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, September 14, 2012

Almost the Weekend!

I am so happy that it's finally Friday! My house is uncomfortably quiet during the day while both boys are at school. I can't wait to spend the entire weekend with Robby, playing outside and listening to his adventures. I miss him so much while he is at school.

I've been promised by every friend who is a parent that, within a few weeks, I will adjust to the silence and learn to relish the solitude. I'm sure that they are right and that by the time June comes around, my growing pains will be nothing but a memory. In the meantime though, I'm lonely during the day. Thankfully Mr. Bill, my neighbor, has become my mid-morning coffee buddy. Spending 30 minutes chatting with him always makes me feel better.

I do have to admit that the quiet has afforded me the ability to concentrate. I've been getting a lot of work done, and I don't want to jinx myself, but I may actually be ahead of schedule. Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the unusual situation of having all my projects complete. Instead of starting on the laundry or cleaning my house, I opted to relax and go for a walk. I felt a bit like a child playing hookey from school as I casually strolled through the neighborhood. 

Between staying at my Mom's house and my trip to Boston, we have been coming up short when it comes to family time. This weekend  will not be spent working on my computer. Instead, I will be outside enjoying the warm air and soaking up the sunshine.  Whatever we end up doing, I know that we'll be having fun simply because we are all going to be together!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Most Depressing Statistic

According to many experts, 95% of all health problems are held by 5% of the population. The fact that such a small minority of society endures the vast majority of ailments is difficult to fathom. The uneven distribution of health issues seemed unfair!

Unjust as it appears, in my experience the statistic seems valid. Since I have become an amputee, I have developed a variety of "secondary" medical conditions which are a direct result of my limb loss. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis because of uneven weight distribution throughout my skeletal system, a neuroma, and bone spurs. 

I have problems with my shoulder, neck and back because of a compromised gait pattern. A few weeks ago I thought Robby and Scott were surprising me with breakfast in bed. I quickly realized that it was my body, and not a bowl of cereal, that was going snap, crackle and pop. As much as I hate it, from a skeletal perspective I am older than my age.

Because of my prosthetic use, I am prone to infections in my limb. The warm, moist environment of my socket, combined with the constant wear and tear of walking, creates a perfect storm for bacteria growth. Skin breakdown, even the slightest nick or blister, can become a conduit for a swift growing infection. My circulation was compromised by the amputation and I can't always feel when a sore is developing. Each night I must physically inspect my leg to ensure limb health.

Sometimes, all of the proactive measures don't prevent an infection. While I am currently healthy, several of my amputee friends are currently waging war with various infections. Each has a unique circumstance around how the intruders entered the body, but each friend is currently in a battle to save the limb and, in at least two cases, for her very life. Infections in the residual limb cannot be taken lightly!

An individual may not be disabled by the primary handicap, but can quickly become debilitated due to the secondary conditions that arise. When health impairments begin to cascade, we are put in a position of playing medical roulette. Physicians are relegated to trying to treat the current ailment without doing too much damage on the body and causing another issue. 

As much as I hate the reality, I have to agree with the depressing statistic. When you live your life with a disability, no surgery is ever routine and no cold should be considered "common." My friends' health struggles remind me that seemingly healthy person can quickly be battling for life and limb. I am appreciative of the fact that I am healthy, but I am acutely aware that I could be in their situation. Please keep my friends in your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Number One...

Although Monday marked the beginning of Robby's second week of school, it was also my first opportunity to establish a new schedule for the family. Last week, between my preparing to travel and Robby's drama/trauma of starting school, it was simply too chaotic to even attempt a routine. In many ways, my excitement is reminiscent of the first week in January. I'm embracing new opportunities to put my dreams and goals in motion.

As my work responsibilities have increased I've been struggling to find the balance between my professional and family obligations. My desire to spend quality time with Robby has forced me to wake up before dawn in order to get my projects complete. With him being in school and freeing up six hours a day, I'm looking forward to working more normal hours.

Between working, spending time with Robby and caring for my Mom, I have become lapse about going to the gym. I've wanted to go but there never seemed to be enough time. As a result my pants have been feeling snugger and I've lost my "I feel stronger" enthusiasm. My self-esteem has taken a nose dive and the negative thought loop is beginning to play in my head.

It's easy to list the excuses for why I haven't been to the gym in three weeks. In reality, it come down to one glaring point- I haven't been making myself a priority in my life. As of Monday morning, that has changed!

