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, April 24, 2009

My Personal Extreme Makeover

Yesterday, I did something that I rarely do. I got my hair cut, styled, colored and highlighted. This special treat was the pinnacle to a journey that I embarked on two years ago yesterday, my own self-imposed makeover.On April 23, 2007 I woke up to care for my son. I looked in the mirror, and had a horrible revelation. I was fat. I wasn't merely chunky or overweight. There was no doubt about it, I was obese, and it was my fault.

I never really attributed the weight to my pregnancy, although that certainly added pounds. I had a much better excuse. One that couldn't be ignored or denied by anybody. I was an amputee. I only had one leg. It was "harder" for me to work out. I couldn't get in shape with a prosthetic, could I?

I am a fan of The Biggest Loser and other weight loss shows, but all of those contestants had a "leg up" on me so to speak. They were all able bodied individuals. I have never seen any disabled individual featured on a weight loss segment or program. Obviously, I was expected to be less fit and active, or so I told myself.

That sad morning two years ago, I resolved to change the course of my life. Logically, I knew that all amputees weren't always tired, achy and fat. Unfortunately, that was my only experience. I changed the excuse of being an amputee into a challenge, and my little boy became my motivation.

Realistically, I know that Robby will face ridicule as he grows because his Mommy is different. There is nothing I can do about having only one leg. My epiphany that morning: He was going to have a Mommy with one leg. But he didn't have to have the fat one legged Mommy.

During Robby's nap time, I put on my work-out clothes that I swore must have shrunk. I took the laundry off the stationary bicycle, and I started pedaling. That day I could only pedal for 15 minutes, but during that time I proved something to myself. I could exercise with a prosthetic. With a lot more work and a lot fewer excuses, I could not only be a really cool one legged Mommy, I could be the sexy one legged Mommy.

The journey has been difficult both physically and emotionally. I couldn't do every exercise I tried. I tried pole dancing, and my leg got caught and almost popped off. Yoga has been a bit tricky, because I simply can't do every move. However, I have discovered that there is more that I can do verses what I can't. The true challenge has been morphing the amputation "excuse" into a challenge.I am now over 100 pounds lighter than I was that morning two years ago. I have more energy, and more pride. I am excited about life. I am proud of what I can accomplish with my prosthetic. I am now training for a mini triathalon. Instead of settling for what I perceived to be the life of an amputee, I now strive to do things on one leg that I never thought would be possible when I had two.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keep spare legs under your bed...

This lesson I learned the hard way. Like a lot of amputees, I keep my "beater leg" and my specialized legs in a bag in the closet. Let's face it, keeping spare limbs lying around the house looks a bit odd, and can be an uncomfortable and unnecessary visual reminder of your amputation.
I have learned, however, that it is imperative to keep at least one spare limb within reach at all times.

All children go through stages where they like to move things and "hide" things. They don't do it to be mean. It is part of the learning process and is inevitable. Usually what they relocate can be easily found. Until you wake up one morning, and you realize you can't find your leg!

I found myself crawling around the house, asking my two year old where he put Mommy's leg. While he is very good at hiding things, he isn't always good at remembering where he put them. Despite my bruised knees from crawling, I had to laugh. I never thought I would be saying, "Robby, where did you put Mommy's leg..."

Yes, I finally found the leg, in the middle of his Diego ball tent, filled with balls. I also found two cordless phones, 5 pacifiers and his Daddy's work badge.

You may wonder why I was crawling and not using crutches. Well, I quickly discovered that crutches are very dangerous around a toddler. They apparently make wonderful swords and bats. After a broken lamp and a near miss with our cat, the crutches are now safely in the closet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bone spurs and pregnancy...

Okay, I didn't realize that pregnancy increases the probability that bone spurs will develop. This is due to the increased calcium absorption combined with the hormonal changes and fluctuating stump volume. I was shocked when I discovered a rather large bone spur had developed during the course of my pregnancy. When my little boy was just 8 weeks old, I had surgery to remove the spur.

I mention this in my blog because it was something I wasn't counting on after the pregnancy. Not only did I have to undergo surgery and live without my leg during the healing process, I needed to figure out how to care for my newborn.

Robby (my little boy) slept in the bassinette next to our bed. We prepared his formula bottles ahead of time, so I just needed to add bottled water, which we also kept beside the bed.

Being a nervous Mommy, I didn't want to risk carrying him while on crutches, but I knew I couldn't crawl and stay in bed all day either. My solution? A rolleraid cart with a basket attached to the front. This provided me with the mobility and safety we required. I wore Robby in his bjorn snuggler as we wheeled through the house.

I kept a bouncer seat in every room of the house during this time period. I also kept diaper changing bags in various locations throughout my home. This minimized the amount of traveling I needed to do through the home during my recovery. When I was able to wear my leg again, I discovered the convenience of keeping the diaper bags throughout the house. I have learned that, as an amputee Mommy, I may do somethings differently. But that is okay!

Tips from an Amputee Mommy

During pregnancy, swelling in your stump can be detrimental. I wore two shrinker socks every night to try to keep it controlled. When I needed to get a new socket, I was casted in the morning. In the morning, your stump tends to be at its largest. Let's face it, it's better to have a socket that is a tad too big. You can always put on those pesky socks. If a socket is too tight, sores and infection can develop, which is not good for Mommy or baby.

The reality of the size of my belly hit me like a ton of bricks when I woke up one morning and discovered I was no longer able to put my leg on by myself. Thankfully I was able to get my husband to help. For the duration of my pregnancy, he helped me with my liner before he went to work each morning. If my leg was upright, I could step into it independently.