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 12, 2010

Last Year's Miracle

This week is full of anniversaries. Yesterday I celebrated seven years of mobility. Today our family rejoices as we remember a miracle that we received exactly one year ago.

Last year on this date, my three year old nephew Jacob was struck by a speeding car. Little Jacob, weighing a slight 35 pounds, was thrown through the air and landed approximately 10 feet from the site of impact. He was airlifted to Children's Hospital. My heart shattered the moment I received that call.

Jacob suffered a broken leg and pelvis. He had facial and tongue lacerations. Defying the logic and experiences of all involved, Jacob sustained no permanent injuries. The emergency room physician was astounded as he tried to explain how a little boy could be thrown so far yet the back of his head never touched the asphalt. Angels were watching over that sweet little boy on that horrible day.

On that day I witnessed the best and the worst of humanity. The emergency responders, medical providers and hospital staff could not have been more loving and supportive. Our family will never be able to find the words to properly thank these heroes.

This incident was also my first exposure to the cruelty of internet "trolls." A newspaper story was published about the accident and, to my dismay, mean spirited comments were left. One was particularly hurtful and, although I know that this pathetic human being doesn't deserve my energy, the hateful words still sting.

Yes "Common Tater" from Hanover, Pennsylvania, I'm referring to you. You went to the internet and verbally attacked me as my family was in the midst of an emotionally draining and terrifying time. A mere hours after this horrific event you took to the newspaper message board and addressed me personally.

You wrote, "You sound like yet another lowlife sex freak woman who probably doesnt work and lays on the computer all day cybering with filthy men. Take a minute and think about yourself Miss Peggy- shouldnt your mind be on your relative in ICU instead of hooking up with any Tom, Dick, and Harry from the net?"

Twelve months has passed and during that time I've tried to make sense of that nasty, venomous attack. My only explanation is that the writer must have no sense of self-worth or pride. Words hurt, even when they are formed from the keystrokes of a lonely troll. I hope that the past year has helped this troll mature and find a sense of self-worth so that he no longer needs to prey upon the heartache of strangers.

Jacob has made a full recovery. As I predicted after the accident, it has become clear that my sister suffers more from those events that day. A mother will never forget seeing her child hit by a car. That nightmare will replay in her dreams forever.

Instead of mourning today, we are able to celebrate the true miracle that happened last year. I love you Jakey!

<------November 12, 2009

November 2010----->

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Walking Day to ME!

Today is a special day for me. Seven years ago today I took the first steps towards regaining my independence and redefining my life. Today is Walking Day!

Although I cannot forget the anniversary of my amputation, I choose to celebrate Walking Day. For me this day represents much more than merely taking a few tentative steps. In a very real way, although I didn't know it at the time, I was starting a new phase of my life.

I never would have envisioned how my life would change so dramatically because of my amputation. I knew that I would be living without my leg and relying upon a prosthetic. I couldn't have prepared for the isolation, struggles and pain that would ensue. It has been an arduous journey, but I am better for it.

I never could have imagined that a short seven years later I would be a Mommy to a wonderful little boy. I author a blog which has a loyal following and which I believe has been of some assistance to others going through their own journey. Many of my readers I am blessed to call friends.

Who would have thought that I would be working as a Spokesperson Ossur, telling my story to a variety of audiences around the country. My life has taken turns that I could not have planned, but it has been an extraordinary adventure! Not bad for this ex-teacher turned stay-at-home Mommy who just wanted to reach out to help ease the isolation associated with limb loss!

I remember my Walking Day as if it were yesterday. Scott and I were terrified as we waited for Elliot to present me with my new prosthetic. Thankfully Scott is a bit of a techno-nerd and captured the entire moment on film.

Every year on Walking Day I watch the video and Scott brings me flowers. This year I'm in Atlanta, but I'm still going to watch the video. I am proud of how far I've come. On a side note, Scott will be happy because he has an extra day to remember to get my flowers!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Biggest Loser-AmputeeMommy Update

Last month, in anticipation of my upcoming New York City Spokesperson debut, I launched Biggest Loser, AmputeeMommy edition. Although I knew that time was going to be working against me, I resolved to lose ten pounds. I wanted to feel better and more confident.

I committed to my sensible diet regiment; I eliminated all sweets which, if you know me, was an epic sacrifice. On more than one occasion I actually dreamed that I was swimming in a vat of gooey brownie batter. I love chocolate!

Unfortunately I did not pick an easy time to restrict cocoa delights. Halloween presented a struggle, but I maintained a resolve of a well-disciplined soldier. Robby constantly offered me his treats, pleading with me to take a bite using arguments such as, "You love chocolate. Chocolate makes you sleep good and makes the monsters go away. I want you to have some candy because I love you, Momom." I have become quite adept at accepting, pocketing and discarding his confectionery offerings instead of trying to use logic with my little candy man.

