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 27, 2010

ACA Day 1

Although I was only away from Scott and Robby for a day, I found myself missing my family last night. I was excited to be at the conference but hearing Robby over the phone made my heart pang. I missed his sweet little smile, and I wanted to give him a hug.

After a relatively laid back afternoon, I prepared myself for the Welcome Reception, which marked the opening of the Exhibition Hall. My emotions were mixed. I was excited to be at the conference but I missed my little boy. I was looking at pictures of him on my cell phone when I walked into the hall.

I looked up from my phone, and began to smile. I realized immediately that I was not going to be struggling with "Robby withdraws" for the duration of my trip. Anytime I miss him, all I need to do is look up and I will see a larger than life photo of Robby and me.

I was in the booth most of the evening, leaving me unable to visit the other exhibitors. I am hoping that I will be able to look around during a break today. I am eager to see the "latest and greatest" prosthetic components. Of course, I will be sure to let you know what I discover!

On a separate topic, a segment on 20/20 tonight follows a Tanzanian woman with Albanism who was mutilated for her bones. Mariamu was viciously attacked and her arms were amputated by bandits. Miraculously she survived to tell her horrific tale.

My prosthetist, Elliot Weintrob, learned of her story and offered his services. He closed his business for nearly a week so that he could focus on providing Mariamu with prosthetic arms. Physical Therapists joined the effort to teach her how to use her new devices.

Miriamu fought against the odds to survive her brutal attack. She is now using her voice to educate the world about the plight of Tanzanian Albinos. Tonight at 10 pm on 20/20 her story will finally be told.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Conquering the World... Or the Conference

I had a difficult time saying goodbye to Robby. We tried to make my exit as non-eventful and enjoyable as possible, which seemed to be working until Scott pulled into the airport drop-off zone. My little boy then began to cry, begging to come to work with me. I smothered him with kisses and waved as they began to drive away. I have to admit that I teared up when Robby rolled down the window and yelled "I love you, Mommy. We will still be best buddies."

Other than saying goodbye, the travel was remarkably easy. I encountered no difficulties and the entire experience was relatively pleasant. I am now in California, checked into my hotel and ready for the adventure the lies ahead during the next few days.

Despite nine hours of traveling, I feel energized and excited. I can't wait to start meeting with attendees and to visit with friends. Perhaps it is intuition or maybe just wishful thinking, but I feel as if great things might be lying right around the corner. I am not sure what, but I know that I am open to new opportunities and eager to grow this blog and amputeemommy.com. Hopefully I will be able to connect with others who believe in me and what I have to contribute.

So many people have helped me to prepare for this trip. Scott, although nervous, is assuming the reigns at home. I know that Robby is happy and I suspect his tummy is filled with ice cream and junk food. My Mom has supported my venture since its inception. She ordered a custom cookie mold and baked several dozen cookies for me to distribute to my Ossur friends. You know you're loved when somebody makes you cookie bears with a prosthetic!

My friend Tammy designed my new logo for amputeemommy.com. She also designed magnets and buttons which will be set out to try to grow my readership. Wish me luck, and I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trip Goal

Robby has discovered that I am going away. Yesterday I had a 44 inch shadow following me everywhere I went. He hugged me constantly and repeatedly reached for my hand to remind me that we are "best buddies." Knowing that my cover was blown, I sat him down and told him that Mommy had to go to work for a few days.

With Robby fully aware of my impending trip, I set about getting prepared. I packed the suitcase only to realize that it was overweight. I then unpacked and evaluated my options. I am now schlepping 10 pounds of amputeemommy.com magnets in my purse to save an additional $15 baggage fee. It is ironic that the baggage fee is precisely the copay I will have to pay my doctor when I return with a sore shoulder resulting from carrying an ultra heavy purse.

I always worry that Scott and Robby will be hungry when I am away. I typically prepare an obscene amount of food before I leave for a trip. Standing in my kitchen I had a revelation. Traditionally the food I prepare is not consumed while I'm away. My Boys will revert to a bachelor lifestyle, relying upon pizza, fast food and cheese flavored snacks for nutrition. I put my whisk down and didn't cook all day. They will be fine.

I am excited about working at the conference. I always enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. As I've written before, it is refreshing to be viewed as more than a wife and mother. I'm looking forward to just being Peggy for a few days.

Sometimes, when I'm begging and pleading for Robby to let the poop out, or when I'm picking up pieces of my ceiling which has been pulled down, I really miss having professional ambitions. Of course I adore being Robby's Mommy, and I wouldn't give up this time being home with him for anything. Still, I've realized it is easy to get bogged down in running the household and I forget my own talents and dreams.

For me, this trip is more than an opportunity to contribute monetarily or to socialize with other amputees. I intend to use this time to reconnect with myself and to work towards my own goals and dreams. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pirate Fun

Initially I was hesitant to "play pirate" with Robby. After all, modern day pirates are terrorizing the Indian Ocean. It just seems wrong to glamorize a lifestyle which is currently creating havoc and ruining lives.

