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 23, 2010


To my delight Robby has been adjusting well to the new dictatorship in the family. After spending much of the day in time out earlier this week, he has been noticeably absent from the naughty corner of late. His face magnet has remained on the smile and, at least for now, the verbal threat of changing his face to the frown has been enough deterrent to change his behavior.

In addition to abiding by the new family laws, at least most of the time, Robby has been good during multiple visits to my prosthetist. I have been fitted with a new test socket and I am trying a new liner. With so many prosthetic changes, the appointments are anything but quick. I have had three appointments with Elliot this week, and each one lasting well over an hour. That is a very long time for a toddler to behave, especially when presented with a limited toy selection!

Yesterday has been the only day all week that we haven't been busy with appointments. Since the weather was beautiful and Robby Rotten has been on a vacation, I decided to take my little zookeeper to the animal park.

Although my new socket fits well, I am never completely comfortable walking in a new leg. It takes me awhile to get the feel for a new component and for prosthetic trust to be developed. The new liner has a completely different design and feels foreign. All of the changes have combined to make me a cautious walker. I figured that a trip to the animal park would provide me with ample opportunity to become adjusted to the feel of my new leg.

Robby became elated when, upon entering the park, a zoo keeper told him that his beloved tortoises have come back. The large turtles were moved to Alabama during the winter months, and Robby has been looking for them to return since the park reopened in March. Since the workers know Robby well, they invited him into the habitat to greet and touch the tortoises.

I was apprehensive entering the turtle habitat. The turtles were massive and look like dinosaurs. Robby immediately walked over to the "little" turtle who weighs in at 200 pounds. The bigger turtle weighs 350 pounds! Apparently the sheer size of the prehistoric looking beasts did not dismay Robby. He immediately squatted down to pet and talk to his "friends."

Robby chatting with his turtle friends was charming to witness. Being a stereotypical Mommy, I just had to take pictures.

Robby was busy stroking the turtle's neck, and I knew that it would be a fantastic shot. I positioned myself in front of the turtle, squatted down and took the picture. Perfect! I suppose I became distracted with taking photographs and forgot about the larger turtle in the habitat.

Just as I clicked to save the picture I heard the zoo worker holler for me to stand up. I turned around and saw the giant tortoise behind me, with his long neck stretching out of his shell and his mouth moving up and down. I tried to stand up but, being on a new socket and liner, my reaction time has been negatively impacted.

Apparently my reactions are now slower than those of a 90 year old giant turtle. Before I could get up and out of the way, the giant reptile bit me in the butt.

I learned that turtles are attracted to certain colors, especially green. Yes, it was my misfortune to be wearing a bright green shirt. In the turtle's eyes, I was a very large stalk of celery.

My bum is bruised but the skin was not punctured. I am fine, although the experience has made me dislike turtles even more. The zoo keepers told me that they have seen the turtle nip, but that he has never bitten because everybody else has been able to outrun the giant animal. Everyone, that is, except for me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not So Sweet Dreams

It is going to take a few extra cups of coffee and some Tylenol to get me moving this morning. I am stiff and sore from contorting my middle aged body to fit on the couch last night. No, Scott and I didn't have a fight. For the past several months, he has developed a habit which forces me to choose between sleep and comfort. Scott snores.

Actually, snoring is an understatement. I am not sure how his relatively small frame could produce such a booming noise. Every few seconds it sounds as if a freight training is sounding its warning whistle. Not only has he driven me out of the room, but my elderly and partially deaf cat Sophie has sought an escape as well.

I've tried waking him up when his snoring begins. His retort must be instinctual because his response is always the same. "I wasn't snoring. I'm awake." At this point, probably because of my fatigue and frustration, I find myself wanting to wring his little obnoxious noise-polluting neck! After piling pillows on top of his head to mute the sound is not successful, I am forced to sleep elsewhere.

Getting up in the middle of the night is one of my top five annoyances about being an amputee. I cannot simply stand up and walk away. In the middle of the night, the inconvenience of being an amputee frustrates me.

I have to put on my leg before I can get away from the snoring freight train. Yes, it is only a few simple steps, but the fact that I have to do it in the wee hours of the morning makes the process seem labor intensive. I hate having to put on my leg in the middle of the night. I find that this everyday, typically mundane activity somehow angers me when I have to do it at 2:00 AM.

I have found myself lying in bed, lamenting the fact that I'm an amputee and dreading the extra time it will take me to put on my leg. These feelings sound strange in the daylight, but somehow at night, they are very real. I have tried reasoning with myself during these times, but the combination of the freight train whistling next to me and my own exhaustion seem to keep reason at bay. I always find myself feeling disabled, and I hate it!

