July 3, 2003. It's hard to believe that it has been 14 years since that transformative day. In so many ways the memories remain so fresh and vivid that I would swear it was recent. But the pile of used legs in my closet and the wrinkles on my face remind me that it has been 14 years since I last saw my biological foot. Today is my ampuversary.
My amputation was not traumatic. Unlike many of my friends, I was
fortunate enough to have a clean surgical procedure to remove my broken
limb. My surgeon didn't need to worry about cleaning out debris, nor was
he rushed to close gushing wounds. He was able to make clean cuts and
carefully reroute the nerves and blood vessels. I am convinced that his
skill is the reason why I do not suffer with phantom pain like so many
of my amputee friends.
I am not haunted by memories of a
violent event shattering my limb. Instead I remember the years, months
and days leading up to my amputation. I rode an emotional roller coaster
I would not wish on my worst enemy. The night before the amputation I
broke down, yet the sounds that were coming from my mouth were not
familiar. I was wailing instead of crying, which I have later learned is
a primal sound of true fear. I have never before, or thankfully after,
felt so terrified or out of control.
Fourteen years ago I
remember driving to the hospital with Scott, feeling an overwhelming and
paralyzing fear. I was so afraid I couldn't even cry, and I could
barely breath. Life felt surreal, yet I was aware of how drastically
everything was going to change. I knew I was making the right decision,
but the reality of waking up without my foot tested and strained every
ounce of my strength and resolve.
Hindsight is invaluable. I
took a leap of faith that my life would be improved without the pain of
my broken down biological foot. My hopes of living a happy and full life
as an amputee have exceeded the wildest dreams of that terrified young
woman so many years ago. Today is a day for me to reflect and remember
my journey. To honor what I endured while counting my blessings and
accomplishments. Happy Ampuversary to me!