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, November 06, 2009

Football Madness...

I am dreading this Saturday--not because more football will be endlessly played on my television; I am used to this. I am dreading this Saturday because, in terms of our family rivalry, it doesn't get more personal. Ohio State will be playing Penn State.

Scott is a steadfast Buckeye fan. He demonstrates the kind of dedication that only sports can elicit in a man. He religiously reads message boards and forums. He studies the players statistics as well as possible trends. For him, Buckeye football is not a game; it is a way of life. In fact, when Robby was born Scott desperately wanted to name him Brutus. I vetoed his choice.

I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. Being a Nittany Lion fan was a part of my upbringing. My mom and dad both graduated from Penn State. I went to sleep as a little girl hugging my stuffed Lion.

This Saturday, our two teams collide. Scott has already been gearing up for the clash. Instead of "Good morning," I've been greeted with "You're going down, Lion girl." To which I retort, "Oh, I'm afraid of the Buckeye. Useless nut, I'm shaking..." For now the jabs are good natured.

Saturday morning, this will change. Every Saturday during football season I dutifully dress Robby in his Ohio State shirt. That will change this week. This Saturday, he will be wearing a Penn State jersey.

Brutus and the Lion have been set up in our yard in anticipation of the epic battle. Friends will be coming to our house for our annual football party. I will make the traditional Joe Perogies (and yes, I do dye them blue) and Buckeye balls. If history is any indication, that is where the lightheartedness will stop.

The difference between Scott and myself, and perhaps between men and women, is that I never forget that it is a game. Scott takes it personally, as if he were on the field playing, and the failure of his team (and don't mistake me, they will fail) is a personal failing. He is so miserable to live with after Ohio State loses to Penn State that part of me, in my deepest recesses of my mind, actually hopes that the Buckeyes win.

Yes, Scott is a lot of wonderful things. He is a loving and dedicated husband and father. He is funny and quirky. He is NOT a good sport. He really needs to improve his sportsmanship. After all, when it comes to playing Penn State, Ohio State really doesn't have a chance. WE ARE... PENN STATE.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Swollen and Puffy...

I am retaining water. My face is puffy. My fingers are swollen to the point that my rings are cutting into my hand. My prosthetic is so tight that my limb feels like meat being jammed into a sausage casing.

I could deal with my swollen face. To be honest, most of my vanity has dissipated with motherhood. I can remove my rings and eventually the little indentations will fade. Unfortunately, the swelling in my stump will not be so easy to resolve.

I have learned to monitor my diet to try to avoid water retention by not eating a lot of high salt foods. When I am aware of increased sodium, I try to counter the effects by drinking a lot of water. I theorize that the water will flush the salt out of my body, minimizing fluid retention.

Until this morning I never realized how much my amputation has impacted my diet. I am now careful without being cognizant of what I am doing. I am naturally choosing options to minimize possible swelling. Strange... I never really thought about how deliberate my choices have become until I started to think about it.

Quickly after my amputation I learned the ramifications on my residual limb of eating high salt foods. Having a tight socket makes every activity more difficult. I am more fatigued, uncomfortable and downright irritable when my prosthetic is fitting incorrectly. As a Mom, I don't have the luxury of having a bad day.

I have tried to pinpoint the source of my swelling. I suspect that the Chinese take-out I had for dinner may be the culprit. I am also certain that I didn't drink enough yesterday. Lesson learned!

Regardless of the reasons, I am left with a swollen stump. I know that my leg is going to be uncomfortable, and I am destined for cramps and sharp nerve pain. In a few hours the excess fluid will be gone, and my leg will return to normal. In the meantime, I am thankful for Robby's train table which has captured his attention this morning. I also know that I'll be donning the shrinker sock after I tackle the leftovers in the fridge.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Taking Foot Out of My Mouth...

I have been anxiously waiting for a doctor's appointment, scheduled for tomorrow. As I've written before, I've been diagnosed with cluster tumors pressing on my pituitary gland. The tumors have caused havoc within my body, and I am becoming desperate for relief.

I have completed all of the necessary tests including the CAT scan and the MRI scans. I know, from speaking with my doctor and from my own research, that the surgery to remove the tumors is relatively "simple." I've also learned, through experience, that referring to a surgery as "simple" is an adjective for the surgeon, not for the patient.

Thankfully the tumors are not in my brain. They are outside the brain, but their proximity is still too close for my comfort. With the exception of several surgeries to fix the occasional broken nose, the majority of my surgical experiences have involved my lower half.

I've had over twenty-five surgeries on my leg and residual limb. I've had surgical procedures for the cervical cancer, as well as for uterine growths. I have never had a surgery near my brain, and the prospect has me terrified.

The appointment with my surgeon was scheduled over a month ago. I took the first available opening; much to my chagrin it was 6 long weeks away. Time has passed, and my anxiety about the cluster tumors has grown. I am ready to take action.

I have lost a lot of sleep fearing this doctor's appointment. I have researched the surgery, the recovery and the risks. I know that the procedure is necessary, and that in terms of procedures. is relatively safe. Regardless of these facts, my anxiety is high. I don't want to delay any longer.

I received a phone call this morning from the surgeon's office. I assumed that it was the standard confirmation call reminding me of the appointment time and location. To my surprise, I was told that my much anticipated and feared appointment was going to be rescheduled.

Immediately my ire began to rise. I've waited over 6 weeks for this appointment. I've lost countless hours of sleep due to my own fear, and I have worked to psyche myself up for the meeting. There was no way I was going to let them bump me.

