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 06, 2012

My Trainer Needs Some Training?

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Other than my plastic toes, everything was sore. I knew that working with a trainer would push me to my limits; I just wasn't expecting it to be so painful!

It took nearly five minutes of an internal pep talk before I dared move out of bed. I tried to bend down to pick up my liner when my back and hamstrings instantly let me know their presence. I still think of myself as young and spry. Yesterday my body reminded me that I am middle aged and out of shape.

Today I go back to the gym and face my executioner- err.. I mean trainer. So far I have done well holding my tongue, but today I fear that might change. Although I'm not trained in physiology, some of the exercises simply don't make any sense.

For example, my working on calf lifts seems illogical considering that I only have one calf. It is fine to work my existing leg, but why do I have to pretend to do a lift on my prosthetic? Telling me to just "squeeze the muscle" inside my socket just sounds silly and is a waste of time. I don't want to strengthen my calf on my stump. If it grows in girth, my leg will no longer fit!

Most of single leg balance comes from the ankle. I am missing an ankle; hence, my balance is going to be compromised on my prosthetic side. Encouraging me to balance on my prosthetic and lift an 8 pound weight over my head feels like a recipe for disaster. I can clearly envision tipping over and dropping the weight on top of my head, knocking myself out, and breaking my nose as I fall to the ground. I don't want to break my nose.

I have been hesitant to refer to my amputation when asked to perform the exercises. I have never been one to use it as an excuse (unless it meant leaving a party early but that is a subject for a different blog) and I want to be viewed as able bodied whenever possible. However, it is becoming obvious that my trainer needs more guidance from me about adapting at least a few of these exercises. After all, if I don't speak up and continue to try to please the trainer, I fear I could end up in traction.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Strut Your Stuff

April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out the best way for this blog to honor the designation. After much thought, I figured that the best way to commemorate Limb Loss Awareness Month is by staying true to myself and my core beliefs.

While much emphasis has been placed on preventing limb loss, obviously a worthy endeavor, I want to do something to address those who are trying to adjust. Self-acceptance is an issue close to my heart. I will never forget the struggle and the feelings of confusion and isolation that I felt after I became an amputee. I was the only one I knew missing a limb, and I felt alone. Despite its pitfalls, the Internet has done a lot to break down the barriers of isolation by allowing amputees to connect and share experiences.

I started this blog to reach out and perhaps to make the journey a little easier for the new amputee. I am frequently contacted by amputees who are terrified to venture back into their lives because their body has changed. Physically they have healed; emotional scars and body image issues many times take a lot longer.

There are 507 amputations every day in this country. Unfortunately too many amputees feel isolated and scared because they are suddenly physically different than their friends and family. I have been an amputee for nearly 9 years, yet I continue to occasionally feel the frustration of "being the only one" in a group. Sometimes, being different can be downright scary!

Last year I introduced "Strut Your Stuff Day" as an attempt to minimize the feeling of being different. I am asking amputees who feel comfortable (and are able) to make their prosthetics visible during the day. Wear shorts, forgo the cosmetic cover, and hold your head up high.

Yes, there will be stares--it's human nature to look at anything out of the norm. But perhaps knowing that amputees around the country are making the same gesture at the same time will help buffer the anxiety that garnering attention can bring. I'd like to invite you to join me on April 28th (the last Saturday in April) for our second annual "Strut Your Stuff Day."

Join us on Facebook, twitter #strutyourstuff or through this blog and let us know how you are going to Strut on the 28th. AmputeeMommy ribbon gear is available through www.cafepress.com/amputeemommy

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Our Fire Pit.

The idea of congregating around an open fire on cool evening while roasting marshmallows and hot dogs has been appealing since we moved into this house. I have had the location picked in my mind, but I had been hesitant to bring it up for fear of being disappointed. I was convinced that Scott would not be supportive of a fire pit, and the upkeep and maintenance would fall onto me. Flipping through the ads a few weeks ago, I casually mentioned to Scott that I would like to have a fire pit. To my delight, and shock, he had the same notion and has wanted one for years! Apparently, we experienced a failure to communicate (for the past 7 years).

We grabbed our 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon, piled into the SUV and drove straightaway to pick up our coveted fire pit. Robby, of course, was over the moon excited with the prospect of roasting marshmallows and hot dogs around a "real outdoor fire- like the pioneers did." My boys wasted no time putting it together and, working together, the promised 10 minute assembly time was stretched to 90 minutes.

