About Me

My photo
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, June 06, 2014

No More Delay

Although I have never regretted my decision to amputate, moments when I detest living as an amputee still pop up. Most of the time I live an active and happy life with the only real difference being that my foot is manufactured from carbon fiber and titanium instead of flesh and bone. Every once in awhile a setback occurs, and I find myself cursing and lamenting the fact that I am an amputee.  Yesterday I encountered one of these situations.

I have been dealing with limb issues for several years. In fact, surgery was recommended three years ago to remedy the numerous issues. Not keen to surrender my ability to ambulate, I delayed the surgery and opted to put a band-aid on the issues through prosthetic modifications. With time, my limb has continued to deteriorate. The physical strain of the pregnancy pushed my limb health to the point of no return, ending my surgical avoidance streak.

After consulting with Elliot (my prosthetist), I made an appointment with my surgeon. He confirmed my fears and recommended immediate surgery. The operation is scheduled for next Thursday, and I am not a happy camper!

I knew that the surgery was inevitable, but I have so aptly avoided it that I find myself shell shocked that it scheduled for next week. I feel like I need more time to  get ready, but I also know that I will never feel fully prepared. I'm overwhelmed when I think of trying to care for Timmy without being able to walk and while dealing with post-operative pain. I am frustrated to tears as I think about being without my leg during the recovery. 

Revisions are an unfortunate reality, and I know that the only thing I can do is forge through and put this episode behind me. I hate that I'm facing another surgery, and I find myself wanting to punch the wall and scream "It isn't fair" at the top of my lungs. I'm resisting the urge because I don't want to contend with a broken hand and injured voice box as well.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Judgment Zone

I have reached my limit of dealing with judgmental people. I understand that it is human nature to have opinions; however I wish that more people would exercise the basic courtesy of keeping their opinions to themselves, especially when expressing their thoughts does nothing more than hurt others.The past few days I invested far too much time nursing hurt feelings.

During the past week I have learned that my parenting skills have been the fodder for conversations among "friends." The fact that these individuals were talking about me was disheartening. When I learned the tone and nature of the conversation, I was flabbergasted. Everybody has a different parenting style, but to assert that I am not adequately educating and protecting my son (Robby) is simply hurtful. I have grown weary of having to defend our choice of school, and I refuse to engage in the debate again. 

A few days ago when I was at the medical center with Timmy, a lady struck up a conversation with me as we were waiting for the elevator. After cooing over my adorable baby, her demeanor immediately changed from gentle to harsh. She looked at me directly and said, "You really shouldn't be walking holding that baby. Somebody like you could fall and it isn't safe." I immediately became defensive, emphatically assuring her that I was perfectly safe holding and walking with my child. It wasn't until she exited the elevator that I processed the gravity of our exchange.

How dare this stranger assume that I am unsafe walking with Timmy. I am not unstable or unsafe, and if I ever felt like I were, I wouldn't be carrying him. I would never do anything to endanger my child, and to assume that I am doing so simply by walking with a prosthesis is absurd. I wish I had thought of a better retort instead of justifying my mothering abilities. I wasted my breath on her because nothing I could have said would have changed the mind of someone so profoundly ignorant.

I left the exchange angry, but also confused about why this stranger felt it was appropriate to share her opinion. I would never have the audacity to engage in that type of exchange, especially with somebody whom I didn't know! I can only assume that she holds such a high opinion of herself that she felt compelled to share her gospel. 

I don't mind engaging in debates or exploring other viewpoints. I do have a problem with those casting judgment without knowing all the facts. Life is too short to be surrounded by so much negativity. I think it might be time for me to circle in and reevaluate my relationships.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014


The house has felt empty since Sophie kitty passed away on Sunday. All of us are feeling her loss, including Charlie cat. Those who don't believe that animals have emotions have never seen a furry friend grieving the loss of a playmate. Charlie has been spending his days aimlessly wandering through the house, looking for his friend.

Sophie's death has been especially hard for Robby who is struggling to grasp the fact that she is gone forever. This is his first real experience with death. With the exception of a goldfish and two frogs, he had been spared the pain of having to say goodbye. Sunday night after Sophie was buried and the house became quiet, Robby's tears started flowing.

Trying to help Robby grasp and cope with Sophie's death added a new level of pain to my already overwhelming grief. At a moment when I desperately wanted to crawl under the covers and sob, I needed to be strong for him.  Instead of hiding, we all ended up huddled in our bed crying together.  Sophie was such a special little friend.

It is obvious when Robby is thinking about Sophie because the tears begin to well in his eyes. I try to take the opportunity to share a Sophie story or to talk about how we all miss her. I know that death is a part of life and that I couldn't spare Robby the pain of mourning forever. I just wish that we could have delayed the harsh lesson a little longer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Birthday Wrap-Up

Robby's birthday was this past and Friday and, if I do say so myself, it was a rousing success. My little Koopa was smiling all day. With the ongoing monumental adjustment to having a little brother, it was nice to see Robby relaxed and happy all day. The fact that my Mom was visiting and was able to watch Timmy (allowing me to spend the afternoon at his school without his little brother) certainly helped!

