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 27, 2012

Negative Thoughts...

For four months I have been dedicated to getting healthier and stronger. Although the scale has been rather stagnant lately, I've dropped another size in both pants and shirts.  Despite not seeing a large fluctuation in my weight, I can't deny that I am getting smaller and stronger.

With limb pain and with obligations coming from both family and work, I've managed to carve out time in my schedule for the gym. Creating time to sweat has been a priority this summer even though it means I have to get up and start working on reports at 5 AM. Despite ample opportunities and excuses to quit, I haven't stopped.

Being a Mom, it is difficult for me to prioritize myself. I'm so used to doing things for everybody else that I feel guilty doing something for me. I should be proud of myself!

Instead of feeling pride when I'm at the gym, I realized that I do nothing but beat myself up. My internal dialog is toxic as messages of failure and inadequacy flood my thoughts. It's amazing I go to the gym at all with how much hate I spew towards myself when working-out!

While powering through a sweaty difficult work-out, instead of feeling proud of my accomplishment and patting myself on the back, my thoughts surge with destructive thoughts. "You're so weak. You're fat. You're ugly. You're a failure." These negative mantras repeat on a loop almost from the time I enter the gym until I leave to go home.

I'm not sure why that during the only time I dedicate to myself, I flood myself with such negative energy. Instead of thinking motivational thoughts, I lash myself with self-deprecating thoughts. It is particularly strange because I don't feel badly about myself. I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far and, although I'd like to be thinner, I know that this is a journey and that if I stick with it, I'll achieve great goals.

Recognizing the problem is the first step towards resolution. Now that I realize how toxic my thoughts are while working out, I'm going to make a conscious decision to change the way I think. Every time a negative thought flits into my mind I'm going to stop the work out and give myself a compliment. I'm hoping that, by being aware of my thoughts, I can change the way I think!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tracker Jackers Strike Back

Yesterday morning I woke up after the sunrise, a rarity for me lately! The air was fresh smelling and there wasn't a hint of humidity. Drinking my morning coffee, I made plans to spend the day outside, cleaning up the yard, and removing all of the junk which has accumulated in our garage during the past few years.

I grabbed my cell phone and prepared for a few hours of listening to Pandora while working outside. Unfortunately, my phone didn't turn on. It didn't take long for us to realize that my heavily used smart phone suffered a fatal blow in the charging port. I was in possession of nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

Frustrated by the loss of my cell phone and trying to work through the growing anxiety over how much a replacement was going to cost, I went outside to try to escape reality through manual labor. It is amazing how productive I can be when I'm upset. I was zooming through my to-do list in record time!

Within an hour I had the garage tidied and an imposing mountain of trash was sitting in the middle of my driveway. I began working on the porch, taking down the Christmas lights. (I did toy with the idea of just leaving them up. After all, it is only six months until Christmas!) I reached to release the strand from the hook and whamo- I was stung by a hornet.

Before I could move my arm and process the source of the pain, I was surrounded by more of those sadistic insects. I screamed for Scott who came running to my rescue. He swatted them away and cleared a path for me to run inside. Robby came running into the house through the front door, nearly hysterical because he heard me cry. 

Thankfully I was only stung once this time although the venom did have an impact on me. I was dizzy, tired and had some difficulty swallowing and speaking. I was also incredibly scared that I would end up in the hospital!

For the following two hours, I sat quietly on the couch because every time I moved the symptoms worsened. We kept evaluating whether I was stable, improving or worsening. (I was given an epi pen in May, but nobody provided instruction on when we should use it.) Scott sat next to me, ready to stick me with the epi pen and take me to the hospital at a moments notice. Accepting that I was okay, Robby happily watched cartoons and munched on potato chips.

After an afternoon of just sitting, I began to feel the effects of the sting dissipating. I could think in complete sentences and colors were restored to their normal hues. My day was wasted, but I took some solace in the fact that the invaders’ nest was met by our own chemical weapons of mass destruction. Despite my intentions to have a productive and happy day, I ended up with a stupid smartphone and tracker jacker venom coursing through my body. I'm hoping for a better day today!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amputee Olympian?

