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, July 08, 2011

Swim Swim Swim (sort of)

Robby's prized rectangle pool, which he adored and was set up in front of our front door, promptly popped two days after it was inflated and filled. Although I was initially upset, the puncture turned out to be a blessing. Seeing how thrilled Robby was with a 20" wading pool, Scott finally acquiesced and agreed to a larger pool for our little water bug.

After thoroughly researching our options, including a lengthy Facebook discussion, we headed to Toys R Us and bought our summer pool. We now have a 10 foot, 34 inch deep circle pool sitting in the corner of our driveway. Unfortunately we set up the pool without measuring. We blocked the garage door so we now have to park outside.

While our pool isn't completely level we did our best with some old blankets, a piece of his wagon and assorted foam alphabet letters. If I learned anything from my Mom growing up, it was how to improvise in a pinch. Thankfully Robby seems happy to have a shallow and deep end in his circle pool!

Robby is delighted with his "ginormous super deep circle pool." I have to admit that I've been enjoying it as well since I've been dreaming of having our own in ground swimming pool constructed in our backyard.  It is just deep enough for me to float on a raft. Of course, this rarely occurs because as soon as I lie down, Robby decides to hop on, promptly sinking the inflatable.

Yesterday, after riding my bike (to my chagrin my Prosthetist advised me that non-impact exercise will help with the swelling in my stump) I donned my bathing suit and prepared to spend the day poolside. We spent four hours splashing and playing. Scott, opting to stay dry, dutifully acted as our "Cabana Daddy" by bringing us snacks and drinks.

We spent the afternoon playing various versions of the same game, which was chase and hop on Momom. I wasn't wearing my swim leg so I spent the afternoon crab crawling around the circumference of the pool, trying to avoid being splashed and/or ridden. After four hours of crab crawling in the pool, my arms felt so heavy I didn't even want to move them to wash my face. Thankfully Robby seemed content to quietly play with play d'oh for the rest of the evening so I didn't have to move much.

After a brief interruption for travel, my 3S Summer is in full swing. I am refusing to spend any unnecessary time in the car and I am dedicating myself to having fun. Unfortunately we did have to run to the grocery store one time, but it was an emergency. We were out of ice cream!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

No More Travel

I have been dutifully moisturizing my stump in order to treat the chapped skin. Unfortunately the heavy cream has done nothing to remedy the problem. In fact, with each passing day the area has grown bigger and more painful.

After nearly a week of my self-prescribed treatment for my self-diagnosed ailment failing, I finally broke down and called my prosthetist. (My plans for laying in the pool all day were squelched by thunderstorms that we were experiencing all afternoon, so I figured it was probably a good time to go.) I am glad that I decided to make an appointment!

It turns out that I did not have a chapped stump. I had the beginning of a blood blister. Moisturizing, I learned the hard way, provides no medicinal value for treating a blood blister!

We suspect that the blood blister formed as a result of the myriad of road trips I have been taking during the past two weeks. With my leg dangling as I have been sitting in the passenger seat of the car for a seemingly endless number of hours, the blood has been pooling at the bottom of my limb. My stump began to swell, creating a vacuum within my socket. Voila! I unknowingly provided the "perfect storm" for a blood blister.

I've switched to a larger socket and I have reverted to wearing a shrinker sock at night. The area has been marked so that I can monitor if the circumference is increasing or decreasing. For the next few days I am staying at home and boycotting the car- unless of course it involves going for ice cream! I have already told my friends and family that if they want to see me they will need to come here. I am now on the "traveler injured reserve" list.

*Despite the blood blister I have completed two dedicated miles, keeping me on track for my 100 mile challenge.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Funeral Fears

Yesterday was an exhausting day. Scott, Robby and I piled back into our car to travel four hours to a small town in northern Pennsylvania, but this was not a happy excursion: I was going to a funeral.

My stepbrother Christopher was born with cystic fibrosis. He was a tough kid, having survived numerous lung infections and more hospitalizations than anybody can imagine. Our prayers were answered when he received a double lung transplant. He continued to enjoy several active and happy years after his transplant so we were all shocked when he passed away in 2004.

Due to the circumstances around his sudden death, his brain was not buried with his remains during the original funeral. The organ was just released by the forensics experts. Yesterday I attended my first brain funeral.

I didn't know what to expect, and I was apprehensive about attending. I am ashamed to admit that I had a difficult time sleeping the night before the service for fear of an "open jar" viewing. I also knew that attending was the right thing to do, and I felt compelled to be there to honor Christopher and to support my dad and his wife.

The drive to the funeral was uneventful with the exception of the three times we had to stop by the side of the road because Robby had to go. Apparently urinating on the side of the Pennsylvania turnpike is a lot of fun. By the time we arrived at the funeral home, I was frazzled and exhausted.

I was relieved when I realized that his brain was sealed in a closed box. The service was touching and wonderfully appropriate. I put the hydrangea flowers that Robby picked for the occasion on top of the crypt and thanked Christopher for being our guardian angel.

