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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Chasing Windmills

Yesterday evening, as I was changing into my pajamas, I quietly lamented having to remove my leg in order to take off my jeans. Such a small task of slipping off the socket so that I could pull the jeans off of the prosthesis suddenly felt inconvenience and frustrating. It only took me a few seconds and it is something that I do every single day when wearing jeans, yet for some reason, I found the modification extremely annoying

Almost as soon as I slipped back into my leg I felt a surge of guilt. Here I was, complaining about having to remove my leg in order to take off my jeans, when I had just met a woman a few miles away who would give anything to have my inconvenience. I suddenly felt embarrassed for my skewed perspective.

Scott called me earlier in the afternoon, asking me to reach out to his school guidance counselor. A student confided that she and her mother were living in a local homeless shelter following a series of medical setbacks. I wasn't sure why my input was requested, but upon receiving the contact request I  immediately called to see how I could help.

It turns out that the mom had developed Compartment Syndrome and had recently had her leg amputated. Due to the combination of missed work and mounting medical bills, the family was evicted from their home and had no other options but to move into a temporary shelter.  I cannot fathom her despair after losing both her home and her leg!

This mom would give anything for the frustration of removing her leg to put on her jeans. Unfortunately, the policymakers in this country continue to tie the means to ambulate with monetary worth. Until this hardworking single mother is able to become financially stable, her ability to walk again will remain the impossible dream.

Today I will be working the phones to try to locate some assistance to help this family. Her daughter's school work is starting to suffer, which is understandable considering the chaos and uncertainty that the family has been enduring. Unfortunately, this heartwrenching situation is unfolding in homes and shelters across this country. As long as the tools to ambulate are intimately tied to financial means, we as a society will continue to further disable the amputee community. 




Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Blending In

I think it is safe to say that we are done with shorts for the year. The temperatures have been consistently falling, and the long range forecast continues this trend. I haven't completely packed away the summer clothes, but they are slowly being pushed to the back of drawers and onto the top shelves of closets.  

Timmy is having some adorable issues adjusting to the change in clothing. Frustrated by the different feel of his clothing, he works hard each morning to push his sleeves up to his elbows and to pull his pants above his knees. I know that it won't take long for him to adjust, but watching the transition is charming.

My little Hamlet isn't the only one who is adjusting to the winter wardrobe. With my wearing almost exclusively jeans, I have resumed blending in with a crowd. Wearing shorts and sundresses for the past few months I became accustomed to garnering stares and second glances each time I ventured into the community. After a summer of near-constant stares, it is eerily odd walking into a store and not being noticed. 

Like Timmy, it won't take long for me to adjust. Soon I won't even notice the absence of reaction or stares when I walk into stores. It is nice blending into a crowd and, while I prefer warmer weather, the anonymity is one of my favorite parts of the season. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Relax

After weeks of feeling as if I'm treading water to keep up the pace, this weekend was a welcome respite from the constant movement and chaos. I was planning to take the boys to the farm to play either Saturday or Sunday, but the weather intervened. Instead we stayed home, where the boys played quietly and I was able to relax on the couch and binge watch Halloween Wars on the Food Channel. Our low-key, stay-at-home weekend was just what we all needed.

Timmy spent the weekend alternating between playing with his trains and watching video games. Robby spent his time playing video games and watching Battle Bots reruns on TV. Scott watched football and I caught up on some work and just relaxed on the couch. It has been a long time since we haven't done anything, but I we all needed a breather.

Our lack of ambition was rewarded with everybody feeling energized for the coming weeks which is a good thing because the next few days will be busy.  Between chauffeuring Robby to and from classes and my work schedule, we are about to enter another hectic spell. I'm glad I granted myself permission to relax because I have a feeling my reserves will be tapped soon!

Friday, October 12, 2018

My New Socket

Several weeks ago, during my visit to San Francisco, I was fit with a new socket. I haven't been able to disclose the process or the new socket because it was classified within the company. With the official release of the new Infinite Socket TT-S by LIM Innovations, I am finally able to write about my secret. 

My new socket has been a difficult secret to keep. I have been chomping at the bit to talk about my experiences. I have been wearing the adjustable socket now for several weeks, and I have been gobsmacked by the benefits I have reaped.

Ever since my re-amputation four years ago I have struggled with socket comfort. I used to be easy-to-fit, but the surgery changed the shape of my limb and my tolerances for pressure. Elliot and I finally settled upon a socket shape that allowed me to be mobile, but I have never been completely comfortable.

For the past four years I have lived with a love/ hate relationship with my prosthesis. I loved that I am able to walk and take care of my kids, but I hated the discomfort I experienced throughout the day. During normal days I was forced to stop my activity to release the valve and readjust my prosthesis 20 times in a quest for comfort. Having to constantly fiddle with my prosthesis had slowly become my new norm.

My limb health has declined over the past four years. I developed small sores on the back of my knee in 2014. The sores have gone through various stages of healing, but they have never completely closed and healed. It is frustrating to acknowledge that I have had small sores for four years!

I was skeptical when I was asked to try the new TT-S. Although I have struggled with cramping within my socket, my volume fluctuation remains stable. I wasn't sure that I would reap the benefits from an adjustable socket, but I was excited to try a new style. My goodness, I completely underestimated the benefits of the new TT-S.

After four years of struggling, the sores on the back of my leg have completely healed within one week of wearing the new socket. The skin on the back of my limb is no longer tomato red but has resumed a healthy hue. Once I get the compression dialed in on my socket, I don't have to constantly manipulate my prosthesis to remain comfortable. Even Robby has noticed that I am no longer constantly releasing and readjusting my leg. I put it on in the morning and I don't even think about it again until I take it off at night. The absence of the constant cramping and the nagging leg sores has been liberating!

Today LIM is hosting a Facebook Live at 2 pm EST to showcase the new socket. I hope that you can tune in and check it out. I am confident that the TT-S will revolutionize the prosthetic experience for so many because it has made a world of difference for this skeptic. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Unraveling Yarn

Last night I had a dream where I was pushing a large ball of yarn up a hill. I didn't quite know why I was tasked with pushing the yarn, but I felt an overwhelming compulsion to keep moving up the hill. When I finally arrived at the top of the hill a large bird came and landed on the top of my yarn. The weight of the bird dislodged the ball, and it began to teeter. Although I scrambled to regain control of the yarn I was not successful and I was forced to watch it roll and unravel down the same hill.

