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, December 21, 2012

Christmas Oreos

Today is Scott's last day of work before winter break. To be honest, I'm not sure who is more excited about his being home. He is giddy as he is looking forward to lounging around and relaxing for twelve straight days. I am excited about the respite of his help caring for Robby, and his assistance with the housework. I think that compromise is going to be in our future so we can both get the vacation we deserve.

This holiday season has been especially difficult. I am accustomed to being constantly in motion, busy with a project or various activities. With Robby being sick and my being hurt, everything has stopped. You would think I would be well-rested because of how little has been accomplished. Instead of getting things done, I've been treading water just trying to take care of Robby. Caring for a sick child is an all-consuming activity which leaves room for nothing else, including my own recuperation.

I am trying to shake the guilt I was feeling about not baking obscene numbers of cookies for the holiday. At this point, it would not be much fun and the task would be something else I have to do, rather than an activity I enjoy. Circumstances this year have intervened with my Christmas traditions. Rather than beat myself up for it (my normal course of action), I am trying to let it go and to adapt. I realized that nobody is going to turn me away from their door if I show up with a plate full of cookies on Valentine's Day!

Although I have been lamenting all of the holiday short-cuts I have taken, Robby is excited about Christmas in spite of the lack of trimmings and traditions. We have a Christmas tree and vanilla Oreos. In the eyes of a six year old, that is really all we need to celebrate!

In the next few days I am going to try to take a lesson from Robby. Instead of looking at everything that isn't done or all of the decorations that are missing, I'm going to try to enjoy what we have accomplished. I am learning to be happy with Oreos and a lopsided Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our Not Quite So Magical Event

Several months ago I stumbled upon a Facebook contest where the grand prize was a custom show from a locally renown magician.  In addition to the normal demographic information, each entrant needed to provide an essay detailing anything related to magic or a magic show. Since I have been writing this blog every day for nearly three years, I have learned to love contests which require essays.  Let's face it, I have covered just about every topic including a magic show I saw with Robby. I immediately went into my blog archives and found the post. A few minutes of tweaking and my essay was ready to be submitted.

I forgot about the contest until I received a phone call last month informing me that I had won! I was delighted that I was going to be able to bring the show to Robby's class for all of his friends to enjoy. I also knew that Robby would be the hero for the day because he was the one who provided the entertainment.

A lot has transpired in the weeks since the magician was booked. I fell and injured my residual limb and cracked my ankle. We went on a cruise where Robby contracted Dengue Fever. His illness has turned our structured little world upside down. School, housework and Christmas preparation have taken the back burner to medication, fever regulation and trying to provide comfort. This past weekend we have finally come through the "crisis" portion of the illness allowing Scott and I to quasi-relax for the first time since he became sick.

Robby had been improving everyday. His reserves were still low and he continued to require constant breaks, but his piques of energy were lasting for longer periods of time and were occurring more frequently. After much contemplation and discussions with his doctors, it was agreed that Robby could return to school to view the magic show that I had won for his class.  I knew that seeing his friends and enjoying the magician with them would help bolster his spirits. Having been in so much pain, he certainly deserved this treat! Tuesday night we told Robby that he was going to be able to go to school to see the magician the following morning. His smile was brighter than the lights on our Christmas tree!

At about 3 AM on Wednesday, Robby came into our bedroom. He was crying and complained about his ear hurting. Shoot- he was sick again! I tried my best to make him as comfortable as possible until the pediatrician's office opened.

By the time I spoke with the pediatrician, Robby was feeling better. The sharp pain had been replaced by a dull ache. The Tylenol had reduced his fever and he was pleading to go to the magic show. I was hesitant to take him, but his doctor assured me that the probable ear infection was not contagious and that he would benefit by enjoying the show and visiting his friends.

I am glad that I listened to the doctor.and let Robby go to the magic show in his class. His friends were giddy with excitement to be reunited. They all followed the "no hug" rule and fought to sit next to him during the magic show. The performer did a great job including every student while making sure that Robby was chosen for the best tricks. My heart soared when I heard my little guy giggle for the first time in weeks!

About 20 minutes into the 30 minute show, Robby began to wear down. His broad smile was replaced with a faint grin. He was no longer belly laughing and began cupping his ear. I packed him up to go to the doctor as soon as the performer ended the show.