Eventually my will to flee the intrusive sound wins, and I put on my leg. I grab my pillow, typically making sure that it bops him in the head as it is removed from the bed, and I make my way to the couch. It only takes a minute or two for me to transition from our bedroom to the living room sofa, but I assure you I hate every single moment.

Scott will call me from work, chipper and well-rested. When the good cheer is not returned, I will be accused of being hormonal and grumpy. Although he recognizes the inconvenience of my having to sleep on the couch, he is completely unaware of the emotional turmoil the process causes in the middle of the night. He attributes my mood to being stiff and tired. He is only partially correct.

Since putting on my leg is a reality of life and something which I do daily, it shouldn't be a big deal. In the middle of the night, this simple task becomes more than putting on a liner and stepping into a socket. For me, it becomes a symbol of all of the obstacles which are confronted by living with limb loss. I suppose that, unless you are an amputee, it is difficult to understand.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Happy Blog Anniversary to me... Happy Blog Anniversary to me... Happy Blog Anniversary Dear Peggy... Happy Blog Anniversary to me!

When I was pregnant, I anxiously searched for information on how to juggle the unique concerns of being an amputee with a constantly changing body during pregnancy. Hours of research yielded little information. I recognized a void and I began to toy with the notion of developing a resource for other amputees.

After Robby was born I discovered that my amputation was impacting the way in which I cared for my son. I had to have surgery on my stump six weeks after Robby was born to remove the bone spurs which had developed as a result of my pregnancy. I was not able to walk with the ease of most moms. Again, I looked for other ideas and to connect with other amputee parents. I came up empty, and I felt alone.

My training in special education helped me develop my own accommodations as I cared for Robby, but I always knew that I was "reinventing the wheel." I knew that other amputee parents had navigated through similar obstacles, and I was eager to connect and share ideas. Not finding any resources already developed, I opted to make my own.

I have pledged to be honest and open about the obstacles I have encountered as an amputee. I struggled with the decision to amputate, and I often refer to those issues in an attempt to let others in a similar situation know that they are not alone. Simply put, I want to be the kind of support for others that I felt I was lacking in my own journey.

Although my blog was initially conceived to discuss child rearing and pregnancy after an amputation, it has evolved into much more. Not every post deals exclusively with the issues of an amputee. I am more than an amputee; I am a wife, friend, daughter and mother. My blog is a reflection of all of my roles.

I love hearing from those who read my blog. I feel like I have gotten to know many of my readers. Although we have never met, we share common experiences and have become friends. The purpose of Tales of an Amputee Mommy was to fill an information void, and to ease the loneliness often associated with being a disabled parent. I think we are on the right track!

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, or if you have friended me on Facebook, I'm sure you know what I am doing to celebrate this milestone. Yes, Robby and I are going to bake a cake. After all, this anniversary is cake worthy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taming the Beast

Robby had been sweet last week. He had been making progress with potty training and, although pooping remains an ongoing struggle, I have been starting to envision a future where I did not involve a constant stream of diapers. Robby was listening to us, and, for the first time in months, the time out corner has been vacant!

And then, Robby Rotten reared his evil little head.

I suppose the issues started Friday evening when he was less than behaved for his haircut. On Saturday, during the "bewitching hour" (the brief period before bedtime when Robby is tired but refuses to admit his fatigue by going to bed), he started to rough house. In retrospect I should have picked him up and immediately tucked him in, ignoring his pleas of the sun being up and his not being tired.

Hindsight is 20/20; my reality is another broken nose. Robby head-butted me. He didn't mean to hurt me, but he did. I saw his head wailing towards my poor little nose, and then I immediately felt the horrible black numbness that precedes the dizzying pain that accompanies being hit in the face. I knew I had been knocked out by a three year old.

My nose is slightly more crooked, and my eye is swollen and black and blue. Unfortunately this is not the first time my nose has been broken. I have had a total of four breaks, necessitating two surgical repairs. I'll wait a few days for the swelling to subside before deciding if I need to go to the doctor.

After a restless night of trying to keep the bag of frozen peas on my face to control the swelling, Scott and I were greeted at 3:30 AM by an excited little boy who came bouncing into our room. He remembered that the previous night we promised to take him to Nickelodeon StoryTime Live when he woke up. Well, he woke up and he was ready to go!

After several cups of coffee, a few hours of cartoons and some pancakes, we were ready to go into the "really big city" to see The Backyardigans and The WonderPets. Robby listened to and sang along with their songs as Scott and I navigated our way into DC to find the theater. We only got lost twice. We are getting better in the city!