By the time the yarn reached the bottom of the hill the hall had completely unraveled to a single long strand. I woke up feeling distraught, scared and frustrated. Who would have thought that a weird dream about yard would elicit such a strong response?

I'm not versed with dream interpretation, but even I could decipher the message. Recently I have been feeling like my life is beyond my control. I know that I cannot control everything, but it is time that I start reigning in what is within my power. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Part of my problem lies with my ignoring my own needs. I am so busy with work, school, taking care of Timmy and trying to keep up with the house that I feel like I am unraveling. I keep wanting to return to my meditation and to improve my own self-care, but by the time I'm done with everything for the day I'm too exhausted to add anything to the mix. 

Have any other Mom's been in this predicament?  How did you keep your thinly veiled metaphorical yarn from unraveling?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pedal Power

Due to a steady stream of meetings on my calendar, Scott took Robby to his PE class last night. Timmy rode along with them, leaving me with a quiet house so that I could concentrate. Scott and Timmy headed to WalMart after dropping off Robby, hoping to fulfill a small list and to spend an hour walking around. 

About 40 minutes into their excursion I received a video of Timmy riding a bike through the aisles of WalMart. I was surprised because it was a two-wheel bicycle (with training wheels). My little Hamlet has never ridden a two-wheel bike, but he looked like a seasoned pro. I could tell by the pure glee written all over his face that the chances of him coming home with a new Paw Patrol bicycle were high. 

By the time the boys came home, my meetings were finished and dinner was ready. Timmy came sprinting up the stairs, excitedly took my hand and led me to the front door. He screamed "ta da" as soon as his Daddy walked into the house, holding a bright blue Paw Patrol bicycle.

My little guy is growing up too quickly!





Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Falling Leaves

With another Aunt Peggy Adventure in the books, it is time to return to reality. Yesterday afternoon we traveled back to Virginia, finished up some school work and prepared for the week ahead. The calendar is bragging that the work week is one day shorter but my schedule is not faring as well. True to my new normal, I'm going to be busy. After so much traveling throughout September, I'm just grateful to be busy at home and not in a hotel room!

The temperatures are still unseasonably warm, but the leaves have decided that it is time to fall. Our yard is suddenly covered with colorful leaves. I have a love/ hate relationship with autumn. I love the aesthetics of the season, but I hate trying to walk around or on wet leaves because they turn my yard into a giant slip and slide. 

My biological foot naturally adjusts to maintain traction, but I am not so lucky on my prosthetic side. Lacking the proprioception under my prosthesis, I can't tell when the leaves are slipping until I am in the middle of a fall.  Other than avoidance and caution, I haven't discovered any tips to help safeguard against slipping and falling on the leaves. If you have any tricks I would love to hear them! 

Monday, October 08, 2018

GLOW

After nearly two months apart, yesterday the Cousin Crew was reunited. I decided to take full advantage of the open schedule and the beautiful weather by orchestrating a cousin getaway adventure. The Crew was thrilled to be reunited, and Timmy was excited to be included in the adventure.  

We got settled into our hotel rooms (the big kids were in the room next door while Timmy and I stayed in the smaller adjoining room) we headed to dinner. After dinner we all piled into the car and headed to Philadelphia to experience the Jack-O-Lantern Glow festival. 

More than 5,000 pumpkins were carved with awe-inspiring detail. The gourd sculptures were all lit in a variety of colors and strewn throughout the park. All of the kids were gobsmacked by the sights and sounds of the event. Between all of the members of the Cousin Crew, we might have a photo of nearly every pumpkin. They were snapping photos throughout the night, declaring a new favorite at every turn.  

The Crew stayed up late into the night talking, watching television, and eating popcorn. I loved hearing and watching them catching up and having fun. 







Friday, October 05, 2018

Scary Witch

It is safe to say that Timmy has inherited my love for holidays. He is mesmerized by all of the "spooky" decorations adorning the Walmart shelves. The corner of the store where Christmas decorations are beginning to be displayed is a growing wonderland. He loves walking through the decoration aisles, oohing and aaahing over everything that catches his little eye.

Yesterday we found a fun Halloween nightlight during one of our shopping trips. I bought it for him and we set it up in his room as soon as we arrived home. As soon as we darkened the lights and turned it on he began to squeal and giggle with delight. Although he was amused during the day, I quickly realized that the "fun and festive nightlight" would become the source of nightmares and interrupted sleep if I allowed it to stay in his bedroom.  

Before he went to sleep I quietly replaced the flying witch with an illuminated happy pumpkin. Timmy was just as thrilled to have a smiling jack-o-lantern in his room and I felt more comfortable knowing that he wasn't going to be haunted by the creepy flying witch. (I love his zest and enthusiasm!) 

From now on, I think we'll pick our nightlights from the Christmas aisles.  


Thursday, October 04, 2018

Award Ceremony!

Yesterday was a proud day for our family. Because of his efforts over the summer, Robby was selected to receive the Presidential Volunteer Award. He received his Silver medal and certificate yesterday afternoon during a special ceremony.  

My little Koopa looked so grown up in his "fancy clothes." I am so proud of the young man that is emerging. While I can still look into his big brown eyes and see the little boy who used to call me his best buddy, the fact that he was able to wear Scott's clothes to the event provided further confirmation that my little boy is quickly growing up.  







Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Limb Loss Registry

I am not a number person, but I do appreciate that statistics carry weight with decision makers. I have often been frustrated by the commonly held assertion that 500 amputations occur every day in this country. Although the statistic is impressive on face value, I have never been completely confident in the research substantiating the claim. In fact, when I requested collaborating evidence, I was told to accept the statistic without question because "it sounds good to us." 

Recently a grant was awarded to create the National Limb Loss Registry. This registry will house public statistics concerning the community. With the constant warnings about identity theft, I was relieved to learn that all information is thoroughly deidentified before it is included in the registry. Finally, we will have concrete and verifiable information about the amputee community.

