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, November 08, 2013


Yesterday Scott and I met with a new set of doctors who ran an extensive testing protocol on the baby-to-be. Our appointment wasn't until mid afternoon, which meant that I spent the majority of the day fretting and conjuring worst case scenarios. By the time I arrived at the appointment, I was an emotional wreck! Thankfully I found a hairbrush in my car because I realized when I was getting ready to walk into the office that I had forgotten to brush my hair. Poor Robby. I must have looked like a ragamuffin when I dropped him off at school in the morning.

Despite my mediocre grooming, the appointment went smoothly. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders when the doctor said, "So far everything looks perfectly normal." The first hurdle of the old lady tests is complete, and I am beginning to feel the anticipation and joy that has been tempered. 

Robby still doesn't know that he is going to be a big brother. Scott and I have decided to wait until my blood work comes back before revealing the news. Truthfully, I think both of us are delaying revealing this news because neither of us think that Robby will accept it gracefully. He has been an only child for seven years and I don't think he is going to be overjoyed with the prospect of having a sibling. Actually, I am anticipating a full-blown angry meltdown, with tears. I keep telling myself that he'll eventually embrace his new role as big brother, but it is not going to happen overnight.

I want to avoid the confrontation and drama as long as possible, but soon the reality will be harder to conceal.  It is not a conversation I'm looking forward to having with him, but I'm hoping that we can figure out a way to monopolize on the excitement of what he is gaining instead of the changes that will be happening. After all, he is my son and neither of us deal particularly well with change!

Sticking with the theme of this week, today we have yet another doctor's appointment. Robby will be having his post-op hearing check. We've been careful to not question him about his hearing as we don't want to put undo pressure on him. Although we haven't verbalized it, I'm anxious to learn if the surgery has made an improvement in his audiological scores. In a few hours, we'll learn if the surgery was successful.  Fingers crossed for good news! I'll post an update later today.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Old Lady Tests

I remember looking forward to my prenatal appointments when I was pregnant with Robby. Each visit was an opportunity to listen to his heartbeat, to gain insight into how he was growing, and to gain information. I was hoping to have a similar experience with this baby. Unfortunately, I now find myself dreading the appointments.

Don't get me wrong; listening to the baby's heartbeat is the highlight of any day. During my visit yesterday I felt my eyes swell with tears when I heard the quick little Doppler pitter-patter of our baby's healthy heart. Moments like that I cherish because, although I'm trying to be joyful, this pregnancy has been extremely stressful.

Much of the stress I can attribute squarely to one individual. The nurse practitioner, whom I met on my first appointment, spent the entire hour systematically sucking the joy out of me. By the time I left the office I felt like an over-the-hill woman who was selfish for daring to have a baby at such an advanced age. Since that date I have tried my best to put her doomsday predictions out of my mind and concentrate on the happiness of this event. Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done.

I understand the need to provide statistics, but this lady was in overkill mode. Papers were piled in front of me, each declaring seemingly daunting odds. When I asked about the most concerning, 1 in 32 pregnancies in a woman of my "advanced age" results in child with chromosomal abnormalities, I felt my heart race and sink simultaneously. Sensing my panic (the only time during the appointment this individual demonstrated any compassion) she asked me if I was okay. I muttered something about being concerned about the 1 in 32. Before I could finish my sentence, she chimed in. "Don't worry about that statistic. Those abnormalities aren't compatible with life."

In that moment I felt as if my mind had imploded. I  was floored by her matter-of-fact, callous sounding response. I'm sure that dealing with this information on a daily basis, one would run the risk of becoming jaded. But in my eyes, not being compatible with life ranks pretty high on the worry list! After that point I went numb and don't remember much else that transpired.  I was given prescriptions for further tests because of my "advanced maternal age" (can you tell that diagnosis is sticking in my craw) and left the office. 

All of the doctors I have seen since the first appointment have been extremely compassionate, but I can't seem to shake the anxiety that was introduced during my pregnancy debriefing. Rationally, I know that she was just doing her job by providing me with information, but as somebody who interacts with vulnerable individuals on a daily basis, I know first hand that she needs to work on her delivery. I'm going to voice my concerns and experiences with this interaction, but I'm going to wait until after the baby is born. (I suppose part of me is worried about alienating those who will eventually yield the pain relieving drugs during labor.)

Today I go for the first of what I have dubbed "the old lady tests." Within a week we should have the results. Assuming everything is favorable and healthy, I am hopeful that I'll be able to relax and enjoy this pregnancy. I want to feel the joy and excitement that I should be experiencing. I'm delighted by the prospect of adding to our family, but my anxieties are constantly zapping my happiness.  Until I have the test results, I have come to accept that I'm going to be a bundle of emotional nervous energy.  Wish us luck on our "old lady tests!"

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Normal Mom

Elementary schools in our area were closed for the past two days because of teacher in-services and conferences. Much to Robby's vocal displeasure, his school calendar did not follow the public school's schedule. Because he goes to a private school, he had a normal schedule of classes. I don't blame him for being sad. If I were a kid, I am sure I would have protested going to school when my friends were home for fall break. 

In order to garner good will in the community (and not missing an opportunity to increase revenue), Robby's school offered a special "camp" for public school students. The participants were safe because they weren't home alone and were occupied with a variety of fun crafts and games. It was a bit disconcerting walking into his normally quiet school now bustling with noise and filled with unfamiliar faces, but I think that the program is probably an excellent option for working parents who couldn't take off two days at the beginning of November. 

Although Robby complained non-stop about his attending school on what he is positive were holidays, he thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with new friends. With an abbreviated academic schedule, recesses and art time were extended so that the two groups could combine and mingle. Picking him up on Monday, he admitted that school was a lot of fun (after providing the disclaimer that it would have been better to enjoy the holiday at home.)