Robby was re-diagnosed with an ear infection. We suspect that it is the same infection that was present when the Dengue manifested. He has been on antibiotics, but apparently they have only been keeping the infection from getting worse and have not been able to clear it up. He was prescribed a stronger medication and we have to visit his ear doctor for follow-up.

Despite him being sick, I am so happy that I took Robby to school to see the show. Being with his friends, even for the limited amount of time, lifted his spirits more than I could at home. He was the hero of the hour, not only because he provided the magician but also because he had returned to the class. Seeing how happy his friends were to see him, Robby is looking forward to going back to school. We have two weeks until school starts again, and I am hoping that Robby will be healthy enough to return!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Spectacular Shoe

Unlike many of my friends who have Zappos bookmarked and love spending hours walking through DWS, I have never been a "shoe person." Of course I buy shoes, but simply because it is more comfortable to keep my feet covered versus trying to make a fashion statement. I don't coordinate my shoes to match an outfit (unless I am going to a wedding or funeral) because it is inconvenient to change shoes on my prosthesis. If I cared about fashion, I suppose it wouldn't be an issue, but since I don't care, it is nothing short of a hassle to pry the shoe off of a plastic foot shell and then try to wiggle another one in its place.

Even before my amputation I was not a shoe aficionado. Since I've become an amputee, my blase feelings towards footwear have only increased. I find shoe shopping an exercise in frustration. People inevitably stare when I whip off my leg so that I can have a better angle to wiggle on a new shoe. Although I typically smile through the process, I hate trying shoes on in public!  I tend to buy the same brand, style and size of shoe once I find a pair that is comfortable.

I have found Skechers to be the most comfortable and prosthetic friendly shoe for me. I like the stretch along the tongue, which allows easier access for my quasi-human shaped foot shell. I am particularly fond of Shape-Ups, not because of the toning benefits but because the shape of the sole allows me to roll over the toe of my prosthesis with ease. My gait is more natural with this little boost of assistance.

A few weeks ago I tried a new style of Skechers, the "Go Walk" shoe. My first impression was the weight of the shoe. This shoe is light, weighing in at only 4.5 ounces. By comparison, my Skechers DeLite shoe weighs 10 ounces. When wearing a prosthesis that weighs upwards of 7 pounds, any reduction in weight is greatly appreciated!  (Yes, I admit to digging through the abyss of my kitchen cupboard in order to find my scale so I could provide an accurate weight. I not only found the scale, but discovered a can of Spaghetti-Os that expired in 2009. I really need to clean out my cupboards!)

Impressed but not convinced by weight, I decided to try on the shoe . Wow, the stretchy material on the top of the shoe certainly made it easier to slip it onto my prosthesis. A few steps and I was sold! The bubble-like sole assists with the roll-over that I love from the Shape-Up shoe, without compromising heel height or comfort. Not only do I love how these shoes feel, but I like the way that they look.  Because of the simple lines, I can wear them with a skirt or with jeans.

I know that this sounds like a commercial for Skechers, but I assure you I am not compensated by the company. I am simply excited that I found something that is working so well for me. Every once in awhile I discover a new product that makes my life as an amputee easier. I know that others struggle with shoes and I think that the Go Walk shoe might be a solution. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


With Robby's health beginning to stabilize, I finally feel comfortable focusing on other issues. First and foremost on my list of things to do was to contact my prosthetist. I have continued to struggle with my mobility since my fall three weeks ago. Each step is painful, and my gait has been terribly compromised. Truth is, I now resemble Quasimodo when I walk!

Sunday afternoon I sent Elliot, my prosthetist, an email asking him if a socket adjustment may help alleviate some of my issues. I know that manipulating the socket will not speed up the healing of my leg, but I was hoping that he might be able to change the pressure points thus providing me with some relief. Without making any promises, he agreed to try and asked me to come to the office Monday morning.

With Robby safely in the hands of Mr. Bill, I headed to Elliot's office. I was cautiously optimistic that he would be able to provide some relief. I wasn't expecting a miracle, but a slight reduction in the searing pain I feel with each step would be a welcome improvement.

