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, December 06, 2013

Keeping it Classy...

I have been having trouble sleeping which has led to my functioning on fumes throughout the day. I feel like much of the time I have been living in a fog, distanced from deliberate thought processes and operating on autopilot. Unfortunately, sometimes autopilot fails. 

Yesterday morning after dropping off Robby at school, I went to the grocery store. I knew I had only a few items to pick up, but the fact that I am easily winded makes shopping more laborious and less fun. Regardless, I had to pick up some staples or I was going to have to serve Fruit Loops for dinner. I wanted to make the trip as quick as possible, so I stuck to my list and checked out quickly.

Carrying my two grocery bags, I fumbled with my keys to press the unlock button for my car. I heard the familiar "beep beep" of my car doors unlocking, and opened the door to the black SUV. I tossed the bags on the center console and sat down. Relieved to finally be able to sit down and relax, I was also anxious to release copious amounts of gas which I had been trying to hold in while in public. After letting out a toot which would have impressed Robby, I proceeded to close the door and get ready to drive home. I was clicking the seat belt when the smell came wafting up and became overwhelming. Obviously I have been living with males for too long because I found myself saying out loud, "Man it's a good thing I didn't let that rip in the store." 

I imagine my surprise when I heard a raspy voice say "I'm not so sure about that." I looked in the passenger seat and saw an elderly man, quietly sitting. Then I looked at the dashboard and realized that it was grey whereas mine is brown.  It took me several (extremely long) seconds to process my situation. Crap--I was in the wrong car!

Mortified that I had entered a strangers car and tooted noxious gas in his presence, I frantically began spewing apologies. I am sure that I was nonsensical, and I wanted to run away and hide. After offering numerous explanations and profound apologies for farting in the wrong car, I did the only thing I could think of to do.  I swung open the door and ran towards my sanctuary of my black SUV.

I couldn't move fast enough to escape my humiliation. At this point, all I wanted to do was go home. I turned on the car, took a deep breath and prepared to put the entire incident behind me. I looked up and saw the kind gentleman walking up, carrying my grocery bags. In my haste I had left my groceries in his car!  So much for my chances of a graceful exit.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Racing and Winded

The previous times my doctor's have increased my medication, I have always felt better. Within a day of the change, I was feeling more energized. I was hoping that I would have a similar reaction to the latest increase. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred.

Instead of feeling fantastic, the new medication has caused me to feel agitated and awkward. My heart has racing, making it uncomfortable for me to try to rest and nearly impossible for me to walk without becoming winded. I hate huffing and puffing simply by walking up the stairs! I'm exhausted, but my rapid heartbeat makes it nearly impossible for me to calm enough to sleep.  In many ways this is reminiscent of the side effects of the adrenaline shots I was given when I was stung by the tracker jackers last spring. 

I immediately hopped onto my Hotspot Shield VPN and researched the medication to discover that my side effects were both expected and normal. Although I was certain that I wouldn't receive contrary information, I broke down yesterday evening and called my doctor to report the symptoms. I was assured that everything I was experiencing was "normal" and that everything should settle down within a few days. I certainly hope that the doctor is correct because at this point I'd rather deal with the elevated thyroid level!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Frustrated and Done

Yesterday morning my doctor called. I wasn't surprised by the call, and to be honest, I knew what she was going to say before I even answered. As predicted, my thyroid levels continue to be elevated and they were going to increase my medication (for the third time.)

My thyroid issues started several years ago with my becoming extremely ill. Numerous tests finally yielded an answer, and although I wasn't happy with the diagnosis, I have come to accept it. Despite the elevated levels, my thyroid gland is healthy. I was diagnosed with cluster tumors on my pituitary gland which cause increased secretions from my thyroid.

Between the time that I was diagnosed and the appointment with the "specialists" at the University of Pittsburgh, the cluster tumors went dormant. I was told that surgery was not recommended because they were not "ripe" and the risk of trying to remove them outweighed the benefits. Since I was not eager to undergo neurological surgery, I didn't complain and took the diagnosis as good news.

I have learned (through first hand experience) that cluster tumors often "ripen" during periods of great hormonal shifts, especially pregnancy. My numbers are surprisingly high considering the dosage of medication I had been taken. This, along with my history, leads the team to believe that the clusters are perfectly plump and ready to be removed.

Although I won't undergo the imaging tests until after the baby is born, I have been informed that I should expect surgery approximately 8 weeks after delivery. Surgery near my brain is not something that I want to experience; the timing makes it especially unappealing.

