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 26, 2012


For some still unknown reason, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself by walking at least 100 miles in the month of October. I have been diligent, although some might say obsessive, about logging my daily miles. In fact, I surpassed my goal last week and I am now looking to walk at least 200 miles by Halloween!

The beautiful weather has certainly been motivating me towards achieving my walking goal. I found that I thoroughly enjoy hopping into my jogging leg and taking off on a stroll through the neighborhood each afternoon. Most days the temperatures have been perfect, necessitating that I wear only a vest.

On the rare days when it has been raining, I've logged my miles on the treadmill at the gym. Thankfully these days have been few because I find the treadmill both physically uncomfortable and dreadfully boring. I doubt that I'll maintain my walking routine when the weather forces me indoors because of my hate-hate relationship with the treadmill.

A few days ago, discouraged by the rain yet determined to meet my mile goal, I hopped on the treadmill at the gym. After walking the requisite amount, I dismounted the machine and prepared to walk into the locker room.  I was intercepted by the manager, who asked to speak with me.

I immediately sensed that he felt uncomfortable, which made my guard rise. I knew that I hadn't broken any rules and, aside from setting off the lunk alarm because of singing, I try to fly under the fitness radar. Curious, I followed him into his office.

After exchanging pleasantries, he finally reached his point.  In a polite way, he asked me to only utilize the two treadmills closest to the attendant desk. When I asked why I was restricted to those machines, he informed me that my using any other machines presents the club with a liability issue. He proceeded to explain that my disability (I'm assuming he means my amputation and prosthetic use) puts me at increased risk and that the warning labels affixed to each treadmill clearly states that individuals with physical handicaps require supervision.  He apologized for the inconvenience, but remained steadfast that I utilize only the designated treadmills.

I left the gym and instead of feeling satisfied by a work-out well done, I felt deflated. I know that was not the intent, and I respect the rules of the facility. Still, it bothers me that I am being limited simply because I use a prosthetic. I know how to walk, and I disagree that I am more of a liability than the individuals texting or surfing the internet on the same machines!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leaf Fun!

The foliage this year is nothing short of breathtaking.  I don't remember another year where the colors have been as vibrant and the sky has been routinely blue and clear. The weather this fall has been spectacular, and I've been taking full advantage by being outside.

Robby has adjusted to his full-day school routine and instead of picking up an exhausted little guy, he is now full of energy and ready to play. Each afternoon we have been spending a few hours playing outside. Although I still don't understand some of the games we play, he seems to know what is going on and is having fun so I've learned to just go with the flow.

A few days ago Robby found the rake in our garage and began working on the leaves in the yard. I was delighted that he was willingly helping with raking. I didn't want anything to interrupt his working, so I quietly began to pick up and bag sticks. After about 30 minutes he managed to create an imposing leaf pile that was at least four feet high and six feet wide. Unfortunately, it was created in the middle of our yard, so I knew that it was going to have to be dismantled and moved.

It turns out that my little helper had a plan that had nothing to do with helping. After I acknowledged the mass of his pile, he walked up the hill turned towards the leaf mountain and took off running. The fact that his boots came off in the middle of his sprint did not diminish his belly flop dive into the middle of his pile!

After crashing into the leaves, he urged me to run and jump in as well. Although I knew that the leaf pile was large, I also realized that it wasn't nearly big enough to cushion my bum. I'm too old to dive into leaves, but not wanting to disappoint him, I came up with the next best option.

Leaf fight!  Robby and I spent the next 45 minutes chasing each other around the yard, trying to throw handfuls of leaves at each other. By the time the sun was setting, we were famished, exhausted, and covered with dirt, leaf bits. and more than a few spiders.  Our fight managed to disperse the leaves that were had been carefully piled, saving me the trouble of having to move the massive collection.

Robby may be too big to kiss me goodbye in front of his classmates, but I'm happy that he still wants to play with me. I know that these times are limited so I'm thoroughly enjoying every moment!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cruise Anticipation!

According to my countdown clock, we only have 60 days until Christmas. I love the holiday season which for me starts with Halloween. I relish decorating the house, baking yummy treats to share, and playing "room mom extraordinaire" during Robby's school parties.  I know that the next two months will fly which is why I am vowing to make the most of every moment.

We have a few adventures scheduled before Christmas with the biggest being what Robby has dubbed "our free cruise." I was invited to join a group of amputees on what is being called the "AmpuCruise" during the first week of December. When I first received the invitation, I was cautious about becoming too excited. I just didn't want to deal with the disappointment if it didn't work out.
The timing of the cruise is not ideal which has been the source of most of my cruise anxiety. Thankfully, Scott has been able to swing things at work so that he can take the leave time. After talking with his teacher, Robby will be sailing with a backpack full of assorted worksheets and school projects that will be due when he returns. Everything seems to have worked out to make this adventure possible, and I'm finally allowing myself the luxury of becoming excited.

