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 09, 2012

Walking Day!!

As much as I try to forget, some dates are forever etched in my memory. The dates of my accident and my subsequent amputation are  typically spent subdued. I used to be depressed, but recently I find myself more reflective. Usually I try to acknowledge the accomplishments that I have achieved since these incidents occurred, but more often than not, I find myself fighting back tears and grieving. Although I don't dread the anniversaries with the passion I felt during the first few years, I always feel relieved when I wake up the following morning with the knowledge that the date has passed.

This weekend will mark an anniversary that I relish celebrating. With so many negative anniversaries, it is refreshing to celebrate a happy event.  This Sunday marks my 9th Walking Day.

Scott and I devised Walking Day out of our need to commemorate a life changing event. On November 11, 2003, I took my first steps (literally and figuratively) into a new life. I was scared about my future but excited about starting my new journey. In many ways, it is the day that I began living again!

There was a time, especially during the year, that I thought I would never feel joy, feel beautiful, or feel confident again. I fretted that each step would be laborious, and I mourned that I would be classically disabled for the remainder of my life. Nine years ago I donned my first prosthetic and took a leap of faith, worrying that I would fail but hoping that I would survive.

With time, patience, and practice, I have regained my mobility. I've learned  not only to accept my body but also appreciate everything that I can do. Although the journey hasn't always been easy, I have to say that I love the life that I am living. 

Unlike my myriad of other solemn anniversaries, Walking Day always makes me happy. I watch the video of my first steps and feel nothing but pride as I reminisce about my journey. I've come so far in 9 years, and I am looking forward to what the future holds!

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Last week we decided, for a variety of reasons, to put Robby's swim lessons on a permanent hiatus. I called his swim school to withdraw him only to be informed that I was paid through the month of November. Since I hate to pay for services that aren't used and refunding our money was not an option, Robby will continue with his classes through November. For the next few weeks we will have a busy family schedule as we chauffeur Robby between swim and ice skating!

Robby began skating lessons on Monday, and he was thrilled to be back on the ice. I could see his ear-to-ear grin from across the rink! I stood at the side of the ice, freezing my bum off, watching him slide (and fall) for an hour. He never complained, and the smile never left his face. When my little sweaty, red cheeked boy climbed off the ice, he gave me a hug and told me that he had a great time and can't wait to come again.

We have skating once a week, but Robby is already begging to go back to the rink. He was provided with a pass for all open skate sessions and is eager to practice his "snowplow stops." Unfortunately he needs to have an adult skate with him. Neither Scott nor I can skate.

I despise not being able to do things with Robby because of my amputation. I realize that some amputees are able to skate and ski without an issue. That being said, the thought of strapping a thin blade of sharp metal on the bottom of my prosthetic and trying to maneuver a smooth sheet of ice terrifies me!

I don't want my own anxieties to stop me from trying new things, and I certainly don't want my fears to impact Robby. However, so much of remaining upright on skates depends upon ankle strategies. Lacking an ankle and prior skating experience, I am doubtful that I would emerge from the rink without at least one broken bone.

Not feeling comfortable with an activity because of my prosthetic is extraordinarily rare. I have always been able to accommodate any activity with my prosthetic. I am not one to give up, so (with the help of my mom) I've devised a creative solution.  After some research and a few brainstorming sessions with Mr. Bill, we are going to convert the pool platform into an ice skating rink. Mr. Bill is going to build a rim around the platform, and I will lay thick plastic sheeting. After everything is smooth and the platform is flooded, all we will need is a strong freeze. Voila, we will have our own ice rink for Robby to practice his skills.

Not only will he be able to skate, but also I'll be able to help him with his skills. Where it is frowned upon to wear traction shoes at the ice rink, I can do whatever I want at home! I can wear my ice grippers for stability, climb onto the ice and lend him a hand whenever he needs it.

I have figured out a way to engage with Robby in a beloved new activity while remaining safe! As an added bonus, we'll finally be purposing the gigantic platform that has sat idle in the middle of our backyard.since the pool debacle. All we need is a hard freeze and we'll be skating!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Snow Anticipation

The ground is white with frost this morning, and it looks so tranquil outside. After a buggy and humid summer, I'm looking forward to cold weather, sledding, and snowball fights. The nip in the air has motivated me to get my winter gear in order today.

My first winter after becoming an amputee I was utterly miserable. My limb was always cold. I'm not talking about simply being cool or chilly. It often became so cold that it was painful, keeping me up at night and making it difficult for me to walk outside for long periods of time. I knew I was going to have to move to warmer climate or figure out a way to winterize my prosthetic.

After trial and error, I discovered the versatility of those little air activated hand warmers that are often sold in check-out lines and sporting goods stores. Tossed into the bottom of my socket, these little pads keep my leg toasty warm, without overheating, for hours. They are a godsend when I'm sledding with Robby, sparing me from my leg becoming debilitated by the cold.

