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, February 19, 2010

Chicago Bound...

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. Well, not quite yet. But packing is definitely on my "to do" list! I am thrilled that I am going to the AOPA Conference (American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association) in Chicago.

Ossur, the manufacturer of my Proprio ankle, has asked me to discuss my experiences with practitioners and other amputees. I am able to provide a user perspective on the technology as well as relay my story with the device. If there is anything you'd like me to pass along to the developers of these prosthetic devices, let me know. I will have the ear of many innovators who are constantly seeking feedback and new ideas.

I am looking forward to the conference for several reasons. I love meeting amputees and individuals who work within the prosthetic field. I am fascinated by the stories which are shared and the life changing technology improving lives. Little energizes me more than feeling that I have been able to help another through their journey.

I am going to miss Robby and Scott, but I know that these short trips actually make me a better Mommy. I relish the adult discussions. It is nice to know that I am still able to maintain a conversation about topics beyond childcare and cooking. I am afforded the opportunity to "stretch my cerebral wings" so to speak, and I enjoy every moment.

Because my opportunities to travel are rare, I still approach the whole experience as an adventure. Hotel rooms are still fun, and eating out is a luxury. I feel spoiled on these business trips. I don't have to cook, clean or make my bed. I am the antithesis of the road weary business traveler.

I worry about Robby although I know that he is in good hands with his Nana. To be honest, I worry a little more about Nana! Robby Rotten has been rearing his head a lot more lately. I am afraid she is going to have her hands full.

I leave on Tuesday, so I will spend this weekend packing and getting ready. I need to get a haircut so that I don't look so shaggy. I'll be shaking a lot of hands, so I should probably get a manicure. At least, that is my justification!

I will be working in the Ossur booth, so if you are going to the conference or know that your prosthetist is attending, please stop by and say hello! There is always a lot of down time in the conference booth, and I'm always eager to see a smiling face and meet a new friend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just Dance!

I am constantly searching for new activities that allow me to work-out and have fun. Considering that I don't particularly enjoy sweating, this is not an easy task. I have discovered a new "game" that I am anxious to share.

I have tried to use the Wii Fit program and balance board with mixed success. I find the balance board difficult to manipulate whenever unequal weight distribution is registered. The balance board often misread my movements or failed to read my motion altogether.

I found it so frustrating that the board is currently pushed under my dresser and the game has been abandoned. I also admit that I am a little scared to restart the game because I know that I will be yelled at for not working out on consecutive days. I also don't appreciate my avatar being made fat every time I weigh-in!

My prosthetic does not seem to interfere with my ability to utilize the Wii Active game. This basic fitness program has options to work sections of the body, or to run you through a whole body workout. I never fail to work up a sweat, and has been a great addition to my fitness regime. I am not told that I am fat, and use of the balance board is optional. This being said, it is not a lot of fun.

I bought Dance Dance Revolution. I found it both frustrating and the constant impact was painful on my stump. I have never been known for my dancing ability, and my poor skills have become weaker since my limb loss. Dance Dance Revolution is a game that utilizes primarily foot movements, and I found it nearly impossible to keep up and to perform the steps safely and correctly. It was a matter of time before I became injured. I sold the game and mat on Craigslist.

Finally, I have found a Wii game that I absolutely love. Just Dance is a game that I enjoy and it works up a sweat. Trust me, after a few songs my heart is pounding and I am breathing heavily. I am also smiling and singing along.

Just Dance only utilizes the hand controller. Foot options are demonstrated on the screen but are not required to score points. I appreciate being on "equal footing" with everybody else! I am excited that I found a fitness game that I can do successfully. I don't feel like I am adapting the game to accommodate for my disability. I am able to just put it in the console and dance like everybody else.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Just Dance is the fact that Robby can do it with me. He especially loves dancing to Cotton Eye Joe (yes we always wear our cowboy hats) and Who Let the Dogs Out. You should hear us barking!

I know that I am not the only amputee who has been struggling to find an effective and fun fitness regiment. Being a Mommy, I appreciate anything that can include Robby. I never feel inadequate or disabled because I can simply ignore the foot movements. For me, Just Dance is not only a terrific workout, but it is a blast!

Before viewing the following video, please keep in mind that I have had no professional dance training.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Heart of a Champion

For two weeks every two years I find myself glued to the television. I become a completely consumed fan of the Olympics. Skiing, snowboarding, luging and even curling... I will watch them all. I am introspective enough to realize that my interest in the sports will disappear as soon as the medal is hung around someone's neck and the torch is extinguished.

