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, October 05, 2012

Bandaid of Honor

Yesterday morning I woke with every intention of taking the day easy. I had planned on changing out of my pajamas on two occasions: to drop off and to pick up Robby from school. I was feeling toxic and sore and was looking forward to a much needed day of rest and relaxation.

Of course, none of my plans materialized. I felt like the universe was saying, "We interrupt your R&R with a sick child." The only thing worse than your child being ill is having to care for them when you are sick as well!

Thankfully Robby wasn't running a fever or complaining of a sore throat which are his common ailments. This time his body decided to switch things up a bit and threw him a curve ball in the form of a urinary infection. I heard him yelp with pain when he was using the bathroom and seeing blood in his urine confirmed my instincts to take him to the pediatrician.

Apparently, providing a urine sample when you are a young boy is a wonderful experience. Granting permission to pee in a cup propelled his pediatrician to superhero status. Despite promises that he had "great aim" and against my better judgment, I let him go into the bathroom by himself. It turns out that his aim isn't nearly as precise as he promised, when he presented the sample I noticed that the bathroom looked like a garden hose went wild and soaked everything in its path.  I spent the time waiting for the preliminary results by wiping down the toilet, the floor and somehow the side of the trashcan against the opposite wall.

I was expecting a prescription for antibiotics and to be sent on our way. In addition to the antibiotic script we were given an order for blood work. My heart jumped when I the pediatrician called me into her office and told me that Robby had high levels of sugar in his urine. As a precaution she wanted to get blood work done so that we could definitively rule out diabetes. 

While I appreciate the vigilance, the fact that diabetes was introduced as something that needed to be ruled out terrifies me. I called Scott as I was driving to the blood lab. At that point, Robby was the calmest member of the family as I spent the drive trying to talk Scott out of panic mode into a more tempered response. Needless to say, I wasn't successful!

Robby was so brave getting his blood drawn. I expected him to squirm, cry and scream. I was fully prepared to hold him down Hulk Hogan style so that the blood could be taken. Instead, he simply held out his little arm and looked at me. He calmly talked about the house he built and asked me if I could buy him a new Lincoln Log set so that he could make his village bigger. Considering that he had a needle in his arm and I was prepared to restrain him, buying him a building set felt like a fair request.

After leaving the hospital we went to get his prescription filled and to pick up the Lincoln Logs I promised. He also talked me into a Lego Angry Bird set, a Halloween costume for both him and Charlie Cat, and two glittered pumpkins. Robby showed anybody who looked in his direction the bandage on his arm which, in his mind, has been transformed into a badge of courage. We even had to stop by his school on the way home so that he could show his classmates the bandage and explain that they took out some of his blood. They were all duly impressed!

I'm hoping that we receive the results of Robby's blood work today. I'm not optimistic that I'll receive the results of my tests, but it would be wonderful if I could cross Robby off my worry list for the weekend.  I'm confident that everything will be fine, but this Mom's heart will feel better when I hear it out of the mouth of a professional.  I'll post any information when it is received, so check back and wish us luck!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mental Health Day

Please excuse the brevity of this blog. Yesterday I was poked and prodded so much that I was beginning to feel like a Thanksgiving turkey! I was left physically and emotionally drained.

Despite the repeated "indecent exposures," the tests went as well as could be expected. I survived relatively unscathed and, with the exception of my modesty, left the hospital no worse for the wear. Although I initially felt well, I began to feel both toxic and sore as the evening wore on. By the time the sun set, I was ready to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep.

I think that I would have felt better last night had I been able to come home and relax. As Murphy's Law would have it, our neighbor's electrician mistakenly blew the transformer for the entire street leaving us without power for several hours. Although I normally would never complain about going out to dinner, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a crowded restaurant and try to entertain Robby!

I'm tired, worn out, and on edge today. I know that the physical symptoms will pass quickly. My anxiety will  fade only when I receive the results. Hopefully they'll come soon. In the meantime, I think I'm going to just hide in bed for much of the day. I think I deserve a mental health day!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Test Anxiety

I have been trying to emotionally prepare for this date for weeks.  After dropping Robby off at school this morning, I'll be driving to the hospital for a scheduled battery of tests. For cancer survivors, the tests are considered "routine," although when you are the one being tested, it feels anything but normal!