Along with my social concerns, I am put off by the classic stereotype of the pirate. The pirate is almost always depicted as a beer swigging, angry peg-legged or hooked-handed dirty man. I suppose that I have become more sensitive to the derogatory portraits of amputees since my amputation. I hate that amputees are almost always shown as a drunk, an angry homeless person, or as a pirate.

I have discovered that modern day cartoons do not reflect my social conscience. From Little Bear to Dora the Explorer, pirates are heralded as heroes and are always depicted with an amputation. I admit that I am sensitive to the issue, but I was surprised that the Backyardigans, a popular Nickelodeon preschool show, sing about pirates stating that "You wear a spare part, a bandanna and a scar/ And they know you’re a pirate/ When they hear you say “Arrr!”

I was able to keep pirate exposure to a minimum until one afternoon, while I was working in the kitchen, Robby saw "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" on television. This Veggie Tale movie really made quite an impression on my little buccaneer. While I was complaining about the amputee vegetables with eye patches, Robby grabbed a "sword" and challenged me to a dual.

We tried to discourage playing pirate. I redirected his attention and moved the "swords" which were actually our pool sticks, out of reach. Pirate Robby was persistent. I knew I was fighting a losing battle when he grabbed a pepperoni stick in the grocery store and screamed "on guard" as he challenged the butcher to a fight.

Although I am no longer banning pirate play, I have taken the role of Captain Pirate Mommy by setting some ground rules. Most importantly, I won't allow Robby to have a plastic hook or an eye patch. I cannot suspend reality enough to let him feign a very real disability.

If we are going to play pirate, Robby must be wearing his pirate hat. This provides me ample warning that he is going to be running after me with his sword and poking me in the stomach. I have discovered that, unless I am prepared for the attack, it hurts! This also stops him from challenging unsuspecting shoppers to a mock sword fight.

Scott and I even bought him proper plastic pirate swords. In an attempt to save money we opted for the $2 hard plastic swords in lieu of the $14 soft Nerf swords. I am regretting that decision! I am having a difficult time convincing Scott that we need to upgrade our swords, but I suspect he will see my logic after he assumes the role of Pirate for the week I am in California.

Pirate Robby and Pirate Mommy have been busy sailing the seven seas. We no longer have a sofa in the living room. The cushions have been transformed into a Pirate ship and the frame has become the plank that Black Bear and Charlie Cat are often forced to walk. We have spent hours fighting off invaders who are trying to steal our buried treasure (typically Vanilla Wafer cookies) and looking for the X that marks the spot.

Playing pirate is, by far, Robby's favorite game. Taking the cue from "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" he has dubbed us, "The Pirates Who Don't Wear Pants." Yes, I am still having trouble getting him fully dressed since his clothing optional days while I was in Missouri. Tomorrow I leave for California and, although I have pleaded against it, I am fully aware that I could return to find a naked little pirate swinging an expensive foam sword who refuses to pee except off the back deck. Arghhh... tis the life of a Pirate Mommy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Adventure at the Salon

Friday afternoon I was determined to finish getting conference-ready. In desperate need of a new hair style, I opted to try a new hair salon. I like the results from my previous salon, but I have never been comfortable with the atmosphere. The stylists are arrogant and rude and I always left feeling inadequate. I frequently overheard them talking about a client who had just left leaving little doubt that they engaged in similar conversations about me.

The salon I chose had an attractive website and high ratings, so I was eager to give it a try. Unfortunately the website did not provide a clear depiction of this establishment. Sitting in the foyer on a hole riddled white pleather couch, I noticed an imposing sign which read "Shhh... we have dye for the 'hair down there.' Make tonight a special night!" I read the sign and debated whether I should laugh or flee.

I don't particularly enjoy getting my hair cut. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair with dripping wet hair, being forced to stare at myself as somebody attempts to chat is not my idea of relaxation. Despite efforts to remain quiet, I always seem to attract the chattiest of stylists. True to history, the conversation always seems to revolve around my amputation.

Realizing that people are simply curious about my limb loss, I always try to be polite while answering their questions. I take extra care to be courteous when the person asking the questions is cutting my hair with various sharp objects. I don't mind people asking me about my prosthetic, my accident or my amputation. Social graces typically limit the questions to fewer than five. Although it rarely happens, there are times when the questioning becomes intrusive and excessive. These situations try my patience.

I suspect that, in a previous life, my stylist might have been an attorney. She peppered me with questions trying to solicit specific details throughout the 45 minute appointment. She seemed unaware of my multiple attempts to change the topic. I eventually told her that I am more than an amputee and redirected the conversation to Robby. She interrupted me to ask me if I wore my leg during childbirth. I gave up and slurped more water from my paper cone cup.

In an ideal world, I would be able to get my hair cut without the pressure of having to make small talk during the entire appointment. Despite the non-stop banter about my amputation, I'm glad that I stayed. I think I like my new hair style. It is a remarkably modern style from a stylist who dressed like it is 1986 and never stopped talking.