The entire neighborhood showed up for our inaugural pit lighting. Robby was delighted to play host, offering our neighbors marshmallows and graham crackers for S'mores and constantly asking if they were enjoying his S'more party. It was nice sitting around the fire, chatting and roasting marshmallows with our neighbors. In many ways it was precisely what I had envisioned.

Since our first S'more party, our fire pit has become an evening attraction on our street. After dinner Robby and I head outside and gather sticks (thankfully living in the woods provides us with a seemingly endless supply of kindling). Breaking the sticks against my carbon fiber socket is a breeze and, within 30 minutes we accumulate a large pile of wood for the night. As soon as the fire is lit, our neighbors slowly find their way to our house.

Few things actually materialize as they are envisioned. I can say that our fire pit has exceeded all of my expectations bringing not only family time but also neighborly camaraderie and warmth. I'm so glad that I finally broke down and confessed to wanting a fire pit!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

NYC- Through Robby's Eyes

Robby absolutely adored New York City. He seemed to thrive from the energy pulsating from the crowds, the lights, and the sounds. I was afraid that he would be over-stimulated. It turns out that he is perhaps the perfect age for this first time exposure.

I loved seeing the city through his eyes. Where I saw crowds and potential dangers, he saw only interesting outfits and unusual people. I wanted him to keep his hands and body off the ground and floor, but he was amazed by the "diamonds covering the ground." In reality he was seeing broken glass and bits of aluminum from cigarette boxes and hot dog wrappers. I like his perspective better.

The Toys R Us store in Times Square allowed all three of us to become kids. Scott happily munched on an ice cream bar while Robby and I rode the giant Ferris wheel. We were "attacked" by the robotic dinosaur and escaped in time to have our photo snapped. I'm not sure who was smiling the most when we left the store, but I suspect that we each left with our own favorite memory.

After seeing the video a few more times, it was time for us to pack our bags and head to the train station. Robby led the way, stopping only to watch his favorite new performer--The Naked Cowboy. (In case you don't know, the Naked Cowboy is a famous street performer from NYC. He stands in the street, wearing nothing but cowboy boots, a hat, his guitar and form fitting white underpants.) Truth is, we both enjoyed watching him perform, but I suspect our reasons were very different.

Sitting in the train station, Robby managed to locate and befriend an amputee bird. He was mesmerized by the pigeon, proudly informing anybody who happened to look in his direction that "this birdy has only one leg like my Momom." We ended up spending $4 to buy the one-legged bird a pretzel because Robby was becoming frantic fretting that his feathered friend was hungry.

Last night, tucking Robby into bed he began to tell me about his favorite things from New York. According to him, the streets are covered with diamonds, you can eat hot dogs for breakfast, and every little cart sells pretzels. He was chased by a dinosaur and got a helicopter toy as a prize for getting away safely. He saw a naked cowboy singing, a dancing unicorn (drunk/high street performer wearing an odd hat), and was scared by a statue who turned out to be a person. There was a light show going on all the time, and the yellow taxi cabs beep and don't stop. Not all of the birds have both feet but they all seemed happy.

No mention of seeing himself on the Jumbotron. It's a good thing that we took a lot of pictures. He may need to be reminded of the purpose for the trip--someday. For now, having him experience the city as a child is enough.

Monday, April 02, 2012

New York City!

Greetings from New York City! Scott, Robby and I are currently in a high rise hotel in the heart of Times Square- courtesy of my Dad (Thanks, Dad). We have been soaking up every moment and having a fantastic time. Robby is in absolute awe of the city. So far he is most impressed by the Naked Cowboy whom we passed walking to our hotel.

Once I learned that the PSA that I filmed for the Amputee Coalition would be streaming in Times Square during the month of April, there was no doubt that we were going to be taking a mini-vacation. Having Robby and my images streaming on such a unique and public platform is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I just had to see it in person!

Our hotel is directly across from the JumboTron in Duffy Square that is airing our video. Scott and I were both like little kids on Christmas morning when we saw it play for the first time. I have to admit that I actually squealed with delight, and Scott's hands were shaking due to excitement so we missed the first opportunity to film. Robby was busy fretting about a dead pigeon he saw in the road. He is unimpressed with seeing his image on the screen.

I can't wait to write more about our big NYC adventures, but right now I want to get off the computer and back into the excitement of the city. Look for me this morning on ABC- I'll be standing outside the Good Morning America studio proudly wearing my AmputeeMommy ribbon shirt.