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, July 31, 2009

A Quick Reminder...

For friendship, information or strategies, please visit and post on the forum at www.amputeemommy.com

I would love to create a warm, caring and non-judgmental environment for amputees and their loved ones.

Back to Reality...

We just returned from a wonderful family vacation. Robby loved the ocean, but was more enthralled by the pool. We swam and played in the pool every day, several times per day. We averaged at least 4 hours of quality pool time per day. We swam and played so much that he eagerly took long afternoon naps and went to bed without complaint.

I've always loved to swim and I am thrilled that Robby is turning into my Little Waterbug. To be honest, I probably could have stayed in the pool all day. Alas, my Mommy duties interrupted that possibility as Robby wanted to be fed, changed etc. As I was walking in the water, pulling Robby on a large lizard raft, I realized why I was drawn to the pool on this vacation.

In the water, my disability is neutralized. Because I now have a water-leg I am able to walk and play with Robby just like every other parent. Limps don't manifest in water. In the pool, I wasn't disabled. I was just a happy Mommy playing with her son. It was wonderful.

Unfortunately, all good things must end. We packed up and got ready to go home. Scott and I both felt refreshed from our week away from "the world." Robby chatted about going home and his vacation adventures as we drove to the airport.

The airport in Pensacola is tiny. Going through security, it was obvious that they do not have a lot of experience with amputees. As I was watching Scott do the "airport juggle," I stood and patiently waited for the "female assist" to clear me.

Scott certainly had his hands full, and, had I not felt bad for him, it would have been comical to watch. He was struggling to retrieve the computer bag, Robby's Diego backpack and the car seat, all while trying to keep a screaming little three year old from running over to the security pat down area with me.

When the security screener saw that I had a prosthetic, I knew instantly that she was inexperienced with amputees. More than the fear on her face, her mumbling tipped me off. As she approached and looked at my prosthetic, I heard her mutter, "Oh sh@&. I don't remember how to do this."

She stood before me, holding the explosive detector in one hand, and she didn't move. She then smiled, leaned forward, and asked me if I've been through this before. I said that I had, and she relaxed and began to smile. She then asked me for instructions. The experience certainly didn't instill a lot of confidence in the TSA!

We were delayed leaving Florida which posed the possibility of our missing our connection in Atlanta. We rushed to the gate only to realize that the connecting plane was also delayed. Thankfully, we were able to make the connection.

I knew I was in trouble when he looked at me and flashed his mischievous gap-toothed grin. He said, "No time out on airplane." Robby was a true pickle on the plane. Having to wait on the tarmac for almost an hour before taking off certainly didn't help his disposition.

He was tired of traveling, tired of sitting down, tired of being confined and just plain tired. He was loud, and I was forced to entertain him the entire flight. Other passengers were giving me "the look." I felt helpless as Robby's disruptions were permeating through the plane.

When we finally landed, I was exhausted. I had scratches all over my arms from Robby's tantrums on the plane. My legs were bruised from his kicking as I tried to confine him. I had a headache from his screaming. Our family vacation was wonderful. Unfortunately, I now feel like I need a vacation because of the traveling home from our trip.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some Unexpected Perks....

The negatives about living with an amputation are obvious. It is easy to get bogged down with everything that is difficult and hard. People often forget to look for the positives. There are a few benefits that I have discovered over the years. Below is my list of my five favorite surprise "perks" to being an amputee.

1. I get twice as much wear out of a pair of socks. After I lost my foot, I went through my dresser and got rid of all of my socks except for standard white. I have two types of white socks, winter and summer. I really don't have the desire to change the sock on my prosthetic that often. To be honest, I probably only switch it out every few months.

2. I hate to admit it, but I have become the "negotiator" of the family. We had a tree trimmer come by home the other day for an estimate. He quoted my husband a price of $1600 to remove a tree and some overhanging limbs. Scott immediately came inside and told me to change into a skirt. He knew, as we have learned, that I will receive a better price when my prosthetic is visible.