I fully admit that I was skeptical when I first learned about the registry. In fact, last night Dave and I recorded a podcast with him trying to convince me that the creation of a registry is a good thing for the community.  Check it out, and stay tuned for more information.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Nutty

Looking at our driveway leaves little doubt about the season. We aren't covered with beautiful fallen leaves. Instead our driveway, walkways, and yard are littered with thousands of hickory nuts. It often sounds like rocks being flung at our roof in a constant stream as the nuts fall from the trees. 

I hate hickory nut season. Each October our home becomes a hazardous zone as we shield ourselves from falling nuts and try to tiptoe around those that are already on the ground. If you haven't before seen a hickory nut, they are about the size of a golf ball but they are housed inside an outer hull that is the size of a baseball. In other words, they hurt when they fall on you!

Timmy has been delighted by the nut explosion. He spends hours each day collecting nuts in his little wheelbarrow as a treat for the squirrels. He delights each morning when he discovered that his wheelbarrow is filled with nut dust and remnants from the squirrels enjoying his easy-to-find buffet. I'm sure that our long-tailed furry friends appreciate his efforts.

Despite spending hours picking up nuts, Timmy barely makes a dent in our supply. We are constantly sweeping and blowing the nuts off of our walkway and driveway. I'm not comfortable, nor am I safe, trying to navigate through the nutty obstacle course. If I step on a nut my foot can easily slip out from under me, leading to a fall. I fell on a nut a few years ago and it is an experience I do not want to repeat. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

October

Happy October!

I am so happy that September is over. My calendar filled with "Mom away" in red felt overwhelming each time I glanced at it. October is open and clear (in regards to my travel) and I couldn't be happier. I enjoy traveling, but I do not relish being away as much as I was in September. 

After a series of long flights, I finally arrived home Saturday evening. Robby met me at baggage claim. He ran to me and hugged me so tightly when we were reunited that I feared I would lose my balance. I was thrilled that Timmy was still wide awake. His face lit up when he saw me walking toward him in the parking lot.  He began to giggle and I received the best hug ever.

Yesterday was spent doing nothing of import. I hung out with the boys and played outside. I let the laundry piles lay because my priority was being with my kids instead of cleaning. I missed them so much!

This week is going to be busy as I play catch-up. Wish me luck getting my house in order. After being away for so long, I'm fighting an uphill battle!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Emotions

This morning I am entering my third and final day of working the AOPA Conference in Vancouver. Yesterday was busy but productive, so the day moved quickly and I didn't have a chance to feel homesick. I'm hoping that the pattern will repeat itself again today. I love working conferences when I'm busy talking and networking with others. It is when the booth becomes slow that time seems to stand still.

When I haven't been working I have been glued to the television. The Confirmation Hearing has been both heartbreaking and frustrating to watch. I am ashamed of the circus in Washington DC.  

Like so many women across the country, the topic of sexual assault hits home. Wounds that have been covered and concealed are again raw with pain and emotion. I find myself on the verge of tears as I reflect upon my own experiences. I am a strong and independent woman, yet some memories can still bring me to my knees.  

Today is not the occasion for me to explore my own memories or emotions. Instead, I need to concentrate on the conference and my appointed tasks. Hopefully staying busy will help to keep my emotions at bay during this emotionally wrought time.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Homesick

Yesterday was productive albeit long. I had a great time reuniting with some friends and making new acquaintances. Conferences are always long days, but from a professional networking perspective, opportunities abound. 

Because of the conference schedule, I was able to escape the exhibit hall for a few hours to walk around the Vancouver waterfront. I enjoyed looking around, but the scenery and sightseeing experience made me miss my boys even more. Every time I saw a ship or a biplane my mind went to how excited my boys if they were with me. I miss my boys!

Today will be spent in the exhibit hall, meeting new people and talking about prosthetics. I'm looking forward to talking with practitioners about options in socket technology. Components receive so much attention, yet the foundation for each device is often overlooked. Hopefully we can change some perspectives today and get more prosthetists thinking about enhancing socket comfort for their patients!

Wish me luck, and if you are in Vancouver please stop by booth 218 (LIM Innovations) and say hello! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Long Day of Travel

Hello from Vancouver!  

Yesterday can be summed up in one succinct word: exhausting. I knew that it was going to be a long day and the journey definitely lived up to my expectations. After a nearly 20 hour work day, I was beyond grateful to fall into a comfortable bed last night. 

I slept solid and feeling ready for the challenges ahead. I haven't had the opportunity to explore the city beyond traveling from the convention center to the hotel, but I'm hoping to be able to walk around the marina during lunch. If you are at the AOPA conference, please stop through the exhibit hall to say hello!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Vancouver Bound

Timmy is again waking up at my Mom's house. I felt horrible yesterday afternoon as I was driving away from him. I know that he is in great hands and having a wonderful time with his Nana and his older (and adoring) cousins, but leaving him again is difficult. 

As my calendar quickly filled through the month, I knew that September was going to be arduous. I am accustomed to traveling once every three months. This will be my third trip away in as many weeks. Thankfully this will be my last work trip for awhile. I am definitely not made for this lifestyle!

This morning I'm hopping on an insanely early flight for Vancouver. Even though I'm travel weary, I'm looking forward to attending the conference. I enjoy reuniting with friends and networking professionally. The next few days will be busy but productive. Hopefully I won't miss my kiddos too much if I'm as busy as I anticipate. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Robby's Bad Day

It is safe to say that Friday was a difficult day for the entire Chenoweth family.  Scott was frustrated by work issues and I felt like I was chasing my tail all day. Unfortunately, Robby received the shortest end of the bad day straw.

The day began to go south when I drove Robby to his home economics/ cooking class. Typically only a 20 minute drive, I allotted myself 30 minutes to arrive early. I didn't expect the seemingly meaningless back-up on the highway. I watched anxiously as my time buffer slowly began to fade. We had planned to be early but ended up being three minutes late.