I was looking forward to bonding and cuddling with the new baby. Now I have to anticipate and plan for my surgical recovery instead of simply adjusting to being a Mom of two. I know I'll work my way through this, but at this moment I am both frustrated and angry. I know that it resolves nothing to admit, but sometimes I just want to shake my fist and scream "This isn't fair!"

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Check the Chart!

I took one look at Robby yesterday morning, and I knew that he was sick. My little koopa was pale, had deep purple circles and was moving at a turtle's pace. His fever confirmed my suspicions, and I tucked him back into bed for the day.

Typically my schedule is flexible enough to allow me to stay home on days when he is sick. As luck would have it, yesterday I had my own doctor's appointment. The thought of paying the cancellation fee ($50) and rescheduling (which would probably take 3 weeks at a minimum was enough motivation for me to seek out a plan B. I couldn't bring Robby with me, so I picked up the phone and called reinforcements.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. In my case, it just takes a very dedicated and loving neighbor. Mr. Bill immediately agreed to watch Robby so that I could make my appointment.

Although I was relieved to be able to keep my appointment, I was not looking forward to going. I enjoy hearing the baby's heartbeat, but everything else about the appointment I find uncomfortable. I am being seen by a rather large practice and it is encouraged that I see each of their 7 doctors at least once before I deliver. This means I get to become up close and personal with seven people instead of forming a relationship with just one.

Each visit starts out the same way. I am always surprised when I see the shock, immediately followed by shame and embarrassment because of the visceral reaction, on the doctor's face when she realizes that I am an amputee. I understand that seeing a black prosthesis in the stirrup might not be a common sight, but the fact that each one responds so strongly is simply an indication that they haven't even glanced at my chart before walking into the room!  Every appointment I am forced to recount the not-so-sexy tale of how I lost my leg. I wish I could make it spicier, but I wouldn't want to provide any false information to the individuals who will be delivering the baby. 

After providing an abbreviated version of my leg story, the new doctor proceeded with my exam. I hope that this doctor is not the one on call when I deliver. The fact that she stopped the exam to answer her cell phone, and proceeded to maintain a personal conversation with her friend while I was spread eagle and exposed was not a confidence booster. I typically would have said something, but since there is a possibility that she may be responsible for my comfort during the birth process, I didn't want to do anything to agitate her. The doctors can't seem to remember that I'm an amputee, but with my luck they would remember me if I were confrontational.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Christmas Yoda

It turns out that our Black Friday shopping extravaganza was not nearly as grand as we had anticipated. Looking through the circulars, it became clear that there was little that we actually needed. We still went out, partly to keep the tradition, but we didn't have to hustle between stores like we have in years past. Despite the less-than-stellar haul, Scott and I had a great time.

Saturday was spent helping my mom put up her outdoor Christmas decorations. She has scaled back her decorating over the years, but since my sister and her 3 little ones moved in, she has more motivation to bling out the house, inside and out. She's right, Christmas is a lot more fun when there are children in the house! With the garlands hung and the 8 foot inflatable Grinch properly tethered, we were impressed with our results. Unfortunately she is lacking a Christmas wreath because I threw hers out. I took it out of the box to discover that at least 1,000 stink bugs had assumed residence in its faux branches. There is nothing festive about those bugs!

Robby alternated between helping us outside and playing inside (where it was warm.) My sister decided to surprise her Star Wars loving sons and bought a lighted Christmas Yoda. Unlike his cousins, Robby has never shown an interest in Star Wars. He had to ask my sister to explain the strange green creature. Unaware that he had no knowledge base when it came to the franchise, she simply said, "It's Christmas Yoda" and did not elaborate. 

Later that afternoon, Robby pulled me to the side and told me that he had a question. I could tell by the look on his face that he was being serious. I leaned down, and he whispered in my ear.  "Momom, why is Christmas Yoda holding his privates outside of his dress? And did you know that his privates were green and really big?"  I figured that he must have misinterpreted something, so I went into the living room to take another look.

Looking at Christmas Yoda again, I immediately saw him through Robby's eyes. What Robby inferred to be Yoda's "privates" was actually the light saber. Having no experience with Star Wars, Robby was totally unaware of the fictional weapon. I'm sure that my nephews will love Christmas Yoda. I will always smile when I see the decoration, but not because he is festive. After Robby's observations, I am fairly confident that I will always see "Perverted Yoda" instead.