I am frequently contacted by new amputees, or soon-to-be amputees, in search of information and mentoring. I'm always happy to lend and ear and my experience, mainly because I have never forgotten how alone and lost I felt after my amputation. When somebody emails me or sends a message looking for support, I do my best to answer immediately because I know how hard it is to make the first outreach.
Last week I was contacted by a new amputee through Instagram. I answered her initial query, prompting her to immediately write back with more questions. I spent at least three hours over two days exchanging messages and offering support. Initially nothing felt odd or seemed amiss.Slowly the blips on my radar started to increase in strength and frequency.
After the fourth request for a "stump photo," I was convinced that I had been pulled into a rouse. Why somebody would fake an amputation I will probably never understand. I don't know if it the thrill of pretending or the conquest of obtaining a limb photo that motivates these individuals. I do know that I feel scammed every single time I fall for their ploys.
I spent the majority of Friday night angry at myself. I invest my time and my heart every single time I connect with a new amputee. I took time away from my kids and my other responsibilities because I wanted to help. I didn't deserve to be scammed by a faker.