Per birthday boy request, I showed up at his school during lunchtime with a platter of chicken nuggets in one hand and a tray of french fries in the other. His classmates were delighted with the lunchtime surprise. Robby was certainly hailed as a hero when he was passing out the plates and napkins before sharing the feast. 

After lunch, the homemade turtle shape cake was revealed and served. Although Robby thought it was adorable, he refused to eat. I think the thought of eating the turtle's head, even though it was a cake, was too much to bear.  In the future I think I'll make a small sheet cake to serve along side the butchered animal.

The class was utter jubilant when I brought in the pinata. Scott was in charge of filling the giant Angry Bird pig, and he took his responsibility seriously. He came back from Target with three bags stuffed with candy, small toys and assorted surprises. By the time he was done filling it, the pinata was stuffed full and extremely heavy.  I knew that his friends were going to be thrilled when it was finally cracked open. 

It turns out that it takes small children a long time to crack open a pinata. Each student went five times before the teacher, perhaps out of desire to release some frustration, took the hockey stick and started beating the pig. After a few whacks, the candy and toys were flying across the playground. The class scurried, red bags in hand, to scavenge as much of the treasure as possible.

After all the loot was secured, the class went back inside. With the Principal and a few other teachers in the room (raiding the remaining cake), a little girl adeptly linked two glow bracelets together to create handcuffs. She proudly put them onto her wrists, stood up and loudly announced, "I made handcuffs. These look just like the ones in my Mommy and Daddy's bedroom." The Principal, who had just taken a bite of cake, began to cough and choke.

 Leaving the school, I ran into the handcuff Mom. I felt a sense of "thank goodness that wasn't me" relief. Typically it is Robby who orchestrates the public humiliation through his honest observations!

 Although I missed Timmy during the day, I'm glad I was able to spend the afternoon at Robby's school without the baby distraction. Robby seemed to thoroughly enjoy having my undivided attention, and all of his friends had fun at his party.

Monday, June 02, 2014

My Sophie

When I entered the professional workforce after graduate school in 1997, the first step was to secure a pet. I have always loved animals, and I knew that having a companion as I acclimated to a new city would be prudent. The Saturday after I received my first pay check I headed to the Humane Society to find my little furry friend. As soon as I held Sophie, an adorable little white kitten, I knew that she had chosen me to be her mommy.

Sophie was by my side through 5 moves, 20+ surgeries, one amputation, one husband, two babies and 18 years. Yesterday evening, our streak came to an abrupt end. Sophie passed away, and to say that I am heartbroken does not do the emotion justice. I feel lost without my little friend.

When my foot was injured, she laid on my lap for countless hours. When I endured surgery after surgery to fix the injury, Sophie stayed by my side until the pain finally waned enough for me to sleep. When I had my amputation, she walked with a limp on her front left paw for a month. 

After I moved to Virginia, leaving everything I had known behind me, Sophie sat on the opposite end of my little kitchen table and listened while I told her about my day over dinner. There were weekends where she was the only company, and although she was a cat, I never felt completely alone.

I've spent countless hours petting her little head as she purred on my lap.  Although Sophie was adorable in my eyes, I know that those who didn't know her had a different perception. Her head remained the size of a kitten while her body grew to an adult size. Because of the disproportion, many thought she was obese. She wasn't overweight; her head was just smaller than her body which made her look fat.

Saturday morning we began our difficult goodbye. Sophie wasn't moving much, and her breathing was labored. Her once pristine white fur was suddenly dingy and disheveled. I could tell by looking in her eyes that she was ready to die.

Sophie saw me through dating, marriage, babies, jobs and medical setbacks.  She provided me with unconditional love and friendship. This weekend, she offered me one final gift. She allowed us all time to say goodbye. Scott, Robby and I all spent time petting and holding our little friend. We showered her with love, kisses and lots of petting. She knew she was loved, and we all came to realize that our time together was ending. She was suffering and deserved to be at peace, so I made the difficult call to the vet. 

As I held Sophie at the vet's office, I softly began to sing the song I used to serenade her with when she was a kitten. I continued singing in her ear as the medication was administered. In her final moments, she looked at me and began to purr. I stopped singing to tell her that I loved her.  She nudged my head and took her final breath.

We all drove home in silence. We buried Sophie in the flower bed in our back yard. Robby laid flowers on the fresh mound of dirt, and I said my final goodbye. 

I am lucky to have had 18 years with my wonderful little friend.  This morning my heart hurts and the house feels empty.  I miss my Sophie.

Robby with Sophie, 2006