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, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Superstitious? I'm not, but I find myself wanting to crawl back into bed with the covers pulled over my head. I don't want to hide because it is Friday the 13th although after the week that I've experienced, I suppose it is appropriate that it should end on this unluckiest of dates.

Robby has been accusing me of being grumpy, and I suspect that he is correct. I am aggravated with his non-poop antics. I am tired of being controlled by his bodily functions, and disappointed that he cannot attend preschool this Fall.

We haven't made much progress with his speech this week because I was overzealous after last weeks lesson. I had him practicing his "f" sounds so much that the poor little tyke developed a sore on his bottom lip. Now he is speaking incorrectly with a lisp.

Our roof is still leaking despite being repaired. My cousin, a roofer, came down last weekend to evaluate the situation. He caulked around the chimney and flashings. (To be honest, I have no idea what flashings are. However, everybody else seems to know so I've been doing a lot of nodding and agreeing when I really don't have a clue.) I do know that his caulking fixed the reindeer puncture that has been there since last November when Scott surprised me by putting the decorations on our roof.

We now drive with a battery jumper in both of our cars because neither vehicle reliably starts. We have to jump the lawnmower before we can mow the grass. I am tired of not having working batteries, yet I cannot convince Scott that they need to be replaced. I suspect he will agree when he is forced to jump start the car in the middle of a cold rain. Until then, I am becoming quite adept at using the power jumper.

I put a "gloss" on my hair. It is now falling out. It just isn't fair that my hair seems to be breaking off and falling out on my head, yet the stragglers that keep protruding from my chin show no sign of dying off. I went to the mall to try to find a new dress for a dinner I am expected to attend in California. I left empty handed, lamenting that they just don't have anything for a "middle aged, frumpy and gimpy Mom." Sometimes, despite intellectually knowing better, women just feel ugly. I am in one of those phases.

I have not been feeling up to par for the past several days. My back has continued to ache despite a heavy diet of Doan's backache pills and the near constant use of my heating pad. The spasms have forced me to waddle like a wounded duck instead of walking upright. The contortions of my trunk have caused me to put more pressure on the bone spur/bursa, causing pain in my stump. Now my back and my leg hurt!

My pain wasn't the result of a muscle spasm. It turns out that I was diagnosed with a kidney infection. I have had difficulty with my kidneys since I completed the chemotherapy treatments several years ago. The diagnosis of a kidney infection did not surprise me. It certainly explains why I have been feeling so crummy!

With the proper antibiotics now coursing through my body, I am optimistic that I will be feeling better in a day or two. When my back feels better I will begin walking erect, and my stump should stop hurting. I've increased Robby's Miralax so soon, despite his best efforts, there will finally be poop! Until then, I am taking a Mommy vacation! After all, it is Friday the 13th, and I certainly don't want to tempt fate with my track record this week.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sorry... It's Another Poop Post.

We thought we were making headway with potty training. We ditched the Pull-Ups altogether, opting for cotton briefs. He complained until he discovered the "abracadabra hole" in the front of his underwear. Now he thinks that peeing standing up is the best thing ever.

Pooping, unfortunately, remains the issue. For a few wonderful days he was telling us when he felt the need to go. Scott and I hurriedly changed him out of his underwear into specially purchased "poop" (i.e. cheap) diapers. Robby would go and stand in the bathroom and go in his special diaper. We would then change him back into his underwear. Obviously not ideal, but it was progress and we were hopeful.

During the past few days Robby has reverted as he apparently decided that he will never poop again. He is demonstrating the classic withholding signs, and the acid rash is developing. Logic doesn't work at this age, and I've learned that bribery doesn't either. I've upped his Miralax.

Unfortunately, I have discovered that Robby must be toilet trained in order to attend preschool this fall. That is not going to happen. Time to implement Plan B, as soon as I figure out what that is!

Frustrated with my life being controlled by the bowels of a preschooler (who isn't allowed to go to preschool) I informed the family that I was taking a break from cooking. Scott, sensing that I was at my wits end, simply asked where I wanted to go for dinner. Without hesitation, Robby interjected and started chanting that he wanted to go to Chick Fil-A.

We packed up and headed out for dinner. I grabbed some extra poop diapers, just in case. I am nothing if not the eternal optimist. In case you're curious, the extra diapers were unnecessary. My little boy is stubborn with the world's strongest sphincter muscle.

