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, March 30, 2012

I Won't Quit

Yesterday I completed my first full work-out with my trainer. The good news--I survived. The bad news--I didn't think it was possible to be this sore. My arms were worked to such a state of exhaustion that I struggled for 10 minutes to take off my sports bra at the end of my session because I could no longer lift my arms over my head! I knew that my upper body was weak. I didn't realize that it bordered on pathetic

After my work-out, I was pulled into the office to review the results of my fitness evaluation. I knew that the news was not going to be good when my trainer grabbed a box of tissues before sitting down next to me. As he began to gently deliver the dreaded news, I almost felt bad for him. He was struggling to remain upbeat, but let's face it: it's hard to put a positive spin on terms like "dangerous muscle deficit" and "inadequate core muscle development."

As he was dutifully reviewing the multi-page report I finally felt compelled to add my two cents. I explained that, while I realize my weight is higher than it should be, I also am not going to beat myself up about it. I know where I was, and I know where I am going to be. Right now I am simply on a continuum towards a healthier and stronger body.

I am being proactive, and I am actively working towards my goal. While I realize that he has to collect numbers and develop graphs, I do not find them useful. I want to feel better, not look better on a graph. I think he was expecting me to break down sobbing because he seemed surprised by my candor! I took the report and stuffed it into the Thomas the Train backpack/ gym bag.

Right now parts of my body are hurting that I did not realize contained pain receptors. Scott had to wash my hair for me last night because it was too painful for me to do myself. My stump has been so angry and has been kicking violently at night. I feel like I should audition to be a Rockette.

I am scheduled to go back to the gym on Tuesday, and by the way I am feeling right now, I am not looking forward to it. But I am going to go, and I will continue to give 110%. This is the first thing in a long time that I am doing just for me. I want to be stronger, fitter, and healthier. I am going to do this, and I know it will get easier. Even if it doesn't get easier, quitting is not an option.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Awareness Video

A few weeks ago Robby and I drove to DC to film of a Public Service Announcement for the Amputee Coalition. I was nervous, excited, and honored to have been asked to be participate in such an important endeavor. The fact that the PSA is scheduled to be streamed in New York City on the Jumbotron is overwhelming.

The truth is, I find it completely humbling that my image will be shown on such a public platform. I fretted and fussed as I tried to ready myself for the filming. I lost a lot of sleep as I worried about looking well-rested and attractive for this filming!

So many times our culture portrays amputees in a derogatory fashion. Often we are depicted as unhappy and morose drains on society. People often fear losing a limb with the same intensity that they fear dying. It is time we work towards changing these perceptions.

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a realistic example of life with limb loss. While I would prefer to have all of my limbs, I have evolved into a happy, successful, involved individual who not only exists but fully participates in life. I am the normal amputee, somebody who is living a full life and happens to be missing a part of my body. Although the amputation will always be part of me, I do not define myself by my limb loss.

Being a woman with body image issues, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be completely satisfied with my appearance. Despite my personal critique of my appearance, I am delighted to be able to share this video. I am proud to have been a part of this project.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spaghetti Arms...

The brevity of this blog is not because I don't have anything to say. I had my first session with my trainer yesterday, and I find that my arms are virtually useless at the moment. It feels like weights are tied to both wrists, rendering even the slightest movement labor intensive.

During the body assessment, it was determined that my lower body is strong and my upper body is weak. I could have saved a lot of time and sweat by telling them that myself. Even though I completed only an abbreviated work-out, I can definitely feel the effects of the exercises. I'm now having nightmares about Thursday--the date of my first full work-out.

I have never belonged to a gym before so, true to form, I fretted about what to bring. Now that I have been to the facility, I have a better understanding of what to put inside my gym bag. Actually, I need to get a gym bag first. I felt a little uncomfortable walking into the facility carrying a bulging Thomas the Train backpack. Sitting on the bench next to the Adidas and Nike bags, it wasn't hard to pick the fitness rookie. So much for fitting in!

I thought I packed the "good" towel (good meaning that it doesn't have stains or tears, not that it is particularly soft). It wasn't until I went to wipe down the elliptical machine that I realized I had actually grabbed Robby's red fireman hoodie towel. I discretely tried to wipe down the machine with the fireman's helmet.

I kept smiling, but I have to admit it's difficult to feign confidence and poise when I am red faced with limp and dangling arms, huffing and puffing, and sweating profusely while trying to discretely cram items into a cartoon backpack turned makeshift gym bag. I go back for my second session today. I had wanted to go shopping for a gym bag, but not being able to use my arms put a kink in those plans.

