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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.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Disabled or Amputee?

Today is International Day of People with Disabilities. Apparently it is a UN sanctioned designation to increase awareness about the estimated one billion people around the world living with a disability. In researching this holiday, I learned that 15% of the world's population is disabled, making us the largest minority group.

I learned about this holiday through a friend, who sent me an email wishing me a happy International Day of People with Disabilities Day. To be honest, I was initially taken aback by being included under the disability umbrella. Although I have no problem identifying as an amputee, I don't consider myself to be disabled. I always considered my inclusion under the disability label to be a technicality rather than a reality.

The only times I feel disabled are when I am experiencing socket issues or limb pain. Having to modify my activities because of my amputation both annoys and frustrates me. I resent having to accommodate because of my limb loss, and during those times I identify most as disabled.

When my prosthetic is fitting correctly and my limb is healthy, I feel completely able-bodied. My prosthetic allows me to function and feel like my bi-ped friends. Being considered disabled just because I can take my leg off feels unnatural. My inclusion under the umbrella makes me uncomfortable.

I know that my friend sent me the greeting with kind intentions. I am sure that I am overthinking the issue, but for some reason this has really struck a chord with me this morning. While I don't consider myself to be disabled, I received the label when I became an amputee.  For most of the world, being an amputee and being disabled are paired. Perhaps they are only separate in my mind.


  1. I will say, your "overthinking" is very helpful to me in the book I'm trying to write! This makes me think the term should be re-abled instead of disabled, because like everyone else with a change, amputees have to re-able themselves and find the new normal that seems to be the buzzword of 2015.

  2. Peggy, I can say I totally agree with all the things you wrote of here. Though our situations are different ( I'm a bilateral amp with many other problems ), for the most part I feel limb-different, but not disabled. Thank you for expressing this for us all!