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, February 15, 2013

Donation Day!

Today is the big day! After a week of injections and inconvenient side effects, this morning I will go to the hospital and complete the bone marrow cells. I'm excited because I know that I will be donating something that has the potential of making a true difference in the life of another family. Hopefully I am providing an ingredient that, when used properly and with a lot of luck, might help to make somebody healthy.

In a few hours I will be in the hospital and my marrow will be "harvested." I've been warned that the procedure can take up to ten hours, so I should bring a book. Unfortunately, the injections have made it nearly impossible for me to concentrate long enough to read a novel. Perhaps I should take one of Robby's Dr. Seuss books instead! 

Regardless of the side effects and the length of the procedure, I am honored to be able to do this for somebody. I may never know the recipient, but I am hopeful that they will contact me when the required one year of anonymity is over. Even if I am never able to look the recipient in the eyes or give them a hug, I hope they know that I tried to produce the strongest cells possible, and I wish them a speedy and complete recovery. It is odd to feel heavily invested in the life of somebody whom I do not know! 

On another note, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the recent situation concerning Oscar Pistorius. Scott woke me up at 4 AM yesterday with the news of the shooting and the subsequent arrest. I was dumbstruck, and it took his repeating the news twice before I was able to fully comprehend what had happened. My heart breaks for the young life that was so tragically cut short, and I ache for her family and friends.

Until all of the facts are known, I am going to refrain from passing judgment. We live in a society which is quick to jump to conclusions. I do not wear celebrity blinders, but I am not going to contribute to the rumor mongers until the facts come to light.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"The Stupids"

After dropping Robby at school, every day this week I've been driving directly to the hospital for an injection in preparation for the bone marrow donation on Friday. Before I began the regiment, I tried to research the side effects of the medication that has been prescribed. Unfortunately I uncovered little information about what might be in store. I was surprised that all of the donor testimonials that I found touted the intrinsic joy of providing the gift of bone marrow but no references to the preparation process. The absence of information began to concern me as I wondered why donors didn't chronicle their experiences.

The donation coordinator warned me that I could experience "muscle and joint pain, discomfort at the injection site and sluggish cognitive processing" as a result of the injections. My mind was instantly eased by her words. After all, I've been through far worse!  It has been several days, and I can attest that I now feel like an 85 year old woman with a sore bum and a severe case of what my family and friends have lovingly dubbed "the stupids."  My inability to think clearly is, without doubt, the most inconvenient side effect!

Tuesday morning I baked Mr. Bill a plate of cookies and went over to his house to deliver them. Mr. Bill looked confused when he answered the door asking me if I ate the cookies on the walk over to his house. D'oh! I had left the plate of cookies on my kitchen counter.

In the afternoon I became lost on my way home from work. When I finally got home I became frantic because I couldn't locate my car keys. When I finally found the spare keys, I grabbed a Hershey Kiss and headed out the door to pick up Robby. I was half way through my chocolate treat before I realized I had forgotten to unwrap it!

Stumbling out to the kitchen yesterday morning in search of my first cup of coffee, I quickly became irate when my Keurig wasn't working. I kept pressing the button but nothing was happening. I even pulled out the machine and unplugged it from the wall, allowing time for it to reset. Despite my attempted fixes, I wasn't getting any coffee. Finally, I had a eureka moment. I pressed the power button, turning the machine on.

I dug through Robby's closet to find his outfit for school. It was only after he was dressed and heading out the door that he nonchalantly asked why he was wearing his Valentine's Day shirt since his party wasn't until Thursday. I quickly changed his shirt and we headed to school.

Knowing that I was forgetful, I kept reminding myself all day about a weekly 3:00 conference call and was was proud of myself when I dutifully called in at the assigned time. Nobody ever picked up on the other end. I kept the receiver to my ear for 10 minutes before I realized that it was still Wednesday. My weekly conference call doesn't happen until Thursday.

After my conference call snafu, I decided that it was time to sit down and regroup. Sitting in my favorite chair, I put my feet up on the couch and became comfortable. That is when I realized how I was dressed for work.

Thankfully, the bone marrow harvesting takes place tomorrow so I only have another few days of "the stupids." For my own safety, I am keeping my activities to a minimum. The only thing I have to do today is attend Robby's Valentine's Day party at school (his shirt is already picked out) and a conference call (I already have the number programmed into my phone.) Scott is joking about putting the child safety locks on the oven so I don't get hurt while he's at work. Although I know he is kidding, part of me realizes that I might not be able to figure out the lock!

**Before I forget (which could occur at any time) I wanted to wish everybody a Happy Valentine's Day!**

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

He Passed!

Robby has been struggling with his self-esteem ever since his Dengue experience. Being sick for an extended period of time zapped his strength, both cognitively and physically. The struggle to catch up with his peers has taken its toll on my little guy. Robby blames the mosquito for his tiring quickly and being lapped by his friends on the playground, and I know that the perceived weakness bothers him.