I informed the lady, politely yet firmly, that I had waited for 6 weeks, and that I was not willing to give up my scheduled time. I told her that I would be at the office at 9:30, and that I expected the surgeon to see me at the agreed upon time. To be honest, I was proud of my new found assertiveness. I was not going to be pushed around by the medical profession any longer!

After a long pause, I was informed that the surgeon died two days earlier.

Let me tell you, there is no graceful way out of this type of conversation. I offered my condolences for the loss of her friend and employer. She offered, in a justifiably curt tone, to provide a referral to another qualified surgeon.

So, after weeks of waiting, I find myself waiting even longer. My "master plan" of having the surgery before the holidays is beginning to evaporate. My attempt at displaying an assertive demeanor with the medical community produced my own humiliating faux pas. I think I'll go back to bed and escape for awhile, watching Little Bear with Robby.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Time Change... Why Have You Betrayed Me?

Twice a year we have to change our clocks. Twice a year my body clock gets confused. I'm either starving by the time dinner comes or forcing myself to eat. I am either enjoying an extra hour sleep or forcing myself to wake up and function an hour earlier than my body has been accustomed. I hate the time change.

In my previous life, before I became a Mommy, I used to love the end of Daylight Savings time. To be more accurate, I was gleeful as the clocks were "falling back." I relished the extra hour sleep.

Motherhood has erased any possible benefit for the clock change. Robby, as I learned, does not know how to tell time. His body wakes up when he thinks it is time, regardless of where the hands on the clock are pointing.

Lately he has been sleeping until approximately 7:00. Because of the time change, he is now only sleeping until 6:00. Apparently the time change has had no impact on the time he goes to sleep because that has remained unchanged at 8:30. In essence, "falling back" has caused me to miss out on an hour of sleep. Yes, I feel robbed.

I have been drinking more coffee than usual, trying to jump start my mornings. Robby has been a bundle of energy as soon as he gets out of bed. As I was pouring my third cup of caffeine this morning, I started thinking about the purpose behind the changing clock. Maybe Daylight Savings Time wasn't instituted to save electricity or to help the farmers. Perhaps the changing times is a conspiracy developed by the coffee industry in order to boost sales at least twice a year.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Trick-or-Treaters

I have said it before, but it is a point worth repeating. Scott is a really good sport especially when it comes to wearing costumes and matching clothes. Saturday was Halloween and time for his annual father/ son Trick-or-Treating event.

This year Robby asked to be a Dinosaur. He is quick to point out that he is a friendly dinosaur, not scary. And, although he is wearing a costume, his name is still Robby!

With the help of his Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin DVD, as well as the Berenstain Bears', Robby was fully prepped for the procedures around Trick-or-Treating. He talked about ringing the door bell, standing back and saying, very loudly, "Trick-or-treat." He was eager to get candy and rocks.

Yes, Robby was convinced that he would receive rocks when trick or treating just like Charlie Brown on the DVD. After all, to a three year old rocks are probably more fun than candy. He told me he was going to use his rocks with his digger truck, and he would play with them outside.

Knowing that nobody would foresee Robby's desire to receive rocks, I decided to be proactive to thwart a disappointed dinosaur. I spoke with our neighbor and asked him if he would give Robby some rocks when he came to his door. Thinking the request was a bit strange, he agreed anyway.

Robby was so excited to go trick-or-treating. All day, running errands, he kept pleading for me to hurry home. "Hurry Momom, hurry. Trick-or-treat any minute... hurry Momom hurry!" The clock must move slowly when you are an anxious toddler, especially when you don't yet understand the concept of time.

We tried to explain to Robby that he couldn't go out for Halloween until it started to get dark. Unfortunately, it was overcast outside and looked like dusk for most of the day. We then opted to tell him that he had to eat dinner first. He sat at the kitchen table, telling me that he was hungry. It was only 3:00.

Finally, after quickly feasting on a meal of roasted raven (turkey), it was time to get into his costume. Robby got into his costume in record time. Since it was Saturday, Scott didn't require a lot of tweaking to look disheveled!

It was a relatively warm night which worked to our advantage. Pants under the fur toga dress would have ruined the caveman look for Scott! Although he was a little chilly, he wasn't freezing cold in his costume.

Before I knew it, my little trick-or-treaters were off to conquer the neighborhood. The caveman was chasing a quick little dinosaur who was running from house to house. My two boys seemed to fully adapt their costume personae.

Robby was busy roaring and smiling because, after all, he was a happy dinosaur. Scott was grunting, walking stooped over and swinging his club at traffic. They both enjoyed trying to scare fellow trick-or-treaters. Apparently Scott even hid behind a tree to startle a small group of older kids who claimed they weren't frightened by the caveman. His plan would have worked had he not slipped on the grass and fallen on his sparsely covered bum.

Unlike their prehistoric counterparts, our dinosaur began to tucker out. My little happy dinosaur returned home, carrying a bag full of candy and a few rocks, and riding piggy back on a caveman's back. They were both wet because it started to rain halfway through the neighborhood.

Scott continued to walk stooped over for the rest of the night. Initially I thought he was still in character. It wasn't until he asked for the Advil that I realized that carrying a little dinosaur caused him to hurt his back.

Despite a slightly sore back, it was a successful Halloween night for my boys. Robby is thrilled with his rocks, and we are happy with his candy loot. We have wonderful pictures and memories. Someday Scott will be able to tell Robby about when he carried a little dinosaur through the neighborhood, trick-or-treating for rocks in the rain.