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 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Scott

Seven years ago this morning I woke up in a bungalow on the tropical island of Anguilla. My mom was with me, as were the three stray beach dogs she happily invited into our room. I remember waking up with a sense of panic. Although we had a lengthy To Do list, I felt like I was dreaming. I was getting married!

After a quick breakfast, we headed to the spa for an afternoon of primping and relaxation. I had a massage on the terrace of the hotel, overlooking the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. As much as I tried to be in the moment and to absorb every detail, all I really remember was being scared.

My mom and I both got our nails manicured and our hair styled. (I learned that getting a manicure at the beach is a waste of money, the paint began to chip away before the ceremony!) My hair was styled in braids which was perfect for my tropical wedding. My mom, as usual, looked beautiful.

We had sandwiches and lemonade delivered to our room when we returned from the spa. I didn't calm down until my Dad showed up with bottles of champagne. Somehow he knew exactly what I needed!

Scott and I were married on the beach at sunset. With a steel drum band playing quietly in the background, our family dined on lobster and steak. It was a lovely evening. For many, it would have been a fantasy wedding.

Unfortunately, it was not my dream wedding. In retrospect, I think I opted for a destination wedding because of my amputation insecurities. I simply didn't feel comfortable or confident enough to walk down an aisle filled with people. Instead, I chose to avoid being seen and escaped to the Caribbean.

I felt overweight, ugly and deformed when I got married. I was just beginning to work through the body image issues that arose following my amputation. I was too ashamed to admit how I was feeling, so I smiled and pretended to enjoy the day.

My wedding pictures make me sad because I remember the pain that I was feeling. I was so insecure, so scared about living as an amputee. I have come a long way in seven years!

Now that I am more confident and secure, I wish that I could have a traditional wedding experience. Unlike seven years ago, I would now have no qualms about sauntering down the aisle with everybody's eyes fixed on me. I might even don a sexy wedding dress!

Getting remarried is high on my bucket list. Someday Scott and I will renew our vows, and I will feel like a confident and beautiful bride. Until then, I'll continue to watch "Say Yes to the Dress" and dream.

Happy Anniversary, Scott. I love you. We've been through hell and back and stand stronger than most realize.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Mom-cation

I have been spending the past few days on a vacation. I packed up Robby, threw some clothes in a bag and headed for respite, relaxation and fun in the sun. No, we didn't go to a beach or a popular tourist destination. I went to visit my mom.

Nothing is more relaxing for me than a visit with my mom. Robby is so comfortable at her house that it has become his second home. She dotes on him and seems always to have his favorite treat, cookie dough, in the refrigerator when we visit. She never complains about the hours she spends pushing him on the swing. I'm thankful for those hours because I get to relax and have some much needed "mommy down time."

In the evenings, we put on our swimming suits and head to the pool. Mom doesn't have a pool, but she does have the next best thing. She has a friend who has a fantastic pool!

Our little pool at home looks like a raindrop compared to "Nana's friend's pool." It is nice to be able to stand fully erect and have the water reach higher than my thighs! Robby has been so involved with swimming and splashing that he hasn't been jumping all over me to play "Angry Chicken." I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to relax in a pool without having a five year old pulling and pushing on me. It's not that I don't enjoy playing with him, but sometimes it is nice for "Momom Chicken" to chill out and rest on a raft!

I cannot possibly convey how good my limb feels in the water. Suspended in the water, the "disability" of my amputation evaporates. I am completely free of the stinging, stabbing or knotting sensations that frequently occur throughout the day. While I'm lucky that these sensation are not debilitating, they are a nuisance and bothersome. In the water, my leg feels light and normal. I wish I had a larger pool. I would love to feel "normal" more often!

After a few days visiting with my Mom, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the world. Or, at least to tackle my house, which I'm sure has been turned into a bachelor pad in my absence. I've enjoyed my vacation from dishes, laundry, cooking and cleaning. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Thanks Mom, for letting me unwind and relax. You still know exactly what I need!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Feel Old

The past few mornings I have been waking up feeling old. All of my bones hurt and, while it hasn't been difficult to move, the discomfort has made for a miserable way to start the day. Ironically, the only part of me that didn't hurt was my stump.

I am not sure why my body has been hurting. My exercise routine, although increased slightly, has not dramatically changed. I've been eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. There is no reason for me to wake up feeling like an old woman.

I suspect that part of the problem lies with my inability to sleep at night. I wake up with my jaw clenched so tightly that it difficult to open my mouth. Unbeknownst to me, I might be clenching my other muscles when I'm sleeping, causing the pain when I wake up.

