On July 3, 2003 I underwent my below knee amputation. Regardless of how well-adjusted I feel, this date always feels bittersweet. My life as an amputee has exceeded my expectations. I am no longer in constant pain, I have a wonderful husband and a darling (most of the time) little boy whom I adore. In spite of the abundant blessings in my life, I find myself mourning the loss of my foot around this time of year.
It took me a long time before I allowed myself permission to grieve my limb loss. I erroneously believed that I was somehow not entitled to feel sadness or pain over my amputation. Because the medical decision to amputate was mine, I worried that it would be hypocritical to then grieve the result.
I didn't regret my decision to amputate. I was relieved that the nagging pain and constant surgeries were behind me. I had peace with the decision, knowing that it was carefully weighed and the correct treatment for my injury.
Finally, it occurred to me that it was okay to grieve the loss of my foot without casting doubt on the decision to amputate. My foot, good and bad, was a part of me for the first 29 years of my life. Allowing myself to verbalize something as simple as, "I miss my foot" felt liberating. Slowly I began to become the well-adjusted amputee that I was portraying for so long!
Grief is a personal process. For me, I became empowered by giving voice to the feelings. I began writing and confiding in my friends and family. I learned (the hard way) that trying to repress these feelings only limited my potential for growth and my ability to adjust.
I don't live my life in a state of grief. Most times I don't give living my life as an amputee much thought; it has simply become a reality. If you know me, I hope that you realize that I am a happy woman who is actively involved with life.
Though, I have to admit there are times I miss my foot. Typically I miss the simplicity of living as a bi-legged person. These are the days I realize all of the small accommodations that I have naturally made because of my amputation and I find myself resenting the extra planning that it requires to live with a prosthetic.
I am having an "I miss my leg" day. I realize that it is probably because of the approaching ampu-versary. I know that the feelings will wane and that I will assume my normal outlook soon. In the meantime, I know that it is okay for me to feel a tad blue today.