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.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


My sister Sheri has been released from the hospital and the family has been reunited. She suffered a concussion when she fell, causing a setback in her recovery from the stroke. Her speech has already been restored and we anticipate her strength to return to her pre-fall level within a few days.

All family members have united to ban her from wearing flip-flops as she tries to walk down the stairs!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Running Away

I have discovered another "benefit" of wearing a prosthetic. A few days after working in the yard, I now only develop a poison ivy rash on one leg! I really need to remember that "leaves of three--let it be" saying, especially when working in the woods!

My leg, both wrists and my elbows are covered with an ugly, icky poison ivy rash. Between the calamine lotion and the bumps, I am beginning to look a bit like Patrick the Starfish from SpongeBob. Poison ivy isn't just itchy; it is painful!

My sister, who suffered a stroke last month, was readmitted to the hospital on Wednesday night. Information has been sketchy, which has contributed to the frustration and our growing feeling of helplessness. We know that she fell down her stairs, but we are unclear if the headache preceded her tumble. She has no broken bones, but is having difficulty with her speech and mobility.

I would be lying if I didn't admit to being worried, but I am trying to remain strong so that I can be of some assistance during this time. Sometimes it is just hard always trying to be strong! I will update the blog over the weekend when I have more information. In the meantime, all we can do is try to keep her children as happy as possible.

I suppose my mind was occupied with thinking about my sister and not scratching my rash when I took a misstep yesterday afternoon. I was holding the laundry basket and missed the bottom four steps. I didn't fall far, and thankfully I didn't break anything. Unfortunately I banged my elbow which immediately became swollen and purple.

Ironically, my elbow is almost the same shade of purple as the colored paint that Robby was splattering all over my dining room walls when I fell. He had discovered a new painting technique which creates little dots of colors on the paper. Unfortunately, it also covered everything within a five foot radius. (My poor white cat Sophie is now donning purple, red and yellow dots for Easter.)

Last week ended with my feeling optimistic and excited. In the course of one week my stress levels have soared as I worry about my sister in the hospital. My body is covered with red poison ivy bumps, my elbow is purple and my cat is now sporting a new fur colored polka dotted coat. My cream walls now look like they have been painted by Jackson Pollock. Robby Rotten has seized the opportunity and has been hopscotching all over my remaining nerve. I can hardly wait for the adventures that lie ahead of me this weekend! (Am I too old to run away from home?)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Defending our Decision

I am fed up with people telling me how I should be raising my child. Specifically, I am tired of hearing everybody's opinion about the intrinsic value of full-day kindergarten. For some reason, our decision to pursue half-day kindergarten next year is a "hot button" issue for others.

Scott and I are comfortable with the decision that we've made. We've weighed our options, and firmly believe that half day is the best choice for our family. As far as we are concerned, there is no debate. We are the parents, we are educated on the topic and we have made our decision.

I am shocked at how many "casual friends" feel compelled to offer their opinions on the topic. Of course, I suppose I wouldn't be as bothered if their thoughts mirrored our decision. Instead, I find myself constantly being forced to defend the virtues of half day kindergarten.

Yesterday I was informed by a well-meaning neighbor that I wrong by passing up the all day option. She actually looked at me and told me that I was being selfish, and that I wasn't keeping Robby's well-being as my priority. I was shocked at the gall of this woman!

My surprise morphed into anger as I found myself in another discussion outlining the reasons behind our choices. I have never, nor would I ever, offer parenting advice to this family. We don't have that type of relationship. How dare she interfere and force me to defend our family decision!

I spent the remainder of the afternoon fuming over the accusation that I was a selfish parent. I have put my career ambitions on hold to raise Robby. We have made drastic changes to our lifestyle so that I can stay home with him full time. Knowing the sacrifices that we have made for Robby, I am furious that anybody would call me selfish. Yet, for some reason people seem to think that I am a bad mother for wanting to keep him home part time next year.

I don't understand why opting for half day kindergarten is such a hot button issue for others. I figured as long as Scott and I are comfortable with our decision that it would be easily accepted. After all, what school we send our son to really isn't anybody's business.

Motherhood is riddled with self-doubt and guilt. I am constantly second guessing my decisions and I have spent countless nights without sleep as I worry about failing. Being a parent would be easier if we offered each other more support instead of criticism and casting judgment.

It is ironic that I worry about everything, yet I am completely confident in our kindergarten choice. I just wish I didn't have to spend so much time defending our decision.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not breaking any records, but not bad for a "silly little blog." I think that this deserves a cake!

Yesterday, aka My Pity Party

Yesterday I was miserable. Between my phantom pain (no doubt exacerbated by the excessive yard work of the previous two days) and my husbands snoring, I doubt I slept more than two hours. I woke up tired, in pain and irritable.

The blister on the side of my stump has made wearing my prosthetic painful and difficult. I respect skin sores on my limb enough to take care of them properly. I have known too many amputees who lost more of their limb due to a fast moving or stubborn infection. I knew I was going to have to keep the pressures placed on my leg at a minimum which meant that I was going to have to stay out of my prosthetic as much as possible.

