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, November 13, 2015

Adventures- Part 2

After meeting the business end of my doctor's trident, I was physically and emotionally spent. All I wanted to do was put my underwear back on and waddle to the car. Instead, I was ushered into his office to talk. I could tell by the number of pamphlets he pulled off the wall as we left the examination room that the "talk" was not going to be pleasant. 

I'll be honest, after such an intimate encounter I was having a hard time looking in his eyes. I found myself staring at the desk and at the imposing pile of pamphlets that were systematically handed to me as he went over the results of my exam. He was professional and patient, but I had a difficult time getting over my own embarrassment.  He tried to counter my embarrassment by reminding me that he deals with this every day and, while it isn't normal for me, it is part of his routine.

He slowly began to review my findings. He explained that my pelvic muscles were damaged when I was carrying Timmy  and that strong adhesions had formed. These adhesions were the source of some of my pain and needed to be addressed.  I was handed a pamphlet for "Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy." 

Before he continued, I had to question the method of this physical therapy. He smiled and explained that the therapists were highly trained and professional. I asked him how my pelvic floor was exercised.  It turns out that it isn't exercised but physically manipulated.

Internally manipulated. Twice a week. For the next three months. My mind was reeling, and I just wanted to cry. 

He continued with his results.  I learned that my vagina is like an old gym sock which has lost its elasticity. Yep, my new doctor actually called my vagina an old gym sock. Let me tell you, that does nothing to boost the ego!  He definitely needs to come up with a better analogy.

My washed out old lady parts are prolapsing. As is my bladder, and my rectum. Lovely. Just freaking lovely. I was warned to try to refrain from heavy lifting so that my bladder doesn't completely prolapse. All of a sudden I had an image of my bladder hitting the floor of the bounce house when I'm playing with Timmy. That would certainly traumatize the little tykes, wouldn't it! 

I didn't even know it was possible for my vagina to fall out of my body, but apparently it is happening. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it is apparently washed out like an old gym sock.  Yep, that one is still sticking in my craw.  

The details of the invasive surgery were reviewed, and I was handled more pamphlets. The doctor wants to wait until the adhesions and muscle issues are addressed through PT before performing the surgery. In the meantime, I have to hope that my bladder, rectum and washed up gym sock of a lady part will all defy gravity and stay upright. 

Getting old stinks!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adventures at the Urogynecologist- Part 1


Between  my re-amputation, childbirth and my hysterectomy, I have endured more than my share of medical embarrassment. It is safe to say that I have been poked and prodded in more locations and through more methods than I care to admit. Throughout all of this, I have always tried to maintain some semblance of dignity. 

None of my previous experiences prepared me for my appointment with a urogynecologist. While I knew that the exam would definitely involve disrobing and some degree of intrusive exam, I was woefully unprepared for what was waiting for me behind the exam room door. I have never had such an intimate encounter with a man, including with my husband, as I did with the urogynecologist who examined me yesterday.

After a lengthy history, I was instructed to void my bladder over a specialized mat which was designed to measure flow intensity and speed. Urinating without a seat was difficult, but performing in front of an audience certainly made this normally mundane task an event. After a few episodes of urinary shyness, I was finally successful. I'm not too proud to admit that I almost broke into the "Happy Pee Pee" song and dance from our toilet training attempts.

I slipped into the paper gown secure in the knowledge that the embarrassing part of the exam was behind me. I was expecting a pelvic exam. Anytime I see "gynecologist" on the door, I am prepared to stirrup up and take one for the team. After childbirth, I no longer feel the squeamish embarrassment that was the norm in the blissful naivete of my youth. Middle-aged and more experienced, I confidently slipped my bum to the edge of the table, slipped my legs into the stirrups, buried my head under my arms and spread eagle. Within moments my doctor was lubed up and fully engrossed in his task at hand.  (I can't be certain, but at one point I think only his elbow was visible.)

