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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.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Wish I Could Help

During the past week I have been contacted by five people who have just scheduled an amputation. Although each situation varies, there is a common theme to the emails. All of my new friends are apprehensive about the surgery and recovery and were seeking input about how to cope in the weeks leading up to the surgery. (Okay, perhaps apprehensive is too light of a descriptor. It is probably more apt to describe the emotions as downright terrified.)

In many ways the weeks and days leading up to my amputation were more difficult emotionally than the physical recovery after the surgery. After all, I was provided with a small pharmacy to help numb the physical pain after my amputation but had no assistance with the emotional turmoil that I experienced beforehand! Although I knew that the amputation was the best option available, as the day approached I felt like a condemned prisoner who was awaiting a sentence. I remember desperately trying to keep busy and fill the time until the surgery, trying to forget what I was facing by creating day long projects such as flash freezing blueberries and reorganizing my spice shelf.

Each situation is different, but I find that I constantly give the same two pieces of advice. First, I encourage everybody who is faced with a delayed amputation to write down the reasons for the surgery. In the midst of the pain before the surgery, I swore I would never doubt my decision. Thankfully, time has a way of tempering the memories of pain. Now when I am in the middle of an "I hate my leg day," I pull out my list and remember that I made the correct choice. I can still feel the pain that I was experiencing when I wrote my list nearly a decade ago. I'm so grateful that I took the time to create my personal amputation justification letter!

The second advice I give is to anticipate the good that will come of their decision. I will never forget the overwhelming sense of panic I felt after I set the date for my amputation. Instead of looking towards the date of my surgery, I purposely chose to look forward to six months past the date. For me, looking forward to an amputation is unnatural, but it is easy to become excited about the pain-free life that lies ahead. I tried to block out the surgery date and began to focus on how much richer my life was going to be once I rid myself of my crushed foot. Planning my pain-free life helped me pass the time, and the amputation became simply a step towards that goal instead of the Doomsday I had feared.

My heart breaks each time I receive an email or call from somebody facing an amputation. I am instantly transported back in time to the days leading up to my own surgery, and I can never forget the numbing fear that I experienced. I wish I had a magic wand and could fast-forward time to show my new friends that life can be rich and fulfilling after losing a limb. Unfortunately all I can do is listen and offer support. I wish I could do more!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I am very likely having a below knee amputation later this year. Sometimes I feel like I will burst with all the pent up emotions waiting up to this time. I just want it over now. I am off to write that list. X