After picking up Robby and Scott at the park (they did not attend the service) we went for a quick lunch. Then we piled back into the car and drove home. Despite being tired and stiff from the trip, I am glad that I attended. I hope that this service has provided a sense of peace for my dad and his wife. Their pain remains so raw, even after nearly seven years.

In the last ten days I have driven more than fifteen hundred miles. Today I can be found lounging poolside with Robby. I will sit in a car only if the trip is less than five miles and involves ice cream!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

100 Miles in 100 Days...

During the past few months I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with my next great adventure. Last year I ran a 5k. I remain proud that with hard work and practice, I accomplished my goal. During the process I also realized how much I detest running. I've proven to myself that I can run a 5k and, to be perfectly honest, I have no desire to put myself through that purgatory again.

I have recently been contacted by an ambassador of the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation about joining them on a new endeavor. After thoroughly researching the organization to make sure that it is both legitimate and something that I feel comfortable lending my name to, I am excited about linking with them on this project.

The Prosthetic Outreach Foundation (POF) is based in Seattle, Washington, but has a global reach. It provides prosthetic devices and training to amputees around the globe whose finances keep them from accessing prosthetic care. The durable and low cost prosthetics provided through POF allow amputees to regain their mobility and contribute to the care of their families and community. Without the prosthetics provided through POF, many of these amputees are destined for a life of hardship and poverty simply because of their limb loss.

Prosthetics technology has grown leaps and bounds during the past decade. The introduction of bionic devices has revolutionized the field. I know that my computerized Proprio foot has changed my life! Prosthetics are becoming more intuitive, comfortable and realistic. It is truly an amazing time to be an amputee- but only if you have financial access to this level of technology.

I am fortunate enough to receive excellent prosthetic care and to utilize a high-end bionic device (Proprio ankle). Almost daily I find myself remarking to somebody about how much my Proprio has improved the quality of my life. When it comes to prosthetic care, I hit the lottery!

I feel compelled to pay it forward and to try to help amputees who are not as lucky. I want to make a real impact by providing prosthetic devices to those without access. I have decided to join Prosthetic Outreach Foundation by walking 100 miles in 100 days.

With each mile I will be reflecting upon the amputees who are not receiving any prosthetic care. I know how happy I was when I received my first prosthetic foot. It felt like I waited forever, but in reality it was only five months after my amputation. Many amputees wait for years, and even decades before they receive their first prosthetic- assuming that they are lucky enough to receive a prosthetic at all!

I will be raising funds through this walk to provide prosthetics for these amputees whom I will never meet. Knowing that my efforts might provide a prosthetic (or perhaps more) for a fellow amputee is humbling. I can't think of a better way to honor my journey so far and to show my gratitude for the prosthetics that I use!

I don't want to do this walk alone. I realize that my readers are spread around the world, but we can unite behind this walk. I encourage you to start your own fundraising page, tell your friends and start your own 100 mile walk. Together, we can start a movement.

I've always been an optimist. I, the AmputeeMommy, want to change the world for struggling amputees. Please consider joining me. Start your page, tell your friends and let's start walking! Together we can make a huge impact.

Monday, July 04, 2011

My Ampu-versary Celebration

Yesterday was my eight year anniversary of my amputation, a date that has been dubbed my Ampu-versary. The date is always bittersweet for me. I try to embrace the day as an opportunity to reflect on how far I have come. Yet, despite my efforts to remain upbeat. my mind often travels back to the day I had my amputation.

I was visiting my Mom in preparation for our family picnic. Yesterday morning I was lying in bed, not wanting to face the day. Although I was trying to remember the positive in my life, at that moment I was missing my foot.

Thankfully the ampu-versary blues were quickly lifted away as the smell of blueberry muffins wafted into my bedroom. Knowing that could be an emotionally draining day, my Mom and Robby got up early to make me muffins. It is impossible for me to feel down when the cutest five year old in the world proudly handed me a warm blueberry muffin that he baked for his "best buddy."

My day was spent in full picnic preparation mode until the guests arrived. At that point I slipped into my swimsuit and prepared for water games with the kids. This Momom/Aunt/Cousin may only have one leg, but I should never be under estimated in a watergun and water balloon battle!

While many of my cousins and family members refused to venture into the water war zone, I fully embraced the battle. I, along with the kids, was fully drenched from the battle. We started with teams, but the kids quickly became confused and simply started throwing balloons and shooting water guns at anything that moved. I learned that it is impossible to run in a swim leg, hence I got hit with a lot of water balloons. After two hours, and over 300 water balloons, a cease fire was called-- the kids wanted more ice cream cake.

Between the water fights and the Slip n' Slide, I didn't have time to reflect on my ampu-versary. I was too busy playing and having fun with all of the kids!

Each year my ampu-versary is becoming easier. I didn't cry and, aside from my morning funk, I didn't feel sad. I am proud of how far I have come in eight years. The absence of constant pain has been liberating. I never envisioned that my life would be so fulfilling and happy after I became an amputee.

Would I rather have my natural uninjured foot? Of course I would, but not if that meant giving up everything that I have accomplished since becoming an amputee. My limb loss has set my life on a different path. I must admit that I am thoroughly enjoying the adventure!