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, August 22, 2014

Full Circle

I am writing this from my hospital bed with optimism that I will be going home today. I had forgotten the revolving door mentality of the medical profession. I had somebody in the room, taking vital signs or my blood, every hour. The only thing that I am going to miss is the morphine pump!

The pain is significantly more intense than I anticipated. The "cramping" I was warned about feels like labor pains. Except this pain is consistent instead of cyclical. I am glad I didn't suspect this level of pain because I would have worked myself into a panic as I waited.

It has been more than a decade since my first cancer diagnosis, and I feel a huge sense of relief putting this stage of my life behind me. I fought hard to avoid the hysterectomy so that I could have my children. I have come full circle, surrendering my fertility so that I can be around to see them grow up.  The worrying is behind me. Now all that is left is to heal and move forward.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Surgery Day

Well, today is the big day.  I would be lying if I didn't admit to being tired of visiting the operating room. Each time I am wheeled into the cold and sterile room I am optimistic that it will be my last. Hopefully this time my wish holds true!

I've prepared as much as possible, although I've learned that trying to plan for not picking up an infant is impossible. I don't know how I'm going to take care of Timmy, but I am confident that I will figure it out. If I have learned one thing since becoming an amputee it is the necessity of invention and adaptation.

Thankfully I won't have to worry about taking care of Timmy right away. My Mom is staying with us and is happily taking over Timmy duty. Knowing that she is here to help has taken a huge pressure off my shoulders.

My surgery is scheduled for 12:30, and is expected to last two hours. I will spend the night in the hospital, well technically only 23 hours because my insurance won't pay for a full day, and if all goes well I will be tucked into my own bed on Friday morning. In the meantime, please wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Scott went back to work on Monday to prepare for his 21st year teaching. He is always sad to see the summer end, feelings compounded by the endless meetings confronting him before the students return to class. Speaking from experience, the preparatory meetings are the worst part of the school year.

With Scott returning to work, I have been left alone with both boys. I underestimated the difficulty of caring for both by myself. I have come to accept the unfortunate reality that I have lost considerable strength and stamina recovering from the re-amputation. Just taking care of the basic housework renders me utterly exhausted. I shudder to think about how I am going to be after Thursday's surgery!

Because of my impending surgery, I have a schedule overflowing with doctors appointments and meetings. This is precisely the reason I wanted to have the surgery earlier in the summer when Scott would be available to help. I'm frustrated that my planning didn't materialize, but I am trying to make the best of the situation. I have had no choice but to schlep both boys to all of my appointments which I have no doubt has compounded my fatigue.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my ability to walk again. Spending nearly three months on my knee scooter while trying to take care of Timmy and Robby was torturous. I may be tired now, but I also realize that my situation could be far worse. At least I'm walking and comfortable. My leg is still shrinking, which equates to my constantly adjusting my leg with socks to fill the void. I hate wearing socks, but at this point in my recovery they are a necessary evil to keep me ambulatory.  Being able to wear my leg again removes an obstacle that I feared would impede the recovery from my next surgery.

I was worried about how Robby would react to my having another surgery. It turns out that my worrying was for nothing; he is embracing the procedure. All he had to hear was "they are removing Momom's baby making parts" and his anxieties vanished.  Apparently the promise of no more siblings softened the blow of my being laid up again. Again, my worries were unwarranted. 

I will spend today finishing up errands and completing my final round of pre-op tests. I am preparing to be laid up for a week, but will feel considerably more comfortable if I create a buffer so that I don't have as much facing me when I recover. I would rather do too much, knowing that I'll be able to rest soon, than take the day off and be slammed during my recovery.  I am not looking forward to tomorrow, but I am eager to put this whole episode behind me and move forward. It has been an extremely long and difficult summer. I'm anxious to get my life back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hair Buzz

We continue to wage our war with lice. We thought we had made strides towards eradicating our foe, but recent setbacks have reminded us of the ferocity of our enemy. We have invested a small fortune in chemical warfare and won't quit until we are victorious. 

Friday afternoon Robby started to scratch his head again. I immediately ushered him into the bathroom where I proceeded to comb out more bugs. I will never get used to seeing bugs crawling around my son's hair! Despite knowing that they won't cause physical harm to his body, seeing the creepy crawlies always brings me to the brink of panic. I called the pediatrician, hoping that she would prescribe a shampoo to kill the bugs and eggs left behind. Wanting to spare exposing him to the chemicals in the prescription shampoo, she recommended getting his hair buzzed.

Robby was not a happy little Koopa when we told him the news. He is only eight years old, but he loved his rag top hairstyle. Driving to the barber, his sadness about losing his hair morphed into anger over the infestation. He has no problems casting blame upon the individual he views to be responsible; it turns out my little guy has a vengeful side.