Although we were late, I really didn't think that it would impact Robby. Well, it turns out that tasks are assigned before class begins, which was promptly at 2:00. By 2:03 all of the "fun" cooking jobs had been claimed. Robby's teacher gave him a lone bell pepper and told him to cut it up.  

Robby took the pepper and got to work. After chopping his pepper he waited for another task to be assigned. When one never materialized, he continued to work on the pepper. After 45 minutes of chopping the same pepper until it was a gelatinous green mess, the teacher finally took notice. In hindsight, Robby admits that he should have garnered the courage to tell his teacher that he was done chopping the pepper before it was completely obliterated. He didn't want to speak out of turn so he figured it was safer to remain quiet.  Lesson learned.

As the classroom delicacies were being passed out, Robby asked his teacher for a small amount. She said okay and then turned to get a bowl. For some reason, Robby took this as an opportunity to walk away from the line to get a sip of water from the water fountain. By the time he returned everybody else had been served and he didn't want to draw attention by asking the teacher again for his bowl.  Another lesson learned- Don't walk away after you request something.  

His bad school day continued into his WWII battle strategy class. The students were assigned battle position based upon the roll of a dice. Robby rolled a six, which placed him in the center of the major battle. His army was eliminated in the first round. He was supposed to reenter the game when another competitor was able to refresh their troops. Unfortunately Robby was too embarrassed to ask for clarification, and he sat the entire game out. Another lesson learned: Don't be afraid to ask your teacher a question.

This school year has been a transition for all of us, most importantly Robby. He is expected to be more independent and to advocate for himself. I see a lot of personal growth in his future.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekend Rest

Finally!  

After three consecutive weekends traveling, I am going to be spending this weekend at home. Robby is disappointed because he wants to visit his Nana to meet her new kitten. Sorry Nana, but this Mom isn't going anywhere beyond a twenty-minute circle around my house for the next two days. If I work it correctly, I won't get into a car at all for the next 48 hours!

The reprieve from the travel is a welcome break. I feel like I have been a subpar mom over the past month, constantly tired and playing catch-up with everything. I am looking forward to just relaxing, playing with toys with Timmy and watching BattleBots on the couch with Robby. 

Unfortunately, my break will be short lived. On Monday I pack up and head to the airport again, this time I'm going to a conference in Vancouver for the week. I hate sending Timmy back to my Mom's, but I find solace in the fact that he always has a great time. I am glad that she has my niece and nephews to help wrangle and entertain my little guy, and I know that he will be entertained and loved. 

Hopefully this will be the last work trip and my family can rediscover normal. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the quiet weekend at home. I think we all deserve two days of doing absolutely nothing of consequence!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Unplugging

With one phone call yesterday morning my plans went from busy to chaotic.  When I wasn't busy with scheduled meetings I was focusing on a single last minute project with an immediate due date. With the majority of my energy focused on the report, I was a great employee but a lousy Mom. Sigh. I guess I can't always strike the perfect balance.

The report was submitted before the deadline, filling me with a sense of relief and elation. Today I'm going to concentrate on the kids as much as possible. They were really good yesterday as I was trying to concentrate and focus and I appreciate their help more than they realize. 

Today I'm going to take the kids to the park this afternoon, and I'll leave my cell phone in the car as we play. Sometimes work projects take priority, but sometimes it is good to unplug and just be a mom. Today will be one of those days! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Visiting

Today will be busy with a combination of work and chauffeuring the boys. In between appointments, I am squeezing in a visit with a new amputee. I try to prioritize visits when requested because I remember how difficult it is to reach out for help. I hate to delay the request and, although I will be stretched thin, today I will move my schedule as much as possible to accommodate. 

Visiting a new amputee always fills me with a mixture of emotions. I am happy to help by lending information and support whenever possible. Each time I prepare to meet with a new amputee I find myself transported back in time, to when I was struggling and felt alone. My goal is to provide the support that I was lacking so many years ago. 

Being reacquainted with the difficult emotions is always uncomfortable for me. I don't like remembering that time in my life, and I especially don't like reliving the emotions so vividly. I mourn for my foot, but I also grieve for the scared young woman who was petrified of her life without a foot. In a weird way, each time I visit a new amputee I feel like I am reaching back to my younger self. 

Visiting a new amputee is always an experience which is both rewarding and fraught with anxiety. I am not looking forward to the emotions that I know will emerge, but I am eager to make a new friend and help provide some support. Every effort and revisited emotion is worth it if I can help make the path easier for somebody else.  

Wish us luck today!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sacrificing

After a whirlwind weekend of work and play, yesterday was spent catching up on household chores and spending time with Timmy. My little guy's face lit up when he saw me yesterday morning, and I received one of the best hugs ever. I hate leaving him, but he certainly makes coming home a joy!

Even though I worked much of the day, I still feel like I'm playing catch up. With another week of travel on the horizon, I am close to surrendering to the chaos and exhaustion until October. I don't know how other parents travel for work while maintaining their sanity. I definitely don't have that ability to multitask! Hopefully things will slow down because I don't like moving at such a quick pace.               

I've decided that, until the travel slows down, I'm going to just try to relax when it comes to cleaning. I want to spend time with my kids and I just can't work, clean and play with them. Something has to have to be sacrificed, and for now, it is going to be clean floors. 



Monday, September 17, 2018

San Antonio

Robby and I had a fantastic weekend getaway. Even though the weather didn't cooperate, and we both had colds, we managed to pack a slew of adventures into a short period of time. When he looks back, I hope that he remembers the adventures and not the obstacles during our weekend trip.

I have to say, Robby was an absolute rockstar helping me work on Saturday. I was proud of the way that he helped me set up and spoke with people coming to our exhibit. He was polite and engaging. I was an incredibly proud Momom!

After our event was over on Saturday afternoon the weekend was ours to enjoy. We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed straight to the Alamo. We spent the day touring the grounds and meandering through the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley Museums. We had planned on going out to eat along the Riverwalk, but by dinner time we were both feeling worn down. Instead, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed for the rest of the night. 

Sunday morning we took the double deck bus tour, stopping at the Mexican market to take in the sights and sounds. Robby was mesmerized by the smells and activity wafting through the vast market. Hopping off the bus was a spur of the moment decision, but I'm glad we decided to explore.  After the bus tour, we headed back to the hotel and packed up. 

