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 29, 2011

Florida Adventure

I have been looking forward to this weekend for weeks! In fact, I'm so excited that I have been having a difficult time sleeping. I feel like a little child on Christmas Eve.

Robby and I have been invited to attend a running clinic in St. Petersburg, Florida. The only thing that would make this absolutely perfect would be Scott's attendance. Unfortunately, the new hot water heater took priority over his plane ticket. We will miss him, but I know that he is excited for us.

I was honored, and now terrified, that I have been asked to speak at the event. I am not a public speaker, and the prospect scares me. I am hoping to channel my "inner teacher" before the event, allowing me to speak coherently and clearly.

I hope that Robby behaves while my attentions are diverted to the audience. I have visions of his stripping down and streaking the participants. I worry about him "helping" me during my speech, offering impromptu knock knock jokes that are only funny to him. We have been practicing how to sit quietly and behave during Momom's speech. For some reason, now when I ask him to demonstrate, he begins to meow and hiss like an angry cat.

The irony that I am speaking at a running clinic has been a source of humor for my family and close friends. Those who know me realize that I am not a runner. In fact, I haven't been out for a jog since I ran a 5K last year. It dawned on me, about half way through that race, that I really hate running!

I am not sure what I am going to say on Saturday. The pessimist in me doubts that I have anything of substance to offer. I am trying to remember that I was invited for a reason, and perhaps the organizers feel that my words may contribute to the event. I can only hope that inspiration hits me sometime between now and Saturday morning!

After the event, Robby and I have a full docket. Unfortunately I'm not permitted to reveal my itinerary, but on Monday I will provide a full accounting with pictures. Just know that Robby and I are both thrilled about this once in a lifetime opportunity, and we will be very busy!!

Wish me luck on Saturday. I will have my hands full between excited and unpredictable Robby and giving a speech. I hope that I find the right words and that I can deliver my thoughts effectively. I'm nervous, but I'm going to try my best and see what happens!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cutting Room Floor

Surely the final version of the show was completed by Tuesday morning. Why then, on Tuesday afternoon at 2:13 did I receive an email from somebody involved in the production asking me if I was excited to see myself on TV? I was reminded to ask my friends to watch and told, yet again, how I did such a good job and contributed to the show.

On the heels of that email, I spread the word for all of my friends and family to tune in for the "big premiere." My confidence that my segment would be shown never wavered. After all, I received the email indicating that my footage was included, and my clip has been on their website for a month! I believed them--all the way to the end of the show when the credits began to scroll.

I feel humiliated. I feel that, through no fault of my own, I let my family and my friends down. I hate disappointing others. I believed that I was being told the truth only to be disappointed. I feel like I was played for a fool. Yet again, I was misled and I am frustrated.

I am tired of salespeople promising me what they think I want to hear, only never to deliver. I'm tired of waiting for packages in the mail that have been promised during a conversation only to be forced to concede to myself that I fell for yet another empty pledge. I'm tired of waiting for return phone calls or emails. It seems that few people actually honor their word anymore.

Instead of an outgoing message explaining how my call is important and will be returned, I would prefer honesty. How about, "We don't think that you are important enough for us to speak with right now. You can leave a message, but we probably won't bother to call you back. However, we will call you when we need something."

I remain confused as to why I received the email on Tuesday afternoon. The cynic in me now believes that it was simply an attempt to gain more viewership. The optimist in me wants to believe that it was simply a misunderstanding. The truth is probably somewhere in between and will always remain a mystery.

Yesterday I tried to put the incident out of my mind. I blew bubbles with Robby and cleaned my bathrooms. Despite my efforts, I continued to feel deflated and humiliated. I was misled, yet I unintentionally misled my friends and family. I feel bad, but I'm ready to put Tuesday behind me. After all, I have to get ready to give my speech and to "Strut My Stuff" on Saturday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I was apparently cut from the show last night. I'm disappointed of course, but I'm frustrated about the way that I was "handled." I was going to write about this topic in today's blog, but quite honestly I am still too angry. The clip that I was LED to believe was going to be included is under the In the News tab.
Thanks for supporting me by watching the show (even though I was cut).

Delayed Amputation

I was disturbed the first time I heard my amputation referred to as "elective." I considered "elective" surgeries to be primarily cosmetic such as face lifts and breast implants. I had been living and struggling with a foot that was non functional. and I was reliant upon crutches, a walking boot and pain medication for five years. I viewed my amputation as my last treatment option in order to regain a sense of "normalcy" in my life. My amputation was the last resort and, in my opinion, there was nothing "elective" about it in spite of having the luxury of choosing the date and time of my surgery.

I felt an unexpected sense of shame after my amputation, as if I were a failure on some level because I couldn't handle the pain. Logically, I knew that my reasons were valid and that my decision was sound. In some ways I felt that I had to disguise my grief and anguish that I felt over losing my foot because it had been my decision. After all, I went to court to have my leg amputated. It seemed somehow wrong to then grieve.

Last week I came across an article that caused all of the feelings that I experienced preceding my amputation to resurface. The author of the article explored the growing number of post-trauma amputations that are being performed on injured military personnel. Instead of referring to the amputation as "elective" the author coined the term "delayed." I think that is a far better descriptor!

More limbs are being saved during combat than anytime in history. Unfortunately, merely saving a limb does not equate to restoring function or eliminating debilitating pain. Scores of injured soldiers are facing the same decision that faced me 8 years ago. Should a limb with decreased function and a source of pain be kept merely because it is still attached? With prosthetic technology increasing and producing amazing devices, is it a better option to "cut your losses" and rely upon technology instead of flesh and bone? For me, the answer was yes.