Although poop, or the lack of it, has been ruling our daily conversations, I try to avoid the topic in public. Standing in line at Chick-Fil-A I informed Robby that we were not going to talk about going to the potty. We then proceeded to engage in a 5 minute conversation about why discussing the potty in public is inappropriate. To be completely honest, I was struggling to remain patient.

All of a sudden Robby became animated, tugging frantically at my shorts. Aggravated, I bent down so that he could whisper in my ear. In what must be the highest decibel whisper ever Robby informed me that "the old man with the big bum just tooted and it smelled." Everybody in the vicinity turned and began to snicker. The "accused" summarily dismissed the accusation by blaming my parenting for rearing such a "rude child." Robby then answered the man, telling him that "stinky toots are okay but that you need to say excuse me." He then asked the man if he was "trying to keep the poopy in too."

I was at a loss for how to handle this situation gracefully. I simply told Robby that we were not going to discuss potty issues in the restaurant, and apologized to the farter. The man walked away, and Robby and I ordered our food to go.

Before his phobia I took Robby's poop production for granted. I am now spending countless hours discussing the benefits of going to the bathroom, in desperate moments offering bribes and promises. My mothering reserves have been drained.

I feel like looking for a support group. I can see it now. "Hello. My name is Peggy and my son is afraid of poop."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I have, for all intents and purposes, been on a news vacation. I tried tuning in only to watch the weather. That seemed fruitless considering that the forecast hasn't changed in the last two months. It's hot. It's going to be hot tomorrow, and probably the day after that.

I've been boycotting the news because it seems that each newscast is filled stories which break my heart, and I was left feeling hopeless at the conclusion of the broadcast. I know that my ignorance does not make the negative news go away, but my psyche needed a break. I know that avoidance is not the best coping mechanism, but it seems to be working for me.

When I was watching the news I found myself fixated on particular stories. The earthquake in Haiti moved me to tears on more than one occasion. I suspect I took it personally because I could relate to victims who emerged from the rubble as amputees. I identified with the grief of limb loss, yet I cannot comprehend the devastation in those survivor's lives. As much as I try, I cannot grasp the pain that these resilient individuals are feeling.

I am haunted by images I saw on CNN that depicted court mandated amputations in Afghanistan. I can't wrap my head around the barbaric act of taking a machete and systematically chopping off a limb. I begin to cry as I think about what the "prisoners" must be feeling as the time for their sentence approaches. I would be out of my mind with fear. I remember how scared I was before my amputation, and mine was for medical reasons under anesthesia.

The details of another travesty against humanity managed to sneak past my intentional news boycott. I learned about the literal hunting of individuals with Albinism in Tanzania. The limbs of these individuals are deemed to have mystical powers and line the pockets for human poachers.

As a teacher for the blind and visually impaired, I had several students who were diagnosed with Albinism. These wonderful kids were brave as they faced the relentless taunting from their peers, and sometimes from their families, because of their disabilities. They looked unique and had vision impairments, but these students were smart, funny and a joy to teach.

The thought of one of my sweet students being stalked for their limbs makes me sick. I cannot comprehend that in 2010 we have people hunting and mutilating another person. The legs and arms are used in witchcraft, and the blood from the limbs is consumed to bring about wealth.

Imagine sleeping in your home to be awoken by sword wielding invaders. They grab you and just start screaming, "All I want to do is cut off your legs. All I want is your legs." This is happening and, although it is distressing to think about, I've decided that ignorance is no longer bliss.

We need to become educated about these barbaric acts. I feel compelled as a teacher for the blind, and as an amputee, to do my part by passing on the information. Please take a moment to learn about the plight of the people with Albinism in Tanzania. (This article is a good start.) We need to support them not because we are amputees, but because we are human.

It's difficult to continue to believe in humanity when I learn about stories like Tanzania. I would be remiss if I failed to reference somebody who personified the good in people. Today is the birthday of my Pop, my maternal grandfather. He passed away nearly 17 years ago yet I can still see his face and hear his warm voice. He demonstrated unconditional love and I miss him dearly.

I love you Pop. I know that you are with me, but I could really use one of your hugs today. Instead I'll hug Robby and explain why he was named after you. I hope that you are proud of me, because I'm extremely proud to be your Granddaughter.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Frugal Efforts

Despite some jitters and apprehension, Scott managed to take care of Robby by himself during my recent trip to Missouri. I arrived home from my trip to an intact, albeit chaotic, home and two happy "boys." Robby did enjoy Doritos for breakfast and ice cream for lunch, but I suppose it is a father's right to indulge while Mommy is away. I have been able to whip Robby's nutrition back on track, but I am struggling to convince him to wear pants. Apparently the "pants are optional" mentality which I predicted became a reality.

