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, July 13, 2012


As sad as I feel about the "great pool debacle," I know that Mr. Bill feels worse. I can best describe him as somber and remorseful since the collapse. Every time I see him, he apologizes and promises that he will fix the deck strong enough to support a pool full of elephants. My reassurance that it's really okay and that I appreciate all of the time and effort that he invested in our project seems to be falling on deaf ears.

I wish that Mr. Bill would not personalize the mistake, but I know that feeling responsible is normal when a friend is impacted. A few years ago I was in Mr. Bill's situation. I tried to do something nice to help a friend and it ended in catastrophe.

Right after Robby was born, I was asked to make a wedding cake for my friend Jen. I was delighted and honored that she would entrust me with her cake because her wedding reception was quite lavish, requiring the expertise of two wedding planners to execute. I spent hours handcrafting each rosette and carefully baking and decorating each tier.

The cake was gorgeous. It was four tiers and featured miniature icing roses and lace cascading down the sides. As we packed it into the back of our SUV, I was convinced that my creation was going to take her breath away.  Scott and I changed into our wedding clothes and headed off on the three hour drive with the cake safely stowed in the back of the car. At least, I thought it was safe. We arrived at the reception and my heart stopped when I opened the back of the car.

Jen's beautiful cake was strewn throughout the back of the car. The layers were split, the roses were crushed and the handcrafted icing lace was unrecognizable. After a brief moment of panic and a lot of tears, I realized that I was not going to be able to undo the damage.

We drove to a grocery store where I bought cans of white icing. I spent the next hour working furiously to try to make something presentable out of the mush that used to be a cake. When my friend was kissing her new husband, Scott and I were scouring the reception hall and swiping large hydrangeas to fill in the holes and cracks on the cake. By the time the guests arrived, Jen had a cake and, although I received compliments from her, I knew it was not what she expected.

Although I had the best intentions and put in the effort, I had failed miserably. I did everything I could to fix the situation, but there was nothing that I could do in that moment to undo the damage that was done. It was a horrible feeling that haunted me for weeks after the wedding. I know that Mr. Bill is in that same place.

Unlike my relationship with Mr. Bill which will survive the pool collapse unscathed, my friendship with Jen did not survive my mistake. Despite my apologies and attempts to reach out to her, she refused all contact with me. I finally accepted that there was nothing that I could do to fix the situation. It saddened me when I realized that my friendship was not stronger than a pastry.

Mr. Bill is insistent that he fix the deck. I understand his need to make this okay and to try to fix it even though I harbor no ill will, so I have stopped protesting. Fixing the deck is more for him than for me. I'm hoping that by making the repairs, he will obtain a sense of satisfaction and that he feels he has made amends. It doesn't matter how many times I tell him that it's okay and that we appreciate and need him; he needs to make the repairs so that he feels peace. We all really love that man.

Over the weekend Robby and Mr. Bill will resume working on the deck. Instead of creating a space for a pool, they are now crafting what has been dubbed,  "Momom's Hideaway." They are turning the deck into a space where I can sit in a swing and look out over the woods and stream. They are even making a "No Boys Allowed" plaque for me to hang when I want to be alone. It's not my pool, but it might just be the next best thing!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Olympic Moment

Oscar Pistorius is a bilateral (meaning both legs) below knee amputee from South Africa. In case you haven't been watching the news or listening to the radio during the past week, you might not know that he will be competing in the Olympics in track and field.

I was completely taken by surprise when I first learned of Oscar being named to the Olympic team. If I had been asked to predict my reaction, I would have sworn that  I would be happy for him but would be relatively unaffected emotionally. Even before I became an amputee, my motivation and inspiration has never been derived by those with extraordinary athletic prowess. 

Imagine my surprise when upon hearing the news of Oscar being named to the team, I broke down sobbing. I must have looked like a fool standing in the check-out line at Costco with tears streaming down my cheeks, giggling like a school girl with a big old grin on my face. I was elated that somebody who has become the poster child for amputee strength and resolve has made it to the greatest sporting event in the world, all while wearing carbon fiber feet!

For the remainder of the weekend, I had chills every time I imagined him proudly walking into the Olympic stadium wearing his prosthetics. By showing the world that he can compete and hold his own with his bi-legged peers, he is holding a new banner of strength and independence for amputees. For a few moments this summer, a global discussion on amputees and our abilities, not our disability, will occur.  

We are more than our limbs and our lost body parts. We are a group of strong and determined individuals who, when we are given the right tools and put in the hard work, can achieve greatness. It really doesn't matter if he wins a medal. The hope that is being reaped by new amputees, especially children who are scared about living a life with a prosthesis, is more precious than any gold that will be awarded during the games. He has already won because he is proving that all is possible!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Battle Ready

During the past week I've received several emails inquiring about the status of my upcoming surgery. I wish I could provide everybody with a firm date, but unfortunately I can't. As predicted, my insurance adjustor has decided to throw her monkey wrench denial into my quest for medical care.

As of now, I don't have a date for the surgery. I know that it needs to be done, and I know that my surgeon and lawyer have submitted all of the necessary paperwork. I've been told to "Sit tight and wait." It occurred to me that is easy for somebody who isn't living with a bone spur, splintering bone, and distal tip failure to say!

I am feeling increasingly impatient, not because I'm eager for surgery but because I want to feel normal when walking. The pain is increasing, and I am feeling more of the effects of my ailing limb. The soreness keeps me from falling asleep and often wakes me up in the middle of the night. Jogging and higher impact activities are increasingly painful, and I find myself walking more deliberately and cautiously.

For now my surgical status is in a holding pattern awaiting the whims of my adjustor. I despise my medical care being held hostage by such a heartless, penny pinching dictator. I am not asking for anything that hasn't been documented as medically necessary, yet I have no doubt that I will have to plead my case in court so that I can regain my limb health.