Remember the leg warmer socks, made famous by Jane Fonda during the 1980's? This fashion faux pas, when slipped over the pylon, helps to keep the cold from conducting directly into the bottom of the socket. As an added bonus, the snow is kept out of the foot shell eliminating the need to dig out the impacted ice that often accumulates between the components and the plastic. I may not be the most fashionable Mom at the sledding hill, but I should receive credit for being resourceful!

Although nothing makes me feel completely stable on ice, Yak-Tracks come pretty close. I appreciate that they fit easily over my shoe, saving me the inconvenience of having to change into boots. I keep several sets of these little slip-ons in my house and car because I never seem to remember where I put them after I take them off.

This morning, in hopeful anticipation of a snow filled winter, I'm going to order a case of hand warmers. (I discovered that they are considerably cheaper when ordered in bulk online.) I will then scavenge my sock drawer to find all my neon, circa 1980 leg warmers. I will probably be singing "Let it snow" by the time I dig through the laundry room to locate my Yak-Trax and hat and gloves. Last year we didn't receive much snow. I'm hoping that we make up for it this year, and I plan to be ready when the first flakes begin to fall!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I find myself waking up this morning with a sense of relief. After a seemingly interminably long season, the political commercials will finally come to an end. After the past few months, I am looking forward to commercials for cookie mix, Doritos and various Summer's Eve products!

It feels like this election cycle has been exceedingly nasty and that political messages have been inundating every possible venue. From Facebook ads to tweets showing up on my feed, I am tired of "important political messages." I was beginning to feel like a celebrity yesterday with all the phone calls I was receiving. Mitt Romney and Michelle Obama each called to "personally ask for my vote," via automated call of course. Had either called personally my vote might have been swayed, but seeing that they were both robo-calls, the efforts cancelled each other. 

Giving myself a pat on the back, I have to say that I have been mute during this election cycle. Through experience I've realized that debate among friends seldom ends amicably. Too often emotions rise quickly and often bad feelings are harbored when political ideologies do not mesh. I feel comfortable in my perspectives and ideas. I've thought about the issues and feel comfortable with my vote. I also respect my friends and family enough  not to try to sway their opinions. Trying to convince them of the correctness my ideas will be as productive as them trying to turn mine. Some topics are best left off the discussion list.

Regardless of who is elected, the sun will rise tomorrow.  Half of my friends will be elated and will be posting victorious messages bragging about having political control over the next four years. The other half of my friends will pout, and then they will begin posting the not-so-original "don't blame me, I didn't vote for him" message whenever a misstep occurs. Thankfully, those serial posters can easily be hidden from my newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter. 

This morning I plan on stopping to vote before I drop Robby at school. While I could easily stop by my polling place while he is in class,  I feel that it is important that he see me engage in this important civic duty. Robby has seen the commercials and has heard the phone ringing off the hook from political solicitations. I'm looking forward to showing him my role in this process! Happy Election Day!

Monday, November 05, 2012

DC Walk

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity and emotion. I was honored to walk in memory of my friend Vashni who lost her battle with cervical cancer on Wednesday. The walk, which began as a way for us to rally around our friend during her treatment, became a vehicle for us to mourn and to celebrate her life. It was a surreal experience.

The day had numerous poignant moments. Perhaps one of the most inspired was provided by Vashni's friend Jo, who traveled to Washington, DC from Pittsburgh by bus early Sunday morning. Despite being fatigued from the long trip, she changed into her running shorts and began to stretch. Before the race gun fired, she looked at us and vowed that she was going to win for Vashni. She took off at a full sprint, impressive for any age but astounding considering that she is nearly 40!

We commenced our walk while names of friends and family who have battled cancer were proudly read. I held a sign for Vashni as we walked the streets of DC. Every once in awhile I felt tears welling as I became overwhelmed by emotion. I tried to push all thoughts out of my mind and concentrated on walking.

Our group finished the walk just as the first runners were making the final turn towards the finish. As if we were in a scene out of a Lifetime movie, there was Jo, true to her word. She was flying down the streets, leaving females half her age in her wake. She finished the race first in her age classification, slightly behind a military lad who was young enough to be her child! Without hesitation, Jo gave her prize to Vashni's husband before hopping on the bus back to Pittsburgh.

I felt like I was in a daze for much of the walk, thinking about how cancer journeys are varied and unique. The same diagnosis can be given to two people with every similarity yet the outcome can be totally opposite.  I suppose I am dealing with a slight case of survivor's guilt. I can't help but wonder why I am still here when my friend was robbed of her life. I know I'll never have those answers and that wallowing in the question will only lead to heartache and frustration. I owe it to everybody who lost their battle to live my life as fully as possible.