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 08, 2011

Planning To Strut?

Planning to "Strut Your Stuff" on April 30th? RSVP on Facebook and write on the wall to let everybody know how you plan to spend the day strutting!

My Super Duper Good News Week... (not to brag)

This week is closing on a high note. The weather has been beautiful and, despite occasional rain showers, Robby and I have been busy playing and working outside. Although the air is still chilly, the sunshine feels wonderful!

In September I was asked to participate in a documentary produced by the National Geographic Channel. The film crew came to my house, and I spent the day answering questions about being an amputee. Most of the inquiries revolved around my experiences with phantom limb pain. Although I do not have a chronic problem with the pain, I do have flare-ups which range from being a nuisance to being completely debilitating.

On Monday, I learned that the show is complete and is ready to air. Set your DVR's (or VCR's) for the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, April 26 at 10:00 P.M. The show is part of the Explorer series and has been titled "The Angel Effect." (Truthfully, I'm still a little confused about how phantom limb pain fits into the piece but I know that some of my footage made the cut.) Incidentally, a preview clip from the show that features me can be found on the "In the News" link on the top of this blog.

Tuesday I received an email in reference to a Discovery Channel television show. The producers of a new series called "Health Heroes" inquired about my willingness to participate in the show. Of course I said yes! Robby and I are traveling to Philadelphia in the middle of May to be interviewed and filmed. I don't know many details other than we are going to be included in the program, and I will keep everyone posted.

On Wednesday, with my head still spinning from the excitement over the Discovery Channel show, I opened my email and received a wonderful surprise. Robby and I have been invited to travel to Tampa, Florida. The Challenged Athletes Foundation, partnered with Ossur, are presenting a running workshop. I have been invited to be the speaker at the event.

I am honored by the invitation, although the pessimist in me doubts the appropriateness of my being chosen. I am certainly not an athlete and wonder if anything I have to say could be perceived as "motivational." Trying to push my fears aside, I'm excited about the opportunity. Ironically, my speech will be delivered on what I have designated as "Strut Your Stuff Day." I guess there is no better way for me to demonstrate confidence than to stand in front of hundreds of people, prosthetic fully exposed, wearing running shorts!

Robby is over-the-moon excited about going on the trip with me. I found him this morning in front of my kitchen pantry, Diego suitcase in hand, filling it with snacks for "the big work trip to Florida." I am staying an extra day so that Robby and I can visit the aquarium and absorb as much of the Florida sunshine as possible. Keep your fingers crossed that Scott can get off work so that he can come!

I feel overwhelmed by all of the good news I've received this week. I haven't felt this optimistic, happy and excited about my future in a long time. I don't know when all of this will end, but I am going to make sure to enjoy every moment!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tag... I'm it. AGAIN

The weather during the past few days has been gorgeous. Robby and I have been outside playing tag (his favorite game) and taking long walks to the mailbox (my idea to get out of playing tag). It has been so nice to be able to go outside without the snow layers and actually feel the warmth of the sun. I'm enjoying every moment of being outside.

I do have a confession. I feel like a horrible parent, but I absolutely hate playing tag. I despise everything about that silly childhood game-- except the look in Robby's eyes when I agree to "be it." He lights up and begins to squeal with joy.

I feel like I should at least enjoy an activity that he adores. I've tried. I've given myself pre-tag pep talks followed by attempts to channel my inner child. I've discovered that my inner child also hates tag.

Despite my MOD III, running is not easy for me. I try to envision being graceful like a horse cantering around a pasture. In reality, I look more like a lame mule lumbering in a muddy field.

I don't enjoy running, and when I am required to make a series of tight turns, the task is laborious at best. Between the impact on my limb from running and the twisting within my socket from the quick turns, I am just not built for playing tag. Unfortunately, Robby loves the game.

Undeterred and unable to be swayed towards other activities, Robby and I spent hours yesterday playing tag outside. Visualizing the calories that were being expended helped to make the activity bearable, but I can't say that I had fun. By mid-afternoon I found myself fantasizing about sleeping in late the next morning, certain that my little tagger would be tuckered out.

My dreams of Robby sleeping past dawn were interrupted when he wandered into our bedroom at about 5:00 am. I told him that it was still nighttime. As he was crawling into our bed and pulling up the sheets, he whispered that he had one question to ask me. "Okay Robby, ask your question but then you need to go back to sleep."

Pulling up the covers he whispered, "Momom, I just wanted to know if it was time to start playing tag again. It's my favorite." I guess I'm it... again!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Starting a Movement

Those who have known me for any length of time know that I love holidays and commemorations. When April was designated as "Limb Loss Awareness Month" my celebratory juices started flowing. I was disappointed when, on April 1, ACA failed to mention the designation (that I might add was their brain child) on either their Facebook page or twitter account.

Commiserating with other amputees about the lack luster "kick off," I decided that it was time to take action. Using photo shop I created two ribbons that I posted on Facebook to educate and support Limb Loss Awareness Month. I was pleasantly surprised by the reception that my ribbon creations received. Many amputees have already adopted what I dub the "Official AmputeeMommy Limb Loss Awareness Ribbon" as their profile picture. Feel free to use the ribbons--our strength lies with our numbers.