In addition to consuming more carrots than a small army of rabbits can eat, I increased my commitment to exercise. I rode longer, harder and faster. Robby and I danced with the Wii and ran through the neighborhood. I started chopping wood to work my upper body and I picked up sticks to trim down my bum. Every waking moment was committed to calorie expenditure. Coincidentally, I learned that that is a miserable way to live.

After a month, I can honestly say that I worked my bum off! I have lost a total of 13 pounds. I feel trimmer and more confident.

Part of me wishes that I had more time to prepare for my New York City trip. On the other hand, I also know that I would never feel completely ready. I will always find something that needs "improved," another flaw that I would either obsess over or try to fix. For my own sanity, and for the sake of my fragile self-esteem, it is a good thing that the trip is next week.

I am feeling as ready as I think possible. I'm nervous but excited about this new adventure. I am also looking forward to a big, and I mean ginormous, chocolate cupcake under a mound of frosting when this is over! And maybe a brownie...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Arachnid Invasion

Tomorrow I leave for Atlanta. I shouldn't admit it, but this trip cannot come soon enough! This business trip has become a carrot dangling in front of me, encouraging me to maintain my sanity in spite of the chaos swirling around me.

Yesterday I woke up energized and happy. The weather was beautiful, and, despite falling into bed exhausted the night before, I woke up feeling ready to tackle the world. Robby and I dressed and went outside to play.

Within ten minutes the course for my day was redirected. Robby found another black widow spider. A brief investigation brought me to the large black widow spider city that had set up residence under my porch. Hundreds of poisonous arachnids were spinning webs within inches of all of Robby's outdoor balls and toys.

After briefly panicking I went into "AmputeeMommy Exterminator" mode. The insecticide bottle instructions called for a tablespoon of poison per gallon of water. I added a cup. I wanted to make sure that the venomous intruders died a quick death. I filled my sprayer and went to work on my plan for mass murder.

All of Robby's toys needed to be treated for spiders. Apparently the little buggers like to hide under objects, making their annihilation more time consuming. I felt a moment of sheer terror when I discovered a black widow spider under the seat of Robby's little red bicycle which he had been riding the previous afternoon.

I spent over four hours clearing brush, raking leaves and spraying insecticide. Late in the afternoon I deemed the extermination over. We went inside to relax. Unfortunately, Robby Rotten decided to join me.

After weeks of pulling my graying hair out, I may have stumbled upon a discipline method that Robby thinks is both unfair and incredibly mean. In other words, it has been effective. When he misbehaves and assumes his position in the time-out corner, I use the time to fill a basket with all of the toys that he had been playing with at the time of his offense. The longer he is in time-out, the more toys I have the opportunity to grab. The confiscated items must be earned back through good behavior.

Between battling the spiders and my little boy, I'm eagerly anticipating a few long days of work. I'll be busy, but I won't have to kill poisonous creatures or confiscate toys. I won't have to fight monsters in the night nor will I have to hear wailing on the other side of a bathroom door because I locked him out. Right now, the few days working in Atlanta might as well be a luxurious vacation.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Working It Out

Every once in awhile I find myself in a funk about my limb loss. Most of the time I take the obstacles in stride, trying to find the humor in my new situation. Although it rarely happens, I would be lying if I didn't admit to my "why me" moments. Last Friday I was having a bout of what I have dubbed to be the "amputation blues."

In part, my "why me" moments are intensified because I have a limited number of people to whom I can vent. I know that many of my friends mean well, but it is not productive to counter a "why me" with the classic "why not you" argument. Although I see the logic, for me it only serves to invalidate my feelings.

Perhaps more than the "why not you" argument, I despise being lectured because "there are so many people worse off. You're lucky it was only your foot." This rationale is often posed by my four-limbed friends. I immediately become defensive and bite my tongue to stop a probable sarcastic retort.

I do not need to be reminded that I'm lucky to be alive. In addition to being an amputee, I am a cancer survivor. I think about my mortality daily. I don't need to be reminded that I'm lucky to have my remaining limbs. I know that my friends mean well, but diminishing my frustrations simply makes me want to take off my leg and hit them over the head with it!

I have learned that every amputee has "why me" moments. Knowing that I'm not alone in experiencing these emotions is helpful. I vowed years ago no longer to fight the wallowing. I have given myself permission to cry, scream, hide and mourn... for exactly 24 hours.

After 24 hours, I style my hair, put on make-up and stay busy until the feelings pass. This weekend I cut another half cord of firewood, gathered twelve bags of kindling and caulked all of my outdoor windows. I managed to install a wall heater in my bedroom and repair our bathroom hooks. The leaves have been raked from all of our flowerbeds, and I helped our neighbor spread a ton of topsoil.

I have worked away the "amputation blues," but I do have to admit that I'm exhausted! Thankfully I am feeling better and my "to do" list has been trimmed. All things considered, it was a productive weekend.