I tried to keep my irritability in check, especially around Robby. I knew that I was short tempered, but I also realized that my frustrations were not caused by him. I vowed to have a happy and quiet day. I set Robby and myself up on the couch in the living room and settled in for a day of cartoons and movies. Thankfully the weather cooperated with my need to stay indoors--it was raining and cold all day!

We snacked on Goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets and noodles. We watched so many episodes of the Backyardigans that I know I will be hearing the songs in my sleep! Robby played with his cars when he became bored but never asked to do anything active. I have to admit that he was an extremely good little boy!

Although I enjoyed the quiet time with my little guy, I have to admit that my mood never completely elevated. I spent much of the day lamenting the fact that a small little blister on my stump has such an impact on my daily routine. People get blisters on their feet all the time, yet they are still able to ambulate and don't fear infections. As an amputee, I don't have the luxury of ignoring a small sore.

Most of the time I feel as if I am a well-adjusted amputee. I don't spend a lot of time complaining that I have to use a prosthetic. In fact, the only times I really hate being an amputee occur when I cannot fully participate in my life. Yesterday, my lack of sleep merged with my leg pain to create the "perfect storm" for a grumpy mood day!

Robby seemed happy and oblivious to my depressed and frustrated mood. He even dubbed the day "Robby and Momom's Super Fun Pajama Couch Party." Each time he said it he would smile. I think a more apt name would have been "Momom's Super Big Pity Party."

Being an amputee isn't always easy. I've learned that my ability to walk is dependent upon a variety of factors. Sometimes, being reliant upon healthy skin, functioning mechanical pieces and a comfortable socket just plain stinks!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Working Smarter.. and Harder

Yesterday I woke up and decided that I was going to finish clearing the woods. I was determined that, no matter how long it took, the project was going to be finished. In retrospect, my self-imposed strict time line was not my best decision.

Thankfully I saw Mr. Bill toiling in his yard before I started working. I mentioned that I spent Sunday lopping down vines in the woods. He came over to my yard to look at my impressive vine pile. After I showed him my new loppers, he smiled and told me that he would be back.

I got to work cutting down more vines. Within minutes my back and hips were burning. After only working through a few feet, I heard Mr. Bill call my name. He was holding an odd farm tool, essentially a double sided blade on a handle.

I was instructed to stand back. He proceeded to swing the tool back and forth. Literally, within seconds he had cleared triple the amount of space that I had completed in his absence. He smirked and told me to "Work smarter not harder." Using the borrowed swing blade, I was able to clear my woods of vines, shrub trees and undergrowth. It took me another 3 hours, but I finally created the yard I had always envisioned for Robby.

Since it wasn't safe for Robby to be around a swing blade, especially when wielded by me, he went to "help" Mr. Bill for the afternoon. Together the pair dug out and planted two flower beds. He was happy, tired and covered in dirt when I picked him up.

I later learned that Robby was integral to obtaining the flowers that were transplanted. Apparently Robby was small enough to crawl under the fence separating Mr. Bill's house from his neighbor. Bill gave him a little shovel and instruction on how to dig up the blooming bulbs. Robby then slipped the snitched flora under the fence hole back to his accomplice. I was assured that permission by the neighbor was granted, but I'm not entirely convinced!

I was told that Robby was well-behaved and a good worker. The only complaint Bill offered involved Robby's choice in music. Bill wanted to sing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" as they dug and planted. It seems that my little boy was insistent on singing his favorite work song, one that he has heard numerous times as I cut wood, shovel snow or clear the woods.

I wish I could have seen Mr. Bill's face when my little bulb thief started belting out "I am Woman."

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Hate Yard Work!

Our yard has the potential of becoming little boy's Utopia. Unfortunately much of it is inaccessible because of the sharp little intruding vines which have claimed much of our wooded area. Every spring I promise myself that I am going to clear the woods of the thorny blackberry bushes. Yesterday I decided that the woods were going to be cleared out so that Robby can run and play!

Undeterred by the amount of work, I went into the lopping zone. I cut, moved, untangled and piled hundreds of sharp thorn vines. To my delight I only drew blood six times- which isn't bad considering that I worked for over three hours!

Throughout the afternoon I found myself experiencing a variety of "I love being an amputee" moments. My prosthetic became a useful tool as I was able to reach the roots of the vines. After all, I could trample them down without risking painful scrapes or jabs on my leg! I also used my prosthetic to stomp down the piles, making them more compact and easier to handle. I was able to break sticks over my carbon fiber socket and I never felt a thing!

On one occasion I moved some thorn vines and I thought I saw a snake. I screamed like a girl, and then I immediately threw the vines and started stomping on the ominous creature. It was only after the carbon fiber exterminator stopped striking did I realize that all I destroyed was a small stick disguised as a snake. (I really hate snakes!)

I worked until I couldn't raise my arms. It took most of the afternoon, but I cleared about half of the area. Thankfully the area which I cleaned out was the most densely overgrown. Weather permitting, I'm going to get the rest cleaned out this week.

Robby stayed outside, playing in and around the stream for most of the afternoon. He would yell hello to me from what has been dubbed "Robby Island"-- essentially the other side of the stream. Looking at him playing was my motivation to keep working to clear the woods. After all, one of the reasons we purchased this home was because we knew that the yard would be a wonderful play area for a child. I'm determined to see that dream become a reality, even if it means I may never lift my arms again!