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, April 05, 2013


This past week has been a whirlwind. I've been so heavily focused on a report for work that all of my other responsibilities were forgotten. Thankfully Scott was there to pick up the slack by cooking and doing the laundry during my housework hiatus. 

Robby is at an age where he understands that sometimes I have to focus on things other than him. He has been so patient (considering that he is only six) and in order to allow me the time and space to concentrate, he has busied himself with building his Legos and playing XBox. Although I am bothered that we have not been able to eat at the dining room because it is strewn with papers, Robby seems to relish eating his "man food" on the TV tray while curled up on the couch.

I started this project three weeks ago both unsure of how to start and doubtful of my abilities to gather everything together. As I always try to do when I feel overwhelmed by a situation or a project, I made a conscious decision to ignore the sheer amount of work that was going to be required. Instead of looking at everything that I needed to do, I tried to break it down into small chunks and chip my way through the sections. 

In addition to being exhausting, the project has a proven to be oddly exhilarating. It's been a long time since I've been this intellectually challenged. It felt good to be able to work my way through the sections to create a report which is, if you don't mind me bragging, pretty darn good!

Thankfully the entire report (all 150 pages) will be submitted this afternoon. I'm relieved that it is almost over, and now the waiting to hear the results will begin. In the meantime, I think I'm going to schedule a massage. I think I can justify the pampering as a medical expense. I've been hyper-focused for so long that I suspect I'll experience PRSD (post-report stress disorder) when this is all over!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Ugliest Photo EVER

April, which has been declared Limb Loss Awareness Month, is upon us again. Last year I was honored to be featured in an informative vignette which was looped on the Jumbo-Tron in Times Square, NYC. Robby was with me and was shown in several parts of the video. The memories of our traveling to New York City to see the video on the larger-than -ife screen is one of my favorite highlights from last year. 

This year I have been bestowed with another honor.  I am delighted to announce that I am now the National Spokesperson for Show Your Mettle Day, an initiative through the Amputee Coalition. Show Your Mettle Day is surely a familiar concept to my longtime blog readers. It is based on the Strut Your Stuff Days that I have founded and spearheaded during the past two years.

The Amputee Coalition took notice of Strut Your Stuff and together we are taking the initiative to a National platform. Similar to Strut Your Stuff, we are encouraging amputees across the country to step out without their cosmetic covers on the last Saturday of April (April 27th). We are a growing community and hopefully this simple gesture will help to create a more cohesive bond. In addition to foregoing the cosmetic cover, the Amputee Coalition is asking members to upload photos of themselves onto the Coalition's Facebook event page. Willow Wood has agreed to donate $1 for each photo uploaded during the month of April. 

I was asked to write a short article explaining the evolution of the event for the March/ April issue of inMotion. Writing the article was not a problem as this is a topic close to my heart, but finding a photo to accompany the piece took more time. Actually, it took a lot of time, multiple wardrobe changes and several location shoots. After several hours of posing for the camera, Scott and I whittled the choices down to three. I was delighted when I finally forwarded the photo options, thankful that the picture drama was behind us.

It wasn't until the magazine came out that I realized how unattractive (ugly would be far more of an apt descriptor) I look in the photo. I am mortified that this off-color, haggard and tired looking likeness is being viewed by my peers. To think that this photo was the best of the lot certainly doesn't say much. Always looking on the bright side, my Mom just commented that the picture will "help to keep the devotees from harassing you." I love her spin on things!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Back To Reality

I had two unhappy and slow moving boys yesterday morning. To quote Robby, moving so early in the morning felt like he was a koopa (turtle) walking through cold syrup. After 9 days of fun and relaxation, Spring Break had come to an end, and they were returning to school.

I felt an odd combination of relief and sadness when I drove Robby to school. We had a great time and managed to fit a lot of adventures into a short amount of time. I knew the house was going to be quiet with him away. I also knew that I needed the house to be quiet because the looming report is due at the end of this week. I've been working on it as much as possible during their break, but it is always easier to concentrate when nobody else is home.

After listening to 90 minutes of lamenting, bargaining, and whining, I finally managed to get Robby ready for school. During the drive to school he was angry and refused to talk to me, but finally spoke as he declared me the "meanest Momom in the entire universe for ruining break by making him and dad go back to school." As soon as he entered his classroom and saw his friends, the scowl left his face and his sour mood lightened. He instantly forgot that he had been mad at me, gave me a quick hug and took off running with his friend. 

At home, I poured myself a huge cup of tea, sat at the dining room table (which hasn't been used in a week because it is covered with documents) and worked non-stop. I didn't even stop to eat lunch. Before I knew it, the day had passed and it was time to pick up Robby. I was so focused on the report that I was too busy to notice the stillness of the house!

Of course, I didn't get any work done on the report after Robby and Scott came home. Although they were both tired because of the transition back to reality, they were oddly demanding of my attention. After hours of being pulled in various directions, I put on the XBox and encouraged them to play a game. For the first time that day, I was able to actually relax and enjoy the solitude- as I was hiding in a bubble bath.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Penal-Imposed Amputations

I am a worrier by nature. While I realize that this is not the most advantageous trait, I am fully aware of my tendencies. During the day I'm able to keep my thoughts in check, but at night when the house is quiet and still, my mind runs wild.

I worry about Robby, Scott, my family and friends, my mothering abilities, and work. When I have fully exhausted every "what if" scenario, I often begin to extend my fret circle to include people whom I have never met. Lately I have been investing an inordinate amount of time and have lost a great deal of much needed sleep mulling over the resurgence of amputation as punishment.

