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, January 04, 2013

Growing Up... or Growing Old?

I heard about a study the other day which claims to have pinpointed the age at which individuals finally feel like they have reached adulthood. The judicial branch considers adulthood to be 18. Bars and liquor stores insist upon 21 as the legal age. According to the authors of the study, most people finally feel grown up when they are 28.

I am married with a child. I own a house and I work to pay bills and to help support the family. It's strange that despite these adult responsibilities, I can't fully grasp the concept that I am grown up.  In my mind, I am still a youngster finding her way. I have moments where I catch myself in the mirror and see my mother's reflection. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the concept that I'm an adult. I'm not a young adult. I'm not just starting out and learning the ropes. I'm a full-fledged adult. When did that happen?

Of course, every morning my body reminds me that I'm not a spring chicken. Waking up when I was in my 20's, I would be alarmed when something hurt. Now that I'm nearing my 40's, it is no longer a question of whether or not something will be stiff or sore. Inevitably, it has become a game as I try to guess which part of my body is going to angry when I wake up.

In another 40 years I'll probably just be grateful for the pain because its presence will signal that I made it through another night. But for right now, the morning aches and pains are an unwelcome nuisance. I've realized that my morning internal dialog has switched from "zippidy doo da" to "crap this hurts."

Last week my knee was so stiff it took me awhile to ease into my prosthetic. Then I woke up with a sore neck. Yesterday I woke up and my right shoulder blade was aching. All of these maladies developed while I was sleeping. Apparently one of the skills I am acquiring as I age is the ability to injure myself while unconscious.

The disconnect between my mind and my body seems to be growing. While I don't feel like I'm middle aged, my body certainly disagrees. I must file a formal protest against this whole "growing up" process. After all, these growing old pains are becoming bothersome!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A New Friend

Frequently I receive an email or a phone call from a new amputee who is seeking support, information or just to talk. Regardless of what is going on in my own life, I always try to make time to lend an ear and to try to help. Remembering the isolation and confusion that I felt when I became an amputee keeps outreach a high priority in my life.

Normally, geography limits the communications to email, to the telephone and to Skype. Every once in awhile I'm able to physically meet with the individual which always helps to forge a special relationship. Tuesday night, at the precise moment I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my day while the boys were at school, I received a phone call from a social worker who works in a local hospital.  With one simple question, "Will you be able to come and meet with her?" my plans for the day were solidified.

Although I always find it rewarding to be able to help somebody, peer visits can be emotionally draining. I am the first to admit that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. As much as I tell myself not to become emotionally invested and  simply to be a resource, I always end up worrying, fretting about and grieving for my new friend.

Preparing for the hospital visit yesterday I knew that it was going to be a difficult meeting. Every amputee has a story, but some wreak of heartache more than others. Miranda's story broke my heart, and I worried that I would not be able to help.

Miranda was walking across the street at about 4:00 in the evening on New Year's Eve. Her only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was struck by a driver who reportedly blew 2x the legal limit. A tragic story in its own right, but it more heartbreaking when I learned Miranda's age: she is only 14 years old!

Dealing with an amputation is difficult regardless of age. For teenagers who are already struggling with body image issues and trying to fit into the world, suddenly being different must feel utterly catastrophic. I doubted that I, a middle aged woman, possessed the ability to be able to help, but I knew that I was going to try.

I spent about two hours sitting with Miranda. At first our meeting was formal and uncomfortable, I suspect we were both too nervous to be comfortable. At one point she needed the nurse's call button to request more pain medication. Instead of getting up, I instinctively popped off my leg and used it to pull down the button to her reach. She giggled and smiled, and the conversation became more natural and the began to flow naturally.

I left the hospital feeling uplifted after spending time with such an amazing young lady. I know that the journey will not be easy, but I have no doubt that she'll be okay. I made a new young friend yesterday and, although I hate the circumstances surrounding our meeting, getting to know her was a great way to start my new year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Scott was excited on the last Friday before his winter vacation, anticipating nearly two weeks of sleeping in and no work. Robby experienced the same excitement on Christmas morning when he discovered the treasures that Santa left him. This morning, it's my turn!

Although I've enjoyed having both boys home from school, I have to admit that I'm feeling a girlish excitement at the prospect of their vacation ending. Between the cruise,  Robby's Dengue Fever and the holidays, my comfortable and highly functional routine was shattered. As much as I love adventure and the unplanned road trip, I've come to realize that I need structure as well.

I am ready to put this bah-humbug season behind me. The tree has already been undecorated and thrown in the woods. The only traces of Christmas left in my house lie with the presents that were received and the half-roll of Santa paper towels on my kitchen counter. Putting everything away and reclaiming the living room felt wonderful!

This afternoon the house will be quiet for the first time in two weeks. I'm going to be able to curl up on the sofa, surround myself with my notebooks and work without being interrupted to play Lincoln Logs or to look at a replay on ESPN. I never thought I would be this excited about the prospect of solitude.

I know that both boys will be deflated and, well, just plain whiny this morning as they get dressed for another school day. I anticipate a lot of complaining as I shoo them both out of the door. I'm going to try to keep my enthusiasm in check until I drop Robby at school. It's a good thing that my legs are healed because I'm not sure I'll be able to control my urge to skip out of the building in celebration.  

