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, August 31, 2012

ADA Amusement

Despite the obstacles and inconveniences of living my life as an amputee, I can say that there are some inherent benefits. After all, I have occasionally used my prosthetic as an excuse to leave a social engagement. A host or hostess never experiences hurt feelings if I explain my departure by saying that my leg is uncomfortable. Opposed to stating the truth, that I would rather curl into my pajamas and watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory than stay at their dreadfully boring party another moment, blaming my prosthetic is kinder.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of being an amputee occurs during visits to amusement parks. Most parks have implemented ADA protocols, providing individuals with disabilities easier access to the rides. In essence, my missing foot becomes a ticket to bypassing long lines for rides.

When we went to Hershey Park last weekend, I took advantage of the ADA Fast Pass. After checking in with Guest Services, I was given a wrist band which provided access to the front of the line. On most rides we entered through the exit and stood where the riders disembarked. Despite the long roping line of eager passengers, we never waited more than 5 minutes to board a ride!

While I joke about the amputee amusement park perk, I find the accommodation helpful. Standing in long lines is an inconvenience for most people. For me, it is a painful experience. Standing still, my limb presses against the socket of my prosthesis, causing sore spots and in extreme cases skin breakdown. It is exhausting trying to shift my weight so that my prosthesis is unloaded. The muscles on my sound side to become fatigued and strained from my shuffling to minimize socket pressures. Before the ride access programs were implemented, a day at the amusement park always equated to painful nights and multiple days limping while taking pain medication.

Although bypassing the lengthy wait was appreciated, I felt uncomfortable taking my seat in front of everybody else who had been waiting. We received scowls, stares and overheard rude comments throughout the day as we took advantage of the ADA program. While I understand the frustrations of seeing somebody bypass a line, I wish that I would have seen more compassion and understanding. Instead, we simply witnessed hostility and anger. Perhaps if more people would take the time to evaluate the impact of a disability, more acceptance and less judgement would result.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lapel Pins Are Here!!!

Several years ago, realizing that the amputee community was missing a symbol of support, I took it upon myself to design my own. I knew that I wanted a ribbon, but I also wanted it to be unique. During a conversation with my Mom, I was struck by a moment of inspiration. After a few hours using PhotoShop, I came up with my final design.

I posted my image on Facebook and I knew that I had created something special. My ribbon went viral. I was delighted when, within a few hours, it was posted on the walls of amputees around the world. Thrilled that my design was well received, I heeded my family's advice and secured an official copyright. Although I had no concrete plans to utilize the design, I wanted to retain the rights.

A few months ago I was contacted by a Mary Ann, a new reader, about my producing die-cast lapel pins. I wrote back, explaining that I wanted to produce the pins but did not have the connections to manufacture them in a financially feasible manner. I was stunned by her response.

As fate would have it, Mary Ann is currently living in China and had ready access to pin manufacturers. Stating that she believed in my efforts and wanting nothing more than to promote awareness, she offered to talk with the factories to obtain quotes.  After talking about her offer with Scott, I agreed to investigating pin production.

The past few months have been a flurry of emails and Skype calls as this dream came to fruition. I have never met Mary Ann, yet I feel like we are kindred spirits and that we have always been friends. She has worked tirelessly to make these pins available, simply because she believed in the ribbon symbol and my message. I am overwhelmed by her generosity of time and spirit!

Last night the box that I have been anticipating finally arrived. I was shaking when I held my prosthetic ribbon pin, realizing that something that I created has finally been produced. I love the pin, and I hope that you do too!

I'm excited to announce that AmputeeMommy Prosthetic Awareness lapel pins are currently available. They can be ordered using the link on the sidebar of this blog, or through my website. The cost is $5, including shipping. (The die-cast pin is 1"x 3/4".)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


In July of 2003, while lying on my couch recovering from my amputation, Scott casually tuned the television channel to the Tour de France. In too much pain, I didn't complain about being forced to watch grown men pedal their way across France. In my medicated daze, I was content that Scott was occupied so that I would be left alone to sleep.

Within a few days I began to understand the sport of cycling. Not only did I start to enjoy the coverage, I became a Lance Armstrong fan. I learned about his story and drew strength from the fact that not only did he survive against the odds, but that he came back stronger after he was knocked down. His story was precisely what I needed to motivate me during my recovery.

Since that difficult summer, Lance Armstrong has continued to be a personal role model. He started Livestrong as a way to help others who were battling cancer. I admire that Armstrong continues to remember what he experienced and feels compelled to reach back and help others on their cancer journey.