Between the cancer and my pregnancies, I have probably experienced more than 50 pelvic examinations.  While they are never fun, the experience has always been predictable. Yesterday my doctor took me off guard by shaking up the mundane.

When he told me that he was going to perform a rectal exam, I assumed that he was joking. I even chuckled and said something classy like, "Oh, you have got to be kidding. Trust me, nothing- I mean nothing- has ever been there."  With the swiftness of an alley cat stalking his prey, I learned that he was not a jester. After what felt like an eternity of pushing, pulling and prodding, I just wanted to put on my panties and cry. Little did I know that this exam was not yet over. 

The doctor said something, but I couldn't really understand him over my whimpering. Judging from what happened next, I can only assume that he said something about inserting a catheter.  I don't know if it is a good thing, but I was too uncomfortable to feel the level of humiliation that the trifecta warranted.

Tune in to tomorrow's blog where I will tell the rest of the story. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Walking Day!

Even though I felt like I was dragging, the absence of vomiting made it a better day. Timmy gifted me by taking a lengthy nap, allowing me some much needed sleep in the middle of the afternoon. We both woke up feeling happier, I really wish that he would make napping part of his daily routine!

Today is a special day in our home because it is my Walking Day.  Twelve years ago this morning I received my first prosthetic, allowing me the opportunity to take my first steps (literally and figuratively) towards independence.  I will never forget the trepidation and excitement that I felt as I donned my first socket.

Trusting Elliot, and knowing that I really had no option rather than move forward and try, I took a deep breath and carefully moved my prosthetic leg in front of me. Just like a baby, I could only concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.  Within minutes of slipping on my prosthetic, I was walking and independent.  The experience was truly magical.

With so many sad anniversaries related to my amputation, Walking Day is the one that I decide to celebrate. Instead of remembering what was lost or how everything changed because of my accident and amputation, Walking Day allows me to celebrate the moment I regained my life and independence. This video documents this special milestone in my life, and watching it always brings a smile to my face.

Happy Walking Day to me!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sick

I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that my feeling ill was not emotionally driven. Yesterday I continued to feel lousy. Although I was functional, I was dragging and feeling off all day. By nightfall, my stomach started to cramp again and a wicked headache began to form. 

I fought to become comfortable, but it wasn't until after I vomited that I felt relief from my cramping. Once everything was expelled I was able to get some sleep, but it was fitful at best. Needless to say, I have a feeling that today is going to be a long one.

Hopefully Timmy will take his cue from the dreary rain and enjoy a substantial nap. If my little Hamlet cooperates, I plan on unplugging and joining him in sleepy land. Fingers crossed that both of us can get some rest!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Surviving Another First

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday. I suspected that the date was going to feel bittersweet, but the strength of my emotions took me off guard. Every year I would call him to wish him a Happy Birthday. He might or might not have answered the phone, depending upon what he was doing. He might or might not have called me back after I left a cheerful message singing Happy Birthday. It isn't as if his birthday was a grand event, but yet I found myself missing him terribly.

A few days before his birthday I received an email which contained a tribute video that was played at a conference my Dad organized. I knew that watching the video would be difficult, but I was unprepared for the Pandora box of emotions that opened as I watched the tribute.

The man featured on the video, although he looked and spoke like my father, was not the dad that I knew.   He gave the very best of himself to his profession, and to his family with Jeanette. I had glimpses at the man featured in the video, but my dad was a different person with me.  His passion and priorities were his work, not his children. In a way it saddened me watching the retrospective of his professional life because I would have loved to have known the man featured. 

The video, coupled with his birthday, made for an emotionally wrought weekend. I am sure that the grief, and my attempt to reconcile our relationship, will continue to ebb and flow throughout the coming months. In the meantime, I'm going to just try to push the conflicting emotions to the side and concentrate on my kids and family. I'm sure that psychologists would disagree, but in this situation I will rely upon my go-to coping mechanism, avoidance. 


video