I have been looking forward to this Friday for several months, and I know that the next few weeks my television will be tuned to non-stop sports. I will no doubt become invested in sporting events that I know little about and would turn off if it weren't for the platform of the competition. I simply love the Olympics!

This year is special because Oscar Pistorius is going to be competing. Oscar is a bilateral below knee amputee who has earned his slot on the Track and Field team for South Africa. His first race is slotted to be run on August 4th at 10:35 (London time). I woke up to watch Prince William marry Kate last year, so you can bet that I'll be awake and watching when Oscar makes his run!

Many erroneously believe that Oscar Pistorius is the first amputee to participate in the Olympic Games.  A swimmer by the name of Natalie Du Toit (incidentally she was also representing South Africa) competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Open Water swimming. 

To be honest, I only know of Natalie's accomplishment because I happened to be watching the Beijing Olympics and I noticed she was sitting on the dock without legs. When I realized that she was a competitor in the event, I became intrigued. She received little press and even fewer accolades before the competition. In fact, her participation only garnered a brief explanation that she was permitted to sit at the start because she does not wear legs when she swims. 

Obviously Open Water swimming is not as sexy as Track and Field. The irony that a man without his biological legs has become a world class runner certainly adds to the appeal of "Oscar-mania," but I still wonder why Natalie's accomplishments received so little attention. Although she didn't have to disprove the unfair advantage accusation that has plagued Oscar, she certainly encountered her share of hurdles simply to receive permission to sit at the start of the race.

In the next few weeks we will all be bombarded with Olympic feel-good stories of triumph, and Oscar will be among those that are recounted. Most people, even those prominent within the amputee community, don't realize that we had an amputee Olympian in 2008. (I have won more than one cupcake making a wager with this tidbit of information!) While the achievements of Oscar should by no means be minimized, Natalie deserves some props as well for breaking down Olympic barriers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Explaining Colorado

Like everybody else, I woke up Saturday morning horrified to hear about the events that transpired in Colorado. The hate or derangement that fueled the assassin is something that I simply cannot fathom. My heart broke as I was watched the television, and I became transfixed on the stories of the survivors.

I turned the channel to cartoons as soon as Robby woke up because I wanted to shield him from the random violence that was being replayed on television. If I can't wrap my head around what happened, I knew that it was unrealistic to expect a six year old to make sense of it!

Despite my efforts, Robby learned of the story. I came into the living room yesterday and he was watching CNN. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and told me that "a bad man killed people at the movies." I knew that we had two options: I could turn off the television and try to dismiss the story, or I could take the opportunity to discuss and teach. The latter was the more difficult choice, but I also knew that it was the right thing to do.

I packed up Robby and we drove for ice cream. For some reason our best heart-to-heart conversations seem to flow easiest when we both have a cone in hand. Sitting at the picnic table at the ice cream stand, I took a deep breath and started to talk.

I began by asking Robby to recount what he saw on television. He explained that a man went into a movie with a "really big gun and shot people dead." He also pondered that it was a Batman movie but that Batman wasn't there because he would have stopped that bad man.

I took the lead in the conversation and tried to explain that sometimes bad things happen. We don't know why the man killed those people, but he is in jail and can't hurt anybody else. I stressed that he is safe and that we will always try to protect him. He seemed unimpressed and focused on his ice cream cone throughout my well-rehearsed speech.

After a moment he looked at me and asked, "Momom, what day did those people die?" I answered that it happened on Friday night when he was in bed sleeping.  "Well Momom, if they died on Friday, what day will it be when I die?" He looked at me intently and was waiting for an answer.

Yikes! I was anticipated questions, but I was not prepared for this one. Lacking any wise insights into how to respond, I found myself stumbling for words. I don't remember my Mom ever struggling to explain anything when I was young!

