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, November 18, 2011

Stay At Home Day

I declared Thursday to be a "Mommy and Robby Stay at Home Day." While keeping him home from school was not my preference, I was left with no other option. My car was at the repair shop, and our neighbors weren't able to drive him to and from school.

Initially I was frustrated with the situation, but I quickly realized that being upset was only going to ruin the day and was not going to make the car get fixed any faster. I decided to enjoy having my little guy home with me all day!

Robby and I snuggled on the couch in the morning while eating Golden Grahams and watching Ghostbusters (yes, again). After the movie, he slipped his boots over his yellow Spongebob pajamas and put on his coat to go outside to play. I was dressed only slightly more appropriately, wearing sweatpants and Scott's flannel shirt. We played in the woods, chased leaves, and spent nearly two hours "fishing" from the tree house turned Pirate ship.

During the afternoon we lit a fire, watched Christmas movies, and worked on a variety of turkey inspired crafts. His fingers were practically tie-dyed by the time we were done, but our windows are now festively decked out with a gobble of hand shaped turkeys. Working on holiday crafts by the fire while watching all three Santa Claus movies, I found myself feeling happy that my car had was in the repair shop.

I continue to be amazed at how quickly Robby is growing up. Although I didn't want my car to break down and we certainly didn't need the repair bill, I am glad that I was able to escape those worries. Robby and I had a wonderful day together. Sometimes it's a blessing to have an excuse to just stay home and play!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Should Have Stayed In Bed

Yesterday was not my best day. The weather was dreary and gray which probably contributed to my sour disposition. Despite having a full schedule, I wasn't particularly motivated to do anything, would have preferred to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head, and hide from the world.

Unfortunately. hiding from the world is not an option when you have a small child. Robby was energetic and ready to tackle the world. I had no choice but to put on clothes, a smile on my face, and try to act happy. I wish I had stayed in bed!

My day began by knocking Robby's cat Charlie out, at least temporarily incapacitating him. I felt horrible that his cat was hurt, and despite being blamed by a scared little boy, I maintain that I was not the cause of the feline head injury. Charlie was aimlessly running through the house yesterday morning. Unfortunately I happen to be walking down the hall at the precise moment that he reached the top of the stairs. He ran directly into my carbon fiber socket at full kitty gallop. He bounced off my leg and seemed to have trouble standing for a few minutes after the impact. Just as I was getting ready to take him to the vet, he returned to his normal kitty self, albeit moving a little more cautiously.

The ominous "check engine" light began to glow on my dashboard as I drove home from dropping Robby at Kindergarten. I despise that light! It didn't take me long to realize that the car was leaking gasoline when parked. I have a hunch that this is not going to be a quick or an inexpensive fix!

Preparing my Google search words, hoping that I would information that would alleviate my financial fears, I was frustrated when my laptop wouldn't turn on. It turns out that the battery was dead. This typically would not have been a stress causing event. Unfortunately, the charger broke the previously night. I now have a very expensive paperweight until the new charger arrives because, as luck would have it, I happen to have one of the few models that do not accommodate a universal device.

Between the kitty, the car and the computer, I was frazzled and irritable by the end of the night. (Just a hint for my male readers- it is not beneficial to remind your spouse that she is irritable. Chances are she knows her own mood and pointing it out only serves to exacerbate the emotions!) Keep your fingers crossed that the car will be a cheap and easy repair, that my new computer cord arrives quickly, and that Charlie doesn't demonstrate any signs of a feline concussion. I am really hoping that today is a better day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog Friends

My blog began out of my desire to make the transition to limb loss easier for others than it was for me. Although I thought I was emotionally prepared for my amputation, I struggled with a myriad of issues that I never anticipated. I felt detached, many times believing I was a lonely pioneer in a new territory. Writing my blog has helped me connect, alleviating the isolation that I was experiencing.

Through my blog I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people by email and phone calls. Although each of us has had a unique journey, I am always amazed at the similarity of our emotions and experiences once the amputation occurs. One of the greatest benefits (for lack of a better word) of living with an amputation lies with the community.

Although I haven't personally met the majority of my readers, I feel as if I have a personal rapport with so many of you. We have shared stories, laughter, and tears through emails and blog comments. I am grateful that I have been invited into the lives of so many wonderful people whom I have come to know as friends. It is a unique relationship that I don't think most people will understand.