There is no one reason for me to be feeling so stressed at night. Unfortunately, the cause of the anxiety is most likely caused by pituitary tumors that were discovered nearly two years ago. The growths are too dangerous to remove without cause. The fact that they are benign and not impacting my day to day life means that they will stay in place.

I'm glad that I won't be having the surgery near my brain, but I hate that I have to just "live with" the growths. The feelings of anxiety that they cause are real and create physical consequences because the growths impact other endocrine systems. I think it is time for me to return to the doctor to discuss changing my medication. I hate not being able to sleep and I resent feeling like I should be waking up in a nursing home!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Civil War and Costumes

Robby and I ventured into the hot weather only once during the past weekend. Mr. Bill thought that the Civil War reenactment camp would be a perfect location to sell his cannon ball remnants. Saturday afternoon we piled into the car and headed back in time to visit the Civil War at the Battle of Bull Run/Battle of Manassas.

Luckily I have a handicapped tag which saved us the hassle of parking three miles away and paying the $20 bus fare. We were able to park directly in front of the festivities. Typically I feel bad taking advantage of the "perks" afforded to individuals with disabilities. With the heat index in the 120s, I have to admit that I didn't feel even a twinge of guilt! I happily parked, hung my tag and smiled as we walked the 20 feet to the entrance.

Robby and I began to explore the grounds. He was enthralled by the soldiers in their uniforms. Actually, he was more interested in the swords and guns that were being toted by the soldiers.

Finally Robby got his courage to go up and talk to a participant. The man was generous with his time and attention. He even dressed Robby in a spare uniform to pose for a picture.

Once Robby realized that he was allowed to try on costumes, it was game on. We went to every tent in the compound, introducing ourselves and posing for photos. Robby was in his element with the reenactors, and was certainly charming. One man even let him assist with the firing of a cannon! I am beginning to suspect that between his enthusiasm in front of the camera and his propensity for wearing costumes, I might have a budding theater major on my hands!

I enjoyed speaking with the reenactors. I was most surprised at the efforts these men (and a few women) go through to maintain authenticity. One gentleman was seated for the picture with Robby. It turns out that his foot was stomped by a horse earlier in the day, but he refused to go to the hospital because, although he knew it was broken, he didn't want a cast on his foot. Casts, he informed me, were not authentic.

Quite a few of the reenactors felt compelled to discuss Civil War amputations with me. I really didn't want to hear the gruesome details that they were sharing, but not wanting to appear rude, I listened. One man proudly declared that he will become an amputee during the Battle of Antietam. I really didn't know how to respond to this, so I just smiled and suggested he read www.amputeemommy.com should he need help adjusting.

I still don't understand the desire to reenact the Civil War, but I respect that these individuals obviously love what they are doing. Only a strong passion would drive somebody to wear 20 pounds of wool in 100+ degree weather while refusing medical care for a broken foot all in the name of remaining authentic to time period. Obviously I lack that level of commitment, but I'm glad that we had the experience (and Mr. Bill sold a lot of cannon balls!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hot Weather Surprise

To quote my Nan (maternal grandmother), the temperatures this past weekend have been both sweltering and putrid. With temperature advisories in effect and with poor air quality readings, all meteorologists seemed to be issuing the same advice: If you don't have to go outside, stay indoors and stay hydrated.

In our area, electricity is billed at 2.5x the normal rate when "electric emergencies" are declared. Whenever an emergency is declared I become an electricity warden, unplugging everything and banning the use of the plasma TV. In an attempt to keep our electric bill in check, I turned the house temperature up to 84 degrees and fled to the basement with Robby in tow.

Thankfully, Robby didn't seem overly interested in braving the scorching temperatures to play outside and was content playing quietly with Charlie and playing his new favorite game--darts. He spent hours sitting on our basement floor throwing darts at the dartboard. Since he only sat two feet away, he seldom missed.

I was in a rare situation. My services as a playmate, maid, short order cook or family organizer were not needed. I had time to myself! I grabbed my Nook, poured a large glass of iced tea and sat in the coolest area of the house.

I read about all of my friends' temperature-imposed misery on Facebook and Twitter. I have to admit that I had a great weekend. I spent the afternoons reading and working on a book idea.

Instead of cursing the hot temperatures, I would like to thank the rising mercury and poor air quality. Because of the heat, I had no expectations of completing any "mom" work, and my little outdoor adventurer was not inclined to go outside. Everybody else was suffering, but I was on a Momom vacation!