I changed, went outside, and went into "negotiation mode." Okay, I probably shouldn't admit to this, but I did exaggerate my limp slightly. This is horrible, I know. I really should be ashamed. The tree trimmer took one look at me, limping out with a prosthetic, and immediately dropped his price to $1100. I asked him if he could do any better, and amazingly he agreed to do the work for $750.

Unfortunately, the prosthetic has the opposite affect when car shopping. When my leg is visible it is difficult to get the salesmen to negotiate the price. Perhaps they assume that I have received a large settlement and, therefore, they want me to pay as much as possible.

3. I have an excellent excuse to leave parties or to bow out of social engagements. I simply explain that I am tired or that my leg is sore. Nobody questions these excuses and I avoided offending my hosts. My husband has also utilized the "my wife needs to get off of her leg" excuse from time to time.

4. Because I have a disability I was able to receive a pass for free entrance into all National Parks. This pass covers parking and gate fees as well as any entrance fees that may be charged. It also provides discounts on a variety of ameneties. Click here to learn about obtaining and using the pass.

5. In the five years since my amputation, neither my husband nor I have been asked to help anybody move! We are not complaining about this. Along this line, I have not been asked to mow the lawn or shovel the snow from the driveway once. This is definitely a benefit.

I would gladly return my "lucky parking pass" and shovel the snow all winter in return for my foot. Unfortunately, this is not an option. I have learned to embrace the little unexpected perks that come from living as an amputee. After all, I might as well receive some benefit, right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Wedding Story

Scott and I started dating in October of 1999. We moved in together in February of 2000. Yes, it was fast. That is about the only thing we did quickly. Much to my mother's chagrin, we were not married until July 29, 2004. Today is our wedding anniversary.

There are several reasons we waited for five years to be married. Paramount was the fact that, during our five year "courtship" I battled both cancer and endured numerous surgeries to keep my foot. I had my foot amputated in 2003. I didn't want to get married until I could walk down the aisle unhindered by pain and crutches. I think both Scott and I knew that we would be married, so neither of us ever felt pressured to "make it official."

We opted for a small destination wedding opposed to the traditional church ceremony. On an earlier vacation we both fell in love with the island of Anguilla. On our first trip to this island, we both knew that we wanted to exchange vows in the beautiful tropical setting.

To be completely honest, if I had the opportunity to repeat my wedding, I would have done most things differently. I would still pick Scott as the groom. This is probably the only variable that would remain the same.

My destination wedding was relatively simple to plan. My mom and my dad and his wife attended from my family. Scott had his mom and sister and her husband. It was a small, intimate group. I hesitate to use the term "destination wedding" to describe the event. In reality, it morphed into a family vacation which happened to include a wedding.

A few days before the ceremony, the entire wedding party headed to the beach for a day sunny fun. Feeling like a youthful, adventurous bride, I convinced Scott that we should rent jet skis. Big mistake.

At this time, I was overweight and still relatively weak. My amputation was just a year old, and I was still adjusting to moving with a prosthetic. I did not have a water leg, so my prosthetic had to be removed to ride the jet ski. No leg, fat and weak. Not a good combination.

After about 15 minutes of tooling around the Caribbean Sea, we promptly tipped the jet ski. Scott was unable to right the machine, and it was starting to sink. I was holding onto my brother-in-law's jet ski, desperately trying to climb on. Because I only had one leg, I wasn't able to get onto the seat.

I was getting tired, and Scott was slowly floating away from me as he was frantically trying to hold on to a sinking jet ski. The sun was beating down on us from above and being reflected by the waves. We were stuck. We were scared.

Finally the jet ski rental representatives were alerted to our plight and came to our rescue. One man helped me onto a seat and took me to shore. My Mom met me with my leg. I was crying because Scott was still floating in the ocean. I thought that the jet ski had been completely submerged. I was worried for his safety. I was also worried that we were going to have to pay for the ruined jet ski.

