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, January 27, 2017

My Mean Meme

I have always felt passionately about politics, but I would never consider myself to be politically involved. I vote in every election and have on a few occasions put out a yard sign for specific candidates. Other than those minimal efforts, I have stayed out of the political arena.

As I approach middle age, I find myself delving into political activism. With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imminent, I feel obligated to lend my voice to the collective outrage. With a replacement plan promised but never detailed, the classification of prosthetic devices as Essential Health Benefits (EHB) is in peril. Without the EHB classification, amputees will face unrealistic lifetime and yearly benefit caps. We will return to the pre-ACA reality where mobility and prosthetic devices were luxuries for the affluent. The other two million amputees living in this country will become more disabled by their financial means and insurance coverage than by the loss of their limb.

Last week I joined the hundreds of thousands of other civically driven protestors on the streets of Washington DC for the Women's March. I was fortunate to be supported by a handful of strong women who also believe in keeping prosthetic devices available to every amputee who has  both the desire and the ability to utilize them.  With my newly printed signs, I stepped out of my comfort zone and onto the streets in protest. 

The experience at the march was surreal. I felt strengthened and empowered by the numbers of the determined people who took part in the effort.  I held my "Maintain Essential Health Benefits" sign over my head as I represented my niche issue with strength and pride. I left the march feeling uplifted, unstoppable and determined to utilize my newly discovered voice.

Sunday morning I woke up and logged onto Facebook, eager to read the comments from my photos and to see updates from my fellow activist friends. My feelings of empowerment and strength quickly dissolved into self-doubt and embarrassment when I realized that a trolls had come out to play the night before and turned my photo into a "mean meme."

The meme, reading "Trump got more fat women marching in 1 day than Michel Obama did in 8 years."  Seeing my photo hijacked for such a misogynistic, hurtful sentiment was humiliating. The fact that the troll who created the meme had failed to correct his spelling and grammar errors before posting was irrelevant. I felt belittled, disgraced and irrelevant.

After a few hours of wallowing, I decided to channel the strength I had discovered a few hours earlier. The purpose of the meme was to belittle and silence the protestors. Once I made that realization, I vowed to remain undeterred from my goal. I was marching for everybody who needs, or who will need, a prosthetic device.  Instead of being a victim, I opted to take back my power by sharing the meme.

Words, such as those written on the meme, can hurt. But I also discovered that words of support and love can also heal. By publishing the meme I reclaimed ownership and reestablished my voice. In many ways the photo has become even more special. Not only does it capture an amazing day, but it also epitomizes my finding my inner activist. I was never a mean meme before and this experience has added to my sense of empowerment.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Motivator

I think I am entering the season that I find the most depressing. With Christmas and the holidays over and seemingly endless weeks until the warm sunshine of spring, I find myself smack dab in the middle of the winter blues.  I am struggling to stay upbeat and pushing myself to socialize while in reality I want to cuddle up by the fire and hide. For good or bad, Timmy has no desire to hibernate and keeps me engaging with society.

Because I know that I need to push against the urge to hide, I have been trying to take Timmy somewhere everyday. I wish we could play outside at home, but the yard is too muddy from the recent rainstorms. So until everything warms up or dries out, I am forced to seek our toddler adventures outside of our house. Typically we either go to the pool or to his favorite toddler playground. I love playing with him and hearing his squeals of delight as he explores and learns always lifts my spirits.  Timmy is loving our community trips and doesn't seem to miss playing outside.

Timmy isn't my only motivator to leave the house.  Robby has been busy with his Taekwondo classes, taking as many as four per week. Scott and I try to split the duty, but Robby prefers my taking him to class. Although the little plastic chairs in the spectator lounge are uncomfortable and it is always cold because the main door is never closed, I usually don't mind going. I rather enjoy my hour sitting without having to entertain, cater to or serve anybody. It isn't the most cerebral stimulating time, but the quiet is welcome.

Hopefully the rain will stay away and the sun will return. Even when it's cold, I always feel better when the sky is bright. Right now it feels like the dreary days of winter will never end.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sales Pressure

I am notoriously bad at turning away salespeople. From tour bus recruiters on the streets of NYC to the sales lady at Macy's, I have a difficult time simply saying no. Even if I have no interest in taking another double decker tour of Manhattan, I just seem to have trouble walking away. Unfortunately this is a trait that sometimes carries over into our home.