I love the Olympics! I love everything about the event. Yes, I love the "thrill of victory." I cry like a child who has lost her puppy when "agony of defeat" moments occur. I still tear up remembering Dan Jansen's story several Winter Olympics ago. He was the speed skater whose sister died of leukemia the day of his race. He dedicated his performance to her. He fell. Yes, I am a sucker for the documentary style heart-wrenching, against all odds stories of the athletes.

I have always considered myself a future Olympian seeking a sport. Every two years, I am afforded the opportunity to dream. I can clearly envision myself on the medal stand. (Of course I'm in the center. After all, there is little doubt that I would win gold!) The uniform I wear changes according to the sport I had just watched, but the sentiments are always the same. Everybody is cheering. Tears are running down the faces of my loved ones as I triumphantly present myself to the world as the champion from America.

To date, the only thing standing between me and my Olympic medal is excelling in a sport. I am not particularly good at anything athletic. I have found this an annoying sticking point.

I can feel my Olympic dream slipping out of my grasp. Can it be that I, an uncoordinated, ample hipped, slightly clumsy, sometimes undisciplined, one-legged woman may not be destined for Olympic gold?

I have been slapped into reality by the commentators on NBC. I listened as they referred to an Olympic skating pair as "geriatric" and discussed how the couple came out of retirement to give their dream one more opportunity to be realized. From the description I was prepared to see a 70 year old couple skate onto the rink.

I stopped working so that I could see this couple skate. I was hoping the cameras would catch them putting their walkers to the side of the rink as they gracefully took to the ice. Did I want to see a 70 year old woman in a skating skirt? Would he break a hip if he fell? I was intrigued.

What? The skaters were younger than I. Apparently, in the Olympics, "geriatric" refers to any athlete over 32. In that moment, my gold medal vanished. I am now too old to find a sport, to become disciplined and to dominate. I waited too long.

Robby is now the torch bearer for my Olympic dream. I get chills thinking of Robby standing on the medal stand. I hope that he begins to show interest in a sport soon. He only has 28 years before he is considered washed up and over the hill. I worry that time is not on my side. He just ran directly into a wall while chasing his cat down the hallway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I did not start my blog to make money. My writing began as my effort to reach out to other amputees and to other Mommies. I became lonely being a stay-at-home Mommy although I knew that I had more to offer the world than just changing diapers, cooking and doing laundry. My blog began as an attempt both to educate and to entertain.

I was searching for a career that would excite me, and I have found that passion through the writing process. I would like to pursue professional writing in some venue, perhaps through a column or book. This blog is the first step in that journey.

Monetizing my blog in some fashion would serve several purposes. Being a family living off of one salary, the extra income would be appreciated. More important for me, earning money from my blog would validate my efforts as an author. I reason that, if I am earning anything as a result of my writing, I can consider myself a legitimate writer. I suppose it is all about semantics.

I have been searching for a way to monetize my blog. I have tried various ads, banners and conceptual links, but I was unhappy with the selection of ads that were displayed on my blog. I felt that the ads were tacky and I did not feel comfortable endorsing products and services that I have never used. I removed the advertisements when a particularly disturbing ad kept trying to sell "luxury dog caskets."

I have been researching various ways to generate funds. This blog is now available for subscription download on Kindle. I was over the moon excited when somebody actually subscribed, quickly spreading my good news through emails to my family and friends. I am both excited and humbled that somebody feels that my words are worth paying to read!

I am in the process of creating a virtual "store" which will list various products, available through Amazon.com that I have found helpful both as a Mommy and as an amputee. I am hoping that others may find this resource helpful. If you discover a product that has made your life easier and you would like to share it, please send me an email. Funds generated through the amazon.com link are not reliant upon the purchase of the featured products.

When I first started this blog, I made a commitment that I would always be honest with myself and with my readers. I feel awkward addressing the possibility of monetizing. I did want to explain the link on the side of the page, and how it works. My focus remains educating, entertaining and relaying real life experiences.

If you plan on shopping on Amazon.com, please consider clicking through my blog. You will be taken directly to the site and there is no "catch." Scott has voiced opposition to this post. He feels that addressing the link will offend my readers. That is not my intent, and it will be the only post on the topic.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My "Romantic" Weekend...

My 5 year old niece Tiffany has been itching to come to spend the weekend with her Aunt Peggy. My sister suggested that she come down on Saturday, sleeping over until Sunday. It wasn't until later that I realized she was pragmatically farming her children out so that she could have a romantic date with her husband. Smart woman!