Thankfully Scott was brought in by another rescuer. The jet ski was salvaged and we were not charged. We both sustained painful sunburns, just in time for our wedding.

My Mom and I went to Anguilla the next day to prepare for the ceremony. I vomited all over the deck hand as we were docking on the small island. We were shown our room and I began to unpack. This is when I discovered that my "sweet little kitty" had peed all over the groom's outfit before we left for the trip.

We hand washed the shirt and aired it out to dry. We were desperate to try to rid the garment of the distinct odor of cat urine. We were unsuccessful. Scott was married smelling of cat pee.

On the day of the wedding, my Mom and I went to the ultra fancy Cuisinart Spa for an afternoon of pampering before the ceremony. We checked in for our appointments and were instructed to change into the provided robes.

I am so glad that I was with my Mom. We both tried the robes on, and were horrified when they were too small. Actually, I suspect that we were simply too big, but it makes me feel better to blame it on the robe! Upon hearing us chatting and laughing, the attendant presented us with what we dubbed "fat woman" robes to wear.

The ceremony was beautiful. A steel drum played as I walked down the aisle. I underestimated the difficulty of walking in the sand on a prosthetic, but I managed. Finally, we were going to be married.

Scott and I agreed on a non-denominational ceremony because we simply wanted to exchange vows. We thought that the minister was aware of our wishes. We were wrong.

Half-way through the ceremony, the minister paused and quizzed Scott and I on the Bible. I was absolutely dumbstruck. I was uncomfortable. My Jewish father and my Catholic step-mother were uncomfortable. These feelings remain raw after all these years. I try not to think about this moment because it stirs up such emotion.

After the impromptu Bible quiz we were finally ready to exchange our vows. All of a sudden, I see my Mom approaching me out of the corner of my eye. She licked her hand. Before I knew it, she was giving me a spit bath in the middle of my wedding ceremony. Apparently my make-up wasn't laying correctly. To her defense, my make-up was difficult to apply because of the sunburn I sustained from the jet ski incident. (To be fair, my Mom and I continue to disagree about the exact time the spit bath occurred. She does not deny that it happened.)

Seated next to my new husband, who reeked of cat urine, we dined on steak and lobster under a clear sky and full moon. The food was wonderful, and we were married. I even have the wedding license to prove it, where my name is preceded by the title of "spinster."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Like the majority of men I know, Scott loves sports. His favorite sport depends upon the season. In the fall, it's football; winter is for hockey and more football; spring is hockey and racing; summer is racing and preseason football. Yes, most weekends I am a sports widow.

I will watch any of the above sports, primarily because he always seems to have control of the remote. I have learned the rules and even the names of a few players. I have also developed a delicious arsenal of sport food recipes that I can whip up at a moments notice for the next "big game."

I grew up with an ardent race fan-- my father. I have been to both Nascar and Indy car races several times throughout my childhood. My Dad loves the smell of hot rubber and the sounds of engines roaring and metal crunching. I would have gladly exchanged these sensations for the fluorescent lights of a mall and the smell of permanent wave solution.

Of all the sports that Scott watches, racing is his favorite. Despite watching races on television, Scott had never attended an event. Feeling experienced because I had attended races, I decided to take him to a Nascar race. I picked the track I had been to as a child and bought tickets for the Pocono 500.

Scott is a huge Robby Gordon fan. In case you are not a Nascar officianato, all you really need to know is that Robby Gordon has not won a single race as long as I have known Scott, which is going on nine years. My husband loves to root for the underdog, and Robby Gordon fits the bill.

Scott was thrilled when we arrived at the track and learned that Robby Gordon was going to be available for autographs. We went to his souvenir trailer and assumed our position at the back of the long line. After waiting in line for 90 minutes, we were nearing our turn for the meet and greet.