Robby remained pleasant and excited up to and including the moment when the lights were dimmed and the show started. It was almost as if the singing of the actors summoned Robby Rotten. He became incorrigible.

He refused to stay in his seat and was completely disengaged from the show. He started his pleas to leave after the first 20 minutes. He was whiny and unappreciative. I was disappointed and deflated because I thought that I hit a mommy home run with the tickets, and he was less than interested.

After trying to contain him in his seat and keep him quiet, we finally gave up. We packed him up and left early. When asked about his favorite part of the show on the way home, it wasn't seeing his favorite characters or even the $15 color changing flashlight I bought him. No, his highlight was the Cheerio he found on the floor under his seat!

I am pretty sure that the only statements out of our mouths for the remainder of the weekend were "No," "Stop it," "Don't do that to Charlie Cat," "Get your finger out of your nose," and "Go to time out." Robby was in the time out corner so much that he actually asked for a chair because he was tired from standing.

A good nights sleep and a continual dose of ibuprofen for my nose has helped my mood. I feel quasi-refreshed and ready to continue taming my little beast. I have gotten over my disappointment from our theater experience. I recognize the Nickelodeon show as another good exposure for Robby. It was not only a learning experience for him, but also for Scott and I as well. We learned that we are not going to another theater will him until Robby is 18 and graduating from High School.

I am tired of being commanded, pushed, hit and ignored. The final straw came this morning. I gave him a verbal reminder to use his manners to ask for more milk instead of tossing his cup over his shoulder and saying "more milk." He slapped me on the rear and told me to "Buck up."

I anticipate that the next few days will be rough for both Robby and for me. I plan on usurping his dictatorship and regaining authority. I am going to win this battle; I'm not afraid of him. Okay, maybe I'm a little afraid. I still flinch every time he comes near me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Short Secondary Blog

I think it's time for a new liner. I called my prosthetist, and I'm trying a new type this afternoon. It is another seal-in, but the fabric is touted to be sturdier and more resistant to tears and holes. I'm excited to give it a try!

Remembrances Both Tragic and Happy

April 19th marks the anniversary of some significant, yet tragic, events in our country's recent history. On this date both the Waco massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing occurred. I remember where I was when I learned of both of these events, and I will never forget the shock and fear that enveloped me.

Although many of the remembrances around the country will be somber today, our family has reason to celebrate April 19th. Today is the birthday of a remarkable woman. A woman whose strength, integrity and unconditional love have helped shape me into the person I have become.

Today is my Mom's birthday. She often laments that her birthday is on April 19th, a date marred by such tragedy. For many years she dreaded the date not because she was concerned about aging another year, but because it felt like the day was destined for tragedy. Although we have always marked her birthday, many years it was difficult to muster a celebratory spirit. It is unnatural lighting candles and singing "Happy Birthday" when buildings are being bombed and people are dying.

My Mom has been a source of strength not just for me, but also for all members of my family. She is always willing to lend an ear to a friend who needs to talk, or offer her shoulder to a grieving loved one. When someone is hurt, sick or discouraged, my Mom is often the one to receive the call for help. It is common knowledge that my Mom will exhaust every avenue and resource in order to help somebody in need.

I struggled through over twenty surgeries before my decision to amputate. My Mom was present for every one. She was my strongest advocate when I was too weakened by infection and pain to lobby for my own care. Although my amputation saddened her, she demonstrated nothing but love and support. She was my biggest cheerleader when I took my first steps on my prosthetic.

A mother's instinct is a miraculous gift. My Mom can tell when I legitimately need to grieve the loss of my foot, and when I am "wallowing in the self-pity pool." She always encourages me to both legitimize and voice my emotions when grief sneaks up on me. She gives me a swift kick in the rear when I am simply feeling sorry for myself!

I am blessed that my relationship with my Mom has morphed into a hybrid between that of a parent and a child and a friend. As I have grown, my relationship with my Mom has matured. I am lucky to count her as a friend!

My Mom and I talk on the phone daily. I don't feel the need to check in with her or to be accountable in some way. I simply enjoy her conversation. She makes me laugh. I often feel sad for those who cannot laugh with their parents.

Today I am marking the anniversaries of the tragic events by lighting a candle in remembrance. I will try my best to explain the significance to Robby without invoking unneeded fear. Then, we will bake a cake for Nana.

Happy Birthday, Mom. You are loved more than you realize. You have impacted the lives of everybody around you, and we are all richer because you are in our lives. Through your example, you have shown me how to be strong and how to persevere against adversity . I can only hope to be as good of a Mom to Robby as you are to me.