It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself that I'm healthy because hearing it from the doctors is paramount. Until that happens, I am prepared for emotionally wrought and stress-filled days. I won't feel comfortable again until I receive the confirmation that I have no signs of cancer. I can't fathom hearing anything else, so I won't even entertain the possibility.

I detest undergoing these tests, but I also know that I am lucky to receive thorough preventative care. Although the wait is difficult, I've come to realize that there is no security in not knowing. After all, my awareness of any issues will only arm me with more tools to wage battle. Ignorance is like giving any abnormal cells (the enemy) insider information to employ against my body!

I live most of my life without giving cancer much thought. My diagnosis and treatment were part of my past and certainly impacted the way in which I view the world, but I don't define myself by those abnormal cells. Most days I draw strength from the knowledge that I'm a Survivor. Today, as I'm preparing for the tests, I am reminded of the fragility of  health. For the first time in a long time, I feel weak and vulnerable.

For now, I'm trying to focus on the positive. I feel healthy and strong. Because I am having no symptoms, I am trying to keep the tests in perspective: they are simply preventative, to provide definitive confirmation that everything is okay. A belief that everything will be okay, and perhaps a few cupcakes, will help me get through the next few days.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Lunk Alarm

Changing gyms in June was the best decision I have made in a long time. I never thought I would actually feel comfortable in a fitness facility. Apparently there is something to the "No Judgement Zone" signs adorning the walls because for the first time ever I actually feel like I belong.

Working out in public has been a huge hurdle for me to overcome. I feel self-conscious about my athletic abilities (which are minimal) and the way my rear looks in spandex (which is plentiful). However, being around other slightly pudgy people like myself, all sweating towards a common goal, I have realized that I am more the norm than an anomaly.

In fact, my gym managers go out of their way to keep the facility comfortable for the amateur athlete. They tout what is called the "Lunk Alarm," which is set off anytime a patron is excessively grunting, banging weights, or drawing undo attention to themselves. At first I thought the alarm was a gimmick until I saw the flashing blue lights and heard the wailing siren.

The reaction to the Lunk Alarm is swift and seems to be universal. Regardless of where I am in my work-out, I instinctively stop and look for the "Lunk." The rule breaker isn't hard to locate; they are usually beet red with embarrassment! After a few uncomfortable moments, the alarm stops and everybody slowly resumes their work-out. I always breath a sigh of relief, secure in the knowledge that I will never be the recipient of the Lunk alarm!

Yesterday I debated about whether or not I was going to go to the gym. My back was sore, but I also didn't want to get into the habit of procrastinating or making excuses. I was proud of myself when I changed into my yoga pants, grabbed my newly loaded Ipod and headed out to sweat. I have to admit that I was excited to give the new songs that I had downloaded for the gym their first work-out.

I hung up my keys, strapped on my Ipod and headed to my favorite spot--the circuit area. Glancing at my heart rate monitor only buoyed my enthusiasm. My new songs were helping me keep a faster rhythm. Not only was I enjoying the music, but I was turning into a fat burning machine!

In fact, I became so entranced by my work-out that my mind switched into automatic and I became lost in song and movement. I was irritated when the blasted Lunk Alarm went off and pulled me out of my work-out trance. I looked around, prepared to cast a knowing scowl at the offender.

I noticed that all of the eyes were pointed in my direction. I looked around, but I was the only one in the vicinity. They couldn't be looking at me! After all, I was in a self-imposed isolation zone, not using any heavy weights and I certainly was not grunting.

I stood still, like a deer in the headlights, until the alarm ceased and everybody went back to their work-outs. The manager approached, and I defensively asked why the alarm was set off.

"Ma'am, you were singing "I Will Survive" so loudly that we could hear you over the 20 treadmills and the facility music. We weren't going to do anything, but when you continued into a rendition of "YMCA" we had no choice but set off the alarm to get you to stop."

In that moment I wanted to crawl into a hole. I had no idea that I was singing, and the fact that I drew an audience was horrifying! So much for getting lost in the music during my work-out. I think from now on, I'll just leave my IPOD at home.