It took us considerably longer to grab his lunchbox and coat out of his cubby. Almost as soon as I stepped onto the playground to claim him, I was swarmed by curious little faces, peppering me with questions about my leg. I never want to ignore an opportunity to educate somebody about limb loss and prosthetics, but I certainly wasn't prepared for the onslaught of interest from the campers. After about 10 minutes of fielding questions, I was finally rescued by a teacher who artfully diverted the attention of my audience. Robby and I were able to escape the school undetected.

Yesterday morning Robby made an odd request as I was dressing to take him to school.  "Momom, I think you should wear jeans. The new kids act like they've never seen a prosthetic before. It's annoying."  I was going to explain that most kids don't get to see a prosthesis, but I decided to just let it go. Instead I squeezed into the only pair of jeans that still button over my growing bump and took him to school. There is a time educate and enlighten, but sometimes it is more important to just be a "normal" Mom. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Wood Stove!

Yesterday was unusually busy. It began with my waking up early, 3:30 AM, due to the unwelcome return of my sleep issues. I was at my Mom's because she was scheduled for her cataract surgery. Although it was not a major procedure, I want to be present every time anesthesia is used. Thankfully. my career allows me the flexibility I treasure!

While I was in Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon, Robby and Scott planned for a "man's afternoon." Instead of their traditional macho endeavors of watching television in their underwear while eating a smorgasbord of fried foods, the two embarked on an ambitious home improvement project. With the help of a handy friend, they installed a wood stove insert in our living room fireplace. 

I have to admit that I was delighted to be two states away while this project was attempted. Scott, who has so many wonderful talents and attributes, is not particularly skilled with tools. In fact, the wood stove installation was the first home improvement project he has attempted in our 13 years together.

Needless to say, I was concerned about my novice husband attempting a project of this scale. I would have preferred he began his foray into the wonderful world of tools with changing the shower head or snaking a drain. Despite my concerns, he was determined to install the wood stove and was not going to be deterred from this goal. I tried to convince him that this project warranted a professional contractor, but he was steadfast in his plans to do the work himself. Not wanting to emasculate him, I finally conceded and provided him with as much support as I could muster.

After logging onto his own Hotspot VPN (he is now a convert to the additional safety afforded by the service) Scott invested hours watching Youtube videos and scouring the internet for advice and instructions. He tackled the project with an impressive determination to succeed. By the time I left on Sunday morning, my worries were being tempered by my burgeoning confidence in his installation plan. I knew that he had done ample preparation, and I hoped that nothing unexpected occurred that would thwart his efforts. I kissed the boys good bye, reminded Robby to run directly to Mr. Bill's house if Daddy fell off the roof, and left the two to complete their "man work."

I understand that the installation hit a few snags, but the boys were able to figure them out. Several hours after I arrived at my Mom's house I received emailed photos of the new wood stove, completely installed. Scott sounded so proud on the phone that I couldn't help but smile.

Yesterday evening we fired up the wood stove for an inaugural burn. I'm not sure which glowed brighter, the fire or Robby's and Scott's proud smiles. Although I was nervous, the pair certainly came through and succeeded. Of course, now that Scott's handy abilities have been revealed, he can expect a much different honey-do list from now on!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Unexpected Surprises...

I am entering this week feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my more hectic than normal schedule. This week I have two doctors appointments, Robby has one, and my Mom is having eye surgery. It's a good thing that I spent the past few days relaxing because I am going to need all my reserves this week!

I woke up Saturday feeling sore and uncomfortable, unfortunate side effects of my tumble on Thursday. I'm not seriously hurt, just bruised enough to have a constant reminder that something is not quite right. Because I'm pregnant and will only resort to medication in extreme circumstances, I'm relegated to the "suck it up and deal with it" method of healing. The fact that I'm wearing my old prosthesis, which is functional but not nearly as comfortable and responsive as what I have been using, has added to my misery.

Feeling depressed and useless (admittedly both emotions were exacerbated by the pregnancy hormones) I decided to take Robby to the movies on Saturday afternoon. My little guy was ecstatic when I invited him to see Free Birds, the story of turkeys who go back in time to change the Thanksgiving menu. I was pleased to have a reason to hide in a dark theater for a few hours, and Scott was eager to watch various football games in peace. Robby hit his Daddy up for popcorn money and we headed on our special date.

Robby was beaming as we stood in line to get the tickets. I would be lying if I said I was happy to be in public. I was limping, sore and feeling sad. Not wanting to spoil his experience, I tried to put my emotions to the side and smiled as much as possible. I guess part of me was hoping that the smile would eventually become real. 

Walking up to the clerk to buy our tickets, I was intercepted by an elderly gentleman. Because I make no attempts to camouflage my prosthesis, I have become accustomed to being approached by strangers. There is apparently nothing better than a carbon fiber foot to break down social barriers and start conversations. I was fully expecting him to ask me a question or to tell me a story of how limb loss has impacted him. Instead, something extraordinary happened. He asked if we were going to see Free Birds.  Robby chimed in and immediately answered him, adding that the movie looked as funny as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. The gentleman smiled, and then handed Robby two tickets.

After a moment of shock, I tried to refuse the offer and pay him for the tickets. Again he smiled, told Robby to enjoy the movie and walked away. He didn't walk into the theater but left, holding hands with his wife and never looking back.

I was absolutely flabbergasted that a stranger would pay for our movie. I doubt that the gentleman knew that I was feeling overwhelmed and beaten down. His gesture transcended my saving money by not paying for the tickets. He bestowed a kindness that I needed to experience at that moment. My moods lifted and, although I was still limping, the frustrations that I had been feeling about my gait were no longer important. Without knowing me, he made me feel special and appreciated.  Unexpected surprises often happen when you need them the most!