Now, I guess I should mention that, despite being a huge sports fan, Scott is also notoriously frugal about certain things. He has a difficult time buying t-shirts because he can pick them up for free from store openings and giveaways. He has one hat that he wears all the time, and doesn't feel the need to purchase another. So when the salesperson working in the trailer asked him if he wanted to purchase an item for Robby to sign, I was not surprised when he said no.

Assuming that Scott was planning on getting the ticket stub signed, I didn't question his decision. I dutifully stood beside him as we approached his racing idol. My husband was smiling like a little boy when he introduced himself to the racer.

The two men shook hands and exchanged quick pleasantries. I retrieved the tickets which, I mistakenly assumed, were destined for an autograph. To my surprise, Scott waved them off.

He proceeded to ask Robby Gordon to sign my leg. Scott explained that "it really isn't that big of a deal. She can just pop it off right now." The racer leaned over his trailer and stared at us with a perplexed look. I was so surprised all I could do was nod along and smile stupidly.

Robby Gordon was accommodating and signed my prosthetic. Scott was so proud that he was able to make an impression upon his favorite sports idol. He eagerly showed his prized autograph, my prosthetic, to any and all fans who would listen. I, however, had to wear the spoils of his coup for the remainder of the summer until I was fitted with a new leg.

Memories from childhood came flooding back as we entered the grandstands. The nauseus smells mingled with the deafening sounds, making it more difficult to maintain a happy demeanor. To say that it was hot would be an understatement. To further add to our "experience" Scott and I were seated between two rather large men, both toting coolers of beer between their legs.

Halfway through his beer and midway in the race, the gentleman sitting next to me noticed my prosthetic. He loudly exclaimed his discovery to his friends, who were seated a few rows in front of us. "Hey, she don't got no leg." Scott, still proud of his autograph, took the opportunity to show off the signed prosthetic.

The race lasted nearly five hours. By the end, Scott and I were hot, tired, sunburned and odiforous. It took nearly three hours to drive the 25 miles back to our hotel. By the time we arrived at our "romantic getaway suite" we were exhausted and tired of being crammed next to each other.

Luckily, our room was equipped with two queen sized beds. We turned the air conditioner as low as possible, chugged some cold water and opted for a hearty handshake as we retired to separate beds.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Down a Leg, and Temporarily an Arm

With my wrist in a cast, I have had more difficulty completing even the simplest tasks. From cooking to cleaning to caring for Robby, everything is more laborious. I am not complaining about my inability to change Robby's diaper or clothes. As I see it, this is probably the only perk to my current situation.

I was surprised at the difficulty I encountered by trying to put on my liner. I never realized how much hand strength pulling the liner onto the limb required. It is difficult, but as I figured out not impossible, with one hand.

The difficulty I have been experiencing putting on my liner in recent days has reminded me of when I was pregnant. At a certain stage (i.e. weight) in the pregnancy I was no longer able to bend over and pull my liner onto my limb. My stomach got in the way of my being able to reach the end of my stump. At the time, I was unprepared for this situation.

Being a special education teacher, I have a talent for adapting and for making accommodations. I knew that I either needed to figure out a way to be independent or I would be stuck without a leg all day. Pregnant and on crutches, paired with my natural grace, would not have been a good option.

After some experimentation I developed a method for sliding the liner onto my stump using two pairs of tongs. I rolled the liner inside out and grasped it with the tongs. Holding it in the air I was able to position my stump on top of the liner. Carefully pulling, I was able get the liner on.

The "tong method" won't work in my current situation because I don't have the strength in my left hand to hold and pull. After some finagling, I discovered that I could use my opposite knee as a balance. I can pull the liner with my right hand and roll the opposite side against my knee until it it is in position. I'm sure it looks odd, but it is effective.

We had a vacation planned before the injury. Unfortunately, my wrist will not be healed in time. I know that Scott will be able to help, and when he isn't available I will adapt and develop a solution. With my left leg gone and my left wrist out of commission though, I am a little worried about swimming. Am I concerned that I will become dizzy from swimming in circles...