Yesterday a salesperson came to the door to talk to us about getting a new roof. Yes, I am well aware that we are in need of a new roof but we aren't shopping for one right now. I tried to politely decline the offer of a free, no strings attached estimate but the twenty something salesman looked depressed when he sensed that I was going to turn him away. I caved and agreed to the estimate.

I was expecting the same person to come to the appointment later in the afternoon. Instead I discovered that the innocent, trustworthy looking scheduler was replaced with an aggressive and imposing salesman.  (Talk about a bait and switch!) Scott wasn't delighted when he came home to find an eager and talkative salesman sitting on the couch.

Scott and I complement each other in many ways. Whereas I have a hard time disappointing a salesman, he is completely comfortable just saying no and moving on. I let him take the lead, hoping that the pitch would be quick. This particular salesman was difficult to dissuade because it took Scott nearly 90 minutes to get him out the door. He seemed sad when he realized that we wouldn't be buying a roof. It's a good think that Scott was home because I might have agreed to a nearly $20,000 home improvement project because of an unhealthy need to make somebody happy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rain Day

Yesterday was rainy, cold and windy. Because it was Monday and all of our favorite indoor play areas were closed, Timmy and I huddled inside all day. He seemed content to play with his toys, ride his train and dance in the kitchen. After an exhilarating weekend, I was grateful for a quiet day at home.

Not only did I need the chance to unwind emotionally, but I was happy for the chance to physically recover. Saturday I spent hours on my feet, standing still in a large crowd. It is far easier for me to walk and move than to just stand still. When I am still, my leg settles into my socket and begins to ache. If I am stagnant for too long, sores and blisters can develop.

Probably because of the adrenaline I didn't realize that sores had developed on my limb until I was home on Saturday night. I took off my liner to discover that I had developed three dime sized blisters on my leg. The blisters are healing, but right now walking is a tinge more painful. I'm able to manage and get around, but I am reminded with each step that I need to walk gingerly.  I took the rainy day as an opportunity to rest and work towards healing my leg. 

Although he did well yesterday, I know that Timmy is chomping at the bit for an activity. After I teach Abby this morning we will head to the pool. I know that the water will feel great on my aching body, and Timmy will love splashing and playing. It is definitely a win-win activity, and the perfect way to spend another rainy day.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Saturday can be summed up in two words: absolutely amazing. I am fortunate to have been able to share the incredible experience with my Mom, her two friends and my best friend Tammy. I was excited and honored that they all drove several hours to lend support and to try to raise awareness for prosthetic access. I was reminded that I have an incredible support system!

The day started out worrisome as we discovered that all the roads were closed that provided access to the parking garage with our reserved spot. As we were driving around DC, my anxiety was rising as it became clear that we were going to have to find another parking spot if we were going to make the event. With hundreds of thousands of protestors converging in the city, I was doubtful that we were going to find anything. Then, as if by a miracle, Tammy saw one lone handicapped parking spot in a lot located only a few blocks from the march. I felt an indescribable sense of relief pulling into the spot and turning off the ignition!

My Mom's friend (Ruth) is nearly 90 and opted to use my wheelchair because of the distances involved. She was eager to lend her support behind the cause and excited to participate in her first formal protest. As we were making our way to through the crowds, it became clear that she was receiving a lot of attention sitting in the wheelchair wearing a bright pink "pussy hat." We began to joke about slogans that we should write on the back of her sign to bring even more attention to our group. Initially we were joking, but she quickly asked us to turn a sign around and to start writing.

Tammy, being a graphic designer, quickly sketched out her new sign. Within five minutes we had created her official protest sign, and my goodness it certainly garnered a lot of attention. She spent the afternoon posing for photos, talking with fellow protestors and accepting well wishes and smiles. Each time a photo was snapped we were standing in the background, holding the original sign in the frame. Because of Ruth's feisty nature and jovial perspective, we were able to further the reach of our original cause.

The crowd was enormous, and the causes were as diverse as the marchers. It was amazing to be part of such a powerful movement. To think that over 500,000 people were able to converge and peacefully protest without one single arrest is a remarkable feat, especially because of the recent riots and seemingly pervasive violence. It was refreshing to witness disagreements without violence ensuing! 

I left the march exhausted but with an overwhelming sense of optimism and empowerment. I know that the fight for insurance fairness is just beginning, but I am not in this battle alone. This issue, like so many that were represented on Saturday, should be bipartisan. I know that I have the strength and the supports necessary to fight this until every amputee who has the desire and the ability to use a prosthetic can access one. 

Sharing the experience with my friend, my Mom and two other amazing women made it even more special. I will always remember January 21st fondly. Now let's keep fighting!