Earlier this week I was able to meet my blog friends from Massachusetts. Mary and Pat were two of my first non-relative blog fans. I was delighted when I learned that they were going to be driving through my area and that we were going to be able to connect. After exchanging emails, Facebook posts, and comments for several years, it was wonderful to be able to hug two people whom I have come to call friends!

I am always thankful when I have the opportunity to meet a "blog friend." Whether I am traveling for a conference or visiting family, I enjoy meeting my readers whenever possible. I feel as if I know so many of you already; it's nice to be able to put a voice and face to the screen name. I hope to be able to meet more of my readers in the future!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Power Foot

After hearing all the hype, I was thrilled to have the chance to see and to try iWalk's new PowerFoot. I believe the technology is exciting and stands to change everything we know about below knee prosthetics. This device contains a motor that acts as a calf muscle. Each step is powered through the motor and into the foot. The technology has left me feeling inspired about what lies ahead within my lifetime!

Like other amputees who have tried this foot, I find that it is difficult to explain. I felt a slight burst of energy with each step. The knee and hip strategies that I use when walking are not needed while wearing this foot.

Yes, the PowerFoot is both heavy and cumbersome; however, the function far outweighs the weight. After all, I'm sure that my amputated limb weighed at least 4 pounds (the weight of the PowerFoot). Although the prosthetic is heavy, I think that the mass of the leg is more of a detriment.

The components above the foot are large in circumference and look bulky. Wearing a fashion boot would be difficult if not impossible. Although the technology is cutting edge, the aesthetics are reminiscent of the 1960's space program. Of course, the look of the foot would not keep me from using it if I were able.

Unfortunately, because of the sheer size, I am not a candidate to use this foot. At least, I can't use this generation. Perhaps when the technology is further miniaturized and the device is smaller, I will be able to try again. Until then, I remain optimistic about the advances in prosthetic technology and the impact that we all will realize within the next few years.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

The Amputee Stigma

Yesterday Robby experienced what has become a rite of childhood by attending his first birthday party for a classmate. He could not have been more excited to be invited which happened to be hosted at his favorite bounce spot. I spent the weekend leading up to the party answering the same question: "Is it time for the party yet?"

Sunday morning he woke up early, telling me that he was "ready to go to that party and start jumping." I explained that it wasn't time to leave yet, but he tried to convince me to go early with the promise of cake. While I will do just about anything for a good piece of cake, I wasn't about to go to a bounce house four hours before the slotted party time. I set the timer on the microwave to countdown the time before the party and tried to divert his attention to more constructive projects.

Finally the timer beeped, and it was time to go. Robby stepped into his cowboy boots, grabbed the gift and went running out the door. I noticed in the car that his boots were on the wrong feet, but I figured that he was going to be taking them off as soon as we got to Jump-N-Jimmy's so I didn't bother changing them.

Robby was beyond ecstatic to be at the party. However I felt self-conscious and insecure. The lobby was filled with the parents of Robby's classmates, and this was the first time that I was meeting many of them. I try to feign confidence but, in reality, I am not comfortable around large groups of people that I don't know.

Most of the parents seemed to know each other. While I introduced myself, the cliche seemed closed and my standing in close proximity began to feel awkward. I was content and happy sitting in the comfy chair, sipping on some coffee and just watching Robby run and laugh with his friends.

I tried to sit close enough to the other parents so that I still seemed approachable, yet I didn't want to intrude on their conversation. Finally, two moms came and sat next to me. I smiled and introduced myself as "Robby's Mom." I was hoping to break the ice and start a conversation.

Instantly the moms began to look uncomfortable. Finally, one responded, "So, you're the disabled mom in the class." My face immediately began to flush and my heart rate increased. I think I responded by saying something eloquent like, "Umm.. my name is Peggy." An awkward silence ensured, and my insecurities began to skyrocket. I finally feigned a phone call so that I could get up and leave.

I felt deflated and angry. I have worked so hard to portray myself as a competent and involved parent. I am active in his class and have met all of his classmates. Despite my efforts, I've concluded that some people only define me by my limb loss. In the least I will have to fight an uphill battle against the stigma associated with amputees. In my opinion, these moms are more handicapped by their own ignorance than I am by my amputation.

I spent the rest of the party in the bouncers with Robby and his friends. It turns out that this group of five year olds are more fun, and less judgmental, than their parents! (Incidentally, this one legged "disabled" Mommy was the only adult actually jumping and playing with the kids.)

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