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 15, 2013

Momom Strike!

This Momom is on strike! Although I wish I could relinquish all household responsibilities, I realize that this would be irresponsible and not feasible. Therefore, I am going to pick and choose my battles and for right now, my issue is dinner.

Despite the fact that my working hours are equal to those who work outside the home, I remain responsible for all meal preparation. Between appointment visits, report writing and conference calls, I must contend with the daily stress of what to make for dinner. I love to cook, but the fact that I have to do it everyday is becoming draining!

A few days ago I was assigned a report which took top priority. The deadline was looming and the project could equate to a huge contract for the company. All other duties were put on hold and I concentrated my efforts and energy on creating the best document possible.  Despite the stress, I still found time to make dinner. With limited time and a diminishing pantry, I resorted to a staple dish from my childhood. I made Sloppy Joe pie.  It wasn't gourmet, but it was warm and quasi-nutritious so I felt comfortable that my dinner obligations were met.

Admittedly frustrated by the report, I called the boys to the table for dinner. Both of them took one look at the Sloppy Joe pie (Manwich topped with cheese served over a biscuits crust) and they summarily scoffed and turned up their noses. Robby absolutely refused to try the dish, eating only corn for dinner. Meanwhile Scott picked at and pushed the food around on his plate, stalling like a toddler who was afraid to try something new.

Needless to say, both finicky eaters left the table hungry. My aggravation level hit a feverish pitch when Robby complained about being hungry 10 minutes after I finished cleaning up the culinary flop. My inclination was to allow him to be hungry or to pour him a bowl of cold cereal. Scott's relentless lobbying resulted in my acquiescing and cooking a frozen pizza for the picky pair. In my personal act of defiance, I left the pizza on the table. I informed them that I might have been relegated to short order cook, but I was by no means a waitress. 

Of course the issue escalated with Scott blaming my reaction on pregnancy hormones. A note to men who may be reading this blog: never blame a conflict on pregnancy hormones. It does nothing to smooth the situation!

I threw down the gauntlet and challenged the boys to make dinner tonight. I'm not helping with the planning or the preparation. I want them to realize that this everyday task can become draining and stressful, both of which can be magnified when appreciation is not demonstrated.  I fully admit that my refusal to cook dinner is the casualty of the Battle of the Sloppy Joe Pie. I'll try to put the "pregnancy hormones" on the back burner and graciously accept and eat whatever they prepare, although I have to admit that I secretly want to turn up my nose and refuse to eat.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


The past few months have left me devoid of all energy, rendering me a zombie-like shell of my former self. I attributed the intense fatigue to the pregnancy. After all, I've been inundated with medical professionals touting the potential difficulties of this pregnancy, so it only made sense that being tired would be the first obstacle.

The fatigue was swift, intense and relentless. I found myself going to sleep by 7:30 each evening, waking only to feel exhausted a few hours later. I became out of breath by simply walking down the hallway, and lacked the motivation to do the simplest things which used to bring me pleasure because I was too tired to enjoy it.  I began to feel like my life was spiraling into an unproductive abyss where I would never feel energy or enjoyment again.

My first few OB visits provided no insights into my extreme fatigue and only resulted in my being patted on the shoulder and assured that being tired was normal. I realize that some energy loss is normal, but I began to feel a sense of hopelessness that I haven't experienced in a long time. I worried that my energy would never rebound, and doubted my ability to care for both Robby and the new baby. My worrying only resulted in zapping what little energy I had left!

Finally, last week I received a beacon of good news. My doctor called and informed me that my thyroid level was extremely low. She likened the impact of the out-of-whack thyroid number to somebody taking Nyquil on a daily basis. I was elated by the news that there was another physical reason for my fatigue.

I immediately logged onto my trusty Hotspot VPN and began to research everything related to pregnancy and thyroid. Typically internet research leaves me scared.  This time I felt uplifted. The diagnosis offered me a glimmer of hope that I would resume my pre-pregnancy activities.

My thyroid medication was tripled, and by the next morning I was already feeling stronger. Each day I have been feeling an increased sense of normalcy within my body. I'm no longer going to sleep before Robby, and I have begun cooking and baking cookies again. My strength is returning although I know it will take me awhile to regain what I have lost during the past few months.

Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen baking cupcakes to surprise Robby when he came home from school. Not only was I enjoying being in the kitchen again, but I found myself singing and dancing. I can't remember the last time I felt like singing! I was so happy I wanted to cry.

My doctor is going to keep a close eye on my thyroid levels throughout the rest of the pregnancy. In the future, if I begin to feel the same degree of fatigue, I am going to insist that the levels be checked. I feel like I have been resurrected simply by taking the correct dosage of a little pill. It feels so good to be feeling healthy again!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Veteran's Day Poster

When I went to pick up Robby from school last week, I was greeted at his classroom door by both his teacher and school principal. My alarm always rises when I see them together, fearful that Robby has done something. It turns out that they did want to talk to me. The panic on my face must have tipped them off, because they prefaced the conversation by letting me know that Robby had done nothing wrong and was not in trouble. 

His teacher was talking with the class about Veteran's Day when she asked the students a simple question. "What is a Veteran?" Considering that these are second graders, I was shocked to learn that my son was the only one who raised his hand. I must admit to feeling a surge of maternal pride when I learned that Robby was the only one who knew the answer. I gave myself a silent "Well Done Mom" and continued to listen to the story.