The flight home was long but uneventful. Timmy was asleep when we arrived home, but he was beyond enthusiastic to see me this morning. He has been busy telling me about his adventures with Daddy (they went to his favorite playground twice) and was allowed to pick out a new balloon. It seems that both Chenoweth boys had a great weekend. 









Friday, September 14, 2018

Texas Bound

Today I embark on September trip number two, only this time I am not going solo. I decided to bring Robby along on my quick work trip to San Antonio.  He is looking forward to experiencing the Riverwalk and seeing the Alamo. If the weather holds out we are going on an Alama Ghost Walk Saturday night.  

While Robby and I are in San Antonio for the weekend, Scott and Timmy will be hanging out at home. I am sure that they will have fun playing with trains and watching football. I feel bad leaving my little Hamlet again, but I am excited about this trip with Robby. It has been some time since we have gone on an adventure with just the two of us.

Saturday afternoon Robby and I will be at the Limb Loss Awareness Day in San Antonio. If you local and are planning to attend, please stop by and say hello. I guarantee Robby will regale you with stories from sea turtle camp, and I have some swag to give away. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Weather Pain

The unsettled weather is wreaking havoc on my limb and on my psyche. With the hurricane churning a few hundred miles away, the pattern seems established for the next week. I have added ibuprofen to my morning routine, trying to get ahead of the pain but I'm not sure it is working. Of course, I don't want to forgo a dose and discover otherwise, so I'll stay on my dosing until I see the sun again.

It isn't only my leg that aches more than normal. My entire body is hurting. The pain isn't debilitating, but it is most certainly annoying.  Every morning I feel like I'm waking up to a sadistic form of the pain lottery as I anticipate what is going to hurt more today. I am feeling middle age with a vengeance!

Thankfully we are only supposed to receive rain from the hurricane, sparing us from the originally predicted high winds and hail. The forecast could change quickly, so we are still preparing for the worst. Between hurricanes and the soon-to-be-a-factor snow season, we will probably need our supplies at some point in the coming months. In addition to bottles of water, food, and wood for burning, I'm adding the Costco size bottle of ibuprofen to the emergency supply list. Because regardless of the weather event, I will be needing the pain medication.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September 11 Tradition

It is hard to believe that yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the attacks of September 11. In so many ways it feels like just yesterday. But looking at my family and my life today, it feels like a lifetime since I was that person. 

Per our family tradition, the boys baked and delivered chocolate chip cookies to our local firehouse. Robby and I began the tradition when he was only a few months old. I struggled to figure out a way to teach him about the events without evoking fear or uncertainty. I finally decided that spreading kindness to our First Responders was the perfect way for our family to honor the significance of the day.

While Robby grasps the scope of the events of September 11, Timmy was simply excited to bake cookies and visit the Fire Station. (My little Hamlet finds joy and fun in just about every activity.) He was especially delighted by the invitation to explore and to sit in the firetrucks. When you are four years old, sitting in a firetruck with your big brother might just be the best thing in the world!




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Prepping

My weekend trip to Texas is looking iffy at best.  With Hurricane Florence stirring in the Atlantic, Virginia is anticipating heavy rain and high winds at the end of the week. I am not terribly keen on flying through hurricane force winds, nor am I comfortable leaving the family during a potentially stressful time. Hopefully the storm will diminish over the next few days. (I realize that is not the prediction, but a girl can hope.)

The next few days we are in full storm prep mode. Scott is picking up some extra tarps on his way home from work to fortify our leaky roof. I'll be working downstairs and outside, making sure that water can flow away from the house freely. There is nothing we can do about water seeping up through the cement slap in the computer room, but we can make the area as accessible as possible should clean up be required.  

Assuming that the airline offers flight waivers and the winds are still forecast to be high, I will be packing up the boys and driving to my Mom's for the weekend. If at all possible, Scott and I want to get the boys out of the danger zone. We stayed home through Hurricane Floyd a few years ago and it was one of the most angst ridden nights of my life. Scott plans to stay to stay in the basement should anything need immediately tended to after the storm passes.  

I have so many friends in the path of this storm that I can't help but worry. I know that the internet is full of prepping tips and lists, but I feel compelled to offer another to the mix. Last year Dave and I recorded an Emergency Preparation podcast, focused on prepping for a disaster when you utilize a prosthesis.  Check it out, and please stay safe.  


Monday, September 10, 2018

Home Happy

The trip to San Francisco was productive, but my goodness, it is nice to be home. Five nights is just a few too long for me to be away from the boys. I know that there are others who travel far more extensively, but it is not my norm nor is it my preference. At my core, I am a homebody and I am okay with that!

Per tradition, Robby met me in the airport at baggage claim. I will never tire of seeing his sweet little face light up when he spots me across the terminal.  Timmy stayed in the car with Scott while Robby ran into the airport to greet me.  I heard Timmy squealing almost as soon as the car came into view as we walked to the parking lot. He was so excited to see me I feared that he would break the restraints of his car seat. I hope that the boys will always be that happy to see me, but I know eventually their enthusiasm will wane.

Because I was gone for so long, I am taking a short break from work responsibilities. Well, as much of a break as possible considering the circumstances. There are too many projects to walk away for an entire day, but I'm going to do my best to disconnect as much as possible, at least for a few hours.

Instead of heavy working, today will be spent playing catch up and pick up. I have some quick tasks that I need to finish up from the San Francisco trip. I also have lots of toys, dishes, laundry and assorted household items that need to be picked up and put away. It won't be relaxing for a day off, but at least I'll be able to get return the house to normal.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Productivity

My leg is feeling better. It is amazing how liberating the absence of pain feels! Last night I was actually able to sleep and today I'm feeling both energetic and refreshed. 

I still have two full days in San Francisco before returning home. This trip is a tad longer than most, and I'm starting to really feel the distance between me and my boys. At my core I am a homebody.