I wish that I could simply schedule the surgery, make the necessary plans, and have control over my own health care. Being injured at work apparently robs me of this "luxury" as I am now subjected to a lifetime of denials, justifications, and seemingly endless court hearings. Routinely denying claims must be financially beneficial for the insurance company or I doubt that they would go to the trouble. I'm sure that many people simply tire of the battle, resigning themselves to a lifetime of mediocre care and discomfort. I know first hand that the fight is exhausting.

No matter how laborious, I will never stop advocating for my care.  I will never stop fighting for the limb and prosthetic care that I require. I resent that I have to fight, but I'll continue to battle the insurance company for myself and for others who don't have the ability or strength to do it for themselves.

Deny my request for surgery? The gauntlet has been thrown. Bring it on. I'm ready to battle!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bickering... AGAIN

We're entering the third week of summer vacation, and although I like having both Scott and Robby home, I have been tapping into the Tylenol bottle on a regular basis. I feel like I've assumed yet another job, this time Referee. Who would have thought that a 6 year old and a 46 year old would bicker so much!

I'm sure that part of the problem lies with the oppressive heat. Since our pool collapsed, we've been relegated to indoors to escape the 100 degree plus temperatures. Apparently there is such a thing as too much together time.

Robby and his Daddy are obviously going through a stage which, I might add, is most unpleasant. The two of them clash and are bringing out the worst in each other. Robby becomes irritable and frustrated with his Daddy. He wants to be completely independent and refuses to ask for help even when it is obviously needed. Scott is having a difficult time allowing Robby to try and fail and insists on providing "guidance."

Whether it be with a video game, working on the computer, or playing with his toys, Scott has been zealous in offering assistance. Robby becomes frustrated and angry that his Daddy won't allow him to do it by himself. Scott becomes irritated with Robby's frustration, and before I know it, I'm separating my two "boys."

While both "boys" have been occupying themselves with various electronic devices, I have been spending my days responding to their various squawks for help, drinks, snacks, information, or attention. Despite my running around responding to various requests, the option is still better than having the two of them in the same room for an extended amount of time.

I am hoping that this is simply a phase in their relationship and is not an indication of things to come. The hot weather is supposed to break soon, and I'm optimistic that time outside the house will help the situation. If it doesn't, I'm seriously considering running away from home!

Monday, July 09, 2012

We Broke the Law

As bad as I feel about our pool disaster, I know that Mr. Bill feels worse. He blames himself for the construction miscalculation and feels that he disappointed both Robby and me. I've tried to assure him that I harbor no ill will and that I'm grateful that he tried. I can tell by looking into his eyes that he feels horrible, and I'm at a loss for words to convey that it's really okay.

When words fails me, I turn to baked goods. I decided that now, more than ever, Mr. Bill deserved a special treat and I knew exactly what to make. He has been hinting for a blackberry pie "just like my Mama made" ever since the berries on the wild vines between our yards started to ripen.

Early in the morning before the heat became overly oppressive, I went out with my berry bucket and picked the vines clean. I managed to scavenge about a cup of berries, enough for a snack but not nearly enough for a pie. Thankfully, I knew the perfect place to go where the blackberry vines are thick and relatively untouched. I grabbed another bucket, packed up Robby, and headed to the park.

Our local park is flanked on three sides by wild blackberry and raspberry bushes. Robby and I have been picking berries there since he was an infant and, now that he is older, I was hopeful that he would pick more berries than he would squish between his fingers. Between the two of us, I planned on having the necessary four cups of berries picked within an hour.

Driving past the grocery store on the way to the park I flirted with the idea of simply buying the berries. Somehow though, that felt like cheating. I wanted Mr. Bill to have the pie he remembered from his childhood, and that started with freshly picked, wild grown Virginia blackberries. I pulled into the park and we set out picking.

My suspicions were correct and the berries were plentiful. Robby and I had no trouble picking two buckets full of ripe, juicy blackberries. If you include the berries that were consumed by both of us, we probably picked close to two and a half buckets!

The park was quiet and, with the exception of a Boot Camp fitness class, we didn't see anybody. We were topping off both our buckets and our bellies when a uniformed police officer walked by. Robby immediately said hello and we began to chat.

He asked me if the berries were sweet this year, and what I was planning on doing with them. Robby explained that we are baking a blackberry pie for Mr. Bill because he is sad. He then proudly showed the officer both buckets heaping with the fragrant berries.

The smile on the Officer's face began to fade as the tone of the conversation took an unexpected turn. "Ma'am, did you know that it is illegal to pick berries here?"  I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped, which was probably not a pretty sight considering the blackberry seeds stuck in my teeth! I nervously admitted that "had I known it was against the law, I would not have shown you both buckets."

Robby became upset and offered to put all the berries back. The Officer explained that had received a call from somebody reporting my berry picking. He stated that he was obligated to come and meet with me, but that he would allow us to keep our berries and was not going to give me a ticket. With a wink and a coy smile he said, "The library opens at 10. I think the berries are sweetest first thing in the morning, definitely before 10:00."

Because our local library sits on the park grounds, I inferred that somebody from the library called to report our rogue berry-picking ways. How pathetic that somebody has nothing better to do than file a complaint against a mother and son quietly picking wild berries!

Part of me wanted to go to the library to inquire about a blackberry pie recipe, but I thought better of it.  I already had one run-in with the cops, and I didn't want to risk another because of my sarcasm. Instead, I drove home and baked my contraband berries into a delicious pie. I'm glad that our lawless berry picking didn't land us in the slammer because that certainly would not have relieved Mr. Bill's guilt!