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, June 10, 2011

Love My Leg!!

Yesterday Robby and I took yet another trip to visit my prosthetist. Elliot (my prosthetist) felt that a new socket might help minimize the pain that I've been feeling, buying both time and comfort until I can get the surgery approved and completed. I have been hesitant about a new socket fixing a problem that is obviously physical, but lacking any other solutions, I decided to try.

I am so glad that I trusted him. I slipped into the new socket and instantly noticed something was different. A few more steps and I realized that I wasn't feeling any pain!

The discomfort I have been experiencing has been draining both emotionally and physically. I haven't been as active simply because each step caused pain. I've been trying to remain upbeat, but the prospect of another surgery has really been difficult for me to accept. Slipping into the new leg, everything changed. I am shocked at how much better I am feeling simply because of a new socket.

In retrospect, my leg has probably been ill-fitting for awhile. I suspect that it happened gradually and that I simply began to adjust. With time, my leg became more inappropriate until using it became painful.

We are optimistic that the new socket will allow me to delay the revision surgery. This means that my plans for a fun summer are back on track and that there will be nothing stopping me! I feel as if I am walking with an extra spring in my step, and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Sleep Dreams

I am being teased by the sandman who is providing me just enough sleep to function but not to feel rested. I can't remember the last time I slept for more than two hours without waking up, and I am beginning to doubt that I will ever experience that luxury again. I really miss sleeping!

Lately it feels like my thoughts and worries begin racing as soon as my head hits the pillow. I can have a wonderfully happy day, but for some reason when I lie down, I start to perseverate and worry. I realize much of my nightly worry list is full of things beyond my ability to control, but knowing this doesn't seem to help put the fears out of my mind. I never used to be a worrier. I suppose it comes with either being a mother or with getting older (or perhaps both).

My leg has not been cooperating with my quest for sleep. My limb has been taking a beating during the past few weeks. Between the skin flap failure, the bone spur/bursa and the ill-fitting socket, the pain is only increasing. I feel the pain the most at night after I remove my prosthetic. Let me just repeat that there is absolutely nothing phantom about phantom pain!

When my mind and leg finally settle, I confront another obstacle. Unfortunately, Scott's snoring has increased in both frequency and decibel during the past months. I am often forced out of our room because of the sounds of a rumbling train emanating from my sweet husband. We have tried a myriad of snore remedies, but nothing has made an impact.

I silently curse every time I have to don my liner and leg in the middle of the night. By the time I am able to sneak away to another bed, I am fully awake because of the extra steps my prosthetic requires. My middle of the night escapes also seem to awake the phantom pain which I had just quieted!

I am anxiously awaiting the end of June when Scott's summer vacation starts. I am looking forward to having my residual limb fixed which will hopefully eliminate the pain. As a bonus, because he won't have to get up to go to work, I can make him be the person to change beds when Steamboat Scotty starts to snore. Then if I could only figure out a way to stop worrying, I just might be able to sleep.

Until then, I will continue to survive on a steady stream of coffee and iced tea!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Unfortunate Observations

Robby is typically a sweet little boy. He habitually demonstrates a sensitivity and acceptance of others that makes me swell with pride, and he willingly volunteers to stand up to defend and offers to help those in need of assistance. Scott and I have always been proud of his accepting and loving nature.

Yesterday was not one of those occasions. Sitting in my prosthetist's office, I found myself in a rare situation when I was utterly mortified by the actions of my son. If it had been possible, and if the staff hadn't known better, I may have passed off Robby as my nephew because I was too embarrassed to claim him as my child!

After signing in for my appointment, Robby and I took seats in the waiting area. For a while he was happy looking at magazines and chatting. Everything changed when another patient entered.

Reading the look on my little boy's face, I could tell that he was shocked. No, this lady did not have an amputation. Missing limbs, prosthetics, crutches and wheelchairs do not phase Robby. This patient was obese, and Robby was enthralled.

I tried to redirect his attention, but his gaze was fixed on this lady's midsection. Trying to divert an awkward situation, I invited Robby for a walk. He declined and continued to stare. I didn't realize that staring would be the most benign of his actions!

With the waiting room quiet, I heard "Psst... Psst... Momom. I want to tell you something" in a not so quiet whisper. I realized what he was going to say, so I replied with a curt "Robby, you need to be quiet or we are going to leave."

"Psst...Psst.. Momom. I just want you to look at her belly fat. She is as big as the biggest tire."

I felt all of the blood rush from my face. My heart broke because I knew that this lady heard Robby's remarks and that she must have been humiliated. I grabbed Robby by the arm and began to direct him out of the office. Unfortunately he kept whispering in a not-so-hushed tone.

"Momom... She is shaped like a football. Did you see her jiggle? Her belly is full of jelly." I put my hand over his mouth and rushed out the door considering putting him into the car, skipping my appointment and driving home!

Robby was read the riot act outside my prosthetist's office. I scolded his words and remarks, informing him that talking about the appearance of others simply hurts feelings. I reminded him how my feelings are hurt when people make fun of my leg and how it makes me sad when people stare.

Upon reentering the office, Robby promptly apologized to the lady. She nodded but refused to speak. I don't blame her, I could tell that she felt humiliated by my little boy's insensitive remarks.

I, along with Scott, spoke with Robby again last night about his comments. It became obvious that Robby did not mean to hurt the lady's feelings, and I believe he was truly surprised by her girth and became fascinated by what he saw. He is typically so accepting of others, I remain shocked that he didn't realize that his "observations" could hurt her feelings.