I won't have a lot of time to ruminate on feeling homesick over the next few days. Today and tomorrow the schedule is packed from early morning until late evening.  I don't think I'll have problems staying busy until I fly home on Sunday.While I miss the boys, I am also feeling productive which is satisfying.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Step By Step

As predicted, yesterday was bustling with activity. In between meetings and working on projects I met with the Prosthetist to test out my new socket. I find the socket fitting process frustrating under the best of circumstances. I always feel deflated when I slip into a new socket and it doesn't fit. I realize that is part of the process, and that unlike a pair of jeans the socket can and should be adjusted. But I abhor the process!

The socket did not fit correctly and was being tweaked throughout the afternoon. I know that it will eventually be perfect, but the steps that I need to take (literally and figuratively) to get to that stage are frustrating. I used to be an easy-to-fit limb. Everything changed after the surgery a few years ago. 

The re-amputation after Timmy was born completely transformed my limb. While only about an inch of bone was removed, the changes in my limb are profound. I can no longer bear weight through the bottom of my limb, and I am now hyper sensitive to the pulling sensation when trying to wear a seal-in liner. 

I should have returned to my original surgeon when I was having issues with my limb. Instead I accepted a referral for somebody local. At the time I was struggling with a newborn, recovering from a hysterectomy and in survival mode. I didn't have the energy to investigate options, so I opted for the easiest solution. In hindsight I would have done things differently, but that revelation does not help me now.

I become depressed and self-loathing when I think of the ramifications from that leg surgery. I am going to deal with the consequences every day for the rest of my life. While most of the time I have adjusted and I don't think about it, the emotions come flooding back whenever I am dealing with socket issues. Yesterday was one of those days.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Greetings from SFO

Good morning from San Francisco. 

I arrived late last night after a non eventful trip. Today is going to be extraordinarily busy, so please excuse the brevity of this blog post. Typically I enjoy the practice of leisurely drinking my coffee while writing my blog in the morning, but today I do not that that luxury. I need to chug my coffee as soon as the temperature is tolerable, hop in an UBER and head into the office.  

Timmy is happy and safe at my Mom's house. (Robby is busy with school so he stayed in Virginia.) My sweet little guy cried on the drive to the transfer point, begging to stay. It absolutely broke my heart seeing him so upset with my departure. By the time my Mom and Timmy drove away I was in tears.

According to my Mom, Timmy's crying did not last long. His sadness morphed into smiles and laughter as soon as they arrived at her home. It made me feel considerably better getting onto the plane knowing that Timmy was happy.  



Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Low-Key Holiday

After several doses of ibuprofen, by mid afternoon my back twinges began to relax. We decided to take advantage of the final day of the pool season by heading to splish and splash for a few hours. The boys were delighted to go play in the pool. I was looking forward to cooling off and feeling weightless in the water.  

The cool pool water was exactly what I needed to feel completely better. I could feel the nerves relaxing as I gently waded in the water with Timmy. (Robby was busy playing with a friend in the deep end of the pool.)  By the time we were ready to come home the boys were sun drunk and my back was feeling completely normal. 

The evening was spent running errands and getting ready for the week. Unfortunately, after working in the kitchen for two hours and lugging laundry around the house, my back started to twitch again. As soon as I felt the first twinge I stopped what I was doing and rested. I can't afford to become immobile due to back pain.  The housework will have to wait.

Today I'm heading to San Francisco for work, and I'll be away from home until Sunday. (I am hoping that my back is healed enough to handle the long flight.) Timmy is going to be spending the week with my Mom while Robby and Scott are busy at school.  I know that everybody will be okay in my absence, but my goodness I am going to miss them!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Ouch

I heard Hamlet up early and ready to start playing. Normally I begrudgingly get out of bed within moments of hearing him, groggy and moving at a slightly slower speed until the coffee began to course through my system. This morning was different. I found myself laying in bed for more than 30 minutes after my little mischief maker woke up. I wasn't enjoying the holiday, nor was I enjoying the solitude of having Scott get up to watch Timmy. Instead, I was physically trapped because my back muscles decided to spasm.  

I laid in bed for nearly 20 minutes, trying (and many times failing) to turn my body without twinging my back. After I finally found myself in a propped sitting position, I realized that I needed to get on my liner and leg. It took me nearly 15 minutes and a variety of poses worthy of a Cirque du Soleil performance to slip on my liner. Each time my weight shifted I felt the complaints from my middle aged back.

Tomorrow I am leaving for San Francisco, which means that I have a lengthy to do list to tackle today. Unfortunately my back failed to get the "I don't have time to be sidelined" memo. Instead of working around the house and cleaning, today will be spent alternating between heat and ice in the quest for comfort and relief.  

I hate feeling my age!

Friday, August 31, 2018

September Woes

Despite the miserable weather, we had a fantastic summer.  As August draws to a close and I prepare to turn the calendar to September, I find myself feeling nostalgic and sad. The return to the school year routine always finds me feeling a mixture of opposing emotions. I'm thankful for a comfortable routine, but depressed that the excitement and energy of having everybody at home during the summer is over. 

This emotional quagmire is nothing new. I have been struggling with the transition from August to September for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child I dreaded and resented Labor Day. I found it nearly impossible to understand why anybody could be jubilant and happy during what felt like a sad and somber holiday.

The transition to September is always depressing, but this year I'm also feeling a lot of anxiety. I'm worried about Robby's school and already fretting about how to help him be successful. I'm also feeling overwhelmed by my exceptionally busy travel schedule during the next few weeks. I am going to be away from home for work at least twelve days during the next month. Considering that I typically only travel two or three times a year for work, this schedule is heavy by my standards.

My first trip begins with my traveling to San Francisco next week. I'm approaching the trip with mixed emotions. While the timing is less than ideal because of the return to school chaos, I'm excited about my current professional projects. Since I can't do anything to about the timing of the trip I'm working to put my anxiety to the side and trying to enjoy the moment. Perhaps focusing moment by moment is my key to surviving all of September.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Repair Anxiety

Today the repairman is scheduled to return to our house to repair our fridge. Even though we were all tired and grumpy from the oppressive heatwave, last night's family activity was purging and cleaning. It took us over an hour to get rid of the expired food, half eaten tubs of dip and lone pickles that had been hiding in the recesses of our fridge.  Our freezer was littered with single hot dogs and assorted veggies that had somehow escaped their packaging. Between the freezer and the refrigerator, we filled three giant trash bags.  