Robby finished his ice cream cone and crawled onto my lap. I kissed his head and told him that he didn't have to worry about dying for a very long time. He asked again what day it will be when he dies. I knew he wanted an answer, so I finally told him that it will be the day he gets to fly with angels.

Thankfully, the mere reference to flying was enough to turn the topic. He seemed satisfied and began to chat about the flying dragons and wanting a new kite. I know that he won't always be this easy to calm and distract, but I'm relieved that in this case it worked!

My heart breaks for the victims in Colorado. I can't fathom the pain and anguish that is being felt. My maternal instinct is to pack up Robby and Scott and run to a safe place, somewhere away from society where nobody can harm us. Of course, this isn't a realistic option. All I can really do is shield him from all of the evil that seems to be reported on a regular basis, arming him with love and trying to make his little corner of the world safe and happy.

Monday, July 23, 2012


When I find myself with all of my work done, I often aimlessly search the Internet looking for contests. I will enter just about anything, but I am particularly fond of those which require an essay. I theorize that the odds are more in my favor for contests that require a written submission. Writing requires time and, to be honest, I think that many people will simply not bother.  My blog becomes my secret weapon. After all,I have written over 1,000 blog posts and have covered just about every topic. It's easy for me to modify a post to fit a contest entry.

Several weeks ago I stumbled upon a contest to win tickets to the Dreamworks production of How to Train Your Dragon. I've seen the advertisements for the show and knew that Robby would relish seeing the life sized dragons soar through the arena. I filled out the application, attached a quickly modified blog post about the movie, crossed my fingers, and hit send.

I had forgotten about the contest until I opened my email Friday morning. Low and behold, I won the tickets!  Robby started jumping up and down when I told him that we won. The fact that he didn't know what contest nor did he know the prize, was irrelevant to his excitement. I just love his enthusiasm!

Saturday morning Robby woke up at 6 AM asking if it was time to go into the city to see the dragons. Our tickets weren't until the 3:00 show and, not having a large grasp on time yet, it must have seemed like an eternity for him. Every 10 minutes he was asking if it was time to go. When we finally said yes, he hopped off the couch and ran to the garage. I made him come back to put on his pants and shoes!

After finding our seats in the arena, we were almost immediately approached by an usher and offered better seats. While our free tickets were good, the new upgraded seats were phenomenal. We were under the "dragon zone," which meant that the mythical creatures flew over our heads, and we felt the heat from their fire breathing.

Robby was mesmerized throughout the show. He simply kept saying, "This is so awesome" every time another dragon appeared. His running commentary made my heart smile! He was completely awe struck.

During intermission an adult overheard Robby talking about the dragons and callously informed him that they were not real. Robby looked at him with a confused expression and retorted, "Of course they're real. Didn't you see them fly? Didn't you feel the fire? I mean, just look in the air and you will see them!"  I'm so glad that he was oblivious to the wires and cranes responsible for their flight!

The dragons made an impression on Robby, but I made an impact on just about every child that I passed in the arena. The hero of the story, a young lad named Hiccup, loses his leg in a dragon fight. Seeing my prosthetic, I had more than one child ask if I lost my leg in a dragon fight. I simply smiled and said that you have to be careful with the tails because they are really sharp. Needless to say I was probably the coolest Mom in the arena because I was elevated to "dragon fighter" status.

During the scene where Hiccup is fit with his leg, Robby looked at me and whispered, "That's not a real prosthetic Momom because it's too easy for him. If he really just got his prosthetic it would be more hard for him to walk." I had to smile. He is utterly convinced that the dragons were authentic, flying and spitting fire in the arena, yet he knew that the prosthetic was fake because Hiccup wasn't struggling. He certainly has a unique perspective for a six year old.

We had a wonderful time at the show! Robby has been chatting all weekend about the dragons zooming through the air. The experience certainly made an impression on him, and he loved it more than I anticipated. I'm so glad that I entered the contest and winning has only motivated me to enter more. I think I'll start looking for opportunities to win a pool.