On a strange level, I found the article reassuring. I have met other amputees who have been forced to make the decision to amputate, but for me, there always remained an unspoken sense of isolation surrounding the choice. I will no longer refer to my amputation as elective. I had a delayed amputation, and I made the best decision possible considering the circumstances.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White House

Yesterday was a wonderfully exhausting day. By the time we came home from the Egg Roll, all we wanted to do was grab something to eat and go to bed. Robby didn't even try to wrangle an extra cartoon before bedtime!

Since our time slot for the Egg Roll wasn't until 4:30, we didn't feel the need to rush into DC in the morning. We got to the gate about two hours early, but there was little to do except stand in an unshaded line, along with thousands of other eager egg rollers, and wait.

Thankfully the volunteers were well trained and spotted my prosthetic. I, along with Scott and Robby, were ushered out of the long and winding line. With a handful of others with disabilities, we were taken to private, shaded spot outside the White House gate to await our admittance. We were offered cold drinks and were able to rest before the festivities. I don't think I have ever been so grateful to be an amputee!

Since we were moved to the "handicapped" group, we were admitted to the event about ten minutes before the general public. After I saw the stampede of people vaulting through the lines to enter, I realized the logic behind our early entry. Our priority access wasn't as much of a courtesy as it was a matter of public safety. I surely would have been trampled had I been in the path.

Since the event was named the Egg Roll, we thought it was appropriate to participate in that activity first. Robby was among the first egg rollers of our time slot. He took his wooden spoon and said, "Don't worry Momom, I've got this one in the bag." Considering that he had never rolled an egg before, I am not sure where he gained his confidence.

The whistle blew, and all of the other kids started rolling their eggs. Robby calmly bent down, put the spoon under the egg and flung it about five feet in the air to the finish line. He then dropped his spoon and ran after his flying egg. He was thrilled that both he and his cracked egg made it to the finish line before his competitors. He was awarded a poster and a packet of pepper seeds as a prize for winning!

We spent the rest of our time visiting the various stations set up throughout the grounds. Scott tried numerous times to convince Robby to attend the Storytime Theater. Robby refused, instead opting to decorate an egg magnet. Scott attended the story telling session, which I thought was odd. It all made sense when I looked at the pictures when we arrived home. Apparently Geena Davis was doing the reading. Judging the by sheer number of photos, my husband apparently has a crush on her.

I don't think that our day could have been better. Robby Rotten stayed away with the exception of one appearance. Robby threw himself down on the ground and started screaming because we wouldn't let him climb a tree (that happened to be roped off.) Thankfully a uniformed man carrying an automatic rifle walked by and that distracted him from his tantrum.

We ended up leaving about 30 minutes early. Tired and hungry, Robby told us that he either wanted to go inside the White House to take a nap, or he wanted to go home. Since we didn't have Black Bear with us, we decided it was probably best to just go home and ask for a sleep-over another time.

** I would also like to remind those who are interested to watch The Angel Effect tonight on the National Geographic Channel at 10:00 pm. I was filmed for the show!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Fun

I have to admit that yesterday might have been the best Easter ever! Robby is at the perfect age right now-- he accepts the Easter Bunny as true because that is what his Mommy and Daddy told him. He completely and absolutely believes in all things magical. This is such a fun age!

Our Easter Bunny preparations began Saturday afternoon when Robby "discovered" a velvet bag holding magic jelly beans. After reading the secret message to him revealing the fact that the beans will grow into lollipops when when the Easter Bunny hops by, he became nearly uncontrollable with excitement. Saturday evening we went outside and planted the beans.

Going to sleep Saturday night was difficult, but he finally drifted off around 9:30. Unfortunately he was up at 4:30, claiming that he heard a bunny hopping outside. (He also accused the loudly hopping bunny of peeing in the yard.) We convinced him to lie back down, but only when I promised to sleep in his room.

Scott took the opportunity to begin "hopping" around the yard. I have to give him credit. I don't know many men who would venture into the yard in the early dawn hours to plant lollipop trees, lay eggs and hide toys. To make it more difficult, he had to remember where the jelly beans were planted among three different yards. He is an extremely good sport when it comes to creating a magical event for Robby!

Robby was over the moon excited when he discovered the lollipop trees. He carefully "picked" the lollipop flowers, and found nearly all of the eggs that were hidden. (Three are still unaccounted for, but we are fairly certain that they were claimed by our wildlife.) The boys stayed outside playing with a plethora of bubble toys that were left by the wise Easter Bunny.

In the afternoon we went to the Easter Egg hunt at the Animal Park, where he secured a basketful of plastic treasures. We then met my Mom for dinner. I was certain that my tired little bundle of Easter joy would fall asleep on the ride home. I was wrong-- he talked about the lollipop trees and bubbles for the entire drive.

In a lucky twist of fate, our Easter celebration will continue through today. I won what is touted to be one of the most coveted tickets in Washington DC. This afternoon we are going to be attending the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn!

Robby excitement is only exceeded by Scott's and mine. Of course, we are also a tad concerned that fatigue might catch up with our little guy, causing Robby Rotten to emerge. We have been talking to him about behaving properly and the etiquette that is expected. Despite our efforts to prepare him, I'm still worried. I'm hoping that Robby Rotten stays away and that he doesn't have to use the bathroom during the Egg Roll. After all, although I'm not positive, I'm pretty sure it is frowned upon to "pee pee on a tree" on the South Lawn!