Scott and I have been trying to buoy Robby's perspective by focusing on all of the strides that he has made since he became ill. Seeing his faltering self-esteem is difficult because he used to be so positive and self-assured. I am hoping that soon we'll be able to look back on this time as a phase and that his normal outgoing personality will resurface. I have missed my confident and happy little boy!

A few nights ago Robby achieved a goal that was hard fought and well-deserved.  He has been working towards moving into the next level in his ice skating class since November. While his classmates are often picking at the ice with their skates or running into the walls, Robby has been attentive and dedicated to mastering the requisite skills. After a lot of practice and work, he finally graduated his ice skating class!

He was beaming as he skated off the ice proudly holding his certificate of graduation. I haven't seen him exhibit that amount of pride for so long that I almost cried when he announced that he passed. He has been trying so hard and being successful and moving to the next level provided him with a much needed affirmation.

Robby was so excited about passing that he insisted on visiting Mr. Bill to share the news as soon as we came home from the rink. He talked all night about how hard he practiced and that he did it because he worked hard. For the first time in months, he admitted that he was good at something! He was so proud of his accomplishment that he slept with his certificate and took it to school to show his teacher and his friends.

I was elated to see Robby so proud of his accomplishment. I am hoping that this achievement will boost his spirits and will help keep the Dengue weakness in perspective. I know that he is going to be fine, but for the first time I think he is beginning to believe me!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Intimate Discussion

There is a subject that impacts everybody living with an amputation at some point in their life. Despite the broad interest, the topic remains somewhat taboo. When I'm talking with a new amputee, questions pertaining to this issue are often hushed and muttered with an embarrassed undertone. I remember what it was like to have these questions and not having anybody to ask so many times I will bring up the subject during a conversation to minimize the discomfort of asking.

Yes, I'm talking about sex. Losing a limb often results in body image issues. I remember feeling uncomfortable after my amputation. Although my mind told me that I was the same person, just minus a leg, I struggled accepting my new shape. Everything felt foreign, from how I looked in the mirror to my balance and equilibrium. I found finding intimacy difficult when I felt so self-conscious and different!

Although many amputees experience these emotions and struggles when resuming their relationships, there is little information available on the topic of sexual well-being. My friend Dave who writes a blog of his own and I have decided to bring to bring the struggles out of the bedroom. We have recorded our second podcast, with the topic dedicated to intimacy post-amputation. I hope you enjoy our special Valentine's Day edition of Amped Chat!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tubing Flop

I had a wonderful and relaxing weekend visiting with my Mom. Thanks to Robby's school closing on Friday in preparation for bad weather (which never materialized), we were able to get an early start and beat the traffic. I packed Robby's sled and all of our winter outerwear in anticipation of spending Saturday playing in the massive snowfall that was forecast for her region. We arrived early Friday afternoon, allowing us enough time to run to the grocery store and help her batten down her hatches for the "big storm."

The whole day Robby chatted about and made plans for our snow-filled adventure. He challenged me to a snowball battle and vowed to make a snowman taller than the deck. Above all else, he was looking forward to sledding.

Despite the wishes of a little boy, the snow never materialized. Saturday morning we woke to her grass only slightly frosted. Although we were both disappointed, I had devised a perfect plan B on the off chance (sarcasm intended) that the weather forecasters were wrong. After lunch we bundled up and headed to the local ski resort for a day of snow tubing!

Robby squealed when he saw the giant tubing hill. After I paid the salty admission fees, we grabbed a tube and headed towards the conveyor belt for the trip to the top of the mountain. I am not sure who was more excited about the first trip down, but I do know that we both had a blast. Robby went first and I could hear him giggle during his entire ride. I'm sure that other riders could hear me as well, but I was screaming instead of giggling. I have forgotten how quickly a snow tube can travel!

Hearing Robby laugh, and seeing his grin from ear to ear at the bottom of the slope, I was shocked when instead of pleading to sled more, he asked if we could go home. After all, I had anticipated (and paid for) a full day of tubing.

Going down the hill once was not going to cut it! Certain that he just needed another run, I insisted that we go again. He obliged and seemed happy when we were headed back up to the top. Again, he giggled the entire ride down the hill, this time riding the tube on his stomach. When I met him at the bottom, he turned in the tube and declared that he wanted to leave.

Robby and I sat by the fire for several minutes as I tried to persuade him to continue. He was insistent that he was done and began to whine. Once the whining started I knew that our day was finished. Begrudgingly and with some degree of anger and frustration, I walked him back to the car and we returned to Nana's house. Needless to say, I was not happy that our day of snow fun was cut prematurely short by a meltdown!

Robby knew that I was upset and he kept his distance for most of the evening. Despite numerous solicitations, he never voiced why he wanted to leave so abruptly. He continued to say that tubing was a lot of fun and that he had a good time. Logic did not work and the conversations only frustrated me further. I finally gave up and accepted that tubing is apparently not his thing.