I had planned on spending the weekend cleaning the house and doing the laundry. I must admit that I am astounded by the amount of laundry two pant-less individuals can accumulate in three short days! My kitchen was not the disaster I feared, but the rest of the house looked like it was struck by a four year old tornado. Cars, trains and plastic bugs littered the floors in every room of the house.

Saturday morning Scott set out for cleaning supplies. He ended up coming home with 35 pounds of tomatoes. He found a bargain on vine ripened locally grown tomatoes but they had to be processed quickly. I scrapped the days plans and decided to make sauce.

Scott and I spent several hours peeling, chopping and seeding tomatoes. We loaded up my roaster oven, set the temperature to low and enjoyed the aroma. I seasoned, pureed and stirred the sauce throughout the day. It made our house smell like an Italian restaurant.

I underestimated the physical demands of canning large quantities of food. I have a deeper appreciation for the efforts of my Nan who used to can a variety of foods every summer. I felt very domestic and proud of our frugal homemaking efforts as we worked on our project throughout the day.

Thirty-five pounds of tomatoes made twelve jars of spaghetti sauce. We figured it costs approximately $3 per jar and we were both proud of our efforts. Eager to determine how much money we saved by doing it ourselves, we scoured the grocery circulars for spaghetti sauce. It's on sale for $1 a jar.

The shelves in my garage are now filled with jars of delicious, albeit expensive , spaghetti sauce. It took me several hours to scrub the tomato splatters that seemed to reach every corner of my kitchen. My back ached from standing on the hard tile floor for hours.

Scott, seeing that I was in pain, offered to go pick up Doan's backache medicine for me. He returned from the grocery store with 5 dozen ears of corn. Again, he found a great deal and thought we could easily put it up for the winter. His "bargain" equates to a lot of work for me. I really need to stop letting him go to the grocery store unsupervised, at least until the produce sales end!

Monday, August 09, 2010

New and Improved

I had a wonderful time in Missouri stretching my "non-Mommy wings." It was pleasant to engage in adult conversations and to enjoy a meal at a restaurant that did not provide crayons in a paper place mat. As much as I enjoyed my brief foray into the professional realm, it was wonderful to come home.

Robby and Scott were waiting at baggage claim in the terminal. Robby greeted me with a wrap around hug and smothered me with kisses. He has been telling me that he missed me and that I am his "best buddy." Friday night, as I was tucking him into bed, I asked him to tell me his favorite thing that he and his Daddy did while I was gone. Without hesitation, he told me that his favorite thing was "going to the big airport to pick up Mommy."

I returned home with a renewed enthusiasm for both my blog and my website. The drama that ensued from my "Humiliation" blog filled me with doubt. I was devastated by the negative reception my post received. There were many days I faced an empty screen, struggling to fill the page because my heart just wasn't in it.

During the few days in Missouri I was afforded the opportunity to meet with numerous prosthetists and physical therapists. I was reminded of the purpose behind my blog and the reasons for its inception. I now find myself excited about continuing with The Tales and my mind is racing with ideas.

Many of my readers may not know that, in addition to my blog, I have an accompanying website. I have been working on the site for over a year sporadically but never created anything that I felt reflected my vision. I knew that I needed to devote more time to the project but was lacking in motivation. I have no design skills and even less web site experience, so the prospect of creating a website of my own was overwhelming.

Saturday evening, after Robby was tucked into bed, I found the motivation to get started. I would like to invite you to visit the new and improved AmputeeMommy website (www.amputeemommy.com). It is a work in progress and I will be adding resources and links in the coming weeks. Finally, my website reflects both my vision and my philosophy and I am proud that it bears my name.

I urge you to register for the forum and to utilize the platform to reach out and share ideas and experiences with other amputees. I am optimistic that AmputeeMommy, in conjunction with my blog, will become both a source of inspiration and information for those who are newly affected by limb loss. The reasons for our amputations vary, but the emotions that are experienced are universal. Everyone has a story, and everybody has a unique perspective about living as an amputee. Through the blog and site I want to convey that one can not only survive limb loss, but can come through the experience and thrive.