Elliot worked with the precision of a surgeon. He added pads and thinned the carbon fiber to allow for more room. He made adjustments to the alignment and reinforced my heel. After nearly 90 minutes of toiling and trial and error, he had transformed an agonizing socket into one that is comfortable for me to wear. My gait instantly improved and the jarring pain has been minimized to a dull ache. While he was not able to completely eliminate all of my discomfort from a deep bone contusion that is going to require months to heal, he was able to make me comfortable while walking. He far exceeded any of my already high expectations.

Walking, not hobbling, out of his office, it occurred to me that I am extremely lucky to have Elliot as my prosthetist. Many of my amputee friends must wait weeks to receive their sockets, and must often endure months of tedious and painful adjustments until the device is deemed acceptable. I cannot imagine the frustration of surrendering a prosthesis for weeks at a time because adjustments were required.

I have been spoiled by my prosthetic experience. Because Elliot does all of his work on the premises, I have never had to surrender my leg for more than a day or two. He appreciates that my prosthesis is a part of my life and that I rely upon it to be functional. He respects what I need and works tirelessly to make me as comfortable as possible while reducing the amount of time I am without my leg. I understand the frustrations of my amputee friends who must wait weeks for a test socket, only to wait more time to receive a definitive prosthesis. All of that waiting equates to more time on crutches or in a wheelchair. I have no doubt that when it comes to finding a good prosthetist, I hit the jackpot!

Monday, December 17, 2012

No News Zone

The news of the shooting in the Connecticut elementary school shook me to my core. Scott came home from work to find Robby napping in bed and me crying uncontrollably on the couch. I just cannot wrap my head around why somebody would do something so evil. I cannot fathom the earth shattering pain that these parents must be experiencing.

Robby is the same age as the majority of these young victims. Looking into his eyes, seeing his youthful innocence, I feel a compulsion to create a fortress to keep him safe. It takes a special strength to grieve the passing of a child. I know, with every bit of my being, that I am not that strong.

Last week I was criticized by an acquaintance for writing about Robby's Dengue fever on Facebook.  I was accused of coddling him while he was sick, with the promise that Robby will resent me when he is a teenager. This man's comments made little sense to me at the time, and I still do not fully comprehend his point. At the time of the post, Robby had a fever of nearly 105 degrees, was experiencing seizures and was intermittently incoherent. I felt like I was watching my vibrant little boy melt in front of my eyes.  To then accuse me of being a bad parent simply because I admitted to my friends that I was scared, was the epitome of insensitivity.  It took only a moment for me to remove this man from my life and I have no regrets about breaking the link.

I will never apologize for loving Robby. He is a wonderful boy, full of curiosity, compassion and an accepting spirit. Without a doubt, he is my greatest accomplishment. Right now, parents are living through my greatest nightmare- the death of their precious child. That is a torturous pain that should never be felt!

Friday evening and Saturday I was glued to the television, thirsty for any and all information about the massacre. Eventually, Scott insisted that I turn off the news. I found myself feeling guilty while watching a Christmas movie with Robby. How could I enjoy something so festive when so many people are going through hell? In a strange way, turning off the news felt disrespectful. Yet again, I was hit with the enormity of what happened, and I felt lost with how to deal with it.

It has been more than 24 hours since I have watched the news. I still feel pain for all of those victims and an overwhelming fear about how to protect Robby from evil in this world. I am beginning to accept that I cannot keep Robby protected from all evil. Most acts of carnage are nonsensical and can never be predicted. I know that he will never be 100% safe because as much as I hate to admit it, I cannot control every variable in his life. All I can do is love him beyond words and try to keep him as safe as possible.

Friday afternoon, as the news of the massacre was dominating our thoughts, Robby's high fever finally broke. After a week of Dengue hell, he has moved out of the crisis portion of the illness. His recovery is expected to be long and we anticipate frustrations as he struggles to regain his strength and ability to concentrate. Despite the unexpected obstacle, I know that he will be okay. 

Out of a sense of gratitude for Robby's improving health and to honor those young children who were murdered at school, we have made a donation to Children's Hospital. I have come to realize that doing something is always better than simply crying and wishing that I could help. There is a lot of evil in this world, but there is also a lot of love. I choose to concentrate on the positive. I won't be turning on the news for awhile.