After the food was relocated to either the trash can or the refrigerator and freezers downstairs, we turned our efforts to cleaning. Well, I turned my attention to cleaning. The boys retreated to the bedroom as soon as the last frozen pizza was put away. I was disgusted by the gunk that had accumulated on the shelves and within the bins!

I'll be glad when the repair is complete. The loud humming coming from the motor has been driving me batty. I feel like I am being taunted by the constant reminder that it is broken. Silence will surely be golden when everything is fixed.

Even though I'm looking forward to the repair being completed and my kitchen returning to its normal state of clutter and chaos, I am not looking forward to hosting the repairman today. I hate having people in the house when I am home alone. (The fact that Timmy is also home offers little solace.) Whenever somebody unknown is in the house I feel uneasy and paranoid.

The fact that I am an amputee definitely contributes to my uneasiness. If somebody wanted to hurt me, I worry that I'm an easy target. Even though I am strong and have taken self-defense courses, I can't help but feel vulnerable by my prosthesis.  

I hate feeling this way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sad Sign

The For Sale sign is posted in front of Bill's house. Every time I look out my window, I feel washed with sadness. I am going to miss my dear friend. To add further heartache, I know that my boys are going to miss their adopted grandfather. 

Robby and Timmy don't know life without having Mr. Bill watching from across the street. He has fixed fishing poles, mended bicycle tires and encouraged peeing on trees. He has guided Robby through school projects and has been a wealth of information for reports. It is hard to imagine the neighborhood without him.

After much internal debate, Bill has decided to move because he can no longer maintain his yard to his high standards. I suggested that he stay and simply lower his standards or hire somebody to help him care for the property, but I quickly realized that he was not grappling for reasons to stay. He wants to move because he is tired of taking care of the house and wants a simpler life. My offering suggestions was only making the situation more difficult.  

Instead of trying to fix the situation, I have come to the conclusion that the best way to handle the move is to support Bill. He is changing his entire life, and I know that he is both scared and confused. As much as I want him to stay, he needs to do what is best for him. Change is hard for everybody, regardless of age.  

Part of me is hoping that his house doesn't sell and that his desire to leave fades. But I also know that my wishes are selfish, and that Bill needs to move on if that is what he wants to do. So I will cherish the remaining time that we will share as neighbors and help him in anyway possible with this transition. Outside I will be strong and caring, but inside my heart will be breaking.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sidelined

For one more day my limb health has stymied my plans. I was hoping to spend yesterday tidying up around the house, working through the laundry and playing outside with Timmy. Instead I ended up on the couch, watching The Polar Express while icing my limb. I hate the vulnerability that I feel whenever I have a prosthetic issue! 

Timmy is now old enough to understand when I need to take it easy and rest, which makes the situation easier. Instead of continuing to run around and throwing tantrums because he can't play outside, his whole demeanor changes when he sees me hobbling around. Now he tries to kiss my boo boos, brings me cups of water and snuggles up next to me to watch his favorite movie. I hate that he has to adjust his schedule because of my issues, but I love the compassion that he is demonstrating.

Hopefully taking another day off and resting has allowed me to heal enough to hobble through today without issue. The sore is now completely closed, and the swelling has gone down considerably. I will still take it easy, but I'm going to try to push myself a little bit today. 

I'm tired of being slowed by my prosthetic issues.  I'm bored of sitting on the couch, and looking around there is so much that needs to be done I'm feeling frustrated. I should also admit that as much as I love Christmas, I might lose my mind if I have to watch the Polar Express again today!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Farm Fun

The weather was ideal on Saturday, so we decided to take full advantage of the rain respite by going to the farm. Although we had a lot of back-to-school errands to finish, we decided that it would be more fun to play in the sun. We figured we could tackle all of our errands on Sunday when the weather was supposed to be more humid.  Timmy had a fantastic time playing on all of the structures and riding the cow train. The farm is definitely Hamlet's happy place. He has been going there since he was a baby and roams the grounds like a boss.

While Timmy was busy playing, Robby immersed himself in fishing. He was able to pull several large fish from the pond before losing his last hook to a large snapping turtle. Disappointed that his fishing adventure was cut short, he packed up his gear and dedicated the rest of his afternoon to playing with his little brother. (In many ways the farm is magical because both boys get along without scrapping.)

Our plans of tackling our errands on Sunday became complicated when I removed my prosthesis on Saturday night to discover a large sore behind my knee. I didn't feel any pain during the day, but the discomfort increased as the evening wore on. By the time the sun went down, I had my limb wrapped in a cool towel and was feeling worn out on the couch.  It was not a fun way to finish off an otherwise great day.

Sunday my leg still hurt but wearing my prosthesis was manageable.  In an ideal world I would have gone the entire day without donning my prosthesis. But I live in reality, not in the real world.   I did try to minimize the amount of time I wore my leg so that the sore could heal quickly.  I really hate how a small sore can turn well laid plans upside down!






Friday, August 24, 2018

Potty Training Trouble

Earlier this week, as I was rummaging through my purse for a pull-up diaper, another Mom proudly declared that her son was fully toilet trained at 18 months. I smiled and agreed that it was wonderful before sticking the pull-up up my shirt and discretely guiding my wet little cherub into the bathroom. Unfortunately Timmy doesn't do anything discretely, and began to scream "no pee pee potty" with a sense of outrage and panic.  

Timmy not only demonstrates zero interest or motivation in using the toilet, but he seems to go out of his way thwart our efforts. He melts down into tears and tantrums whenever I try to put cloth underwear on him. He has resorted to hiding in corners when he has to go to the bathroom in an effort to avoid going to the potty.  

I've read the books, bought the trainer toilets and urinals, and purchased the potty bribes. In May I was confident that he would be fully out of diapers by the end of the summer. Labor Day is around the corner and I'm still buying Pull-Ups and Diapers. Needless to say, we have failed to meet our goal. 