I was nervous when I walked into the gym because it was my first time. Now I'll be nervous because I have an idea of what to expect! Despite my first-time jitters and my paltry upper body strength, I remain excited to make this change. I only have 26 more sessions. I can do this, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fitness Begins

A few weeks ago as I was digging through my closet trying to find a short sleeve shirt without stains, it occurred to me that summer will be here before I know it. I'm excited about having Robby and Scott home all day, splashing around in the pool, and spending lazy days playing and relaxing. Unfortunately one glaring commitment stands between me and my summer vacation: the triathlon.

Bowing to pressure from my boss, I signed up to participate in a mini-triathlon on June 24th. This event, comprised of running a 5k, swimming .6 mile in a lake and biking 15 miles, has been looming in the recesses of my mind. I know that I needed to aggressively train if I wanted a reasonable chance at completing the event without injury and with a respectable time. Training for the triathlon has been occupying a permanent place on my "to do" list and, while items above and below this entry have been crossed off and replaced numerous times, I haven't made a dent towards this task.

In a moment of pure panic, I texted Scott at work and asked him to meet me at a local gym for a tour. I resolved that I was going to join the gym and start training for my Tri. I was psyched and quite proud of myself for taking the first step!

Hand in hand with Scott and Robby, we comfortably strutted into the mammoth fitness facility, eager to sign up and begin my training. My ease lasted for about the first 5 steps. As the tour proceeded, my anxiety began to increase. By the end of our facility tour, it took all my effort to keep from running in the opposite direction with my arms flailing frantically in the air.

I couldn't figure out what made me so nervous, and why I was so uncomfortable. The facility was state-of-the art, bursting with shiny (and slightly odoriferous) machines designed to work muscles I didn't know existed. After I had time to decompress I realized why I was so uneasy at the gym. The tour guide, in her quest to sell the facility, went out of her way to point out the handicapped accessible options at every opportunity.

It was touted that an individual could maneuver his wheelchair up and use the hand cycle during the spin class. The weight benches could be raised, depending upon the height of the wheelchair. The pool had a chair lift and ramps could be utilized during the step aerobics classes. On some level, her pointing out these features both offended me and made me feel self-conscious about being an amputee. I hate feeling that way!

With the large facility out of the running and my training clock ticking, I decided to take a drastic step. I have joined a private fitness facility where my trainer and I will be the only two in the gym during my work-outs. Knowing that I won't be watched has alleviated so many of my fears about training in public. I am delighted that I won't have an audience and that I will be guided by a trainer through my work-outs.

Today I go for my first training session. I'm nervous but excited at the same time. I have no doubt that I will be pushed to levels that I don't go to on my own, and that I will work muscle groups that have long been ignored. I expect to be exhausted and sore for the next few days, but I think that this is a necessary step in order to achieve my goal. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Bickering Boys

I had a great time in Atlanta, but I have to admit that I'm happy to be home. A few nights away and I found myself missing Robby and Scott. I suspect I am a bit of a homebody because I never like to be away from my environment for too long.

I'm not sure who was happier to see me at the airport, Robby or Scott. Robby came running up to me from across the baggage claim terminal, frantically waving a bouquet of flowers. He jumped into my arms and immediately began to smother me with kisses. Scott followed in tow, looking exhausted and muttering something like "I'm glad you're home. He's all yours."

While I was standing in a conference exhibition hall talking with customers and enjoying my foray into the professional arena, Scott was contending with Robby Rotten. Apparently he was needy, grumpy and had an exceedingly short attention span. Hearing the recap of their time together, I was left with the impression that with the exception of eating "man food" from the gas station for each dinner and playing in the stream every afternoon, little made Robby happy. Apparently Robby gave his Daddy a run for his money!

Saturday night I curled up with Robby, and we watched a movie and munched on popcorn. Scott hung out in his computer room/ man cave, taking respite from parental responsibility. He filled me in on every detail of the past few days, and showered me with, "I missed you, Momom." He might have been Robby Rotten for his Daddy, but he turned into my little cuddle bug when I came home.

The two boys were scrapping all Sunday morning, and I thought that they needed to be separated for awhile. Perhaps they both had too much "bonding" time. I packed up Robby and took him to a matinee of The Lorax.

We both loved the movie, and had a great Momom/ Robby date. However, when we came back I needed to get to work. I had a lengthy list of projects that needed my attention for work. When I wasn't busy writing, I was trying to get caught up on the housework. Between unpacking, finishing the laundry, picking up after the bachelors while I was gone, and listening to both Scott and Robby complain, I was exhausted by Sunday night.

This morning after dropping Robby off at school, I'm coming home and pouring myself a large mug of coffee. I'm going to curl up on the couch, take off my leg and read a book. I am not going to work, clean, or listen to any bickering After all, between the Atlanta trip and listening to my 46 and 5 year old boys, I'm seriously considering running away from home!