My journey to limb loss is not nearly as dramatic or spectacular as many of my amputee friends.As stories go, mine is benign and boring. I was at conference, and computer was not properly secured on the cart. The cart was pushed over a transition strip on the floor, dislodging the machine and dropping it onto the top of my foot. I was simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Initially we thought I was dealing with a few broken bones. As the months wore on, it became clear that more damage had been sustained. My foot was crushed, not simply broken. The nerves were damaged and the bones could not be fused properly back together. Despite more than 20 surgeries, nothing was successful in ridding the constant and nagging pain. After 5 years, I came to the difficult decision that my life would be better off without the pain. To achieve this goal, I needed to amputate.
So much of my life changed because of that specific moment in time. I sometimes wonder how things would have been different had I not been injured. Living with the constant pain, and then finally opting for an amputation has certainly altered my perspective on so many events and issues. My adjustment to limb loss was more difficult and heart-wrenching than I ever envisioned, but in retrospect I don't regret any of the tears shed. All of the surgeries, the pain, the emotional turmoil, the failures and the successes have contributed to the person I am today.
Some years this anniversary hits me harder than others. This year I am relatively unaffected. (This is probably a good thing because I am highly susceptible to tears and emotional mood swings at the moment!) Unlike other anniversaries, I don't feel solemn or mournful for what was lost. Instead, I feel like I'm shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Yep, that was certainly not my best day." I don't know if my indifference is because I have so much on my plate at the moment or because so much time has transpired. Perhaps it is a combination of both, but I am happy not to be feeling gloomy this year.
The fact that I am not introspective or glum does not mean that I don't compelled to honor the significance of this anniversary. Instead of tears and grief-stricken reflection, I think this year I'll take a different route. Today of all days seems like the perfect occasion for a cupcake!