Several weeks ago an acquaintance on Facebook posted a video on my wall with a simple question, "Hey Peggy, what do you think of this?" Stupidly I clicked the link and watched. The video was grainy and it took several seconds before I could gain my bearings. The video showed a man, blindfolded by a black cloth, standing in the center of a town square. In front of the man was a table with a red object, which I wish I had identified in time. It wasn't until his hand was pushed under it did I realize that it was a table saw. By the time I realized what was occurring in the video, it was already too late. If I could go back in time and erase an image from my mind, this one would certainly top the list.

The horrific image of a penal-imposed amputation has haunted me. I wake up with my heart racing out of fear and anger. Since viewing the video I have stumbled upon numerous news articles detailing the reintroduction of amputation in the form of "justice." In countries where doctors are bravely refusing to remove the healthy limb, judges are being ordered to become proficient with amputation to carry out the sentence and the physicians are being jailed. Despite world-wide outcry (which is uncomfortably muffled from our citizens), the incidents of penal imposed amputation are rising. The fact that we are in 2013 and still this barbaric form of punishment is in use astounds me.

Again, I find myself trying to employ logic with something grossly illogical. Reading the accounts of young men (and some women) losing healthy appendages for minor shoplifting offenses, I feel utterly helpless. The world seems so skewed it frightens me.

The news accounts of the penal-imposed amputations reminded me of a young lady with albinism from Tanzania. In another illogical nightmare, individuals with albinism are hunted for their limbs in Tanzania. Witch Doctors in the remote village tout magical powers from the bones of an Albino. This brave young mother was pulled from her home in the middle of the night and both arms were hacked off with a machete. Miraculously, she survived the attack.

Several years ago my prosthetist Elliot learned of her plight and invited her to the United States. He donated both his time and the materials necessary to build her prosthetic arms. Local physical and occupational therapists donated countless hours teaching her how to function with the prosthetics. Similar to the recent amputations for "criminal" offenses, this young mom has haunted me. I often wondered what became of her after she returned to Tanzania.

Last week I learned that she moved from her village into a city so she will not longer be prey for the Witch Doctors. She still uses her prosthetics and has begun a small business sewing goods for export. She now employs nine other people who have varying degrees of disability. Simply put, she is happy and she is thriving!

Learning about her successes my heart began to lighten. I feel so overwhelmed thinking about all of the travesties in the world. I needed to be reminded, in a concrete way, that one person can indeed make a huge difference. Elliot didn't know her, but his talents and big heart changed not only her life but the lives of her children and her employees. I think I need to stop trying to change the world. I know I won't be able to stop the judicial imposed amputations, but maybe by writing about it I can help draw more attention to the issue.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Golden Egg!

The past weekend was a flurry of Easter excitement. To my delight, Robby is still completely trusting and wholeheartedly believes in the Easter Bunny. He was on his best behavior (no Robby Rotten) and could not have been more charming. I guess there is truth to the value of bribery!

With the weather on Saturday seasonable and sunny, Scott and I decided to surprise Robby by taking him to the Animal Park for the Easter egg hunt. (Incidentally this was our third visit to the park since it opened last Sunday. We've already paid for our season passes.) It didn't take Robby long to figure out where we were going, and he spent the drive devising a plan to retrieve as many eggs as possible. By the time we pulled into the park, the competitive juices of both boys were flowing!

We've attended several Easter egg hunts at the park throughout the years, but I have never seen as many participants as Saturday. The park was a zoo (literally and figuratively) and it was difficult to get around with all of the bumping and shoving. I began to doubt our decision to attend as I could foresee disappointment and crying in the future if Robby didn't find an egg. Hoping that the park owners had prepared enough eggs for the overwhelming crowd, we took our place in line and waited for the whistle. 

As soon as the gates opened Robby and Scott took off in a full sprint. The duo had decided to ignore the eggs in the front and concentrate their efforts towards the rear of the park. Their plan worked because Robby's basket was overflowing by the time I reached him. 

Within minutes all of the plastic eggs had been claimed. (Kudos to the park for planting enough eggs so that each of the 1500 children in attendance felt successful and left with at least a few in hand.) With all of the fake eggs found, everybody's attention turned towards finding one of the five highly coveted golden eggs. Two had been discovered during the regular hunt, which meant that there were still three unclaimed.  Upon hearing the news that there were still three golden eggs hidden, Robby handed me his basket grabbed his Daddy's hand and the pair went off running. 

I casually yet meticulously scoured the perimeter of the park, hoping to find the golden egg. After about five minutes it was announced that another egg had been discovered, leaving only one. Thankful that Robby and Scott had found enough plastic eggs to consider the hunt a success, I headed in the direction I saw the pair running. 

Almost as soon as I turned around to find the boys, I saw Robby running towards me. High above his head he was proudly clutching the last golden egg. I stopped in my tracks, dumbfounded that they had actually found it. With 1500 competitive hunters, Robby and Scott had managed to uncover the final golden egg!

I doubt I have ever seen Robby (or Scott for that matter) as proud as he was on Saturday, holding the spray painted metallic egg with his arm extended. He was so excited he could only gesture to show the crowd where it was discovered. After accepting the congratulations from his fellow hunters and picking his prize (a 2 foot tall chocolate bunny that I will surely enjoy some night when he is sleeping) Robby reenacted his discovery. Apparently the egg was hidden in a cluster of dried and yellowed grass. 

For the remainder of the weekend Robby would sporadically exclaim, "I seriously cannot believe I found the golden egg. I am so lucky that me and my Dad are good egg hunters." I had to chuckle when he gave Scott a huge hug and repeatedly said, "Daddy, I really do love you a lot right now."

Robby has stated that he wants to keep his golden egg forever. I'm fairly certain that the hard boiled spray painted egg will eventually begin to rot and reek. Although the golden egg is destined for the trash (eventually) I know that the memory of this victory will be strong for all of us!