Saturday morning I filled the back of the SUV with a few bags of trash and set about our morning errands. First stop, the county dump. We haven't had trash pick up in several weeks because of the weather, and another storm is projected for Tuesday night (trash day is Wednesday). I hand selected the smelliest bags to dispose of at the dump.

With the trash packed into the back of the SUV, the spare booster seat in place and Robby strapped into his seat, we were ready to go. Within seconds the car filled with the offensive odor of cat litter, dirty diapers and rotting chicken bones. Robby complained about the smell, but since the dump was on the way to the meeting point to pick up his playmate, we really had no other option.

I realized that I was not the only county resident with the same idea when I approached the disposal site. Cars were pulling out of the parking lot at a steady clip. I did notice that the drivers looked unhappy. I should have noticed the trash bags in their back seats before pulling in.

The dump site was closed because of the weather. I had five bags of rotting trash in my car and was already running late to pick up my niece. I knew we had to continue and try to ignore the odor as much as possible. I was hoping that the offensiveness would diminish as we became accustomed to the stench.

About twenty minutes from the McDonald's (our meeting place), Robby began to cry. Before I could stop the car, he was vomiting. He was covered with half digested scrambled eggs and a red lollipop that he apparently conned off his Daddy after breakfast.

I stopped and pulled my vomit-covered little boy out of his car seat and changed his clothes. I bundled up his dirty clothes and put them in the back, figuring that the odor from the trash might somehow kill the pervasive vomit smell. I attributed the vomiting to the motion in the back of the car meshing with the horrendous smell inside the vehicle.

Robby was fine during the rest of the drive to pick up Tiffy. After eating lunch we all piled into the stinky car and headed back to Virginia. Tiffy's excitement about sleeping over at Aunt Peggy's seemed to make her oblivious to the smell. Robby continued to complain.

Half-way home Robby began to vomit again. This time his chicken nuggets, french fries and water were spewed all over. I covered him with paper towels and drove directly home.

Apparently my little boy had a tummy bug. He continued to vomit throughout the afternoon and developed a fever. I called my sister, letting her know Robby's status and suggesting that we reschedule the sleep-over. I knew that I was ruining her romantic plans, but I also knew that she didn't want Tiffany to catch anything from Robby. We agreed to meet again after dinner so that Tiffy could go home.

I was left with the sad job of telling Tiffany that the sleep-over was going to be rescheduled. She reacted in typical five year old fashion. She poured approximately 7 ounces of blue glitter on my floor. The new kitten Charlie decided to investigate and went plowing into the colorful sparkles, spreading them everywhere!

Worn out and with an emerging headache, I packed up Tiffany and drove the 75 minutes to the McDonald's for the second time that day. She was no longer upset by the time she saw her Mommy. I promised her a week of summer fun when school was out. The promise of throwing water balloons and eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast seemed to extinguish her disappointments.

By the time I got home, Robby was in bed watching hockey with Scott. We encouraged him to sip some water which seemed to be staying down successfully. Confident that he was not becoming dehydrated, we got him ready for bed. I decided to sleep in his room in anticipation of his becoming sick.

I pulled out the sofa bed, put the vomit bowl next to the tire of Robby's race car bed and popped off my leg, propping it up. I opted to sleep with my liner on in case I needed to respond quickly. To my surprise, he fell asleep quickly and seemed to be resting comfortably. Until about 3:00 AM, when I heard him whimpering.

He started to vomit again. I turned on the light in time to see him throwing up over the side of the bed. Unfortunately, he was vomiting into my socket instead of into the vomit bowl. Apparently it is difficult for a sick toddler to distinguish between the vomit bowl and my leg in the dark.

I waited a few minutes before pouring the vomit out of my leg and into the bowl. I wiped out the inside of my socket with some baby wipes and tried to line the bottom with tissues before going to the kitchen. As I was disinfecting my socket I began to chuckle. I know that most Mommies have been vomited on, but I doubt many have had this experience!

My Valentine's weekend consisted of being trapped in vehicle for nearly 5 hours where the mingling scents of rotting trash and vomit. I spent the day running between the kitchen and the bedroom, trying to care for Robby and entertain my niece. My floor has been "decorated" with blue glitter, courtesy of my disappointed niece and the cat. And my leg has been used for a vomit bowl, which I just discovered will necessitate a visit to my prosthetist because the suction valve is now blocked with some chunks.

I saw wonderful romantic stories on the local and national news today. Romance was definitely in the air this weekend. Unfortunately the only thing "in the air" around here was unsavory odors and vomit. Is this is the glamorous side of being the Amputee Mommy?