The ACA website states that 507 individuals receive an amputation every day in the United States. That number is almost too high to comprehend. With so many Americans living with limb loss, why do we often feel isolated when it happens to us?

A main purpose behind the designation is to provide an opportunity to educate society about the amputees quietly living in the community. Prosthetics have become so advanced that many times the amputee can go unnoticed, leaving co-workers and neighbors unaware that another person is living with a limb loss. It is time to make our presence known!

With the assistance of my prosthetic facility (www.opc1.com), we are launching "National Strut Your Stuff Day" on Saturday, April 30. On this date, we are encouraging our amputee friends to forgo their cosmetic covers. Wearing shorts and showing your prosthetic with pride will be one of the best ways to bring the amputee community out of the shadows.

With awareness and education come an increased interest in research, innovations in technology and more acceptance. For those of you who feel comfortable, join me and stand with pride on "National Strut Your Stuff Day." Let's start a movement!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Blissfully Tuckered Out

Yesterday the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Robby and I headed outside to play around 10:30 in the morning and didn't come back inside until almost 4:00. After dinner, he started pleading to go back outside again.

He had a blast playing tag, kicking the ball, fishing and riding his bike. I certainly got my exercise playing endless games of tag, defending the soccer goal (i.e leaf hill) from his undisciplined kicks, untangling the fishing line at least 2 dozen times and jogging along beside him, holding onto the back of his bike for what seemed like miles.

By the time we went out in the evening to play, Robby was forced to wear his froggy boots. He fell in the stream twice, thoroughly soaking both pairs of sneakers. I should not have believed him when he promised not to fall into the stream. Apparently I am a slow learner!

Robby finally learned how to use his bicycle brake. Unfortunately he mastered its use after he discovered the horn mounted on his bike. He was so busy beeping his horn, proudly showing Mr. Bill that he was riding his bike, that he forgot to steer. He rode directly into a tree.

After scolding me by explaining that he is a "boy with legs for walking and not with wheels on his body for riding around," we finally convinced him to get back up on the bike. With my walking in front, he mastered using the brake. He only ran over my foot twice. Both times I was grateful to be an amputee- it didn't hurt me a bit!

By the end of the day, I had one tuckered out little boy, two pairs of soaked race car sneakers, one broken and promptly repaired fishing pole and pants torn at the bum (he got stuck in a tree). He went to sleep without complaint, no doubt dreaming of outdoor adventures to come.

I went to bed with one heating pad wrapped around my stump and another on my back. My little outdoor adventurer wore me out. My leg was jitterbugging all night, probably due to the high impact activities on bruised and already sore tissue.

Despite the discomfort of the evening, I have to say that I had a wonderful day with my little boy. However, today we are supposed to have rain, a forecast for which I am grateful. This Momom needs a break!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Just Like Daddy

Robby loves tools and all things tool related. I had to confiscate the wrench that "Mr. Elliot" (my prosthetist) gave him because he was constantly trying to make adjustments and "fix that leg good for Momom." Although it was adorable to watch, trying to walk on a prosthetic that was adjusted by a four year old was not a lot of fun.

In order to satiate his tool fix, I have been taking him to free classes at the Home Depot. He loves going to "tool school" where he is provided with a kit and all of the materials to make a project. This week at "tool school" he made a planter box. (Actually, he made two planter boxes because he requested to make a second for Mr. Bill.)

Since Saturday was a rainy day and my little tool man was chomping at the bit to build, I pulled out a gift he received for Christmas. His Nana gave him a "Super Deluxe Construction Kit" featuring "real kids wood." In case you are curious, "real kids wood" equates to brown Styrofoam.

Looking at the box, Robby decided to build the jet plane. I have to admit to being relieved with his choice because it appeared to have the least number of parts. Taking a look at the scant direction booklet, I immediately decided that this was a father/son activity.

Scott and Robby spent the afternoon trying to construct the Styrofoam plane. The lack of a template- or measurements for that matter- meant that every piece had to be drawn freehand before Robby was allowed to begin "sawing" the pieces. With each step Scott was cursing the poorly designed kit and the absence of project directions. He also exhibited the patience of a saint with Robby.

Despite the frustrations the kit presented, it was fun watching the boys building the project together. I think that it is good for both of them to spend quality time together, working on a common goal. Building a plane seemed like the perfect father-son activity for a rainy Saturday.

Finally, after nearly 3 hours the plane was complete. Unfortunately, my two builders made some substantial mistakes. The plane Scott and Robby constructed somewhat resembles the project pictured on the box, and both my boys were proud of the creation. The imperfections did not seem to matter.

Robby learned a lot spending the afternoon working with his Daddy. Scott taught him how to use the saw and allowed Robby to turn every screw. He watched Scott figure out the construction of the plane and learned a lot about the value of trial and error.

My little builder is at a stage where he idolizes his Daddy and tries to emulate everything he sees Scott say and do. We discovered this when Robby tried to fly the plane. As he watched it crash, Robby exclaimed "This plane is a pain in the a$$. D@mn it, it won't fly. What a cheap piece of crap." He sounded, err... just like his Daddy.