Robby was both shamed and lectured because of his actions. Yesterday was certainly not my best Mommy moment! It is a horrible feeling to be embarrassed by the words of your own child.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

She Rides Again

Nearly every morning for at least the past four years, I have put on my padded riding shorts and headed into the musty abyss of my downstairs rec room. I put on the television, fire up the computer and step onto my bike. I've learned to always keep the phone handy because, regardless of the fact that I ride every day at about the same time, it never fails that Scott or my sister will call.

When I started riding I was able to complete only half of a mile before becoming winded and sweaty. I can now ride 35 to 40 miles in one stretch. Now I am limited by the patience of my little boy versus my strength and stamina.

Despite the fact that I can pedal for hours on my virtual simulator, I have been hesitant about riding my bike outside. Okay, hesitant is probably not being totally honest. I've been downright terrified! I find my fear frustrating because I was never scared before my amputation. Although I'm perfectly comfortable with most activities, using a prosthetic on a bike makes me feel unsafe.

In a moment of bravery and in an attempt to break down my own fears, a few years ago I took my bike off its stand and went out for a ride. Scott dutifully took videos and I proudly proclaimed my "victory" in a blog. What I didn't write, and what most of my readers don't realize, is that my bike promptly went back onto the trainer stand and has not seen the pavement since.

I became embarrassed by my bike riding anxiety. The fear of falling and breaking one (or several) bones became paralyzing. I had a lot of excuses, but no motivation to take my bike off the stand and conquer the road.

This year, I have found my motivation. Robby loves riding his CARS bike through the neighborhood. It occurred to me that it would be easier and more fun to ride with him instead of jogging behind him. Apparently my hatred of running is greater than my fear of riding a bike!

On Sunday my Mom came down to visit because she had a surprise for me. She bought me another bicycle. My reason for avoiding biking outside ( my bike being on the trainer and too difficult to disconnect) was swiftly eliminated. I had the motivation, and she removed my excuse.

Robby was so excited when he saw Momom's pink and purple bicycle. He pleaded with me to get on and go for a ride. I knew I wasn't going to be able to avoid my fear any longer. He gave me a kiss and then pushed me in the bum to get moving. I pedaled and, to my delight, I didn't fall!

Yesterday morning Robby began asking to go for a bike ride with me at 6:30 am. I convinced him that we weren't allowed to ride until at least 9:00. At about 9:30 Robby and I headed outside for our first ride. (I have to admit that I tucked my insurance card into my pocket and kissed my cat Sophie goodbye- just in case.)

We went for two rides yesterday, each one becoming easier and less angst filled. Robby seems to love riding his bike with me. He proudly told three neighbors, the mail lady and the neighbor's air conditioner repairman that "Momom is riding a bicycle with me and we haven't fallen on our heads yet."

It's strange how, for a few brief moments, our roles were reversed. Robby became my biggest cheerleader, encouraging me to conquer my fears and reassuring me that I was going to be okay. He was so sweet as he kept repeating, "You're doing good Momom. Just keep pedaling like this (envision him pedaling). Don't forget to use your brake and steer away from the sticks and nuts on the road." Apparently he does listen to me because I'm fairly confident those were the same instructions I offered a few weeks ago as he was learning to ride.

I am not yet over my fear completely, but I know that I'm making progress. I'm going to get comfortable riding again. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, my fear will be a memory!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Action...again and again and again

Saturday morning Robby woke me before the sun rose. I knew that any attempt to put him back to bed would be in vain. Instead, we sneaked out to the living room and watched SpongeBob until I had enough coffee in my system to function.

Robby was excited about the "people with cameras" coming to our house. Ever since he saw the Proprio foot brochure that features the photographs taken in California, he seems to have a deeper understanding of why people are taking our pictures. All morning he practiced smiling and posing in anticipation of our film crew guests.

I, on the other hand, was more nervous than excited. I tried to stay focused as much as possible, to fully absorb the experience without tainting it with my own fear, insecurities and anxieties. I didn't faint, so I consider my attempts at staying calm successful!

The crew was both nice and professional and had a clear vision of exactly what they wanted. After brief introductions, we immediately went to work.

In the quest for an "urban/ casual shopping trip" clip, I grabbed my assorted outfits and headed to our local strip mall. Luckily the recession has closed half of the shops, allowing for a relatively uninterrupted access to the area. Robby was handed a blue ball to bounce, and we were instructed to walk.

We walked the same path in on that sidewalk for nearly 90 minutes. Robby was an absolutely trooper. He complained to me as we "casually strolled" again (and again) but he never stopped working. He looked past the cameras and followed the directors instructions to the letter, making sure to bounce the ball precisely ten times on each trip. I couldn't have been prouder of his behavior!

After the shopping center shoot wrapped, we ate a quick lunch and started back to work. We spent the afternoon at the stream at our favorite park. Robby was so busy climbing, exploring and looking for salamanders that he was oblivious to the fact that we were being filmed.

I, wearing sandals with an inch and a half heel, was acutely aware of the film crew. There was nothing natural, nor graceful, about me trying to traverse rocks and a stream in heels, tight clothes and full make-up. It wasn't until I slipped and nearly dropped Robby in the stream that they asked me to change my shoe into a lower, more realistic heel.

Both Robby and I were exhausted by the time we arrived home. Having been on my feet all day, all I wanted to do was take off my leg and relax. I had no ambition to make dinner, and I think that we were both too tired to eat much anyway. We each had a bowl of ice cream and a brownie and went to bed. Not nutritious, but I think it was well-deserved!

The filming took the entire day but everybody seemed pleased with the footage and photos, and I have a good feeling about the interview portion! I was told that the video will be released sometime in December, and I will be sure to post a link on this blog and my website. Now to return to normal life- and maybe a few days of doing nothing!

<------- The Icelandic film crew!