I woke up early and packed my gym bag. After I dropped Robby off at school I drove directly to the gym.  I think that I have the best chance of not becoming distracted by work and meetings if I work-out first thing in the morning. I felt oddly apprehensive entering the gym, as if my absence should be the source of shame. Of course, nobody noticed and I was able to resume my work-out.

I felt fatigued but satisfied when I finished. I came home and worked for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. Despite the time I spent in the gym, my projects were done by the time I picked Robby up at school!

This school year offers new possibilities for each member of our family. As much as I yearn to keep him little, Robby will grow up significantly during the next few months. He's going to spread his wings, make new friends and have wonderful experiences. I'm going to learn to re-prioritize myself. Who knows how far I'll go when I finally give myself the time and care that I deserve!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Something To Make People Happy

I will never forget the moment I witnessed the horrors of September 11. The images are so vivid in my mind that it is difficult to grasp that the events took place 11 years ago. So much has changed, but the raw pain of that day remains fresh.

I am thankful that Robby will never experience the turmoil of those days, but the events have certainly shaped his world. We are honored to have been able to spend time with wounded military, offering support but more importantly providing an escape from their routines. Robby is so at ease around our wounded warriors, yet I don't think he fully comprehends the reasons behind their injuries. In reality, I don't think I want him to understand.

We have always felt that it was important to convey the significance of September 11. As Robby has been growing up, Scott and I have both struggled to find a way to explain the events to him without causing undo fear. We don't want him to be afraid, but we do want him to be aware. 

Out of a desire to honor the victims, Robby and I have been baking and delivering cookies to our local fire house every year on September 11th. While we are baking, I talk with him about the buildings that fell. We talk about the victims who couldn't get out of the buildings, the passengers who died on the planes and the heroes who tried to help. I let him lead the conversation, asking questions but not offering unsolicited information.

Last night, per our family tradition, Robby and I worked in the kitchen preparing a large batch of chocolate chip cookies. As soon as the cookies were cool we made a small plate of treats for Mr. Bill. We headed over to visit and to surprise him with our gooey chocolate chip cookies.

After thanking us profusely and woofing down a cookie in a single gulp, Mr. Bill asked Robby why he baked the treats. I think he expected Robby to say he was taking them to school or to surprise his Daddy. Instead, Mr. Bill was stunned by Robby's detailed explanation.

"Mr. Bill, we baked a huge tray cookies for the firemen. They are going to be sad tomorrow. You see Mr. Bill, a long long time ago, before I was born, planes were flown into buildings. People died inside, and it made everybody super scared and sad. The firemen were super duper sad because a lot of their friends tried to go in to rescue people and they died. The buildings fell when they were on the stairs. Momom and me made cookies to make the firemen happy when they are feeling sad and thinking about their friends. Tomorrow it is really important to do something to make people happy."

Hearing Robby explain the reason behind our cookie tradition made me proud. His words let me know that he understood that we were not just baking cookies, but that we were honoring the friends who were lost. My little guy summed it up perfectly when he insisted that it was "important to do something to make people happy."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boston Recap

The past few days in Boston have been hectic. I was working in the Ossur booth everyday, meeting new practitioners and visiting with those whom I have met so often that they now feel like old friends. The days were long and exhausting, yet I found the work wonderfully exhilarating simply because I was out of my normal routine.

Despite having spent a total of four days in Boston, I was only outside the hotel walls on two occasions- driving from and to the airport. I wish I had more of a chance to see the city and to experience the culture. I was offered numerous invitations to dinner after the booth closed, but after spending 10 hours standing all I wanted to do was take my leg off and crawl into bed!

Although I never left the confines of the hotel and conference center, I was able to meet up with a friend. Erin has been reading my blog and we have been corresponding for years, but we have never actually met. I was thrilled when she was able to leave work and spend some time walking through the exhibit hall with me. Spending time with her was a definite highlight of my trip, and I only wish we had time to grab a cupcake before she had to leave!

After working in the booth all morning, and traveling throughout the afternoon, I finally arrived home yesterday evening. I was worn out and frazzled from traveling and dealing with painful blisters on my feet, but I had an enormous smile on my face. I missed Scooter and Robby, but I thoroughly enjoyed stretching my professional wings. It's nice to be appreciated and valued for skills other than cooking, cleaning and caring for a child!

I am glad that I went on to the Boston conference, although the timing was less than ideal. Between Scooter going back to school, Robby starting full day school, and my getting ready for a conference trip, the stress in my home was palpable last week.  I'm glad that my traveling is over for awhile so that we all have time to settle into a new routine.