Today marks my 10 year AmpuVersary. It is difficult to fathom that I have been living as an amputee for a decade. In some ways it feels as if I have been an amputee forever, with my bi-legged life a distant memory of a life lived by somebody else. It is odd how fully I have adapted to my new existence. Despite the familiarity of my life with a prosthetic, the memories of July 3, 2003 remain as vivid as if they occurred yesterday.
The drive from our Virginia home to the
Baltimore hospital that steamy July morning were perhaps the most
angst-filled moments of my life. I have never before, and have not
since, felt the same terror that I experienced that morning. I remember
understanding that my life was about to be irrevocably changed and
feeling as if the future was completely out of my control. Despite the
fear, I was confident that I couldn't continue to live in the constant
pain that I had been experiencing the preceding five years. In many ways
I felt like I was rolling the dice, hoping for a better life but not
certain of the outcome.
Although it has been a decade, the
memories of the drive to the hospital remain raw. Just remembering
causes me to experience a physical reaction as if I am reliving the
terror and anxiety that I felt that morning. Needless to say, I try to
avoid those memories!
Remembering the fear is uncomfortable, but
it has also become unexpectedly empowering. When I am overwhelmed or
scared, I find myself drawing strength from the knowledge that I have
survived the physical pain and the emotional quagmire that accompanied
my amputation. Although it won't always be easy or comfortable, I know
that I will always figure out a way to adjust to life's changes.
Discovering my inner strength has allowed me to try things with one foot
that I never dreamed possible before my accident.
Today is not
about lamenting what was lost a decade ago. Rather, I choose to
celebrate everything that I have accomplished. During the past ten years
I have adjusted to many new roles, and my life is completely different
than I envisioned. My desire to help others adjust to their amputation,
coupled with my growing need to assist the amputee community, has taken
my career out of the classroom and into arenas I never knew existed.
addition to being an amputee, I am also a wife, a mother, an advocate, a
writer, a spokesperson, a teacher and a motivational speaker. Although
certainly the most visible, my limb loss is only part of the changes my
life has taken. It isn't always easy and I still have days when I curse
my prosthetic and I mourn the loss of my biological foot. But when I
look at my life in it's entirety, I can honestly say that the past ten
years have been my best, and I'm looking forward to the possibilities of
I think I'll celebrate my AmpuVersary with a cupcake!