It is painfully obvious that I am not good at guiding a child through potty training.  In fact, I would go as far as to declare that I am a complete failure at potty training. Unfortunately for everybody, learning to use the potty is not negotiable. I'm in for a loud, and frustrating weekend as we continue our efforts.  Wish us all luck!


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Broken Fridge

Timmy is not handling his Daddy's return to work gracefully. Each morning he is in tears, wrapping his little arms and legs around Scott and holding on as tightly as possible. After we pry him off and Scott makes his departure, Hamlet breaks down crying. It doesn't take long for his cries to morph into a full blown tantrum, which I am forced to endure until it passes.

I am hoping that his reaction softens as this routine becomes our new normal. I hate seeing my little guy so distraught. While I know that his tantrum is not fun for me, I am confident that he is miserable as well.  

I would love to pack up Timmy and Robby to escape to the pool to enjoy our final days of summer. The sky full of rain clouds and a broken refrigerator thwarted that plan. So instead of playing in the sun I am going to be waiting for the appliance repairman.  

Sigh. I really don't want to be an adult anymore.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Sprained Phantom Ankle

Last night the skies opened up and the rain showered down for hours. Our yard is again a sloppy, wet mess. At this point I have completely given up hope for the rest of the summer. Instead I am hoping that the Fall is full of beautiful leaves and bright sun shine against blue skies. 

In addition to our yard and our roof, my leg has also been feeling the wrath of the rain storms. It seems that the pain becomes more intense and more frequent with each storm. Last night my ankle (phantom) was aching so much I was almost on the verge of tears. It is incredibly painful and frustrating to feel that your missing ankle is somehow sprained. 

Moving around buckets to catch the drops coming into our house, I was struggling to walk. It was painful each time I fully loaded my prosthesis. I removed my leg and liner numerous times, hoping to find a magical sweet spot to allow me to walk without pain. (I knew that my attempts were futile, but I felt like I needed to at least try.) 

Eventually I took some Tylenol, grabbed the heating pad and went to bed for the night. Thankfully the sensation that my ankle is sprained has vanished. Now my limb just feels sore and tight, but completely manageable. 

I am walking without my limp, but I plan on taking it easy today. I feel like my body is trying to tell me to relax and take it easy. An injury right now would be catastrophic, so perhaps it is time I actually start listening to my body and following the cues. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Turtle Video

With Scott back to work, I am slowly moving towards resuming the school schedule. Having the boys home everyday has been both wonderful and frustrating. I love having the commotion, the noise and the utter chaos that comes from having a full house. On the other hand, I have had my fill of the commotion, the noise and the utter chaos that comes from having a full house. There is something to be said for quieter days with only Timmy to manage.

It is hard to believe that another school year is beginning. It feels like it has only been a few days since we celebrated the last day of school. Between travel, day adventures and lots of cousin time, the weeks have flown by. This summer has been especially memorable for Robby. I know that he will look back on these two months for decades to come. 

Over the weekend he finalized a video from his Internship. He filmed everything with his night vision scope (thanks to Nana for the wonderful Christmas present). After sifting through hours of raw footage, he compiled a video to commemorate his experience.  Enjoy!



Monday, August 20, 2018

Potato Dig

We decided to delay the potato dig until Sunday in hopes that the fields would dry out a bit. We realized that we miscalculated when another huge thunderstorm rolled through the area on Saturday night. Undeterred, we put on old shoes and grabbed our bags to embark on our annual potato hunt.  With all of the rain we have been receiving lately, I suspected that the fields were going to be muddy.  My muck expectations were exceeded. Whereas Timmy had a blast splashing in the mud, the rest of the family spent their field time artfully dodging the puddles (as much as possible).

Finding the potatoes was easy, but getting to them was a different story. I'm not afraid of dirt, but mud fills me with anxiety because it is easy to slip and fall. I was hyper cognizant of every step, carefully calculating my options and the preparing to slip with each movement. Thankfully I didn't end up on my bum, but I did slide around quite a few times. 

The slick mud definitely complicated a fun tradition. While we still had a good time, the event was not as carefree as it has been in the past. I was worried about falling, Scott and Robby were concerned about becoming too muddy and Timmy's loyalties were torn between puddle jumping and finding potatoes.  

Despite our efforts, we were muddy from the knees down. (With the exception of Timmy, who was thoroughly coated and gleeful in his filth.) Thankfully we had the foresight to bring extra shoes with us. Unfortunately there wasn't anything I could do about my muck covered foot shell. There weren't enough wet wipes in the diaper bag to get that thing clean!


Friday, August 17, 2018

Weekend Plans

Happy Friday! We have a busy weekend scheduled but we will all be home so I'm not going to complain. As long as my time in the car is minimal and I wake up in my own bed, I will consider the weekend successful.

On Saturday we are headed to our farm for the Potato Dig. The event has become a family tradition and both boys are looking forward to attending again this year. I suspect that this year Timmy will fully grasp the event and will up his potato digging skills.  With two boys who love digging in the dirt, I should be set for the winter cooking!

Sunday afternoon we have tickets to Cirque Italia. I don't have any expectations, but hopefully everybody will enjoy the show. Robby was utterly mesmerized when we took him to the traveling Cirque Du Soleil show earlier this year. Hopefully he will be just as impressed by the knock-off one we are seeing on Sunday. 

More than anything else, I am looking forward to just relaxing at home. I need to catch up on laundry and hang out with the kitties. My September calendar is beginning to fill up so I am trying to enjoy my downtime while I have it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fair

This morning I am home (finally). 

Last night we fulfilled one of our final summer traditions by going to our county fair. Although it was hot, we thoroughly enjoyed the absence of rain. It feels as if it has rained nonstop since May. Everyday without precipitation feels like a gift!

We all had fun, but Timmy definitely enjoyed the fair the most. He stuffed his toy Yoshi into his front pocket and had a blast riding the small amusements with his toy. He giggled, squealed and laughed throughout the night, soaking in every moment.  Robby had fun, but his struggle with motion sickness sidelined his enjoyment of the rides. 

This morning Scott returns to work, officially ending his summer vacation. Robby is still home for another week before he embarks on his new educational adventure. Not that I'm counting down, but I can see the light at the end of the chaos filled summer!