Despite the lamenting and anger, Robby handled getting his short cut like a trooper. I saw his eyes swell with tears when the clippers removed the first swatch of hair, but he quickly regrouped and remained stoic. He hopped off the chair when the barber was done, and simply told me that he didn't want to talk about it anymore. Instead of discussing hair, which despite being considerably shorter, is utterly adorable, we went for ice cream.

After several hours of hanging out inside the house, Robby asked for a fire pit party. Delighted that he was willing to go public with his hair, we immediately agreed. Scott set out to light the fire pit while Robby skipped through the neighborhood inviting the neighbors.

Mr. Bill was the first to arrive and immediately complimented Robby on his new hairstyle. I knew that Mr. Bill's approval would go a long way towards Robby embracing his new look. The fact that he told that he "looks like a little man" certainly helped lift Robby's spirits!

After accepting the compliment, and smiling for the first time that day, Robby engaged in the following conversation.

R: "Mr. Bill, I had to get my haircut this short because I had lice. Have you ever had lice?"
Mr. B: "No buddy, can't say that I've had lice."  At this point a coy smile wafted across Bill's face, and he developed a glint in his eyes. "I have had crabs a few times though."
R: "What are crabs?"

At this point I jumped into the conversation, interrupting by asking Robby to go inside for marshmallows. After Robby was safely out of earshot, I just looked at Bill and said, "Crabs? You're killing me."

"Well Angel Girl (that his his nickname for me), I just wanted him to know that it can always be worse. Trust me, crabs trump lice every time."

Robby and Mr. Bill never returned to their crabby conversation, but I know that it is just a matter of time before the topic reemerges. Robby remembers absolutely everything! I am just hoping that it happens at home and not in public.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Rule

I have invested a lot, both physically and financially, into orchestrating my Wacky Week of Family Fun. In my quest to cram a summer's worth of fun into a few days, I failed to realize an important thing: it is possible to have too much fun.

Saturday morning I woke up and learned that a kid's oriented Civil War reenactment was being hosted in a local park. Without much hesitation I bought tickets and anxiously waited for the boys to wake up. We took Robby to a reenactment a few years ago, and he had a blast. I was certain that this year's event with its interactive and youth oriented activities would be as much if not more fun. Since the weather was ideal for a day spent outside, I was excited to add another adventure to our list.

 After schlepping through the field pushing a screaming and red faced baby in his stroller and carrying an diaper bag weighed down with water bottles on my back, I was summarily informed that the Civil War is "lame." Robby had the "I don't want to be here and I'm miserable" scowl on his face as soon as we entered the park. Scott wasn't nearly as vocal about his displeasure, but his playing non-stop on his cell phone spoke volumes.

Robby refused to try to enjoy the event. He wouldn't talk to the reenactors and needed to be forced to participate in the children's infantry. I was so certain that he would relish holding a musket while marching with his regiment. Instead of the anticipated smiles, he cast dirty looks and flashed a thumb's down sign whenever his hands were not occupied. All of the other little soldiers were nearly giddy with the experience. Mine was miserable, and I have to admit that I was embarrassed by his bratty public display.

After 90 minutes of trying to entice the boys into having fun, I finally surrendered. Their misery was contagious, and at that point I didn't want to be around either of them. I felt both disappointed and angry, but it took me a long time to process my feelings.

I have spent so much energy into trying to create wonderful memories in a short period of time. Everything that we did was geared towards Robby and/ or Scott. I never complained and happily complied with every request. My leg fluctuated between comfortable and excruciating, yet I never once relented to the pain. I was exhausted, yet I didn't pause the fun because I didn't want my issues to interfere with the family. To quote Robby, I did a great job of sucking it up and trudging forward.

My quest for family memories stemmed from my own guilt as much as it did my desire to spend time with my family. On some level, I have been feeling guilty for being sick during the pregnancy, for having an infected uterus, for needing a re-amputation, for the long recovery and for the cancer.  I wanted to infuse as much happiness and laughter as possible because I felt responsible for the lack luster summer.

Continuing to fume throughout the evening, I realized the absurdity of my guilt. I certainly never intended to become sick, and I have done everything in my power to be as little of an inconvenience to everybody. I have kept my own fears, worries and physical pain silent in an attempt to not burden everybody else. All the while, I have struggled alone. At some point I need to stop worrying about how everybody else will adjust and react and start to take care of myself.  That time is now!

I am done feeling guilty for my medical issues. I am a great Mom despite my mobility and health complications. I realize that my surgery on Thursday will throw the family in a state of flux again. I am more aware of the inconvenience because I am the one who is going to be enduring the physical pain! Instead of trying to make it okay for my little family, it is time that they start considering me in this equation. 

Until I begin to feel appreciated, family adventures are suspended. I love my family dearly, but I am tired and need support. For the next few days, I am going to concentrate on making myself happy.

My happy little soldier (2011)

2014- Not amused.