Robby and I have spent hours pouring over the ship plans and activities. I've also tried to prep him so that he does not say or do anything inappropriate when he meets our fellow amputee passengers. We have talked, in detail about the different types of amputees and what he may see. I'm going to continue reiterating that he can ask questions privately to avoid staring or doing anything inappropriate. 

Technically, I will be working on the cruise, so all of my time will not be my own. Rest assured I am anticipating plenty of opportunities to enjoy the cruising fun. After all, working on a cruise ship sounds like an oxymoron! I can't believe I'll be saying Bon Voyage in 40 days!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Growth Anxiety

I am relieved that both my cancer scans and my kidney functioning tests came back yielding a healthy diagnosis. Unfortunately, the MRI images used to measure the size of my pituitary tumors revealed some growth. I avoid using the term "tumor" because I find it frightening as it immediately conjures up images of malignancy. Because they are benign, I prefer to think of them as growths. The doctors were pleased that no "fingering" was evident on the growths, but the fact that they are still present and have gained mass is not comforting.

I've been trying to downplay the impact of the pituitary growths, but truth be told the news of the increasing size threw me for a loop. According to the specialists, I am not yet a candidate for surgery because the risks continue to outweigh any possible benefits. For the time being, as long as they are stable in size and not "fingering," my symptoms will be treated medically.

While the news of the growing growths took me off guard, in retrospect I am not surprised. I've been experiencing increasing symptoms during the past few months. In true Peggy fashion, I've been doing my best both to ignore and to make excuses for the little body flips I've been feeling.

Perhaps the most obvious and annoying symptom of the growing growths lies in my inability to sleep. I am exhausted by the time the sun sets. Not only do I have a difficult time falling asleep, but staying asleep throughout the night has become impossible.

Each morning around 3 AM, seemingly by clockwork, I wake up with a sense of overwhelming foreboding. It isn't a full blown panic attack, but it is certainly enough to keep me from sleeping. I've spent countless hours trying to figure out the source of my anxiety. The results of my MRI scan provided some much needed clarity.

Anxiety and insomnia are two of the hallmark symptoms of pituitary tumors. It is reassuring to know that the source of my midnight anxiety is organic. Having something definitive to blame certainly makes the lack of sleep less frustrating, but it has not helped alleviate the issue.

I'm hoping that changing my medication or adjusting the dosage will help. If I am expected to live with these growths, I need to figure out a way to better manage the symptoms. I'm tired of waking up nervous and fretting through the wee hours of the morning!

Monday, October 22, 2012


According to Robby's classroom calendar, last Friday was declared a "pink out." All of the little girls were delighted for the excuse to don bubble gum pink from head to toe. However, my little boy was not nearly as delighted!

Robby began lamenting the pink directive as soon as he learned about it. He voiced his displeasure numerous times, reminding me that he is a boy and that his favorite color is yellow, not pink. We quickly realized that we needed to provide an explanation for such a strange clothing request.

Trying to explain breast cancer to a little boy is an awkward conversation. We didn't want to scare Robby, but since the pink ribbon seems to be omnipresent, we decided it was best to educate him about the cause. 

Scott and I spent the time after dinner on Thursday discussing and rehearsing our breast cancer speech. When we both felt comfortable, or as at ease as we were ever going to be, we called Robby into the living room. We sat him down and told him that we wanted to explain why he needed to wear pink to school.

Pink, we explained, is a color to show support for Mommies and Daddies who are dealing with breast cancer. Breast cancer is a terrible disease that can make a lady very sick and sometimes she dies. Pink is worn during October to show support and to raise money for all of these Mommies and friends who are fighting breast cancer. Tomorrow he needs to put a dollar into the pink box at school to help pay the scientists trying to find a cure and to show support.

Halfway through our rehearsed speech, Robby interrupted. "Momom, I have a question and my question is this. Is a breast the same as a booby?" Scott chimed in and responded, "Yes, Robby, but you shouldn't call them boobies at school." Robby questioned why, and Scott and the conversation went off track. Somehow we started out with a discussion about a serious disease and it ended up a debate about breast vs. booby. So much for our serious discussion!

After about 15 minutes of hearing Scott and Robby's boobie banter, I tried to bring the conversation back on topic. Robby continued to complain about wearing pink, this time employing logic. "Momom, why can't I just put a dollar in the box to pay the scientists? Won't the dollar do more to help than my wearing stupid stupid pink? Nobody is going to get healed because I am wearing a girl color!" 

Although he had a point, the color was being worn by everybody in his school, and he needed to participate. He begrudgingly agreed to wear the pink shirt he wore when I ran in the breast cancer fundraiser a few years ago with the caveat that it could be removed after his first recess. I am so glad that the pink out only occurs once a year because the battle of the clothes was not worth it!