned to accept it.

In the driveway, Robby was simply mimicking me. He was walking like Mommy but, thankfully, there was nothing wrong with his foot. I had overreacted, again! And he told me that he was hurt in order to get ice cream.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Queen Bee.

I woke up this morning with a determination and resolve to get my house in order. I've been working hard to regain control over my health and my body. Unfortunately, my housework has suffered. To be completely honest, I've never been a great housekeeper. I am embarrassed to admit that my house is just plain dirty, even by my lax standards.

As Robby and I had our oatmeal, I made a list of chores I wanted to get done today. We had our bug class scheduled for 2:00 so I had 5 solid hours to clean. I turned up the iPod and got to work.

Now, I guess I should explain that I wear a tiara when I clean. I do this for a few reasons. I tell my husband I wear it because it keeps my hair out of my eyes, but the true reason I wear it when I clean is that it just makes me feel better. Scrubbing toilets and sweeping old peas off the floor doesn't lend itself to feeling glamorous or pretty. Wearing the tiara makes me feel pretty and adds a bit of whimsy to the mundane chores. Besides, I own the tiara and I have yet to be invited to an occasion where it would be an appropriate accessory.

Robby and I worked all morning, but I managed to complete much of the list. At 1:30 he told me that he was hungry which was the first time I had looked at the clock all morning. If I didn't hurry him into the car, we were going to miss our bug class.

I quickly changed his pants and put a clean shirt on him. I grabbed a Lunchable and his bug box. We ran out the door, and he was strapped into his booster seat in record time. Luckily, we didn't run into any traffic, and we made it to the class with 5 minutes to spare.

Bug class was exciting. We learned all about bumblebees. We learned that they fly, make honey and live in hives. We also learned that they have queens. During the bumblebee dance, the teacher asked me to be the Queen Bee. Anybody who has ever been to a toddler class knows that this is quite an honor. It may sound odd, but I was thrilled. I felt like my son had the "cool Mom."

I performed the "Queen bee" dance with as much animation and enthusiasm as possible. I had a blast with the kids, but was a little disconcerted by the parents. They seemed a little off today. "Oh well," I thought. "It is their loss and maybe they are just jealous that I got to be queen bee." Smiling and feeling a little smug, I packed Robby up to come home.

I got Robby situated into his booster seat, and started to adjust the rear view mirror. It was at this moment that I saw my reflection in the mirror. All of my blood felt like it was rushing away from me in a wave of humiliation. I realized that I wasn't the super cool Mommy. I was the weird Mommy who showed up to a bug class wearing a sparkly tiara!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Constant Fear...

Like all Moms, I am active. I learned through experience that there is no such thing as a sick day when you have a small child. Regardless of how bad I feel, Robby's needs always come first. He needs clean diapers, food and entertainment no matter how sick I may be.

As a Mommy, one of my biggest fears is not being able to take care of my son. I am terrified of developing a leg infection. I have met many amputees who have lost more of their residual limb due to infection. For me, this thought is petrifying.

I am lucky in that I have not yet had a severe leg infection. I am proactive about infection control. I keep my stump and liners clean. I have also included "stump examination" into my daily grooming rituals.

Every morning, and again at night, I examine my stump for nicks or blisters. Because of the decreased circulation in a residual limb, I cannot rely upon pain as an indicator. I must physically examine my limb to make sure that it is healthy.

When I discover a pinch cut or blister, I try to minimize the activity on my leg until it heals. Keeping my leg completely off is difficult but I do try to remove the prosthetic more often during the day. These are the days I am thankful for the Disney Channel and Nick Jr.. I also apply a thick coat of antibiotic ointment several times a day.

I must have been naive before my amputation. I didn't appreciate how terrified of developing an infection I would become. I resent having to examine my residual limb daily, but I have accepted it as a necessary evil of being an amputee. I guess I hate the daily ritual because it is yet another reminder of how my life has changed since losing my leg. After all, it must be done to prevent an infection. This Mommy can't take sick days!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tight socket = Increasing Weight!

May was a busy month full of celebrations. Like most families, our celebrations always involve food. Between Mother's Day, traveling and my birthday, I am afraid I fell off the "healthy living" wagon. Disappointed but not discouraged, I am determined to regain control over my waistline.

I am hesitant to call my lifestyle change a diet. After all, I didn't embark on my weight loss journey purely to lose pounds. I wanted to improve the quality of my health and to be the kind of Mom my son deserves and one that will make him proud. This is a lot more than vanity.

I don't need to step onto a scale to let me know that I've gained a little weight. No, my pants aren't tighter and my shirts aren't tugging. I can tell that I've gained weight because my socket is becoming tight.

A tight socket leads to an uncomfortable fitting prosthetic. My residual limb feels like it is being contorted and squished. It causes me to have increased phantom pain at night and a more severe "cricket leg." I never realized how much a 5 pound weight fluctuation would affect the fit of my leg! I cannot blame my tight socket on "shrinking in the dryer," so I can only assume that I am getting bigger.

I am at a crossroads in my journey. I can either recommit myself to a healthy lifestyle. Or, I can switch out my socket with one that is larger. I am choosing the brown rice and bicycle.

When I was pregnant I went through 3 check sockets and 2 permanent sockets. That is a lot of fluctuation in just 9 months! I was surprised that the swelling in my residual limb was present for up to 8 weeks after Robby was born.

I continued to require new sockets as my weight loss increased. I estimate I needed a new socket for every 30 pounds I lost. It is wonderful to be able to go to my prosthetist because my socket is too big. It is humiliating to go when the socket is too tight. I refuse to allow this to happen again.

So, I am going to attack the widening stump before it gets out of control. According to the scale, I gained 5 pounds in May. Not a lot, but enough for me to become proactive. Through eating correctly and increased exercise, I know that I will shed those few extra pounds. I am doing it for my son and myself. Becoming unhealthy is just not an option. Wish me luck!