About Me

My photo
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 04, 2011

World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day. I had planned on writing a post on a different topic, but somehow not honoring the significance of the day for me didn't feel right. I know that this isn't necessarily "amputee related," but since I am also a cancer survivor, I feel justified.

I will never forget hearing the words, "It came back as cancer" muttered from my doctor's mouth. I remember going numb and instantly wishing that I was stuck in a bad nightmare. I vividly remember willing myself to wake up only to realize that I wasn't asleep, and that my life had become my nightmare.

I listened to the treatment options, took the brochures and dutifully scheduled my appointment with the oncology department. Sitting in my car in the parking lot of the hospital I had to do something that I was dreading. I had to call my mom to give her the news.

Thinking back, I doubt I even got the words out when I called. From the quivering in my voice, my mom knew. She immediately began to formulate a plan. That is one of the many wonderful traits possessed by my mom--she is proactive and always optimistic.

It is hard to imagine that those words were uttered to me ten years ago last week. Wow, ten years. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. I suppose, in a way, it was a lifetime ago. I am certainly a different person than that 26 year old young woman who felt like the world might as well collapse because I had cancer.

I was counseled that I would be infertile. When I became pregnant I was cautioned that I posed an extremely high miscarriage risk. The doctors were right. I had a miscarriage and my heart broke. Robby beat the odds and became my personal miracle.

It is impossible to describe the feeling that arises when a patient hears the words, "You have cancer." I consider being a cancer survivor to be one of my greatest accomplishments. I came through the treatments and my life has flourished.

In the ten years since I was diagnosed, I have learned a lot. I discovered how dreams become redefined after a life changing experience. I never expected to be a cancer survivor. I never imagined that I would be an amputee. I experienced how life can change in a moment, knocking you off course and leaving you with no choice but to adapt and find a new way.

I would be lying if I claimed to not be fearful of another cancer diagnosis. However, I refuse to live my life in fear, scared of what may happen in the future. I'd rather concentrate on today because, although it sounds cliche, I don't know what will happen tomorrow. And today, I think Robby and I will bake cookies and deliver them to the staff at the oncology ward. After all, they are fighting on the front lines in the war against this terrible disease.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Criss Cross Mommy Went Crash

When I was young, I would watch my brother push his little matchbox cars around the floor for hours. I was only a year younger than he, but I never understood how that could possibly be fun. Robby now pushes the pint sized cars around the house making them crash and occupying himself for hours. I still don't understand the fascination. I assume it is just one of those "boy things."

Since Robby received Criss Cross Crash for Christmas, my house has been transformed into a make-shift toy car parking lot. Although I appreciate that Robby loves his little wheeled treasures, I have come to despise them. The cars are small, making them difficult to see on our dark floor. I have crushed several with my prosthetic because I can't tell that I am stepping on one until I hear the familiar crunch of smashing plastic. Robby is so accustomed to hearing me step on his cars that now he simply refers to my leg as the "car crusher."

Every night I insist that Robby pick up his cars and put them away. Every morning, after drinking his cup of milk and watching Little Bear, he dashes out to the living room to free the toys from their storage bag. Within moments, I have dozens of little cars all over.

Yesterday one of my matchbox cars fears was realized. I was carrying a laundry basket down the stairs when I stepped on a car that was parked on a step. Because I had the misfortune of stepping on the car with my prosthetic, I didn't realize what I had done until the I was in mid-fall. Thankfully I landed on top of the dirty laundry.

Stunned, I didn't move for several moments after the tumble. I then realized that I was on lying on top of both Scott and Robby's dirty underwear. Motivated, I slowly dislodging myself from my now smooshed laundry basket and verified that nothing was broken.

Immediately, a new rule was instituted. No toys are allowed past the fireplace which is about three feet from the top of the stairs. The parking garage, i.e. steps, has been shut down permanently. I explained the new rules to Robby and he immediately began to comply.

I wrapped my wrist because, although I am certain it isn't broken, it is sore and swollen. Robby continued to play with his cars for the remainder of the afternoon. He complied with the new rules and no cars were parked on the stairs.

Apparently the "parking garage" was simply relocated. I discovered the new location when I was getting ready to eat dinner. I pulled out my chair and promptly sat on top of a firetruck and helicopter. Robby began to cry because "Momom's soft bum broke the helicopter's spinning thingy and now it can't fly."

This morning I am feeling the ramifications of my fall. My wrist is tender and swollen. My back muscles are sore and I have bruises in odd places, including on my "soft bum." Robby is still lamenting the destruction of his helicopter. Have I mentioned how much I hate Matchbox cars?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Just Tired (and a little bitter)

I am tired of being tired. I feel as if I haven't had a good night sleep in months which is probably not too far off the truth. I've been trying to stop clenching my jaw at night. Apparently I merely switched habits because now I find myself squeezing my biceps when I sleep. If I don't find a better way to deal with my stress and anxiety, I am soon going to have Popeye's buff arms!