My efforts through AmputeeMommy are based on the same beliefs.  Knowing that somebody else might feel less frightened and more empowered because I shared my experiences makes dealing with my own amputation a little easier. I suppose I am still trying to put a purpose and a positive spin on such a devastating loss.

The past few days the news reports surrounding Lance Armstrong have been brutal. He has been called a cheat, a liar and a drug abuser. His 7 Tour de France victories have been stripped and his cycling records have been left in shambles.

When I heard the news last Friday, I broke down in tears. It's always painful when a hero falls! After some contemplation, I realized that he did not become my hero because of his feats on the bike. Rather, he earned my admiration because of what he chose to do with his fame. Livestrong is an amazing support system for cancer patients. Because of this organization, I am proud to declare that I am a cancer survivor.

During that summer of 2003, I was given something that I desperately needed. For me, Armstrong became a symbol of hope. For the first time since losing my leg, I began to imagine a life where I could be both happy and active. His titles and stage wins may be nullified in the record books, but he will always be the epitome of a champion because of what was accomplished when he stepped off the bike.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Tradition

Over the weekend we celebrated our family being reunited by taking one final summer adventure. After saving all summer and unbeknownst to Robby, we decided to take him to Hershey Park. He had no idea where we were going until we pulled into the parking lot and he saw the roller coasters. After squeals of delight, he proclaimed that he was the "happiest boy in the entire world!"

With our admission coupons in hand, we headed towards the gate. I could barely keep up with Robby, he was so excited to ride the "big kid coasters" that he took off skipping in front. I had no doubt that we were going to have a great day. I also knew that it was going to be a financially draining day. Amusement parks have becoming so expensive!

Standing in line for our tickets, I noticed that admission prices were divided by age groups. Almost instinctively I decided that Robby was going to be five years old for the day. Reducing a child's age for the sake of a cheaper admission is part of a long family tradition. With three children and one salary, family outings were rare when I was young. I venture to guess that I was telling ticket agents that I was 10 years old until I was a freshman in high school and could no longer pass as an elementary student.

We approached the ticket counter and I confidently handed the teller our coupons. She looked up and asked for Robby's age. I quickly said, "he's five." She rung up the junior admission price, and I thought that we were in the clear and ready for a fun filled day.

Unfortunately Robby decided to interject. "Momom, I am not five years old. I'm six." I tried to cover  by saying, "You mean that you'll be six next month Robby. Right now you are still just five years old."

The more I insisted that he was five, the more vocal he became about being six. Scott tried to distract him by gently pinching the back of his arm. Unfortunately this just made things worse as he screamed, "Why are you pinching me? Don't you remember, I'm six years old now. We had my birthday party and there were six candles. I'm not five, and please don't pinch me!"

Out of frustration Robby looked at the ticket seller and said, "Listen, I don't know what is wrong with these two. I am six years old. I am not five anymore. I don't know why they are forgetting that I am six."

There was nothing I could do but smile and hand over my debit card. After she handed us our tickets, she looked up from the computer and said, "Just so you know, we give the Junior admission price until age 9. He can be six today."

D'oh! Perhaps it is time for family tradition to come to an end.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Last week I tried to keep Robby as busy as possible. I did this for two reasons. First, I didn't want him to become bored and start complaining about being away from home. After all, staying away from his Daddy, his toys and his cat for over a week was a lot to ask of a six year old. Secondly, and perhaps the most selfish reason, I didn't want to hear him complaining about being bored!

We spent the week experiencing various tourist attractions in my Mom's area. Although I planned the trips with Robby in mind, I have to admit that we both had a blast! I lived in the same house throughout my entire childhood, yet I never took advantage of the various attractions nearby.  I am proud of myself for managing to squeeze a summer's worth of fun into a single week!

Despite having a lot of fun, by the end of the week it was obvious that Robby was becoming homesick. Luckily I had one more magic trick up my sleeve. Scott left work on Friday and proceeded to drive three hours, with rush hour traffic, to make it to my Mom's house by sunset. Robby was beyond words when he saw his Daddy pull into the driveway. He took off running and leaped into his arms, wrapping Scott in a bear hug that left me envious!

Robby did not leave his Daddy's side the entire night. As happy as Robby was to see his Daddy, the feelings were obviously mutual. Within minutes of his arriving the pair were curled up on the Lazy Boy lounger. Robby filled him in on all of our adventures, carefully showing every souvenir and trinket he had acquired. While I know that Robby had a good time during the week, he was happier and more animated with his Daddy.

During the past week my Mom has made monumental strides in her recovery. I'm thankful that she has progressed to the point where she can now be alone. On Sunday afternoon we packed up and headed home. While I will continue to fret and worry about my Mom, it is nice to be home and together!