Robby explained to his class that a Veteran is somebody who has served in the military. He relayed that they have worked hard so that he can play and have fun. It is a very hard job. His teacher, satisfied with his answer, was about to elaborate. Unfortunately, Robby was not done sharing. "Let me tell you one more thing, and this is important. If you join the army when you grow up, stay away from IED's. Those son of a b*tches will get you every time."

I immediately found myself feeling defensive about my parenting abilities. I began stammering out explanations of him meeting Wounded Warriors and overhearing their conversations. I must have been talking in circles trying to escape the shame of his language because his teacher stopped me and said, "It's okay. We love that he has such wonderful and unique experiences." 

After Robby's warning, the classroom conversation drifted from Veteran's Day to the Wounded Warriors Robby has met over the years. He regaled them with stories of missing limbs and amazing prosthetic accomplishments. His class asked, and the teacher agreed, to make a poster to thank the Wounded Warriors as a Veteran's Day project. It turns out that the pair were waiting at the classroom door to ask my assistance in delivering the class poster to Walter Reed. 

Robby was as proud as he could be showing me the poster. It was obvious that his friends spent a lot of time and care into its creation. With the help of our friend Mary Ann, it was delivered to the Wounded Warriors yesterday. I know his class is going to be delighted to see the pictures that she took during her visit!

I am printing the photos featuring the Wounded Warriors and the poster to share with his class, but I am not including them in this blog. The individuals gave permission to share their image with the students, but I do not want to violate an implied trust by publishing them here.  Mary Ann did a great job of taking the poster on a tour around the hospital!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Walking Tour of Turtles

Yesterday morning I woke up and made both boys a big "man" breakfast. I told them to eat hearty because we had a big day planned. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my Walking Day, one theme kept rising towards the top. I wanted to spend the day with my family, doing something that we all enjoy. Since Robby loves looking at the turtles at the aquarium and Scott and I both love seeing him happy, the itinerary for the day became crystal clear. After chomping down on pancakes, bacon, and eggs, we piled into the car and headed to the Baltimore Aquarium.

 Robby and I have been to the aquarium at least a half dozen times in the past year. He has learned the exhibits and plans his route based upon the various "koopa" exhibits. Since Scott does not typically come with us, Robby eagerly assumed the role of tour guide. He was so proud showing his Daddy all of the exhibits and surprised me by naming many of the sea animals he saw.

Our little tour guide carefully led us through the aquarium, stopping and pointing out every turtle along the way. All other fish and sea critters were summarily dismissed and relegated to merely props for the turtles. Despite Scott's interest, if the tank did not house a turtle, we were led past it by our quick paced and narrowly focused guide.

 We spent two hours admiring and gazing upon the seemingly never ending displays of turtles, and our tour was almost over. Robby led us to one final "exhibit" before relinquishing his role as guide.
We went to the gift shop, where he somehow convinced us to add two more stuffed koopas to his collection. Perhaps I should consider the plush toys as payment for his tour services rendered?

Although the activities focused on Robby, I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate my Walking Day. If I hadn't opted for the amputation, I have no doubts that I would still be debilitated by the relentless pain of my injury. The fact that I am relying on a prosthesis is of little consequence when I remember the pain, obstacles, and exhaustion I faced everyday on crutches. Being led around by Robby, I couldn't help but feel thankful for those small steps that occurred a decade earlier.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Decade of Walking!!

Anniversaries are perhaps the unintentional result of any life changing event. It is human nature to remember the date that set our lives on a different course. Some anniversaries are happy, and some are solemn and sometimes sad.

This past July I celebrated my 10 year Ampuversary. Although I tried to reflect upon how wonderful my life has become since I began my journey as an amputee, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. I had planned to be happy but ended up mourning my limb loss. Of course, the fact that I was also swarmed by a group of angry tracker jackers and ended up in the hospital did not enhance my celebratory mood!

Today I am honoring another anniversary related to my amputation, although this date fills me with nothing but joy, excitement and pride. Today is my Walking Day. Ten years ago this morning I crutched into my Prosthetists office, scared and unsure about my ability to adapt to a prosthesis. I felt trapped inside my own body, a stranger to myself and doubting my decision to amputate. I felt a sense of despair that I will never forget. 

I didn't know what to expect with my first prosthesis. I was surprised by both the weight and the geriatric and sterile look of the device. Despite my fears, I slipped it on and took a leap of faith (literally). Within minutes I was tooling around his office, walking without crutches for the first time in almost 6 years. An hour later I left his office, walking on both feet. Although it wasn't always easy and I encountered a steep learning curve, those first few tentative steps showed me that I could do this, that I could learn to use a prosthesis. Ten years ago today, I took my first steps towards reclaiming my life. 

My husband has forgotten birthdays and wedding anniversaries, but he has always remembered my Walking Day. Scott was by my side throughout my recovery and deserves to lay claim to this milestone in our lives. Robby, although he wasn't born yet, has learned the importance of my Walking Day and is eager to help me celebrate. (Although, to be completely honest he is his mother's child and loves any occasion that involves cake.)

Ten years ago I never imagined that I would be living this life. I hoped that I would be active and happy, but I have achieved and experienced more than I ever dreamed. I'm looking forward to what unfolds in the next decade!