To make sleep more elusive, Robby is going through an "I don't want to sleep alone" phase. Every night for the past few weeks he's been walking into our bedroom around midnight, frightened and asking for a sleepover. Thankfully the pull-out sofa in his room is quasi-comfortable.

When I do finally fall asleep, I find that I am awoken by my stump becoming tangled in the sheets and blankets. I hate trying to stretch out my legs to discover that the blankets have wadded around my limb. I try to move only to discover that my leg is bound. Kicking to try to free myself, I am met with the the familiar shocking nerve pain that comes from pressing on the wrong section of my stump.

It is moments like these when I detest being an amputee. Scott and Robby can simply roll over, but I end up with the sheets and blankets wrapped around my stump, trapping me in place. When I do move, I am immediately reminded that I'm an amputee because of the pressure on the wrong section of my stump. I have trouble going back to sleep because I then become frustrated and angry.

I suppose I'm just a little sleep deprived right now. I know that one of these nights I will actually fall asleep and stay asleep until morning. Hopefully I'll wake up without sore arms and a stiff jaw. In the meantime, I'll pour myself another cup of coffee.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

He Didn't Scream!

I've tried to put it off, but yesterday morning I knew that I couldn't procrastinate any longer. Robby's hair was in his eyes, and he was beginning to look more like a "Roberta" than a "Robert." He needed a haircut.

Robby has yet to be good when getting his hair cut. In fact, I venture to guess that I dread the task almost as much as he does. I prepared myself for Robby Rotten. I took two Tylenol before I left the house, anticipating a headache from listening to his screeching screams; I wore loose clothing so that I would be able to restrain him as he fought to escape; I had cash so that I could pay quickly after his display. I was ready!

I was shocked that Robby was actually well-behaved during our trip to the barber. He whimpered and complained as we entered the establishment, but he knew that the trimming was inevitable. It's official--my little boy is growing up.

Yesterday I realized that I am now the parent to a soon to be kindergartner. He sat quietly, watching cartoons as the barber spritzed, sprayed and buzzed his hair. He didn't squirm, scream or fight. He only asked to hold my hand when the clippers were turned on.

Of course, his behavior could be attributed to the establishment as well as his age. I abandoned the traditional barber shop for a child themed salon. Robby sat on a tractor instead of an over-sized barber chair. A Diego the Animal Rescuer DVD was playing on the television positioned at his eye level. The stylist, upon learning Robby's favorite color, only used yellow brushes and combs.

I hate to admit that, before I was a parent, I used to wonder why the child salon was necessary. After all, why would a child need to watch a cartoon while getting a haircut? The amenities seemed to be simply another example of the spoiling of our children.

It was nice not having to wrestle with Robby to get his haircut. I enjoyed not being embarrassed by my child's outbursts and temper tantrums. Robby didn't squirm which resulted in a good haircut. He was so well behaved that I treated him to Play D'oh ice cream.

I realize that by taking Robby to a themed salon, I have become one of those parents. I admit that, although the cartoons aren't necessary for a good haircut, it certainly makes the process more enjoyable for us both. The only downside to the new salon is that Robby now looks so grown up with his new haircut!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sledding Hurts

After a weekend packed with non-stop sledding fun, I have to admit that I'm wiped out. My body is sore in places that I didn't think was possible. For some strange reason, even my elbows hurt. If how I'm feeling today is any indication of what it is going to feel like when I'm elderly, I don't want to get old!

Robby had an absolute blast sledding which makes the pain that I'm feeling in my aging body worth it. He must have gone down the same hill 200 times, yet every time he went down, he squealed with laughter. He liked me to go down on the sled with him, but I wasn't nearly as giddy.

Until Friday I hadn't been on a sled for at least 20 years. But, trying to maintain my reign as "fun Mommy" I hopped onto the back of the little plastic sled and had Robby sit on my lap. He loved going over the make-shift ramps. I was fairly confident I was going to break my hip.

I anticipated that my body would be sore. I stocked up on Epsom salts before the snow arrived. What surprised me was the aching in my stump.

A few trips back up the hill with the sled and Robby in tow, I quickly realized that the muscles in my socket were getting a work out. In order to remain upright, I had to dig the front of my shoe into the snow. Hours of walking on my toes has left my limb hurting!

Because I was wearing snow pants, nobody knew that I used a prosthetic. I sledded more than any other adult and I never lost my balance as we schlepped back up the hill. As all of the adults were huddled together, lamenting their cold feet, I smiled. After all, only one of my feet felt slightly chilly. I love those "if they only knew" moments.

There has been one unanticipated benefit of our sledding afternoons. Robby has been exhausted by the time we return home. Once he gets warmed up and fed, he has been content quietly coloring and playing on the couch. He has been requesting to go to bed as soon as the sun sets. Robby's fatigue has provided me with the window I need to use my leg massage machine--which has been working overtime.