My gleeful anticipation is unexpected. Just a few short months ago I was crying, lamenting Robby going to school full days and worrying about how to spend my time. I suppose that this change is called personal growth? In any case, who would have thought that a few hours of quiet would be this cherished!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

My Year in Review

 AmputeeMommy--  2012


On a warm January afternoon, Robby and I went on a nature hike. We encountered a skunk den. The angry skunk sprayed everything, including my prosthetic.  


                    I was talked into climbing a rock wall.  I survived, and I made it to the top!


Robby and I traveled into DC to film a PSA for the Amputee Coalition.  He certainly does love being on camera!

                                                 He also started ice skating lessons!


We traveled to New York City. Our PSA was streaming in Times Square!  We had a great weekend.


                         Like a scene from The Hunger Games, I survived a tracker jacker attack.

Robby turned 6 and we celebrated with an "epic party."


In June Robby started swim lessons.

We went to Baltimore for the Star Spangled Sailabration!

We went to Ohio to visit Grandma and she took us to her special fishing hole. Robby caught a LOT of fish.


In July we went to Dutch Wonderland. Robby and Daddy had a blast on the rides. I got sick and vomited in the Men's room.

I did enjoy the slide though!

Scooter bought a scooter!

We built a pool...

and it collapsed...

And then we learned How to Train a Dragon.


In August my Mom had a double knee replacement. I moved into her house for several weeks. Robby and I took full advantage of a vacation at Nana's.

We had fun, but he was happy to see his Daddy!


 In September my little guy started school...  Thankfully Mr. Bill was there to cheer him on and hold my hand when I cried on the first day!

He loves his teacher!
                                                     We went on a special trip to the circus.

 And we even found time to pick pumpkins, peanuts and apples.


We survived the hurricane in October. We helped Mr. Bill rebuild his fence after a tree fell on it.

                                                                   My Army men!
                                                        Room Mom duty-- Halloween Party.


                                                         We went to Nana's for Thanksgiving.

                                                             We cut down Christmas trees....

                                              and I fell on a branch, injuring both legs.


                                                 In December we went on a cruise!

He lost his first tooth...

 and survived his first tropical disease.

                                               But he recovered in time for Christmas!

Thank you for being part of this amazing year.  I'm looking forward to another year of adventures, changes and unexpected twists.

Whatever happens in 2013, you can rest assured that it'll be in the blog!

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

I know that I write this every year, but it is worth repeating. I utterly detest New Year's Eve. In all honesty, I'd be happy to bypass the entire week between Christmas and New Years. With the exception of enjoying having both Scott and Robby home for the week, there is little value to these days. Most offices are closed or offer sporadic hours. I don't want to go shopping because the last thing I need in my home right now is more stuff. After the chaos of Christmas, I yearn for things to return to normal!

As soon as the last present is unwrapped, television shows begin segments touting New Year's Eve party ideas. From fancy recipes for appetizers made from ingredients I don't recognize to various ways to bedazzle sweaters for the big night, I hate all of the coverage. It feels like the world is preparing for a wonderful party and I'm left without an invitation. I know that I'm not going to be the only one home tonight, but if you watch daytime television, it would seem that I am.

This time of year must be a favorite for psychologists, physicians, nutritionists, and personal trainers as they inundate the public with messages of change.  You're fat. You're not making enough money. Flab is bad. Your bum shouldn't jiggle. You need to change. New Year, New You.  After awhile, the messages lose their effectiveness, and it simply becomes depressing!

I am tired of being lectured by "professionals" on television. This year, I refuse to let the messages of self-loathing (masked as self-improvement) influence me. It's okay for me to eat a cupcake every once in awhile and I refuse to feel guilty. After all, cupcakes taste really good!  I'm tired of tying my self-worth to my jean size. I am not a size 2, but I am okay with that. I am a healthy weight and I'm strong. I'm going to continue to work-out, but I'm doing it to feel good, not to try to meet some unattainable standard set forth by a quack doctor who is basking in his or her 15 minutes of undeserved fame on morning TV.

Instead of putting on a cocktail dress and getting my nails manicured for an evening on the town, I'll be searching through the piles of laundry in my bedroom trying to find pajamas without visible stains. Robby and I will curl up on the couch and, if I allow him control of the television remote, we'll be watching Tom and Jerry Nutcracker for what is probably the 97th time. Our appetizers will consist of S'mores made over the fireplace and popcorn. My New Year's Eve date will fall asleep well before midnight, but Scott and I will still sneak into his room to give him a kiss on the cheek as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

My New Year's Eve isn't as spectacular as those depicted on television, but we will be together and happy. Someday I'd like to get dressed up and go out to a New Year's Eve party simply so I can experience it although I know that, in spite of all of the trappings, I'll always enjoy our private celebrations at home more. 

This year I am dedicating to self-acceptance. I'm going to work on being authentic with myself and to embrace my flaws as much as I do my strengths. I'm thirty something, but I feel like I'm finally getting to know myself. At the risk of sounding cocky, I am really beginning to like me!